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Title: The Entail - or The Lairds of Grippy
Author: Galt, John, 1779-1839
Language: English
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THE ENTAIL

by

JOHN GALT


Oxford: Horace Hart
Printer to the University


[Illustration]


THE ENTAIL

Or

The Lairds of Grippy

by
JOHN GALT

With an Introduction by John Ayscough



[Illustration]

Henry Frowde
Oxford University Press
London, Edinburgh, Glasgow
New York, Toronto, Melbourne & Bombay



JOHN GALT


  Born, Irvine, Ayrshire                May 2, 1779
  Died, Greenock                     April 11, 1839

_‘The Entail’ was first published in 1822. In ‘The World’s Classics’ it
was first published in 1913._



INTRODUCTION


For many years I have been wondering why John Galt’s works are fallen
into such neglect: that they should be almost wholly forgotten, even by
readers to whom Scott and Jane Austen, Fanny Burney and Miss Edgeworth
are indispensable, is what I cannot understand. If his Autobiography
were not a rare book, an explanation might suggest itself. For
supposing that the public, before reading _The Entail_, _Annals of the
Parish_, or _The Ayrshire Legatees_, had been so unfortunate as to
attempt the reading of the Autobiography, no one could be surprised
that it made up its mind to read no more of him. A more tedious,
flat, and dull book was never written by a man of genius: it is never
interesting, never amusing, and always exasperating to any one who
knows what he could do, and has done. To wade through it is very nearly
impossible, and there is nothing to be gained by the achievement.
Galt’s life was not particularly interesting in itself, but many lives
less eventful have been so written as to be worth reading, and easy to
read.

There is, however, little danger of Galt’s now losing possible admirers
by the unlucky accident of their stumbling on his Autobiography before
making his acquaintance in the right way--by reading his really
excellent works of fiction: for copies of the Autobiography are not
at all easy to come at. I suppose they have mostly been burned by his
admirers.

There is not much to be told about him; his life does not matter to
my purpose. John Galt was one of the sons of a sea-captain, in the
West India trade, and was born on May 2, 1779, at Irvine in Ayrshire.
When he was ten years old the family moved to Greenock, where the boy
had his schooling and became a clerk in the Custom House. At five
and twenty he carried himself and an epic poem to London, in quest
of literary fame. The epic, on the Battle of Largs, he had printed,
but it did not establish his repute as a poet, and, to judge by the
specimens I have read, the indifference of the public was not a
malicious affectation. Later on he produced half a dozen dramas, which
deserved, and met with, as much success as the epic. Falling into bad
health he made a tour through the Mediterranean and Levant, and had
Byron and Hobhouse for fellow-travellers during a part of it. In the
Autobiography he does not heap flattery on either ‘Orestes or Pylades’:
perhaps, though he does not confess it, he extracted from his brother
poet an opinion on his own muse. His experiences of travel were given
to the world in _Letters from the Levant_, and the book was by no means
a failure, and is much easier reading than the Autobiography. In 1820
appeared, in _Blackwood_, _The Ayrshire Legatees_: and in it he first
showed the real power that was in him. It has been reprinted in recent
years and can easily be read, and should be read by every one. The book
has the rather tiresome form of letters: and the letters of the young
lady and young gentleman are not always particularly entertaining:
those of Dr. Pringle and his wife are invariably excellent. None
better of the sort exist anywhere in fiction. It is astounding that a
man of genius, whose fiction is so extraordinarily real, could, when
writing of his own real life, make it inhumanly dull and artificial.
In the Autobiography there is nothing quaint, and nothing witty: Dr.
and Mrs. Pringle are inimitably quaint and funny. It would seem that
when Galt looked at life, at men and manners, and things, through
imaginary eyes he could see everything there was to be seen, and see
it in a light intensely simple and vivid and real: that when he looked
at anything through his own eyes he saw nothing at all. The doctor and
Mrs. Pringle are indispensable to all readers who love dear oddities,
and they are Galt’s very own: you shall not find them anywhere else.
He borrowed them nowhere, but made them himself in a jocund humour of
affectionate creation.

In 1821 _The Ayrshire Legatees_ was followed up by the _Annals of the
Parish_, which displayed Galt’s singular and original genius in fuller
perfection. That his epic failed, and the _Annals_ marked a literary
success, is much to the credit of his contemporaries. Perhaps if Crabbe
had not perversely insisted on being a poet we might have had country
tales of his as worthy of immortality as the _Annals of the Parish_.
The book is commonly said to be Galt’s masterpiece: which it is not.
But it is unique and perfect. That _The Entail_ is really Galt’s
masterpiece seems to me clear: nevertheless there are weak parts in it,
and the less good chapters are lamentably unequal to the best: whereas
the _Annals of the Parish_ has no weak chapters, and the balance of
excellence is maintained throughout. But there is no story in the
_Annals_; and, though it is a long gallery of perfect portraits, it
has no characters that can even be compared with Watty and the Leddy o’
Grippy.

Where the _Annals_ peculiarly excel is in the rare quality of _charm_:
it has no hero, and the central figure is enriched with foibles that
do not lean to heroism’s side: but they are quaintly attractive, and
no one but Galt has given to literature any one like him. Of pathos
Galt is shy in the _Annals_; nowhere is he at all disposed to ‘wallow’
in it: but he draws reverently near, and moves away as reverently.
Nor is he boisterously funny: his wit is all his own, and it crops up
at every corner, but not noisily: it cuts few capers, and has a pawky
discretion. It is singularly void of malice and haughtiness, and has
a Shakespearian humanity and blandness that fails to remind one of
Thackeray. The _Annals of the Parish_ prove that a great writer can
make a whole book intensely amusing and extraordinarily amiable: that
perfectly clear sight need not be merciless, nor wit remorselessly
cruel.

The great and just success of the _Annals of the Parish_ made Galt
prolific: and in rapid sequence came _Sir Andrew Wylie_, _The Entail_,
_The Steamboat_, _The Provost_, _Ringan Gilhaize_, _The Spaewife_,
_Rothelan_, and _The Omen_.

Almost all of these are worth reading, and to read them is no trouble:
but they are of very unequal merit: and only one of them is worthy
of being grouped with _The Ayrshire Legatees_ and the _Annals_.
_Sir Andrew Wylie_ is extremely good, and much of it shows Galt in
his best vein. The more romantic tales, _Ringan Gilhaize_, _The
Spaewife_, _Rothelan_, and _The Omen_, have the defects of their
qualities, and the more Galt submits to those qualities the less we
are pleased. To be romantic was, perhaps, a pardonable compliance
with fashion: but Galt had little to make with romance, and idealism
was his easiest road to failure. To be Ossianic may have seemed to him
a literary duty, but the performance of some duties is hard on the
public: as the district-visited might plead, to whom the perfecting
of district-visitors appeals less than it ought. Galt had not a rich
imagination; what he possessed in a rare degree was the faculty of
representation. In his works of fiction we find a gallery of portraits
of singular variety and perfection: of all of them he had seen the
originals. When he chose to add characters invented by himself his
success was not great. It must not, however, be supposed that he could
only reproduce with pedestrian fidelity: there can be no doubt that
from a mere hint in actual experience he could draw a vivid portrait of
absolute and convincing reality.

He himself placed _The Provost_ higher than the _Annals of the
Parish_ and _The Ayrshire Legatees_, but no one will agree with him.
Almost the only interesting thing he tells us in the Autobiography is
that the _Annals_, though published in 1821, the year following the
appearance of _The Ayrshire Legatees_, were written in 1813, and laid
aside and forgotten. Of _The Entail_ he tells us little, except that
the scene of the storm was introduced to admit of the description of
a part of Scotland he had never seen. He speaks complacently of the
praise accorded to that description, but betrays no pride in Watty or
the Leddy, whom, indeed, he does not mention. He has plenty to say
about _Ringan Gilhaize_, and evidently believes that the book was not
accorded its due proportion of praise; chiefly, it would seem, because
the thing he tried to do in it was difficult, and success the more
meritorious. Probably Watty and the Leddy were thoroughly spontaneous,
as they are inimitably real, and Galt thought the less of them on that
account.

He left England for Canada in 1826, _The Last of the Lairds_ appearing
just before his departure. Three years later he came back ruined, and
set to work again, his pen being as industrious as ever. _Lawrie Todd_
was followed by _Southennan_, and these two novels by his _Life of Lord
Byron_. In 1839, on April 11, he died at Greenock.

Anthony Trollope injured himself with critics of a certain class by a
too frank disclosure of his methods of production: and Galt may well
have done his literary reputation harm by his oft-repeated assertion
that with him literature was always a secondary interest. Commerce,
he would have us believe, was what came first. He never depreciates
his own literary work, but he so speaks of it as to tempt others to
belittle it: this was not modesty but sheer blundering. Congreve in
his old age was more eager to shine in Voltaire’s eyes as a social
personage than as a famous dramatist; and Galt appears to have cared
more to be regarded as a statistician than as an unequalled master of
fiction in his own region of it. These perversities in men of genius
are not so rare as they are provoking.

_The Entail_ was published in 1822, and, disregarded as it has long
been, its merit was not ignored then. Gifford, Mackenzie, Lord Jeffrey,
and Sir Walter Scott helped to spread its fame. In January, 1823,
‘Christopher North’ reviewed it at great length in _Blackwood_, and
declared it ‘out of all sight the best thing he [Galt] has done’--_The
Ayrshire Legatees_ and the _Annals of the Parish_, be it remembered,
having already appeared. The Professor says that he had read ‘the work
on its first publication through from beginning to end in one day’, and
about a fortnight afterwards devoured ‘all the prime bits’ again.

The conclusion of the whole matter, in Professor Wilson’s opinion, was
that Galt had now proved himself ‘inferior only to two living writers
of fictitious narratives--to him whom we need not name, and to Miss
Edgeworth’.

That Galt was inferior to Scott as a romanticist is what no one would
deny. As a romanticist he should not be brought in comparison with Sir
Walter at all; but as a painter of _genre_ he is not surpassed even
by him whom ‘Christopher North’ would not name. That Miss Edgeworth
was a romanticist of high rank does not appear: _Castle Rackrent_
and _The Absentee_ are unequalled, but as presentations of original,
quaint, and absolutely living Irish character: Galt was not inferior
to her, or a rival of her, for his realm and hers were far apart: in
his presentation of certain types of Scottish character he is equally
original, equally quaint, and equally true and vivid. Scottish humour
and Irish wit are singularly unlike; to compare them must be a barren
labour; perhaps the same reader will never fully appreciate both;
but to no critic who knows and loves Scots types of character will
it be easy to confess that Galt had an inferior revelation to that
of the inestimable Maria: the subject-matter was different, that was
all. To try and pose them as rivals is the folly. In Galt is none
of the rollicking pathos that is the miracle of _Castle Rackrent_:
Scots pathos is as different from Irish as flamboyant Irish wit is
different from Scottish pawkiness. But if the daft laird of Grippy be
not pathetic then I know of no pathos outside the pathos that exposes
itself naked to the public to obtain recognition. If the Leddy o’
Grippy be not inimitably comic, then can there be no comedy short of
screaming farce.

The reader is asked to remember that any comparison of Galt with Scott,
or of Galt with Maria Edgeworth, was not initiated by the present
writer, but by ‘Christopher North’.

Sir Walter Scott himself gave the best proof possible of appreciation
by reading _The Entail_ three times: and Byron had read it three times
within a year of its appearance. To the Earl of Blessington he said
that ‘the portraiture of Leddy Grippy was perhaps the most complete and
original that had been added to the female gallery since the days of
Shakespeare’.

Were this an essay on _The Entail_ it would not suffice to quote the
criticism of great writers upon the work: the essayist would need to
justify his own admiration of it by quotation from the book itself.
And this he has done at full length in (as Cousin Feenix said) another
place. But in an Introduction there can be no occasion to detain the
reader from making acquaintance on his own account with the Leddy and
Watty, Claud, and the Milrookits. He will not, with the book in his
hand, need to be told which scenes are inimitable. There are many which
he will never be content to read but once: though I venture to think
that he will not arrive at Lord Jeffrey’s conclusion that the drowning
of George Walkinshaw is the most powerful single sketch in the work.
Powerful all the same it is; and, since Lord Byron’s dictum concerning
the Leddy has given the hint, we may be the more readily forgiven for
thinking that there is, in that grim passage, something Shakespearian
about the little cabin-boy.

  JOHN AYSCOUGH.



THE ENTAIL



TO THE KING.


  _SIRE_,

_With the profoundest sense of your Majesty’s gracious condescension,
the Author of this work has now the honour to lay it, by permission, at
your Majesty’s feet._

_It belongs to a series of sketches, in which he has attempted to
describe characters and manners peculiar to the most ancient, and
most loyal, portion of all your Majesty’s dominions;--it embraces a
great part of the last century, the most prosperous period in the
annals of Scotland, and singularly glorious to the administration of
your Majesty’s Illustrious Family;--it has been written since the era
of your Majesty’s joyous Visit to the venerable home of your Royal
Ancestors;--and it is presented as a humble memorial of the feelings
with which the Author, in common with all his countrymen, did homage to
the King at Holyrood._

  _He has the happiness to be,
  SIRE,
  Your Majesty’s
  Most dutiful and most faithful_
  SUBJECT AND SERVANT.

  Edinburgh, 3d December 1822.



THE ENTAIL



CHAPTER I


Claud Walkinshaw was the sole surviving male heir of the Walkinshaws of
Kittlestonheugh. His grandfather, the last Laird of the line, deluded
by the golden visions that allured so many of the Scottish gentry to
embark their fortunes in the Darien Expedition, sent his only son, the
father of Claud, in one of the ships fitted out at Cartsdyke, and with
him an adventure in which he had staked more than the whole value of
his estate. But, as it is not our intention to fatigue the reader with
any very circumstantial account of the state of the Laird’s family, we
shall pass over, with all expedient brevity, the domestic history of
Claud’s childhood. He was scarcely a year old when his father sailed,
and his mother died of a broken heart, on hearing that her husband,
with many of his companions, had perished of disease and famine among
the swamps of the Mosquito shore. The Kittlestonheugh estate was soon
after sold, and the Laird, with Claud, retired into Glasgow, where
he rented the upper part of a back house, in Aird’s Close, in the
Drygate. The only servant whom, in this altered state, he could afford
to retain, or rather the only one that he could not get rid of, owing
to her age and infirmities, was Maudge Dobbie, who, in her youth,
was bairnswoman to his son. She had been upwards of forty years in
the servitude of his house; and the situation she had filled to the
father of Claud did not tend to diminish the kindliness with which she
regarded the child, especially when, by the ruin of her master, there
was none but herself to attend him.

The charms of Maudge had, even in her vernal years, been confined to
her warm and affectionate feelings; and, at this period, she was
twisted east and west, and hither and yont, and Time, in the shape
of old age, hung so embracingly round her neck, that his weight had
bent her into a hoop. Yet, thus deformed and aged, she was not without
qualities that might have endeared her to a more generous boy. Her
father had been schoolmaster in the village of Kittleston; and under
his tuition, before she was sent, as the phrase then was, to seek her
bread in the world, she had acquired a few of the elements of learning
beyond those which, in that period, fell to the common lot of female
domestics: and she was thus enabled, not only to teach the orphan
reading and writing, but even to supply him with some knowledge of
arithmetic, particularly addition and the multiplication table. She
also possessed a rich stock of goblin lore and romantic stories, the
recital of which had given the father of Claud the taste for adventure
that induced him to embark in the ill-fated expedition. These, however,
were not so congenial to the less sanguine temperament of the son,
who early preferred the history of Whittington and his Cat to the
achievements of Sir William Wallace; and ‘Tak your auld cloak about
you,’ ever seemed to him a thousand times more sensible than ‘Chevy
Chace.’ As for that doleful ditty, the ‘Flowers of the Forest,’ it was
worse than the ‘Babes in the Wood’; and ‘Gil Morrice’ more wearisome
than ‘Death and the Lady’.

The solitary old Laird had not been long settled in his sequestered
and humble town-retreat, when a change became visible both in his
appearance and manners. He had been formerly bustling, vigorous,
hearty, and social; but from the first account of the death of his
son, and the ruin of his fortune, he grew thoughtful and sedentary,
and shunned the approach of strangers, and retired from the visits
of his friends. Sometimes he sat for whole days, without speaking,
and without even noticing the kitten-like gambols of his grandson; at
others he would fondle over the child, and caress him with more than
a grandfather’s affection; again, he would peevishly brush the boy
away as he clasped his knees, and hurry out of the house with short and
agitated steps. His respectable portliness disappeared; his clothes
began to hang loosely upon him; his colour fled; his face withered; and
his legs wasted into meagre shanks. Before the end of the first twelve
months, he was either unwilling or unable to move unassisted from the
old arm chair, in which he sat from morning to night, with his grey
head drooping over his breast; and one evening, when Maudge went to
assist him to undress, she found he had been for some time dead.

After the funeral, Maudge removed with the penniless orphan to a
garret-room in the Saltmarket, where she endeavoured to earn for him
and herself the humble aliment of meal and salt, by working stockings;
her infirmities and figure having disqualified her from the more
profitable industry of the spinning-wheel. In this condition she
remained for some time, pinched with poverty, but still patient with
her lot, and preserving, nevertheless, a neat and decent exterior.

It was only in the calm of the summer Sabbath evenings that she
indulged in the luxury of a view of the country; and her usual walk
on those occasions, with Claud in her hand, was along the brow of
Whitehill, which she perhaps preferred, because it afforded her a
distant view of the scenes of her happier days; and while she pointed
out to Claud the hills and lands of his forefathers, she exhorted him
to make it his constant endeavour to redeem them, if possible, from
their new possessors, regularly concluding her admonition with some
sketch or portrait of the hereditary grandeur of his ancestors.

One afternoon, while she was thus engaged, Provost Gorbals and his wife
made their appearance.

The Provost was a man in flourishing circumstances, and he was then
walking with his lady to choose a site for a country-house which they
had long talked of building. They were a stately corpulent couple, well
befitting the magisterial consequence of the husband.

Mrs. Gorbals was arrayed in a stiff and costly yellow brocade,
magnificently embroidered with flowers, the least of which was peony;
but the exuberance of her ruffle cuffs and flounces, the richness of
her lace apron, with the vast head-dress of catgut and millinery,
together with her blue satin mantle, trimmed with ermine, are items in
the gorgeous paraphernalia of the Glasgow ladies of that time, to which
the pencil of some abler limner can alone do justice.

The appearance of the Provost himself became his dignity, and
corresponded with the affluent garniture of his lady: it was indeed
such, that, even had he not worn the golden chains of his dignity,
there would have been no difficulty in determining him to be some
personage dressed with at least a little brief authority. Over the
magisterial vestments of black velvet, he wore a new scarlet cloak,
although the day had been one of the sultriest in July; and, with
a lofty consequential air, and an ample display of the corporeal
acquisition which he had made at his own and other well furnished
tables, he moved along, swinging at every step his tall golden-headed
cane with the solemnity of a mandarin.

Claud was filled with wonder and awe at the sight of such splendid
examples of Glasgow pomp and prosperity, but Maudge speedily rebuked
his juvenile admiration.

‘They’re no worth the looking at,’ said she; ‘had ye but seen the last
Leddy Kittlestonheugh, your ain muckle respekit grandmother, and her
twa sisters, in their hench-hoops, with their fans in their han’s--the
three in a row would hae soopit the whole breadth o’ the Trongate--ye
would hae seen something. They were nane o’ your new-made leddies,
but come o’ a pedigree. Foul would hae been the gait, and drooking
the shower, that would hae gart them jook their heads intil the door
o’ ony sic thing as a Glasgow bailie--Na; Claudie, my lamb, thou maun
lift thy een aboon the trash o’ the town, and ay keep mind that the
hills are standing yet that might hae been thy ain; and so may they
yet be, an thou can but master the pride o’ back and belly, and seek
for something mair solid than the bravery o’ sic a Solomon in all his
glory as yon Provost Gorbals.--Heh, sirs, what a kyteful o’ pride’s
yon’er! and yet I would be nane surprised the morn to hear that the
Nebuchadnezzar was a’ gane to pigs and whistles, and driven out wi’ the
divors bill to the barren pastures of bankruptcy.’



CHAPTER II


After taking a stroll round the brow of the hill, Provost Gorbals and
his lady approached the spot where Maudge and Claud were sitting. As
they drew near, the old woman rose, for she recognized in Mrs. Gorbals
one of the former visitors at Kittlestonheugh. The figure of Maudge
herself was so remarkable, that, seen once, it was seldom forgotten,
and the worthy lady, almost at the same instant, said to the Provost,--

‘Eh! Megsty, gudeman, if I dinna think yon’s auld Kittlestonheugh’s
crookit bairnswoman. I won’er what’s come o’ the Laird, poor bodie,
sin’ he was rookit by the Darien. Eh! what an alteration it was to Mrs.
Walkinshaw, his gudedochter. She was a bonny bodie; but frae the time
o’ the sore news, she croynt awa, and her life gied out like the snuff
o’ a can’le. Hey, Magdalene Dobbie, come hither to me, I’m wanting to
speak to thee.’

Maudge, at this shrill obstreperous summons, leading Claud by the hand,
went forward to the lady, who immediately said,--

‘Ist t’ou ay in Kittlestonheugh’s service, and what’s come o’ him, sin’
his lan’ was roupit?’

Maudge replied respectfully, and with the tear in her eye, that the
Laird was dead.

‘Dead!’ exclaimed Mrs. Gorbals, ‘that’s very extraordinare. I doubt he
was ill off at his latter end. Whar did he die, poor man?’

‘We were obligated,’ said Maudge, somewhat comforted by the
compassionate accent of the lady, ‘to come intil Glasgow, where he
fell into a decay o’ nature.’ And she added, with a sigh that was
almost a sob, ‘’Deed, it’s vera true, he died in a sare straitened
circumstance, and left this helpless laddie upon my hands.’

The Provost, who had in the meantime been still looking about in quest
of a site for his intended mansion, on hearing this, turned round, and
putting his hand in his pocket, said,--

‘An’ is this Kittlestonheugh’s oe? I’m sure it’s a vera pitiful thing
o’ you, lucky, to take compassion on the orphan; hae, my laddie,
there’s a saxpence.’

‘Saxpence, gudeman!’ exclaimed the Provost’s lady, ‘ye’ll ne’er even
your han’ wi’ a saxpence to the like of Kittlestonheugh, for sae we’re
bound in nature to call him, landless though his lairdship now be; poor
bairn, I’m wae for’t. Ye ken his mother was sib to mine by the father’s
side, and blood’s thicker than water ony day.’

Generosity is in some degree one of the necessary qualifications of a
Glasgow magistrate, and Provost Gorbals being as well endowed with it
as any of his successors have been since, was not displeased with the
benevolent warmth of his wife, especially when he understood that Claud
was of their own kin. On the contrary, he said affectionately,--

‘Really it was vera thoughtless o’ me, Liezy, my dear; but ye ken I
have na an instinct to make me acquaint wi’ the particulars of folk,
before hearing about them. I’m sure no living soul can have a greater
compassion than mysel’ for gentle blood come to needcessity.’

Mrs. Gorbals, however, instead of replying to this remark--indeed, what
could she say, for experience had taught her that it was perfectly
just--addressed herself again to Maudge.

‘And whar dost t’ou live? and what hast t’ou to live upon?’

‘I hae but the mercy of Providence,’ was the humble answer of honest
Maudge, ‘and a garret-room in John Sinclair’s lan’. I ettle as weel
as I can for a morsel, by working stockings; but Claud’s a rumbling
laddie, and needs mair than I hae to gi’e him: a young appetite’s a
growing evil in the poor’s aught.’

The Provost and his wife looked kindly at each other, and the latter
added,--

‘Gudeman, ye maun do something for them. It’ll no fare the waur wi’ our
basket and our store.’

And Maudge was in consequence requested to bring Claud with her that
evening to the Provost’s House in the Bridgegate. ‘I think,’ added
Mrs. Gorbals, ‘that our Hughoc’s auld claes will just do for him; and
Maudge, keep a good heart, we’ll no let thee want. I won’er t’ou did na
think of making an application to us afore.’

‘No,’ replied the old woman, ‘I could ne’er do that--I would hae been
in an unco strait before I would hae begget on my own account; and how
could I think o’ disgracing the family? Any help that the Lord may
dispose your hearts to gi’e, I’ll accept wi’ great thankfulness, but an
almous is what I hope He’ll ne’er put it upon me to seek; and though
Claud be for the present a weight and burden, yet, an he’s sparet,
he’ll be able belyve to do something for himsel’.’

Both the Provost and Mrs. Gorbals commended her spirit; and, from this
interview, the situation of Maudge was considerably improved by their
constant kindness. Doubtless, had Mr. Gorbals lived, he would have
assisted Claud into business, but, dying suddenly, his circumstances
were discovered to be less flourishing than the world had imagined, and
his widow found herself constrained to abridge her wonted liberality.

Maudge, however, wrestled with poverty as well as she could, till Claud
had attained his eleventh year, when she thought he was of a sufficient
capacity to do something for himself. Accordingly, she intimated to
Mrs. Gorbals that she hoped it would be in her power to help her with
the loan of a guinea to set him out in the world with a pack. This the
lady readily promised, but advised her to make application first to
his relation, Miss Christiana Heritage.

‘She’s in a bien circumstance,’ said Mrs. Gorbals, ‘for her father,
auld Windywa’s, left her weel on to five hundred pounds, and her
cousin, Lord Killycrankie, ane of the fifteen that ay staid in our
house when he rode the Circuit, being heir of entail to her father,
alloos her the use of the house, so that she’s in a way to do muckle
for the laddie, if her heart were so inclined.’

Maudge, agreeably to this suggestion, went next day to Windywalls;
but we must reserve our account of the mansion and its mistress to
enrich our next chapter, for Miss Christiana was, even in our day
and generation, a personage of no small consequence in her own eyes:
indeed, for that matter, she was no less in ours, if we may judge by
the niche which she occupies in the gallery of our recollection, after
the lapse of more than fifty years.



CHAPTER III


In the course of the same summer in which we commenced those
grammar-school acquirements, that, in after-life, have been so
deservedly celebrated, our revered relative, the late old Lady Havers,
carried us in her infirm dowagerian chariot to pay her annual visit to
Miss Christiana Heritage. In the admiration with which we contemplated
the venerable mansion and its ancient mistress, an indistinct vision
rises in our fancy of a large irregular whitewashed house, with a tall
turnpike staircase; over the low and dwarfish arched door of which a
huge cable was carved in stone, and dropped in a knotted festoon at
each side. The traditions of the neighbourhood ascribed this carving to
the Pictish sculptors, who executed the principal ornaments of the High
Kirk of Glasgow.

On entering under this feudal arch we ascended a spiral stair, and were
shown into a large and lofty room, on three sides of which, each far in
a deep recess, was a narrow window glazed with lozens of yellow glass,
that seemed scarcely more transparent than horn. The walls were hung
with tapestry, from which tremendous forms, in warlike attitudes and
with grim aspects, frowned in apparitional obscurity.

But of all the circumstances of a visit, which we must ever consider
as a glimpse into the presence-chamber of the olden time, none made
so deep and so vivid an impression upon our young remembrance as the
appearance and deportment of Miss Christiana herself. She had been
apprised of Lady Havers’ coming, and was seated in state to receive
her, on a large settee adorned with ancestral needlework. She rose as
our venerable relation entered the room. Alas! we have lived to know
that we shall never again behold the ceremonial of a reception half so
solemnly performed.

Miss Christiana was dressed in a courtly suit of purple Genoese velvet;
her petticoat, spread by her hoop, extended almost to arms-length at
each side. The ruffle cuffs which hung at her elbows loaded with lead,
were coëval with the Union, having been worn by her mother when she
attended her husband to that assembly of the States of Scotland, which
put an end to the independence and poverty of the kingdom. But who, at
this distance of time, shall presume to estimate the altitude of the
Babylonian tower of toupees and lappets which adorned Miss Christiana’s
brow?

It is probable that the reception which she gave to poor Maudge and
Claud was not quite so ceremonious as ours; for the substantial
benison of the visit was but half-a-crown. Mrs. Gorbals, on hearing
this, exclaimed with a just indignation against the near-be-gawn Miss
Christiana, and setting herself actively to work, soon collected, among
her acquaintance, a small sum sufficient to enable Maudge to buy and
furnish a pack for Claud. James Bridle the saddlemaker, who had worked
for his father, gave him a present of a strap to sling it over his
shoulder; and thus, with a judicious selection of godly and humorous
tracts, curtain rings, sleeve buttons, together with a compendious
assortment of needles and pins, thimbles, stay-laces and garters, with
a bunch of ballads and excellent new songs, Claud Walkinshaw espoused
his fortune.

His excursions at first were confined to the neighbouring villages,
and as he was sly and gabby, he soon contrived to get in about the
good-will of the farmers’ wives, and in process of time, few pedlars
in all the west country were better liked, though every one complained
that he was the dearest and the gairest.

His success equalled the most sanguine expectations of Maudge, but
Mrs. Gorbals thought he might have recollected, somewhat better than
he did, the kindness and care with which the affectionate old creature
had struggled to support him in his helplessness. As often, however,
as that warm-hearted lady inquired if he gave her any of his winnings,
Maudge was obliged to say, ‘I hope, poor lad, he has more sense than to
think o’ the like o’ me. Is na he striving to make a conquest of the
lands of his forefathers? Ye ken he’s come o’ gentle blood, and I am
nae better than his servan’.’

But although Maudge spoke thus generously, still sometimes, when she
had afterwards become bedrid, and was left to languish and linger
out the remnant of age in her solitary garret, comforted only by the
occasional visits and charitable attentions of Mrs. Gorbals, the wish
would now and then rise, that Claud, when he was prospering in the
traffic of the Borders, would whiles think of her forlorn condition.
But it was the lambent play of affection, in which anxiety to see him
again before she died was stronger than any other feeling, and as often
as she felt it moving her to repine at his inattention, she would turn
herself to the wall, and implore the Father of Mercies to prosper his
honest endeavours, and that he might ne’er be troubled in his industry
with any thought about such a burden as it had pleased Heaven to make
her to the world.

After having been bedrid for about the space of two years, Maudge
died. Claud, in the meantime, was thriving as well as the prigging
wives and higgling girls in his beat between the Nith and the Tyne
would permit. Nor was there any pedlar better known at the fairs of
the Border towns, or who displayed on those occasions such a rich
assortment of goods. It was thought by some, that, in choosing that
remote country for the scene of his itinerant trade, he was actuated by
some sentiment of reverence for the former consequence of his family.
But, as faithful historians, we are compelled to remind the reader,
that he was too worldly-wise to indulge himself with any thing so
romantic; the absolute fact being, that, after trying many other parts
of the country, he found the Borders the most profitable, and that the
inhabitants were also the most hospitable customers,--no small item in
the arithmetical philosophy of a pedlar.



CHAPTER IV


About twenty years after the death of Maudge, Claud returned to Glasgow
with five hundred pounds above the world, and settled himself as a
cloth-merchant, in a shop under the piazza of a house which occupied
part of the ground where the Exchange now stands. The resolution which
he had early formed to redeem the inheritance of his ancestors, and
which his old affectionate benefactress had perhaps inspired, as well
as cherished, was grown into a habit. His carefulness, his assiduity,
his parsimony, his very honesty, had no other object nor motive; it was
the actuating principle of his life. Some years after he had settled in
Glasgow, his savings and gathering enabled him to purchase the farm of
Grippy, a part of the patrimony of his family.

The feelings of the mariner returning home, when he again beholds
the rising hills of his native land, and the joys and fears of the
father’s bosom, when, after a long absence, he approaches the abode
of his children, are tame and calm, compared to the deep and greedy
satisfaction with which the persevering pedlar received the earth and
stone that gave him infeftment of that cold and sterile portion of his
forefathers’ estate. In the same moment he formed a resolution worthy
of the sentiment he then felt,--a sentiment which, in a less sordid
breast, might have almost partaken of the pride of virtue. He resolved
to marry, and beget children, and entail the property, that none of his
descendants might ever have it in their power to commit the imprudence
which had brought his grandfather to a morsel, and thrown himself on
the world. And the same night, after maturely considering the prospects
of all the heiresses within the probable scope of his ambition, he
resolved that his affections should be directed towards Miss Girzy
Hypel, the only daughter of Malachi Hypel, the Laird of Plealands.

They were in some degree related, and he had been led to think of
her from an incident which occurred on the day he made the purchase.
Her father was, at the time, in Glasgow, attending the Circuit; for,
as often as the judges visited the city, he had some dispute with a
neighbour or a tenant that required their interposition. Having heard
of what had taken place, he called on Claud to congratulate him on the
recovery of so much of his family inheritance.

‘I hear,’ said the Laird, on entering the shop, and proffering his
hand across the counter, ‘that ye hae gotten a sappy bargain o’ the
Grippy. It’s true some o’ the lands are but cauld; howsever, cousin,
ne’er fash your thumb, Glasgow’s on the thrive, and ye hae as many een
in your head, for an advantage, as ony body I ken. But now that ye hae
gotten a house, wha’s to be the leddy? I’m sure ye might do waur than
cast a sheep’s e’e in at our door; my dochter Girzy’s o’ your ain flesh
and blood; I dinna see ony moral impossibility in her becoming, as the
Psalmist says, “bone of thy bone.”’

Claud replied in his wonted couthy manner:

‘Nane o’ your jokes, Laird,--me even mysel to your dochter? Na, na,
Plealands, that canna be thought o’ nowadays. But, no to make a
ridicule of sic a solemn concern, it’s vera true that, had na my
grandfather, when he was grown doited, sent out a’ the Kittlestonheugh
in a cargo o’ playocks to the Darien, I might hae been in a state and
condition to look at Miss Girzy; but, ye ken, I hae a lang clue to wind
before I maun think o’ playing the ba’ wi’ Fortune, in ettling so far
aboun my reach.’

‘Snuffs o’ tobacco,’ exclaimed the Laird,--‘are nae ye sib to oursels?
and, if ye dinna fail by your ain blateness, our Girzy’s no surely past
speaking to. Just lay your leg, my man, o’er a side o’ horse flesh, and
come your ways, some Saturday, to speer her price.’

It was upon this delicate hint that Grippy was induced to think of
Miss Girzy Hypel; but finding that he was deemed a fit match for her,
and might get her when he would, he deferred the visit until he had
cast about among the other neighbouring lairds’ families for a better,
that is to say, a richer match. In this, whether he met with repulsive
receptions, or found no satisfactory answers to his inquiries, is not
quite certain; but, as we have said, in the same night on which he took
legal possession of his purchase, he resolved to visit Plealands; and
in order that the family might not be taken unawares, he sent a letter
next day by the Ayr carrier to apprise the Laird of his intention,
provided it was convenient to receive him for a night. To this letter,
by the return of Johnny Drizen, the carrier, on the week following,
he received such a cordial reply, that he was induced to send for
Cornelius Luke, the tailor, a douce and respectable man, and one of the
elders of the Tron Kirk.

‘Come your ways, Cornie,’ said the intending lover; ‘I want to speak to
you anent what’s doing about the new kirk on the Green Know.’

‘Doing, Mr. Walkinshaw!--it’s a doing that our bairns’ bairns will
ne’er hear the end o’--a rank and carnal innovation on the spirit
o’ the Kirk o’ Scotland,’ replied the elder--‘It’s to be after the
fashion o’ some prelatic Babel in Lon’on, and they hae christened it
already by the papistical name o’ St. Andrew--a sore thing that, Mr.
Walkinshaw; but the Lord has set his face against it, and the builders
thereof are smitten as wi’ a confusion o’ tongues, in the lack o’
siller to fulfil their idolatrous intents--Blessed be His name for
evermore! But was na Mr. Kilfuddy, wha preached for Mr. Anderson last
Sabbath, most sweet and delectable on the vanities of this life, in his
forenoon lecture? and did na ye think, when he spoke o’ that seventh
wonder o’ the world, the temple of Diana, and enlarged wi’ sic pith
and marrow on the idolaters in Ephesus, that he was looking o’er his
shouther at Lowrie Dinwiddie and Provost Aiton, who are no wrang’t
in being wytid wi’ the sin o’ this inordinate superstructure?--Mr.
Walkinshaw, am nae prophet, as ye will ken, but I can see that the
day’s no far aff, when ministers of the gospel in Glasgow will be seen
chambering and wantoning to the sound o’ the kist fu’ o’ whistles, wi’
the seven-headed beast routing its choruses at every o’ercome o’ the
spring.’

Which prediction was in our own day and generation to a great degree
fulfilled; at the time, however, it only served to move the pawkie
cloth-merchant to say,

‘Nae doubt, Cornie, the world’s like the tod’s whelp, ay the aulder
the waur; but I trust we’ll hear news in the land before the like o’
that comes to pass. Howsever, in the words of truth and holiness,
“sufficient for the day is the evil thereof;” and let us hope, that a
regenerating spirit may go forth to the ends o’ the earth, and that all
the sons of men will not be utterly cut up, root and branch.’

‘No: be thankit,’ said Cornelius, the tailor--‘even of those that shall
live in the latter days, a remnant will be saved.’

‘That’s a great comfort, Mr. Luke, to us a’,’ replied Claud;--‘but,
talking o’ remnants, I hae a bit blue o’ superfine; it has been lang on
hand, and the moths are beginning to meddle wi’t--I won’er if ye could
mak me a coat o’t?’

The remnant was then produced on the counter, and Cornelius, after
inspecting it carefully, declared, that, ‘with the help of a steek
or twa of darning, that would na be percep, it would do very well.’
The cloth was accordingly delivered to him, with strict injunctions
to have it ready by Friday, and with all the requisite et ceteras to
complete a coat, he left the shop greatly edified, as he told his wife,
by the godly salutations of Mr. Walkinshaw’s spirit; ‘wherein,’ as he
said, ‘there was a kithing of fruit meet for repentance; a foretaste
o’ things that pertain not to this life; a receiving o’ the erls of
righteousness and peace, which passeth all understanding, and endureth
for evermore.’

‘I’m blithe to hear’t,’ was the worthy woman’s answer, ‘for he’s an
even down Nabal--a perfect penure pig, that I ne’er could abide since
he would na lend poor old Mrs. Gorbals, the provost’s widow, that, they
say, set him up in the world, the sma’ soom o’ five pounds, to help
her wi’ the outfit o’ her oe, when he was gaun to Virginia, a clerk to
Bailie Cross.’



CHAPTER V


When Claud was duly equipped by Cornelius Luke, in the best fashion
of that period, for a bien cloth-merchant of the discreet age of
forty-seven, a message was sent by his shop lad, Jock Gleg, to Rob
Wallace, the horse-couper in the Gallowgate, to have his beast in
readiness next morning by seven o’clock, the intending lover having,
several days before, bespoke it for the occasion.

Accordingly, at seven o’clock on Saturday morning, Rob was with the
horse himself, at the entry to Cochran’s Land, in the Candleriggs,
where Claud then lodged, and the wooer, in the sprucest cut of his
tailor, with a long silver-headed whip in his hand, borrowed from his
friend and customer, Bailie Murdoch, attended by Jock Gleg, carrying a
stool, came to the close mouth.

‘I’m thinking, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said Rob, the horse-couper, ‘that ye
would na be the waur of a spur, an it were only on the ae heel.’

‘We maun do our best without that commodity, Rob,’ replied Claud,
trying to crack his whip in a gallant style, but unfortunately cutting
his own leg through the dark blue rig-and-fur gamashins; for he
judiciously considered, that, for so short a journey, and that, too, on
speculation, it was not worth his while to get a pair of boots.

Rob drew up the horse, and Jock having placed the stool, Claud put his
right foot in the stirrup, at which Rob and some of the students of
the college, who happened to be attracted to the spot, with diverse
others then and there present, set up a loud shout of laughter, much to
his molestation. But surely no man is expected to know by instinct the
proper way of mounting a horse; and this was the first time that Claud
had ever ascended the back of any quadruped.

When he had clambered into the saddle, Rob led the horse into the
middle of the street, and the beast, of its own accord, walked soberly
across the Trongate towards the Stockwell. The conduct of the horse,
for some time, was indeed most considerate, and, in consequence,
although Claud hung heavily over his neck, and held him as fast
as possible with his knees, he passed the bridge, and cleared the
buildings beyond, without attracting, in any particular degree, the
admiration of the public towards his rider. But, in an unguarded
moment, the infatuated Claud rashly thought it necessary to employ the
Bailie’s whip, and the horse, so admonished, quickened his pace to a
trot. ‘Heavens, ca’ they this riding?’ exclaimed Claud, and almost
bit his tongue through in the utterance. However, by the time they
reached Cathcart, it was quite surprising to see how well he worked in
the saddle; and, notwithstanding the continued jolting, how nobly he
preserved his balance. But, on entering that village, all the dogs, in
the most terrifying manner, came rushing out from the cottage doors,
and pursued the trotting horse with such bark and bay, that the poor
animal saw no other for’t, but to trot from them faster and faster.
The noise of the dogs, and of a passenger on horseback, drew forth the
inhabitants, and at every door might be seen beldams with flannel caps,
and mothers with babies in their arms, and clusters of children around
them. It was the general opinion among all the spectators, on seeing
the spruce new clothes of Claud, and his vaulting horsemanship, that he
could be no less a personage than the Lord Provost of Glasgow.

Among them were a few country lads, who, perceiving how little the
rider’s seat of honour was accustomed to a saddle, had the wickedness
to encourage and egg on the dogs to attack the horse still more
furiously; but, notwithstanding their malice, Claud still kept his
seat, until all the dogs but one devil of a terrier had retired from
the pursuit: nothing could equal the spirit and pertinacity with which
that implacable cur hung upon the rear, and snapped at the heels of the
horse. Claud, who durst not venture to look behind, lest he should lose
his balance, several times damned the dog with great sincerity, and
tried to lash him away with Bailie Murdoch’s silver-headed whip, but
the terrier would not desist.

How long the attack might have continued, there is certainly no
telling, as it was quickly determined by one of those lucky hits of
fortune which are so desirable in life. The long lash of the Bailie’s
whip, in one of Claud’s blind attempts, happily knotted itself round
the neck of the dog. The horse, at the same moment, started forward
into that pleasant speed at which the pilgrims of yore were wont to
pass from London to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury
(which, for brevity, is in vulgar parlance called, in consequence, a
canter); and Claud dragged the terrier at his whip-string end, like an
angler who has hooked a salmon that he cannot raise out of the water,
until he met with Johnny Drizen, the Ayr carrier, coming on his weekly
journey to Glasgow.

‘Lordsake, Mr. Walkinshaw!’ exclaimed the carrier, as he drew his
horse aside--‘in the name of the Lord, whare are ye gaun, and what’s
that ye’re hauling ahint you?’

‘For the love of Heaven, Johnny,’ replied the distressed
cloth-merchant, pale with apprehension, and perspiring at every
pore,--‘for the love of Heaven, stop this desperate beast!’

The tone of terror and accent of anguish in which this invocation was
uttered, had such an effect on the humanity and feelings of the Ayr
carrier, that he ran towards Claud with the ardour of a philanthropist,
and seized the horse by the bridle rings. Claud, in the same moment,
threw down the whip, with the strangled dog at the lash; and, making
an endeavour to vault out of the saddle, fell into the mire, and
materially damaged the lustre and beauty of his new coat. However, he
soon regained his legs, but they so shook and trembled, that he could
scarcely stand, as he bent forward with his feet widely asunder, being
utterly unable for some time to endure in any other position the pain
of that experience of St. Sebastian’s martyrdom which he had locally
suffered.

His first words to the carrier were, ‘Man, Johnny, this is the roughest
brute that ever was created. Twa dyers wi’ their beetles could na hae
done me mair detriment. I dinna think I’ll e’er be able to sit down
again.’

This colloquy was, however, speedily put an end to, by the appearance
of a covered cart, in which three ministers were returning from the
synod to their respective parishes in Ayrshire; for at that time
neither post-chaise nor stage-coach was numbered among the luxuries
of Glasgow. One of them happened to be the identical Mr. Kilfuddy of
Braehill, who had lectured so learnedly about the Temple of Diana on
the preceding Sunday in the Tron Church; and he, being acquainted with
Claud, said, as he looked out and bade the driver to stop,--

‘Dear me, Mr. Walkinshaw, but ye hae gotten an unco cowp. I hope nae
banes are broken?’

‘No,’ replied Claud a little pawkily, ‘no; thanks be and praise--the
banes, I believe, are a’ to the fore; but it’s no to be expressed what
I hae suffer’t in the flesh.’

Some further conversation then ensued, and the result was most
satisfactory, for Claud was invited to take a seat in the cart with
the ministers, and induced to send his horse back to Rob Wallace by
Johnny Drizen the carrier. Thus, without any material augmentation of
his calamity, was he conveyed to the gate which led to Plealands. The
Laird, who had all the morning been anxiously looking out for him, on
seeing the cart approaching, left the house, and was standing ready at
the yett to give him welcome.



CHAPTER VI


Plealands House stood on the bleak brow of a hill. It was not of great
antiquity, having been raised by the father of Malachi; but it occupied
the site of an ancient fortalice, the materials of which were employed
in its construction; and as no great skill of the sculptor had been
exerted to change the original form of the lintels and their ornaments,
it had an air of antiquity much greater than properly belonged to its
years.

About as much as the habitation had been altered from its primitive
character, the master too had been modernized. But, in whatever degree
he may have been supposed to have declined from the heroic bearing of
his ancestors, he still inherited, in unabated vigour, the animosity
of their spirit; and if the coercive influence of national improvement
prevented him from being distinguished in the feud and foray, the books
of sederunt, both of the Glasgow Circuit and of the Court of Session,
bore ample testimony to his constancy before them in asserting supposed
rights, and in vindicating supposed wrongs.

In his personal appearance, Malachi Hypel had but few pretensions
to the gallant air and grace of the gentlemen of that time. He was
a coarse hard-favoured fresh-coloured carl, with a few white hairs
thinly scattered over a round bald head. His eyes were small and grey,
quick in the glance, and sharp in the expression. He spoke thickly
and hurriedly, and although his words were all very cogently strung
together, there was still an unaccountable obscurity in the precise
meaning of what he said. In his usual style of dress he was rude and
careless, and he commonly wore a large flat-brimmed blue bonnet; but on
the occasion when he came to the gate to receive Claud, he had on his
Sunday suit and hat.

After the first salutations were over, he said to Claud, on seeing him
walking lamely and uneasily, ‘What’s the matter, Grippy, that ye seem
sae stiff and sair?’

‘I met wi’ a bit accident,’ was Claud’s reply: ‘Rob Wallace, the
horse-couper, gied me sic a deevil to ride as, I believe, never man
before mounted. I would na wish my sworn enemy a greater ill than a
day’s journey on that beast’s back, especially an he was as little used
to riding as me.’

The latter clause of the sentence was muttered inwardly, for the Laird
did not hear it; otherwise he would probably have indulged his humour
a little at the expense of his guest, as he had a sort of taste for
caustic jocularity, which the hirpling manner of Claud was, at the
moment, well calculated to provoke.

On reaching the brow of the rising ground where the house stood, the
leddy, as Mrs. Hypel was emphatically called by the neighbouring
cottars, with Miss Girzy, came out to be introduced to their relative.

Whether the leddy, a pale, pensive, delicate woman, had been informed
by the Laird of the object of Claud’s visit, we do not thoroughly know,
but she received him with a polite and friendly respectfulness. Miss
Girzy certainly was in total ignorance of the whole business, and was,
therefore, not embarrassed with any virgin palpitations, nor blushing
anxieties; on the contrary, she met him with the ease and freedom of an
old acquaintance.

It might here be naturally expected that we should describe the charms
of Miss Girzy’s person, and the graces of her mind; but, in whatever
degree she possessed either, she had been allowed to reach the discreet
years of a Dumbarton youth in unsolicited maidenhood; indeed, with the
aid of all the prospective interest of the inheritance around her, she
did not make quite so tender an impression on the heart of her resolved
lover as he himself could have wished. But why should we expatiate on
such particulars? Let the manners and virtues of the family speak for
themselves, while we proceed to relate what ensued.



CHAPTER VII


‘Girzy,’ said the Laird to his daughter, as they entered the
dining-room, ‘gae to thy bed and bring a cod for Mr. Walkinshaw, for
he’ll no can thole to sit down on our hard chairs.’

Miss Girzy laughed as she retired to execute the order, while her
mother continued, as she had done from the first introduction, to
inspect Claud from head to foot, with a curious and something of a
suspicious eye; there was even an occasional flush that gleamed through
the habitual paleness of her thoughtful countenance, redder and warmer
than the hectic glow of mere corporeal indisposition. Her attention,
however, was soon drawn to the spacious round table, in the middle of
the room, by one of the maids entering with a large pewter tureen, John
Drappie, the manservant, having been that morning sent on some caption
and horning business of the Laird’s to Gabriel Beagle, the Kilmarnock
lawyer. But, as the critics hold it indelicate to describe the details
of any refectionary supply, however elegant, we must not presume to
enumerate the series and succession of Scottish fare, which soon
crowned the board, all served on pewter as bright as plate. Our readers
must endeavour, by the aid of their own fancies, to form some idea of
the various forms in which the head and harigals of the sheep, that
had been put to death for the occasion, were served up, not forgetting
the sonsy, savoury, sappy haggis, together with the gude fat hen, the
float whey, which, in a large china punch-bowl, graced the centre of
the table, and supplied the place of jellies, tarts, tartlets, and
puddings.

By the time the table was burdened, Miss Girzy had returned with the
pillow, which she herself placed in one of the armchairs, shaking and
patting it into plumpness, as she said,--

‘Come round here, Mr. Walkinshaw,--I trow ye’ll fin’ this a saft easy
seat,--well do I ken what it is to be saddle-sick mysel’. Lordsake,
when I gaed in ahint my father to see the robber hanged at Ayr, I was
for mair than three days just as if I had sat doun on a heckle.’

When the cloth was removed, and the ladies had retired, the Laird
opened his mind by stretching his arm across the table towards his
guest, and, shaking him again heartily by the hand,--

‘Weel, Grippy,’ said he, ‘but am blithe to see you here; and, if am
no mistaen, Girzy will no be ill to woo.--Is na she a coothy and kind
creature?--She’ll make you a capital wife.--There’s no another in the
parish that kens better how to manage a house.--Man, it would do your
heart gude to hear how she rants among the servan’ lasses, lazy sluts,
that would like nothing better than to live at heck and manger, and
bring their master to a morsel; but I trow Girzy gars them keep a trig
house and a birring wheel.’

‘No doubt, Laird,’ replied Claud, ‘but it’s a comfort to hae a frugal
woman for a helpmate; but ye ken nowadays it’s no the fashion for bare
legs to come thegither.--The wife maun hae something to put in the pot
as well as the man.--And, although Miss Girzy may na be a’thegither
objectionable, yet it would still be a pleasant thing baith to hersel’
and the man that gets her, an ye would just gi’e a bit inkling o’ what
she’ll hae.’

‘Is na she my only dochter? That’s a proof and test that she’ll get
a’,--naebody needs to be teld mair.’

‘Vera true, Laird,’ rejoined the suitor, ‘but the leddy’s life’s in her
lip, and if ony thing were happening to her, ye’re a hale man, and wha
kens what would be the upshot o’ a second marriage?’

‘That’s looking far ben,’ replied the Laird, and he presently added,
more briskly, ‘My wife, to be sure, is a frail woman, but she’s no the
gear that ’ill traike.’

In this delicate and considerate way, the overture to a purpose of
marriage was opened; and, not to dwell on particulars, it is sufficient
to say, that, in the course of little more than a month thereafter,
Miss Girzy was translated into the Leddy of Grippy; and in due season
presented her husband with a son and heir, who was baptized by the name
of Charles.

When the birth was communicated to the Laird, he rode expressly to
Grippy to congratulate his son-in-law on the occasion; and, when they
were sitting together, in the afternoon, according to the fashion of
the age, enjoying the contents of the gardevin entire, Claud warily
began to sound him on a subject that lay very near his heart.

‘Laird,’ said he, ‘ye ken the Walkinshaws of Kittlestonheugh are o’ a
vera ancient blood, and but for the doited prank o’ my grandfather,
in sending my father on that gouk’s errand to the Darien, the hills
are green and the land broad that should this day hae been mine; and,
therefore, to put it out o’ the power of posterity to play at any sic
wastrie again, I mean to entail the property of the Grippy.’

‘That’s a very good conceit,’ replied the Laird, ‘and I hae mysel’ had
a notion of entailing the Plealands likewise.’

‘So I hae heard you say,’ rejoined Claud, ‘and now that the bairn’s
born, and a laddie too, we may make ae work o’t.’

‘Wi’ a’ my heart,’ replied the Laird, ‘nothing can be more agreeable to
me; but as I wish to preserve the name of my family, than whilk there’s
no a more respectit in Scotland, I’ll only covenant that when Charlie
succeeds me, that he’ll take the name o’ Hypel.’

‘Ye surely, Laird, would ne’er be so unreasonable,’ replied Grippy, a
little hastily; ‘ye can ne’er be sae unreasonable as to expect that the
lad would gie up his father’s name, the name o’ Walkinshaw, and take
only that of Hypel.’

‘’Deed would I,’ said the Laird, ‘for no haeing a son o’ my own to come
after me, it’s surely very natural that I would like the Hypels to
kittle again in my oe through my only dochter.’

‘The Walkinshaws, I doubt,’ replied Claud emphatically, ‘will ne’er
consent to sic an eclipse as that.’

‘The lands of Plealands,’ retorted the Laird, ‘are worth something.’

‘So it was thought, or I doubt the heir o’t would nae hae been a
Walkinshaw,’ replied Claud, still more pertinaciously.

‘Weel, weel,’ said the Laird, ‘dinna let us argol bargol about it;
entail your own property as ye will, mine shall be on the second son;
ye can ne’er object to that.’

‘Second son, and the first scarce sax days auld! I tell you what it
is, an ye’ll no make the entail on the first, that is, on Charlie
Walkinshaw, to be Walkinshaw, mind that, I’ll no say what may happen in
the way o’ second sons.’

‘The Plealands’ my ain, and though I canna weel will it awa’, and ne’er
will sell’t, yet get it wha will, he maun tak the name o’ Hypel. The
thing’s sae settled, Grippy, and it’s no for you and me to cast out
about it.’

Claud made several attempts to revive the subject, and to persuade the
Laird to change his mind, but he was inflexible. Still, however, being
resolved, as far as in him lay, to anticipate the indiscretion of his
heirs, he executed a deed of entail on Charles; and for a considerable
time after the Laird was not a little confirmed in his determination
not to execute any deed in favour of Charles, but to reserve his lands
for the second son, by the very reason that might have led another
sort of person to act differently, namely, that he understood there was
no prospect of any such appearing.

Towards the end, however, of the third year after the birth of
Charles, Claud communicated to the Laird, that, by some unaccountable
dispensation, Mrs. Walkinshaw was again in the way to be a mother,
adding, ‘Noo, Laird, ye’ll hae your ain way o’t;’ and, accordingly,
as soon as Walter, the second son, was born, and baptized, the lands
of Plealands were entailed on him, on condition, as his grandfather
intended, that he should assume the name of Hypel.



CHAPTER VIII


For several years after the birth of Walter, no event of any
consequence happened in the affairs of Claud. He continued to persevere
in the parsimonious system which had so far advanced his fortune. His
wife was no less industrious on her part, for, in the meantime, she
presented him with a daughter and another son, and had reared calves
and grumphies innumerable, the profit of which, as she often said, was
as good as the meal and malt o’ the family. By their united care and
endeavours, Grippy thus became one of the wealthiest men of that age
in Glasgow; but although different desirable opportunities presented
themselves for investing his money in other and more valuable land, he
kept it ever ready to redeem any portion of his ancestral estate that
might be offered for sale.

The satisfaction which he enjoyed from his accumulative prospects was
not, however, without a mixture of that anxiety with which the cup
of human prosperity, whether really full, or only foaming, is always
embittered. The Laird, his father-in-law, in the deed of entail which
he executed of the Plealands, had reserved to himself a power of
revocation, in the event of his wife dying before him, in the first
instance, and of Walter and George, the two younger sons of Grippy,
either dying under age, or refusing to take the name of Hypel, in the
second. This power, both under the circumstances, and in itself, was
perfectly reasonable; and perhaps it was the more vexatious to the
meditations of Claud, that it happened to be so. For he often said
to his wife, as they sat of an evening by the fire-side in the dark,
for as the leddy was no seamstress, and he had as little taste for
literature, of course, they burned no candles when by themselves, and
that was almost every night,--‘I marvel, Girzy, what could gar your
father put that most unsafe claw in his entail. I would na be surprised
if out o’ it were to come a mean of taking the property entirely frae
us. For ye see, if your mither was dead, and, poor woman, she has lang
been in a feckless way, there’s no doubt but your father would marry
again,--and married again, there can be as little doubt that he would
hae childer,--so what then would become o’ ours--’

To this the worthy leddy of Grippy would as feelingly reply,--

‘I’m thinking, gudeman, that ye need na tak the anxieties sae muckle
to heart; for, although my mither has been, past the memory o’ man,
in a complaining condition, I ken nae odds o’ her this many a year;
her ail’s like water to leather; it makes her life the tougher; and I
would put mair confidence in the durability of her complaint than in my
father’s health; so we need na fash ourselves wi’ controverting anent
what may come o’ the death o’ either the t’ane or the t’ither.’

‘But then,’ replied Claud, ‘ye forget the other claw about Watty and
Geordie. Supposing, noo, that they were baith dead and gone, which,
when we think o’ the frush green kail-custock-like nature of bairns, is
no an impossibility in the hands of their Maker. Will it no be the most
hardest thing that ever was seen in the world for Charlie no to inherit
the breadth o’ the blade of a cabaudge o’ a’ his father’s matrimonial
conquest? But even should it please the Lord to spare Watty, is’t
no an afflicting thing, to see sic a braw property as the Plealands
destined to a creature that I am sure his brother Geordie, if he lives
to come to years o’ discretion, will no fail to tak the law o’ for a
haverel?’

‘I won’er to hear you, gudeman,’ exclaimed the leddy, ‘ay mislikening
Watty at that gait. I’m sure he’s as muckle your ain as ony o’ the
ither bairns; and he’s a weel-tempered laddie, lilting like a linty at
the door-cheek frae morning to night, when Charlie’s rampaging about
the farm, riving his claes on bush and brier a’ the summer, tormenting
the birds and mawkins out o’ their vera life.’

‘Singing, Girzy, I’m really distressed to hear you,’ replied the
father; ‘to ca’ yon singing; it’s nothing but lal, lal, lal, lal, wi’
a bow and a bend, backwards and forwards, as if the creature had na
the gumpshion o’ the cuckoo, the whilk has a note mair in its sang,
although it has but twa.’

‘It’s an innocent sang for a’ that; and I wish his brothers may ne’er
do waur than sing the like o’t. But ye just hae a spite at the bairn,
gudeman, ’cause my father has made him the heir to the Plealands.
That’s the gospel truth o’ your being so fain to gar folk trow that my
Watty’s daft.’

‘Ye’re daft, gudewife--are na we speaking here in a rational manner
anent the concerns o’ our family? It would be a sair heart to me to
think that Watty, or any o’ my bairns, were na like the lave o’ the
warld; but ye ken there are degrees o’ capacity, Girzy, and Watty’s,
poor callan, we maun alloo, between oursels, has been meted by a sma’
measure.’

‘Weel, if ever I heard the like o’ that--if the Lord has dealt the
brains o’ our family in mutchkins and chapins, it’s my opinion, that
Watty got his in the biggest stoup; for he’s farther on in every sort
of education than Charlie, and can say his questions without missing
a word, as far as “What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?” And
I ne’er hae been able to get his brother beyond “What is effectual
calling?” Though, I’ll no deny, he’s better at the Mother’s
Carritches; but that a’ comes o’ the questions and answers being so
vera short.’

‘That’s the vera thing, Girzy, that disturbs me,’ replied the father,
‘for the callan can get ony thing by heart, but, after all, he’s just
like a book, for every thing he learns is dead within him, and he’s
ne’er a prin’s worth the wiser o’t. But it’s some satisfaction to me,
that, since your father would be so unreasonably obstinate as to make
away the Plealands past Charlie, he’ll be punished in the gouk he’s
chosen for heir.’

‘Gude guide us; is na that gouk your ain bairn?’ exclaimed the
indignant mother. ‘Surely the man’s fey about his entails and his
properties, to speak o’ the illess laddie, as if it were no better than
a stirk or a stot.--Ye’ll no hae the power to wrang my wean, while the
breath o’ life’s in my body; so, I redde ye, tak tent to what ye try.’

‘Girzy, t’ou has a head, and so has a nail.’

‘Gudeman, ye hae a tongue, and so has a bell.’

‘Weel, weel, but what I was saying a’ concerns the benefit and
advantage o’ our family,’ said Claud, ‘and ye ken as it is our duty to
live for one another, and to draw a’ thegither, it behoves us twa, as
parents, to see that ilk is properly yocket, sin’ it would surely be a
great misfortune, if, after a’ our frugality and gathering, the cart
were cowpit in the dirt at last by ony neglek on our part.’

‘That’s ay what ye say,’ replied the lady,--‘a’s for the family,
and nothing for the dividual bairns--noo that’s what I can never
understand, for is na our family, Charlie, Watty, Geordie, and Meg?’--

‘My family,’ said Claud emphatically, ‘was the Walkinshaws of
Kittlestonheugh, and let me tell you, Girzy Hypel, if it had na been on
their account, there would ne’er hae been a Charlie nor a Watty either
between you and me to plea about.’

‘I’m no denying your parentage--I ne’er said a light word about it, but
I canna comprehend how it is, that ye would mak step-bairns o’ your ain
blithesome childer on account o’ a wheen auld dead patriarchs that
hae been rotten, for aught I ken to the contrary, since before Abraham
begat Isaac.’

‘Haud thy tongue, woman, haud thy tongue. It’s a thrashing o’ the
water, and a raising o’ bells, to speak to ane o’ thy capacity on
things so far aboon thy understanding. Gae but the house, and see gin
the supper’s ready.’

In this manner, the conversations between Grippy and his leddy were
usually conducted to their natural issue, a quarrel, which ended in a
rupture that was only healed by a peremptory command, which sent her on
some household mission, during the performance of which the bickering
was forgotten.



CHAPTER IX


In the meantime, as much friendliness and intercourse was maintained
between the families of Grippy and Plealands as could reasonably
be expected from the characters and dispositions of the respective
inmates. Shortly, however, after the conversation related in the
preceding chapter had taken place, it happened that, as Malachi was
returning on horseback from Glasgow, where he had lost a law-suit, long
prosecuted with the most relentless pertinacity against one of his
tenants, he was overtaken on the Mairns Moor by one of those sudden
squalls and showers, which the genius of the place so often raises, no
doubt purposely, to conceal from the weary traveller the dreariness
of the view around, and being wetted into the skin, the cold which he
caught in consequence, and the irritation of his mind, brought on a
fever, that terminated fatally on the fifth day.

His funeral was conducted according to the fashion of the age; but the
day appointed was raw, windy, and sleety; not, however, so much so as
to prevent the friends of the deceased from flocking in from every
quarter. The assemblage that arrived far transcended all that can be
imagined, in these economical days, of the attendance requisite on any
such occasion. The gentry were shown into the dining-room, and into
every room that could be fitted up with planks and deals for their
reception. The barn received the tenantry, and a vast multitude--the
whole clanjamphry from all the neighbouring parishes--assembled on the
green in front of the house.

The Laird in his lifetime maintained a rough and free hospitality; and,
as his kindred and acquaintance expected, there was neither scant nor
want at his burial. The profusion of the services of seed-cake and wine
to the in-door guests was in the liberalest spirit of the time; and
tobacco-pipes, shortbread, and brandy, unadulterated by any immersion
of the gauger’s rod, were distributed, with unmeasured abundance, to
those in the barn and on the green.

Mr. Kilfuddy, the parish minister, said grace to the gentry in the
dining-room; and the elders, in like manner, performed a similar part
in the other rooms. We are not sure if we may venture to assert that
grace was said to the company out of doors. Mr. Taws, the dominie of
Bodleton, has indeed repeatedly declared, that he did himself ask
a blessing; but he has never produced any other evidence that was
satisfactory to us. Indeed, what with the drinking, the blast, and the
sleet, it was not reasonable to expect much attention would be paid to
any prayer; and therefore we shall not insist very particularly on this
point.

The Braehill church-yard was at a considerable distance from
Plealands-house, and hearses not being then in fashion in that part
of the country, one of the Laird’s own carts was drawn out, and the
coffin placed on it for conveyance, while the services were going
round the company. How it happened, whether owing to the neglect of
Thomas Cabinet, the wright, who acted the part of undertaker, and who
had, with all his men, more to attend to than he could well manage, in
supplying the multitude with refreshments; or whether John Drappie,
the old servant that was to drive the cart, had, like many others,
got a service overmuch, we need not pause to inquire:--it, however, so
happened, that, by some unaccountable and never explained circumstance,
the whole body of the assembled guests arranged themselves in funereal
array as well and as steadily as the generality of them could, and
proceeded towards the church-yard--those in the van believing that
the cart with the coffin was behind, and their followers in the rear
committing a similar mistake, by supposing that it was before them
in front. Thus both parties, in ignorance of the simple fact, that
the coffin and cart were still standing at the house door, proceeded,
with as much gravity and decorum as possible, to the church-yard gate,
where they halted. As the gentlemen in front fell back to the right and
left, to open an avenue for the body to be brought up, the omission
was discovered, and also that there was no other way of performing the
interment but by returning, as expeditiously as possible, to the house
for the body.

By this time the weather, which had been all the morning cold and
blustering, was become quite tempestuous. The wind raved in the trees
and hedges--the sleet was almost thickened into a blinding snow,
insomuch, that, when the company reached the house, the greater number
of them were so chilled that they stood in need of another service, and
another was of course handed round on the green; of which the greater
number liberally and freely partaking, were soon rendered as little
able to wrestle against the wind as when they originally set out.
However, when the procession was formed a second time, Thomas Cabinet
taking care to send the cart with the coffin on before, the whole
moved again towards the church-yard, it is said, with a degree of less
decorum than in their former procession. Nay, there is no disguising
the fact, that more than two or three of the company, finding
themselves, perhaps, unable to struggle against the blast, either lay
down of their own voluntary accord on the road, or were blown over by
the wind.

When the procession had a second time reached the church-yard, and
Thomas Cabinet, perspiring at every pore, was wiping his bald head with
his coat sleeve, his men got the coffin removed from the cart, and
placed on the spokes, and the relatives, according to their respective
degrees of propinquity, arranged themselves to carry it. The bearers,
however, either by means of the headstones and the graves over which
their path lay, or by some other cause, walked so unevenly, that those
on the one side pushed against their corresponding kindred on the
other, in such a manner, that the coffin was borne rollingly along for
some time, but without any accident, till the relations on the right
side gave a tremendous lurch, in which they drew the spokes out of the
hands of the mourners on the left, and the whole pageant fell with a
dreadful surge to the ground.

This accident, however, was soon rectified; the neighbours, who were
not bearers, assisted the fallen to rise, and Thomas Cabinet, with his
men, carried the coffin to its place of rest, and having laid it on the
two planks which were stretched across the grave, assembled the nearest
kin around, and gave the cords into their hands, that they might lower
the Laird into his last bed. The betherel and his assistant then drew
out the planks, and the sudden jerk of the coffin, when they were
removed, gave such a tug to those who had hold of the cords, that it
pulled them down, head foremost, into the grave after it. Fortunately,
however, none were buried but the body; for, by dint of the best
assistance available on the spot, the living were raised, and thereby
enabled to return to their respective homes, all as jocose and as happy
as possible.



CHAPTER X


On examining the Laird’s papers after the funeral, Mr. Keelevin, the
father of the celebrated town-clerk of Gudetoun, the lawyer present
on the occasion, discovered, in reading over the deed which had been
executed by the deceased, in favour of Walter, the second son of
Claud, that it was, in some essential points, imperfect as a deed of
entail, though in other respects valid as a testamentary conveyance.
The opinion of counsel, as in all similar cases, was in consequence
forthwith taken; and the suspicions of Mr. Keelevin being confirmed,
Walter was admitted as heir to the estate, but found under no legal
obligation to assume his grandfather’s name,--the very obligation which
the old gentleman had been most solicitous to impose upon him.

How it happened that the clause respecting so important a point should
have been so inaccurately framed, remains for those gentlemen of the
law, who commit such inadvertencies, to explain. The discovery had the
effect of inducing Claud to apply to our old master, the late Gilbert
Omit, writer, to examine the entail of the Grippy, which he had himself
drawn up; and it too was found defective, and easily to be set aside.
Really, when one considers how much some lawyers profit by their own
mistakes, one might almost be tempted to do them the injustice to
suspect that they now and then have an eye to futurity, and carve
out work for themselves. There have, however, been discoveries of
legal errors, which have occasioned more distress than this one; for,
instead of giving the old man any uneasiness, he expressed the most
perfect satisfaction on being informed, in answer to a plain question
on the subject, that it was still in his power to disinherit his
first-born. Well do we recollect the scene, being seated at the time
on the opposite side of Mr. Omit’s desk, copying a codicil which Miss
Christiana Heritage, then in her ninety-second year, was adding to
her will, for the purpose of devising, as heir-looms, the bedstead
and blankets in which Prince Charles Edward slept, when he passed the
night in her house, after having levied that contribution on the loyal
and godly city of Glasgow, for which the magistrates and council were
afterwards so laudably indemnified by Parliament. We were not then
quite so well versed in the secrets of human nature as experience has
since so mournfully taught us, and the words of Claud at the time
sounded strangely and harshly in our ear, especially when he inquired,
with a sharp, and as it were a greedy voice, whether it was practicable
to get Walter to conjoin with him in a deed that would unite his
inheritance of Plealands to the Grippy, and thereby make a property as
broad and good as the ancestral estate of Kittlestonheugh?

‘Ye ken, Mr. Omit,’ said he, ‘how I was defrauded, as a bodie may say,
of my patrimony, by my grandfather; and now, since it has pleased
Providence to put it in my power, by joining the heritage of Plealands
and Grippy, to renew my ancestry, I would fain mak a settlement with
Watty to that effek.’

Mr. Omit, with all that calm and methodical manner which a long
experience of those devices of the heart, to which lawyers in good
practice, if at all men of observation, generally attain, replied,--

‘Nothing can be done in that way while Walter is under age. But
certainly, when the lad comes to majority, if he be then so inclined,
there is no legal impediment in the way of such an arrangement; the
matter, however, would require to be well considered, for it would be
an unco-like thing to hear of a man cutting off his first-born for no
fault, but only because he could constitute a larger inheritance by
giving a preference to his second.’

Whatever impression this admonitory remark made on the mind of Claud
at the moment, nothing further took place at that time; but he
thoughtfully gathered his papers together, and, tying them up with a
string, walked away from the office, and returned to Grippy, where he
was not a little surprised to see Mr. Allan Dreghorn’s wooden coach
at the door; the first four-wheeled gentleman’s carriage started in
Glasgow, and which, according to the praiseworthy history of Bailie
Cleland, was made by Mr. Dreghorn’s own workmen, he being a timber
merchant, carpenter, and joiner. It was borrowed for the day by Mr.
and Mrs. Kilfuddy, who were then in Glasgow, and who, in consequence
of their parochial connexion with the Plealands family, had deemed it
right and proper to pay the Leddy of Grippy a visit of sympathy and
condolence, on account of the loss she had sustained in her father.



CHAPTER XI


The Reverend Mr. Kilfuddy was a little, short, erect, sharp-looking,
brisk-tempered personage, with a red nose, a white powdered wig, and
a large cocked hat. His lady was an ample, demure, and solemn matron,
who, in all her gestures, showed the most perfect consciousness of
enjoying the supreme dignity of a minister’s wife in a country parish.

According to the Scottish etiquette of that period, she was dressed
for the occasion in mourning; but the day being bleak and cold, she
had assumed her winter mantle of green satin, lined with grey rabbit
skin, and her hands ceremoniously protruded through the loop-holes,
formed for that purpose, reposed in full consequentiality within
the embraces of each other, in a large black satin muff of her own
making, adorned with a bunch of flowers in needlework, which she had
embroidered some thirty years before, as the last and most perfect
specimen of all her accomplishments. But, although they were not so
like the blooming progeny of Flora, as a Linwood might, perhaps,
have worked, they possessed a very competent degree of resemblance
to the flowers they were intended to represent, insomuch that there
was really no great risk of mistaking the roses for lilies. And here
we cannot refrain from ingeniously suspecting that the limner who
designed those celebrated emblematic pictures of the months which
adorned the drawing-room of the Craiglands, and on which the far-famed
Miss Mysie Cunningham set so great a value, must have had the image
of Mrs. Kilfuddy in his mind’s eye, when he delineated the matronly
representative of November.

The minister, after inquiring with a proper degree of sympathetic
pathos into the state of the mourner’s health, piously observed, ‘That
nothing is so uncertain as the things of time. This dispensation,’ said
he, ‘which has been vouchsafed, Mrs. Walkinshaw, to you and yours, is
an earnest of what we have all to look for in this world. But we should
not be overly cast down by the like o’t, but lippen to eternity; for
the sorrows of perishable human nature are erls given to us of joys
hereafter. I trust, therefore, and hope, that you will soon recover
this sore shock, and in the cares of your young family, find a pleasant
pastime for the loss of your worthy father, who, I am blithe to hear,
has died in better circumstances than could be expected, considering
the trouble he has had wi’ his lawing; leaving, as they say, the estate
clear of debt, and a heavy soom of lying siller.’

‘My father, Mr. Kilfuddy,’ replied the lady, ‘was, as you well know,
a most worthy character, and I’ll no say has na left a nest egg--the
Lord be thankit, and we maun compose oursels to thole wi’ what He has
been pleased, in his gracious ordinances, to send upon us for the
advantage of our poor sinful souls. But the burial has cost the gudeman
a power o’ money; for my father being the head o’ a family, we hae been
obligated to put a’ the servants, baith here, at the Grippy, and at the
Plealands, in full deep mourning; and to hing the front o’ the laft in
the kirk, as ye’ll see next Sabbath, wi’ very handsome black cloth, the
whilk cost twentypence the ell, first cost out o’ the gudeman’s ain
shop; but, considering wha my father was, we could do no less in a’
decency.’

‘And I see,’ interfered the minister’s wife, ‘that ye hae gotten a
bombazeen o’ the first quality; nae doubt ye had it likewise frae Mr.
Walkinshaw’s own shop, which is a great thing, Mrs. Walkinshaw, for you
to get.’

‘Na, Mem,’ replied the mourner, ‘ye dinna know what a misfortune I hae
met wi’. I was, as ye ken, at the Plealands when my father took his
departal to a better world, and sent for my mournings frae Glasgow,
and frae the gudeman, as ye would naturally expek, and I had Mally
Trimmings in the house ready to mak them when the box would come. But
it happened to be a day o’ deluge, so that my whole commodity, on
Baldy Slowgaun’s cart, was drookit through and through, and baith the
crape and bombazeen were rendered as soople as pudding-skins. It was,
indeed, a sight past expression, and obligated me to send an express
to Kilmarnock for the things I hae on, the outlay of whilk was a clean
total loss, besides being at the dear rate. But, Mr. Kilfuddy, every
thing in this howling wilderness is ordered for the best; and, if the
gudeman has been needcessited to pay for twa sets o’ mournings, yet,
when he gets what he’ll get frae my father’s gear, he ought to be very
well content that it’s nae waur.’

‘What ye say, Mrs. Walkinshaw,’ replied the minister, ‘is very
judicious; for it was spoken at the funeral, that your father,
Plealands, could nae hae left muckle less than three thousand pounds of
lying money.’

‘No, Mr. Kilfuddy, it’s no just so muckle; but I’ll no say it’s ony
waur than twa thousand.’

‘A braw soom, a braw soom,’ said the spiritual comforter:--but what
further of the customary spirituality of this occasion might have
ensued is matter of speculative opinion; for, at this juncture, Watty,
the heir to the deceased, came rumbling into the room, crying,

‘Mither, mither, Meg Draiks winna gie me a bit of auld daddy’s burial
bread, though ye brought o’er three farls wi’ the sweeties on’t, and
twa whangs as big as peats o’ the fine sugar seed-cake.’

The composity of the minister and his wife were greatly tried, as
Mrs. Kilfuddy herself often afterwards said, by this ‘outstrapolous
intrusion;’ but quiet was soon restored by Mrs. Walkinshaw ordering
in the bread and wine, of which Walter was allowed to partake. The
visitors then looked significantly at each other; and Mrs. Kilfuddy,
replacing her hands in her satin muff, which, during the refectionary
treat from the funeral relics, had been laid on her knees, rose and
said,--

‘Noo, I hope, Mrs. Walkinshaw, when ye come to see the leddy, your
mither, at the Plealands, that ye’ll no neglek to gie us a ca’ at the
Manse, and ye’ll be sure to bring the young Laird wi’ you, for he’s a
fine spirity bairn--every body maun alloo that.’

‘He’s as he came frae the hand o’ his Maker,’ replied Mrs. Walkinshaw,
looking piously towards the minister; ‘and it’s a great consolation to
me to think he’s so weel provided for by my father.’

‘Then it’s true,’ said Mr. Kilfuddy, ‘that he gets a’ the Plealands
property?’

‘’Deed is’t, sir, and a braw patrimony I trow it will be by the time he
arrives at the years o’ discretion.’

‘That’s a lang look,’ rejoined the minister a little slyly, for
Walter’s defect of capacity was more obvious than his mother imagined;
but she did not perceive the point of Mr. Kilfuddy’s sarcasm, her
attention at the moment being drawn to the entrance of her husband,
evidently troubled in thought, and still holding the papers in his hand
as he took them away from Mr. Omit’s desk.



CHAPTER XII


Experience had taught Mrs. Walkinshaw, as it does most married ladies,
that when a husband is in one of his moody fits, the best way of
reconciling him to the cause of his vexation is to let him alone,
or, as the phrase is, to let him come again to himself. Accordingly,
instead of teasing him at the moment with any inquiries about the
source of his molestation, she drew Mrs. Kilfuddy aside, and retired
into another room, leaving him in the hands of the worthy divine, who,
sidling up to him, said,--

‘I’m weel content to observe the resigned spirit of Mrs. Walkinshaw
under this heavy dispensation,--and it would be a great thing to us
a’ if we would lay the chastisement rightly to heart. For wi’ a’
his faults, and no mere man is faultless, Plealands was na without
a seasoning o’ good qualities, though, poor man, he had his ain
tribulation in a set of thrawn-natured tenants. But he has won away,
as we a’ hope, to that pleasant place where the wicked cease from
troubling, and the weary rest in peace. Nae doubt, Mr. Walkinshaw, it
maun hae been some sma’ disappointment to you, to find that your second
son is made the heir, but it’s no an affliction past remedy, so ye
should na let it fash you oure muckle.’

‘No, be thankit,’ replied Claud, ‘it’s no past remede, as Gibby Omit
tells me; but I’m a thought troubled anent the means, for my auld son
Charlie’s a fine callan, and I would grudge to shove him out o’ the
line o’ inheritance. It’s an unco pity, Mr. Kilfuddy, that it had na
pleased the Lord to mak Watty like him.’

The minister, who did not very clearly understand this, said, ‘A’ thing
considered, Mr. Walkinshaw, ye’ll just hae to let the law tak its
course, and though ye canna hae the lairdship in ae lump, as ye aiblins
expekit, it’s nevertheless in your ain family.’

‘I’m no contesting that,’ rejoined Claud, ‘but I would fain hae the
twa mailings in ae aught, for if that could be brought about, I would
na doubt of making an excambio o’ the Plealands for the Divethill and
Kittleston, the twa farms that wi’ the Grippy made up the heritage
o’ my forefathers; for Mr. Auchincloss, the present propreeator, is
frae the shire o’ Ayr, and I hae had an inklin that he would na be ill
pleased to mak a swap, if there was ony possibility in law to alloo’t.’

‘I canna say,’ replied the Reverend Mr. Kilfuddy, ‘that I hae ony
great knowledge o’ the laws o’ man; I should, however, think it’s
no impossible; but still, Mr. Walkinshaw, ye would hae to mak a
reservation for behoof of your son Walter, as heir to his grandfather.
It would be putting adders in the creel wi’ the eggs if ye did na.’

‘That’s the very fasherie o’ the business, Mr. Kilfuddy, for it would
be na satisfaction to me to leave a divided inheritance; and the warst
o’t is, that Watty, haverel though it’s like to be, is no sae ill as
to be cognos’t; and what maks the case the mair kittle, even though he
were sae, his younger brother Geordie, by course o’ law and nature,
would still come in for the Plealands afore Charlie. In short, I see
nothing for’t, Mr. Kilfuddy, but to join the Grippy in ae settlement
wi’ the Plealands, and I would do sae outright, only I dinna like on
poor Charlie’s account.--Do ye think there is ony sin in a man setting
aside his first-born? Ye ken Jacob was alloo’t to get the blessing and
the birthright o’ his elder brother Esau.’

Mr. Kilfuddy, notwithstanding a spice of worldly-mindedness in his
constitution, was, nevertheless, an honest and pious Presbyterian
pastor; and the quickness of his temper at the moment stirred him to
rebuke the cold-hearted speculations of this sordid father.

‘Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said he severely, ‘I can see no point o’ comparison
between the case o’ your twa sons and that o’ Jacob and Esau; and
what’s mair, the very jealousing that there may be sin in what ye
wish to do, is a clear demonstration that it is vera sinful; for, O
man! it’s a bad intent indeed that we canna excuse to oursels. But
to set you right in ae point, and that ye may hae nae apology drawn
from scriptural acts, for the unnatural inclination to disinherit your
first-born, out o’ the prideful phantasy of leaving a large estate, I
should tell you that there was a mystery of our holy religion hidden
in Jacob’s mess o’ porridge, and it’s a profane thing to meddle with
that which appertaineth to the Lord, for what He does, and what He
permits, is past the understanding o’ man, and woe awaits on all those
that would bring aught to pass contrary to the manifest course of
his ordained method. For example, he taketh the breath of life away
at his pleasure, but has he not commanded that no man shall commit
murder?--Mr. Walkinshaw, Mr. Walkinshaw, ye maun strive against this
sin of the flesh, ye maun warsle wi’ the devil, and hit him weel on the
hip till ye gar him loosen the grip that he has ta’en to draw you on
to sic an awful sin. Heh, man! an ye’re deluded on to do this thing,
what a bonny sight it will be to see your latter end, when Belzebub,
wi’ his horns, will be sitting upon your bosom, boring through the very
joints and marrow o’ your poor soul wi’ the red-het gimlets o’ a guilty
conscience.’

Claud shuddered at the picture, and taking the reproving minister by
the hand, said, ‘We canna help the wicked thoughts that sometimes rise,
we dinna ken whar frae, within us.’

‘Ye dinna ken whar frae?--I’ll tell you whar frae--frae hell; sic
thoughts are the cormorants that sit on the apple-trees in the devil’s
kail-yard, and the souls o’ the damned are the carcasses they mak their
meat o’.’

‘For Heaven’s sake, Mr. Kilfuddy,’ exclaimed Claud, trembling in every
limb; ‘be patient, and no speak that gait, ye gar my hair stand on end.’

‘Hair! O man, it would be weel for you, if your precious soul would
stand on end, and no only on end, but humlet to the dust, and that ye
would retire into a corner, and scrape the leprosy of sic festering
sins wi’ a potsherd o’ the gospel, till ye had cleansed yourself for a
repentance unto life.’

These ghostly animadversions may, perhaps, sound harsh to the polite
ears of latter days, but denunciation was, at that time, an instrument
of reasoning much more effectual than persuasion, and the spiritual
guides of the people, in warning them of the danger of evil courses,
made no scruple, on any occasion, to strengthen their admonitions
with the liveliest imagery that religion and enthusiasm supplied.
Yet, with all the powerful aid of such eloquence, their efforts were
often unavailing, and the energy of Mr. Kilfuddy, in this instance,
had, perhaps, no other effect than to make Claud for a time hesitate,
although, before they parted, he expressed great contrition for having,
as he said, yielded to the temptation of thinking that he was at
liberty to settle his estate on whom he pleased.



CHAPTER XIII


At the death of the Laird of Plealands, the Grippy family, as we have
already stated, consisted of three sons and a daughter. Charles, the
eldest, was, as his father intimated to Mr. Kilfuddy, a fine, generous,
open-hearted, blithe-faced boy. Towards him Claud cherished as much
affection as the sterile sensibilities of his own bosom could entertain
for any object; but Mrs. Walkinshaw, from some of those unaccountable
antipathies with which nature occasionally perplexes philosophy,
almost hated her first-born, and poured the full flow of her uncouth
kindness on Walter, who, from the earliest dawnings of observation,
gave the most indubitable and conclusive indications of being endowed
with as little delicacy and sense as herself. The third son, George,
was, at this period, too young to evince any peculiar character; but,
in after life, under the appearance of a dull and inapt spirit, his
indefatigable, calculating, and persevering disposition demonstrated
how much he had inherited of the heart and mind of his father. The
daughter was baptized Margaret, which her mother elegantly abbreviated
into Meg; and, as the course of our narrative requires that we should
lose sight of her for some time, we may here give a brief epitome of
her character. To beauty she had no particular pretensions, nor were
her accomplishments of the most refined degree; indeed, her chief
merit consisted in an innate predilection for thrift and household
management; and what few elements of education which she had acquired
were chiefly derived from Jenny Hirple, a lameter woman, who went round
among the houses of the heritors of the parish with a stilt, the sound
of which, and of her feet on the floors, plainly pronounced the words
one pound ten. Jenny gave lessons in reading, knitting, and needlework,
and something that resembled writing; and under her tuition, Miss Meg
continued till she had reached the blooming period of sixteen, when her
father’s heart was so far opened, that, in consideration of the fortune
he found he could then bestow with her hand, he was induced to send
her for three months to Edinburgh; there, and in that time, to learn
manners, ‘and be perfited,’ as her mother said, ‘wi’ a boarding-school
education.’

But, to return to Charles, the first-born, to whose history it is
requisite our attention should at present be directed, nothing could
seem more auspicious than the spring of his youth, notwithstanding the
lurking inclination of his father to set him aside in the order of
succession. This was principally owing to his grandmother, who had,
during the life of the Laird, her husband, languished, almost from
her wedding-day, in a state of uninterested resignation of spirit, so
quiet, and yet so melancholy, that it partook far more of the nature
of dejection than contentment. Immediately after his death, her health
and her spirits began to acquire new energy; and before he was six
months in the earth, she strangely appeared as a cheerful old lady, who
delighted in society, and could herself administer to its pleasures.

In the summer following she removed into Glasgow, and Charles,
being then about ten years old, was sent to reside with her for the
advantages of attending the schools. Considering the illiterate
education of his father, and the rough-spun humours and character of
his mother, this was singularly fortunate; for the old lady had, in
her youth, been deemed destined for a more refined sphere than the
householdry of the Laird of Plealands.

Her father was by profession an advocate in Edinburgh, and had sat
in the last assembly of the States of Scotland. Having, however, to
the last, opposed the Union with all the vehemence in his power, he
was rejected by the Government party of the day; and in consequence,
although his talents and acquirements were considered of a superior
order, he was allowed to hang on about the Parliament-house, with the
empty celebrity of abilities, that, with more prudence, might have
secured both riches and honours.

The leisure which he was thus obliged to possess was devoted to the
cultivation of his daughter’s mind, and the affection of no father was
ever more tender, till about the period when she attained her twentieth
year. Her charms were then in full blossom, and she was seen only to
be followed and admired. But, in proportion as every manly heart was
delighted with the graces and intelligence of the unfortunate girl, the
solicitude of her father to see her married grew more and more earnest,
till it actually became his exclusive and predominant passion, and
worked upon him to such a degree, that it could no longer be regarded
but as tinctured with some insane malady; insomuch, that his continual
questions respecting the addresses of the gentlemen, and who or whether
any of them sincerely spoke of love, embittered her life, and deprived
her of all the innocent delight which the feminine heart, in the gaiety
and triumph of youth, naturally enjoys from the homage of the men.

At this juncture Malachi Hypel was in Edinburgh, drinking the rounds of
an advocate’s studies; for he had no intention to practise, and with
students of that kind the bottle then supplied the place of reviews and
magazines. He was a sturdy, rough, hard-riding and free-living fellow,
entitled by his fortune and connexions almost to the best society; but
qualified by his manners and inclinations to relish the lowest more
joyously. Unluckily he was among the loudest and the warmest admirers
of the ill-fated girl, and one night after supper, flushed with claret
and brandy, he openly, before her father, made her a tender of his
hand. The old man grasped it with an avaricious satisfaction, and
though the heart of the poor girl was ready to burst at the idea of
becoming the wife of one so coarse and rugged, she was nevertheless
induced, in the space of little more than a month after, to submit to
her fate.

The conduct of her father was at that time quite inexplicable, but when
he soon afterwards died, unable to witness the misery to which he had
consigned his beloved child, the secret came out. His circumstances
were in the most ruinous condition; his little patrimony was entirely
consumed, and he acknowledged on his death-bed, while he implored with
anguish the pardon of his daughter, that the thought of leaving her in
poverty had so overset his reason, that he could think of nothing but
of securing her against the horrors of want. A disclosure so painful
should have softened the harsh nature of her husband towards her, but
it had quite a contrary effect. He considered himself as having been
in some degree overreached, and although he had certainly not married
her with any view to fortune, he yet reviled her as a party to her
father’s sordid machination. This confirmed the sadness with which she
had yielded to become his bride, and darkened the whole course of her
wedded life with one continued and unvaried shade of melancholy.

The death of her husband was in consequence felt as a deliverance
from thraldom. The event happened late in the day, but still in time
enough to allow the original brightness of her mind to shine out in
the evening with a serene and pleasing lustre, sufficient to show
what, in happier circumstances, she might have been. The beams fell on
Charles with the cherishing influence of the summer twilight on the
young plant, and if the tears of memory were sometimes mingled with
her instructions, they were like the gracious dews that improve the
delicacy of the flower, and add freshness to its fragrance. Beneath
her care, his natural sensibility was exalted and refined, and if it
could not be said that he was endowed with genius, he soon appeared
to feel, with all the tenderness and intelligence of a poet. In this
respect his ingenuous affections served to recall the long vanished
happiness of her juvenile hopes, and yielding to the sentiments which
such reflections were calculated to inspire, she devoted, perhaps, too
many of her exhortations in teaching him to value Love as the first
of earthly blessings and of human enjoyments. ‘Love’, she often said
to the wondering boy, who scarcely understood the term, ‘is like its
emblem fire; it comes down from Heaven, and when once kindled in two
faithful bosoms, grows brighter and stronger as it mingles its flames,
ever rising and pointing towards the holy fountain-head from whence
it came.’--These romantic lessons were ill calculated to fit him to
perform that wary part in the world which could alone have enabled him
to master the malice of his fortune, and to overcome the consequences
of that disinheritance which his father had never for a moment ceased
to meditate, but only waited for an appropriate opportunity to carry
into effect.



CHAPTER XIV


Charles, in due time, was sent to College, and while attending the
classes, formed an intimate friendship with a youth of his own age,
of the name of Colin Fatherlans, the only son of Fatherlans of that
Ilk. He was at this time about eighteen, and being invited by his
companion to spend a few weeks at Fatherlans House in Ayrshire, he had
soon occasion to feel the influence of his grandmother’s lectures on
affection and fidelity.

Colin had an only sister, and Charles, from the first moment that he
saw her, felt the fascinations of her extraordinary beauty, and the
charms of a mind, still more lovely in its intelligence than the bloom
and graces of her form. Isabella Fatherlans was tall and elegant,
but withal so gentle, that she seemed, as it were, ever in need of
protection; and the feeling which this diffidence of nature universally
inspired, converted the homage of her admirers into a sentiment of
tenderness, which, in the impassioned bosom of Charles Walkinshaw, was
speedily warmed into love.

For several successive years, he had the gratification of spending
some weeks in the company of Isabella; and the free intercourse
permitted between them soon led to the disclosure of a mutual passion.
No doubt at that time clouded the sunshine that shone along the hopes
and promises in the vista of their future years. Every thing, on the
contrary, was propitious. His lineage and prospects rendered him
acceptable to her parents, and she was viewed by his father as a match
almost beyond expectation desirable. Time alone seemed to be the only
adversary to their affection; but with him Fortune was in league, and
the course of true love never long runs smooth.

The father of Isabella was one of those unfortunate lairds who embarked
in the Mississippian project of the Ayr Bank, the inevitable fate of
which, at the very moment when the hopes of the lovers were as gay as
the apple boughs with blossoms in the first fine mornings of spring,
came like a nipping frost, and blighted their happiness for ever.
Fatherlans was ruined, and his ruin was a sufficient reason, with the
inflexible Claud, to command Charles to renounce all thoughts of that
fond connexion which he had himself considered as the most enviable
which his son could hope to obtain. But the altered fortunes of
Isabella only served to endear her more and more to her lover; and the
interdict of his father was felt as a profane interference with that
hallowed enthusiasm of mingled love and sorrow with which his breast
was at the moment filled.

‘It is impossible,’ said he; ‘and even were it in my power to submit
to the sacrifice you require, honour, and every sentiment that makes
life worthy, would forbid me. No, sir; I feel that Isabella and I are
one; Heaven has made us so, and no human interposition can separate
minds which God and Nature have so truly united. The very reason that
you urge against the continuance of my attachment, is the strongest
argument to make me cherish it with greater devotion than ever. You
tell me she is poor, and must be penniless. Is not that, sir, telling
me that she has claims upon my compassion as well as on my love? You
say her father must be driven to the door. Gracious Heaven! and in such
a time shall I shun Isabella? A common stranger, one that I had never
before known, would, in such adversity and distress, be entitled to
any asylum I could offer; but Isabella--in the storm that has unroofed
her father’s house--shall she not claim that shelter which, by so many
vows, I have sworn to extend over her through life?’

‘Weel, weel, Charlie,’ replied the old man, ‘rant awa, and tak thy
tocherless bargain to thee, and see what thou’ll mak o’t. But mind my
words--when Poverty comes in at the door, Love jumps out at the window.’

‘It is true,’ said the lover, a little more calmly, ‘that we cannot
hope to live in such circumstances as I had so often reason to expect;
but still, you will not refuse to take me into partnership, which, in
the better days of her father, you so often promised?’

‘We’ll hae twa words about that,’ replied the father; ‘it’s ae thing
to take in a partner young, clever, and sharp, and another to take a
needful man with the prospect o’ a family. But, Charlie, I’ll no draw
back in my word to you, if ye’ll just put off for a year or twa this
calf-love connexion. Maybe by and by ye’ll think better o’ my counsel;
at ony rate, something for a sair foot may be gathered in the meantime;
and neither you nor Bell Fatherlans are sae auld but ye can afford to
bide a while.’

This was said in the old man’s most reflective and sedate manner, and
after some further conversation, Charles did consent to postpone for
that time his marriage, on condition of being immediately admitted
into partnership, with an understanding, that he should be free to
marry at the end of twelve months, if he still continued so inclined.
Both parties in this arrangement calculated without their host. The
father thought that the necessary change in the exterior circumstances
of Isabella would, in the course of the year, have a tendency to
abate the ardour of her lover, and the son gave too much credit to
his own self-denial, supposing, that, although the ruin of Fatherlans
was declared, yet, as in similar cases, twelve months would probably
elapse before the sequestration and sale of his estate would finally
reduce the condition of his family. From the moment, however, that
the affairs of the banking company were found irretrievable, Mr.
Fatherlans zealously bestirred himself to place his daughter above the
hazards of want, even while he entertained the hope that it might not
be necessary. He carried her with him to Glasgow, and, before calling
at Claud’s shop, secured for her an asylum in the house of Miss Mally
Trimmings, a celebrated mantua-maker of that time. When he afterwards
waited on the inexorable pedlar, and communicated the circumstance,
the latter, with unfeigned pleasure, commended the prudence of the
measure, for he anticipated that the pride of his son would recoil at
the idea of connecting himself with Isabella in her altered state. What
the lover himself felt on hearing the news, we shall not attempt to
describe, nor shall we so far intrude beyond the veil which should ever
be drawn over the anxieties and the sorrows of young affection, under
darkened prospects, as to relate what passed between the lovers when
they next met. The resolution, however, with which they both separated,
was worthy of the purity of their mutual affections, and they agreed to
pass the probationary year in a cheerful submission to their lot.



CHAPTER XV


When Charles parted from Isabella, he returned thoughtfully towards
Grippy, which was situated on the south side of the Clyde, at the foot
of the Cathkin hills. His road, after passing the bridge, lay across
the fields as far as Rutherglen, where it diverged towards the higher
ground, commanding at every winding a rich and variegated prospect.

The year was waning into autumn, and the sun setting in all that
effulgence of glory, with which, in a serene evening, he commonly at
that season terminates his daily course behind the distant mountains
of Dumbartonshire and Argyle. A thin mist, partaking more of the lacy
character of a haze than the texture of a vapour, spreading from the
river, softened the nearer features of the view, while the distant were
glowing in the golden blaze of the western skies, and the outlines
of the city on the left appeared gilded with a brighter light, every
window sparkling as if illuminated from within. The colour of the trees
and hedges was beginning to change, and here and there a tuft of yellow
leaves, and occasionally the berries of the mountain ash, like clusters
of fiery embers, with sheaves of corn, and reapers in a few of the
neighbouring fields, showed that the summer was entirely past, and the
harvest time begun.

The calm diffused over the face of the landscape--the numerous images
of maturity and repose everywhere around--were calculated to soothe
the spirit, to inspire gentle thoughts, and to awaken pleasing
recollections; and there was something in the feelings with which
the lovers had separated, if not altogether in unison with the
graciousness of the hour, still so much in harmony with the general
benignity of nature, that Charles felt his resolution and self-denial
elevated with a sentiment of devotion, mingled with the fond enthusiasm
of his passion. ‘It is but a short time--a few months--and we shall be
happy,’ he exclaimed to himself; ‘and our happiness will be the dearer
that we shall have earned it by this sacrifice to prudence and to duty.’

But Charles and Isabella had estimated their fortitude too highly. They
were both inexperienced in what the world really is; and her tender and
sensitive spirit was soon found incapable of withstanding the trials
and the humiliation to which she found herself subjected.

It was part of her business to carry home the dresses made up for Miss
Mally’s customers; and although the Glasgow ladies of that time were
perhaps not more difficult to please with the style or fashion of their
gowns and millinery than those of our own day, yet some of them were
less actuated by a compassionate consideration for the altered fortunes
of Isabella than all our fair contemporaries would undoubtedly have
been. The unfortunate girl was, in consequence, often obliged to suffer
taunts and animadversions, which, though levelled against the taste or
inattention of her mistress, entered not the less painfully into her
young and delicate bosom. Still, however, she struggled against the
harsh circumstances to which she was exposed; but her sensibilities
were stronger than her courage, and her beauty betrayed what she felt,
and soon began to fade.

Charles was in the practice of accompanying her in the evenings when
she commonly performed her disagreeable errands, and relieved her
of the burden of her band-box, joyfully counting how much of the
probationary year was already past, and cheering her with the assurance
that her misfortunes had only endeared her to him the more. It
happened, however, that, one Saturday, being late of reaching the place
of rendezvous--the foot of the staircase which led to Miss Mally’s
dwelling--Isabella had gone away before he arrived, with a new dress to
Mrs. Jarvie, the wife of the far-famed Bailie Nicol, the same Matty who
lighted the worthy magistrate to the Tolbooth, on that memorable night
when he, the son of the deacon, found his kinsman Rob Roy there.

Matty at this time was a full-blown lady; the simple, modest,
bare-footed lassie, having developed into a crimson, gorgeous,
high-heeled madam,--well aware of the augmented width and weight
of the bailie’s purse, and jealous a little too much of her own
consequence, perhaps, by recollecting the condition from which she had
been exalted. The dress made up for her was a costly _negligée_; it
not only contained several yards of the richest brocade more than any
other Miss Mally Trimmings had ever made, but was adorned with cuffs
and flounces in a style of such affluent magnificence, that we question
if any grander has since been seen in Glasgow. Nor was it ordered for
any common occasion, but to grace a formal dinner party, which Provost
Anderson and his lady intended to give the magistrates and their
wives at the conclusion of his eighth provostry. It was therefore not
extraordinary that Mrs. Jarvie should take particular interest in this
dress; but the moment she began to try it on, poor Isabella discovered
that it would not fit, and stood trembling from head to heel, while the
bailie’s wife, in great glee and good humour with the splendour of the
dress, was loud in her praises of the cut of the ruffle-cuffs and the
folds of the flounces. Having contemplated the flow of the _negligée_
on both sides, and taken two or three stately steps across the room, to
see how it would sweep behind, Mrs. Jarvie took the wings of the body
in her hands, and, drawing them together, found they would not nearly
meet.

Isabella, with a beating heart and a diffident hand, approached to
smooth the silk, that it might expand; but all would not do. Mrs.
Jarvie stood a monument of consternation, as silent as Lot’s wife, when
she looked back, and thought of the charming dresses she had left
behind.

‘O Chrystal!’ were the first words to which the ci-devant Matty could
give utterance. ‘O Chrystal! My God, is nae this moving? Your mistress,
doited devil, as I maun ca’ her, ought to be skelpit wi’ nettles for
this calamity. The goun’s ruin’t--my gude silk to be clippit in this
nearbegaun way--past a’ redemption. Gang out o’ the gait, ye cutty, and
no finger and meddle wi’ me. This usage is enough to provoke the elect!
as am a living soul, and that’s a muckle word for me to say, I’ll hae
the old craighling scoot afore the Lords. The first cost was mair than
five and twenty guineas. If there’s law and justice atween God and man,
she shall pay for’t, or I’ll hae my satisfaction on her flesh. Hither,
maiden, and help me off wi’ it. Siccan beauty as it was! Tak it wi’
you; tak it to you; out o’ the house and my presence. How durst ye dare
to bring sic a disgrace to me? But let me look at it. Is’t no possible
to put in a gushet or a gore, and to make an eik?’

‘I’ll take it home and try,’ said Isabella, timidly folding up the
gown, which she had removed from Mrs. Jarvie.

‘Try,’ said the bailie’s wife, relapsing; ‘a pretty like story, that
sic a gown should stand in the jeopardy o’ a try; but how could Miss
Mally presume to send a silly thing like t’ee on this occasion? Lay
down the gown this precious moment, and gae hame, and order her to come
to me direkilty: it’s no to seek what I hae to say.’

The trembling and terrified girl let the unfortunate _negligée_ fall,
and hastily, in tears, quitted the room, and, flying from the house,
met, in the street, her lover, who, having learnt where she was, had
followed her to the house. A rapid and agitated disclosure of her
feelings and situation followed. Charles, on the spot, resolved, at
all hazards, rather to make her his wife at once, and to face the
worst that might in consequence happen from his father’s displeasure,
than allow her to remain exposed to such contumelious treatment.
Accordingly, it was agreed that they should be married, and on the
Monday following, the ceremony was performed, when he conducted her to
a lodging which he had provided in the interval.



CHAPTER XVI


On the morning after his marriage, Charles was anxious, doubtful, and
diffident. His original intention was to go at once to his father, to
state what he had done, and to persuade him, if possible, to overlook
a step, that, from its suddenness, might be deemed rash, but, from
the source and motives from which it proceeded, could, he thought, be
regarded only as praiseworthy. Still, though this was his own opinion,
he, nevertheless, had some idea that the old gentleman would not view
it exactly in the same light; and the feeling which this doubt awakened
made him hesitate at first, and finally to seek a mediator.

He had long remarked, that ‘the leddy,’ his grandmother, sustained
a part of great dignity towards his father; and he concluded, from
the effect it appeared to produce, that her superiority was fully
acknowledged. Under this delusion, after some consideration of the
bearings and peculiarities of his case, he determined to try her
interference, and, for that purpose, instead of going to Grippy, as he
had originally intended, when he left Isabella, he proceeded to the
house of the old lady, where he found her at home and alone.

The moment he entered her sitting-room, she perceived that his mind was
laden with something which pressed heavily on his feelings; and she
said,

‘What has vext you, Charlie? has your father been severe upon you for
ony misdemeanour, or hae ye done any thing that ye’re afeared to tell?’

In the expression of these sentiments, she had touched the sensitive
cord, that, at the moment, was fastened to his heart.

‘I’m sure,’ was his reply, ‘that I hae done no ill, and dinna ken why I
should be frightened in thinking on what every bodie that can feel and
reflect will approve.’

‘What is’t?’ said the leddy, thoughtfully: ‘What is’t? If it’s aught
good, let me partake the solace wi’ you; and if it’s bad speak it out,
that a remedy may be, as soon as possible, applied.’

‘Bell Fatherlans,’ was his answer; but he could only articulate her
name.

‘Poor lassie,’ said the venerable gentlewoman, ‘her lot’s hard, and I’m
wae both for your sake and hers, Charlie, that your father’s so dure
as to stand against your marriage in the way he does. But he was ay a
bargainer; alack! the world is made up o’ bargainers; and a heart wi’ a
right affection is no an article o’ meikle repute in the common market
o’ man and woman. Poor genty Bell! I wish it had been in my power to
hae sweetened her lot; for I doubt and fear she’s oure thin-skinned to
thole long the needles and prins o’ Miss Mally Trimmings’ short temper;
and, what’s far waur, the tawpy taunts of her pridefu’ customers.’

‘She could suffer them no longer, nor would I let her,’ replied the
bridegroom, encouraged by these expressions to disclose the whole
extent of his imprudence.

Mrs. Hypel did not immediately return any answer, but sat for a few
moments thoughtful, we might, indeed, say sorrowful--she then said,

‘Ye should na, Charlie, speak to me. I canna help you, my dear, though
I hae the will. Gang to your father and tell him a’, and if he winna do
what ye wish, then, my poor bairn, bravely trust to Providence, that
gars the heart beat as it should beat, in spite o’ a’ the devices o’
man.’

‘I fear,’ replied Charles, with simplicity, ‘that I hae done that
already, for Bell and me were married yesterday. I could na suffer to
see her snooled and cast down any longer by every fat-pursed wife that
would triumph and glory in a new gown.’

‘Married, Charlie!’ said the old lady with an accent of surprise,
mingled with sorrow; ‘Married! weel, that’s a step that canna be
untrodden, and your tribulation is proof enough to me that you are
awakened to the consequence. But what’s to be done?’

‘Nothing, Mem, but only to speak a kind word for us to my father,’ was
the still simple answer of the simple young husband.

‘I’ll speak for you, Charlie, I can do that, and I’ll be happy and
proud to gie you a’ the countenance in my power; but your father,
Charlie--the gude forgie me because he is your father--I’m darkened and
dubious when I think o’ him.’

‘I hae a notion,’ replied Charles, ‘that we need be no cess on him:
we’re content to live in a sma’ way; only I would like my wife to be
countenanced as becomes her ain family, and mair especially because she
is mine, so that, if my father will be pleased to tak her, and regard
her as his gude-dochter, I’ll ask nothing for the present, but do my
part, as an honest and honourable man, to the very uttermost o’ my
ability.’

The kind and venerable old woman was profoundly moved by the earnest
and frank spirit in which this was said; and she assured him, that so
wise and so discreet a resolution could not fail to make his father
look with a compassionate eye on his generous imprudence. ‘So gae your
ways home to Bell,’ said she, ‘and counsel and comfort her; the day’s
raw, but I’ll even now away to the Grippy to intercede for you, and by
the gloaming be you here wi’ your bonny bride, and I trust, as I wish,
to hae glad tidings for you baith.’

Charles, with great ardour and energy, expressed the sense which he
felt of the old lady’s kindness and partiality, but still he doubted
the successful result of the mission she had undertaken. Nevertheless,
her words inspired hope, and hope was the charm that spread over the
prospects of Isabella and of himself, the light, the verdure, and the
colours which enriched and filled the distant and future scenes of
their expectations with fairer and brighter promises than they were
ever destined to enjoy.



CHAPTER XVII


Claud was sitting at the window when he discovered his mother-in-law
coming slowly towards the house, and he said to his wife,--

‘In the name o’ gude, Girzy, what can hae brought your mother frae the
town on sic a day as this?’

‘I hope,’ replied the Leddy of Grippy, ‘that nothing’s the matter wi’
Charlie, for he promised to be out on Sabbath to his dinner, and never
came.’

In saying these words, she went hastily to the door to meet her mother,
the appearance of whose countenance at the moment was not calculated
to allay her maternal fears. Indeed, the old lady scarcely spoke to
her daughter, but walking straight into the dining-room where Grippy
himself was sitting, took a seat on a chair, and then threw off her
cloak on the back of it, before she uttered a word.

‘What’s wrang, grannie?’ said Claud, rising from his seat at the
window, and coming towards her.--‘What’s wrang, ye seem fashed?’

‘In truth, Mr. Walkinshaw, I hae cause,’ was the reply--‘poor
Charlie!’--

‘What’s happen’d to him?’ exclaimed his mother.

‘Has he met wi’ ony misfortunate accident?’ inquired the father.

‘I hope it’s no a misfortune,’ said the old lady, somewhat recovering
her self-possession. ‘At the same time, it’s what I jealouse, Grippy,
ye’ll no be vera content to hear.’

‘What is’t?’ cried the father sharply, a little tantalized.

‘Has he broken his leg?’ said the mother.

‘Haud that clavering tongue o’ thine, Girzy,’ exclaimed the Laird
peevishly; ‘wilt t’ou ne’er devaul’ wi’ sca’ding thy lips in other
folks’ kail?’

‘He had amaist met wi’ far waur than a broken leg,’ interposed the
grandmother. ‘His heart was amaist broken.’

‘It maun be unco brittle,’ said Claud, with a hem. ‘But what’s the need
o’ this summering and wintering anent it?--Tell us what has happened?’

‘Ye’re a parent, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ replied the old lady seriously, ‘and
I think ye hae a fatherly regard for Charlie; but I’ll be plain wi’
you. I doubt ye hae na a right consideration for the gentle nature of
the poor lad; and it’s that which gars me doubt and fear that what I
hae to say will no be agreeable.’

Claud said nothing in answer to this, but sat down in a chair on the
right side of his mother-in-law, his wife having in the meantime taken
a seat on the other side.--The old lady continued,--

‘At the same time, Mr. Walkinshaw, ye’re a reasonable man, and what
I’m come about is a matter that maun just be endured. In short, it’s
nothing less than to say, that, considering Fatherlans’ misfortunes, ye
ought to hae alloo’t Charlie and Isabella to hae been married, for it’s
a sad situation she was placed in--a meek and gentle creature like her
was na fit to bide the flyte and flights o’ the Glasgow leddies.’

She paused, in the expectation that Claud would make some answer, but
he still remained silent.--Mrs. Walkinshaw, however, spoke,--

‘’Deed, mither, that’s just what I said--for ye ken it’s an awfu’ thing
to thwart a true affection. Troth is’t, gudeman; and ye should think
what would hae been your ain tender feelings had my father stoppit our
wedding after a’ was settled.’

‘There was some difference between the twa cases,’ said the Dowager
of Plealands dryly to her daughter;--‘neither you nor Mr. Walkinshaw
were so young as Charlie and Miss Fatherlans--that was something--and
maybe there was a difference, too, in the character of the parties.
Hows’ever, Mr. Walkinshaw, marriages are made in heaven; and it’s no
in the power and faculty of man to controvert the coming to pass o’
what is ordained to be. Charlie Walkinshaw and Bell Fatherlans were a
couple marrowed by their Maker, and it’s no right to stand in the way
of their happiness.’

‘I’m sure,’ said Claud, now breaking silence, ‘it can ne’er be said
that I’m ony bar till’t. I would only fain try a year’s probation in
case it’s but calf-love.’

Mrs. Hypel shook her head as she said,--‘It’s vera prudent o’ you, but
ye canna put auld heads on young shouthers. In a word, Mr. Walkinshaw,
it’s no reasonable to expek that young folk, so encouraged in their
mutual affection as they were, can thole so lang as ye would wish. The
days o’ sic courtships as Jacob’s and Rachel’s are lang past.’

‘I but bade them bide a year,’ replied Claud.

‘A year’s an unco time to love; but to make a lang tale short, what
might hae been foreseen has come to pass, the fond young things hae
gotten themselves married.’

‘No possible!’ exclaimed Claud, starting from his chair, which he
instantly resumed.--

‘Weel,’ said Mrs. Walkinshaw,--‘if e’er I heard the like o’ that!--Our
Charlie a married man! the head o’ a family!’

The old lady took no notice of these and other interjections of the
same meaning, which her daughter continued to vent, but looking askance
and steadily at Claud, who seemed for a minute deeply and moodily
agitated, she said,--

‘Ye say nothing, Mr. Walkinshaw.’

‘What can I say?’ was his answer.--‘I had a better hope for Charlie,--I
thought the year would hae cooled him,--and am sure Miss Betty Bodle
would hae been a better bargain.’

‘Miss Betty Bodle!’ exclaimed the grandmother, ‘she’s a perfect tawpy.’

‘Weel, weel,’ said Grippy, ‘it mak’s no odds noo what she is,--Charlie
has ravelled the skein o’ his own fortune, and maun wind it as he can.’

‘That will be no ill to do, Mr. Walkinshaw, wi’ your helping hand.
He’s your first born, and a better-hearted lad never lived.’

‘Nae doubt I maun help him,--there can be nae doubt o’ that; but he
canna expek, and the world can ne’er expek, that I’ll do for him what I
might hae done had he no been so rash and disobedient.’

‘Very true, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said the gratified old lady, happy to
find that the reconciliation was so easily effected; and proud to be
the messenger of such glad tidings to the young couple, she soon after
returned to Glasgow. But scarcely had she left the house, when Claud
appeared strangely disturbed,--at one moment he ran hastily towards his
scrutoire, and opened it, and greedily seized the title-deeds of his
property,--the next he closed it thoughtfully, and retreating to his
seat, sat down in silence.

‘What’s the matter wi’ you, gudeman? ye were na sae fashed when my
mother was here,’ said his wife.

‘I’ll do nothing rashly--I’ll do nothing rashly,’ was the mysterious
reply.

‘Eh, mither, mither,’ cried Walter, bolting into the room,--‘what would
you think, our Charlie’s grown a wife’s gudeman like my father.’

‘Out o’ my sight, ye ranting cuif,’ exclaimed Claud, in a rapture of
rage, which so intimidated Walter that he fled in terror.

‘It’s dreadfu’ to be sae tempted,--and a’ the gude to gang to sic a
haverel,’ added Claud, in a low troubled accent, as he turned away and
walked towards the window.

‘Nae doubt,’ said his wife, ‘it’s an awfu’ thing to hear o’ sic
disobedience as Charlie in his rashness has been guilty o’.’

‘It is, it is,’ replied her husband, ‘and many a ane for far less hae
disinherited their sons,--cut them off wi’ a shilling.’

‘That’s true,’ rejoined the Leddy of Grippy. ‘Did na Kilmarkeckle gie
his only daughter but the legacy o’ his curse, for running away wi’ the
Englisher captain, and leave a’ to his niece Betty Bodle?’

‘And a’ she has might hae been in our family but for this
misfortune.--When I think o’ the loss, and how pleased her father
was when I proposed Charlie for her--It’s enough to gar me tak’ some
desperate step to punish the contumacious reprobate.--He’ll break my
heart.’

‘Dear keep me, gudeman, but ye’re mair fashed than I could hae thought
it was in the power o’ nature for you to be,’--said Mrs. Walkinshaw,
surprised at his agitation.

‘The scoundrel! the scoundrel!’ said Claud, walking quickly across
the room--‘To cause sic a loss!--To tak’ nae advice!--to run sic a
ram-race!--I ought, I will, gar him fin’ the weight o’ my displeasure.
Betty Bodle’s tocher would hae been better than the Grippy--But he
shall suffer for’t--I see na why a father may na tak’ his own course as
weel as a son--I’ll no be set at naught in this gait. I’ll gang in to
Mr. Keelevin the morn.’

‘Dinna be oure headstrong, my dear, but compose yoursel’,’--said the
lady, perplexed, and in some degree alarmed at the mention of the
lawyer’s name.--

‘Compose thysel, Girzy, and no meddle wi’ me,’ was the answer, in a
less confident tone than the declaration he had just made, adding,--

‘I never thought he would hae used me in this way. I’m sure I was ay
indulgent to him.’

‘Overly sae,’ interrupted Mrs. Walkinshaw, ‘and often I told you that
he would gie you a het heart for’t, and noo ye see my words hae come to
pass.’

Claud scowled at her with a look of the fiercest aversion, for at that
moment the better feelings of his nature yearned towards Charles,
and almost overcame the sordid avidity with which he had resolved to
cut him off from his birthright, and to entail the estate of Grippy
with the Plealands on Walter,--an intention which, as we have before
mentioned, he early formed, and had never abandoned, being merely
deterred from carrying it into effect by a sense of shame, mingled
with affection, and a slight reverence for natural justice; all
which, however, were loosened from their hold in his conscience, by
the warranty which the imprudence of the marriage seemed to give him
in the eyes of the world, for doing what he had so long desired to
do. Instead, however, of making her any reply, he walked out into the
open air, and continued for about half an hour to traverse the green
in front of the house, sometimes with quick short steps, at others
with a slow and heavy pace. Gradually, however, his motion became
more regular, and ultimately ended in a sedate and firm tread, which
indicated that his mind was made up on the question which he had been
debating with himself.



CHAPTER XVIII


That abysm of legal dubieties, the office of Mr. Keelevin, the writer,
consisted of two obscure apartments on the ground floor of M’Gregor’s
Land, in M’Whinnie’s Close, in the Gallowgate. The outer room was
appropriated to the clerks, and the inner for the darker mysteries
of consultation. To this place Claud repaired on the day following
the interesting communication, of which we have recorded the first
impressions in the foregoing chapter. He had ordered breakfast to be
ready an hour earlier than usual; and as soon as he had finished it, he
went to his scrutoire, and taking out his title-deeds, put them in his
pocket, and without saying any thing to his wife of what he intended
to do, lifted his hat and stick from their accustomed place of repose,
in the corner of the dining-room, and proceeded, as we have said, to
consult Mr. Keelevin.

It is not the universal opinion of mankind, that the profession of
the law is favourable to the preservation of simplicity of character
or of benevolence of disposition; but this, no doubt, arises from the
malice of disappointed clients, who, to shield themselves from the
consequences of their own unfair courses, pretend that the wrongs and
injustice of which they are either found guilty, or are frustrated in
the attempt to effect, are owing to the faults and roguery of their own
or their adversaries’ lawyers. But why need we advocate any revision of
the sentence pronounced upon the limbs of the law? for, grasping, as
they do, the whole concerns and interests of the rest of the community,
we think they are sufficiently armed with claws and talons to defend
themselves. All, in fact, that we meant by this apologetic insinuation,
was to prepare the reader for the introduction of Mr. Keelevin, on whom
the corrosive sublimate of a long and thorough professional insight of
all kinds of equivocation and chicanery had in no degree deteriorated
from the purity of his own unsuspicious and benevolent nature. Indeed,
at the very time that Claud called, he was rebuking his young men
on account of the cruelty of a contrivance they had made to catch a
thief that was in the nocturnal practice of opening the window of
their office, to take away what small change they were so negligent
as to leave on or in their desks; and they were not only defending
themselves, but remonstrating with him for having rendered their
contrivance abortive. For, after they had ingeniously constructed a
trap within the window, namely, a footless table, over which the thief
must necessarily pass to reach their desks, he had secretly placed a
pillow under it, in order that, when it fell down, the robber might not
hurt himself in the fall.

‘Gude morning, gude morning, Mr. Keelevin; how’re ye the day?’ said
Claud, as he entered.

‘Gaily, gaily, Grippy; how’re ye yoursel, and how’s a’ at hame? Come
awa ben to my room,’ was the writer’s answer, turning round and opening
the door; for experience had taught him that visits from acquaintances
at that hour were not out of mere civility.

Claud stepped in, and seated himself in an old armed chair which stood
on the inner side of the table where Mr. Keelevin himself usually
wrote; and the lawyer followed him, after saying to the clerks, ‘I
redde ye, lads, tak tent to what I hae been telling you, and no
encourage yourselves to the practice of evil that good may come o’t. To
devise snares and stratagems is most abominable--all that ye should or
ought to do, is to take such precautions that the thief may not enter;
but to wile him into the trap, by leaving the window unfastened, was
nothing less than to be the cause of his sin. So I admonish you no to
do the like o’t again.’

In saying this he came in, and, shutting the door, took his own seat at
the opposite side of the table, addressing himself to Claud, ‘And so ye
hae gotten your auld son married? I hope it’s to your satisfaction.’

‘An he has brewed good yill, Mr. Keelevin, he’ll drink the better,’ was
the reply; ‘but I hae come to consult you anent a bit alteration that I
would fain make in my testament.’

‘That’s no a matter of great difficulty, Laird; for, sin’ we found
out that the deed of entail that was made after your old son was born
can never stand, a’ ye have is free to be destined as ye will, both
heritable and moveable.’

‘And a lucky discovery that was;--many a troubled thought I hae had
in my own breast about it; and now I’m come to confer wi’ you, Mr.
Keelevin, for I would na trust the hair o’ a dog to the judgement o’
that tavert bodie, Gibby Omit, that gart me pay nine pounds seven
shillings and saxpence too for the parchment; for it ne’er could be
called an instrument, as it had na the pith o’ a windlestrae to bind
the property; and over and aboon that, the bodie has lang had his back
to the wa’, wi’ the ’poplexy; so that I maun put my trust in this
affair into your hands, in the hope and confidence that ye’re able to
mak something mair sicker.’

‘We’ll do our endeavour, Mr. Walkinshaw; hae ye made ony sort o’
scantling o’ what you would wish done?’

‘No, but I hae brought the teetles o’ the property in my pouch, and
ye’ll just conform to them. As for the bit saving of lying money, we’ll
no fash wi’ it for the present; I’m only looking to get a solid and
right entail o’ the heritable.’

‘Nothing can be easier. Come as ye’re o’ an ancient family, no doubt
your intent is to settle the Grippy on the male line; and, failing your
sons and their heirs, then on the heirs of the body of your daughter.’

‘Just sae, just sae. I’ll make no change on my original disposition;
only, as I would fain hae what cam by the gudewife made part and
portion o’ the family heritage, and as her father’s settlement on Watty
canna be broken without a great risk, I would like to begin the entail
o’ the Grippy wi’ him.’

‘I see nothing to prevent that; ye could gie Charlie, the auld son, his
liferent in’t, and as Watty, no to speak disrespectful of his capacity,
may ne’er marry, it might be so managed.’

‘Oh, but that’s no what I mean, and what for may na Watty marry? Is na
he o’ capacity to execute a deed, and surely that should qualify him to
take a wife?’

‘But heavens preserve me, Mr. Walkinshaw, are ye sensible of the ill ye
would do to that fine lad, his auld brother, that’s now a married man,
and in the way to get heirs? Sic a settlement as ye speak o’ would be
cutting him off a’ thegither: it would be most iniquitous!’

‘An it should be sae, the property is my own conquesting, Mr. Keelevin,
and surely I may mak a kirk and a mill o’t an I like.’

‘Nobody, it’s true, Mr. Walkinshaw, has ony right to meddle wi’ how ye
dispone of your own, but I was thinking ye maybe did na reflect that
sic an entail as ye speak o’ would be rank injustice to poor Charlie,
that I hae ay thought a most excellent lad.’

‘Excellent here, or excellent there, it was na my fault that he drew up
wi’ a tocherless tawpy, when he might hae had Miss Betty Bodle.’

‘I am very sorry to hear he has displeased you; but the Fatherlans
family, into whilk he has married, has ay been in great repute and
estimation.’

‘Aye, afore the Ayr Bank; but the silly bodie the father was clean
broken by that venture.’

‘That should be the greater reason, Mr. Walkinshaw, wi’ you to let your
estate go in the natural way to Charlie.’

‘A’ that may be very true, Mr. Keelevin; I did na come here, however,
to confer with you anent the like of that, but only of the law. I want
you to draw the settlement, as I was saying; first, ye’ll entail it
on Walter and his heirs-male, syne on Geordie and his heirs-male, and
failing them, ye may gang back, to please yoursel, to the heirs-male o’
Charlie, and failing them, to Meg’s heirs-general.’

‘Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said the honest writer, after a pause of about a
minute, ‘there’s no Christianity in this.’

‘But there may be law, I hope.’

‘I think, Mr. Walkinshaw, my good and worthy friend, that you should
reflect well on this matter, for it is a thing by ordinare to do.’

‘But ye ken, Mr. Keelevin, when Watty dies, the Grippy and the
Plealands will be a’ ae heritage, and will na that be a braw thing for
my family?’

‘But what for would ye cut off poor Charlie from his rightful
inheritance?’

‘Me cut him off frae his inheritance! When my grandfather brake on
account o’ the Darien, then it was that he lost his inheritance. He’ll
get frae me a’ that I inherited frae our forbears, and may be mair;
only, I’ll no alloo he has ony heritable right on me, but what stands
with my pleasure to gie him as an almous.’

‘But consider, he’s your own firstborn?’--

‘Weel, then, what o’ that?’

‘And it stands with nature surely, Mr. Walkinshaw, that he should hae a
bairn’s part o’ your gear.’

‘Stands wi’ nature, Mr. Keelevin? A coat o’ feathers or a pair o’ hairy
breeks is a’ the bairn’s part o’ gear that I ever heard o’ in nature,
as the fowls o’ the air and the beasts o’ the field can very plainly
testify.--No, no, Mr. Keelevin, we’re no now in a state o’ nature but a
state o’ law, and it would be an unco thing if we did na make the best
o’t. In short, ye’ll just get the settlements drawn up as soon as a
possibility will alloo, for it does na do to lose time wi’ sic things,
as ye ken, and I’ll come in wi’ Watty neest market day and get them
implemented.’

‘Watty’s no requisite,’ said Mr. Keelevin, somewhat thoughtfully; ‘it
can be done without him. I really wish ye would think better o’t before
we spoil any paper.’

‘I’m no fear’t about the paper, in your hands, Mr. Keelevin,--ye’ll do
every thing right wi’ sincerity,--and mind, an it should be afterwards
found out that there are ony flaws in the new deed, as there were in
the auld, which the doited creature Gibby Omit made out, I’ll gar you
pay for’t yoursel; so tak tent, for your own sake, and see that baith
Watty’s deed and mine are right and proper in every point of law.’

‘Watty’s! what do you mean by Watty’s?’

‘Have na I been telling you that it’s my wis that the Plealands and
the Grippy should be made one heritage, and is na Watty concos mancos
enough to be conjunct wi’ me in the like o’ that? Ye ken the flaw in
his grandfather’s settlement, and that, though the land has come clear
and clean to him, yet it’s no sae tethered but he may wise it awa as it
likes him to do, for he’s noo past one-and-twenty. Therefore, what I
want is, that ye will mak a paper for him, by the whilk he’s to ’gree
that the Plealands gang the same gait, by entail, as the Grippy.’

‘As in duty bound, Mr. Walkinshaw, I maun do your will in this
business,’ said Mr. Keelevin; ‘but really I ken na when I hae been more
troubled about the specialities of any settlement. It’s no right o’ you
to exercise your authority oure Watty; the lad’s truly no in a state
to be called on to implement ony such agreement as what ye propose. He
should na be meddled wi’, but just left to wear out his time in the
world, as little observed as possible.’

‘I canna say, Mr. Keelevin, that I like to hear you misliken the lad
sae, for did na ye yourself, with an ettling of pains that no other
body could hae gane through but yoursel, prove, to the satisfaction of
the Fifteen at Edinburgh, that he was a young man of a very creditable
intellect, when Plealands’ will was contested by his cousin?’

‘Waes me, Mr. Walkinshaw, that ye should cast up to me the sincerity
with which I did but my duty to a client. However, as ye’re bent on
this business, I’ll say na mair in objection, but do my best to make a
clear and tight entail, according to your instructions--trusting that
I shall be accounted hereafter as having been but the innocent agent;
and yet I beg you again, before it’s oure late, to reflect on the
consequence to that fine lad Charlie, who is now the head of a house,
and in the way of having a family--It’s an awfu’ thing ye’re doing to
him.’

‘Weel, weel, Mr. Keelevin, as I was saying, dinna ye fash your thumb,
but mak out the papers in a sicker manner,--and may be though ye think
sae ill o’ me, it winna be the waur for Charlie after a’s come and
gane.’

‘It’s in the Lord’s power certainly,’ replied the worthy lawyer
piously, ‘to make it all up to him.’

‘And maybe it’s in my power too, for when this is done, I’ll hae to
take another cast o’ your slight o’ hand in the way of a bit will for
the moveables and lying siller, but I would just like this to be weel
done first.’

‘Man, Laird, I’m blithe to hear that,--but ye ken that ye told me last
year when you were clearing the wadset that was left on the Grippy,
that ye had na meikle mair left--But I’m blithe to hear ye’re in a
condition to act the part of a true father to a’ your bairns, though I
maun say that I canna approve, as a man and a frien’, of this crotchet
of entailing your estate on a haverel, to the prejudice of a braw and
gallant lad like Charlie. Hows’ever, sin’ it is sae, we’ll say nae mair
about it. The papers will be ready for you by Wednesday come eight
days, and I’ll tak care to see they are to your wish.’

‘Na, an ye dinna do that, the cost shall be on your own risk, for the
deil a plack or bawbee will I pay for them, till I hae a satisfaction
that they are as they ought to be. Howsever, gude day, Mr. Keelevin,
and we’ll be wi’ you on Wednesday by ten o’clock.’

In saying this, Claud, who had in the meantime risen from his seat,
left the office without turning his head towards the desk where the
clerks, as he walked through the outer room, were sitting, winking at
one another, as he plodded past them, carrying his staff in his left
hand behind him, a habit which he had acquired with his ellwand when he
travelled the Borders as a pedlar.



CHAPTER XIX


On the Saturday evening after the instructions had been given to
prepare the new deed of entail, Grippy was thoughtful and silent, and
his wife observing how much he was troubled in mind, said,

‘I’m thinking, gudeman, though ye hae no reason to be pleased with this
match Charlie has made for himsel, ye ken, as it canna be helpit noo,
we maun just put up wi’t.’

To this observation, which was about one of the most sensible that
ever the Leddy o’ Grippy made in her life, Claud replied, with an
ill-articulated grumph, that partook more of the sound and nature of a
groan than a growl, and she continued,--

‘But, poor laddie, bare legs need happing; I would fain hope ye’ll no
be oure dure;--ye’ll hae to try an there be any moully pennies in the
neuk o’ your coffer that can be spar’d and no miss’t.’

‘I hae thought o’ that, Girzy, my dawty,’ said he somewhat more
cordially than he was in the practice of doing to his wife; ‘and we’ll
gang o’er the morn and speer for Charlie. I wis he had na been so
headstrong; but it’s a’ his ain fault: howsever, it would na be canny
to gang toom-handed, and I hae got a bit bill for five score pounds
that I’m mindit to gie him.’

‘Five score pounds, gudeman! that’s the whole tot o’ a hundred. Na,
gudeman, I would hae thought the half o’t an unco almous frae you. I
hope it’s no a fedam afore death. Gude preserve us! ye’re really ta’en
wi’ a fit o’ the liberalities; but Charlie, or am mista’en, will hae
need o’t a’, for yon Flanders baby is no for a poor man’s wife. But for
a’ that, I’m blithe to think ye’re gaun to be sae kind, though I need
na wonder at it, for Charlie was ay your darling chevalier, I’m sure
nobody can tell what for, and ye ay lookit down on poor good-natured
Watty.’

‘Haud that senseless tongue o’ thine, Girzy; Watty’s just like the
mither o’t, a haverel; and if it were na more for ae thing than
anither, the deil a penny would the silly gouk get frae me, aboon an
aliment to keep him frae beggary. But what’s ordain’t will come to
pass, and it’s no my fault that the sumph Watty was na Charlie. But
it’s o’ nae use to contest about the matter; ye’ll be ready betimes the
morn’s morning to gang in wi’ me to the town to see the young folks.’

Nothing more then passed, but Claud, somewhat to the surprise of his
lady, proposed to make family worship that evening. ‘It’s time now,
gudewife,’ said he, ‘when we’re in a way to be made ancestors, that we
should be thinking o’ what’s to come o’ our sinful souls hereafter.
Cry ben the servants, and I’ll read a chapter to them and you, by way
o’ a change, for I kenna what’s about me, but this rash action o’ that
thoughtless laddie fashes me, and yet it would na be right o’ me to do
any other way than what I’m doing.’

The big ha’ Bible was accordingly removed by Mrs. Walkinshaw from
the shelf where it commonly lay undisturbed from the one sacramental
occasion to the other, and the dust being blown off, as on the Saturday
night prior to the action sermon, she carried it to the kitchen to be
more thoroughly wiped, and soon after returned with it followed by the
servants. Claud, in the meantime, having drawn his elbow-chair close
to the table, and placed his spectacles on his nose, was sitting, when
the mistress laid the volume before him, ready to begin. As some little
stir was produced by the servants taking their places, he accidentally
turned up the cover, and looked at the page in which he had inserted
the dates of his own marriage and the births of his children. Mrs.
Walkinshaw observing him looking at the record, said,--

‘Atweel, Charlie need na been in sic a haste, he’s no auld enough yet
to be the head o’ a family. How auld were ye, gudeman, when we were
marriet? But he’s no blest wi’ the forethought o’ you.’

‘Will that tongue o’ thine, Girzy, ne’er be quiet? In the presence o’
thy Maker, wheest, and pay attention, while I read a chapter of His
holy word.’

The accent in which this was uttered imposed at once silence and awe,
and when he added, ‘Let us worship God, by reading a portion of the
Scriptures of truth,’ the servants often afterwards said, ‘he spoke
like a dreadfu’ divine.’

Not being, as we have intimated, much in the practice of domestic
worship, Claud had avoided singing a Psalm, nor was he so well
acquainted with the Bible, as to be able to fix on any particular
chapter or appropriate passage from recollection. In this respect he
was, indeed, much inferior to the generality of the Glasgow merchants
of that age, for, although they were considerably changed from the
austerity by which their fathers had incurred the vengeance of Charles
the Second’s government, they were still regular in the performance
of their religious domestic duties. Some excuse, however, might be
made for Claud, on account of his having spent so many years on the
English Borders, a region in no age or period greatly renowned for
piety, though plentifully endowed, from a very ancient date, with
ecclesiastical mansions for the benefit of the outlaws of the two
nations. Not, however, to insist on this topic, instead of reverently
waling a portion with judicious care, he opened the book with a degree
of superstitious trepidation, and the first passage which caught
his eye was the thirty-second verse of the twenty-seventh chapter of
Genesis. He paused for a moment; and the servants and the family having
also opened their Bibles, looked towards him in expectation that he
would name the chapter he intended to read. But he closed the volume
over upon his hand, which he had inadvertently placed on the text, and
lay back on his chair, unconscious of what he had done, leaving his
hand still within the book.

‘We’re a’ ready,’ said Mrs. Walkinshaw; ‘whare’s the place?’

Roused by her observation from the reverie into which he had
momentarily sunk, without reflecting on what he did, he hastily opened
the Bible, by raising his hand, which threw open the leaves, and again
he saw and read,--

    And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? and he said, I am
    thy son,--thy first-born, Esau;

    And Isaac trembled very exceedingly.

‘What’s the matter wi’ you, gudeman?’ said the Leddy; ‘are ye no weel?’
as he again threw himself back in his chair, leaving the book open
before him. He, however, made no reply, but only drew his hand over his
face, and slightly rubbed his forehead.

‘I’m thinking, gudeman,’ added the Leddy, ‘as ye’re no used wi’ making
exercise, it may be as weel for us at the beginning to read a chapter
intil oursels.’

‘I’ll chapse that place,’ said Walter, who was sitting opposite to his
father, putting, at the same time, unobserved into the book a bit of
stick which he happened to be sillily gnawing.

Claud heard what his wife suggested, but for about a minute made no
answer: shutting the Bible, without noticing the mark which Walter had
placed in it, he said,--

‘I’m thinking ye’re no far wrang, gudewife. Sirs, ye may gae but the
house, and ilk read a chapter wi’ sobriety, and we’ll begin the worship
the morn’s night, whilk is the Lord’s.’

The servants accordingly retired; and Walter reached across the table
to lay hold of the big Bible, in order to read his chapter where he had
inserted the stick; but his father angrily struck him sharply over the
fingers, saying,--

‘Hast t’ou neither grace nor gumshion, that t’ou daurs to tak awa the
word o’ God frae before my very face? Look to thy ain book, and mind
what it tells thee, an t’ou has the capacity of an understanding to
understand it.’

Walter, rebuked by the chastisement, withdrew from the table; and,
taking a seat sulkily by the fireside, began to turn over the leaves
of his pocket Bible, and from time to time he read mutteringly a verse
here and there by the light of the grate. Mrs. Walkinshaw, with Miss
Meg, having but one book between them, drew their chairs close to the
table; and the mother, laying her hand on her daughter’s shoulder,
overlooked the chapter which the latter had selected.

Although Claud had by this time recovered from the agitation into
which he had been thrown, by the admonition he had as it were received
from the divine oracle, he yet felt a profound emotion of awe as he
again stretched his hand towards the sacred volume, which, when he had
again opened, and again beheld the selfsame words, he trembled very
exceedingly, insomuch that he made the table shake violently.

‘In the name of God, what’s that?’ cried his wife, terrified by the
unusual motion, and raising her eyes from the book, with a strong
expression of the fear which she then felt.

Claud was so startled, that he looked wildly behind him for a moment,
with a ghastly and superstitious glare. Naturally possessing, however,
a firm and steady mind, his alarm scarcely lasted a moment; but the
pious business of the evening was so much disturbed, and had been to
himself so particularly striking, that he suddenly quitted the table,
and left the room.



CHAPTER XX


The Sabbath morning was calm and clear, and the whole face of Nature
fresh and bright. Every thing was animated with glee; and the very
flowers, as they looked up in the sunshine, shone like glad faces. Even
the Leddy o’ Grippy partook of the gladdening spirit which glittered
and frolicked around her; and as she walked a few paces in front of
her husband down the footpath from the house to the highway leading to
Glasgow, she remarked, as their dog ran gambolling before them, that

‘Auld Colley, wi’ his daffing, looks as he had a notion o’ the braw
wissing o’ joy Charlie is to get. The brute, gudeman, ay took up wi’
him, which was a wonderfu’ thing to me; for he did nothing but weary
its life wi’ garring it loup for an everlasting after sticks and
chucky-stanes. Hows’ever, I fancy dogs are like men--leavened, as Mr.
Kilfuddy says, wi’ the leaven of an ungrateful heart--for Colley is as
doddy and crabbit to Watty as if he was its adversary, although, as ye
ken, he gathers and keeps a’ the banes for’t.’

‘Wilt t’ou ne’er devaul’ wi’ thy havering tongue? I’m sure the dumb
brute, in favouring Charlie, showed mair sense than his mother, poor
fellow.’

‘Aye, aye, gudeman, so ye say; but every body knows your most unnatural
partiality.’

‘Thy tongue, woman,’ exclaimed her husband, ‘gangs like the
clatter-bane o’ a goose’s----’

‘Eh, Megsty me!’ cried the Leddy; ‘wha’s yon at the yett tirling at the
pin?’

Claud, roused by her interjection, looked forward, and beheld, with
some experience of astonishment, that it was Mr. Keelevin, the writer.

‘We’ll hae to turn and gang back with him,’ said Mrs. Walkinshaw, when
she observed who it was.

‘I’ll be damn’d if I do ony sic thing,’ growled the old man, with a
fierceness of emphasis that betrayed apprehension and alarm, while it
at the same time denoted a riveted determination to persevere in the
resolution he had taken; and, mending his pace briskly, he reached the
gate before the worthy lawyer had given himself admittance.

‘Gude day, Mr. Keelevin!--What’s brought you so soon afield this
morning?’

‘I hae just ta’en a bit canter oure to see you, and to speak anent yon
thing.’

‘Hae ye got the papers made out?’

‘Surely--it can never be your serious intent--I would fain hope--nay,
really, Mr. Walkinshaw, ye maunna think o’t.’

‘Hoot, toot, toot; I thought ye had mair sense, Mr. Keelevin. But I’m
sorry we canna gae back wi’ you, for we’re just sae far in the road to
see Charlie and his lady landless.’

‘’Deed are we,’ added Mrs. Walkinshaw; ‘and ye’ll no guess what the
gudeman has in his pouch to gie them for hansel to their matrimony: the
whole tot of a hundred pound, Mr. Keelevin--what think you o’ that?’

The lawyer looked first at the Leddy, and then at the Laird, and said,
‘Mr. Walkinshaw, I hae done you wrong in my thought.’

‘Say nae mair about it, but hae the papers ready by Wednesday, as I
directed,’ replied Claud.

‘I hope and trust, Mr. Keelevin,’ said Mrs. Walkinshaw, ‘that he’s no
about his will and testament: I redde ye, an he be, see that I’m no
neglekit; and dinna let him do an injustice to the lave for the behoof
of Charlie, wha is, as I say, his darling chevalier.’

Mr. Keelevin was as much perplexed as ever any member of the profession
was in his life; but he answered cheerfully,

‘Ye need na be fear’t, Mrs. Walkinshaw, I’ll no wrang either you or any
one of the family;’ and he added, looking towards her husband, ‘if I
can help it.’

‘Na, thanks be an’ praise, as I understand the law, that’s no in your
power; for I’m secured wi’ a jointure on the Grippy by my marriage
articles; and my father, in his testament, ordained me to hae a
hundred a year out of the barming o’ his lying money; the whilk, as
I have myself counted, brings in to the gudeman, frae the wadset
that he has on the Kilmarkeckle estate, full mair than a hundred and
twenty-seven pounds; so I would wis both you and him to ken, that I’m
no in your reverence; and likewise, too, Mr. Keelevin, that I’ll no
faik a farthing o’ my right.’

Mr. Keelevin was still more perplexed at the information contained in
this speech; for he knew nothing of the mortgage, or, as the Leddy
called it, the wadset which Claud had on his neighbour Kilmarkeckle’s
property, Mr. Omit having been employed by him in that business.
Indeed, it was a regular part of Grippy’s pawkie policy, not to let
his affairs be too well known, even to his most confidential legal
adviser; but, in common transactions, to employ any one who could be
safely trusted in matters of ordinary professional routine. Thus the
fallacious impression which Claud had in some degree made on the day in
which he instructed the honest lawyer respecting the entail was, in a
great measure, confirmed; so that Mr. Keelevin, instead of pressing the
remonstrance which he had come on purpose from Glasgow that morning to
urge, marvelled exceedingly within himself at the untold wealth of his
client.

In the meantime, Grippy and his Leddy continued walking towards the
city, but the lawyer remounted his horse, pondering on what he had
heard, and almost persuaded that Claud, whom he knew to be so close and
wary in worldly matters, was acting a very prudent part. He conceived
that he must surely be much richer than the world supposed; and that,
seeing the natural defects of his second son, Walter, how little he was
superior to an idiot, and judging he could make no good use of ready
money, but might, on the contrary, become the prey of knavery, he had,
perhaps, determined, very wisely, to secure to him his future fortune
by the entail proposed, meaning to indemnify Charles from his lying
money. The only doubt that he could not clear off entirely to his
satisfaction, was the circumstance of George, the youngest son, being
preferred in the limitations of the entail to his eldest brother. But
even this admitted of something like a reasonable explanation; for,
by the will of the grandfather, in the event of Walter dying without
male issue, George was entitled to succeed to the Plealands, as heir
of entail; the effect of all which, in the benevolent mind of honest
Mr. Keelevin, contributed not a little to rebuild the good opinion
of his client, which had suffered such a shock from the harshness of
his instructions, as to induce him to pay the visit which led to the
rencounter described; and in consequence he walked his horse beside
the Laird and Leddy, as they continued to pick their steps along the
shady side of the road.--Mrs. Walkinshaw, with her petticoats lifted
half-leg high, still kept the van, and her husband followed stooping
forward in his gait, with his staff in his left hand behind him--the
characteristic and usual position in which, as we have already
mentioned, he was wont to carry his ellwand when a pedlar.



CHAPTER XXI


The young couple were a good deal surprised at the unexpected visit
of their father and mother; for although they had been led to hope,
from the success of the old lady’s mission, that their pardon would be
conceded, they had still, by hearing nothing further on the subject,
passed the interval in so much anxiety, that it had materially
impaired their happiness. Charles, who was well aware of the natural
obduracy of his father’s disposition, had almost entirely given up all
expectation of ever being restored to his favour; and the despondency
of the apprehensions connected with this feeling underwent but little
alleviation when he observed the clouded aspect, the averted eye,
and the momentary glances, with which his wife was regarded, and the
troubled looks from time to time thrown towards himself. Nevertheless,
the visit, which was at first so embarrassing to all parties, began
to assume a more cordial character; and the generosity of Charles’
nature, which led him to give a benevolent interpretation to the
actions and motives of every man, soon mastered his anxieties; and he
found himself, after the ice was broken, enabled to take a part in the
raillery of his mother, who, in high glee and good humour, joked with
her blooming and blushing daughter-in-law, with all the dexterity and
delicacy of which she was so admirable a mistress.

‘Eh!’ said she, ‘but this was a galloping wedding o’ yours, Charlie.
It was an unco-like thing, Bell--na, ye need na look down, for ye
maunna expek me to ca’ you by your lang-nebbit baptismal name, now that
ye’re my gude-dochter--for ceremony’s a cauldrife commodity amang near
frien’s. But surely, Bell, it would hae been mair wiselike had ye been
cried in the kirk three distink Sabbaths, as me and your gude-father
was, instead o’ gallanting awa under the scog and cloud o’ night, as
if ye had been fain and fey. Howsever, it’s done noo; and the gudeman
means to be vastly genteel. I’m sure the post should get a hag when we
hear o’ him coming wi’ hundreds o’ pounds in his pouch, to gi’e awa
for deil-be-licket but a gratus gift o’ gude will, in hansel to your
matrimonial. But Charlie, your gudeman, Bell, was ay his pet, and so
am nane surprised at his unnatural partiality, only I ken they’ll hae
clear e’en and bent brows that ’ill see him gi’eing ony sic almous to
Watty.’

When the parental visitors had sat about an hour, during the great part
of which the Leddy o’ Grippy continued in this strain of clishmaclaver,
the Laird said to her it was time to take the road homeward. Charles
pressed them to stay dinner. This, however, was decidedly refused by
his father, but not in quite so gruff a manner as he commonly gave
his refusals, for he added, giving Charles the bank-bill, as he moved
across the room towards the door,--

‘Hae, there’s something to help to keep the banes green, but be
careful, Charlie, for I doubt ye’ll hae need, noo that ye’re the head
o’ a family, to look at baith sides o’ the bawbee before ye part wi’t.’

‘It’s for a whole hundred pound,’ exclaimed Lady Grippy in an exulting
whisper to her daughter-in-law--while the old man, after parting with
the paper, turned briskly round to his son, as if to interrupt his
thankfulness, and said,--

‘Charlie, ye maun come wi’ Watty and me on Wednesday; I hae a bit
alteration to make in my papers; and, as we need na cry sic things at
the Cross, I’m mindit to hae you and him for the witnesses.’

Charles readily promised attendance; and the old people then made their
congées and departed.

In the walk homeward Claud was still more taciturn than in the morning;
he was even sullen, and occasionally peevish; but his wife was in full
pipe and glee; and, as soon as they were beyond hearing, she said,--

‘Every body maun alloo that she’s a well far’t lassie yon; and, if
she’s as good as she’s bonny, Charlie’s no to mean wi’ his match. But,
dear me, gudeman, ye were unco scrimpit in your talk to her--I think
ye might hae been a thought mair complaisant and jocose, considering
it was a marriage occasion; and I wonder what came o’er mysel that I
forgot to bid them come to the Grippy and tak their dinner the morn,
for ye ken we hae a side o’ mutton in the house; for, since ye hae
made a conciliation free gratus wi’ them, we need na be standing on
stapping-stanes; no that I think the less of the het heart that Charlie
has gi’en to us baith; but it was his forton, and we maun put up wi’t.
Howsever, gudeman, ye’ll alloo me to make an observe to you anent the
hundred pound. I think it would hae been more prudent to hae gi’en
them but the half o’t, or ony smaller sum, for Charlie’s no a very
gude guide;--siller wi’ him gangs like snaw aff a dyke; and as for his
lilywhite-handit madam, a’ the jingling o’ her spinnit will ne’er make
up for the winsome tinkle o’ Betty Bodle’s tocher purse. But I hae been
thinking, gudeman, noo that Charlie’s by hand and awa, as the ballad
o’ ‘Woo’t and Married and a’’ sings, could na ye persuade our Watty to
mak up to Betty, and sae get her gear saved to us yet?’

This suggestion was the only wise thing, in the opinion of Claud,
that ever he had heard his wife utter; it was, indeed, in harmonious
accordance with the tenor of his own reflections, not only at the
moment, but from the hour in which he was first informed of the
marriage. For he knew, from the character of Miss Betty Bodle’s father,
that the entail of the Grippy, in favour of Walter, would be deemed
by him a satisfactory equivalent for any intellectual defect. The
disinheritance of Charles was thus, in some degree, palliated to his
conscience as an act of family policy rather than of resentment; in
truth, resentment had perhaps very little to say in the feeling by
which it was dictated;--for, as all he did and thought of in life was
with a view to the restoration of the Walkinshaws of Kittlestonheugh,
we might be justified, for the honour of human nature, to believe,
that he actually contemplated the sacrifice which he was making of his
first-born to the Moloch of ancestral pride, with reluctance, nay, even
with sorrow.

In the meantime, as he returned towards Grippy with his wife, thus
discoursing on the subject of Miss Betty Bodle and Walter, Charles
and Isabella were mutually felicitating themselves on the earnest
which they had so unexpectedly received of what they deemed a thorough
reconciliation. There had, however, been something so heartless in
the behaviour of the old man during the visit, that, notwithstanding
the hopes which his gift encouraged, it left a chill and comfortless
sensation in the bosom of the young lady, and her spirit felt it as the
foretaste of misfortune. Averse, however, to occasion any diminution
of the joy which the visit of his parents had afforded to her husband,
she endeavoured to suppress the bodement, and to partake of the
gladdening anticipations in which he indulged. The effort to please
others never fails to reward ourselves. In the afternoon, when the old
dowager called, she was delighted to find them both satisfied with the
prospect, which had so suddenly opened, and so far, too, beyond her
most sanguine expectations, that she also shared in their pleasure, and
with her grandson inferred, from the liberal earnest he had received,
that, in the papers and deeds he was invited to witness, his father
intended to make some provision to enable him to support the rank in
society to which Isabella had been born, and in which his own taste
prompted him to move. The evening, in consequence, was spent by them
with all the happiness which the children of men so often enjoy with
the freest confidence, while the snares of adversity are planted around
them, and the demons of sorrow and evil are hovering unseen, awaiting
the signal from destiny to descend on their blind and unsuspicious
victims.



CHAPTER XXII


Grippy passed the interval between the visit and the day appointed
for the execution of the deeds of entail with as much comfort of mind
as Heaven commonly bestows on a man conscious of an unjust intention,
and unable to excuse it to himself. Charles, who, in the meantime,
naturally felt some anxiety to learn the precise nature of the intended
settlement, was early afoot on the morning of Wednesday, and walked
from the lodgings where he resided with his wife in Glasgow to meet
his father and brother, on their way to the town. Being rather before
the time appointed, he went forward to the house, on the green plot in
front of which the old man was standing, with his hands behind, and his
head thoughtfully bent downwards.

The approach of his son roused Claud from his reverie; and he went
briskly forward to meet him, shaking him heartily by the hand, and
inquiring, with more kindness than the occasion required, for the
health of his young wife. Such unusual cordiality tended to confirm
the delusion which the gift of the bank-bill on Sunday had inspired;
but the paroxysm of affection produced by the effort to disguise the
sense which the old man suffered of the irreparable wrong he was so
doggedly resolved to commit, soon went off; and, in the midst of his
congratulations, conscience smote him with such confusion, that he
was obliged to turn away, to conceal the embarrassment which betrayed
the insincerity of the warmth he had so well assumed. Poor Charles,
however, was prevented from observing the change in his manner and
countenance, by Walter appearing at the door in his Sunday clothes,
followed by his mother, with his best hat in her hand, which she was
smoothing at the same time with the tail of her apron.

‘I redde ye, my bairn,’ said she to Walter, as she gave him the hat,
‘to take care o’ thysel, for ye ken they’re an unco crew ay in the
Trongate on Wednesday; and mind what I hae been telling you, no to put
your hand to pen and ink unless Mr. Keelevin tells you it’s to be for
your advantage; for Charlie’s your father’s ain chevalier, and nae
farther gane than the last Lord’s day, he gied him, as I telt you, a
whole hundred pound for hansel to his tocherless matrimony.’

Charles, at this speech, reddened and walked back from the house,
without speaking to his mother; but he had not advanced many steps
towards the gate, when she cried,--

‘Hey, Charlie! are ye sae muckle ta’en up wi’ your bonny bride, that
your mother’s already forgotten?’

He felt the reproof, and immediately turned and went back to make some
apology, but she prevented him by saying,--

‘See that this is no a Jacob and Esau business, Charlie, and that ye
dinna wrang poor Watty; for he’s an easy good-natured lad, and will
just do what either you or his father bids him.’

Charles laughed, and replied,--

‘I think, mother, your exhortation should rather be to Watty than me;
for ye ken Jacob was the youngest, and beguiled his auld brother of the
birthright.’

The old man heard the remark, and felt it rush through his very soul
with the anguish of a barbed and feathered arrow; and he exclaimed,
with an accent of remorse as sharp and bitter as the voice of anger,--

‘Hae done wi’ your clavers, and come awa. Do ye think Mr. Keelevin
has nothing mair to do than to wait for us, while ye’re talking
profanity, and taigling at this gait? Come awa, Watty, ye gumshionless
cuif as ever father was plagued wi’; and Charlie, my lad, let us gang
thegither, the haverel will follow; for if it has na the colley-dog’s
sense, it has something like its instinct.’

And so saying, he stepped on hastily towards the gate, swinging his
staff in his right hand, and walking faster and more erectly than he
was wont.

The two sons, seeing the pace at which their father was going forward,
parted from their mother and followed him, Charles laughing and jeering
at the beau which Walter had made of himself.

During the journey the old man kept aloof from them, turning
occasionally round to rebuke their mirth, for there was something in
the freedom and gaiety of Charles’s laugh that reproached his spirit,
and the folly of Walter was never so disagreeable to him before.

When they reached the office of Mr. Keelevin, they found him with
the parchments ready on the desk; but before reading them over, he
requested the Laird to step in with him into his inner-chamber.

‘Noo, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said he, when he had shut the door, ‘I hope ye
have well reflected on this step, for when it is done, there’s nae
power in the law o’ Scotland to undo it. I would, therefore, fain hope
ye’re no doing this out of any motive or feeling of resentment for the
thoughtless marriage, it may be, of your auld son.’

Claud assured him, that he was not in the slightest degree influenced
by any such sentiment; adding, ‘But, Mr. Keelevin, though I employ you
to do my business, I dinna think ye ought to catechize me. Ye’re, as I
would say, but the pen in this matter, and the right or the wrong o’t’s
a’ my ain. I would, therefore, counsel you, noo that the papers are
ready, that they should be implemented, and for that purpose, I hae
brought my twa sons to be the witnesses themselves to the act and deed.’

Mr. Keelevin held up his hands, and, starting back, gave a deep sigh as
he said,--‘It’s no possible that Charlie can be consenting to his own
disinheritance, or he’s as daft as his brother.’

‘Consenting here, or consenting there, Mr. Keelevin,’ replied the
father, ‘ye’ll just bring in the papers and read them o’er to me; ye
need na fash to ca’ ben the lads, for that might breed strife atween
them.’

‘Na! as sure’s death, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ exclaimed the honest writer,
with a warmth and simplicity rather obsolete among his professional
brethren now-a-days, however much they may have been distinguished for
those qualities in the innocent golden age; ‘Na! as sure’s death, Mr.
Walkinshaw, this is mair than I hae the conscience to do; the lads are
parties to the transaction, by their reversionary interest, and it is
but right and proper they should know what they are about.’

‘Mr. Keelevin,’ cried the Laird, peevishly, ‘ye’re surely growing
doited. It would be an unco-like thing if witnesses to our wills and
testaments had a right to ken what we bequeathe. Please God, neither
Charlie nor Watty sall be ony the wiser o’ this day’s purpose, as lang
as the breath’s in my body.’

‘Weel, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ replied the lawyer, ‘ye’ll tak your own way
o’t, I see that; but, as ye led me to believe, I hope an’ trust it’s
in your power to make up to Charles the consequences of this very
extraordinary entail; and I hope ye’ll lose no time till ye hae done
sae.’

‘Mr. Keelevin, ye’ll read the papers,’ was the brief and abrupt answer
which Claud made to this admonition; and the papers were accordingly
brought in and read.

During the reading, Claud was frequently afflicted by the discordant
cheerfulness of Charles’s voice in the outer room, joking with the
clerks at the expense of his fortunate brother; but the task of
aforesaids and hereafters being finished, he called them in, with
a sharp and peevish accent, and signed the deeds in their presence.
Charles took the pen from his father, and also at once signed as
witness, while Mr. Keelevin looked the living image of amazement; but,
when the pen was presented to Watty, he refused to take it.

‘What am I to get by this?’ said the natural, mindful of his mother’s
advice. ‘I would like to ken that. Nobody writes papers without
payment.’

‘T’ou’s a born idiot,’ said the father; ‘wilt t’ou no do as t’ou’s
bidden?’

‘I’ll do ony other thing ye like, but I’ll no sign that drum-head
paper, without an advantage: ye would na get Mr. Keelevin to do the
like o’t without payment; and what for should ye get me? Have na I come
in a’ the gait frae the Grippy to do this; and am I no to get a black
bawbee for my pains?’

The Laird masked the vexation with which this idiot speech of his
destined heir troubled his self-possession, while Charles sat down in
one of the chairs, convulsed with laughter. Claud was not, however,
to be deterred from his purpose by the absurdity of his son: on the
contrary, he was afraid to make the extent of the fool’s folly too
evident, lest it might afterwards be rendered instrumental to set aside
the entail. He called in one of the clerks from the outer-chamber,
and requested him to attest his signature. Walter loudly complained
of being so treated; and said, that he expected a guinea, at the very
least, for the trouble he had been put to; for so he interpreted the
advantage to which his mother had alluded.

‘Weel, weel,’ said his father, ‘ha’d thy tongue, and t’ou sall get a
guinea; but first sign this other paper,’ presenting to him the second
deed; by which, as possessor of the Plealands’ estate, he entailed
it in the same manner, and to the same line of succession, as he had
himself destined the Grippy. The assurance of the guinea was effectual;
Walter signed the deed, which was witnessed by Charles and the clerk;
and the disinheritance was thus made complete.



CHAPTER XXIII


On leaving the office of Mr. Keelevin, Charles invited his father and
brother to go home with him; but the old man abruptly turned away.
Walter, however, appeared inclined to accept the invitation, and was
moving off with Charles, when their father looked back, and chidingly
commanded him to come along.

At any other time, this little incident would have been unnoticed by
Charles, who, believing the old man had made some liberal provision
for him or for his wife, was struck with the harsh contrast of such
behaviour to the paternal affection by which he thought him actuated;
and he paused, in consequence, thoughtfully looking after him as he
walked towards the Cross, followed by Walter.

Grippy had not proceeded above twenty or thirty paces when he stopped,
and turning round, called to his son, who immediately obeyed the
summons.

‘Charlie,’ said he, ‘I hope t’ou’ll let nae daffing nor ploys about
this marriage o’ thine tak up thy attention frae the shop; for business
maun be minded; and I’m thinking t’ou had as weel be making up a bit
balance-sheet, that I may see how the counts stand between us.’

This touched an irksome recollection, and recalled to mind the
observation which his father had made on the occasion of Fatherlans’
ruin, with respect to the hazards of taking into partnership a man with
the prospect of a family.

‘I hope,’ was his reply, ‘that it is not your intention, sir, to close
accounts with me?’

‘No, Charlie, no,’ was his answer.--‘I’ll maybe mak things better for
thee--t’ou’ll no be out o’ the need o’t. But atween hands mak up the
balance-sheet, and come doun on Saturday wi’ thy wife to Grippy, and
we’ll hae some discourse anent it.’

With these words, the old man and Walter again went on towards the
Cross, leaving Charles standing perplexed, and unable to divine the
source and motives of his father’s behaviour. It seemed altogether
so unaccountable, that for a moment he thought of going back to
Mr. Keelevin to ask him concerning the settlements; but a sense of
propriety restrained him, and he thought it alike indelicate and
dishonourable to pry into an affair which was so evidently concealed
from him. But this restraint, and these considerations, did not in
any degree tend to allay the anxiety which the mysteriousness of his
father’s conduct had so keenly excited; so that, when he returned home
to Isabella, he appeared absent and thoughtful, which she attributed
to some disappointment in his expectations,--an idea the more natural
to her, as she had, from the visit on Sunday, been haunted with an
apprehension that there was something unsound in the reconciliation.

Upon being questioned as to the cause of his altered spirits, Charles
could give no feasible reason for the change. He described what had
passed, he mentioned what his father had said, and he communicated the
invitation, in all which there was nothing that the mind could lay hold
of, nor aught to justify his strange and indescribable apprehension, if
that feeling might be called an apprehension, to which his imagination
could attach no danger, nor conjure up any thing to be feared. On
the contrary, so far from having reason to suspect that evil was
meditated against him, he had received a positive assurance that his
circumstances would probably receive an immediate improvement; but for
all that, there had been, in the reserve of the old man’s manner, and
in the vagueness of his promises, a something which sounded hollowly to
his hope, and deprived him of confidence in the anticipations he had
cherished.

While Isabella and he were sitting together conversing on the subject,
the old Leddy Plealands came in, anxious to hear what had been done,
having previously been informed of the intended settlements, but not
of their nature and objects. In her character, as we have already
intimated, there was a considerable vein, if not of romantic sentiment,
unquestionably of morbid sensibility. She disliked her son-in-law from
the first moment in which she saw him; and this dislike had made her so
averse to his company, that, although their connexion was now nearly
of four-and-twenty years’ standing, she had still but a very imperfect
notion of his character. She regarded him as one of the most sordid of
men, without being aware that avarice with him was but an agent in the
pursuit of that ancestral phantom which he worshipped as the chief,
almost the only, good in life; and, therefore, could neither imagine
any possible ground for supposing, that, after being reconciled,
he could intend his first-born any injury, nor sympathize with the
anxieties which her young friends freely confessed both felt, while
she could not but deplore the unsatisfactory state of their immediate
situation.

In the meantime, Walter and his father were walking homeward. The old
man held no communion with his son; but now and then he rebuked him for
halloing at birds in the hedges, or chasing butterflies, a sport so
unbecoming his years.

In their way they had occasion to pass the end of the path which led to
Kilmarkeckle, where Miss Bodle, the heiress, resided with her father.

‘Watty,’ said Grippy to his son, ‘gae thy ways hame by thysel, and tell
thy mither that am gaun up to the Kilmarkeckle to hae some discourse
wi’ Mr. Bodle, so that she need na weary if I dinna come hame to my
dinner.’

‘Ye had better come hame,’ said Watty, ‘for there’s a sheep’s head in
the pat, wi’ a cuff o’ the neck like ony Glasgow bailie’s.--Ye’ll no
get the like o’t at Kilmarkeckle, where the kail’s sae thin that every
pile o’ barley runs roun’ the dish, bobbing and bidding gude day to its
neighbour.’

Claud had turned into the footpath from the main road, but there was
something in this speech which did more than provoke his displeasure;
and he said aloud, and with an accent of profound dread,--‘I hope the
Lord can forgi’e me for what I hae done to this fool!’

Walter was not so void of sense as to be incapable of comprehending the
substance of this contrite exclamation; and instantly recollecting his
mother’s admonition, and having some idea, imperfect as it was, of the
peril of parchments with seals on them, he began, with obstreperous
sobs and wails, to weep and cry, because, as he said, ‘My father and
our Charlie had fastened on me the black bargain o’ a law plea to wrang
me o’ auld daddy’s mailing.’

Grippy was petrified; it seemed to him that his son was that day
smitten, in anger to him by the hand of Heaven, with a more disgusting
idiocy than he had ever before exhibited, and, instigated by the
aversion of the moment, he rushed towards him, and struck him so
furiously with his stick, that he sent him yelling homeward as fast
as he could run. The injustice and the rashness of the action were
felt at once, and, overpowered for a few seconds by shame, remorse,
and grief, the old man sat down on a low dry-stone wall that bounded
the road on one side, and clasping his hands fervently together,
confessed with bitter tears that he doubted he had committed a great
sin. It was, however, but a transitory contrition, for, hearing some
one approaching, he rose abruptly, and lifting his stick, which he had
dropped in his agitation, walked up the footpath towards Kilmarkeckle;
but he had not advanced many paces when a hand was laid on his
shoulder. He looked round, and it was Walter, with his hat folded
together in his hand.

‘Father,’ said the fool, ‘I hae catched a muckle bum-bee; will ye help
to haud it till I take out the honey blob?’

‘I’ll go hame, Watty--I’ll go hame,’ was the only answer he made, in an
accent of extreme sorrow, ‘I’ll go hame; I daur do nae mair this day,’
and he returned back with Walter to the main road, where, having again
recovered his self-possession, he said, ‘I’m dafter than thee to gang
on in this fool gait; go, as I bade thee, hame and tell thy mother
no to look for me to dinner, for I’ll aiblins bide wi’ Kilmarkeckle.’
In saying which, he turned briskly round, and, without ever looking
behind, walked with an alert step, swinging his staff courageously,
and never halted till he reached Kilmarkeckle House, where he was met
at the door by Mr. Bodle himself, who, seeing him approaching up the
avenue, came out to meet him.



CHAPTER XXIV


Bodle of Kilmarkeckle, like all the lairds of that time, was come of an
ancient family, in some degree related to the universal stock of Adam,
but how much more ancient, no historian has yet undertaken to show.
Like his contemporaries of the same station, he was, of course, proud
of his lineage; but he valued himself more on his own accomplishments
than even on the superior purity of his blood. We are, however, in
doubt, whether he ought to be described as an artist or a philosopher,
for he had equal claims to the honour of being both, and certainly
without question, in the art of delineating hieroglyphical resemblances
of birds and beasts on the walls of his parlour with snuff, he had
evinced, if not talent or genius, at least considerable industry. In
the course of more than twenty years, he had not only covered the walls
with many a curious and grotesque form, but invented,--and therein
lay the principle of his philosophy--a particular classification, as
original and descriptive as that of Linnaeus.

At an early age he had acquired the habit of taking snuff, and in
process of time became, as all regular snuff-takers are, acute in
discriminating the shades and inflexions of flavour in the kind to
which he was addicted. This was at once the cause and the principle of
his science. For the nature of each of the birds and beasts which he
modelled resembled, as he averred, some peculiarity in the tobacco
of which the snuff that they severally represented had been made; and
really, to do him justice, it was quite wonderful to hear with what
ingenuity he could explain the discriminative qualities in which the
resemblance of attributes and character consisted. But it must be
confessed, that he sometimes fell into that bad custom remarkable among
philosophers, of talking a great deal too much to every body, and on
every occasion, of his favourite study. Saving this, however, the Laird
of Kilmarkeckle was in other respects a harmless easy-tempered man, of
a nature so kind and indulgent, that he allowed all about him to grow
to rankness. The number of cats of every size and age which frisked
in his parlour, or basked at the sunny side of the house, exceeded
all reasonable credibility, and yet it was a common saying among the
neighbours, that Kilmarkeckle’s mice kittled twice as often as his cats.

In nothing was his easy and indulgent nature more shown than in his
daughter, Miss Betty, who having, at an early age, lost her mother,
he had permitted to run unbridled among the servants, till the habits
which she had acquired in consequence rendered every subsequent
attempt to reduce her into the requisite subjection of the sex totally
unavailing.

She had turned her twentieth year, and was not without beauty, but of
such a sturdy and athletic kind, that, with her open ruddy countenance,
laughing eyes, white well-set teeth, and free and joyous step and
air, justly entitled her to the nickname of Fun, bestowed by Charles
Walkinshaw. She was fond of dogs and horses, and was a better shot than
the Duke of Douglas’s gamekeeper. Bold, boisterous, and frank, she made
no scruple of employing her whip when rudely treated either by master
or man; for she frequently laid herself open to freedoms from both,
and she neither felt nor pretended to any of her sex’s gentleness nor
delicacy. Still she was not without a conciliatory portion of feminine
virtues, and perhaps, had she been fated to become the wife of a
sportsman or a soldier, she might possibly have appeared on the turf
or in the tent to considerable advantage.

Such a woman, it may be supposed, could not but look with the most
thorough contempt on Walter Walkinshaw; and yet, from the accidental
circumstance of being often his playmate in childhood, and making him,
in the frolic of their juvenile amusements, her butt and toy, she had
contracted something like an habitual affection for the creature; in
so much, that, when her father, after Claud’s visit, proposed Walter
for her husband, she made no serious objection to the match; on the
contrary, she laughed, and amused herself with the idea of making
him fetch and carry as whimsically as of old, and do her hests and
biddings as implicitly as when they were children. Every thing thus
seemed auspicious to a speedy and happy union of the properties of
Kilmarkeckle and Grippy,--indeed, so far beyond the most sanguine
expectations of Claud, that, when he saw the philosophical Laird coming
next morning, with a canister of snuff in his hand, to tell him the
result of his communication to Miss Betty, his mind was prepared to
hear a most decided, and even a menacing refusal, for having ventured
to make the proposal.

‘Come away, Kilmarkeckle,’ said he, meeting him at the door; ‘come in
by--what’s the best o’ your news this morning? I hope nothing’s wrang
at hame, to gar you look sae as ye were fasht?’

‘Troth,’ replied Kilmarkeckle, ‘I hae got a thing this morning that’s
very vexatious. Last year, at Beltane, ye should ken, I coft frae
Donald M’Sneeshen, the tobacconist aboon the Cross of Glasgow, a
canister of a kind that I ca’d the Linty. It was sae brisk in the
smeddum, so pleasant to the smell, garring ye trow in the sniffling
that ye were sitting on a bonny green knowe in hay time, by the side
of a blooming whin-bush, hearkening to the blithe wee birdies singing
sangs, as it were, to pleasure the summer’s sun; and what would ye
think, Mr. Walkinshaw, here is another canister of a sort that I’ll
defy ony ordinary nose to tell the difference, and yet, for the life
o’ me, I canna gie’t in conscience anither name than the Hippopotamus.’

‘But hae ye spoken to your dochter?’ said Grippy, interrupting him, and
apprehensive of a dissertation.

‘O aye, atweel I hae done that.’

‘And what did Miss Betty say?’

‘Na, an ye had but seen and heard her, ye would just hae dee’t, Mr.
Walkinshaw. I’m sure I wonder wha the lassie taks her light-hearted
merriment frae, for her mother was a sober and sedate sensible woman; I
never heard her jocose but ance, in a’ the time we were thegither, and
that was when I expounded to her how Maccaba is like a nightingale, the
whilk, as I hae seen and read in print, is a feathert fowl that has a
great notion o’ roses.’

‘I was fear’t for that,’ rejoined Claud, suspecting that Miss Betty had
ridiculed the proposal.

‘But to gae back to the Linty and the Hippopotamus,’ resumed
Kilmarkeckle. ‘The snuff that I hae here in this canister--tak a pree
o’t, Mr. Walkinshaw--it was sent me in a present frae Mr. Glassford,
made out of the primest hogget in his last cargo--what think ye o’t?
Noo, I would just speer gin ye could tell wherein it may be likened
to a hippopotamus, the which is a creature living in the rivers of
Afrikaw, and has twa ivory teeth, bigger, as I am creditably informed,
than the blade o’ a scythe.’

Claud, believing that his proposal had been rejected, and not desirous
of reverting to the subject, encouraged the philosopher to talk, by
saying, that he could not possibly imagine how snuff could be said to
resemble any such creature.

‘That’s a’ that ye ken!’ said Kilmarkeckle, chuckling with pleasure,
and inhaling a pinch with the most cordial satisfaction. ‘This snuff is
just as like a hippopotamus as the other sort that was sae like it was
like a linty; and nothing could be plainer; for even now when I hae’t
in my nostril, I think I see the creature wallowing and wantoning in
some wide river in a lown sunny day, wi’ its muckle glad e’en, wamling
wi’ delight in its black head, as it lies lapping in the clear caller
water, wi’ its red tongue, twirling and twining round its ivory teeth,
and every now and then giving another lick.’

‘But I dinna see any likeness in that to snuff, Mr. Bodle,’ said Claud.

‘That’s most extraordinary, Mr. Walkinshaw; for surely there is a
likeness somewhere in every thing that brings another thing to mind;
and although as yet I’ll no point out to you the vera particularity in
a hippopotamus by which this snuff gars me think o’ the beast, ye must,
nevertheless, allow past a’ dispute, that there is a particularity.’

Claud replied with ironical gravity, that he thought the snuff much
more like a meadow, for it had the smell and flavour of new hay.

‘Ye’re no far frae the mark, Grippy; and now I’ll tell you wherein the
likeness lies. The hay, ye ken, is cut down by scythes in meadows;
meadows lie by water-sides: the teeth of the hippopotamus is as big as
scythes; and he slumbers and sleeps in the rivers of Afrikaw; so the
snuff, smelling like hay, brings a’ thae things to mind; and therefore
it is like a hippopotamus.’

After enjoying a hearty laugh at this triumph of his reasoning, the
philosopher alighted from his hobby, and proceeded to tell Claud that
he had spoken to his daughter, and that she had made no objection to
the match.

‘Heavens preserve us, Mr. Bodle!’ exclaimed Grippy; ‘what were ye
havering sae about a brute beast, and had sic blithsome news to tell
me?’

They then conversed somewhat circumstantially regarding the requisite
settlements, Kilmarkeckle agreeing entirely with every thing that the
sordid and cunning bargainer proposed, until the whole business was
arranged, except the small particular of ascertaining how the appointed
bridegroom stood affected. This, however, his father undertook to
manage, and also that Walter should go in the evening to Kilmarkeckle,
and in person make a tender of his heart and hand to the blooming,
boisterous, and bouncing Miss Betty.



CHAPTER XXV


‘Watty,’ said the Laird o’ Grippy to his hopeful heir, calling him into
the room, after Kilmarkeckle had retired,--

‘Watty, come ben and sit down; I want to hae some solid converse wi’
thee. Dist t’ou hearken to what I’m saying?--Kilmarkeckle has just been
wi’ me--Hear’st t’ou me?--deevil an I saw the like o’ thee--what’s t’ou
looking at? As I was saying, Kilmarkeckle has been here, and he was
thinking that you and his dochter’--

‘Weel,’ interrupted Watty, ‘if ever I saw the like o’ that. There was
a Jenny Langlegs bumming at the corner o’ the window, when down came
a spider wabster as big as a puddock, and claught it in his arms; and
he’s off and awa wi’ her intil his nest;--I ne’er saw the like o’t.’

‘It’s most extraordinar, Watty Walkinshaw,’ exclaimed his father
peevishly, ‘that I canna get a mouthful o’ common sense out o’ thee,
although I was just telling thee o’ the greatest advantage that t’ou’s
ever likely to meet wi’ in this world. How would ye like Miss Betty
Bodle for a wife?’

‘O father!’

‘I’m saying, would na she make a capital Leddy o’ the Plealands?’

Walter made no reply, but laughed, and chucklingly rubbed his hands,
and then delightedly patted the sides of his thighs with them.

‘I’m sure ye canna fin’ ony fau’t wi’ her; there’s no a brawer nor a
better tocher’d lass in the three shires.--What think’st t’ou?’

Walter suddenly suspended his ecstasy; and grasping his knees firmly,
he bent forward, and, looking his father seriously in the face, said,--

‘But will she no thump me? Ye mind how she made my back baith black and
blue.--I’m frightit.’

‘Haud thy tongue wi’ sic nonsense; that happened when ye were but
bairns. I’m sure there’s no a blither, bonnier quean in a’ the kintra
side.’

‘I’ll no deny that she has red cheeks, and e’en like blobs o’ honey-dew
in a kail-blade; but father--Lord, father! she has a neive like a beer
mell.’

‘But for a’ that, a sightly lad like you might put up wi’ her, Watty.
I’m sure ye’ll gang far, baith east and west, before ye’ll meet wi’ her
marrow; and ye should reflek on her tocher, the whilk is a wull-ease
that’s no to be found at ilka dykeside.’

‘Aye, so they say; her uncle ’frauded his ain only dochter, and left
her a stocking-fu’ o’ guineas for a legacy.--But will she let me go
halver?’

‘Ye need na misdoubt that; na, an ye fleech her weel, I would na be
surprised if she would gi’e you the whole tot; and I’m sure ye ne’er
hae seen ony woman that ye can like better.’

‘Aye, but I hae though,’ replied Watty confidently.

‘Wha is’t?’ exclaimed his father, surprised and terrified.

‘My mother.’

The old man, sordid as he was, and driving thus earnestly his greedy
purpose, was forced to laugh at the solemn simplicity of this answer;
but he added, resuming his perseverance,--

‘True! I did na think o’ thy mother, Watty--but an t’ou was ance
marriet to Betty Bodle, t’ou would soon like her far better than thy
mother.’

‘The fifth command says, “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy
days may be long in the land;” and there’s no ae word about liking a
wife in a’ the rest.’

‘Weel, weel, but what I hae to say is, that me and Kilmarkeckle hae
made a paction for thee to marry his dochter, and t’ou maun just gang
o’er the night and court Miss Betty.’

‘But I dinna ken the way o’t, father; I ne’er did sic a thing a’ my
days; odd, I’m unco blate to try’t.’

‘Gude forgi’e me,’ said Claud to himself, ‘but the creature grows
sillier and sillier every day--I tell thee, Watty Walkinshaw, to pluck
up the spirit o’ manhood, and gang o’er this night to Kilmarkeckle, and
speak to Miss Betty by yoursel about the wedding.’

‘Atweel, I can do that, and help her to buy her parapharnauls.--We will
hae a prime apple-pye that night, wi’ raisins in’t.’

The old man was petrified.--It seemed to him that it was utterly
impossible the marriage could ever take place, and he sat for some time
stricken, as it were, with a palsy of the mind. But these intervals
of feeling and emotion were not of long duration; his inflexible
character, and the ardour with which his whole spirit was devoted to
the attainment of one object, soon settled and silenced all doubt,
contrition, and hesitation; and considering, so far as Walter was
concerned, the business decided, he summoned his wife to communicate to
her the news,--

‘Girzy Hypel,’ said he as she entered the room, holding by the neck a
chicken, which she was assisting the maids in the kitchen to pluck for
dinner, and the feathers of which were sticking thickly on the blue
worsted apron which she had put on to protect her old red quilted silk
petticoat.

‘Girzy Hypel, be nane surprised to hear of a purpose of marriage soon
between Watty and Betty Bodle.’

‘No possible!’ exclaimed the Leddy, sitting down with vehemence in her
astonishment, and flinging, at the same time, the chicken across her
lap, with a certain degree of instinctive or habitual dexterity.

‘What for is’t no possible?’ said the Laird angrily through his teeth,
apprehensive that she was going to raise some foolish objection.

‘Na, gudeman, an that’s to be a come-to-pass--let nobody talk o’
miracles to me. For although it’s a thing just to the nines o’ my
wishes, I hae ay jealoused that Betty Bodle would na tak him, for she’s
o’ a rampant nature, and he’s a sober weel-disposed lad. My word,
Watty, t’ou has thy ain luck--first thy grandfather’s property o’ the
Plealands, and syne’--She was going to add, ‘sic a bonny braw-tochered
lass as Betty Bodle’--but her observation struck jarringly on the
most discordant string in her husband’s bosom, and he interrupted her
sharply, saying,--

‘Every thing that’s ordained will come to pass; and a’ that I hae for
the present to observe to you, Girzy, is, to tak tent that the lad
gangs over wiselike, at the gloaming, to Kilmarkeckle, in order to see
Miss Betty anent the wedding.’

‘I’m sure,’ retorted the Leddy, ‘I hae no need to green for weddings in
my family, for, instead o’ any pleasance to me, the deil-be-licket’s
my part and portion o’ the pastime but girns and gowls. Gudeman, ye
should learn to keep your temper, and be of a composed spirit, and talk
wi’ me in a sedate manner, when our bairns are changing their life.
Watty, my lad, mind what your mother says--“Marriage is a creel, where
ye maun catch,” as the auld byword runs, “an adder or an eel.” But, as
I was rehearsing, I could na hae thought that Betty Bodle would hae
fa’en just at ance into your grip; for I had a notion that she was oure
souple in the tail to be easily catched. But it’s the Lord’s will,
Watty; and I hope ye’ll enjoy a’ manner o’ happiness wi’ her, and be
a comfort to ane anither, like your father and me,--bringing up your
bairns in the fear o’ God, as we hae done you, setting them, in your
walk and conversation, a pattern of sobriety and honesty, till they
come to years of discretion, when, if it’s ordained for them, nae doubt
they’ll look, as ye hae done, for a settlement in the world, and ye
maun part wi’ them, as we are obligated, by course of nature, to part
with you.’

At the conclusion of which pathetic address, the old lady lifted her
apron to wipe the gathered drops from her eyes, when Watty exclaimed,--

‘Eh! mother, ane o’ the hen’s feathers is playing at whirley wi’ the
breath o’ your nostril!’

Thus ended the annunciation of the conjugal felicity of which Grippy
was the architect.

After dinner, Walter, dressed and set off to the best advantage by
the assistance of his mother, walked, accompanied by his father, to
Kilmarkeckle; and we should do him injustice if we did not state,
that, whatever might be his intellectual deficiencies, undoubtedly in
personal appearance, saving, perhaps, some little lack of mental light
in his countenance, he was cast in a mould to find favour in any lady’s
eye. Perhaps he did not carry himself quite as firmly as if he had been
broken in by a serjeant of dragoons, and in his air and gait we shall
not undertake to affirm that there was nothing lax nor slovenly, but
still, upon the whole, he was, as his mother said, looking after him as
he left the house, ‘a braw bargain of manhood, get him wha would.’



CHAPTER XXVI


After Kilmarkeckle had welcomed Grippy and Walter, he began to talk of
the hippopotamus, by showing them the outlines of a figure which he
intended to fill up with the snuff on the wall. Claud, however, cut him
short, by proposing, in a whisper, that Miss Betty should be called in,
and that she and Walter should be left together, while they took a walk
to discuss the merits of the hippopotamus. This was done quickly, and,
accordingly, the young lady made her appearance, entering the room with
a blushing giggle, perusing her Titan of a suitor from head to heel
with the beam of her eye.

‘We’ll leave you to yoursels,’ said her father jocularly, ‘and, Watty,
be brisk wi’ her, lad; she can thole a touzle, I’se warrant.’

This exhortation had, however, no immediate effect, for Walter, from
the moment she made her appearance, looked awkward and shamefaced,
swinging his hat between his legs, with his eyes fixed on the brazen
head of the tongs, which were placed upright astraddle in front of
the grate; but every now and then he peeped at her from the corner
of his eye with a queer and luscious glance, which, while it amused,
deterred her for some time from addressing him. Diffidence, however,
had nothing to do with the character of Miss Betty Bodle, and a feeling
of conscious superiority soon overcame the slight embarrassment which
arose from the novelty of her situation.

Observing the perplexity of her lover, she suddenly started from her
seat, and advancing briskly towards him, touched him on the shoulder,
saying,--

‘Watty,--I say, Watty, what’s your will wi’ me?’

‘Nothing,’ was the reply, while he looked up knowingly in her face.

‘What are ye fear’t for? I ken what ye’re come about,’ said she; ‘my
father has telt me.’

At these encouraging words, he leaped from his chair with an alacrity
unusual to his character, and attempted to take her in his arms; but
she nimbly escaped from his clasp, giving him, at the same time, a
smart slap on the cheek.

‘That’s no fair, Betty Bodle,’ cried the lover, rubbing his cheek, and
looking somewhat offended and afraid.

‘Then what gart you meddle wi’ me?’ replied the bouncing girl, with a
laughing bravery that soon reinvigorated his love.

‘I’m sure I was na gaun to do you ony harm,’ was the reply;--‘no, as
sure’s death, Betty, I would rather cut my finger than do you ony
scaith, for I like you so weel--I canna tell you how weel; but, if
ye’ll tak me, I’ll mak you the Leddy o’ the Plealands in a jiffy, and
my mother says that my father will gie me a hundred pound to buy you
parapharnauls and new plenishing.’

The young lady was probably conciliated by the manner in which this
was said; for she approached towards him, and while still affecting
to laugh, it was manifest even to Walter himself that she was not
displeased by the alacrity with which he had come to the point.
Emboldened by her freedom, he took her by the hand, looking, however,
away from her, as if he was not aware of what he had done; and in this
situation they stood for the space of two or three minutes without
speaking. Miss Betty was the first to break silence:--

‘Weel, Watty,’ said she, ‘what are ye going to say to me?’

‘Na,’ replied he, becoming almost gallant; ‘it’s your turn to speak
noo. I hae spoken my mind, Betty Bodle--Eh! this is a bonny hand; and
what a sonsy arm ye hae--I could amaist bite your cheek, Betty Bodle--I
could.’

‘Gude preserve me, Watty! ye’re like a wud dog.’

‘An I were sae, I would worry you,’ was his animated answer, while
he turned round, and devoured her with kisses; a liberty which she
instantaneously resented, by vigorously pushing him from her, and
driving him down into her father’s easy chair; his arm in the fall
rubbing off half a score of the old gentleman’s snuffy representatives.

But, notwithstanding this masculine effort of maiden modesty, Miss
Betty really rejoiced in the ardent intrepidity of her lover, and said,
merrily,

‘I redde you, Watty, keep your distance; man and wife’s man and wife;
but I’m only Betty Bodle, and ye’re but Watty Walkinshaw.’

‘Od, Betty,’ replied Watty, not more than half-pleased, as he rubbed
his right elbow, which was hurt in the fall, ‘ye’re desperate strong,
woman; and what were ye the waur o’ a bit slaik o’ a kiss? Howsever, my
bonny dawty, we’ll no cast out for a’ that; for if ye’ll just marry me,
and I’m sure ye’ll no get any body that can like you half so weel, I’ll
do anything ye bid me, as sure’s death I will--there’s my hand, Betty
Bodle, I will; and I’ll buy you the bravest satin gown in a’ Glasgow,
wi’ far bigger flowers on’t than on any ane in a’ Mrs. Bailie Nicol
Jarvie’s aught. And we’ll live in the Plealands House, and do nothing
frae dawn to dark but shoo ane another on a swing between the twa trees
on the green; and I’ll be as kind to you, Betty Bodle, as I can be,
and buy you likewise a side-saddle, and a pony to ride on; and when the
winter comes, sowing the land wi’ hailstones to grow frost and snaw,
we’ll sit cosily at the chumley-lug, and I’ll read you a chapter o’ the
Bible, or aiblins ‘Patie and Rodger’,--as sure’s death I will, Betty
Bodle.’

It would seem, indeed, that there is something exalting and inspiring
in the tender passion; for the earnest and emphatic manner in which
this was said gave a degree of energy to the countenance of Watty, that
made him appear in the eyes of his sweetheart, to whom moral vigour
was not an object of primary admiration, really a clever and effectual
fellow.

‘I’ll be free wi’ you, Watty,’ was her answer; ‘I dinna objek to tak
you, but,’--and she hesitated.

‘But what?’ said Watty, still exalted above his wont.

‘Ye maunna hurry the wedding oure soon.’

‘Ye’ll get your ain time, Betty Bodle, I’ll promise you that,’ was
his soft answer; ‘but when a bargain’s struck, the sooner payment’s
made the better; for, as the copy-line at the school says, “Delays are
dangerous.”--So, if ye like, Betty, we can be bookit on Saturday, and
cried, for the first time, on Sabbath, and syne, a second time next
Lord’s day, and the third time on the Sunday after, and marriet on the
Tuesday following.’

‘I dinna think, Watty,’ said she, laying her hand on his shoulder,
‘that we need sic a fasherie o’ crying.’

‘Then, if ye dinna like it, Betty Bodle, I’m sure neither do I, so we
can be cried a’ out on ae day, and married on Monday, like my brother
and Bell Fatherlans.’

What more might have passed, as the lovers had now come to a perfect
understanding with each other, it is needless to conjecture, as the
return of the old gentlemen interrupted their conversation; so that,
not to consume the precious time of our readers with any unnecessary
disquisition, we shall only say, that some objection being stated
by Grippy to the first Monday as a day too early for the requisite
settlements to be prepared, it was agreed that the booking should take
place, as Walter had proposed, on the approaching Saturday, and that
the banns should be published, once on the first Sunday, and twice on
the next, and that the wedding should be held on the Tuesday following.



CHAPTER XXVII


When Charles and Isabella were informed that his brother and
Betty Bodle were to be bookit on Saturday, that is, their names
recorded, for the publication of the banns, in the books of the
kirk-session,--something like a gleam of light seemed to be thrown on
the obscurity which invested the motives of the old man’s conduct. They
were perfectly aware of Walter’s true character, and concluded, as all
the world did at the time, that the match was entirely of his father’s
contrivance; and they expected, when Walter’s marriage settlement came
to be divulged, that they would then learn what provision had been made
for themselves. In the meantime, Charles made out the balance-sheet,
as he had been desired, and carried it in his pocket when he went on
Saturday with his wife to dine at Grippy.

The weather that day was mild for the season, but a thin grey vapour
filled the whole air, and saddened every feature of the landscape. The
birds sat mute and ourie, and the Clyde, increased by recent upland
rains, grumbled with the hoarseness of his wintry voice. The solemnity
of external nature awakened a sympathetic melancholy in the minds of
the young couple, as they walked towards their father’s, and Charles
once or twice said that he felt a degree of depression which he had
never experienced before.

‘I wish, Isabella,’ said he, ‘that this business of ours were well
settled, for I begin, on your account, to grow anxious. I am not
superstitious; but I kenna what’s in’t--every now and then a thought
comes over me that I am no to be a long liver--I feel, as it were, that
I have na a firm grip of the world--a sma’ shock, I doubt, would easily
shake me off.’

‘I must own,’ replied his wife with softness, ‘that we have both some
reason to regret our rashness. I ought not to have been so weak as to
feel the little hardships of my condition so acutely; but, since it
is done, we must do our best to bear up against the anxiety that I
really think you indulge too much. My advice is, that we should give up
speaking about your father’s intents, and strive, as well as we can, to
make your income, whatever it is, serve us.’

‘That’s kindly said, my dear Bell, but you know that my father’s no
a man that can be persuaded to feel as we feel, and I would not be
surprised were he to break up his partnership with me, and what should
we then do?’

In this sort of anxious and domestic conversation, they approached
towards Grippy House, where they were met on the green in front by
Margaret and George, who had not seen them since their marriage.
Miss Meg, as she was commonly called, being at the time on a visit
in Argyleshire with a family to whom their mother was related, the
Campbells of Glengrowlmaghallochan, and George was also absent on a
shooting excursion with some of his acquaintance at the Plealands, the
mansion-house of which happened to be then untenanted. Their reception
by their brother and sister, especially by Miss Meg, was kind and
sisterly, for although in many points she resembled her mother, she yet
possessed much more warmth of heart.

The gratulations and welcomings being over, she gave a description of
the preparations which had already commenced for Walter’s wedding.

‘Na, what would ye think,’ said she, laughing, ‘my father gied him ten
pounds to gang intil Glasgow the day to buy a present for the bride,
and ye’ll hardly guess what he sent her,--a cradle,--a mahogany
cradle, shod wi’ roynes, that it may na waken the baby when it’s
rocking.’

‘But that would na tak all the ten pounds?’ said Charles, diverted by
the circumstance; ‘what has he done wi’ the rest?’

‘He could na see any other thing to please him, so he tied it in the
corner of his napkin, but as he was coming home flourishing it round
his head, it happened to strike the crookit tree at the water-side,
and the whole tot o’ the siller, eight guineas, three half-crowns, and
eighteenpence, played whir to the very middle o’ the Clyde. He has na
got the grief o’ the loss greetten out yet.’

Before there was time for any observation to be made on this
misfortune, the bridegroom came out to the door, seemingly in high
glee, crying, ‘See what I hae gotten,’ showing another note for ten
pounds, which his father had given to pacify him, before Kilmarkeckle
and the bride arrived; they being also expected to dinner.

It happened that Isabella, dressed in her gayest apparel for this
occasion, had brought in her hand, wrapt in paper, a pair of red
morocco shoes, which, at that period, were much worn among lairds’
daughters; for the roads, being deep and sloughy, she had, according
to the fashion of the age, walked in others of a coarser kind; and
Walter’s eye accidentally lighting on the shoes, he went up, without
preface, to his sister-in-law, and, taking the parcel gently out of her
hand, opened it, and contemplating the shoes, holding one in each hand
at arm’s length, said, ‘Bell Fatherlans, what will ye tak to sell thir
bonny red cheeket shoon?--I would fain buy them for Betty Bodle.’

Several minutes elapsed before it was possible to return any answer;
but when composure was in some degree regained, Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw
said,--

‘Ye surely would never buy old shoes for your bride? I have worn them
often. It would be an ill omen to give her a second-hand present, Mr.
Walter; besides, I don’t think they would fit.’

This little incident had the effect of tuning the spirits of Charles
and his wife into some degree of unison with the main business of the
day; and the whole party entered the house bantering and laughing with
Walter. But scarcely had they been seated, when their father said,--

‘Charlie, has t’ou brought the balance-sheet, as I bade thee?’

This at once silenced both his mirth and Isabella’s, and the old man
expressed his satisfaction on receiving it, and also that the profits
were not less than he expected.

Having read it over carefully, he then folded it slowly up, and put it
into his pocket, and, rising from his seat, walked three or four times
across the room, followed by the eyes of his beating-hearted son and
daughter-in-law--at last he halted.

‘Weel, Charlie,’ said he, ‘I’ll no be waur than my word to thee--t’ou
sall hae a’ the profit made between us since we came thegither in the
shop; that will help to get some bits o’ plenishing for a house--and
I’ll mak, for time coming, an eke to thy share. But, Charlie and Bell,
ca’ canny; bairns will rise among you, and ye maun bear in mind that I
hae baith Geordie and Meg to provide for yet.’

This was said in a fatherly manner, and the intelligence was in so many
respects agreeable, that it afforded the anxious young couple great
pleasure. Walter was not, however, satisfied at hearing no allusion to
him, and he said,--

‘And are ye no gaun to do any thing for me, father?’

These words, like the cut of a scourge, tingled to the very soul of
the old man, and he looked with a fierce and devouring eye at the
idiot;--but said nothing. Walter was not, however, to be daunted;
setting up a cry, something between a wail and a howl, he brought his
mother flying from the kitchen, where she was busy assisting the maids
in preparing dinner--to inquire what had befallen the bridegroom.

‘My father’s making a step-bairn o’ me, mother, and has gi’en Charlie
a’ the outcome frae the till, and says he’s gaun to hain but for
Geordie and Meg.’

‘Surely, gudeman,’ said the Leddy o’ Grippy, addressing her
husband, who for a moment stood confounded at this obstreperous
accusation--‘Surely ye’ll hae mair naturality than no to gi’e Watty a
bairn’s part o’ gear? Has na he a right to share and share alike wi’
the rest, over and aboon what he got by my father? If there’s law,
justice, or gospel in the land, ye’ll be obligated to let him hae his
right, an I should sell my coat to pay the cost.’

The old man made no answer; and his children sat in wonder, for they
inferred from his silence that he actually did intend to make a
step-bairn of Watty.

‘Weel!’ said the Leddy emphatically, ‘but I jealoused something
o’ this;--I kent there could be nae good at the bottom o’ that
huggermuggering wi’ Keelevin. Howsever, I’ll see til’t, Watty, and I’ll
gar him tell what he has put intil that abomination o’ a paper that ye
were deluded to sign.’

Claud, at these words, started from his seat, with the dark face, and
pale quivering lips of guilt and vengeance; and, giving a stamp with
his foot that shook the whole house, cried,--

‘If ye daur to mak or meddle wi’ what I hae done!’

He paused for about the space of half a minute, and then he added,
in his wonted calm and sober voice,--‘Watty, t’ou has been provided
more--I hae done mair for thee than I can weel excuse to mysel--and
I charge baith thee and thy mother never, on pain of my curse and
everlasting ill-will, to speak ony sic things again.’

‘What hae ye done? canna ye tell us, and gie a bodie a satisfaction?’
exclaimed the Leddy.

But the wrath again mustered and lowered in his visage, and he said, in
a voice so deep and dreadful, so hollow and so troubled, from the very
innermost caverns of his spirit, that it made all present tremble,--

‘Silence, woman, silence.’

‘Eh! there’s Betty Bodle and her father,’ exclaimed Watty, casting his
eyes, at that moment, towards the window, and rushing from his seat,
with an extravagant flutter, to meet them, thus happily terminating a
scene which threatened to banish the anticipated festivity and revels
of the day.



CHAPTER XXVIII


Leddy Grippy having been, as she herself observed, ‘cheated baith o’
bridal and infare by Charlie’s moonlight marriage,’ was resolved to
have all made up to her, and every jovial and auspicious rite performed
at Walter’s wedding.--Accordingly, the interval between the booking
and the day appointed for the ceremony was with her all bustle and
business. Nor were the preparations at Kilmarkeckle to send forth the
bride in proper trim, in any degree less active or liberal. Among other
things, it had been agreed that each of the two families should kill
a cow for the occasion, but an accident rendered this unnecessary at
Grippy.

At this time, Kilmarkeckle and Grippy kept two bulls who cherished the
most deadly hatred of each other, insomuch that their respective herds
had the greatest trouble to prevent them from constantly fighting.
And on the Thursday preceding the wedding-day, Leddy Grippy, in the
multitude of her cares and concerns, having occasion to send a message
to Glasgow, and, unable to spare any of the other servants, called the
cow-boy from the field, and dispatched him on the errand. Bausy, as
their bull was called, taking advantage of his keeper’s absence, went
muttering and growling for some time round the enclosure, till at last
discovering a gap in the hedge, he leapt through, and, flourishing
his tail, and grumbling as hoarse as an earthquake, he ran, breathing
wrath and defiance, straight on towards a field beyond where Gurl,
Kilmarkeckle’s bull, was pasturing in the most conjugal manner with
his sultanas.

Gurl knew the voice of his foe, and, raising his head from the grass,
bellowed a hoarse and sonorous answer to the challenger, and, in the
same moment, scampered to the hedge, on the outside of which Bausy was
roaring his threats of vengeance and slaughter. The two adversaries
glared for a moment at each other, and then galloped along the sides
of the hedge in quest of an opening through which they might rush to
satisfy their rage.

In the meantime, Kilmarkeckle’s herd-boy had flown to the house for
assistance, and Miss Betty, heading all the servants, and armed with a
flail, came, at double quick time, to the scene of action. But, before
she could bring up her forces, Bausy burst headlong through the hedge,
like a hurricane. Gurl, however, received him with such a thundering
batter on the ribs, that he fell reeling from the shock. A repetition
of the blow laid him on the ground, gasping and struggling with rage,
agony, and death, so that, before the bride and her allies were able
to drive Gurl from his fallen antagonist, he had gored and fractured
him in almost every bone with the force and strength of the beam of
a steam-engine. Thus was Leddy Grippy prevented from killing the cow
which she had allotted for the wedding-feast, the carcase of Bausy
being so unexpectedly substituted.

But, saving this accident, nothing went amiss in the preparations for
the wedding either at Grippy or Kilmarkeckle. All the neighbours were
invited, and the most joyous anticipations universally prevailed; even
Claud himself seemed to be softened from the habitual austerity which
had for years gradually encrusted his character, and he partook of
the hilarity of his family, and joked with the Leddy in a manner so
facetious, that her spirits mounted, and, as she said herself, ‘were
flichtering in the very air.’

The bridegroom alone, of all those who took any interest in the
proceedings, appeared thoughtful and moody; but it was impossible that
any lover could be more devoted to his mistress: from morning to night
he hovered round the skirts of her father’s mansion, and as often as
he got a peep of her, he laughed, and then hastily retired, wistfully
looking behind, as if he hoped that she would follow. Sometimes this
manœuvre proved successful, and Miss Betty permitted him to encircle
her waist with his arm, as they ranged the fields in amatory communion
together.

This, although perfectly agreeable to their happy situation, was not
at all times satisfactory to his mother; and she frequently chided
Watty for neglecting the dinner hour, and ‘curdooing,’ as she said,
‘under cloud o’ night.’ However, at last every preparatory rite but
the feet-washing was performed; and that it also might be accomplished
according to the most mirthful observance of the ceremony at that
period, Charles and George brought out from Glasgow, on the evening
prior to the wedding-day, a score of their acquaintance to assist in
the operation on the bridegroom; while Miss Meg, and all the maiden
friends of the bride, assembled at Kilmarkeckle to officiate there. But
when the hour arrived, Watty was absent. During the mixing of a large
bowl of punch, at which Charles presided, he had slily escaped, and not
answering to their summons, they were for some time surprised, till it
was suggested that possibly he might have gone to the bride, whither
they agreed to follow him.

Meanwhile the young ladies had commenced their operations with Miss
Betty. The tub, the hot water, and the ring, were all in readiness; her
stockings were pulled off, and loud laughter and merry scuffling, and
many a freak of girlish gambol was played, as they rubbed her legs, and
winded their fingers through the water to find the ring of Fortune,
till a loud exulting neigh of gladness at the window at once silenced
their mirth.

The bride raised her eyes; her maidens turning round from the tub,
looked towards the window, where they beheld Watty standing, his
white teeth and large delighted eyes glittering in the light of the
room. It is impossible to describe the consternation of the ladies at
this profane intrusion on their peculiar mysteries. The bride was the
first that recovered her self-possession: leaping from her seat, and
oversetting the tub in her fury, she bounded to the door, and, seizing
Watty by the cuff of the neck, shook him as a tigress would a buffalo.

‘The deevil ride a-hunting on you, Watty Walkinshaw, I’ll gar you
glower in at windows,’ was her endearing salutation, seconded by the
whole vigour of her hand in a smack on the face, so impressive, that it
made him yell till the very echoes yelled again. ‘Gang hame wi’ you,
ye roaring bull o’ Bashen, or I’ll take a rung to your back,’ then
followed; and the terrified bridegroom instantly fled coweringly, as if
she actually was pursuing him with a staff.

‘I trow,’ said she, addressing herself to the young ladies who had come
to the door after her, ‘I’ll learn him better manners, before he’s long
in my aught.’

‘I would be none surprised were he to draw back,’ said Miss Jenny
Shortridge, a soft and diffident girl, who, instead of joining in the
irresistible laughter of her companions, had continued silent, and
seemed almost petrified.

‘Poo!’ exclaimed the bride; ‘he draw back! Watty Walkinshaw prove false
to me! He dare na, woman, for his very life; but, come, let us gang in
and finish the fun.’

But the fun had suffered a material abatement by the breach which had
thus been made in it. Miss Meg Walkinshaw, however, had the good luck
to find the ring, a certain token that she would be the next married.

In the meantime, the chastised bridegroom, in running homeward, was
met by his brothers and their companions, to whose merriment he
contributed quite as much as he had subtracted from that of the ladies,
by the sincerity with which he related what had happened,--declaring,
that he would rather stand in the kirk than tak Betty Bodle; which
determination Charles, in the heedlessness and mirth of the moment, so
fortified and encouraged, that, before they had returned back to the
punch-bowl, Walter was swearing that neither father nor mother would
force him to marry such a dragoon. The old man seemed more disturbed
than might have been expected from his knowledge of the pliancy of
Walter’s disposition at hearing him in this humour, while the Leddy
said, with all the solemnity suitable to her sense of the indignity
which her favourite had suffered,--

‘Biting and scarting may be Scotch folks’ wooing; but if that’s the
gait Betty Bodle means to use you, Watty, my dear, I would see her,
and a’ the Kilmarkeckles that ever were cleckit, doon the water, or
strung in a wooddie, before I would hae ony thing to say to ane come
o’ their seed or breed. To lift her hands to her bridegroom!--The like
o’t was never heard tell o’ in a Christian land--Na, gudeman, nane
o’ your winks and glooms to me,--I will speak out. She’s a perfect
drum-major,--the randy cutty--deevil-do-me-good o’ her--it’s no to seek
what I’ll gie her the morn.’

‘Dinna grow angry, mother,’ interposed Walter, thawing, in some degree,
from the sternness of his resentment. ‘It was na a very sair knock
after a’.’

‘T’ou’s a fool and a sumph to say any thing about it, Watty,’ said
Grippy himself; ‘many a brawer lad has met wi’ far waur; and, if t’ou
had na been egget on by Charlie to mak a complaint, it would just hae
passed like a pat for true love.’

‘Eh na, father, it was na a pat, but a scud like the clap o’ a fir
deal,’ said the bridegroom.

‘Weel, weel, Watty,’ exclaimed Charlie, ‘you must just put up wi’t,
ye’re no a penny the waur o’t.’ By this sort of conversation Walter was
in the end pacified, and reconciled to his destiny.



CHAPTER XXIX


Never did Nature show herself better pleased on any festival than on
Walter’s wedding-day. The sun shone out as if his very rays were as
much made up of gladness as of light. The dew-drops twinkled as if
instinct with pleasure. The birds lilted--the waters and the windows
sparkled; cocks crowed as if they were themselves bridegrooms, and the
sounds of laughing girls, and cackling hens, made the riant banks of
the Clyde joyful for many a mile.

It was originally intended that the minister should breakfast at
Kilmarkeckle, to perform the ceremony there; but this, though in
accordance with newer and genteeler fashions, was overruled by the
young friends of the bride and bridegroom insisting that the wedding
should be celebrated with a ranting dance and supper worthy of the
olden, and, as they told Leddy Grippy, better times. Hence the
liberality of the preparations, as intimated in the preceding chapter.

In furtherance of this plan, the minister, and all his family, were
invited, and it was arranged, that the ceremony should not take place
till the evening, when the whole friends of the parties, with the
bride and bridegroom at their head, should walk in procession after
the ceremony from the manse to Grippy, where the barn, by the fair
hands of Miss Meg and her companions, was garnished and garlanded for
the ball and banquet. Accordingly, as the marriage hour drew near, and
as it had been previously concerted by ‘the best men’ on both sides,
a numerous assemblage of the guests took place, both at Grippy and
Kilmarkeckle--and, at the time appointed, the two parties, respectively
carrying with them the bride and bridegroom, headed by a piper playing
‘Hey let us a’ to the bridal,’ proceeded to the manse, where they were
met by their worthy parish pastor at the door.

The Reverend Doctor Denholm was one of those old estimable stock
characters of the best days of the presbytery, who, to great learning
and sincere piety, evinced an inexhaustible fund of couthy jocularity.
He was far advanced in life, an aged man, but withal hale and hearty,
and as fond of an innocent ploy, such as a wedding or a christening,
as the blithest spirit in its teens of any lad or lass in the parish.
But he was not quite prepared to receive so numerous a company; nor,
indeed, could any room in the manse have accommodated half the party.
He, therefore, proposed to perform the ceremony under the great tree,
which sheltered the house from the south-west wind in winter, and
afforded shade and shelter to all the birds of summer that ventured
to trust themselves beneath its hospitable boughs. To this, however,
Walter, the bridegroom, seemed disposed to make some objection,
alleging that it might be a very good place for field-preaching, or
for a tent on sacramental occasions, ‘but it was an unco-like thing to
think of marrying folk under the canopy of the heavens;’ adding, ‘that
he did na think it was canny to be married under a tree.’

The Doctor soon, however, obviated this objection, by assuring him that
Adam and Eve had been married under a tree.

‘Gude keep us a’ frae sic a wedding as they had,’ replied Watty; ‘where
the deil was best-man? Howsever, Doctor, sin it’s no an apple-tree,
I’ll mak a conformity.’ At which the pipes again struck up, and, led by
the worthy Doctor bare-headed, the whole assemblage proceeded to the
spot.

‘Noo, Doctor,’ said the bridegroom, as all present were composing
themselves to listen to the religious part of the ceremony--‘Noo,
Doctor, dinna scrimp the prayer, but tie a sicker knot; I hae nae
broo o’ the carnality o’ five minute marriages, like the Glasgowers,
and ye can weel afford to gie us half an hour, ’cause ye’re weel payt
for the wind o’ your mouth: the hat and gloves I sent you cost me
four-and-twenty shillings, clean countit out to my brother Charlie,
that would na in his niggerality faik me a saxpence on a’ the liveries
I bought frae him.’

This address occasioned a little delay, but order being again restored,
the Reverend Doctor, folding his hands together, and lowering his
eyelids, and assuming his pulpit voice, began the prayer.

It was a calm and beautiful evening, the sun at the time appeared to
be resting on the flaky amber that adorned his western throne, to
look back on the world, as if pleased to see the corn and the fruits
gathered, with which he had assisted to fill the wide lap of the
matronly earth. We happened at the time to be walking alone towards
Blantyre, enjoying the universal air of contentment with which all
things at the golden sunsets of autumn invite the anxious spirit of man
to serenity and repose. As we approached the little gate that opened
to the footpath across the glebe by which the road to the village was
abridged to visitors on foot, our attention was first drawn towards
the wedding party, by the kindly, pleasing, deep-toned voice of the
venerable pastor, whose solemn murmurs rose softly into the balmy air,
diffusing all around an odour of holiness that sweetened the very sense
of life.

We paused, and uncovering, walked gently and quietly towards the
spot, which we reached just as the worthy Doctor had bestowed the
benediction. The bride looked blushing and expectant, but Walter,
instead of saluting her in the customary manner, held her by the hand
at arm’s length, and said to the Doctor, ‘Be served.’

‘Ye should kiss her, bridegroom,’ said the minister.

‘I ken that,’ replied Watty, ‘but no till my betters be served. Help
yoursel, Doctor.’

Upon which the Doctor, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand,
enjoyed himself as he was requested.

‘It’s the last buss,’ added Walter, ‘it’s the last buss, Betty Bodle,
ye’ll e’er gie to mortal man while am your gudeman.’

‘I did na think,’ said the Reverend Doctor aside to us, ‘that the
creature had sic a knowledge o’ the vows.’

The pipes at this crisis being again filled, the guests, hand in hand,
following the bridegroom and bride, then marched to the ornamented barn
at Grippy, to which we were invited to follow; but what then ensued
deserves a new chapter.



CHAPTER XXX


Having accepted the invitation to come with the minister’s family to
the wedding, we stopped and took tea at the manse with the Reverend
Doctor and Mrs. Denholm,--the young ladies and their brother having
joined the procession. For all our days we have been naturally of a
most sedate turn of mind; and although then but in our twenty-third
year, we preferred the temperate good humour of the Doctor’s
conversation, and the householdry topics of his wife, to the boisterous
blair of the bagpipes. As soon, however, as tea was over, with Mrs.
Denholm dressed in her best, and the pastor in his newest suit, we
proceeded towards Grippy.

By this time the sun was set, but the speckless topaz of the western
skies diffused a golden twilight, that tinged every object with a
pleasing mellow softness. Like the wedding-ring of a bashful bride, the
new moon just showed her silver rim, and the evening star was kindling
her lamp, as we approached the foot of the avenue which led to the
house, the windows of which sparkled with festivity; while from the
barn the merry yelps of two delighted fiddles, and the good-humoured
grumbling of a well-pleased bass, mingling with laughter and squeaks,
and the thudding of bounding feet, made every pulse in our young blood
circle as briskly as the dancers in their reeling.

When we reached the door, the moment that the venerable minister made
his appearance, the music stopped, and the dancing was suspended, by
which we were enabled to survey the assembly for a few minutes, in
its most composed and ceremonious form. At the upper end of the barn
stood two arm-chairs, one of which, appropriated to the bridegroom, was
empty; in the other sat the bride, panting from the vigorous efforts
she had made in the reel that was interrupted by our entrance. The
bridegroom himself was standing near a table close to the musicians,
stirring a large punch-bowl, and filling from time to time the glasses.
His father sat in a corner by himself, with his hands leaning on his
staff, and his lips firmly drawn together, contemplating the scene
before him with a sharp but thoughtful eye. Old Kilmarkeckle, with
an ivory snuff-box, mounted with gold, in his hand, was sitting with
Mr. Keelevin on the left hand of Claud, evidently explaining some
remarkable property in the flavour of the snuff, to which the honest
lawyer was paying the utmost attention, looking at the philosophical
Laird, however, every now and then, with a countenance at once
expressive of admiration, curiosity, and laughter. Leddy Grippy sat on
the left of the bride, apparelled in a crimson satin gown, made for the
occasion, with a stupendous fabric of gauze and catgut, adorned with
vast convolutions of broad red ribbons for a head-dress, and a costly
French shawl, primly pinned open, to show her embroidered stomacher. At
her side sat the meek and beautiful Isabella, like a primrose within
the shadow of a peony; and on Isabella’s left the aged Lady Plealands,
neatly dressed in white silk, with a close cap of black lace, black
silk mittens, and a rich black apron. But we must not attempt thus to
describe all the guests, who, to the number of nearly a hundred, young
and old, were seated in various groups around the sides of the barn;
for our attention was drawn to Milrookit, the Laird of Dirdumwhamle,
a hearty widower for the second time, about forty-five--he might be
older--who, cozily in a corner, was engaged in serious courtship with
Miss Meg.

When the formalities of respect, with which Doctor Denholm was so
properly received, had been duly performed, the bridegroom bade the
fiddlers again play up, and, going towards the minister, said, ‘Do ye
smell ony thing gude, Sir?’

‘No doubt, bridegroom,’ replied the Doctor, ‘I canna be insensible to
the pleasant savour of the supper.’

‘Come here, then,’ rejoined Watty, ‘and I’ll show you a sight would
do a hungry body good--weel I wat my mother has na spared her skill
and spice.’--In saying which, he lifted aside a carpet that had been
drawn across the barn like a curtain behind the seats at the upper end
of the ball-room, and showed him the supper table, on which about a
dozen men and maid-servants were in the act of piling joints and pies
that would have done credit to the Michaelmas dinner of the Glasgow
magistrates--‘Is na that a gallant banquet?’ said Watty. ‘Look at yon
braw pastry pie wi’ the King’s crown on’t.’

The Reverend Pastor declared that it was a very edificial structure,
and he had no doubt it was as good as it looked--‘Would ye like to
pree’t, Doctor? I’ll just nip off ane o’ the pearlies on the crown to
let you taste how good it is. It’ll never be missed.’

The bride, who overheard part of this dialogue, started up at these
words, and as Walter was in the act of stretching forth his hand to
plunder the crown, she pulled him by the coat-tail, and drew him into
the chair appropriated for him, sitting down, at the same time, in her
own on his left, saying, in an angry whisper,--‘Are ye fou’ already,
Watty Walkinshaw? If ye mudge out o’ that seat again this night, I’ll
mak you as sick o’ pies and puddings as ever a dog was o’ het kail.’

Nothing more particular happened before supper; and every thing went
off at the banquet as mirthfully as on any similar occasion. The
dancing was then resumed, and during the bustle and whirl of the reels,
the bride and bridegroom were conducted quietly to the house to be
bedded.

When they were undressed, but before the stocking was thrown, we got a
hint from Charles to look at the bridal chamber, and accordingly ran
with him to the house, and bolting into the room, beheld the happy
pair sitting up in bed, with white napkins drawn over their heads like
two shrouds, and each holding one of their hands, so as to conceal
entirely their modest and downcast faces. But, before we had time to
say a word, the minister, followed by the two pipers, and the best-men
and bridesmaids, bringing posset and cake, came in,--and while the
distribution, with the customary benedictions, was going forward,
dancing was recommenced in the bedroom.

How it happened, or what was the cause, we know not; but the dancing
continued so long, and was kept up with so much glee, that somehow,
by the crowded state of the apartment, the young pair in bed were
altogether forgotten, till the bridegroom, tired with sitting so long
like a mummy, lost all patience, and, in a voice of rage and thunder,
ordered every man and mother’s son instantly to quit the room,--a
command which he as vehemently repeated with a menace of immediate
punishment,--putting, at the same time, one of his legs out of bed, and
clenching his fist, in the act of rising. The bride cowered in giggling
beneath the coverlet, and all the other ladies, followed by the men and
the pipers, fled pell-mell, and hurly-burly, glad to make their escape.



CHAPTER XXXI


When Claud first proposed the marriage to Kilmarkeckle, it was intended
that the young couple should reside at Plealands; but an opportunity
had occurred, in the meantime, for Mr. Keelevin to intimate to Mr.
Auchincloss, the gentleman who possessed the two farms, which, with
the Grippy, constituted the ancient estate of Kittlestonheugh, that
Mr. Walkinshaw would be glad to make an excambio with him, and not
only give Plealands, but even a considerable inducement in money.
This proposal, particularly the latter part of it, was agreeable to
Mr. Auchincloss, who, at the time, stood in want of ready money to
establish one of his sons in the Virginian trade; and, in consequence,
the negotiation was soon speedily brought to a satisfactory termination.

But, in this affair, Grippy did not think fit to confer with any of his
sons. He was averse to speak to Charles on the subject, possibly from
some feeling connected with the deed of entail; and, it is unnecessary
to say, that, although Walter was really principal in the business,
he had no regard for what his opinion might be. The consequence of
which was, that the bridegroom was not a little amazed to find, next
day, on proposing to ride the Brous to his own house at Plealands, and
to hold the infare there, that it was intended to be assigned to Mr.
Auchincloss, and that, as soon as his family were removed thither, the
house of Divethill, one of the exchanged farms, would be set in order
for him in its stead.

The moment that this explanation was given to Walter, he remembered
the parchments which he had signed, and the agitation of his father on
the way home, and he made no scruple of loudly and bitterly declaring,
with many a lusty sob, that he was cheated out of his inheritance by
his father and Charles. The old man was confounded at this view which
the natural plausibly enough took of the arrangement; but yet, anxious
to conceal from his first-born the injustice with which he had used him
in the entail, he at first attempted to silence Walter by threats, and
then to cajole him with promises, but without effect; at last, so high
did the conflict rise between them, that Leddy Grippy and Walter’s wife
came into the room to inquire what had happened.

‘O Betty Bodle!’ exclaimed Walter, the moment he saw them; ‘what are we
to do? My father has beguiled me o’ the Plealands, and I hae neither
house nor ha’ to tak you to. He has gart me wise it awa to Charlie, and
we’ll hae nathing as lang as Kilmarkeckle lives, but scant and want
and beggary. It’s no my fau’t, Betty Bodle, that ye’ll hae to work for
your daily bread, the sin o’t a’ is my father’s. But I’ll help you a’
I can, Betty, and if ye turn a washerwoman on the Green of Glasgow,
I’ll carry your boynes, and water your claes, and watch them, that ye
may sleep when ye’re weary’t, Betty Bodle,--for though he’s a false
father, I’ll be a true gudeman.’

Betty Bodle sat down in a chair, with her back to the window, and
Walter, going to her, hung over her with an air of kindness, which his
simplicity rendered at once affecting and tender; while Leddy Grippy,
petrified by what she heard, also sat down, and, leaning herself back
in her seat, with a look of amazement, held her arms streaked down by
her side, with all her fingers stretched and spread to the utmost.
Claud himself was for a moment overawed, and had almost lost his wonted
self-possession, at the just accusation of being a false father; but,
exerting all his firmness and fortitude, he said calmly,--

‘I canna bear this at thy hand, Watty. I hae secured for thee far
mair than the Plealands; and is the satisfaction that I thought to
hae had this day, noo when I hae made a conquest of the lands o’ my
forefathers, to be turned into sadness and bitterness o’ heart?’

‘What hae ye secur’d?’ exclaimed Leddy Grippy. ‘Is na it ordaint that
Charlie, by his birthright, will get your lands? How is’t then that ye
hae wrang’t Watty of his ain? the braw property that my worthy father
left him both by will and testament. An he had been to the fore, ye
durst na, gudeman, hae played at sic jookery-pookery; for he had a
skill o’ law, and kent the kittle points in a manner that ye can never
fathom; weel wat I, that your ellwand would hae been a jimp measure
to the sauvendie o’ his books and Latin taliations. But, gudeman,
ye’s no get a’ your ain way. I’ll put on my cloak, and, Betty Bodle,
put on yours, and Watty, my ill-used bairn, get your hat. We’ll oure
for Kilmarkeckle, and gang a’ to Mr. Keelevin together to make an
interlocutor about this most dreadful extortioning.’

The old man absolutely shuddered; his face became yellow, and his lips
white with anger and vexation at this speech.

‘Girzy Hypel,’ said he, with a troubled and broken voice, ‘were t’ou a
woman o’ understanding, or had t’at haverel get o’ thine the gumtion o’
a sucking turkey, I could speak, and confound your injustice, were I no
restrained by a sense of my own shame.’

‘But what’s a’ this stoor about?’ said the young wife, addressing
herself to her father-in-law. ‘Surely ye’ll no objek to mak me the
wiser?’

‘No, my dear,’ replied Claud, ‘I hope I can speak and be understood by
thee. I hae gotten Mr. Auchincloss to mak an excambio of the Divethill
for the Plealands, by the whilk the whole of the Kittlestonheugh
patrimony will be redeemed to the family; and I intend and wis you and
Watty to live at the Divethill, our neighbours here, and your father’s
neighbours; that, my bairn, is the whole straemash.’

‘But,’ said she, ‘when ye’re dead, will we still hae the Divethill?’

‘No doubt o’ that, my dawty,’ said the old man delighted; ‘and even far
mair.’

‘Then, Watty Walkinshaw, ye gaumeril,’ said she, addressing her
husband, ‘what would ye be at?--Your father’s a most just man, and will
do you and a’ his weans justice.’

‘But, for a’ that,’ said Leddy Grippy to her husband, somewhat
bamboozled by the view which her daughter-in-law seemed to take of the
subject, ‘when will we hear o’ you giving hundreds o’ pounds to Watty,
as ye did to Charlie, for a matrimonial hansel?’

‘I’m sure,’ replied the Laird, ‘were the like o’ that to quiet thy
unruly member, Girzy, and be any satisfaction to thee, that I hae done
my full duty to Walter, a five score pound should na be wanting to stap
up the gap.’

‘I’ll tell you what it is, father,’ interrupted Walter, ‘if ye’ll gie
the whole soom o’ a hunder pound, I care na gin ye mak drammock o’ the
Plealands.’

‘A bargain be’t,’ said Claud, happy to be relieved from their
importunity; but he added, with particular emphasis, to Watty’s wife,--

‘Dinna ye tak ony care about what’s passed; the Divethill’s a good
excambio for the Plealands, and it sall be bound as stiffly as law and
statute can tether to you and your heirs by Walter.’

Thus so far Grippy continued to sail before the wind, and, perhaps,
in the steady pursuit of his object, he met with as few serious
obstacles as most adventurers. What sacrifice of internal feeling he
may have made, may be known hereafter. In the meantime, the secrets and
mysteries of his bosom were never divulged; but all his thoughts and
anxieties as carefully hidden from the world as if the disclosure of
them would have brought shame on himself. Events, however, press; and
we must proceed with the current of our history.



CHAPTER XXXII


Although Claud had accomplished the great object of all his strivings,
and although, from the Divethill, where the little castle of his
forefathers once stood, he could contemplate the whole extent of the
Kittlestonheugh estate, restored, as he said, to the Walkinshaws, and
by his exertions, there was still a craving void in his bosom that
yearned to be satisfied. He felt as if the circumstance of Watty having
a legal interest in the property, arising from the excambio for the
Plealands, made the conquest less certainly his own than it might
have been, and this lessened the enjoyment of the self-gratulation
with which he contemplated the really proud eminence to which he had
attained.

But keener feelings and harsher recollections were also mingled
with that regret; and a sentiment of sorrow, in strong affinity
with remorse, embittered his meditations, when he thought of the
precipitancy with which he had executed the irrevocable entail, to the
exclusion of Charles; to whom, prior to that unjust transaction, he had
been more attached than to any other human being. It is true that, when
he adopted that novel resolution, he had, at the same time, appeased
his conscience with intentions to indemnify his unfortunate first-born;
but in this, he was not aware of the mysteries of the heart, nor that
there was a latent spring in his breast, as vigorous and elastic in its
energy, as the source of that indefatigable perseverance by which he
had accomplished so much.

The constant animadversions of his wife, respecting his partiality for
Charles and undisguised contempt for Watty, had the effect of first
awakening the powers of that dormant engine. They galled the sense of
his own injustice, and kept the memory of it so continually before
him, that, in the mere wish not to give her cause to vex him for his
partiality, he estranged himself from Charles in such a manner, that
it was soon obvious and severely felt. Conscious that he had done him
wrong,--aware that the wrong would probably soon be discovered,--and
conscious, too, that this behaviour was calculated to beget suspicion,
he began to dislike to see Charles, and alternately to feel, in every
necessary interview, as if he was no longer treated by him with the
same respect as formerly. Still, however, there was so much of the
leaven of original virtue in the composition of his paternal affection,
and in the general frame of his character, that this disagreeable
feeling never took the decided nature of enmity. He did not hate
because he had injured,--he was only apprehensive of being upbraided
for having betrayed hopes which he well knew his particular affection
must have necessarily inspired.

Perhaps, had he not, immediately after Walter’s marriage, been occupied
with the legal arrangement consequent to an accepted proposal from
Milrookit of Dirdumwhamle, to make Miss Meg his third wife, this
apprehension might have hardened into animosity, and been exasperated
to aversion; but the cares and affairs of that business came, as it
were, in aid of the father in his nature, and while they seemingly
served to excuse his gradually abridged intercourse with Charles and
Isabella, they prevented such an incurable induration of his heart
from taking place towards them, as the feelings at work within him had
an undoubted tendency to produce. We shall not, therefore, dwell on
the innumerable little incidents arising out of his estrangement, by
which the happiness of that ill-fated pair was deprived of so much of
its best essence,--contentment,--and their lives, with the endearing
promise of a family, embittered by anxieties of which it would be
as difficult to describe the importance, as to give each of them an
appropriate name.

In the meantime, the marriage of Miss Meg was consummated, and we have
every disposition to detail the rites and the revels, but they were all
managed in a spirit so much more moderate than Walter’s wedding, that
the feast would seem made up but of the cold bake-meats of the former
banquet. Indeed, Mr. Milrookit, the bridegroom, being, as Leddy Grippy
called him, a waster of wives, having had two before, and who knows
how many more he may have contemplated to have, it would not have been
reasonable to expect that he should allow such a free-handed junketing
as took place on that occasion. Besides this, the dowry with Grippy’s
daughter was not quite so liberal as he had expected; for when the old
man was stipulating for her jointure, he gave him a gentle hint not to
expect too much.

‘Two hundred pounds a-year, Mr. Milrookit,’ said Grippy, ‘is a bare
eneugh sufficiency for my dochter; but I’ll no be overly extortionate,
sin it’s no in my power, even noo, to gie you meikle in hand, and I
would na lead you to expek any great deal hereafter, for ye ken it
has cost me a world o’ pains and ettling to gather the needful to
redeem the Kittlestonheugh, the whilk maun ay gang in the male line;
but failing my three sons and their heirs, the entail gangs to the
heirs-general o’ Meg, so that ye hae a’ to look in that airt; that, ye
maun alloo, is worth something. Howsever, I dinna objek to the two
hundred pounds; but I would like an ye could throw a bit fifty til’t,
just as a cast o’ the hand to mak lucky measure.’

‘I would na begrudge that, Grippy,’ replied the gausey widower of
Dirdumwhamle; ‘but ye ken I hae a sma’ family: the first Mrs. Milrookit
brought me sax sons, and the second had four, wi’ five dochters. It’s
true that the bairns o’ the last clecking are to be provided for by
their mother’s uncle, the auld General wi’ the gout at Lon’on; but my
first family are dependent on mysel’, for, like your Charlie, I made
a calf-love marriage, and my father was na sae kind as ye hae been to
him, for he put a’ past me that he could, and had he no deet amang
hands in one o’ his scrieds wi’ the Lairds o’ Kilpatrick, I’m sure I
canna think what would hae come o’ me and my first wife. So you see,
Grippy’--

‘I wis, Dirdumwhamle,’ interrupted the old man, ‘that ye would either
ca’ me by name or Kittlestonheugh, for the Grippy’s but a pendicle
o’ the family property; and though, by reason o’ the castle being
ta’en down when my grandfather took a wadset on’t frae the public, we
are obligated to live here in this house that was on the land when I
made a conquest o’t again, yet a’ gangs noo by the ancient name o’
Kittlestonheugh, and a dochter of the Walkinshaws o’ the same is a
match for the best laird in the shire, though she had na ither tocher
than her snood and cockernony.’

‘Weel, Kittlestonheugh,’ replied Dirdumwhamle, ‘I’ll e’en mak it
better than the twa hunder and fifty--I’ll make it whole three hunder,
if ye’ll get a paction o’ consent and conneevance wi’ your auld son
Charles, to pay to Miss Meg, or to the offspring o’ my marriage wi’
her, a yearly soom during his liferent in the property, you yoursel’
undertaking in your lifetime to be as good. I’m sure that’s baith fair
and a very great liberality on my side.’

Claud received this proposal with a convulsive gurgle of the heart’s
blood. It seemed to him, that, on every occasion, the wrong which he
had done Charles was to be brought in the most offensive form before
him, and he sat for the space of two or three minutes without making
any reply; at last he said,--

‘Mr. Milrookit, I ne’er rue’t any thing in my life but the consequence
of twa-three het words that ance passed between me and my gudefather
Plealands anent our properties; and I hae lived to repent my obduracy.
For this cause I’ll say nae mair about an augmentation of the proposed
jointure, but just get my dochter to put up wi’ the two hundred pounds,
hoping that hereafter, an ye can mak it better, she’ll be none the waur
of her father’s confidence in you on this occasion.’

Thus was Miss Meg disposed of, and thus did the act of injustice
which was done to one child operate, through the mazy feelings of the
father’s conscious spirit, to deter him, even in the midst of such
sordid bargaining, not only from venturing to insist on his own terms,
but even from entertaining a proposal which had for its object a much
more liberal provision for his daughter than he had any reason, under
all the circumstances, to expect.



CHAPTER XXXIII


Soon after the marriage of Miss Meg, George, the third son, and
youngest of the family, was placed in the counting-house of one of the
most eminent West Indian merchants at that period in Glasgow. This
incident was in no other respect important in the history of the Lairds
of Grippy, than as serving to open a career to George, that would lead
him into a higher class of acquaintance than his elder brothers: for
it was about this time that the general merchants of the royal city
began to arrogate to themselves that aristocratic superiority over the
shopkeepers, which they have since established into an oligarchy as
proud and sacred, in what respects the reciprocities of society, as
the famous Seignories of Venice and of Genoa.

In the character, however, of George, there was nothing ostensibly
haughty, or rather his pride had not shown itself in any strong colour,
when he first entered on his mercantile career. Like his father, he
was firm and persevering; but he wanted something of the old man’s
shrewdness; and there was more of avarice in his hopes of wealth than
in the sordidness of his father, for they were not elevated by any such
ambitious sentiment as that which prompted Claud to strive with such
constancy for the recovery of his paternal inheritance. In fact, the
young merchant, notwithstanding the superiority of his education and
other advantages, we may safely venture to assert, was a more vulgar
character than the old pedlar. But his peculiarities did not manifest
themselves till long after the period of which we are now speaking.

In the meantime, every thing proceeded with the family much in the same
manner as with most others. Claud and his wife had daily altercations
about their household affairs. Charles and Isabella narrowed themselves
into a small sphere, of which his grandmother, the venerable Lady
Plealands, now above fourscore, was their principal associate, and
their mutual affection was strengthened by the birth of a son. Walter
and Betty Bodle resided at the Divethill; and they, too, had the
prospect of adding, as a Malthusian would say, to the mass of suffering
mankind. The philosophical Kilmarkeckle continued his abstruse
researches as successfully as ever into the affinities between snuff
and the natures of beasts and birds, while the Laird of Dirdumwhamle
and his Leddy struggled on in the yoke together, as well as a father
and step-mother, amidst fifteen children, the progeny of two prior
marriages, could reasonably be expected to do, where neither party was
particularly gifted with delicacy or forbearance. In a word, they all
moved along with the rest of the world during the first twelve months,
after the execution of the deed of entail, without experiencing any
other particular change in their relative situations than those to
which we have alluded.

But the epoch was now drawing near, when Mrs. Walter Walkinshaw was
required to prepare herself for becoming a mother, and her husband
was no less interested than herself in the event. He did nothing
for several months, from morning to night, but inquire how she felt
herself, and contrive, in his affectionate simplicity, a thousand
insufferable annoyances to one of her disposition, for the purpose of
affording her ease and pleasure; all of which were either answered by
a laugh, or a slap, as the humour of the moment dictated. Sometimes,
when she, regardless of her maternal state, would, in walking to Grippy
or Kilmarkeckle, take short cuts across the fields, and over ditches,
and through hedges, he would anxiously follow her at a distance, and
when he saw her in any difficulty to pass, he would run kindly to her
assistance. More than once, at her jocular suggestion, he has lain down
in the dry ditches to allow her to step across on his back. Never had
wife a more loving or obedient husband. She was allowed in every thing,
not only to please herself, but to make him do whatever she pleased;
and yet, with all her whims and caprice, she proved so true and so
worthy a wife, that he grew every day more and more uxorious.

Nor was his mother less satisfied with Betty Bodle. They enjoyed
together the most intimate communion of minds on all topics
of household economy; but it was somewhat surprising, that,
notwithstanding the care and pains which the old leddy took to instruct
her daughter-in-law in all the mysteries of the churn and cheeseset,
Mrs. Walter’s butter was seldom fit for market, and the hucksters of
the royal city never gave her near so good a price for her cheese as
Leddy Grippy regularly received for hers, although, in the process of
the making, they both followed the same recipes.

The conjugal felicities of Walter afforded, however, but little
pleasure to his father. The obstreperous humours of his
daughter-in-law jarred with his sedate dispositions, and in her fun and
freaks she so loudly showed her thorough knowledge of her husband’s
defective intellects, that it for ever reminded him of the probable
indignation with which the world would one day hear of the injustice
he had done to Charles. The effect of this gradually led him to shun
the society of his own family, and having neither from nature nor habit
any inclination for general company, he became solitary and morose.
He only visited Glasgow once a week, on Wednesday, and generally sat
about an hour in the shop, in his old elbow-chair, in the corner; and,
saving a few questions relative to the business, he abstained from
conversing with his son. It would seem, however, that, under this
sullen taciturnity, the love which he had once cherished for Charles
still tugged at his heart; for, happening to come into the shop, on the
morning after Isabella had made him a grandfather, by the birth of a
boy, on being informed of that happy event, he shook his son warmly by
the hand, and said, in a serious and impressive manner,--

‘An it please God, Charlie, to gie thee ony mair childer, I redde thee,
wi’ the counsel o’ a father, to mak na odds among them, but remember
they are a’ alike thine, and that t’ou canna prefer ane aboon anither
without sin;’--and he followed this admonition with a gift of twenty
pounds to buy the infant a christening frock.

But from that day he never spoke to Charles of his family; on the
contrary, he became dark and more obdurate in his manner to every one
around him. His only enjoyment seemed to be a sort of doating delight
in contemplating, from a rude bench which he had constructed on a
rising ground behind the house of Grippy, the surrounding fields of
his forefathers. There he would sit for hours together alone, bending
forward with his chin resting on the ivory head of his staff, which he
held between his knees by both hands, and with a quick and eager glance
survey the scene for a moment, and then drop his eyelids and look only
on the ground.

Whatever might be the general tenor of his reflections as he sat on
that spot, they were evidently not always pleasant; for one afternoon,
as he was sitting there, his wife, who came upon him suddenly and
unperceived, to tell him a messenger was sent to Glasgow from Divethill
for the midwife, was surprised to find him agitated and almost in tears.

‘Dear me, gudeman,’ said she, ‘what’s come o’er you, that ye’re sitting
here hanging your gruntel like a sow playing on a trump? Hae na ye
heard that Betty Bodle’s time’s come? I’m gaun ower to the crying, and
if ye like ye may walk that length wi’ me. I hope, poor thing, she’ll
hae an easy time o’t, and that we’ll hae blithes-meat before the sun
gangs doun.’

‘Gang the gait thysel, Girzy Hypel,’ said Claud, raising his head, ‘and
no fash me with thy clishmaclavers.’

‘Heh, gudeman! but ye hae been eating sourrocks instead o’ lang-kail.
But e’en’s ye like, Meg dorts, as “Patie and Rodger” says, I can gang
mysel;’ and with that, whisking pettishly round, she walked away.

Claud being thus disturbed in his meditations, looked after her as
she moved along the footpath down the slope, and for the space of a
minute or two, appeared inclined to follow her, but relapsing into some
new train of thought, before she had reached the bottom, he had again
resumed his common attitude, and replaced his chin on the ivory head of
his staff.



CHAPTER XXXIV


There are times in life when every man feels as if his sympathies were
extinct. This arises from various causes; sometimes from vicissitudes
of fortune; sometimes from the sense of ingratitude, which, like the
canker in the rose, destroys the germ of all kindness and charity;
often from disappointments in affairs of the heart, which leave it
incapable of ever again loving; but the most common cause is the
consciousness of having committed wrong, when the feelings recoil
inward, and, by some curious mystery in the nature of our selfishness,
instead of prompting atonement, irritate us to repeat and to persevere
in our injustice.

Into one of these temporary trances Claud had fallen when his wife
left him; and he continued sitting, with his eyes riveted on the
ground, insensible to all the actual state of life, contemplating the
circumstances and condition of his children, as if he had no interest
in their fate, nor could be affected by any thing in their fortunes.

In this fit of apathy and abstraction, he was roused by the sound of
some one approaching; and on looking up, and turning his eyes towards
the path which led from the house to the bench where he was then
sitting, he saw Walter coming.

There was something unwonted in the appearance and gestures of Walter,
which soon interested the old man. At one moment he rushed forward
several steps, with a strange wildness of air. He would then stop and
wring his hands, gaze upward as if he wondered at some extraordinary
phenomenon in the sky; but seeing nothing, he dropped his hands, and,
at his ordinary pace, came slowly up the hill.

When he arrived within a few paces of the bench, he halted and
looked with such an open and innocent sadness that even the heart
of his father, which so shortly before was as inert to humanity as
case-hardened iron, throbbed with pity, and was melted to a degree of
softness and compassion, almost entirely new to its sensibilities.

‘What’s the matter wi’ thee, Watty?’ said he, with unusual kindliness.
The poor natural, however, made no reply,--but continued to gaze at him
with the same inexpressible simplicity of grief.

‘Hast t’ou lost ony thing, Watty?’--‘I dinna ken,’ was the answer,
followed by a burst of tears.

‘Surely something dreadfu’ has befallen the lad,’ said Claud to
himself, alarmed at the astonishment of sorrow with which his
faculties seemed to be bound up.

‘Can t’ou no tell me what has happened, Watty?’

In about the space of half a minute, Walter moved his eyes slowly
round, as if he saw and followed something which filled him with awe
and dread. He then suddenly checked himself, and said, ‘It’s naething;
she’s no there.’

‘Sit down beside me, Watty,’ exclaimed his father, alarmed; ‘sit down
beside me, and compose thysel.’

Walter did as he was bidden, and stretching out his feet, hung forward
in such a posture of extreme listlessness and helpless despondency,
that all power of action appeared to be withdrawn.

Claud rose, and believing he was only under the influence of some of
those silly passions to which he was occasionally subject, moved to go
away, when he looked up, and said,--

‘Father, Betty Bodle’s dead!--My Betty Bodle’s dead!’

‘Dead!’ said Claud, thunderstruck.

‘Aye, father, she’s dead! My Betty Bodle’s dead!’

‘Dost t’ou ken what t’ou’s saying?’ But Walter, without attending to
the question, repeated, with an accent of tenderness still more simple
and touching,--

‘My Betty Bodle’s dead! She’s awa up aboon the skies, yon’er, and left
me a wee wee baby;’ in saying which, he again burst into tears, and
rising hastily from the bench, ran wildly back towards the Divethill
House, whither he was followed by the old man, where the disastrous
intelligence was confirmed, that she had died in giving birth to a
daughter.

Deep and secret as Claud kept his feelings from the eyes of the world,
this was a misfortune which he was ill prepared to withstand. For
although in the first shock he betrayed no emotion, it was soon evident
that it had shattered some of the firmest intents and purposes of his
mind. That he regretted the premature death of a beautiful young woman
in such interesting circumstances, was natural to him as a man; but
he felt the event more as a personal disappointment, and thought it
was accompanied with something so like retribution, that he inwardly
trembled as if he had been chastised by some visible arm of Providence.
For he could not disguise to himself that a female heir was a
contingency he had not contemplated; that, by the catastrophe which had
happened to the mother, the excambio of the Plealands for the Divethill
would be rendered of no avail; and that, unless Walter married again,
and had a son, the re-united Kittlestonheugh property must again be
disjoined, as the Divethill would necessarily become the inheritance of
the daughter.

The vexation of this was, however, alleviated, when he reflected on
the pliancy of Walter’s character, and he comforted himself with the
idea that, as soon as a reasonable sacrifice of time had been made to
decorum, he would be able to induce the natural to marry again. Shall
we venture to say, it also occurred in the cogitations of his sordid
ambition, that, as the infant was prematurely born, and was feeble and
infirm, he entertained some hope it might die, and not interfere with
the entailed destination of the general estate? But if, in hazarding
this harsh supposition, we do him any injustice, it is certain that
he began to think there was something in the current of human affairs
over which he could acquire no control, and that, although, in pursuing
so steadily the single purpose of recovering his family inheritance,
his endeavours had, till this period, proved eminently successful,
he yet saw, with dismay, that, from the moment other interests came
to be blended with those which he considered so peculiarly his own,
other causes also came into operation, and turned, in spite of all
his hedging and prudence, the whole issue of his labours awry. He
perceived that human power was set at naught by the natural course of
things, and nothing produced a more painful conviction of the wrong
he had committed against his first-born, than the frustration of his
wishes by the misfortune which had befallen Walter. His reflections
were also embittered from another source; by his parsimony he foresaw
that, in the course of a few years, he would have been able, from his
own funds, to have redeemed the Divethill without having had recourse
to the excambio; and that the whole of the Kittlestonheugh might thus
have been his own conquest, and, as such, without violating any of the
usages of society, he might have commenced the entail with Charles.
In a word, the death of Walter’s wife and the birth of the daughter
disturbed all his schemes, and rent from roof to foundation the
castles which he had been so long and so arduously building. But it is
necessary that we should return to poor Walter, on whom the loss of his
beloved Betty Bodle acted with the incitement of a new impulse, and
produced a change of character that rendered him a far less tractable
instrument than his father expected to find.



CHAPTER XXXV


The sorrow of Walter, after he had returned home, assumed the
appearance of a calm and settled melancholy. He sat beside the corpse
with his hands folded and his head drooping. He made no answer to any
question; but as often as he heard the infant’s cry, he looked towards
the bed, and said, with an accent of indescribable sadness, ‘My Betty
Bodle!’

When the coffin arrived, his mother wished him to leave the room,
apprehensive, from the profound grief in which he was plunged, that he
might break out into some extravagance of passion, but he refused; and,
when it was brought in, he assisted with singular tranquillity in the
ceremonial of the coffining. But when the lid was lifted and placed
over the body, and the carpenter was preparing to fasten it down for
ever, he shuddered for a moment from head to foot; and, raising it with
his left hand, he took a last look of the face, removing the veil with
his right, and touching the sunken cheek as if he had hoped still to
feel some ember of life; but it was cold and stiff.

‘She’s clay noo,’ said he.--‘There’s nane o’ my Betty Bodle here.’

And he turned away with a careless air, as if he had no further
interest in the scene. From that moment his artless affections took
another direction; he immediately quitted the death-room, and, going
to the nursery where the infant lay asleep in the nurse’s lap, he
contemplated it for some time, and then, with a cheerful and happy look
and tone, said,--‘It’s a wee Betty Bodle; and it’s my Betty Bodle noo.’
And all his time and thoughts were thenceforth devoted to this darling
object, in so much that, when the hour of the funeral was near, and he
was requested to dress himself to perform the husband’s customary part
in the solemnity, he refused, not only to quit the child, but to have
any thing to do with the burial.

‘I canna understand,’ said he, ‘what for a’ this fykerie’s about a lump
o’ yird? Sho’elt intil a hole, and no fash me.’

‘It’s your wife, my lad,’ replied his mother; ‘ye’ll surely never
refuse to carry her head in a gudemanlike manner to the kirk-yard.’

‘Na, na, mother, Betty Bodle’s my wife, yon clod in the black kist is
but her auld bodice; and when she flang’t off, she put on this bonny
wee new cleiding o’ clay,’ said he, pointing to the baby.

The Leddy, after some further remonstrance, was disconcerted by the
pertinacity with which he continued to adhere to his resolution, and
went to beg her husband to interfere.

‘Ye’ll hae to gang ben, gudeman,’ said she, ‘and speak to Watty.--I
wis the poor thing hasna gane by itsel wi’ a broken heart. He threeps
that the body is no his wife’s, and ca’s it a hateral o’ clay and
stones, and says we may fling’t, Gude guide us, ayont the midden for
him.--We’ll just be affrontit if he’ll no carry the head.’

Claud, who had dressed himself in the morning for the funeral, was
sitting in the elbow-chair, on the right side of the chimney-place,
with his cheek resting on his hand, and his eyelids dropped, but not
entirely shut, and on being thus addressed, he instantly rose, and went
to the nursery.

‘What’s t’ou doing there like a hussy-fellow?’ said he. ‘Rise and get
on thy mournings, and behave wiselike, and leave the bairn to the
women.’

‘It’s my bairn,’ replied Watty, ‘and ye hae naething, father, to do
wi’t.--Will I no tak care o’ my ain baby--my bonny wee Betty Bodle?’

‘Do as I bid thee, or I’ll maybe gar thee fin’ the weight o’ my staff,’
cried the old man sharply, expecting immediate obedience to his
commands, such as he always found, however positively Walter, on other
occasions, at first refused; but in this instance he was disappointed;
for the widower looked him steadily in the face, and said,--

‘I’m a father noo; it would be an awfu’ thing for a decent grey-headed
man like you, father, to strike the head o’ a motherless family.’

Claud was so strangely affected by the look and accent with which this
was expressed, that he stood for some time at a loss what to say,
but soon recovering his self-possession, he replied, in a mild and
persuasive manner,--

‘The frien’s expek, Watty, that ye’ll attend the burial, and carry the
head, as the use and wont is in every weel-doing family.’

‘It’s a thriftless custom, father, and what care I for burial-bread and
services o’ wine? They cost siller, father, and I’ll no wrang Betty
Bodle for ony sic outlay on her auld yirden garment. Ye may gang, for
fashion’s cause, wi’ your weepers and your mourning strings, and lay
the black kist i’ the kirk-yard hole, but I’ll no mudge the ba’ o’ my
muckle tae in ony sic road.’

‘T’ou’s past remede, I fear,’ replied his father thoughtfully; ‘but,
Watty, I hope in this t’ou’ll oblige thy mother and me, and put on thy
new black claes;--t’ou kens they’re in a braw fasson,--and come ben
and receive the guests in a douce and sober manner. The minister, I’m
thinking, will soon be here, and t’ou should be in the way when he
comes.’

‘No,’ said Watty, ‘no, do as ye like, and come wha may, it’s a’ ane to
me: I’m positeeve.’

The old man, losing all self-command at this extraordinary opposition,
exclaimed,--

‘There’s a judgment in this; and, if there’s power in the law o’
Scotland, I’ll gar thee rue sic dourness. Get up, I say, and put on thy
mournings, or I’ll hae thee cognost, and sent to bedlam.’

‘I’m sure I look for nae mair at your hands, father,’ replied Walter
simply; ‘for my mither has often telt me, when ye hae been sitting sour
and sulky in the nook, that ye would na begrudge crowns and pounds to
make me _compos mentis_ for the benefit of Charlie.’

Every pulse in the veins of Claud stood still at this stroke, and he
staggered, overwhelmed with shame, remorse, and indignation, into a
seat.

‘Eh!’ said the Leddy, returning into the room at this juncture, ‘what’s
come o’er you, gudeman? Pity me, will he no do your bidding?’

‘Girzy Hypel,’ was the hoarse and emphatic reply, ‘Girzy Hypel, t’ou’s
the curse o’ my life; the folly in thee has altered to idiotical
depravity in him, and the wrong I did against my ain nature in marrying
thee, I maun noo, in my auld age, reap the fruits o’ in sorrow, and
shame, and sin.’

‘Here’s composity for a burial!’ exclaimed the Leddy. ‘What’s the
matter, Watty Walkinshaw?’

‘My father’s in a passion.’

Claud started from his seat, and, with fury in his eyes, and his hands
clenched, rushed across the room towards the spot where Walter was
sitting, watching the infant in the nurse’s lap. In the same moment,
the affectionate natural also sprang forward, and placed himself in an
attitude to protect the child. The fierce old man was confounded, and
turning round hastily, quitted the room, wringing his hands, unable
any longer to master the conflicting feelings which warred so wildly
in his bosom.

‘This is a pretty-like house o’ mourning,’ said the Leddy; ‘a father
and a son fighting, and a dead body waiting to be ta’en to the
kirk-yard. O Watty Walkinshaw! Watty Walkinshaw! many a sore heart ye
hae gi’en your parents,--will ye ne’er divaul till ye hae brought our
grey hairs wi’ sorrow to the grave? There’s your poor father flown
demented, and a’ the comfort in his cup and mine gane like water spilt
on the ground. Many a happy day we hae had, till this condumacity o’
thine grew to sic a head. But tak your ain way o’t. Do as ye like. Let
strangers carry your wife to the kirk-yard, and see what ye’ll mak o’t.’

But notwithstanding all these, and many more equally persuasive and
commanding arguments, Walter was not to be moved, and the funeral, in
consequence, was obliged to be performed without him. Yet still, though
thus tortured in his feelings, the stern old man inflexibly adhered
to his purpose. The entail which he had executed was still with him
held irrevocable; and, indeed, it had been so framed, that, unless he
rendered himself insolvent, it could not be set aside.



CHAPTER XXXVI


For some time after the funeral of Mrs. Walter Walkinshaw, the
affairs of the Grippy family ran in a straight and even current. The
estrangement of the old man from his first-born suffered no describable
increase, but Charles felt that it was increasing. The old Leddy, in
the meanwhile, had a world of cares upon her hands in breaking up the
establishment which had been formed for Walter at the house on the
Divethill, and in removing him back with the infant and the nurse to
Grippy. And scarcely had she accomplished these, when a letter from
her daughter, Mrs. Milrookit, informed her that the preparations for
an addition to the ‘sma’ family’ of Dirdumwhamle were complete, and
that she hoped her mother could be present on the occasion, which was
expected to come to pass in the course of a few weeks from the date.

Nothing was more congenial to the mind and habits of the Leddy, than a
business of this sort, or, indeed, any epochal domestic event, such as,
in her own phraseology, was entitled to the epithet of a handling. But
when she mentioned the subject to her husband, he objected, saying,--

‘It’s no possible, Girzy, for ye ken Mr. and Mrs. Givan are to be here
next week with their dochter, Miss Peggy, and I would fain hae them
to see an ony thing could be brought to a head between her and our
Geordie. He’s noo o’ a time o’ life when I would like he were settled
in the world, and amang a’ our frien’s there’s no a family I would be
mair content to see him connected wi’ than the Givans, who are come o’
the best blood, and are, moreover, o’ great wealth and property.’

‘Weel, if e’er there was the like o’ you, gudeman,’ replied the Leddy,
delighted with the news; ‘an ye were to set your mind on a purpose o’
marriage between a goose and a grumphie, I dinna think but ye would
make it a’ come to pass. For wha would hae thought o’ this plot on the
Givans, who, to be sure, are a most creditable family, and Miss Peggy,
their dochter, is a vera genty creature, although it’s my notion she’s
no o’ a capacity to do meikle in the way o’ throughgality. Howsever,
she’s a bonny playock, and noo that the stipend ye alloo’t to Watty
is at an end, by reason of that heavy loss which we all met wi’ in
his wife, ye’ll can weel afford to help Geordie to keep her out in a
station o’ life; for times, gudeman, are no noo as when you and me cam
thegither. Then a bein house, and a snod but and ben, was a’ that was
lookit for; but sin genteelity came into fashion, lads and lasses hae
grown leddies and gentlemen, and a Glasgow wife saullying to the kirk
wi’ her muff and her mantle, looks as puckered wi’ pride as my lord’s
leddy.’

Claud, who knew well that his helpmate was able to continue her
desultory consultations, as long as she could keep herself awake,
here endeavoured to turn the speat of her clatter into a new channel,
by observing, that hitherto they had not enjoyed any great degree of
comfort in the marriages of their family.

‘Watty’s,’ said he, ‘ye see, has in a manner been waur than nane;
for a’ we hae gotten by’t is that weakly lassie bairn; and the sumph
himsel is sae ta’en up wi’t, that he’s a perfect obdooracy to every wis
o’ mine, that he would tak another wife to raise a male-heir to the
family.’

‘I’m sure,’ replied the Leddy, ‘it’s just a sport to hear you, gudeman,
and your male-heirs. What for can ye no be content wi’ Charlie’s son?’

The countenance of Grippy was instantaneously clouded, but in a moment
the gloom passed, and he said,--

‘Girzy Hypel, t’ou kens naething about it. Will na Watty’s dochter
inherit the Divethill by right o’ her father, for the Plealands, and so
rive the heart again out o’ the Kittlestonheugh, and mak a’ my ettling
fruitless? Noo, what I wis is, that Geordie should tak a wife to himsel
as soon as a possibility will alloo, and if he has a son, by course o’
nature, it might be wised in time to marry Watty’s dochter, and so keep
the property frae ganging out o’ the family.’

‘Noo, gudeman, thole wi’ me, and no be angry,’ replied the Leddy;
‘for I canna but say it’s a thing past ordinar that ye never seem to
refleck, that Charlie’s laddie might just as weel be wised to marry
Watty’s dochter, as ony son that Geordie’s like to get; and over and
moreover, the wean’s in the world already, gudeman, but a’ Geordie’s
are as trouts in the water; so I redde you to consider weel what ye’re
doing, and gut nae fish till ye catch them.’

During this speech, Claud’s face was again overcast; the harsh and
agonizing discord of his bosom rudely jangled through all the depths
of his conscience, and reminded him how futile his wishes and devices
might be rendered either by the failure of issue, or the birth of
daughters. Every thing seemed arranged by Providence, to keep the
afflicting sense of the wrong he had done his first-born constantly
galled. But it had not before occurred to him, that even a marriage
between the son of Charles and Walter’s daughter could not remedy the
fault he had committed. The heirs-male of George had a preference in
the entail; and such a marriage would, in no degree, tend to prevent
the Kittlestonheugh from being again disjoined. In one sentence, the
ambitious old man was miserable; but rather than yet consent to retrace
any step he had taken, he persevered in his original course, as if the
fire in his heart could be subdued by adding fresh piles of the same
fuel. The match which he had formed for George was accordingly brought
to what he deemed a favourable issue; for George, possessing but little
innate delicacy, and only eager to become rich, had no scruple in
proposing himself, at his father’s suggestion, to Miss Peggy Givan;
and the young lady being entirely under the control of her mother, who
regarded a union with her relations, the Grippy family, as one of the
most desirable, peaceably acquiesced in the arrangement.

Prior, however, to the marriage taking place, Mr. Givan, a shrewd and
worldly man, conceiving, that, as George was a younger son, his elder
brother married, and Walter’s daughter standing between him and the
succession to the estate,--he stipulated that the bridegroom should
be settled as a principal in business. A short delay in consequence
occurred between the arrangement and the solemnization; but the
difficulty was overcome, by the old man advancing nearly the whole
of his ready money as a proportion of the capital which was required
by the house that received George into partnership. Perhaps he might
have been spared this sacrifice, for as such he felt it, could he have
brought himself to divulge to Mr. Givan the nature of the entail which
he had executed; but the shame of that transaction had by this time
sunk so deep, that he often wished and tried to consider the deed as
having no existence.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Milrookit had become the mother of a son; the only
occurrence which, for some time, had given Claud any unalloyed
satisfaction. But it also was soon converted into a new source of
vexation and of punishment; for Leddy Grippy, ever dotingly fond of
Walter, determined, from the first hour in which she heard of the
birth of Walkinshaw Milrookit, as the child was called, to match him
with her favourite’s Betty; and the mere possibility of such an event
taking place filled her husband with anxiety and fear; the expressions
of which, and the peevish and bitter accents that he used in checking
her loquacity on the subject, only served to make her wonderment at his
prejudices the more and more tormenting.



CHAPTER XXXVII


In the meantime, Charles and Isabella had enjoyed a large share of
domestic felicity, rendered the more endearingly exquisite by their
parental anxiety, for it had pleased Heaven at once to bless and burden
their narrow circumstances with two beautiful children, James and Mary.
Their income arising from the share which the old man had assigned of
the business had, during the first two or three years subsequent to
their marriage, proved sufficient for the supply of their restricted
wants; but their expenses began gradually to increase, and about the
end of the third year Charles found that they had incurred several
small debts above their means of payment. These, in the course of the
fourth, rose to such a sum, that, being naturally of an apprehensive
mind, he grew uneasy at the amount, and came to the resolution to
borrow two hundred pounds to discharge them. This, he imagined, there
could be no difficulty in procuring; for, believing that he was the
heir of entail to the main part of the estate which his father had so
entirely redeemed, he conceived that he might raise the money on his
reversionary prospects, and, with this view, he called one morning on
Mr. Keelevin to request his agency in the business.

‘I’m grieved, man,’ said the honest lawyer, ‘to hear that ye’re in such
straits; but had na ye better speak to your father? It might bring on
you his displeasure if he heard ye were borrowing money to be paid at
his death. It’s a thing nae frien’, far less a father, would like done
by himsel.’

‘In truth,’ replied Charles, ‘I am quite sensible of that; but what can
I do? for my father, ever since my brother Watty’s marriage, has been
so cold and reserved about his affairs to me, that every thing like
confidence seems as if it were perished from between us.’

Mr. Keelevin, during this speech, raised his left arm on the elbow
from the table at which he was sitting, and rested his chin on his
hand. There was nothing in the habitual calm of his countenance which
indicated what was passing in his heart, but his eyes once or twice
glimmered with a vivid expression of pity.

‘Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said he, ‘if you dinna like to apply to your father
yoursel, could na some friend mediate for you? Let me speak to him.’

‘It’s friendly of you, Mr. Keelevin, to offer to do that; but really,
to speak plainly, I would far rather borrow the money from a stranger,
than lay myself open to any remarks. Indeed, for myself, I don’t much
care; but ye ken my father’s narrow ideas about household charges; and
maybe he might take it on him to make remarks to my wife that I would
na like to hear o’.’

‘But, Mr. Charles, you know that money canna be borrow’t without
security.’

‘I am aware of that; and it’s on that account I want your assistance. I
should think that my chance of surviving my father is worth something.’

‘But the whole estate is strictly entailed, Mr. Charles,’ replied the
lawyer, with compassionate regard.

‘The income, however, is all clear, Mr. Keelevin.’

‘I dinna misdoubt that, Mr. Charles, but the entail--Do you ken how it
runs?’

‘No; but I imagine much in the usual manner.’

‘No, Mr. Charles,’ said the honest writer, raising his head, and
letting his hand fall on the table, with a mournful emphasis; ‘No, Mr.
Charles, it does na run in the usual manner; and I hope ye’ll no put
ony reliance on’t. It was na right o’ your father to let you live in
ignorance so long. Maybe it has been this to-look that has led you into
the debts ye want to pay.’

The manner in which this was said affected the unfortunate first-born
more than the meaning; but he replied,--

‘No doubt, Mr. Keelevin, I may have been less scrupulous in my
expenses than I would have been, had I not counted on the chance of my
birthright.’

‘Mr. Charles, I’m sorry for you; but I would na do a frien’s part
by you, were I to keep you ony langer in the dark. Your father, Mr.
Charles, is an honest man; but there’s a bee in his bonnet, as we a’
ken, anent his pedigree. I need na tell you how he has warslet to get
back the inheritance o’ his forefathers; but I am wae to say, that in
a pursuit so meritorious, he has committed ae great fault. Really, Mr.
Charles, I have na hardly the heart to tell you.’

‘What is it?’ said Charles, with emotion and apprehension.

‘He has made a deed,’ said Mr. Keelevin, ‘whereby he has cut you off
frae the succession, in order that Walter, your brother, might be in
a condition to make an exchange of the Plealands for the twa mailings
that were wanting to make up, wi’ the Grippy property, a restoration
of the auld estate of Kittlestonheugh; and I doubt it’s o’ a nature in
consequence, that, even were he willing, canna be easily altered.’

To this heart-withering communication Charles made no answer. He stood
for several minutes astonished; and then giving Mr. Keelevin a wild
look, shuddered and quitted the office.

Instead of returning home, he rushed with rapid and unequal steps
down the Gallowgate, and, turning to the left hand in reaching the end
of the street, never halted till he had gained the dark firs which
overhang the cathedral and skirt the Molindinar Burn, which at the
time was swelled with rains, and pouring its troubled torrent almost
as violently as the tide of feelings that struggled in his bosom.
Unconscious of what he did, and borne along by the whirlwind of his
own thoughts, he darted down the steep, and for a moment hung on the
rocks at the bottom as if he meditated some frantic leap. Recoiling and
trembling with the recollections of his family, he then threw himself
on the ground, and for some time shut his eyes as if he wished to
believe that he was agitated only by a dream.

The scene and the day were in unison with the tempest which shook his
frame and shivered his mind. The sky was darkly overcast. The clouds
were rolling in black and lowering masses, through which an occasional
gleam of sunshine flickered for a moment on the towers and pinnacles
of the cathedral, and glimmered in its rapid transit on the monuments
and graves in the church-yard. A gloomy shadow succeeded; and then a
white and ghastly light hovered along the ruins of the bishop’s castle,
and darted with a strong and steady ray on a gibbet which stood on the
rising ground beyond. The gusty wind howled like a death-dog among the
firs, which waved their dark boughs like hearse plumes over him, and
the voice of the raging waters encouraged his despair.

He felt as if he had been betrayed into a situation which compelled him
to surrender all the honourable intents of his life, and that he must
spend the comfortless remainder of his days in a conflict with poverty,
a prey to all its temptations, expedients, and crimes. At one moment,
he clenched his grasp, and gnashed his teeth, and smote his forehead,
abandoning himself to the wild and headlong energies and instincts of
a rage that was almost revenge; at another, the image of Isabella, so
gentle and so defenceless, rose in a burst of tenderness and sorrow,
and subdued him with inexpressible grief. But the thought of his
children in the heedless days of their innocence, condemned to beggary
by a fraud against nature, again scattered these subsiding feelings
like the blast that brushes the waves of the ocean into spindrift.

This vehemence of feeling could not last long without producing some
visible effect. When the storm had in some degree spent itself, he left
the wild and solitary spot where he had given himself so entirely up to
his passion, and returned towards his home; but his limbs trembled, his
knees faltered, and a cold shivering vibrated through his whole frame.
An intense pain was kindled in his forehead; every object reeled and
shuddered to him as he passed; and, before he reached the house, he
was so unwell that he immediately retired to bed. In the course of the
afternoon he became delirious, and a rapid and raging fever terrified
his ill-fated wife.



CHAPTER XXXVIII


Mr. Keelevin, when Charles had left him, sat for some time with his
cheek resting on his hand, reflecting on what had passed; and in
the afternoon, he ordered his horse, and rode over to Grippy, where
he found the Laird sitting sullenly by himself in the easy-chair by
the fire-side, with a white night-cap on his head, and grey worsted
stockings drawn over his knees.

‘I’m wae, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said the honest lawyer, as he entered the
room, ‘to see you in sic an ailing condition; what’s the matter wi’
you, and how lang hae ye been sae indisposed?’

Claud had not observed his entrance; for, supposing the noise in
opening the door had been made by the Leddy in her manifold household
cares, or by some one of the servants, he never moved his head,
but kept his eyes ruminatingly fixed on a peeling of soot that was
ominously fluttering on one of the ribs of the grate, betokening,
according to the most credible oracles of Scottish superstition, the
arrival of a stranger, or the occurrence of some remarkable event. But,
on hearing the voice of his legal friend, he turned briskly round.

‘Sit ye doun, Mr. Keelevin, sit ye doun forenent me. What’s brought you
here the day? Man, this is sore weather for ane at your time o’ life to
come so far afield,’ was the salutation with which he received him.

‘Aye,’ replied Mr. Keelevin, ‘baith you and me, Grippy, are beginning
to be the waur o’ the wear; but I didna expek to find you in sic a
condition as this. I hope it’s no the gout or the rheumatism.’

Claud, who had the natural horror of death as strong as most country
gentlemen of a certain age, if not of all ages, did not much relish
either the observation or the inquiries. He, however, said, with
affected indifference,--

‘No! be thankit, it’s neither the t’ane nor the t’ither, but just a
waff o’ cauld that I got twa nights ago;--a bit towt that’s no worth
the talking o’.’

‘I’m extraordinar glad to hear’t; for, seeing you in sic a frail and
feckless state, I was fear’t that ye were na in a way to converse on
any concern o’ business. No that I hae muckle to say, but ye ken a’
sma’ things are a great fasherie to a weakly person, and I would na
discompose you, Mr. Walkinshaw, unless you just felt yoursel in your
right ordinar, for, at your time o’ life, ony disturbance’----

‘My time o’ life?’ interrupted the old man tartly. ‘Surely I’m no sae
auld that ye need to be speaking o’ my time o’ life? But what’s your
will, Mr. Keelevin, wi’ me?’

Whether all this sympathetic condolence, on the part of the lawyer,
was said in sincerity, or with any ulterior view, we need not pause to
discuss, for the abrupt question of the invalid brought it at once to a
conclusion.

‘In truth, Laird,’ replied Mr. Keelevin, ‘I canna say that I hae ony
thing o’ a particular speciality to trouble you anent, for I came
hither more in the way o’ friendship than o’ business,--having had this
morning a visit frae your son Charles, a fine weel-doing young man as
can be.’

‘He’s weel enough,’ said the old man gruffly, and the lawyer
continued,--

‘’Deed, Mr. Walkinshaw, he’s mair than weel enough. He’s by common,
and it was with great concern I heard that you and him are no on sic a
footing of cordiality as I had thought ye were.’

‘Has he been making a complaint o’ me?’ said Claud looking sharply,
and with a grim and knotted brow as if he was, at the same time,
apprehensive and indignant.

‘He has mair sense and discretion,’ replied Mr. Keelevin; ‘but he was
speaking to me on a piece of business, and I was surprised he did na
rather confer wi’ you; till, in course of conversation, it fell out,
as it were unawares, that he did na like to speak to you anent it;
the which dislike, I jealouse, could only proceed o’ some lack o’
confidence between you, mair than should ever be between a father and a
well-behaved son like Mr. Charles.’

‘And what was’t?’ said Grippy drily.

‘I doubt that his income is scant to his want, Mr. Walkinshaw.’

‘He’s an extravagant fool; and ne’er had a hand to thraw a key in a
lock;--when I began the world I had na’----

‘Surely,’ interrupted Mr. Keelevin, ‘ye could ne’er think the son
o’ a man in your circumstances should hain and hamper as ye were
necessitated to do in your younger years. But no to mak a hearing or an
argument concerning the same--Mr. Charles requires a sma’ sum to get
him free o’ a wee bit difficulty, for, ye ken, there are some folk, Mr.
Walkinshaw, that a flea-bite molests like the lash o’ a whip.’

The old man made no answer to this; but sat for some time silent,
drawing down his brows and twirling his thumbs. Mr. Keelevin waited in
patience till he should digest the reply he so evidently meditated.

‘I hae ay thought Charlie honest, at least,’ said Grippy; ‘but I maun
say that this fashes me, for if he’s in sic straits, there’s no telling
what liberties he may be led to tak wi’ my property in the shop.’

Mr. Keelevin, who, in the first part of this reply, had bent eagerly
forward, was so thunderstruck by the conclusion, that he threw himself
back in his chair with his arms extended; but in a moment recovering
from his consternation, he said, with fervour,--

‘Mr. Walkinshaw, I mind weel the reproof ye gave me when I remonstrated
wi’ you against the injustice ye were doing the poor lad in the entail,
but there’s no consideration on this earth will let me alloo you to
gang on in a course of error and prejudice. Your son is an honest young
man. I wish I could say his father kent his worth, or was worthy o’
him--and I’ll no see him wrangeously driven to the door, without taking
his part, and letting the world ken wha’s to blame. I’ll no say ye hae
defrauded him o’ his birthright, for the property was your ain--but if
ye drive him forth the shop, and cast him wi’ his sma’ family on the
scrimp mercy of mankind, I would be wanting to human nature in general,
if I did na say it was most abominable, and that you yoursel, wi’ a’
your trumpery o’ Walkinshaws and Kittlestonheughs, ought to be scourged
by the hands o’ the hangman. So do as ye like, Mr. Walkinshaw, ride to
the deevil at the full gallop for aught I care, but ye’s no get out o’
this world without hearing the hue-and-cry that every Christian soul
canna but raise after you.’

Claud was completely cowed both by the anger and menace of the
honest lawyer, but still more by the upbraidings of his own startled
conscience--and he said, in a humiliated tone, that almost provoked
contempt,--

‘Ye’re oure hasty, Mr. Keelevin. I did na mint a word about driving him
forth the shop. Did he tell you how muckle his defect was?’

‘Twa miserable hundred pounds,’ replied Mr. Keelevin, somewhat
subsiding into his wonted equanimity.

‘Twa hundred pound o’ debt!’ exclaimed Claud.

‘Aye,’ said Mr. Keelevin, ‘and I marvel it’s no mair, when I consider
the stinting and the sterile father o’ him.’

‘If I had the siller, Mr. Keelevin,’ replied Claud, ‘to convince baith
you and him that I’m no the niggar ye tak me for, I would gi’e you’t
wi’ hearty gude will; but the advance I made to get Geordie into his
partnership has for the present rookit me o’ a’ I had at command.’

‘No possible!’ exclaimed Mr. Keelevin, subdued from his indignation;
adding, ‘and heavens preserve us, Mr. Walkinshaw, an ony thing were
happening on a sudden to carry you aff, ye hae made na provision for
Charlie nor your dochter.’

There was something in this observation which made the old man shrink
up into himself, and vibrate from head to heel. In the course, however,
of less than a minute, he regained his self-possession, and said,--

‘’Deed, your observe, Mr. Keelevin, is very just, and I ought to do
something to provide for what may come to pass. I maun try and get
Watty to concur wi’ me in some bit settlement that may lighten the
disappointment to Charlie and Meg, should it please the Lord to tak me
to himsel without a reasonable warning. Can sic a paper be made out?’

‘Oh, yes,’ replied the worthy lawyer, delighted with so successful an
issue to his voluntary mission; ‘ye hae twa ways o’ doing the business;
either by getting Watty to agree to an aliment, or by making a bond of
provision to Charles and Mrs. Milrookit.’

Claud said he would prefer the former mode; observing, with respect to
the latter, that he thought it would be a cheating o’ the law to take
the other course.

‘As for cheating the law,’ said the lawyer, ‘ye need gie yoursel no
uneasiness about it, provided ye do honestly by your ain bairns, and
the rest o’ the community.’

And it was in consequence agreed, that, in the course of a day or two,
Claud should take Walter to Glasgow, to execute a deed, by which, in
the event of surviving his father, he would undertake to pay a certain
annuity for the behoof of Charles’s family, and that of his sister,
Mrs. Milrookit.



CHAPTER XXXIX


In furtherance of the arrangement agreed upon, as we have described
in the foregoing chapter, as soon as Mr. Keelevin had retired, Claud
summoned Walter into the parlour. It happened, that the Leddy, during
the period of the lawyer’s visit, had been so engaged in another part
of the house, that she was not aware of the conference, till, by
chance, she saw him riding down the avenue. We need not, therefore,
say that she experienced some degree of alarm, at the idea of a lawyer
having been with her husband, unknown to her; and particularly, when,
so immediately after his departure, her darling was requested to attend
his father.

The mother and son entered the room together. Walter came from the
nursery, where he had been dandling his child, and his appearance was
not of the most prepossessing kind. From the death of his wife, in
whose time, under her dictation, he was brushed up into something of a
gentlemanly exterior, he had become gradually more and more slovenly.
He only shaved on Saturday night, and buttoned his breeches knees on
Sunday morning. Nor was the dress of Leddy Grippy at all out of keeping
with that of her hopeful favourite. Her time-out-of-mind red quilted
silk petticoat was broken into many holes;--her thrice dyed double
tabinet gown, of bottle-green, with large ruffle cuffs, was in need of
another dip; for, in her various culinary inspections, it had received
many stains, and the superstructure of lawn and catgut, ornamented with
ribbons, dyed blae in ink, surmounting her ill-toiletted toupee, had
every appearance of having been smoked into yellow, beyond all power of
blanching in the bleacher’s art.

‘And so, gudeman,’ said she, on entering the room, ‘ye hae had that
auld sneck-drawer, Keelevin, wi’ you? I won’er what you and him can hae
to say in sic a clandestine manner, that the door maun be ay steekit
when ye’re thegither at your confabbles. Surely there’s nae honesty
that a man can hae, whilk his wife ought na to come in for a share of.’

‘Sit down, Girzy Hypel, and haud thy tongue,’ was the peevish command
which this speech provoked.

‘What for will I haud my tongue? a fool posture that would be, and no
very commodious at this time; for ye see my fingers are coomy.’

‘Woman, t’ou’s past bearing!’ exclaimed her disconcerted husband.

‘An it’s nae shame to me, gudeman; for every body kens I’m a grannie.’

The Laird smote his right thigh, and shook his left hand, with
vexation; presently, however, he said,--

‘Weel, weel; but sit ye down, and Watty, tak t’ou a chair beside her;
for I want to consult you anent a paper that I’m mindit to hae drawn
out for a satisfaction to you a’; for nane can tell when their time may
come.’

‘Ye ne’er made a mair sensible observe, gudeman, in a’ your days,’
replied the Leddy, sitting down; ‘and it’s vera right to make your
will and testament; for ye ken what a straemash happened in the
Glengowlmahallaghan family, by reason o’ the Laird holographing his
codicil; whilk, to be sure, was a dreadfu’ omission, as my cousin, his
wife, fand in her widowhood; for a’ the moveables thereby gaed wi’ the
heritage to his auld son by the first wife--even the vera silver pourie
that I gied her mysel wi’ my own hands, in a gift at her marriage--a’
gaed to the heir.’

‘T’ou kens,’ said Claud, interrupting her oration, ‘that I hae provided
thee wi’ the liferent o’ a house o’ fifteen pounds a-year, furniture,
and a jointure of a hundred and twenty over and aboon the outcoming o’
thy father’s gathering. So t’ou canna expek, Girzy, that I would wrang
our bairns wi’ ony mair overlay on thy account.’

‘Ye’re grown richer, gudeman, than when we came thegither,’ replied the
Leddy; ‘and ne’er a man made siller without his wife’s leave. So it
would be a most hard thing, after a’ my toiling and moiling, to make me
nae better o’t than the stricts o’ the law in my marriage articles and
my father’s will; whilk was a gratus amous, that made me nane behauden
to you.--No, an ye mean to do justice, gudeman, I’ll get my thirds o’
the conquest ye hae gotten sin the time o’ our marriage; and I’ll be
content wi’ nae less.’

‘Weel, weel, Girzy, we’ll no cast out about a settlement for thee.’

‘It would be a fearful thing to hear tell o’ an we did,’ replied the
Leddy: ‘Living as we hae lived, a comfort to ane anither for thirty
years, and bringing up sic a braw family, wi’ so meikle credit. No,
gudeman, I hae mair confidence in you than to misdoot your love and
kindness, noo that ye’re drawing so near your latter end as to be
seriously thinking o’ making a will. But, for a’ that, I would like to
ken what I’m to hae.’

‘Very right, Girzy; very right,’ said Claud; ‘but, before we can come
to a clear understanding, me and Watty maun conform in a bit paper by
oursels, just that there may be nae debate hereafter about his right to
the excambio we made for the Plealands.’

‘I’ll no put hand to ony drumhead paper again,’ said Watty, ‘for fear
it wrang my wee Betty Bodle.’

Although this was said in a vacant heedless manner, it yet disturbed
the mind of his father exceedingly, for the strange obstinacy with
which the natural had persisted in his refusal to attend the funeral
of his wife, had shown that there was something deeper and more
intractable in his character than any one had previously imagined.
But opposition had only the effect of making Claud more pertinacious,
while it induced him to change his mode of operation. Perceiving, or at
least being afraid that he might again call his obduracy into action,
he accordingly shifted his ground, and, instead of his wonted method
of treating Walter with commands and menaces, he dexterously availed
himself of the Leddy’s auxiliary assistance.

‘Far be it, Watty, frae me, thy father,’ said he, ‘to think or wis
wrang to thee or thine; but t’ou kens that in family settlements, where
there’s a patch’t property like ours, we maun hae conjunk proceedings.
Noo, as I’m fain to do something satisfactory to thy mother, t’ou’ll
surely never objek to join me in the needfu’ instruments to gie effek
to my intentions.’

‘I’ll do every thing to serve my mother,’ replied Walter, ‘but I’ll no
sign ony papers.’

‘Surely, Watty Walkinshaw,’ exclaimed the old Leddy, surprised at this
repetition of his refusal, ‘ye would na see me in want, and driven to a
needcessity to gang frae door to door, wi’ a meal-pock round my neck,
and an oaken rung in my hand?’

‘I would rather gie you my twa dollars, and the auld French
half-a-crown, that I got long syne, on my birthday, frae grannie,’ said
Watty.

‘Then what for will ye no let your father make a rightfu’ settlement?’
cried his mother.

‘I’m sure I dinna hinder him. He may mak fifty settlements for me; I’ll
ne’er fin’ fau’t wi’ him.’

‘Then,’ said the Leddy, ‘ye canna objek to his reasonable request.’

‘I objek to no reasonable request; I only say, mother, that I’ll no
sign ony paper whatsomever, wheresomever, howsomever, nor ever and
ever--so ye need na try to fleetch me.’

‘Ye’re an outstrapolous ne’er-do-well,’ cried the Leddy, in a rage,
knocking her neives smartly together, ‘to speak to thy mother in that
way; t’ou sall sign the paper, an te life be in thy body.’

‘I’ll no wrang my ain bairn for father nor mother; I’ll gang to Jock
Harrigals, the flesher, and pay him to hag aff my right hand, afore I
put pen to law-paper again.’

‘This is a’ I get for my love and affection,’ exclaimed the Leddy,
bursting into tears; while her husband, scarcely less agitated by the
firmness with which his purpose was resisted, sat in a state of gloomy
abstraction, seemingly unconscious of the altercation. ‘But,’ added
Mrs. Walkinshaw, ‘I’m no in thy reverence, t’ou unnatural Absalom, to
rebel sae against thy parents. I hae maybe a hoggar, and I ken whan I
die, wha s’all get the gouden guts o’t--Wilt t’ou sign the paper?’

‘I’ll burn aff my right hand in the lowing fire, that I may ne’er be
able to write the scrape o’ a pen;’ and with these emphatic words, said
in a soft and simple manner, he rose from his seat, and was actually
proceeding towards the fire-place, when a loud knocking at the door
disturbed, and put an end to, the conversation. It was a messenger sent
from old Lady Plealands, to inform her daughter of Charles’s malady,
and to say that the doctor, who had been called in, was greatly alarmed
at the rapid progress of the disease.



CHAPTER XL


Leddy Grippy was one of those worthy gentlewomen who, without the
slightest interest or feeling in any object or purpose with which
they happen to be engaged, conceive themselves bound to perform all
the customary indications of the profoundest sympathy and the deepest
sensibility. Accordingly, no sooner did she receive the message of her
son’s melancholy condition, than she proceeded forthwith to prepare
herself for going immediately to Glasgow.

‘I canna expek, gudeman,’ said she, ‘that wi’ your host ye’ll come
wi’ me to Glasgow on this very sorrowful occasion; therefore I hope
ye’ll tak gude care o’ yoursel, and see that the servan’ lasses get
your water-gruel, wi’ a tamarind in’t, at night, if it should please
Charlie’s Maker, by reason o’ the dangerous distemper, no to alloo me
to come hame.’

The intelligence, however, had so troubled the old man, that he
scarcely heard her observation. The indisposition of his son seemed to
be somehow connected with the visit of Mr. Keelevin, which it certainly
was; and while his wife busily prepared for her visit, his mind
wandered in devious conjectures, without being able to reach any thing
calculated either to satisfy his wonder or to appease his apprehension.

‘It’s very right, Girzy, my dear,’ said he, ‘that ye sou’d gang in and
see Charlie, poor lad; I’m extraordinar sorry to hear o’ this income,
and ye’ll be sure to tak care he wants for nothing. Hear’st t’ou;
look into the auld pocket-book in the scrutoire neuk, t’ou’l aiblins
fin’ there a five-pound note,--tak it wi’ thee--there’s no sic an
extravagant commodity in ony man’s house as a delirious fever.’

‘Ah!’ replied the Leddy, looking at her darling and ungrateful
Walter, ‘ye see what it is to hae a kind father; but ill ye deserve
ony attention either frae father or mother, for your condumacity is
ordained to break our hearts.’

‘Mother,’ said Walter, ‘dinna be in sic a hurry--I hae something
that ’ill do Charlie good.’ In saying which, he rose and went to the
nursery, whence he immediately returned with a pill-box.

‘There, mother! tak that wi’ you; it’s a box o’ excellent medicaments,
either for the cough, or the cauld, or shortness o’ breath; to say
naething amang frien’s o’ a constipation. Gie Charlie twa at bedtime
and ane in the morning, and ye’ll see an effek sufficient to cure every
impediment in man or woman.’

Leddy Grippy, with the utmost contempt for the pills, snatched the box
out of his hand, and flung it behind the fire. She then seated herself
in the chair opposite her husband, and while she at the same time tied
her cloak and placed on her bonnet, she said,--

‘I’ll alloo at last, gudeman, that I hae been a’ my days in an
error, for I could na hae believed that Watty was sic an idiot o’ a
naturalist, had I no lived to see this day. But the will o’ Providence
be done on earth as it is in heaven, and let us pray that he may be
forgiven the sair heart he has gi’en to us his aged parents, as we
forgive our debtors. I won’er, howsever, that my mother did na send
word o’ the nature o’ this delirietness o’ Charlie, for to be surely
it’s a very sudden come-to-pass, but the things o’ time are no to be
lippent to, and life fleeth away like a weaver’s shuttle, and no man
knoweth wheresoever it findeth rest for the sole of its foot. But,
before I go, ye’ll no neglek to tell Jenny in the morning to tak the
three spyniels o’ yarn to Josey Thrums, the weaver, for my Dornick
towelling; and ye’ll be sure to put Tam Modiwart in mind that he’s no
to harl the plough out o’er the green brae till I get my big washing
out o’ hand. As for t’ee, Watty, stay till this calamity’s past, and
I’ll let ee ken what it is to treat baith father and mother wi’ sae
little reverence. Really, gudeman, I begin to hae a notion, that he’s,
as auld Elspeth Freet, the midwife, ance said to me, a ta’enawa, and I
would be nane surprised, that whoever lives to see him dee will find in
the bed a benweed or a windlestrae, instead o’ a Christian corpse. But
sufficient for the day is the evil thereof; and this sore news o’ our
auld son should mak us walk humbly, and no repine at the mercies set
before us in this our sinfu’ estate.’

The worthy Leddy might have continued her edifying exhortation for some
time longer, but her husband grew impatient, and harshly interrupted
her eloquence, by reminding her that the day was far advanced, and that
the road to Glasgow was both deep and dreigh.

‘I would counsel you, Girzy Hypel,’ said he, ‘no to put off your time
wi’ sic havers here, but gang intil the town, and send us out word in
the morning, if ye dinna come hame, how Charlie may happen to be; for
I canna but say that thir news are no just what I could hae wiss’d to
hear at this time. As for what we hae been saying to Watty, we baith
ken he’s a kind-hearted chiel, and he’ll think better or the morn o’
what we were speaking about--will na ye, Watty?’

‘I’ll think as muckle’s ye like,’ said the faithful natural; ‘but I’ll
sign nae papers; that’s a fact afore divines. What for do ye ay fash me
wi’ your deeds and your instruments? I’m sure baith Charlie and Geordie
could write better than me, and ye ne’er troublet them. But I jealouse
the cause--an my grandfather had na left me his lawful heir to the
Plealands, I might hae sat at the chumley-lug whistling on my thumb.
We a’ hae frien’s anew when we hae ony thing, and so I see in a’ this
flyting and fleetching; but ye’ll flyte and ye’ll fleetch till puddocks
grow chucky-stanes before ye’ll get me to wrang my ain bairn, my bonny
wee Betty Bodle, that has na ane that cares for her, but only my leafu’
lane.’

The Leddy would have renewed her remonstratory animadversions on his
obstinacy, but the Laird again reminded her of the length of the
journey in such an evening before her, and after a few half advices and
half reproaches, she left the house.

Indisposed as Claud had previously felt himself, or seemed to be, she
had not been long away, when he rose from his easy-chair, and walked
slowly across the room, with his hands behind, swinging his body
heavily as he paced the floor. Walter, who still remained on his seat,
appeared for some time not to notice his father’s gestures; but the old
man unconsciously began to quicken his steps, and at last walked so
rapidly that his son’s attention was roused.

‘Father,’ said he, ‘hae ye been taking epicacco, for that was just the
way that I was telt to gang, when I was last no weel?’

‘No, no,’ exclaimed the wretched old man; ‘but I hae drank the
bitterest dose o’ life. There’s nae vomit for a sick soul--nae purge
for a foul conscience.’

These were, however, confessions that escaped from him unawares, like
the sparks that are elicited in violent percussions,--for he soon drew
himself firmly and bravely up, as if he prepared himself to defy the
worst that was in store for him; but this resolution also as quickly
passed away, and he returned to his easy-chair, and sat down, as if he
had been abandoned of all hope, and had resigned himself into a dull
and sleepy lethargy.

For about half an hour he continued in this slumbering and inaccessible
state, at the end of which he called one of the servants, and bade
him be ready to go to Glasgow by break of day, and bring Mr. Keelevin
before breakfast. ‘Something maun be done,’ said he as the servant,
accompanied by Walter, left the room; ‘the curse of God has fallen upon
me, my hands are tied, a dreadfu’ chain is fastened about me; I hae
cheated mysel, and there’s nae bail--no, not in the Heavens--for the
man that has wilfully raffled away his own soul in the guilty game o’
pride.’



CHAPTER XLI


Meanwhile, the disease which had laid Charles prostrate was proceeding
with a terrific and devastating fury. Before his mother reached the
house, he had lost all sense of himself and situation, and his mind was
a chaos of the wildest and most extravagant fantasies. Occasionally,
however, he would sink into a momentary calm, when a feeble gleam of
reason would appear amidst his ravings, like the transient glimmer of
a passing light from the shore on the black waves of the stormy ocean,
when the cry has arisen at midnight of a vessel on the rocks, and her
crew in jeopardy. But these breathing-pauses of the fever’s rage were,
perhaps, more dreadful than its violence, for they were accompanied
with a return of the moral anguish which had brought on his malady;
and as often as his eye caught the meek, but desponding countenance of
Isabella, as she sat by his bedside, he would make a convulsive effort
to raise himself, and instantly relapse into the tempestuous raptures
of the delirium. In this state he passed the night.

Towards morning symptoms of a change began to show themselves,--the
turbulence of his thoughts subsided,--his breathing became more
regular; and both Isabella and his mother were persuaded that he was
considerably better. Under this impression, the old lady, at day-break,
dispatched a messenger to inform his father of the favourable change,
who, in the interval, had passed a night, in a state not more calm and
far less enviable, than that of his distracted son.

Whatever was the motive which induced Claud, on the preceding evening,
to determine on sending for Mr. Keelevin, it would appear that it
did not long maintain its influence; for, before going to bed, he
countermanded the order. Indeed, his whole behaviour that night
indicated a strange and unwonted degree of indecision. It was evident
that he meditated some intention, which he hesitated to carry into
effect; and the conflict banished sleep from his pillow. When the
messenger from Glasgow arrived, he was already dressed, and, as none
of the servants were stirring, he opened the door himself. The news
certainly gave him pleasure, but they also produced some change in the
secret workings of his mind, of no auspicious augury to the fulfilment
of the parental intention which he had probably formed; but which he
was as probably reluctant to realize, as it could not be carried into
effect without material detriment to that one single dominant object
to which his whole life, efforts, and errors, had been devoted. At
least from the moment he received the agreeable intelligence that
Charles was better, his agitation ceased, and he resumed his seat in
the elbow-chair, by the parlour fire-side, as composedly as if nothing
had occurred, in any degree, to trouble the apparently even tenor of
his daily unsocial and solitary reflections. In this situation he fell
asleep, from which he was roused by another messenger with still more
interesting intelligence to him than even the convalescence, as it was
supposed, of his favourite son.

Mrs. George Walkinshaw had, for some time, given a large promise, in
her appearance, of adding to the heirs of Kittlestonheugh; but, by her
residence in Glasgow, and holding little intercourse with the Grippy
family (owing to her own situation, and to her dislike of the members,
especially after Walter had been brought back with his child), the
Laird and Leddy were less acquainted with her maternal progress than
might have been expected, particularly when the anxiety of the old man,
with respect to male issue, is considered. Such things, however, are
of common occurrence in all families; and it so happened, that, during
the course of this interesting night, Mrs. George had been delivered;
and that her husband, as in duty bound, in the morning dispatched a
maid-servant to inform his father and mother of the joyous event.

The messenger, Jenny Purdie, had several years before been in the
servitude of the Laird’s house, from which she translated herself to
that of George. Being something forward, at the same time sly and
adroit, and having heard how much her old master had been disappointed
that Walter’s daughter was not a son, she made no scruple of employing
a little address in communicating her news. Accordingly, when the
Laird, disturbed in his slumber by her entrance, roused himself,
and turned round to see who it was that had come into the room, she
presented herself, as she had walked from the royal city muffled up in
a dingy red cloak, her dark-blue and white striped petticoat, sorely
scanty, and her glowing purple legs, and well spread shoeless feet,
bearing liberal proof of the speed with which she had spattered and
splashed along the road.

‘I wis you meikle joy, Laird! I hae brought you blithesmeat,’ was her
salutation.

‘What is’t, Jenny?’ said the old man.

‘I’ll let you guess that, unless ye promise to gi’e me half-a-crown,’
was her reply.

‘T’ou canna think I would ware less on sic errand as t’ou’s come on.
Is’t a laddie?’

‘It’s far better, Laird!’ said Jenny triumphantly.

‘Is’t twins?’ exclaimed the Laird, sympathizing with her exultation.

‘A half-crown, a half-crown, Laird,’ was, however, all the satisfaction
he received. ‘Down wi’ the dust.’

‘An t’ou’s sae on thy peremptors, I fancy I maun comply. There, take
it, and welcome,’ said he, pulling the money from under the flap of his
waistcoat pocket; while Jenny, stretching her arm, as she hoisted it
from under the cloak, eagerly bent forward and took the silver out of
his hand, instantaneously affecting the greatest gravity of face.

‘Laird,’ said she, ‘ye mauna be angry wi’ me, but I did na like just to
dumb-foun’er you a’ at ance wi’ the news; my mistress, it’s very true,
has been brought to bed, but it’s no as ye expekit.’

‘Then it’s but a dochter?’ replied the Laird discontentedly.

‘No, Sir, it’s no a dochter.--It’s twa dochters, Sir!’ exclaimed Jenny,
scarcely able to repress her risibility, while she endeavoured to
assume an accent of condolence.

Claud sank back in his chair, and, drooping his head, gave a deep sigh.

‘But,’ rejoined the adroit Jenny, ‘it’s a gude earnest of a braw
family, so keep up your heart, Laird, aiblins the neist birds may be a’
cocks; there ne’er was a goose without a gander.’

‘Gae but the house, and fash na me wi’ thy clishmaclavers. I say gae
but the house,’ cried the Laird, in a tone so deep and strong, that
Jenny’s disposition to gossip was most effectually daunted, and she
immediately retired.

For some time after she had left the room, Claud continued sitting
in the same posture with which he had uttered the command, leaning
slightly forward, and holding the arms of the easy-chair graspingly
by both his hands, as if in the act of raising himself. Gradually,
however, he relaxed his hold, and subsided slowly and heavily into
the position in which he usually fell asleep. Shutting his eyes,
he remained in that state for a considerable time, exhibiting no
external indication of the rush of mortified feelings, which, like a
subterranean stream of some acrid mineral, struggled through all the
abysses of his bosom.

This last stroke--the birth of twin daughters--seemed to perfect the
signs and omens of that displeasure with which he had for some time
thought the disinheritance of his first-born was regarded; and there
was undoubtedly something sublime in the fortitude with which he
endured the gnawings of remorse.--It may be impossible to consider the
course of his sordid ambition without indignation; but the strength
of character which enabled him to contend at once with his paternal
partiality, and stand firm in his injustice before what he awfully
deemed the frowns and the menaces of Heaven, forms a spectacle of moral
bravery that cannot be contemplated without emotions of wonder mingled
with dread.



CHAPTER XLII


The fallacious symptoms in the progress of Charles’s malady, which
had deceived his wife and mother, assumed, on the third day, the most
alarming appearance. Mr. Keelevin, who, from the interview, had taken
an uncommon interest in his situation, did not, however, hear of his
illness till the doctors, from the firmest persuasion that he could
not survive, had expressed some doubts of his recovery; but, from
that time, the inquiries of the honest lawyer were frequent; and,
notwithstanding what had passed on the former occasion, he resolved to
make another attempt on the sympathies of the father. For this purpose,
on the morning of the fifth day, which happened to be Sunday, he called
at Charles’s house, to inquire how he was, previous to the visit which
he intended to pay to Grippy. But the servant who attended the door was
in tears, and told him that her master was in the last struggles of
life.

Any other general acquaintance would, on receiving such intelligence,
however deeply he might have felt affected, have retired; but the
ardent mind and simplicity of Mr. Keelevin prompted him to act
differently; and without replying to the girl, he softly slipped his
feet from his shoes, and stepping gently to the sick-chamber, entered
it unobserved; so much were those around the death-bed occupied with
the scene before them.

Isabella was sitting at the bed-head, holding her dying husband by
both the hands, and bending over him almost as insensible as himself.
His mother was sitting near the foot of the bed, with a phial in
one hand, and a towel, resting on her knee, in the other, looking
over her left shoulder towards her son, with an eager countenance,
in which curiosity, and alarm, and pity, were, in rapid succession,
strangely and vacantly expressed. At the foot of the bed, the curtains
of which were drawn aside, the two little children stood wondering in
solemn innocence at the mournful mystery which Nature was performing
with their father. Mr. Keelevin was more moved by their helpless
astonishment than even by the sight of the last and lessening heavings
and pantings of his dying friend; and, melted to tears, he withdrew,
and wept behind the door.

In the course of three or four minutes, a rustle in the chamber roused
him; and on looking round, he saw Isabella standing on the floor, and
her mother-in-law, who had dropped the phial, sitting, with a look of
horror, holding up her hand, which quivered with agitation. He stepped
forward, and giving a momentary glance at the bed, saw that all was
over; but, before he could turn round to address himself to the ladies,
the children uttered a shrill piercing shriek of terror; and running
to their mother, hid their little faces in her dress, and clasped her
fearfully in their arms.

For some minutes he was overcome. The young, the beautiful, the
defenceless widow, was the first that recovered her self-possession. A
flood of tears relieved her heart; and bending down, and folding her
arms round her orphans, she knelt, and said, with an upward look of
supplication, ‘God will protect you.’

Mr. Keelevin was still unable to trust himself to say a word; but
he approached, and gently assisting her to rise, led her, with the
children, into the parlour, where old Lady Plealands was sitting alone,
with a large psalm-book in her hand. Her spectacles lying on a table in
the middle of the room, showed that she had been unable to read.

He then returned to bring Leddy Grippy also away from the body, but
met her in the passage. We dare not venture to repeat what she said to
him, for she was a mother; but the result was, a request from her that
he would undertake to communicate the intelligence to her husband, and
to beg him either to come to her in the course of the day, or send her
some money: ‘For,’ said she, ‘this is a bare house, Mr. Keelevin; and
Heaven only knows what’s to become o’ the wee orphans.’

The kind-hearted lawyer needed, however, no argument to spur him on
to do all that he could in such a time, and in such circumstances, to
lighten the distress and misery of a family whose necessities he so
well knew. On quitting the house, he proceeded immediately towards
Grippy, ruminating on the scene he had witnessed, and on the sorrows
which he foresaw the desolate widow and her children were destined to
suffer.

The weather, for some days before, had been unsettled and boisterous;
but it was that morning uncommonly fine for the advanced state of the
season. Every thing was calm and in repose, as if Nature herself had
hallowed the Sabbath. Mr. Keelevin walked thoughtfully along, the
grief of his reflections being gradually subdued by the benevolence
of his intentions; but he was a man well stricken in years, and the
agitation he had undergone made the way appear to him so long, that he
felt himself tired, insomuch that when he came to the bottom of the
lane which led to Kilmarkeckle, he sat down to rest himself on the
old dike, where Claud himself had sat, on his return from the town,
after executing the fatal entail. Absorbed in the reflections to which
the event of the morning naturally gave rise, he leaned for some time
pensively forward, supporting his head on his hand, insensible to
every object around, till he was roused by the cooing of a pigeon in
the field behind him. The softness and the affectionate sound of its
tones comforted his spirits as he thought of his client’s harsh temper,
and he raised his eyes and looked on the beautiful tranquillity of the
landscape before him, with a sensation of freshness and pleasure, that
restored him to confidence in the charity of his intentions. The waters
of the river were glancing to the cloudless morning sun,--a clear
bright cheerfulness dwelt on the foreheads of the distant hills,--the
verdure of the nearer fields seemed to be gladdened by the presence
of spring,--and a band of little schoolboys, in their Sunday clothes,
playing with a large dog on the opposite bank of the river, was in
unison with the general benevolence that smiled and breathed around,
but was liveliest in his own heart.



CHAPTER XLIII


The benevolent lawyer found the old man in his accustomed seat by the
fireside. Walter was in the room with him, dressed for church, and
dandling his child. At first Mr. Keelevin felt a little embarrassment,
not being exactly aware in what manner the news he had to communicate
might be received; but seeing how Walter was engaged, he took occasion
to commend his parental affection.

‘That’s acting like a father, Mr. Walter,’ said he; ‘for a kind parent
innocently pleasuring his bairn is a sight that the very angels are
proud to look on. Mak muckle o’ the poor wee thing, for nobody can tell
how long she may be spared to you. I dare say, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ he
added, addressing himself to Claud, ‘ye hae mony a time been happy in
the same manner wi’ your own children?’

‘I had something else to tak up my mind,’ replied the old man gruffly,
not altogether pleased to see the lawyer, and apprehensive of some new
animadversions.

‘Nae doubt, yours has been an eydent and industrious life,’ said
Mr. Keelevin, ‘and hitherto it has na been without a large share o’
comfort. Ye canna, however, expek a greater constancy in fortune and
the favour o’ Providence than falls to the common lot of man; and ye
maun lay your account to meet wi’ troubles and sorrows as weel as your
neighbours.’

This was intended by the speaker as a prelude to the tidings he had
brought, and was said in a mild and sympathetic manner; but the heart
of Claud, galled and skinless by the corrosion of his own thoughts,
felt it as a reproach, and he interrupted him sharply.

‘What ken ye, Mr. Keelevin, either o’ my trumps or my troubles?’ And he
subjoined, in his austerest and most emphatic manner, ‘The inner man
alone knows, whether, in the gifts o’ fortune, he has gotten gude, or
but only gowd. Mr. Keelevin, I hae lived long eneugh to mak an observe
on prosperity,--the whilk is, that the doited and heedless world is
very ready to mistak the smothering growth of the ivy, on a doddered
stem, for the green boughs o’ a sound and nourishing tree.’

To which Walter added singingly, as he swung his child by the arms,--

    ‘Near planted by a river,
  Which in his season yields his fruit,
    And his leaf fadeth never.’

‘But no to enter upon any controversy, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said Mr.
Keelevin,--‘ye’ll no hae heard the day how your son Charles is?’

‘No,’ replied Claud, with a peculiarly impressive accent; ‘but, at the
latest last night, the gudewife sent word he was very ill.’

‘I’m greatly concerned about him,’ resumed the lawyer, scarcely
aware of the address with which, in his simplicity, he was moving on
towards the fatal communication; ‘I am greatly concerned about him,
but mair for his young children--they’ll be very helpless orphans, Mr.
Walkinshaw.’

‘I ken that,’ was the stern answer, uttered with such a dark and
troubled look, that it quite daunted Mr. Keelevin at the moment from
proceeding.

‘Ye ken that!’ cried Walter, pausing, and setting down the child on the
floor, and seating himself beside it; ‘how do ye ken that, father?’

The old man eyed him for a moment with a fierce and strong aversion,
and, turning to Mr. Keelevin, shook his head, but said nothing.

‘What’s done, is done, and canna be helped,’ resumed the lawyer; ‘but
reparation may yet, by some sma cost and cooking, be made; and I hope
Mr. Walkinshaw, considering what has happened, ye’ll do your duty.’

‘I’ll sign nae papers,’ interposed Walter; ‘I’ll do nothing to wrang my
wee Betty Bodle,’--and he fondly kissed the child.

Mr. Keelevin looked compassionately at the natural, and then, turning
to his father, said,--

‘I hae been this morning to see Mr. Charles.’

‘Weel, and how is he?’ exclaimed the father eagerly.

The lawyer, for about the term of a minute, made no reply, but looked
at him steadily in the face, and then added solemnly,--

‘He’s no more!’

At first the news seemed to produce scarcely any effect; the iron
countenance of the old man underwent no immediate change--he only
remained immoveable in the position in which he had received the shock;
but presently Mr. Keelevin saw that he did not fetch his breath, and
that his lips began to contract asunder, and to expose his yellow teeth
with the grin almost of a skull.

‘Heavens preserve us, Mr. Walkinshaw!’ cried Mr. Keelevin, rising
to his assistance; but, in the same moment, the old man uttered a
groan so deep and dreadful, so strange and superhuman, that Walter
snatched up his child, and rushed in terror out of the room. After
this earthquake-struggle, he in some degree recovered himself, and the
lawyer returned to his chair, where he remained some time silent.

‘I had a fear o’t, but I was na prepar’t, Mr. Keelevin, for this,’
said the miserable father; ‘and noo I’ll kick against the pricks nae
langer. Wonderful God! I bend my aged grey head at thy footstool. O lay
not thy hand heavier upon me than I am able to bear. Mr. Keelevin, ye
ance said the entail cou’d be broken if I were to die insolvent--mak
me sae in the name of the God I have dared so long to fight against.
An Charlie’s dead--murdered by my devices! Weel do I mind, when he was
a playing bairn, that I first kent the blessing of what it is to hae
something to be kind to;--aften and aften did his glad and bright young
face thaw the frost that had bound up my heart, but ay something new
o’ the world’s pride and trash cam in between, and hardent it mair and
mair.--But a’s done noo, Mr. Keelevin--the fight’s done and the battle
won, and the avenging God of righteousness and judgement is victorious.’

Mr. Keelevin sat in silent astonishment at this violence of sorrow. He
had no previous conception of that vast abyss of sensibility which lay
hidden and unknown within the impenetrable granite of the old man’s
pride and avarice; and he was amazed and overawed when he beheld it
burst forth, as when the fountains of the great deep were broken up,
and the deluge swept away the earliest and the oldest iniquities of man.

The immediate effect, when he began to recover from his wonder, was a
sentiment of profound reverence.

‘Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said he, ‘I have long done you great injustice;’
and he was proceeding to say something more as an apology, but Claud
interrupted him.

‘You hae ne’er done me any manner of wrong, Mr. Keelevin; but I hae
sinned greatly and lang against my ain nature, and it’s time I sou’d
repent. In a few sorrowful days I maun follow the lamb I hae sacrificed
on the altars o’ pride; speed a’ ye dow to mak the little way I hae to
gang to the grave easy to one that travels wi’ a broken heart. I gie
you nae further instructions--your skill and honest conscience will
tell you what is needful to be done; and when the paper’s made out,
come to me. For the present leave me, and in your way hame bid Dr.
Denholm come hither in the afternoon.’

‘I think, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ replied Mr. Keelevin, falling into his
professional manner on receiving these orders, ‘that it would be as
weel for me to come back the morn, when ye’re more composed, to get the
particulars of what ye wish done.’

‘O man!’ exclaimed the hoary penitent, ‘ye ken little o’ me. Frae the
very dawn o’ life I hae done nothing but big and build an idolatrous
image; and when it was finished, ye saw how I laid my first-born on its
burning and brazen altar. But ye never saw what I saw--the face of an
angry God looking constantly from behind a cloud that darkened a’ the
world like the shadow of death to me; and ye canna feel what I feel
now, when His dreadful right hand has smashed my idol into dust. I hae
nae langer part, interest nor portion in the concerns of this life; but
only to sign ony paper that ye can devise, to restore their rights to
the twa babies that my idolatry has made fatherless.’

‘I hope, in mercy, Mr. Walkinshaw, that ye’ll be comforted,’ said the
worthy lawyer, deeply affected by his vehemence.

‘I hope so too, but I see na whar at present it’s to come frae,’
replied Claud, bursting into tears, and weeping bitterly. ‘But,’ he
added, ‘I would fain, Mr. Keelevin, be left to mysel--alack! alack!
I hae been oure lang left to mysel. Howsever, gang away the day, and
remember Dr. Denholm as ye pass;--but I’ll ne’er hae peace o’ mind till
the paper’s made and signed; so, as a Christian, I beg you to make
haste, for it will be a Samaritan’s act of charity.’

Mr. Keelevin perceived that it was of no use at that time to offer any
further consolation, and he accordingly withdrew.



CHAPTER XLIV


During the remainder of the day, after Mr. Keelevin had left him, Claud
continued to sit alone, and took no heed of any thing that occurred
around him.--Dinner was placed on the table at the usual hour; but he
did not join Walter.

‘I won’er, father,’ said the natural, as he was hewing at the joint,
‘that ye’re no for ony dinner the day; for ye ken if a’ the folk in the
world were to die but only ae man, it would behove that man to hae his
dinner.’

To this sage observation the grey-haired penitent made no reply; and
Walter finished his meal without attempting to draw him again into
conversation.

In the afternoon Claud left his elbow-chair, and walked slowly and
heavily up the path which led to the bench he had constructed on the
rising ground, where he was so often in the practice of contemplating
the lands of his forefathers; and on gaining the brow of the hill, he
halted, and once more surveyed the scene. For a moment it would seem
that a glow of satisfaction passed over his heart; but it was only a
hectical flush, instantly succeeded by the nausea of moral disgust;
and he turned abruptly round, and seated himself with his back towards
the view which had afforded him so much pleasure. In this situation he
continued some time, resting his forehead on his ivory-headed staff,
and with his eyes fixed on the ground.

In the meantime, Mr. Keelevin having called on the Reverend Dr.
Denholm, according to Claud’s wish, to request he would visit him
in the afternoon, the venerable minister was on his way to Grippy.
On reaching the house, he was informed by one of the maid-servants,
that her master had walked to his summer-seat on the hill, whither he
immediately proceeded, and found the old man still rapt in his moody
and mournful meditations.

Claud had looked up, as he heard him approach, and pointing to the
bench, beckoned him to be seated. For some time they sat together
without speaking; the minister appearing to wait in expectation that
the penitent would address him first; but observing him still disposed
to continue silent, he at last said,--

‘Mr. Keelevin told me, Mr. Walkinshaw, that ye wished to see me under
this dispensation with which the hand o’ a righteous Providence has
visited your family.’

‘I’m greatly obligated to Mr. Keelevin,’ replied Claud, thoughtfully;
‘he’s a frien’ly and a very honest man. It would hae been happy wi’ me
the day, Dr. Denholm, had I put mair confidence in him; but I doobt, I
doobt, I hae been a’ my life a sore hypocrite.’

‘I was ay o’ that notion,’ said the Reverend Doctor, not quite sure
whether the contrition so humbly expressed was sincere or affected, but
the meek look of resignation with which the desolate old man replied to
the cutting sarcasm, moved the very heart of the chastiser with strong
emotions of sympathy and grief; and he added, in his kindliest manner,--

‘But I hope, Mr. Walkinshaw, I may say to you, “Brother, be of good
cheer;” for if this stroke, by which your first-born is cut off from
the inheritance of the years that were in the promise of his winsome
youth, is ta’en and borne as the admonition of the vanity of setting
your heart on the things of carnal life, it will prove to you a great
blessing for evermore.’

There was something in the words in which this was couched, that, still
more painfully than the taunt, affected the disconsolate penitent,
and he burst into tears, taking hold of the minister’s right hand
graspingly with his left, saying, ‘Spare me, doctor! O spare me, an it
be possible--for the worm that never dieth hath coiled itsel within my
bosom, and the fire that’s never quenched is kindled around me--What an
it be for ever?’

‘Ye should na, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ replied the clergyman, awed by the
energy and solemnity of his manner--‘Ye should na entertain such
desperate thoughts, but hope for better things; for it’s a blithe
thing for your precious soul to be at last sensible o’ your own
unworthiness.’

‘Aye, doctor, but, alack for me! I was ay sensible o’ that. I hae
sinned wi’ my e’en open, and I thought to mak up for’t by a strict
observance o’ church ordinances.’

‘’Deed, Mr. Walkinshaw, there are few shorter roads to the pit than
through the kirk-door; and many a Christian has been brought nigh to
the death, thinking himsel cheered and guided by the sound o’ gospel
preaching, when, a’ the time, his ear was turned to the sough o’
perdition.’

‘What shall I do to be saved?’ said the old man, reverentially and
timidly.

‘Ye can do naething yoursel, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ replied the minister; and
he proceeded, with the fearlessness of a champion and the energy of an
apostle, to make manifest to his understanding the corruption of the
human heart, and its utter unworthiness in the pure eyes of Him that
alone can wash away the Ethiopian hue of original sin, and eradicate
the leopard spots of personal guilt.

While he spoke the bosom of Claud was convulsed--he breathed deeply and
fearfully--his eyes glared--and the manner in which he held his hands,
trembling and slightly raised, showed that his whole inward being
was transfixed, as it were, with a horrible sense of some tremendous
apocalypse.

‘I fear, I fear, Doctor Denholm,’ he exclaimed, ‘that I can hae no
hope.’

The venerable pastor was struck with the despair of the expression,
and, after a short pause, said, ‘Dinna let yoursel despond; tak comfort
in the mercy of God; surely your life has na been blacken’t wi’ ony
great crime?’

‘It has been one continued crime,’ cried the penitent--‘frae the first
hour that my remembrance can look back to, down to the vera last
minute, there has been no break nor interruption in the constancy of my
iniquity. I sold my soul to the Evil One in my childhood, that I might
recover the inheritance of my forebears. O the pride of that mystery!
and a’ the time there was a voice within me that would na be pacified
wi’ the vain promises I made to become another man, as soon as ever my
conquest was complete.’

‘I see but in that,’ said the pious Doctor, in a kind and consoling
manner, ‘I see but in a’ that, Mr. Walkinshaw, an inordinate love of
the world; and noo that ye’re awakened to a sense of your danger, the
Comforter will soon come. Ye hae ay been reputed an honest man, and no
deficient in your moral duties, as a husband, a parent, a master, and a
friend.’

Claud clasped his hands fervently together, exclaiming, ‘O God! thou
hast ever seen my hypocrisy!--Dr. Denholm,’ and he took him firmly by
the hand;--‘when I was but a bairn, I kent na what it was to hae the
innocence o’ a young heart. I used to hide the sma’ presents of siller
I got frae my frien’s, even when Maudge Dobbie, the auld kind creature
that brought me up, could na earn a sufficiency for our scrimpit meals;
I did na gang near her when I kent she was in poortith and bedrid, for
fear my heart would relent, and gar me gie her something out o’ the
gathering I was making for the redemption o’ this vile yird that is
mair grateful than me, for it repays with its fruits the care o’ the
tiller. I stifled the very sense o’ loving kindness within me; and in
furtherance of my wicked avarice, I married a woman--Heaven may forgie
the aversion I had to her; but my own nature never can.’

Dr. Denholm held up his hands, and contemplated in silence the humbled
and prostrate spirit that was thus proceeding with the frightful
confession of its own baseness and depravity.

‘But,’ cried the penitent, ‘I canna hope that ye’re able to thole
the sight that I would lay open in the inner sepulchre of my guilty
conscience--for in a’ my reprobation I had ever the right before me,
when I deliberately preferred the wrang. The angel of the Lord ceased
not, by night nor by day, to warsle for me; but I clung to Baal, and
spurned and kicked whenever the messenger of brightness and grace tried
to tak me away.’

The old man paused, and then looking towards the minister, who still
continued silent, regarding him with compassionate amazement, said,--

‘Doctor, what can I expek?’

‘O! Mr. Walkinshaw, but ye hae been a doure sinner,’ was the simple and
emphatic reply; ‘and I hope that this sense o’ the evil of your way is
an admonition to a repentance that may lead you into the right road at
last. Be ye, therefore, thankful for the warning ye hae now gotten of
the power and the displeasure of God.’

‘Many a warning,’ said Claud, ‘in tokens sairer than the plagues o’
Egypt, which but grieved the flesh, hae I had in the spirit; but still
my heart was harden’t till the destroying angel slew my first-born.’

‘Still I say, be thankful, Mr. Walkinshaw! ye hae received a singular
manifestation of the goodness of God. Your son, we’re to hope, is
removed into a better world. He’s exposed no more to the temptations of
this life--a’ care wi’ him is past--a’ sorrow is taken from him. It’s
no misfortune to die, but a great risk to be born; and nae Christian
should sorrow, like unto those who are without hope, when Death, frae
ahint the black yett, puts forth his ancient hand, and pulls in a
brother or a sister by the skirts of the garment of flesh. The like
o’ that, Mr. Walkinshaw, is naething; but when, by the removal of a
friend, we are taught to see the error of our way, it’s a great thing
for us--it’s a blithe thing; and, therefore, I say unto you again,
brother, be of good cheer, for in this temporal death of your son,
maybe the Lord has been pleased to bring about your own salvation.’

‘And what may be the token whereby I may venture to take comfort frae
the hope?’

‘There’s nae surer sign gi’en to man than that token--when ye see
this life but as a pilgrimage, then ye may set forward in your way
rejoicing--when ye behold nothing in your goods and gear but trash
and splendid dirt, then may ye be sure that ye hae gotten better than
silver or gold--when ye see in your herds and flocks but fodder for
a carnal creature like the beasts that perish, then shall ye eat of
the heavenly manna--when ye thirst to do good, then shall the rock
be smitten, and the waters of life, flowing forth, will follow you
wheresoever you travel in the wilderness of this world.’

The venerable pastor suddenly paused, for at that moment Claud laid
aside his hat, and, falling on his knees, clasped his hands together,
and looking towards the skies, his long grey hair flowing over his
back, he said with awful solemnity, ‘Father, thy will be done!--in the
devastation of my earthly heart, I accept the erles of thy service.’

He then rose with a serene countenance, as if his rigid features had
undergone some benignant transformation. At that moment a distant
strain of wild and holy music, rising from a hundred voices, drew their
attention towards a shaggy bank of natural birch and hazel, where, on
the sloping ground in front, they saw a number of Cameronians from
Glasgow, and the neighbouring villages, assembled to commemorate in
worship the persecutions which their forefathers had suffered there for
righteousness sake.

After listening till the psalm was finished, Claud and Dr. Denholm
returned towards the house, where they found Leddy Grippy had arrived.
The old man, in order to avoid any unnecessary conversation, proposed
that the servants should be called in, and that the Doctor should
pray--which he did accordingly, and at the conclusion retired.



CHAPTER XLV


On Monday Claud rose early, and, without waiting for breakfast, or
heeding the remonstrances of his wife on the risk he ran in going
afield fasting, walked to Glasgow, and went directly to the house of
his mother-in-law, the aged Leddy Plealands, now considerably above
fourscore. The natural delicacy of her constitution had received so
great a shock from the death of Charles, that she was unable that
morning to leave her room. Having, however, brought home with her the
two orphans until after the funeral, their grandfather found them
playing in the parlour, and perhaps he was better pleased to meet with
them than had she been there herself.

Although they knew him perfectly, yet the cold and distant intercourse
which arose from his estrangement towards their father, had prevented
them from being on those terms of familiarity which commonly subsist
between children and their grandfathers; and when they saw him enter
the room, they immediately left their toys on the floor, and, retiring
to a corner, stood looking at him timidly, with their hands behind.

The old man, without seeming to notice their innocent reverence,
walked to a chair near the window, and sat down. His demeanour was as
calm, and his features as sedate, as usual, but his eyes glittered
with a slight sprinkling of tears, and twice or thrice he pressed his
elbows into his sides, as if to restrain some inordinate agitation of
the heart. In the course of a few minutes he became quite master of
himself, and, looking for a short time compassionately at the children,
he invited them to come to him. Mary, the girl, who was the youngest,
obeyed at once the summons; but James, the boy, still kept back.

‘What for wilt t’ou no come to me?’ said Claud.

‘I’ll come, if ye’ll no hurt me,’ replied the child.

‘Hurt thee! what for, poor thing, should I hurt thee?’ inquired his
grandfather, somewhat disturbed by the proposed condition.

‘I dinna ken,’ said the boy, still retreating,--‘but I am feart, for ye
hurt papa for naething, and mamma used to greet for’t.’

Claud shuddered, and in the spasmodic effort which he made to suppress
his emotion, he unconsciously squeezed the little hand of the girl so
hardly, as he held her between his knees, that she shrieked with the
pain, and flew towards her brother, who, equally terrified, ran to
shelter himself behind a chair.

For some time the old man was so much affected, that he felt himself
incapable of speaking to them. But he said to himself,--

‘It is fit that I should endure this. I sowed tares, and maunna expek
wheat.’

The children, not finding themselves angrily pursued, began to recover
courage, and again to look at him.

‘I did na mean to hurt thee, Mary,’ said he, after a short interval.
‘Come, and we’ll mak it up;’--and, turning to the boy, he added, ‘I’m
very wae that e’er I did ony wrang to your father, my bonny laddie, but
I’ll do sae nae mair.’

‘That’s ’cause ye canna help it,’ replied James boldly, ‘for he’s
dead--he’s in a soun’ soun’ sleep--nobody but an angel wi’ the last
trumpet at his vera lug is able to waken him--and Mary and me, and
mamma--we’re a’ gaun to lie down and die too, for there’s nobody now in
the world that cares for us.’

‘I care for you, my lambie, and I’ll be kind to you; I’ll be as kind as
your father.’

It would appear that these words had been spoken affectionately, for
the little girl, forgetful of her hurt, returned, and placed herself
between his knees; but her brother still stood aloof.

‘But will ye be kind to mamma?’ said the boy, with an eager and
suspicious look.

‘That I will,’ was the answer. ‘She’ll ne’er again hae to blame me--nor
hae reason to be sorrowful on my account.’

‘But were nae ye ance papa’s papa?’ rejoined the child, still more
suspiciously.

The old man felt the full force of all that was meant by these simple
expressions, and he drew his hand hastily over his eyes to wipe away
the rising tears.

‘And will ye never trust me?’ said he sorrowfully to the child, who,
melted by the tone in which it was uttered, advanced two or three steps
towards him.

‘Aye, if ye’ll say as sure’s death that ye’ll no hurt me.’

‘Then I do say as sure’s death,’ exclaimed Claud fervently, and held
out his hand, which the child, running forward, caught in his, and was
in the same moment folded to his grandfather’s bosom.

Leddy Plealands had, in the meantime, been told who was her visitor,
and being anxious, for many reasons, to see him at this crisis, opened
the door. Feeble, pale, and delicate, the venerable gentlewoman was
startled at seeing a sight she so little expected, and stood several
minutes with the door in her hand before she entered.

‘Come in,’ said Claud to her--‘come in--I hae something to say to you
anent thir bairns--Something maun be done for them and their mother;
and I would fain tak counsel wi’ you concerning ’t. Bell Fatherlans is
o’ oure frush a heart to thole wi’ the dinging and fyke o’ our house,
or I would tak them a’ hame to Grippy; but ye maun devise some method
wi’ her to mak their loss as light in worldly circumstances as my means
will alloo; and whatsoever you and her ’gree upon Mr. Keelevin will see
executed baith by deed and paction.’

‘Is’t possible that ye’re sincere, Mr. Walkinshaw?’ replied the old
lady.

Claud made no answer, but, disconsolately, shook his head.

‘This is a mercy past hope, if ye’re really sincere.’

‘I am sincere,’ said the stern old man, severely; ‘and I speak wi’
humiliation and contrition. I hae borne the rebuke of thir babies, and
their suspicion has spoken sermons of reproaches to my cowed spirit and
broken heart.’

‘What have ye done?’ inquired the Lady, surprised at his
vehemence--‘what have ye done to make you speak in such a way, Mr.
Walkinshaw?’

‘In an evil hour I was beguiled by the Moloch o’ pride and ambition to
disinherit their father, and settle a’ my property on Watty, because he
had the Plealands. But, from that hour, I hae never kent what comfort
is, or amaist what it is to hope for heavenly mercy. But I hae lived
to see my sin, and I yearn to mak atonement. When that’s done, I trust
that I may be permitted to lay down my head, and close my een in peace.’

Mrs. Hypel did not well know what answer to make, the disclosure seemed
to her so extraordinary, that she looked at Claud as if she distrusted
what she heard, or was disposed to question the soundness of his mind.

‘I see,’ he added, ‘that, like the orphans, ye dinna believe me; but,
like them, Mrs. Hypel, ye’ll maybe in time be wrought to hae compassion
on a humbled and contrite heart. A’, therefore, that I can say for the
present is, consult wi’ Bell, and confer wi’ Mr. Keelevin; he has full
power frae me to do whatsoever he may think just and right; and what
ye do, do quickly, for a heavy hand is on my shouther; and there’s one
before me in the shape o’ my braw Charlie, that waves his hand, and
beckons me to follow him.’

The profound despondency with which this was uttered overwhelmed
the feelings of the old Lady; even the children were affected, and,
disengaging themselves from his arms, retired together, and looked at
him with wonder and awe.

‘Will ye go and see their mother?’--said the lady, as he rose, and was
moving towards the door. He halted, and for a few seconds appeared
to reflect; but suddenly looking round, he replied, with a deep and
troubled voice,--

‘No. I hae been enabled to do mair than I ever thought it was in my
power to do; but I canna yet,--no, not this day,--I canna yet venture
there.--I will, however, by and by. It’s a penance I maun dree, and I
will go through it a’.’

And with these words he quitted the house, leaving the old gentlewoman
and the children equally amazed, and incapable of comprehending the
depth and mystery of a grief which, mournful as the immediate cause
certainly was, undoubtedly partook in some degree of religious despair.



CHAPTER XLVI


Between the interview described in the preceding chapter and the
funeral, nothing remarkable appeared in the conduct of Claud. On the
contrary, those habits of reserve and taciturnity into which he had
fallen, from the date of the entail, were apparently renewed, and,
to the common observation of the general eye, he moved and acted as
if he had undergone no inward change. The domestics, however, began
to notice, that, instead of the sharp and contemptuous manner which
he usually employed in addressing himself to Walter, his voice was
modulated with an accent of compassion,--and that, on the third day
after the death of Charles, he, for the first time, caressed and
fondled the affectionate natural’s darling, Betty Bodle.

It might have been thought that this simple little incident would have
afforded pleasure to her father, who happened to be out of the room,
when the old man took her up in his arms; but so far from this being
the case, the moment that Walter returned he ran towards him, and
snatched the child away.

‘What for do’st t’ou tak the bairn frae me sae frightedly, Watty?’ said
Claud in a mild tone of remonstrance, entirely different from anything
he had ever before addressed to him.

Walter, however, made no reply, but retiring to a distant part of the
room, carefully inspected the child, and frequently inquired where she
was hurt, although she was laughing and tickled with his nursery-like
proceedings.

‘What gars t’ee think, Watty,’ rejoined his father, ‘that I would hurt
the wean?’

‘’Cause I hae heard you wish that the Lord would tak the brat to
himsel.’

‘An I did, Watty, it was nae ill wis.’

‘So I ken, or else the minister lies,’ replied Walter; ‘but I would na
like, for a’ that, to hae her sent till him; and noo, as they say ye’re
ta’en up wi’ Charlie’s bairns, I jealouse ye hae some end o’ your ain
for rooketty-cooing wi’ my wee Betty Bodle. I canna understand this
new-kythed kindness,--so, gin ye like, father, we’ll just be fair gude
e’en and fair gude day, as we were wont.’

This sank deeper into the wounded heart of his father than even the
distrust of the orphans; but the old man made no answer. Walter,
however, observed him muttering something to himself, as he leant his
head back, with his eyes shut, against the shoulder of the easy chair
in which he was sitting; and rising softly with the child in his arms,
walked cautiously behind the chair, and bent forward to listen. But
the words were spoken so inwardly and thickly, that nothing could be
overheard. While in this position, the little girl playfully stretched
out her hand and seized her grandfather by the ear. Startled from
his prayer or his reverie, Claud, yielding to the first impulse of
the moment, turned angrily round at being so disturbed, and, under
the influence of his old contemptuous regard for Watty, struck him a
severe blow on the face,--but almost in the same instant, ashamed of
his rashness, he shudderingly exclaimed, throbbing with remorse and
vexation,--

‘Forgi’e me, Watty, for I know not what I do;’ and he added, in a wild
ejaculation, ‘Lord! Lord! O lighter, lighter lay the hand o’ thy anger
upon me! The reed is broken--O, if it may stand wi’ thy pleasure, let
it not thus be trampled in the mire! But why should I supplicate for
any favour?--Lord of justice and of judgement, let thy will be done!’

Walter was scarcely more confounded by the blow than by these
impassioned exclamations; and hastily quitting the room, ran, with the
child in his arms, to his mother, who happened at the time, as was her
wont, to be in the kitchen on household cares intent, crying,--

‘Mother! mother! my father’s gane by himsel; he’s aff at the head; he’s
daft; and ta’en to the praising o’ the Lord at this time o’ day.’

But, excepting this trivial incident, nothing, as we have already
stated, occurred between the interview with Leddy Plealands and the
funeral to indicate, in any degree, the fierce combustion of distracted
thoughts which was raging within the unfathomable caverns of the
penitent’s bosom--all without, save but for this little effusion, was
calm and stable. His external appearance was as we have sometimes seen
Mount Etna in the sullenness of a wintry day, when the chaos and fires
of its abyss uttered no sound, and an occasional gasp of vapour was
heavily breathed along the grey and gloomy sky. Everything was still
and seemingly steadfast. The woods were silent in all their leaves;
the convents wore an awful aspect of unsocial solemnity; and the
ruins and remains of former ages appeared as if permitted to moulder
in unmolested decay. The very sea, as it rolled in a noiseless swell
towards the black promontories of lava, suggested strange imageries of
universal death, as if it had been the pall of the former world heavily
moved by the wind. But that dark and ominous tranquillity boded neither
permanence nor safety--the traveller and the inhabitant alike felt it
as a syncope in nature, and dreaded an eruption or a hurricane.

Such was the serenity in which Claud passed the time till Saturday, the
day appointed for the funeral. On the preceding evening his wife went
into Glasgow to direct the preparations, and about noon he followed
her, and took his seat, to receive the guests, at the door of the
principal room arranged for the company, with James, the orphan, at his
knee. Nothing uncommon passed for some time; he went regularly through
the ceremonial of assistant chief mourner, and in silence welcomed, by
the customary shake of the hand, each of the friends of the deceased
as they came in. When Dr. Denholm arrived, it was observed that his
limbs trembled, and that he held him a little longer by the hand than
any other; but he too was allowed to pass on to his seat. After the
venerable minister, Mr. Keelevin made his appearance. His clothes were
of an old-fashioned cut, such as even still may occasionally be seen at
west-country funerals among those who keep a special suit of black for
the purpose of attending the burials of their friends; and the sort of
quick eager look of curiosity which he glanced round the room, as he
lifted his small cocked hat from off his white, well-powdered, ionic
curled tie-wig, which he held firm with his left forefinger, provoked a
smile, in despite of the solemnity of the occasion.

Claud grasped him impatiently by the hand, and drew him into a seat
beside himself. ‘Hae ye made out the instrument?’ said he.

‘It’s no just finished,’ replied Mr. Keelevin; ‘but I was mindit to ca’
on you the morn, though it’s Sabbath, to let you see, for approbation,
what I have thought might be sufficient.’

‘Ye ought to hae had it done by this time,’ said Claud, somewhat
chidingly.

‘’Deed should I,’ was the answer, ‘but ye ken the Lords are coming to
the town next week, and I hae had to prepare for the defence of several
unfortunate creatures.’

‘It’s a judgement time indeed,’ said Claud; and, after a pause of
several minutes, he added, ‘I would fain no be disturbed on the Lord’s
day, so ye need na come to Grippy, and on Monday morning I’ll be wi’
you betimes; I hope a’ may be finished that day, for, till I hae made
atonement, I can expek no peace o’ mind.’

Nothing further was allowed at that time to pass between them, for the
betherils employed to carry round the services of bread and wine came
in with their trays, and Deacon Gardner, of the wrights, who had charge
of the funeral, having nodded to the Reverend Dr. John Hamilton, the
minister of the Inner High Church, in the district of which the house
was situated, the worthy divine rose, and put an end to all further
private whispering, by commencing the prayer.

When the regular in-door rites and ceremonies were performing, and the
body had, in the meantime, been removed into the street, and placed
on the shoulders of those who were to carry it to the grave, Claud
took his grandson by the hand, and followed at the head, with a firmly
knotted countenance, but with faltering steps.

In the procession to the church-yard no particular expression of
feeling took place; but when the first shovelful of earth rattled
hollowly on the coffin, the little boy, who still held his grandfather
by the finger, gave a shriek, and ran to stop the grave-digger from
covering it up. But the old man softly and composedly drew him back,
telling him it was the will of God, and that the same thing must be
done to every body in the world.

‘And to me too?’ said the child, inquiringly and fearfully.

‘To a’ that live,’ replied his grandfather; and the earth being, by
this time, half filled in, he took off his hat, and looking at the
grave for a moment, gave a profound sigh, and again covering his head,
led the child home.



CHAPTER XLVII


Immediately after the funeral Claud returned home to Grippy, where he
continued during the remainder of the day secluded in his bed-chamber.
Next morning, being Sunday, he was up and dressed earlier than usual;
and after partaking slightly of breakfast, he walked into Glasgow, and
went straight to the house of his daughter-in-law.

The widow was still in her own room, and not in any state or condition
to be seen; but the children were dressed for church, and when the
bells began to ring, he led them out, each holding him by the hand,
innocently proud of their new black clothes.

In all the way up the High Street, and down the pathway from the
church-yard gate to the door of the cathedral, he never raised his
eyes; and during the sermon he continued in the same apparent state of
stupor. In retiring from the church, the little boy drew him gently
aside from the path to show his sister the spot where their father
was laid; and the old man, absorbed in his own reflections, was
unconsciously on the point of stepping on the grave, when James checked
him,--

‘It’s papa--dinna tramp on him.’

Aghast and recoiling, as if he had trodden upon an adder, he looked
wildly around, and breathed quickly and with great difficulty, but
said nothing. In an instant his countenance underwent a remarkable
change--his eyes became glittering and glassy, and his lips white. His
whole frame shook, and appeared under the influence of some mortal
agitation. His presence of mind did not, however, desert him, and he
led the children hastily home. On reaching the door, he gave them in to
the servant that opened it without speaking, and went immediately to
Grippy, where, the moment he had seated himself in his elbow-chair, he
ordered one of the servants to go for Mr. Keelevin.

‘What ails you, father?’ said Walter, who was in the room at the time;
‘ye speak unco drumly--hae ye bitten your tongue?’ But scarcely had
he uttered these words, when the astonished creature gave a wild and
fearful shout, and, clasping his hands above his head, cried, ‘Help!
help! something’s riving my father in pieces!’

The cry brought in the servants, who, scarcely less terrified, found
the old man smitten with a universal paralysis, his mouth and eyes
dreadfully distorted, and his arms powerless.

In the alarm and consternation of the moment, he was almost immediately
deserted; every one ran in quest of medical aid. Walter alone remained
with him, and continued gazing in his face with a strange horror, which
idiocy rendered terrific.

Before any of the servants returned, the violence of the shock seemed
to subside, and he appeared to be sensible of his situation. The moment
that the first entered the room he made an effort to speak, and the
name of Keelevin was two or three times so distinctly articulated, that
even Walter understood what he meant, and immediately ran wildly to
Glasgow for the lawyer. Another messenger was dispatched for the Leddy,
who had, during the forenoon, gone to her daughter-in-law, with the
intention of spending the day.

In the meantime a doctor was procured, but he seemed to consider the
situation of the patient hopeless; he, however, as in all similar
cases, applied the usual stimulants to restore energy, but without any
decisive effect.

The weather, which had all day been lowering and hazy, about this time
became drizzly, and the wind rose, insomuch that Leddy Grippy, who came
flying to the summons, before reaching home was drenched to the skin,
and was for some time, both from her agitation and fatigue, incapable
of taking any part in the bustle around her husband.

Walter, who had made the utmost speed for Mr. Keelevin, returned soon
after his mother; and, on appearing before his father, the old man
eagerly spoke to him; but his voice was so thick, that few of his words
were intelligible. It was, however, evident that he inquired for the
lawyer; for he threw his eyes constantly towards the door, and several
times again was able to articulate his name.

At last, Mr. Keelevin arrived on horseback, and came into the room,
dressed in his trotcosey; the hood of which, over his cocked hat, was
drawn so closely on his face, that but the tip of his sharp aquiline
nose was visible. But, forgetful or regardless of his appearance, he
stalked with long strides at once to the chair where Claud was sitting;
and taking from under the skirt of the trotcosey a bond of provision
for the widow and children of Charles, and for Mrs. Milrookit, he knelt
down, and began to read it aloud.

‘Sir,’ said the doctor, who was standing at the other side of the
patient, ‘Mr. Walkinshaw is in no condition to understand you.’

Still, however, Mr. Keelevin read on; and when he had finished, he
called for pen and ink.

‘It is impossible that he can write,’ said the doctor.

‘Ye hae no business to mak ony sic observation,’ exclaimed the
benevolent lawyer. ‘Ye shou’d say nothing till we try. In the name of
justice and mercy, is there nobody in this house that will fetch me pen
and ink?’

It was evident to all present that Claud perfectly understood what his
friend said; and his eyes betokened eagerness and satisfaction; but the
expression with which his features accompanied the assent in his look
was horrible and appalling.

At this juncture Leddy Grippy came rushing, half dressed, into the
room, her dishevelled grey hair flying loosely over her shoulders,
exclaiming,--

‘What’s wrang noo?--what new judgement has befallen us?--Whatna fearfu’
image is that like a corpse out o’ a tomb, that’s making a’ this rippet
for the cheatrie instruments o’ pen and ink, when a dying man is at his
last gasp?’

‘Mrs. Walkinshaw, for Heaven’s sake be quiet;--your gudeman,’ replied
Mr. Keelevin, opening the hood of his trotcosey, and throwing it back;
taking off, at the same time, his cocked hat--‘Your gudeman kens very
weel what I hae read to him. It’s a provision for Mrs. Charles and her
orphans.’

‘But is there no likewise a provision in’t for me?’ cried the Leddy.

‘Oh, Mrs. Walkinshaw, we’ll speak o’ that hereafter; but let us get
this executed aff-hand,’ replied Mr. Keelevin. ‘Ye see your gudeman
kens what we’re saying, and looks wistfully to get it done. I say, in
the name of God, get me pen and ink.’

‘Ye’s get neither pen nor ink here, Mr. Keelevin, till my rights are
cognost in a record o’ sederunt and session.’

‘Hush!’ exclaimed the doctor--all was silent, and every eye turned
on the patient, whose countenance was again hideously convulsed;--a
troubled groan struggled and heaved for a moment in his breast, and was
followed by short quivering through his whole frame.

‘It is all over!’ said the doctor. At these words the Leddy rushed
towards the elbow-chair, and, with frantic cries and gestures, flew on
the body, and acted an extravagance of sorrow ten times more outrageous
than grief. Mr. Keelevin stood motionless, holding the paper in his
hand; and, after contemplating the spectacle before him for about two
or three minutes, shook his head disconsolately, and replacing his
cocked hat, drew the hood of the trotcosey again over his face, and
left the house.



CHAPTER XLVIII


As soon as the nature of the settlement which Claud had made of his
property was known, Leddy Plealands removed Mrs. Charles and the
children to her own house, and earnestly entreated her daughter the
Leddy, who continued to reside at Grippy, managing the household
cares there as usual, to exert her influence with Walter to make some
provision for his unfortunate relations. Even George, who, engrossed by
his business and his own family, cared almost as little as any man for
the concerns of others, felt so ashamed of his father’s conduct, that,
on the Sunday after the funeral, he went to pay a visit of condolence
to his mother, and to join his exhortations to hers, in the hope that
something might be done. But Walter was inexorable.

‘If my father,’ said he, ‘did sic a wicked thing to Charlie as ye a’
say, what for would ye hae me to do as ill and as wrang to my bairn? Is
na wee Betty Bodle my first-born, and, by course o’ nature and law, she
has a right to a’ I hae; what for then would ye hae me to mak away wi’
ony thing that pertains to her? I’ll no be guilty o’ ony sic sin.’

‘But you know, Walter,’ replied George, ‘that our father did intend to
make some provision both for Mrs. Charles, her family, and our sister,
and it’s really a disgrace to us all if nothing be done for them. It
was but a chance that the bond of provision was na signed.’

‘Ye may say sae, Geordie, in your cracks at the Yarn Club, o’er the
punch-bowl, but I think it was the will o’ Providence; for, had it
been ordain’t that Bell Fatherlans and her weans were to get a part o’
father’s gear, they would hae gotten’t. But ye saw the Lord took him to
Abraham’s bosom before the bond was signed, which was a clear proof and
testimony to me, that it does na stand wi’ the pleasure o’ Heaven that
she should get ony thing. She’ll get nothing frae me.’

‘But,’ again interposed George, ‘if you will do nothing in
consideration of our father’s intention, you ought in charity to think
of her distress.’

‘Charity begins at hame, Geordie, and wha kens but I may be brought to
want if I dinna tak care?’

‘I’m sure,’ replied the merchant, sharply, ‘that many a one has who
less deserved it.’

‘How do ye ken what I deserve?’ cried the natural, offended. ‘It’s
speaking ill o’ the understanding o’ Providence, to say I dinna deserve
what it has gi’en me. I’m thinking, Geordie, Providence kens my deserts
muckle better than you.’

Leddy Grippy, who, during this conversation, was sitting at the table,
in all the pomp of her new widow’s weeds, with the big Bible before
her, in which she was trying to read that edifying chapter, the tenth
of Nehemiah, here interposed.

‘Wheesht, wheesht, Watty, and dinna blaspheme,’ said she; ‘and no be
overly condumacious. Ye ken your father was a good man, and nothing but
the dart o’ death prevented him frae making a handsome provision for
a’ his family, forbye you; and no doubt, when ye hae gotten the better
o’ the sore stroke o’ the sudden removal of the golden candlestick o’
his life from among us, ye’ll do every thing in a rational and just
manner.’

‘’Deed I’ll do nae sic things, mother,’ was the reply; ‘I’m mindit to
haud the grip I hae gotten.’

‘But ye’re a Christian, Watty,’ resumed the Leddy, still preserving her
well-put-on mourning equanimity, ‘and it behoves you to reflek, that a’
in your power is gi’en to you but as a steward.’

‘Ye need na tell me that; but wha’s steward am I? Is na the matter a
trust for my bairn? I’m wee Betty Bodle’s steward, and no man shall
upbraid me wi’ being unfaithfu’,’ replied Walter.

‘Aye, aye, Watty, that’s very true in a sense,’ said she, ‘but
whosoever giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.’

‘That’s what I canna comprehend; for the Lord has no need to borrow;
he can make a world o’ gold for the poor folk, if he likes, and if he
keeps them in poortith, he has his ain reasons for’t.’

‘Ah, weel I wat!’ exclaimed the Leddy pathetically; ‘noo I fin’ to my
cost, that my cousin, Ringan Gilhaise, the Mauchlin maltster, had the
rights o’t when he plea’t my father’s will, on account of thy concos
montis; and, but for auld pawky Keelevin, he would hae gotten the
property that’s sae ill waur’t on thee.’

All this, however, made no impression; but George, in walking back
to Glasgow, several times thought of what had fallen from his mother
respecting the attempt which had been made to set aside her father’s
settlement, on the score of Walter’s idiocy; and once or twice it
occurred to him that the thing was still not impracticable, and that,
being next heir of entail, and nearest male relative, it might be of
advantage to his own family to get the management of the estate. Thus,
by a conversation intended to benefit the disinherited heirs, the seed
was sown of new plans and proceedings, worthy of the father’s son.
From that period, George took no further interest in the affairs of
his sister-in-law, but his visits became unusually frequent to Grippy,
and he was generally always attended by some friend, whom he led
into conversation with his brother, culated to call forth the least
equivocal disclosures of the state of Walter’s mind.

But whatever were his motives for these visits, and this kind of
conduct, he kept them close within his own breast. No one suspected
him of any sinister design, but many applauded his filial attentions
to his mother; for so his visits were construed, and they were deemed
the more meritorious on account of the state of his own family, his
wife, after the birth of her twin daughters, having fallen into
ill health. Indeed, he was in general contemplated with sentiments
of compassion and respect. Every body had heard of his anxiety, on
the death of his father, to procure some provision for his deceased
brother’s family, and sympathised with the regret which he expressed
at finding Walter so niggardly and intractable; for not a word was
breathed of his incapacity. The increased thoughtfulness and reserve
of his manner which began, we may say, from the conversation quoted,
was in consequence attributed to the effect of his comfortless domestic
situation, and the public sympathy was considerably augmented, when, in
the course of the same year in which his father died, he happened to
lose one of his daughters.

There were, however, among his friends, as there are always about
most men, certain shrewd and invidious characters, and some among
them did not give him credit for so much sensibility as their mutual
acquaintance in common parlance ascribed to him. On the contrary, they
openly condemned his indelicacy, in so often exposing the fooleries of
his brother; and those who had detected the well hidden sordid meanness
of his disposition, wondered that he had so quietly acquiesced in
Walter’s succession. But they had either forgotten, or had never heard
of, the circumstance to which his mother alluded with respect to her
relation, the Mauchlin maltster’s attempt to invalidate her father’s
will, and, of course, were not aware of the address requisite to prove
the incapacity of a man whose situation had been already investigated,
and who, by a solemn adjudication, was declared in the full possession
of all his faculties. Their wonderment was not, however, allowed to
continue long, for an event, which took place within a little more than
three months after the death of his daughter, ended all debates and
controversies on the subject.



CHAPTER XLIX


Death, it is said, rarely enters a house without making himself
familiar to the inmates. Walter’s daughter, a premature child, had from
her birth been always infirm and delicate. In the course of the spring
after her grandfather’s death, she evidently grew worse, and towards
the end of summer it was the opinion of all who saw her that she could
not live long. The tenderness and solicitude of her father knew no
bounds. She was, indeed, the sole object that interested him in life;
he doated over her with the most single and entire affection; and when
she died, he would not believe, nor allow himself to think, she had
expired, but sat by the bedside, preserving silence, and preventing her
from being touched, lest it should awaken her from a slumber which he
fondly imagined was to establish her recovery. No inducement could be
contrived to draw him from his vigilant watch, nor by any persuasion
could permission be obtained to dress her corpse. George, in the
meanwhile, called several times at the house, and took occasion, in
going there one day, to ask the Reverend Doctor Denholm to accompany
him, under the pretext that perhaps he might prevail with Walter to
allow the body to be removed, as it was beginning to grow offensive.
But, when they reached the house, Walter was missing--he had suddenly
and unobserved quitted the room where the corpse lay, and his mother,
availing herself of his absence, was busily preparing for the interment.

They waited some time in expectation of his return, believing he had
only walked into the fields, in consequence of the air of the chamber
having become intolerable; but, after conversing upwards of an hour on
general topics, some anxiety began to be expressed for his appearance,
and his mother grew so alarmed, that servants were dispatched in all
directions in quest of him. They had not, however, proceeded far, when
he was met on the Glasgow road, coming with his niece Mary in his
arms, followed by Leddy Plealands’ maid-servant, loudly remonstrating
with him for carrying off the child, and every now and then making an
attempt to snatch it from his arms.

‘What hae ye been about?’ cried his mother, as she saw him approaching
towards the house. He, however, made no answer; but, carrying the child
into the nursery, he immediately stripped it naked, and dressed her
in the clothes of his own daughter, caressing and pleasing her with
a thousand fond assurances--calling her his third Betty Bodle, and
betraying all the artless delight and satisfaction with which a child
regards a new toy.

Dr. Denholm, happening to be among those who wondered that his brother
had permitted him to succeed his father unmolested, and on seeing this
indisputable proof of idiocy according to the notions of society,
said,--

‘I canna refrain, Mr. George, from telling you that I think it’s no
right to alloo such a fine property as your father left, to be exposed
to wastrie and ruination in the possession of such a haverel. It’s
neither doing justice to the world nor to your ain family; and I redde
you look about you--for wha kens what he may do next?’

Such an admonition, the involuntary incitement of the moment, was not
lost. George had, in fact, been long fishing for something of the kind,
but nothing had occurred to provoke so explicit an opinion of Walter’s
obvious incapacity. He, however, replied cautiously,--

‘Some allowance, Doctor, must be made for the consternation of his
sorrow; and ye should know that it’s a kittle point of law to determine
when a man has or has not his sufficient senses.’

‘’Deed, Dr. Denholm,’ added Lady Grippy, who happened to be
present,--‘what ye say is very true; for I can ne’er abide to think
that Watty’s as he ought to be, since he refus’t to make good his
honest father’s kind intents to the rest o’ the family. Here am I
toiling and moiling frae morning to night for his advantage; and would
ye believe me, Doctor, when I tell you, that he’ll no alloo a black
bawbee for any needful outlay? and I’m obligated to tak frae my ain
jointure money to pay the cost o’ every thing the house stands in need
of.’

‘Not possible!’ said George, with every indication of the sincerest
astonishment.

‘Whether it’s possible, or whether it’s probable, I ken best mysel,’
replied the Leddy;--‘and this I ken likewise, that what I say is the
even-down truth; and nae farther gane than Mononday was eight days,
I paid Deacon Paul, the Glasgow mason, thirteen shillings, a groat,
and a bawbee, for the count o’ his sklater that pointed the skews o’
the house at Martinmas; and though I would supplicate, an it were on
my knees, like Queen Esther, the doure Ahasuerus, that he is, has no
mercy. Indeed, I’ll be nane surprised gin he leaves me to pay a’ the
charge o’ his bairn’s burial, which will be a black shame if he does.’

‘This must not be endured,’ said George, gravely; ‘and I am surprised,
mother, ye never spoke of such treatment before. I cannot sit patient
and hear that ye’re used in such a cruel and unnatural manner.’

‘It would be a blot on your character, Mr. George,’ rejoined the
minister, ‘if ye did. Your brother has been from his youth upward an
evident idiot; and ever since the death of his wife, ony little wit he
had has been daily growing less.’

‘What ye say, Doctor,’ resumed the Leddy, ‘is no to be controverted;
for, poor lad, he certainly fell intil a sore melancholic at that time;
and it’s my conceit he has ne’er rightly got the better o’t; for he
was--hegh, sirs!--he was till that time the kindest o’ a’ my bairns;
but, frae the day and hour that his wife took her departel in childbed,
he has been a changed creature. Ye’ll mind how outstrapolous and
constipated he was at her burial; and it’s wi’ a heavy heart that I
maun say’t, when his kind father, soon after, wanted to mak a will and
testament to keep us a’ right and comfortable, he was just like to burn
the house aboon our heads wi’ his condumacity.’

‘I am well aware of the truth of much that you have said; but it’s a
painful thing for a man to think of taking steps against the capacity
of his brother,’ replied George. ‘For, in the event of not succeeding,
he must suffer great obloquy in the opinion of the world; and you know
that, with respect to Walter, the attempt was once made already.’

‘And every body said,’ cried the Leddy, ‘that, but for the devices of
auld draughty Keelevin, he would hae been proven as mad as a March
hare; and nae doubt, as he kens how he jookit the law afore, he might
be o’ an instrumentality were the thing to gang to a revisidendo. No
that I would like to see my bairn put into bedlam; at the same time,
Dr. Denholm, I would na be doing a Christian and a parent’s part to the
lave o’ my family, an I were to mak a mitigation against it.’

‘I do not think,’ replied George, looking inquiringly at the Reverend
Doctor--‘that when a man is proved incapable of conducting his affairs,
it is necessary to confine him.’

‘O, no; not at all, Mr. George,’ was the unsuspicious minister’s
answer. ‘It would mak no odds to your brother; it would only oblige you
to take the management of the estate.’

‘That,’ replied George, ‘would be far from convenient, for the business
of the counting-house requires my whole attention. Ye can have no
notion, Dr. Denholm, how much this rebellion in America has increased
the anxieties of merchants. At the same time, I would be greatly
wanting in duty and respect towards my mother, were I to allow her
to remain any longer in such an unhappy state, to say nothing of the
manifest injustice of obliging her to lay out her own proper jointure
in repairs and other expenses of the house.’

Little more passed at that time on the subject; but, in the course of
walking back to Glasgow, George was fortified in his intentions by the
conversation of the Doctor--or, what is, perhaps, more correct, he
appeared so doubtful and scrupulous, that the guileless pastor thought
it necessary to argue with him against allowing his delicacy to carry
him too far.



CHAPTER L


After the minister and George had left the house, the cares, we should
say the enjoyments, of the Leddy were considerably increased, when she
had leisure to reflect on the singular transaction by which Walter
had supplied himself with another child. What with the requisite
preparations for the funeral of his daughter next day, and ‘this new
income’, as she called the adopted orphan, ‘that, in itself, was a
handling little short o’ a birth,’ she had not, from the death of her
husband, found herself half so earnestly occupied as on this sorrowful
occasion. The house rang with her admonitions to the servants, and her
short quick steps, in consequence of walking with old shoes down at
the heel, clattered as cleverly as her tongue. But all this bustle and
prodigality of anxieties suffered a sudden suspension, by the arrival
of Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw, in quest of her child. The little girl,
however, was by this time so delighted with the fondling and caresses
of her uncle, that she was averse to return home with her mother.

‘I won’er,’ said Leddy Grippy, ‘how ane in your straitened
circumstance, Bell Fatherlans, canna be thankfu’ for sic a gratus amous
as this. Watty’s a kind-hearted creature, and ye may be sure that
neither scaith nor scant will be alloo’t to come near the wean while it
stays in this house. For my part, I think his kidnapping her has been
nothing less than an instigation o’ Providence, since he would na be
constrained, by any reason or understanding, to settle an aliment on
you.’

‘I cannot, however, part with my child to him. You know there are many
little peculiarities about Mr. Walter that do not exactly fit him for
taking charge of children.’

‘But since he’s willing to bear the cost and charge o’ her,’ said the
Leddy, ‘ye should mak no objek, but conform; for ye ken, I’ll hae the
direction o’ her edication; and am sure ye would na wis to see her any
better brought up than was our Meg, Mrs. Milrookit, who could once
play seven tunes and a march on the spinet, and sewed a satin piece,
at Embrough, of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit under the tree
of life;--the like of which had na before been seen in a’ this kintra
side. In short, Bell, my dear, it’s my advice to you to let the lassie
bide wi’ us; for, unless Watty is put out o’ the way, it may prove a
great thing baith for her and you; for he’s a most ’conomical creature;
and the siller he’ll save belyve will be just a portion.’

‘What do you mean,’ replied the young widow, eagerly, ‘about putting
him out of the way?’

‘Ah! Bell Fatherlans,’ exclaimed the Leddy, in her most pathetic
manner;--‘little ken ye yet what it is to hae a family. This has,
indeed, been a house o’ mourning the day, even though we had na a body
in it waiting for interment. The minister has been here wi’ Geordie,
and it’s his solid opinion--we a’ ken what a man o’ lair and judgement
Dr. Denholm is;--he thinks that Watty’s no o’ a faculty to maintain the
salvation of the family property; and when your gude-brother heard how
I hae been used, he said, that neither law nor justice should oblige
him to let his mother live any longer in this house o’ bondage and
land o’ Egypt; so that, when we get the wean put aneath the ground,
there aiblins will be some terrogation as to the naturality of Watty’s
capacity, which, ye may be sure, is a most sore heart to me, his
mother, to hear tell o’. But if it’s the Lord’s will, I maun submit;
for really, in some things, Watty’s no to be thol’t; yet, for a’ that,
Bell, my dear, I would let him tak his own way wi’ your bairn, till we
see what’s to be the upshot. For, and though I maun say it, who is
his parent, that it canna be weel denied, that he’s a thought daft by
course o’ nature; he may, nevertheless, be decreetit douce enough by
course o’ law. Therefore, it’s neither for you nor me to mak or meddle
in the matter; but gather the haws afore the snaws, betide whatever may
betide.’

We cannot venture to say that Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw was exactly
what we should call surprised at this information. She knew enough of
the characters of her mother-in-law and of George, to hear even more
extraordinary communications from the former unmoved. We need scarcely
add, however, that the Leddy’s argument was not calculated with her to
produce the effect intended; on the contrary, she said,--

‘What you tell me only serves to convince me of the impropriety I
should be guilty of in leaving my child with Walter.’

But their conversation was interrupted at this juncture by the entrance
of Walter, leading Mary.

‘I’m come,’ said he, ‘Bell Fatherlans, to tell you that ye’re to gang
away hame, and bring Jamie here to stay wi’ us. The house is big enough
to haud us a’, and it’ll be a grand ploy to my mother--for ye ken she
has such a heart for a thrangerie butt and ben, that, rather than want
wark, she’ll mak a baby o’ the beetle, and dance til’t, cracking her
thumbs, and singing,

  Dance to your deddie, my bonny leddie;
  Jink through the reelie; jook round and wheelie;
    Bob in the setting, my bonny lamb;
  And ye’s get a slicie o’ a dishie nicie--
    Red-cheekit apples and a mutton ham.

So just gang hame at ance, Bell, and bring your laddie, and we’ll a’
live thegither, and rookettycoo wi’ ane anither like doos in a doocot.’

But although Leddy Grippy certainly did like a bustle with all her
heart and spirit, she had still that infirmity which ever belongs to
human nature gifted with similar propensities,--namely, a throbbing
apprehension at the idea of it, such as mankind in general suffer
in the prospect of enjoying pleasure; and the expression of this
feeling with her took commonly the form and language of repugnance and
reluctance, yea sometimes it even amounted to refusal.

‘What say ye?’ cried she to Walter, under a strong impression of it
at the moment,--‘are ye utterly bereav’t o’ your senses, to speak o’
bringing the lade o’ another family on my hands?’

‘I’m sure,’ was his answer, ‘if ye dinna like to tak the pleasure o’t,
ye’re free to set up your jointure house, and live the life o’ dowager
duchess, for me, mother. But Bell Fatherlans and her bairns are to come
here,--for this is my house, ye ken--settlet on me and mine, past a’
power o’ law, by my father--and what’s my ain I’ll mak my ain.’

‘Wha would hae thought o’ sic outcoming o’ kindness as this!’ replied
the Leddy. ‘I fancy, Bell, ye’ll hae to come and resident wi’ us?’

‘An she does na,’ said Walter, ‘I’ll gang away where never one kent me,
and tak her wee Mary on my back in a basket, like Jenny Nettles--that’s
what I will; so put the matter to your knee and straight it.’

‘I’ll mak a bargain, Mr. Walter,’ replied Mrs. Charles,--‘I’ll leave
Mary to-night, and come, after the burial to-morrow, with James, and
stay a few days.’

‘Ye’ll stay a’ your days,’ exclaimed Walter; ‘and as ye’re a leddy o’
mair genteelity than my mother, ye shall hae the full rule and power o’
the house, and mak jam and jelly;--a’ the cast o’ her grace and skill
gangs nae farther than butter and cheese.’

His mother was confounded, and unable for some time to utter a word. At
last, putting her hands firmly into her sides, she said,--

‘My word, but thou’s no blate. But it’s no worth my while to gang intil
a passion for a born idiot. Your reign, my lad, ’s no ordaint to be
lang, if there’s either law or gospel among the Fifteen at Embro’. To
misliken his mother! to misuse me as I were nae better than an auld
bachle, and, in a manner, to turn me out the house!’

‘O don’t disturb yourself,’ interposed Mrs. Charles; ‘they were but
words of course. You know his humour, and need not be surprised at what
he says.’

The indignant mother was not, however, soon appeased,--her wrath for
some time burnt fiercely, and it required no little dexterity on the
part of her daughter-in-law to allay the altercation which ensued;
but in the end her endeavours proved successful, and the result was
an arrangement that the child should be left for a day or two, to
ascertain whether Walter’s attachment was dictated by caprice or a
transfer of his affections. And in order to preserve quiet, and to
prevent any extravagance that might be injurious to the little girl, it
was also arranged that her mother and brother should likewise spend a
few weeks at Grippy.



CHAPTER LI


The news of the arrangement, when communicated to Doctor Denholm
and George, at the funeral next day, produced on them very opposite
effects. The minister, who was naturally of a warm and benevolent
disposition, persuaded himself that the proposal of Walter, to receive
his sister-in-law and her family, was dictated by a sense of duty and
of religion, and regretted that he had so hastily expressed himself so
strongly respecting his incapacity. Indeed, every one who heard the
story put upon it nearly the same sort of construction, and applauded
the uncouth kindness of the natural as brotherly and Christian.

George, however, saw it, perhaps, more correctly; but he was
exceedingly disturbed by the favourable impression which it made on
the minds of his acquaintance, and hesitated to indulge his desire to
obtain the management of the estate. But still he continued his visits
to Grippy, and took every opportunity of drawing the attention of his
friends to the imbecility of his brother. Nothing, however, occurred
to further his wishes till the term of Martinmas after the incident
mentioned in the foregoing chapter; when, on receiving his rents, he
presented his sister-in-law with a ten-pound note, at the same time
counting out, to the calculation of a halfpenny, the balance he owed
his mother of her jointure, but absolutely refusing to repay her any
of the money she had, in the meantime, disbursed for different little
household concerns and repairs, saying, that all she had laid out was
nothing in comparison to what she was due for bed and board. This
was the unkindest cut of all; for she justly and truly estimated her
services to him as of far more value. However, she said nothing; but
next day, on the pretext of going to see her mother, who was now very
infirm, and unable to quit her chamber, she went to Glasgow and called
on George, to whom she made a loud and long complaint of the insults
she had received, and of the total unfitness and unworthiness of his
brother to continue uncontrolled in the possession of the estate.

George sympathized with her sorrows and her sufferings like a dutiful
son, and comforted her with the assurance that he would lose no time in
taking some steps for her relief, and the preservation of the property.
And, as she consented to remain that day to dinner, it was thought,
considering the disposition Walter had shown to squander his gifts
on his sister-in-law, without any consideration for the rest of the
family, it might be as well to consult Mr. Keelevin on the occasion. A
message was, accordingly, dispatched to the honest lawyer, begging him
to call after dinner; in short, every demonstration was made by George
to convince his mother how much better her worth was appreciated by him
than by his brother;--and she was not only consoled, but delighted with
the sincerity of his attentions.

In due time Mr. Keelevin made his appearance; and the Leddy began a
strong representation of all the indignities which she had endured,
but her son softly and mildly interposed, saying,--

‘It is of no use, my dear mother, to trouble Mr. Keelevin with these
things; he knows the infirmities of Walter as well as we do. No
doubt,’ he added, turning to the lawyer, ‘you have heard of the very
extraordinary manner in which my brother took Mrs. Charles and her
family to Grippy.’

‘I really,’ replied the honest-hearted man, ‘had no idea that he
possessed so muckle feeling and common sense, but I was very happy to
hear’t. For, his own wean being no more, I’m sure he can do nothing
better than make up to the disinherited orphans some portion of that
which, but for your father’s sudden death, would hae been provided for
them.’

George knew not what reply to make to this; but his mother, who, like
the rest of her sex, had an answer for all subjects and occasions ever
ready, said,--

‘It’s weel to ca’t sense and feeling, but if I were obligated to speak
the truth, I would baptize it wi’ another name. It’s no to be rehearsed
by the tongue o’ man, Mr. Keelevin, what I hae borne at the hands of
the haverel idiot, since the death of him that’s awa--your auld friend,
Mr. Keelevin;--he was a man of a capacity, and had he been spared a
comfort to me, as he was, and ay sae couthy wi’ his kindness, I would
na kent what it is to be a helpless widow. But surely there maun be
some way o’ remeid for us a’ in thir straits? It’s no possible that
Walter can be alloo’t to riot and ravage in sic a most rabiator-like
manner; for I need na tell you, that he’s gane beyond all counsel and
admonition. Noo, do ye think, Mr. Keelevin, by your knowledge and skill
in law, that we can get him cognost, and the rents and rule o’ the
property ta’en out of his hands? for, if he gangs on at the gait he’s
going, I’ll be herri’t, and he’ll no leave himself ae bawbee to rub on
anither.’

‘What has he done?’ inquired the lawyer, a little thoughtfully.

‘Done! what has he no done? He gied Bell Fatherlans a ten pound note,
and was as dour as a smith’s vice in the grip, when I wantit him to
refund me a pour o’ ready money that I was obligated to lay out for the
house.’

George, who had watched the lawyer’s countenance in the meantime,
said,--

‘I doubt, mother, few will agree in thinking of that in the way you do.
My sister-in-law stands in need of his kindness, but your jointure is
more than you require; for, after all your terrible outlays,’ and he
smiled to Mr. Keelevin as he said the words, ‘you have already saved
money.’

‘But what’s that to him?’ exclaimed the Leddy. ‘Is nae a just debt a
just debt--was na he bound to pay what I paid for him--and is’t no like
a daft man and an idiot, to say he’ll no do’t? I’m sure, Mr. Keelevin,
I need na tell you that Watty was ne’er truly concos montes. How ye
got him made sound in his intellectuals when the law plea was about
my father’s will, ye ken best yoursel; but the straemash that was
thereanent is a thing to be remembered.’

Mr. Keelevin gave a profound sigh, adding, in a sort of apologistic
manner,--

‘But Walter has maybe undergone some change since that time?’

‘Yes,’ said George, ‘the grief and consternation into which he was
thrown by the sudden death of his wife had undoubtedly a great effect
on his mind.’

‘He was clean dementit at that time,’ cried the Leddy; ‘he would
neither buff nor stye for father nor mother, friend nor foe; a’ the
King’s forces would na hae gart him carry his wife’s head in a wiselike
manner to the kirk-yard. I’m sure, Mr. Keelevin, for ye were at the
burial, ye may mind that her father, Kilmarkeckle, had to do’t, and
lost his canary snuff by a twirl o’ the wind, when he was taking a
pinch, as they said, after lowering her head intil the grave; which was
thought, at the time, a most unparent-like action for any man to be
about at his only dochter’s burial.’

Mr. Keelevin replied, ‘I will honestly confess to you, that I do think
there has of late been signs of a want about Mr. Walter. But in his
kindness to his poor brother’s widow and family, there’s great proof
and evidence, both of a sound mind, reason, and a right heart. Ye’ll
just, Mrs. Walkinshaw, hae to fight on wi’ him as well as ye can, for
in the conscience o’ me I would, knowing what I know of the family, be
wae and sorry to disturb such a consolatory manifestation of brotherly
love.’

‘That’s just my opinion,’ said George, ‘and I would fain persuade my
mother to put up with the slights and ill usage to which she is so
distressingly subjected--at the same time, I cannot say, but I have
my fears, that her situation is likely to be made worse rather than
better, for Walter appears disposed, not only to treat her in a very
mean and unworthy manner, but to give the whole dominion of the house
to Mrs. Charles.’

‘Na,’ exclaimed the Leddy, kindling at this dexterous awakening of her
wrongs. ‘He did far waur, he a’maist turn’t me out o’ the house by the
shouthers.’

‘Did he lay hands on you, his mother?’ inquired Mr. Keelevin with
his professional accent and earnestness. But George prevented her
from replying, by saying that his mother naturally felt much molested
in receiving so harsh a return for the particular partiality with
which she had always treated his brother--and was proceeding in his
wily and insidious manner to fan the flame he seemed so anxious to
smother. Mr. Keelevin, however, of a sudden, appeared to detect his
drift, and gave him such a rebuking look, that he became confused and
embarrassed, during which the honest lawyer rose and wished them good
afternoon--saying to George, who accompanied him to the door,--

‘The deil needs baith a syde cloak and a wary step to hide his cloven
foot--I’ll say nae mair, Mr. George; but dinna mak your poor brother’s
bairns waur than they are--and your mother should na be egget on in her
anger, when she happens, poor body, to tak the dods now and then--for
the most sensible of women hae their turns o’ tantrums, and need baith
rein and bridle.’



CHAPTER LII


‘I hope and trust,’ said Leddy Grippy, as George returned from
conducting the lawyer to the door, ‘that ye’ll hae mair compassion for
your mother than to be sway’t by the crooked counsels o’ yon quirkie
bodie. I could see vera weel that he has a because o’ his ain for
keeping his thumb on Watty’s unnaturality. But Geordie, he’s no surely
the only lawyer in the town? I wat there are scores baith able and
willing to tak the business by the hand; and if there shou’d be nane o’
a sufficient capacity in Glasgow, just tak a step in til Embro’, where,
I hae often heard my honest father say, there are legions o’ a capacity
to contest wi’ Belzebub himsel.’

‘I am very anxious, mother, to do every thing to promote your
happiness,’ was the reply; ‘but the world will be apt to accuse me of
being actuated by some sinister and selfish motive. It would be most
disgraceful to me were I to fail.’

‘It will be a black burning shame to alloo a daft man any longer to
rule and govern us like a tyrant wi’ a rod o’ iron, pooking and rooking
me, his mother, o’ my ain lawful jointure and honest hainings, forbye
skailing and scattering his inheritance in a manner as if ten pound
notes were tree-leaves at Hallowe’en.’

‘I am quite sensible of the truth and justice of all you say; but you
know the uncertainty of the law,’ said George, ‘and the consequences
would be fatal to me were we not to succeed.’

‘And what will be the consequences if he were taking it in his head to
marry again? He would mak nae scruple of sending me off frae Grippy at
an hour’s warning.’

This touched the keenest nerve of her son’s anxieties; and he was
immediately alarmed by a long visionary vista of unborn sons, rising
between him and the succession to the estate;--but he only appeared to
sympathize with his mother.

‘It’s not possible,’ said he, ‘even were he to marry again, that he
could be so harsh. You have lived ever since your marriage with my
father at Grippy. It’s your home, and endeared to you by many pleasing
recollections. It would be extreme cruelty now, in your declining
years, to force you to live in the close air, and up the dirty turnpike
stairs o’ Glasgow.’

‘It would soon be the death o’ me,’ exclaimed the Leddy, with a sigh,
wiping one of her eyes with the corner of her apron. ‘In short,
Geordie, if ye dinna step out and get him put past the power o’
marrying, I’ll regard you as little better than art and part in his
idiocety. But it’s time I were taking the road, for they’ll a’ be
marvelling what keeps me. There’s, however, ae thing I would advise
you, and that is, to take gude care and no mint what we hae been
speaking o’ to living creature, for nobody can tell what detriment the
born idiot might do to us baith, were he to get an inkling before a’s
ready to put the strait waistcoat o’ the law on him; so I redde you
set about it in a wary and wily manner, that he may hae nae cause to
jealouse your intent.’

There was, however, no great occasion for the latter part of this
speech, George being perfectly aware of all the difficulties and
delicacies of the case; but he said,--

‘Did he ever attempt actually to strike you?’

‘Oh, no,’ replied his mother; ‘to do the fool thing justice, it’s
kindly enough in its manner; only it will neither be governed nor
guided by me as it used to be; which is a sore trial.’

‘Because,’ rejoined George, ‘had he ever dared to do so, there would
then have been less trouble or scruple in instituting proceedings
against him.’

‘Na; an it’s ony way to commode the business, we might soon provoke
him to lift his hand; but it’s a powerful creature, and I’m fear’t.
However, Geordie, ye might lay yoursel out for a bit slaik o’ its paw;
so just come o’er the morn’s morning and try; for it’ll no do to stand
shilly-shallying, if we hope to mak a right legality o’t.’

Cowardice is the best auxiliary to the police, and George had
discretion enough not to risk the danger of rousing the sleeping lion
of his brother’s Herculean sinews. But, in other respects, he took his
mother’s advice; and, avoiding the guilt of causing an offence, in
order that he might be able to prosecute the offender, he applied to
Gabriel Pitwinnoch, the writer, from whose character he expected to
encounter fewer scruples and less scrutiny than with Mr. Keelevin.

In the meantime, the Leddy, who had returned home to Grippy, preserved
the most entire reserve upon the subject to all the inmates of the
family, and acted her part so well, that even a much more suspicious
observer than her daughter-in-law would never have suspected her of
double dealing. Indeed, any change that could be perceived in her
manner was calculated to lull every suspicion,--for she appeared
more than usually considerate and attentive towards Walter, and even
condescended to wheedle and coax him on different occasions, when it
would have been more consonant to her wonted behaviour had she employed
commands and reproaches.

In the course of a week after the interview with Mr. Keelevin, George
went to Edinburgh, and he was accompanied in his journey by the wary
Gabriel Pitwinnoch. What passed between them on the road, and who they
saw, and what advice they received in the intellectual city, we need
not be particular in relating; but the result was, that, about a week
after their return, Gabriel came to Grippy, accompanied by a stranger,
of whose consequence and rank it would appear the Leddy had some
previous knowledge, as she deported herself towards him with a degree
of ceremonious deference very unusual to her habits. The stranger,
indeed, was no less a personage than Mr. Threeper the advocate, a
gentleman of long standing and great practice in the Parliament House,
and much celebrated for his shrewd perception of technical flaws, and
clever discrimination of those nicer points of the law that are so
often at variance with justice.

It happened, that, when this learned doctor of the Caledonian Padua
arrived with his worthy associate, Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw was in the
fields; but, the moment her son James saw him, he was so struck with
his appearance, that he ran to tell her. Walter also followed him,
under the influence of the same feeling, and said,--

‘Come in, Bell Fatherlans, and see what a warld’s won’er Pitwinnoch the
writer has brought to our house. My mother says it’s a haudthecat, and
that it gangs about the town o’ Embro’, walking afore the Lords, in a
black gown, wi’ a wig on’ts head. I marvel what the creature’s come
here for. It has a silver snuffbox, that it’s ay pat-patting; and ye
would think, to hear it speak, that King Solomon, wi’ a’ his hundreds
o’ wives and concubines, was but a fool to him.’

Mrs. Charles was alarmed at hearing of such a visitor; for the journey
of George and Pitwinnoch to Edinburgh immediately occurred to her, and
a feeling of compassion, mingled with gratitude for the kindness which
Walter had lately shown to herself and her children, suggested that she
ought to put him on his guard.

‘Walter,’ said she, ‘I would not advise you to go near the house while
the two lawyers are there,--for who knows what they may do to you?
But go as fast as ye can to Glasgow, and tell Mr. Keelevin what has
happened; and say that I have some reason to fear it’s a visit that
bodes you no good, and therefore ye’ll stand in need of his advice and
assistance.’

The natural, who had an instinctive horror of the law, made no reply,
but, with a strong expression of terror in his countenance, immediately
left her, and went straight to Glasgow.



CHAPTER LIII


During the journey of George and Pitwinnoch to Edinburgh, a Brief of
Chancery had been quietly obtained, directing the Sheriff of the county
to summon a jury, to examine into the alleged fatuity of Walter; and
the visit of the latter with Mr. Threeper, the advocate, to Grippy,
was to meet George, for the purpose of determining with respect to the
evidence that it might be requisite to adduce before the inquest. All
this was conducted, as it was intended to appear, in a spirit of the
greatest delicacy towards the unfortunate _fatuus_, consistent with the
administration of public justice.

‘I can assure you,’ said our friend Gabriel to Mr. Threeper, as they
walked towards the house--the advocate perusing the ground as he poked
his way along with his cane, and occasionally taking snuff; ‘I can
assure you, that nothing but the most imperious necessity could have
induced Mr. George Walkinshaw to institute these proceedings; for he is
a gentleman of the utmost respectability; and to my knowledge has been
long and often urged in vain to get his brother cognost; but, until the
idiot’s conduct became so intolerable, that his mother could no longer
endure it, he was quite inexorable.’

‘Is Mr. George in affluent circumstances?’ said the advocate, dryly.

‘He is but a young man; the house, however, in which he is a partner is
one of the most flourishing in Glasgow,’ was the answer.

‘He has, perhaps, a large family?’

‘O dear no; only one daughter; and his wife,’ said Gabriel, ‘is, I
understand, not likely to have any more.’

‘She may, however, have sons, Pitwinnoch,’ rejoined the advocate,
wittily--at the same time taking snuff. ‘But you say it is the mother
that has chiefly incited Mr. Walkinshaw to this action.’

‘So he told me,’ replied the writer.

‘Her evidence will be most important; for it is not natural that a
mother would urge a process of such a nature, without very strong
grounds indeed, unless she has some immediate or distinct prospective
interest in the result. Have you any idea that such is the case?’

‘I should think not,’ said Gabriel.

‘Do you imagine that such allowance as the Court might grant for the
custody of the _fatuus_ would have any influence with her?’ inquired
Mr. Threeper, without raising his eyes from the road.

‘I have always understood,’ was the reply, ‘that she is in the
possession, not only of a handsome jointure, but of a considerable
provision, specially disponed to her by the will of old Plealands, her
father.’

‘Ah! was she the daughter of old Plealands?’ said the advocate. ‘It
was in a cause of his that I was first retained. He had the spirit of
litigation in a very zealous degree.’

In this manner the two redressers of wrongs chattingly proceeded
towards Grippy, by appointment, to meet George; and they arrived, as we
have related in the foregoing chapter, a few minutes before he made his
appearance.

In the meantime, Watty hastened with rapid steps, goaded by a
mysterious apprehension of some impending danger, to the counting-house
of Mr. Keelevin, whom he found at his desk.

‘Weel, Mr. Walter,’ said the honest writer, looking up from a deed he
was perusing, somewhat surprised at seeing him--‘What’s the best o’
your news the day, and what’s brought you frae Grippy?’

‘Mr. Keelevin,’ replied Walter, going towards him on tiptoe, and
whispering audibly in his ear, ‘I’ll tell you something, Mr.
Keelevin:--twa gleds o’ the law hae lighted yonder; and ye ken, by your
ain ways, that the likes o’ them dinna flee afield for naething.’

‘No possible!’ exclaimed Mr. Keelevin; and the recollection of his
interview with George and the Leddy flashing upon him at the moment,
he at once divined the object of their visit; and added, ‘It’s most
abominable;--but ken ye what they’re seeking, Mr. Walter?’

‘No,’ said he. ‘But Bell Fatherlans bade me come and tell you; for she
thought I might need your counsel.’

‘She has acted a true friend’s part; and I’m glad ye’re come,’ replied
the lawyer; ‘and for her and her bairns’ sake, I hope we’ll be able to
defeat their plots and devices. But I would advise you, Mr. Walter, to
keep out o’ harm’s way, and no gang in the gate o’ the gleds, as ye ca’
them.’

‘Hae ye ony ark or amrie, Mr. Keelevin, where a body might den himsel
till they’re out o’ the gate and away?’ cried Walter timidly, and
looking anxiously round the room.

‘Ye should na speak sic havers, Mr. Walter, but conduct yourself mair
like a man,’ said his legal friend grievedly. ‘Indeed, Mr. Walter, as I
hae some notion that they’re come to tak down your words--may be to spy
your conduct, and mak nae gude report thereon to their superiors--tak
my advice, and speak as little as possible.’

‘I’ll no say ae word--I’ll be a dumbie--I’ll sit as quiet as ony ane o’
the images afore Bailie Glasford’s house at the head o’ the Stockwell.
King William himsel, on his bell-metal horse at the Cross, is a popular
preacher, Mr. Keelevin, compared to what I’ll be.’

The simplicity and sincerity with which this was said moved the
kind-hearted lawyer at once to smile and sigh.

‘There will, I hope, Mr. Walter,’ said he, ‘be no occasion to put
any restraint like that upon yoursel; only it’s my advice to you as
a friend, to enter into no conversation with any one you do not well
know, and to dress in your best clothes, and shave yoursel,--and in a’
things demean and deport yoursel, like the laird o’ Kittlestonheugh,
and the representative of an ancient and respected family.’

‘Oh, I can easily do that,’ replied the natural; ‘and I’ll tak my
father’s ivory-headed cane, with the golden virl, and the silver e’e
for a tassel, frae ahint the scrutoire, where it has ay stood since
his death, and walk up and down the front of the house like a Glasgow
magistrate.’

‘For the love o’ Heaven, Mr. Walter,’ exclaimed the lawyer, ‘do nae sic
mad-like action! The like o’ that is a’ they want.’

‘In whatna other way, then,’ said Walter helplessly, ‘can I behave
like a gentleman, or a laird o’ yird and stane, wi’ the retinue o’ an
ancient pedigree like my father’s Walkinshaws o’ Kittlestonheugh?’

‘’Deed,’ said Mr. Keelevin compassionately, ‘I’m wae to say’t--but I
doot, I doot, it’s past the compass o’ my power to advise you.’

‘I’m sure,’ exclaimed Walter despairingly, ‘that THE MAKER was ill aff
for a turn when he took to the creating o’ lawyers. The deils are but
prentice work compared to them. I dinna ken what to do, Mr. Keelevin--I
wish that I was dead, but I’m no like to dee, as Jenny says in her
wally-wae about her father’s cow and auld Robin Gray.’

‘Mr. Walter,’ said his friend, after a pause of several minutes, ‘go
you to Mrs. Hypel, your grandmother, for the present, and I’ll out to
Grippy, and sift the meaning o’ this visitation. When I have gathered
what it means, we’ll hae the better notion in what way we ought to
fight with the foe.’

‘I’ll smash them like a forehammer,’ exclaimed Walter, proudly. ‘I’ll
stand ahint a dike, and gie them a belter wi’ stanes, till I hae na
left the souls in their bodies--that’s what I will,--if ye approve o’t,
Mr. Keelevin.’

‘Weel, weel, Mr. Walter,’ was the chagrined and grieved reply, ‘we’ll
see to that when I return; but it’s a terrible thing to think o’
proving a man non compos mentis for the only sensible action he ever
did in all his life. Nevertheless, I will not let myself despond; and I
have only for the present to exhort you to get yoursel in an order and
fitness to appear as ye ought to be;--for really, Mr. Walter, ye alloo
yoursel to gang sae like a divor, that I dinna wonder ye hae been
ta’en notice o’. So I counsel you to mak yoursel trig, and no to play
ony antics.’

Walter assured him, that his advice would in every respect be followed;
and, leaving the office, he went straight to the residence of his
grandmother, while Mr. Keelevin, actuated at once by his humanity and
professional duty, ordered his horse, and reached Grippy just as the
advocate, Mr. Pitwinnoch, and George, were on the point of coming away,
after waiting in vain for the return of Walter, whom Mr. Threeper was
desirous of conversing with personally.



CHAPTER LIV


The triumvirate and Leddy Grippy were disconcerted at the appearance
of Mr. Keelevin--for, at that moment, the result of Mr. Threeper’s
inquiries among the servants had put them all in the most agreeable
and unanimous opinion with respect to the undoubted certainty of poor
Watty’s fatuity.--‘We have just to walk over the course,’ the advocate
was saying; when George, happening to glance his eye towards the
window, beheld the benevolent lawyer coming up the avenue.

‘Good Heavens!’ said he, ‘what can that old pest, Keelevin, want here?’

‘Keelevin!’ exclaimed the Leddy,--‘that’s a miracle to me. I think,
gentlemen,’ she added, ‘ye had as weel gang away by the back door--for
ye would na like, maybe, to be fashed wi’ his confabbles. He’s no a
man, or I’m far mista’en, that kens muckle about the prejinketties
o’ the law, though he got the poor daft creature harl’t through the
difficulties o’ the plea wi’ my cousin Gilhaise, the Mauchlin maltster.
I’m very sure, Mr. Threeper, he’s no an acquaintance ye would like
to cultivate, for he has na the talons o’ an advocate versed in the
devices o’ the courts, but is a quirkie bodie, capable o’ making law
no law at a’, according to the best o’ my discernment, which, to be
sure, in matters o’ locutories and decreets, is but that o’ a hamely
household woman, so I would advise you to eschew his company at this
present time.’

Mr. Threeper, however, saw further into the lady’s bosom than she
suspected; and as it is never contrary, either to the interest of
advocate or agent, to avoid having causes contested, especially when
there is, as was in this case, substance enough to support a long and
zealous litigation, that gentleman said,--

‘Then Mr. Keelevin is the agent who was employed in the former action?’

‘Just sae,’ resumed the Leddy, ‘and ye ken he could na, wi’ ony regard
to himsel, be art and part on this occasion.’

‘Ah, but, madam,’ replied the advocate, earnestly, ‘he may be agent for
the _fatuus_. It is, therefore, highly proper we should set out with a
right understanding respecting that point; for, if the allegations are
to be controverted, it is impossible to foresee what obstacles may be
raised, although, in my opinion, from the evidence I have heard, there
is no doubt that the fatuity of your son is a fact which cannot fail to
be in the end substantiated. Don’t you think, Mr. Pitwinnoch, that we
had as well see Mr. Keelevin?’

‘Certainly,’ said Gabriel. ‘And, indeed, considering that, by the brief
to the Sheriff, the Laird is a party, perhaps even though Mr. Keelevin
should not have been employed, it would be but fair, and look well
towards the world, were he instructed to take up this case on behalf of
the _fatuus_. What say you, Mr. Walkinshaw?’

George did not well know what to say, but he replied, that, for
many reasons, he was desirous the whole affair should be managed as
privately as possible. ‘If, however, the forms of the procedure require
that an agent should act for Walter, I have no objection; at the same
time, I do not think Mr. Keelevin the fittest person.’

‘Heavens and earth!’ exclaimed the Leddy, ‘here’s a respondenting and
a hearing, and the Lord Ordinary and a’ the fifteen Lords frae Embro’
come to herry us out o’ house and hall. Gentlemen, an ye’ll tak my
advice, who, in my worthy father’s time, had some inkling o’ what the
cost o’ law pleas are, ye’ll hae naething to do wi’ either Keelevin,
Gardevine, or ony other Vines in the shape o’ pro forma agents; but
settle the business wi’ the Sheriff in a douce and discreet manner.’

Mr. Threeper, looking towards Mr. Pitwinnoch and George, rapped his
ivory snuff-box, rimmed and garnished with gold, and smiling, took a
pinch as Mr. Keelevin was shown into the room.

‘Mr. George,’ said Mr. Keelevin, sedately, after being seated; ‘I am
not come here to ask needless questions, but as Man of Business for
your brother, it will be necessary to serve me with the proper notices
as to what you intend.’

Mr. Threeper again had recourse to his box, and Gabriel looked
inquiringly at his client--who could with difficulty conceal his
confusion, while the old lady, who had much more presence of mind,
said,--

‘May I be sae bold, Mr. Keelevin, as to speer wha sent you here, at
this time?’

‘I came at Mr. Walter’s own particular and personal request,’ was the
reply; and he turned at the same time towards the advocate, and added,
‘That does not look very like fatuity.’

‘He never could hae done that o’ his own free will. I should na wonder
if the interloper, Bell Fatherlans, sent him--but I’ll soon get to the
bottom o’t,’ exclaimed the Leddy, and she immediately left the room in
quest of Mrs. Charles, to inquire. During her absence, Mr. Keelevin
resumed,--

‘It is not to be contested, Mr. Threeper,’ for he knew the person
of the advocate, ‘that the Laird is a man o’ singularities and
oddities--we a’ hae our foibles; but he got a gude education, and his
schoolmaster bore testimony on a former occasion to his capacity; and
if it can be shown that he does not manage his estate so advantageously
as he might do, surely that can never be objected against him, when
we every day see so many o’ the wisest o’ our lairds, and lords,
and country gentry, falling to pigs and whistles, frae even-doun
inattention or prodigality. I think it will be no easy thing to prove
Mr. Walter incapable o’ managing his own affairs, with his mother’s
assistance.’

‘Ah! Mr. Keelevin, with his mother’s assistance!’ exclaimed the acute
Mr. Threeper. ‘It’s time that he were out of leading-strings, and able
to take care of himself, without his mother’s assistance--if he’s ever
likely to do so.’

At this crisis, the Leddy returned into the room flushed with anger.
‘It’s just as I jealoused,’ cried she; ‘it’s a’ the wark o’ my
gude-dochter--it was her that sent him; black was the day she e’er
came to stay here; many a sore heart in the watches o’ the night hae I
had sin syne, for my poor weak misled lad; for if he were left to the
freedom o’ his own will, he would na stand on stepping stanes, but,
without scrupulosity, would send me, his mother, to crack sand, or mak
my leaving where I could, after wastering a’ my jointure.’

This speech made a strong impression on the minds of all the lawyers
present. Mr. Keelevin treasured it up, and said nothing. Our friend
Gabriel glanced the tail of his eye at the advocate, who, without
affecting to have noticed the interested motive which the Leddy had
betrayed, said to Mr. Keelevin,--

‘The case, sir, cannot but go before a jury; for, although the _fatuus_
be of a capacity to repeat any injunction which he may have received,
and which is not inconsistent with a high degree of fatuity--it does
not therefore follow that he is able to originate such motions or
volitions of the mind as are requisite to constitute what may be
denominated a legal modicum of understanding, the possession of which
in Mr. Walter Walkinshaw is the object of the proposed inquiry to
determine.’

‘Very well, gentlemen, since such is the case,’ replied Mr. Keelevin,
rising, ‘as I have undertaken the cause, it is unnecessary for us to
hold any further conversation on the subject. I shall be prepared to
protect my client.’

With these words he left the room, in some hope that possibly they
might induce George still to stay proceedings. But the cupidity of
George’s own breast, the views and arguments of his counsel, and the
animosity of his mother, all co-operated to weaken their effect; so
that, in the course of as short a time as the forms of the judicature
permitted, a jury was empannelled before the Sheriff, according to the
tenor of the special brief of Chancery which had been procured for the
purpose, and evidence as to the state of poor Watty’s understanding
and capacity regularly examined;--some account of which we shall
proceed to lay before our readers, premising that Mr. Threeper opened
the business in a speech replete with eloquence and ingenuity, and
all that metaphysical refinement for which the Scottish bar was then,
as at present, so justly celebrated. Nothing, indeed, could be more
subtile, or less applicable to the coarse and daily tear and wear of
human concerns, than his definition of what constituted ‘the minimum
of understanding, or of reason, or of mental faculty in general, which
the law, in its wisdom, required to be enjoyed by every individual
claiming to exercise the functions that belong to man, as a subject,
a citizen, a husband, a father, a master, a servant,--in one word, to
enable him to execute those different essential duties, which every
gentleman of the jury so well knew, and so laudably, so respectably,
and so meritoriously performed.’--But we regret that our limits do not
allow us to enter upon the subject; and the more so, as it could not
fail to prove highly interesting to our fair readers, in whose opinion
the eloquence of the Parliament House of Edinburgh, no doubt, possesses
many charming touches of sentiment, and amiable pathetic graces.



CHAPTER LV


The first witness examined was Jenny Purdie, servant to Mr. George
Walkinshaw. She had previously been several years in the service of his
father, and is the same who, as our readers will perhaps recollect,
contrived so femininely to seduce half-a-crown from the pocket of the
old man, when she brought him the news of the birth of his son’s twin
daughters.

‘What is your opinion of Mr. Walter Walkinshaw?’ inquired Mr. Threeper.

‘’Deed, sir,’ said Jenny, ‘I hae but a sma’ opinion o’ him--he’s a daft
man, and has been sae a’ his days.’

‘But what do you mean by a daft man?’

‘I thought every body kent what a daft man is,’ replied Jenny; ‘he’s
just silly, and tavert, and heedless, and o’ an inclination to swattle
in the dirt like a grumphie.’

‘Well, but do you mean to say,’ interrupted the advocate, ‘that, to
your knowledge, he has been daft all his days?’

‘I never kent him ony better.’

‘But you have not known him all his days--therefore, how can you say he
has been daft all his days?--He might have been wise enough when you
did not know him.’

‘I dinna think it,’ said Jenny;--‘I dinna think it was ever in him to
be wise--he’s no o’ a nature to be wise.’

‘What do you mean by a nature?--Explain yourself.’

‘I canna explain mysel ony better,’ was the answer; ‘only I ken that a
cat’s no a dog, nor o’ a nature to be,--and so the Laird could ne’er be
a man o’ sense.’

‘Very ingenious, indeed,’ said Mr. Threeper; ‘and I am sure the
gentlemen of the jury must be satisfied that it is not possible to
give a clearer--a more distinctive impression of the deficiency of Mr.
Walkinshaw’s capacity, than has been given by this simple and innocent
country girl.--But, Jenny, can you tell us of any instance of his
daftness?’

‘I can tell you o’ naething but the sic-like about him.’

‘Cannot you remember any thing he said or did on any particular day?’

‘O aye, atweel I wat I can do that--on the vera day when I gaed hame,
frae my service at the Grippy to Mr. George’s, the sheep were sheared,
and Mr. Watty said they were made sae naked, it was a shame to see
them, and took one o’ his mother’s flannen polonies, to mak a hap to
Mall Loup-the-Dike, the auld ewe, for decency.’

Jenny was then cross-questioned by Mr. Queerie, the able and
intelligent advocate employed for the defence by Mr. Keelevin; but
her evidence was none shaken, nor did it appear that her master had
in any way influenced her. Before she left the box, the Sheriff said
jocularly,--

‘I’m sure, from your account, Jenny, that Mr. Walkinshaw’s no a man ye
would like to marry?’

‘There’s no saying,’ replied Jenny,--‘the Kittlestonheugh’s a braw
estate; and mony a better born than me has been blithe to put up wi’
houses and lan’s, though wit and worth were baith wanting.’

The first witness thus came off with considerable eclat, and indeed
gained the love and affections, it is said, of one of the jurors, an
old bien carle, a bonnet-laird, to whom she was, in the course of a
short time after, married.

The next witness was Mr. Mordecai Saxheere, preses and founder of that
renowned focus of sosherie the Yarn Club, which held its periodical
libations of the vintage of the colonies in the buxom Widow Sheid’s
tavern, in Sour-Milk John’s Land, a stately pile that still lifts
its lofty head in the Trongate. He was an elderly, trim, smooth,
Quaker-faced gentleman, dressed in drab, with spacious buckram-lined
skirts, that came round on his knees, giving to the general outline of
his figure the appearance of a cone supported on legs in white worsted
hose. He wore a highly powdered horse-hair wig, with a long queue;
buckles at the knees and in his shoes, presenting, in the collective
attributes of his dress and appearance, a respect-bespeaking epitome
of competency, good-eating, honesty, and self-conceit. He was one of
several gentlemen whom the long-forecasting George had carried with him
to Grippy on those occasions when he was desirous to provide witnesses,
to be available when the era should arrive that had now come to pass.

‘Well, Mr. Saxheere,’ said the Edinburgh advocate, ‘what have you to
say with respect to the state of Mr. Walter Walkinshaw?’

‘Sir,’ replied the preses of the Yarn Club, giving that sort of
congratulatory smack with which he was in the practice of swallowing
and sending round the dram that crowned the substantials, and was
herald to what were called the liquidities of the club,--‘Sir,’ said
Mordecai Saxheere, ‘I have been in no terms of intromission with Mr.
Walkinshaw of Grippy, ’cept and except in the way of visitation; and
on those occasions I always found him of a demeanour more sportive to
others than congenial.’

‘You are a merchant, I believe, Mr. Saxheere,’ said Mr. Threeper; ‘you
have your shop in the High Street, near the Cross. On the market day
you keep a bottle of whisky and a glass on the counter, from which,
as I understand, you are in the practice of giving your customers a
dram--first preeing or smelling the liquor yourself, and then handing
it to them.--Now, I would ask you, if Mr. Walkinshaw were to come to
your shop on the market day, would you deal with him?--would you, on
your oath, smell the glass, and then hand it across the counter, to be
by him drunk off?’

The advocate intended this as a display of his intimate knowledge of
the local habits and usages of Glasgow, though himself but an Edinburgh
man,--in order to amaze the natives by his cleverness.

‘Sir,’ replied Mr. Saxheere, again repeating his habitual
congratulatory smack, ‘much would rely on the purpose for which he came
to custom. If he offered me yarn for sale, there could be no opponency
on my side to give him the fair price of the day; but, if he wanted to
buy, I might undergo some constipation of thought before compliance.’

‘The doubtful credit of any wiser person might produce the same
astringency,’ said the advocate, slyly.

‘No doubt it would,’ replied the preses of the Yarn Club; ‘but the
predicament of the Laird of Grippy would na be under that denominator,
but because I would have a suspection of him in the way of judgement
and sensibility.’

‘Then he is not a man that you would think it safe to trade with as a
customer?’ said the Sheriff, desirous of putting an end to his prosing.

‘Just so, sir,’ replied Mordecai; ‘for, though it might be safe in the
way of advantage, I could not think myself, in the way of character,
free from an imputation, were I to intromit with him.’

It was not deemed expedient to cross-question this witness; and another
was called, a celebrated Professor of Mathematics in the University,
the founder and preses of a club, called the ‘Anderson Summer
Saturday’s.’ The scientific attainments and abstract genius of this
distinguished person were undisputed; but his simplicity of character
and absence of mind were no less remarkable. The object that George
probably had in view in taking him, as an occasional visitor, to see
his brother, was, perhaps, to qualify the Professor to bear testimony
to the arithmetical incapacity of Walter; and certainly the Professor
had always found him sufficiently incapable to have warranted him
to give the most decisive evidence on that head; but a circumstance
had occurred at the last visit, which came out in the course of the
investigation, by which it would appear the opinion of the learned
mathematician was greatly shaken.

‘I am informed, Professor, that you are acquainted with Mr. Walter
Walkinshaw. Will you have the goodness to tell the Court what is your
opinion of that gentleman?’ said the advocate.

‘My opinion is, that he is a very extraordinary man; for he put a
question to me when I last saw him, which I have not yet been able to
answer.’

The advocate thought the Professor said this in irony,--and inquired,
with a simper,--

‘And, pray, what might that question be?’

‘I was trying if he could calculate the aliquot parts of a pound; and
he said to me, could I tell him the reason that there were but four and
twenty bawbees in a shilling?’

‘You may retire,’ said the advocate, disconcerted; and the Professor
immediately withdrew; for still the counsel in behalf of Walter
declined to cross-question.

‘The next witness that I shall produce,’ resumed Mr. Threeper, ‘is one
whom I call with extreme reluctance. Every man must sympathize with
the feelings of a mother on such an occasion as this,--and will easily
comprehend, that, in the questions which my duty obliges me to put to
Mrs. Walkinshaw, I am, as it were, obliged, out of that sacred respect
which is due to her maternal sensibility, to address myself in more
general terms than I should otherwise do.’

The Leddy was then called,--and the advocate, with a solemn voice and
pauses of lengthened sadness and commiseration, said,--

‘Madam, the Court and the jury do not expect you to enter into any
particular description of the state of your unfortunate son. They only
desire to know if you think he is capable of conducting his affairs
like other men.’

‘Him capable!’ exclaimed the Leddy. ‘He’s no o’ a capacity to be
advised.’

She would have proceeded further,--but Mr. Threeper interposed, saying,
‘Madam, we shall not distress you further; the Court and the jury must
be satisfied.’

Not so was Mr. Keelevin, who nodded to Mr. Queerie, the counsel for
Walter; and he immediately rose.

‘I wish,’ said he, ‘just to put one question to the witness. How long
is it since your son has been so incapable of acting for himself?’

‘I canna gie you day nor date,’ replied the Leddy; ‘but he has been in
a state of condumacity ever since his dochter died.’

‘Indeed!’ said Mr. Queerie; ‘then he was not always incapable?’

‘O no,’ cried the Leddy; ‘he was a most tractable creature, and the
kindliest son,’ she added, with a sigh; ‘but since that time he’s
been neither to bind nor to haud, threatening to send me, his mother,
a-garsing--garing me lay out my own lawful jointure on the house, and
using me in the most horridable manner--wastring his income in the most
thoughtless way.’

Mr. Threeper began to whisper to our friend Gabriel, and occasionally
to look, with an afflicted glance, towards the Leddy.

Mr. Queerie resumed,--

‘Your situation, I perceive, has been for some time very unhappy--but,
I suppose, were Mr. Walkinshaw to make you a reasonable compensation
for the trouble you take in managing his house, you would have no
objections still to continue with him.’

‘Oh! to be surely,’ said the Leddy;--‘only it would need to be
something worth while; and my gude-dochter and her family would require
to be obligated to gang hame.’

‘Certainly, what you say, Madam, is very reasonable,’ rejoined Mr.
Queerie;--‘and I have no doubt that the Court perceives that a great
part of your distress, from the idiotry of your son, arises from his
having brought in the lady alluded to and her family.’

‘It has come a’ frae that,’ replied the witness, unconscious of the
force of what she was saying;--‘for, ’cepting his unnaturality to me
about them, his idiocety is very harmless.’

‘Perhaps not worse than formerly?’

A look from George at this crisis put her on her guard; and she
instantly replied, as if eager to redeem the effects of what she had
just said,--

‘’Deed, Sir, it’s no right to let him continue in the rule and power o’
the property; for nobody can tell what he may commit.’

At this juncture, Mr. Queerie, perceiving her wariness, sat down; and
the Reverend Dr. Denholm being called by Mr. Threeper, stated, in
answer to the usual question,--

‘I acknowledge, that I do not think Mr. Walkinshaw entirely of a sound
mind; but he has glaiks and gleams o’ sense about him, that mak me very
dootful if I could judicially swear, that he canna deport himsel wi’
sufficient sagacity.’

‘But,’ said the advocate, ‘did not you yourself advise Mr. George
Walkinshaw to institute these proceedings.’

‘I’ll no disown that,’ replied the Doctor; ‘but Mr. Walter has since
then done such a humane and a Christian duty to his brother’s widow,
and her two defenceless and portionless bairns, that I canna, in my
conscience, think now so lightly of him as I once did.’

Here the jury consulted together; and, after a short conference, the
foreman inquired if Mr. Walkinshaw was in Court. On being answered in
the negative, the Sheriff suggested an adjournment till next day, that
he might be brought forward.



CHAPTER LVI


When the Leddy returned from the Court to Grippy, Walter, who had in
the meantime been somehow informed of the nature of the proceedings
instituted against him, said to his mother,--

‘Weel, mother, so ye hae been trying to mak me daft? but I’m just as
wise as ever.’

‘Thou’s ordaint to bring disgrace on us a’,’ was her answer, dictated
under a feeling of vague apprehension, arising from the uncertainty
which seemed to lower upon the issue of the process by the evidence of
Dr. Denholm.

‘I’m sure I hae nae hand in’t,’ said Walter; ‘an ye had na meddlet wi’
me, I would ne’er hae spoken to Keelevin, to vex you. But I suppose,
mother, that you and that wily headcadab Geordie hae made naething o’
your fause witnessing.’

‘Haud thy fool tongue, and insult na me,’ exclaimed the Leddy in a rage
at the simpleton’s insinuation, which was uttered without the slightest
sentiment of reproach. ‘But,’ she added, ‘ye’ll see what it is to stand
wi’ a het face afore the Court the morn.’

‘I’ll no gang,’ replied Walter; ‘I hae nae broo o’ Courts and
law-pleas.’

‘But ye shall gang, if the life be in your body.’

‘I’ll do nothing but what Mr. Keelevin bids me.’

‘Mr. Keelevin,’ exclaimed the Leddy, ‘ought to be drum’t out o’ the
town for bringing sic trebalation intil my family.--What business had
he, wi’ his controversies, to gumle law and justice in the manner he
has done the day?’ And while she was thus speaking, George and Mr.
Pitwinnoch made their appearance.

‘Hegh man, Geordie!’ said Watty,--‘I’m thinking, instead o’ making me
daft, ye hae demented my mother, poor bodie; for she’s come hame wi’ a
flyte proceeding out of her mouth like a two-edged sword.’

‘If you were not worse than ye are,’ said his brother, ‘you would have
compassion on your mother’s feelings.’

‘I’m sure,’ said Watty, ‘I hae every compassion for her; but there was
nae need o’ her to wis to mak me daft. It’s a foul bird that files its
ain nest; and really, to speak my mind, I think, Geordie, that you and
her were na wise, but far left to yoursels, to put your heads intil the
hangman’s halter o’ a law-plea anent my intellectuals.’

Gabriel Pitwinnoch, who began to distrust the effect of the evidence,
was troubled not a little at this observation; for he thought, if
Walter spoke as well to the point before the Court, the cause must be
abandoned. As for George, he was scarcely in a state to think of any
thing, so much was he confounded and vexed by the impression of Dr.
Denholm’s evidence, the tenor of which was so decidedly at variance
with all he had flattered himself it would be. He, however, said,--

‘Ye’re to be examined to-morrow, and what will you say for yourself?’

‘I hae mair modesty,’ replied Walter, ‘than to be my ain
trumpeter--I’ll say naething but what Mr. Keelevin bids me.’

Gabriel smiled encouragingly to George at this, who continued,--

‘You had better tak care what ye say.’

‘Na,’ cried Watty, ‘an that’s the gait o’t, I’ll keep a calm
sough--least said’s soonest mendit--I’ll haud my tongue.’

‘But you must answer every question.’

‘Is’t in the Shorter or the Larger Catechism?’ said Walter. ‘I can
say till the third petition o’ the t’ane, and frae end to end o’ the
t’ither.’

‘That’s quite enough,’ replied Gabriel, ‘and more than will be required
of you.’

But the satisfaction which such an agreeable exposure of the innocency
of the simpleton was calculated to afford to all present, was disturbed
at this juncture by the entrance of Mr. Keelevin.

‘I’m glad, gentlemen,’ said he, the moment he came in, ‘that I
have found you here. I think you must all be convinced that the
investigation should na gang further. I’m sure Mr. Walter will be
willing to grant a reasonable consideration to his mother for her care
and trouble in the house, and even to assign a moitie o’ his income to
you, Mr. George. Be counselled by me:--let us settle the matter in that
manner quietly.’

Pitwinnoch winked to his client,--and Wattie said,--

‘What for should I gie my mother ony more? Has na she bed, board, and
washing, house-room and chattels, a’ clear aboon her jointure? and
I’m sure Geordie has nae lawful claim on me for ony aliment.--Od, Mr.
Keelevin, it would be a terrible wastrie o’ me to do the like o’ that.
They might weel mak me daft if I did sae.’

‘But it will be far decenter and better for a’ parties to enter into
some agreement of that sort. Don’t you think so, Mrs. Walkinshaw,
rather than to go on with this harsh business of proving your son an
idiot?’

‘I’m no an idiot, Mr. Keelevin,’ exclaimed Walter--‘though it seems to
me that there’s a thraw in the judgement o’ the family, or my mother
and brother would ne’er hae raised this stramash about my capacity to
take care o’ the property. Did na I keep the cows frae the corn a’ the
last Ruglen fair-day, when Jock, the herd, got leave to gang in to try
his luck and fortune at the roley-poleys?’

Honest Mr. Keelevin wrung his hands at this.

‘I’m sure, sir,’ said George, in his sleekest manner, ‘that you must
yourself, Mr. Keelevin, be quite sensible that the inquiry ought to
proceed to a verdict.’

‘I’m sensible o’ nae sic things, Mr. George,’ was the indignant answer.
‘Your brother is in as full possession of all his faculties as when
your father executed the cursed entail, or when he was married to
Kilmarkeckle’s dochter.’

‘’Deed, Mr. Keelevin,’ replied Walter, ‘ye’re mista’en there; for I hae
had twa teeth tuggit out for the toothache since syne; and I hae grown
deaf in the left lug.’

‘Did na I tell you,’ said the worthy man, angrily, ‘that ye were na to
open your mouth?’

‘Really, Mr. Keelevin, I won’er to hear you,’ replied the natural, with
great sincerity; ‘the mouth’s the only trance-door that I ken to the
belly.’

‘Weel, weel,’ again exclaimed his friend; ‘mak a kirk and a mill o’t;
but be ruled by me, and let us draw up a reasonable agreement.’

‘I’m thinking, Mr. Keelevin, that ye dinna ken that I hae made a
paction with mysel to sign nae law-papers, for fear it be to the injury
of Betty Bodle.’

‘Betty Bodle!’ said Gabriel Pitwinnoch, eagerly; ‘she has been long
dead.’

‘Ah!’ said Walter, ‘that’s a’ ye ken about it. She’s baith living and
life-like.’

Mr. Keelevin was startled and alarmed at this; but abstained from
saying any thing. Gabriel also said nothing; but looked significantly
to his client, who interposed, and put an end to the conversation.

‘Having gone so far,’ said he, ‘I could, with no respect for my own
character, allow the proceedings to be now arrested. It is, therefore,
unnecessary either to consider your suggestion, or to hold any further
debate here on the subject.’

Mr. Keelevin made no reply to this; but said, as he had something to
communicate in private to his client, he would carry him to Glasgow
for that night. To so reasonable and so professional a proposal no
objection was made. Walter himself also at once acquiesced, on the
express condition, that he was not to be obliged to sign any law-papers.



CHAPTER LVII


Next day, when the Court again assembled, Walter was there, seated
beside his agent, and dressed in his best. Every eye was directed
towards him; and the simple expression of wonder, mingled with
anxiety, which the scene around him occasioned, gave an air of so
much intelligence to his features, which were regular, and, indeed,
handsome, that he excited almost universal sympathy; even Mr. Threeper
was perplexed, when he saw him, at the proper time, rise from beside
his friend, and, approaching the bottom of the table, make a slow and
profound bow, first to the Sheriff and then to the jury.

‘You are Mr. Walkinshaw, I believe?’ said Mr. Threeper.

‘I believe I am,’ replied Walter, timidly.

‘What are you, Mr. Walkinshaw?’

‘A man, sir.--My mother and brother want to mak me a daft ane.’

‘How do you suspect them of any such intention?’

‘Because ye see I’m here--I would na hae been here but for that.’

The countenance of honest Keelevin began to brighten, while that of
George was clouded and overcast.

‘Then you do not think you are a daft man?’ said the advocate.

‘Nobody thinks himsel daft. I dare say ye think ye’re just as wise as
me.’

A roar of laughter shook the Court, and Threeper blushed and was
disconcerted; but he soon resumed, tartly,--

‘Upon my word, Mr. Walkinshaw, you have a good opinion of yourself. I
should like to know for what reason?’

‘That’s a droll question to speer at a man,’ replied Walter. ‘A poll
parrot thinks weel o’ itsel, which is but a feathered creature, and
short o’ the capacity of a man by twa hands.’

Mr. Keelevin trembled and grew pale; and the advocate, recovering full
possession of his assurance, proceeded,--

‘And so ye think, Mr. Walkinshaw, that the two hands make all the
difference between a man and a parrot?’

‘No, no, sir,’ replied Walter, ‘I dinna think that,--for ye ken the
beast has feathers.’

‘And why have not men feathers?’

‘That’s no a right question, sir, to put to the like o’ me, a weak
human creature;--ye should ask their Maker,’ said Walter gravely.

The advocate was again repulsed; Pitwinnoch sat doubting the
intelligence of his ears, and George shivering from head to foot: a
buzz of satisfaction pervaded the whole Court.

‘Well, but not to meddle with such mysteries,’ said Mr. Threeper,
assuming a jocular tone, ‘I suppose you think yourself a very clever
fellow?’

‘At some things,’ replied Walter modestly; ‘but I dinna like to make a
roos o’ mysel.’

‘And pray now, Mr. Walkinshaw, may I ask what do you think you do best?’

‘Man! an ye could see how I can sup curds and ream--there’s no ane in
a’ the house can ding me.’

The sincerity and exultation with which this was expressed convulsed
the Court, and threw the advocate completely on his beam-ends. However,
he soon righted, and proceeded,--

‘I don’t doubt your ability in that way, Mr. Walkinshaw; and I dare say
you can play a capital knife and fork.’

‘I’m better at the spoon,’ replied Walter laughing.

‘Well, I must confess you are a devilish clever fellow.’

‘Mair sae, I’m thinking, than ye thought, sir.--But noo, since,’
continued Walter, ‘ye hae speer’t so many questions at me, will ye
answer one yoursel?’

‘Oh, I can have no possible objection to do that, Mr. Walkinshaw.’

‘Then,’ said Walter, ‘how muckle are ye to get frae my brother for this
job?’

Again the Court was convulsed, and the questioner again disconcerted.

‘I suspect, brother Threeper,’ said the Sheriff, ‘that you are in the
wrong box.’

‘I suspect so too,’ replied the advocate laughing; but, addressing
himself again to Walter, he said,--

‘You have been married, Mr. Walkinshaw?’

‘Aye, auld Doctor Denholm married me to Betty Bodle.’

‘And pray where is she?’

‘Her mortal remains, as the headstone says, lie in the kirkyard.’

The countenance of Mr. Keelevin became pale and anxious--George and
Pitwinnoch exchanged smiles of gratulation.

‘You had a daughter?’ said the advocate, looking knowingly to the jury,
who sat listening with greedy ears.

‘I had,’ said Walter, and glanced anxiously towards his trembling
agent.

‘And what became of your daughter?’

No answer was immediately given--Walter hung his head, and seemed
troubled; he sighed deeply, and again turned his eye inquiringly to Mr.
Keelevin. Almost every one present sympathized with his emotion, and
ascribed it to parental sorrow.

‘I say,’ resumed the advocate, ‘what became of your daughter?’

‘I canna answer that question.’

The simple accent in which this was uttered interested all in his
favour still more and more.

‘Is she dead?’ said the pertinacious Mr. Threeper.

‘Folk said sae; and what every body says maun be true.’

‘Then you don’t, of your own knowledge, know the fact?’

‘Before I can answer that, I would like to ken what a fact is?’

The counsel shifted his ground, without noticing the question; and
said,--

‘But I understand, Mr. Walkinshaw, you have still a child that you call
your Betty Bodle?’

‘And what business hae ye wi’ that?’ said the natural, offended. ‘I
never saw sic a stock o’ impudence as ye hae in my life.’

‘I did not mean to offend you, Mr. Walkinshaw; I was only anxious, for
the ends of justice, to know if you consider the child you call Betty
Bodle as your daughter?’

‘I’m sure,’ replied Walter, ‘that the ends o’ justice would be meikle
better served an ye would hae done wi’ your speering.’

‘It is, I must confess, strange that I cannot get a direct answer from
you, Mr. Walkinshaw. Surely, as a parent, you should know your child!’
exclaimed the advocate, peevishly.

‘An I was a mother ye might say sae.’

Mr. Threeper began to feel, that, hitherto, he had made no impression;
and forming an opinion of Walter’s shrewdness far beyond what he
was led to expect, he stooped, and conferred a short time with Mr.
Pitwinnoch. On resuming his wonted posture, he said,--

‘I do not wish, Mr. Walkinshaw, to harass your feelings; but I am not
satisfied with the answer you have given respecting your child; and I
beg you will be a little more explicit. Is the little girl that lives
with you your daughter?’

‘I dinna like to gie you any satisfaction on that head; for Mr.
Keelevin said, ye would bother me if I did.’

‘Ah!’ exclaimed the triumphant advocate, ‘have I caught you at last?’

A murmur of disappointment ran through all the Court; and Walter looked
around coweringly and afraid.

‘So Mr. Keelevin has primed you, has he? He has instructed you what to
say?’

‘No,’ said the poor natural; ‘he instructed me to say nothing.’

‘Then why did he tell you that I would bother you?’

‘I dinna ken, speer at himsel; there he sits.’

‘No, sir! I ask you,’ said the advocate, grandly.

‘I’m wearied, Mr. Keelevin,’ said Walter, helplessly, as he looked
towards his disconsolate agent. ‘May I no come away?’

The honest lawyer gave a deep sigh; to which all the spectators
sympathizingly responded.

‘Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said the Sheriff, ‘don’t be alarmed--we are
all friendly disposed towards you; but it is necessary, for the
satisfaction of the jury, that you should tell us what you think
respecting the child that lives with you.’

Walter smiled and said, ‘I hae nae objection to converse wi’ a
weel-bred gentleman like you; but that barking terrier in the wig, I
can thole him no longer.’

‘Well, then,’ resumed the judge, ‘is the little girl your daughter?’

‘’Deed is she--my ain dochter.’

‘How can that be, when, as you acknowledged, every body said your
dochter was dead?’

‘But I kent better mysel--my bairn and dochter, ye see, sir, was lang
a weakly baby, ay bleating like a lambie that has lost its mother; and
she dwin’t and dwinlet, and moan’t and grew sleepy sleepy, and then she
clos’d her wee bonny een, and lay still; and I sat beside her three
days and three nights, watching her a’ the time, never lifting my een
frae her face, that was as sweet to look on as a gowan in a lown May
morning. But I ken na how it came to pass--I thought, as I look’t at
her, that she was changet, and there began to come a kirkyard smell
frae the bed, that was just as if the hand o’ Nature was wising me to
gae away; and then I saw, wi’ the eye o’ my heart, that my brother’s
wee Mary was grown my wee Betty Bodle, and so I gaed and brought her
hame in my arms, and she is noo my dochter. But my mother has gaen
on like a randy at me ever sin syne, and wants me to put away my ain
bairn, which I will never, never do--No, sir, I’ll stand by her,
and guard her, though fifty mothers, and fifty times fifty brother
Geordies, were to flyte at me frae morning to night.’

One of the jury here interposed, and asked several questions relative
to the management of the estate; by the answers to which it appeared,
not only that Walter had never taken any charge whatever, but that he
was totally ignorant of business, and even of the most ordinary money
transactions.

The jury then turned round and laid their heads together; the legal
gentlemen spoke across the table, and Walter was evidently alarmed
at the bustle.--In the course of two or three minutes, the foreman
returned a verdict of Fatuity.

The poor Laird shuddered, and, looking at the Sheriff, said, in an
accent of simplicity that melted every heart, ‘Am I found guilty?--Oh
surely, sir, ye’ll no hang me, for I cou’dna help it?’



CHAPTER LVIII


The scene in the parlour of Grippy, after the inquiry, was of the most
solemn and lugubrious description.--The Leddy sat in the great chair,
at the fireside, in all the pomp of woe, wiping her eyes, and, ever
and anon, giving vent to the deepest soughs of sorrow. Mrs. Charles,
with her son leaning on her knee, occupied another chair, pensive
and anxious. George and Mr. Pitwinnoch sat at the table, taking an
inventory of the papers in the scrutoire, and Walter was playfully
tickling his adopted daughter on the green before the window, when
Mrs. Milrookit, with her husband, the Laird of Dirdumwhamle, came to
sympathize and condole with their friends, and to ascertain what would
be the pecuniary consequences of the decision to them.

‘Come awa, my dear,’ said the Leddy to her daughter, as she entered the
room;--‘Come awa and tak a seat beside me. Your poor brother, Watty,
has been weighed in the balance o’ the Sheriff, and found wanting; and
his vessels o’ gold and silver, as I may say in the words o’ Scripture,
are carried away into captivity; for I understand that George gets no
proper right to them, as I expeckit, but is obligated to keep them in
custody, in case Watty should hereafter come to years o’ discretion.
Hegh Meg! but this is a sair day for us a’--and for nane mair sae than
your afflicted gude-sister there and her twa bairns. She’ll be under
a needcessity to gang back and live again wi’ my mother, now in her
ninety-third year, and by course o’ nature drawing near to her latter
end.’

‘And what’s to become of you?’ replied Mrs. Milrookit.

‘O I’ll hae to bide here, to tak care o’ every thing; and an aliment
will be alloot to me for keeping poor Watty. Hegh Sirs! Wha would hae
thought it, that sic a fine lad as he ance was, and preferred by his
honest father as the best able to keep the property right, would thus
hae been, by decreet o’ court, proven a born idiot?’

‘But,’ interrupted Mrs. Milrookit, glancing compassionately towards her
sister-in-law, ‘I think, since so little change is to be made, that
ye might just as weel let Bell and her bairns bide wi’ you--for my
grandmother’s income is little enough for her ain wants, now that she’s
in a manner bedrid.’

‘It’s easy for you, Meg, to speak,’ replied her mother;--‘but if ye
had an experiment o’ the heavy handfu’ they hae been to me, ye would
hae mair compassion for your mother. It’s surely a dispensation sair
enough, to hae the grief and heart-breaking sight before my eyes of a
demented lad, that was so long a comfort to me in my widowhood. But
it’s the Lord’s will, and I maun bend the knee o’ resignation.’

‘Is’t your intent, Mr. George,’ said the Laird o’ Dirdumwhamle, ‘to mak
any division o’ what lying money there may hae been saved since your
father’s death?’

‘I suspect there will not be enough to defray the costs of the
process,’ replied George; ‘and if any balance should remain, the house
really stands so much in need of repair, that I am persuaded there will
not be a farthing left.’

‘’Deed,’ said the Leddy, ‘what he says, Mr. Milrookit, is oure true;
the house is in a frail condition, for it was like pu’ing the teeth out
o’ the head o’ Watty to get him to do what was needful.’

‘I think,’ replied the Laird o’ Dirdumwhamle, ‘that since ye hae
so soon come to the property, Mr. George, and no likelihood o’ any
molestation in the possession, that ye might let us a’ share and share
alike o’ the gethering, and be at the outlay o’ the repairs frae the
rental.’

To this suggestion Mr. George, however, replied, ‘It will be time
enough to consider that, when the law expenses are paid.’

‘They’ll be a heavy soom, Mr. Milrookit,’ said the Leddy; ‘weel do
I ken frae my father’s pleas what it is to pay law expenses. The
like o’ Mr. Pitwinnoch there, and Mr. Keelevin, are men o’ moderation
and commonality in their charges--but yon awfu’ folk wi’ the cloaks
o’ darkness and the wigs o’ wisdom frae Edinbro’--they are costly
commodities.--But now that we’re a’ met here, I think it would be just
as weel an we war to settle at ance what I’m to hae, as the judicious
curator o’ Watty--for, by course o’ law and nature, the aliment will
begin frae this day.’

‘Yes,’ replied George, ‘I think it will be just as well; and I’m
glad, mother, that you have mentioned it. What is your opinion, Mr.
Milrookit, as to the amount that she should have?’

‘All things considered,’ replied the Laird of Dirdumwhamle,
prospectively contemplating some chance of a reversionary interest to
his wife in the Leddy’s savings, ‘I think you ought not to make it less
than a hundred pounds a year.’

‘A hundred pounds a year!’ exclaimed the Leddy, ‘that’ll no buy saut to
his kail. I hope and expek no less than the whole half o’ the rents;
and they were last year weel on to four hunder.’

‘I think,’ said George to Mr. Pitwinnoch, ‘I would not be justified to
the Court were I to give any thing like that; but if you think I may, I
can have no objection to comply with my mother’s expectations.’

‘Oh, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ replied Gabriel, ‘you are no at a’ aware o’ your
responsibility,--you can do no such things. Your brother has been found
a _fatuus_, and, of course, entitled but to the plainest maintenance. I
think that you will hardly be permitted to allow his mother more than
fifty pounds; if, indeed, so much.’

‘Fifty pounds! fifty placks,’ cried the indignant Leddy. ‘I’ll let
baith you and the Sheriff ken I’m no to be frauded o’ my rights in that
gait. I’ll no faik a farthing o’ a hundred and fifty.’

‘In that case, I fear,’ said Gabriel, ‘Mr. George will be obliged to
seek another custodier for the _fatuus_, as assuredly, Mem, he’ll ne’er
be sanctioned to allow you any thing like that.’

‘If ye think sae,’ interposed Mrs. Milrookit, compassionating the
forlorn estate of her sister-in-law,--‘I dare say Mrs. Charles will be
content to take him at a very moderate rate.’

‘Megsty me!’ exclaimed the Leddy. ‘Hae I been buying a pig in a pock
like that? Is’t a possibility that he can be ta’en out o’ my hands,
and no reasonable allowance made to me at a’? Surely, Mr. Pitwinnoch,
surely, Geordie, this can never stand either by the laws of God or man.’

‘I can assure you, Mrs. Walkinshaw,’ replied the lawyer, ‘that fifty
pounds a-year is as much as I could venture to advise Mr. George to
give; and seeing it is sae, you had as well agree to it at once.’

‘I’ll never agree to ony such thing. I’ll gang intil Embro’ mysel, and
hae justice done me frae the Fifteen. I’ll this very night consult Mr.
Keelevin, who is a most just man, and o’ a right partiality.’

‘I hope, mother,’ said George, ‘that you and I will not cast out about
this; and to end all debates, if ye like, we’ll leave the aliment to be
settled by Mr. Pitwinnoch and Mr. Keelevin.’

‘Nothing can be fairer,’ observed the Laird of Dirdumwhamle, in the
hope Mr. Keelevin might be so wrought on as to insist that at least
a hundred should be allowed; and after some further altercation, the
Leddy grudgingly assented to this proposal.

‘But,’ said Mrs. Milrookit, ‘considering now the altered state of
Watty’s circumstances, I dinna discern how it is possible for my mother
to uphold this house and the farm.’

The Leddy looked a little aghast at this fearful intimation, while
George replied,--

‘I have reflected on that, Margaret, and I am quite of your opinion;
and, indeed, it is my intention, after the requisite repairs are done
to the house, to flit my family; for I am in hopes the change of air
will be advantageous to my wife’s health.’

The Leddy was thunderstruck, and unable to speak; but her eyes were
eloquent with indignation.

‘Perhaps, after all, it would be as well for our mother,’ continued
George, ‘to take up house at once in Glasgow; and as I mean to settle
an annuity of fifty pounds on Mrs. Charles, they could not do better
than all live together.’

All present but his mother applauded the liberality of George. To the
young widow the intelligence of such a settlement was as fresh air
to the captive; but before she could express her thankfulness, Leddy
Grippy started up, and gave a tremendous stamp with her foot. She then
resumed her seat, and appeared all at once calm and smiling; but it was
a calm betokening no tranquillity, and a smile expressive of as little
pleasure. In the course of a few seconds the hurricane burst forth,
and alternately, with sobs and supplications, menaces, and knocking of
nieves, and drumming with her feet, the hapless Leddy Grippy divulged
and expatiated on the plots and devices of George. But all was of no
avail--her destiny was sealed; and long before Messrs. Keelevin and
Pitwinnoch adjusted the amount of the allowance, which, after a great
struggle on the part of the former, was settled at seventy-five pounds,
she found herself under the painful necessity of taking a flat up a
turnpike stair in Glasgow, for herself and the _fatuus_.



CHAPTER LIX


For some time after the decision of Walter’s fatuity, nothing important
occurred in the history of the Grippy family. George pacified his own
conscience, and gained the approbation of the world, by fulfilling the
promise of settling fifty pounds per annum on his sister-in-law. The
house was enlarged and adorned, and the whole estate, under the ancient
name of Kittlestonheugh, began to partake of that general spirit of
improvement which was then gradually diffusing itself over the face of
the west country.

In the meantime, Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw, who had returned with
her children to reside with their grandmother, found her situation
comparatively comfortable; but an acute anxiety for the consequences
that would ensue by the daily expected death of that gentlewoman,
continued to thrill through her bosom, and chequer the sickly gleam of
the uncertain sunshine that glimmered in her path. At last the old lady
died, and she was reduced, as she had long foreseen, with her children,
to the parsimonious annuity. As it was impossible for her to live in
Glasgow, and educate her children, on so small a stipend, there, she
retired to one of the neighbouring villages, where, in the family of
the Reverend Mr. Eadie, the minister, she found that kind of quiet
intelligent society which her feelings and her misfortunes required.

Mrs. Eadie was a Highland lady, and, according to the living chronicles
of the region of clans and traditions, she was of scarcely less than
illustrious birth. But for the last attempt to restore the royal
line of the Stuarts, she would, in all probability, have moved in a
sphere more spacious and suitable to the splendour of her pedigree
than the humble and narrow orbit of a country clergyman’s wife. Nor
in her appearance did it seem that Nature and Fortune were agreed
about her destiny; for the former had adorned her youth with the
beauty, the virtues, and the dignity, which command admiration in the
palace,--endowments but little consonant to the lowly duties of the
rural manse.

At the epoch of which we are now speaking she was supposed to have
passed her fiftieth year; but something in her air and manner gave
her the appearance of being older--a slight shade of melancholy, the
pale cast of thought, lent sweetness to the benign composure of her
countenance; and she was seldom seen without inspiring interest, and
awakening sentiments of profound and reverential respect. She had
lost her only daughter about a year before; and a son, her remaining
child, a boy about ten years of age, was supposed to have inherited the
malady which carried off his sister. The anxiety which Mrs. Eadie, in
consequence, felt as a mother, partly occasioned that mild sadness of
complexion to which we have alluded; but there was still a deeper and
more affecting cause.

Before the ruin of her father’s fortune, by the part he took in the
Rebellion, she was betrothed to a youth who united many of the best
Lowland virtues with the gallantry and enthusiasm peculiar to the
Highlanders of that period. It was believed that he had fallen in the
fatal field of Culloden; and, after a long period of virgin widowhood
on his account, she was induced, by the amiable manners and gentle
virtues of Mr. Eadie, to consent to change her life. He was then tutor
in the family of a relation, with whom, on her father’s forfeiture
and death, she had found an asylum,--and when he was presented to the
parish of Camrachle, they were married.

The first seven years, from the date of their union, were spent in that
temperate state of enjoyment which is the nearest to perfect happiness;
during the course of which their two children were born. In that
time no symptom of the latent poison of the daughter’s constitution
appeared; but all around them, and in their prospects, was calm, and
green, and mild, and prosperous.

In the course of the summer of the eighth year, in consequence of an
often repeated invitation, they went, at the meeting of the General
Assembly, to which Mr. Eadie was returned a member, to spend a short
time with a relation in Edinburgh, and among the strangers with whom
they happened to meet at the houses of their friends were several from
France, children and relations of some of those who had been out in the
Forty-five.

A young gentleman belonging to these expatrioted visitors, one evening
interested Mrs. Eadie, to so great a degree, that she requested to be
particularly introduced to him, and, in the course of conversation, she
learnt that he was the son of her former lover, and that his father
was still alive, and married to a French woman, his mother. The shock
which this discovery produced was so violent that she was obliged to
leave the room, and falling afterwards into bad health, her singular
beauty began to fade with premature decay.

Her husband, to whom she disclosed her grief, endeavoured to soften it
by all the means and blandishments in his power; but it continued so
long inveterate, that he yielded himself to the common weakness of our
nature, and growing peevish at her sorrow, chided her melancholy till
their domestic felicity was mournfully impaired.

Such was the state in which Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw found Mrs. Eadie
at their first acquaintance; and the disappointments and shadows which
had fallen on the hopes of her own youth, soon led to an intimate and
sympathetic friendship between them, the influence of which contributed
at once to alleviate their reciprocal griefs, and to have the effect
of reviving, in some degree, the withered affections of the minister.
The gradual and irremediable progress of the consumption which preyed
on his son, soon, however, claimed from that gentle and excellent man
efforts of higher fortitude than he had before exerted, and from that
inward exercise, and the sympathy which he felt for his wife’s maternal
solicitude, Mrs. Walkinshaw had the satisfaction, in the course of a
year, to see their mutual confidence and cordiality restored. But in
the same period the boy died; and though the long foreseen event deeply
affected his parents, it proved a fortunate occurrence to the widow.
For the minister, to withdraw his reflections from the contemplation of
his childless state, undertook the education of James, and Mrs. Eadie,
partly from the same motives, but chiefly to enjoy the society of her
friend, proposed to unite with her in the education of Mary. ‘We cannot
tell,’ said she to Mrs. Walkinshaw, ‘what her lot may be; but let us
do our best to prepare her for the world, and leave her fortunes, as
they ever must be, in the hands of Providence. The penury and obscurity
of her present condition ought to be no objection to bestowing on her
all the accomplishments we have it in our power to give. How little
likely was it, in my father’s time, that I should have been in this
comparative poverty, and yet, but for those acquirements, which were
studied for brighter prospects, how dark and sad would often have been
my residence in this sequestered village!’



CHAPTER LX


In the meantime, the fortunes of George, whom we now regard as the
third Laird of Grippy, continued to flourish. The estate rose in value,
and his mercantile circumstances improved; but still the infirmities of
his wife’s health remained the same, and the want of a male heir was a
craving void in his bosom, that no prosperity could supply.

The reflections, connected with this subject, were rendered the more
afflicting, by the consideration, that, in the event of dying without a
son, the estate would pass from his daughter to James, the son of his
brother Charles--and the only consolation that he had to balance this
was a hope that, perhaps, in time he might be able to bring to pass a
marriage between them. Accordingly, after a suspension of intercourse
for several years, actuated by a perspective design of this kind, he,
one afternoon, made his appearance in his own carriage, with his lady
and daughter, at the door of Mrs. Charles’ humble dwelling, in the
village of Camrachle.

‘I am afraid,’ said he, after they were all seated in her little
parlour, the window of which was curtained without with honeysuckle
and jessamine--and the grate filled with flowers;--‘I am afraid, my
dear sister, unless we occasionally renew our intercourse, that the
intimacy will be lost between our families, which it ought to be the
interest of friends to preserve. Mrs. Walkinshaw and I have, therefore,
come to request that you and the children will spend a few days with
us at Kittlestonheugh, and if you do not object, we shall invite our
mother and Walter to join you--you would be surprised to hear how much
the poor fellow still dotes on the recollection of your Mary, as Betty
Bodle, and bewails, because the law, as he says, has found him guilty
of being daft, that he should not be allowed to see her.’

This visit and invitation were so unexpected, that even Mrs. Charles,
who was of the most gentle and confiding nature, could not avoid
suspecting they were dictated by some unexplained purpose; but
adversity had long taught her that she was only as a reed in the
world, and must stoop as the wind blew. She, therefore, readily agreed
to spend a few days at the mansion-house, and the children, who were
present, eagerly expressing a desire to see their uncle Walter,
of whose indulgence and good nature they retained the liveliest
recollection, it was arranged that, on the Monday following, the
carriage should be sent for her and them, and that the Leddy and Walter
should also be at Kittlestonheugh to meet them.

In the evening after this occurrence, Mrs. Charles went to the manse,
and communicated to the minister and Mrs. Eadie what had happened. They
knew her story, and were partly acquainted with the history of the
strange and infatuated Entail. Like her, they believed that her family
had been entirely cut off from the succession, and, like her too,
they respected the liberality of George, in granting her the annuity,
small as it was. His character, indeed, stood fair and honourable
with the world; he was a partner in one of the most eminent concerns
in the royal city; his birth and the family estate placed him in the
first class of her sons and daughters, that stately class who, though
entirely devoted to the pursuit of lucre, still held their heads high
as ancestral gentry. But after a suspension of intercourse for so
long a period, so sudden a renewal of intimacy, and with a degree of
cordiality never before evinced, naturally excited their wonder, and
awakened their conjectures. Mrs. Eadie, superior and high-minded
herself, ascribed it to the best intentions. ‘Your brother-in-law,’
said she, ‘is feeling the generous influence of prosperity, and is
sensible that it must redound to his personal advantage with the world
to continue towards you, on an enlarged scale, that friendship which
you have already experienced.’

But the minister, who, from his humbler birth, and the necessity
which it imposed on him to contemplate the movements of society from
below, together with that acquired insight of the hidden workings
of the heart, occasionally laid open in the confessional moments of
contrition, when his assistance was required at the death-beds of his
parishioners, appeared to entertain a different opinion.

‘I hope his kindness proceeds,’ said he, ‘from so good a source; but
I should have been better satisfied had it run in a constant stream,
and not, after such an entire occultation, burst forth so suddenly. It
is either the result of considerations with respect to things already
past, recently impressed upon him in some new manner, or springs
from some sinister purpose that he has in view; and therefore, Mrs.
Walkinshaw, though it may seem harsh in me to suggest so ill a return
for such a demonstration of brotherly regard, I would advise you, on
account of your children, to observe to what it tends.’

In the meantime, George, with his lady and daughter, had proceeded to
his mother’s residence in Virginia Street, to invite her and Walter to
join Mrs. Charles and the children.

His intercourse with her, after her domiciliation in the town had been
established, was restored to the freest footing; for although, in the
first instance, and in the most vehement manner, she declared, ‘He
had cheated her, and deprived Walter of his lawful senses; and that
she ne’er would open her lips to him again,’ he had, nevertheless,
contrived to make his peace, by sending her presents, and paying
her the most marked deference and respect; lamenting that the hard
conditions of his situation as a trustee did not allow him to be in
other respects more liberal. But still the embers of suspicion were
not extinguished; and when, on this occasion, he told her where he had
been, and the immediate object of his visit, she could not refrain from
observing, that it was a very wonderful thing.

‘Dear keep me, Geordie!’ said she, ‘what’s in the wind noo, that ye hae
been galloping awa in your new carriage to invite Bell Fatherlans and
her weans to Grippy?’

George, eager to prevent her observations, interrupted her, saying,--

‘I am surprised, mother, that you still continue to call the place
Grippy. You know it is properly Kittlestonheugh.’

‘To be sure,’ replied the Leddy, ‘since my time and your worthy
father’s time, it has undergone a great transmogrification; what wi’
your dining-rooms, and what wi’ your drawing-rooms, and your new back
jams and your wings.’

‘Why, mother, I have but as yet built only one of the wings,’ said he.

‘And enough too,’ exclaimed the Leddy. ‘Geordie, tak my word for’t,
it’ill a’ flee fast enough away wi’ ae wing. Howsever, I’ll no objek
to the visitation, for I hae had a sort o’ wis to see my grandchilder,
which is very natural I shou’d hae. Nae doot, by this time they are
grown braw bairns; and their mother was ay a genty bodie, though, in a
sense, mair for ornament than use.’

Walter, who, during this conversation, was sitting in his father’s
easy chair, that had, among other chattels, been removed from
Grippy,--swinging backward and forwards, and occasionally throwing
glances towards the visitors, said,--

‘And is my Betty Bodle to be there?’

‘O yes,’ replied George, glad to escape from his mother’s remarks; ‘and
you’ll be quite delighted to see her. She is uncommonly tall for her
age.’

‘I dinna like that,’ said Walter; ‘she should na hae grown ony
bigger,--for I dinna like big folk.’

‘And why not?’

‘’Cause ye ken, Geordie, the law’s made only for them; and if you and
me had ay been twa wee brotherly laddies, playing on the gowany brae,
as we used to do, ye would ne’er hae thought o’ bringing yon Cluty’s
claw frae Enbro’ to prove me guilty o’ daftness.’

‘I’m sure, Watty,’ said George, under the twinge which he suffered from
the observation, ‘that I could not do otherwise. It was required from
me equally by what was due to the world and to my mother.’

‘It may be sae,’ replied Walter; ‘but, as I’m daft, ye ken I dinna
understand it;’ and he again resumed his oscillations.

After some further conversation on the subject of the proposed visit,
in which George arranged that he should call on Monday for his mother
and Walter in the carriage, and take them out to the country with him,
he took his leave.



CHAPTER LXI


On the same evening on which George and his family visited Mrs. Charles
at Camrachle, and while she was sitting in the manse parlour, Mrs.
Eadie received a letter by the post. It was from her cousin Frazer,
who, as heir-male of Frazer of Glengael, her father’s house, would,
but for the forfeiture, have been his successor, and it was written
to inform her, that, among other forfeited properties, the Glengael
estate was to be soon publicly sold, and that he was making interest,
according to the custom of the time, and the bearing in the minds of
the Scottish gentry in general towards the unfortunate adherents of the
Stuarts, to obtain a private preference at the sale; also begging that
she would come to Edinburgh and assist him in the business, some of
their mutual friends and relations having thought that, perhaps, she
might herself think of concerting the means to make the purchase.

At one time, undoubtedly, the hereditary affections of Mrs. Eadie
would have prompted her to have made the attempt; but the loss of her
children extinguished all the desire she had ever cherished on the
subject, and left her only the wish that her kinsman might succeed.
Nevertheless, she was too deeply under the influence of the clannish
sentiments peculiar to the Highlanders, not to feel that a compliance
with Frazer’s request was a duty. Accordingly, as soon as she read the
letter, she handed it to her husband, at the same time saying,--

‘I am glad that this has happened when we are about to lose for a time
the society of Mrs. Walkinshaw. We shall set out for Edinburgh on
Monday, the day she leaves this, and perhaps we may be able to return
about the time she expects to be back. For I feel,’ she added, turning
towards her, ‘that your company has become an essential ingredient to
our happiness.’

Mr. Eadie was so much surprised at the decision with which his wife
spoke, and the firmness with which she proposed going to Edinburgh,
without reference to what he might be inclined to do, that instead of
reading the letter, he looked at her anxiously for a moment, perhaps
recollecting the unpleasant incident of their former visit to the
metropolis, and said, ‘What has occurred?’

‘Glengael is to be sold,’ she replied, ‘and my cousin, Frazer, is using
all the influence he can to prevent any one from bidding against him.
Kindness towards me deters some of our mutual friends from giving him
their assistance; and he wishes my presence in Edinburgh to remove
their scruples, and otherwise to help him.’

‘You can do that as well by letter as in person,’ said the minister,
opening the letter; ‘for, indeed, this year we cannot so well afford
the expences of such a journey.’

‘The honour of my father’s house is concerned in this business,’
replied the lady, calmly but proudly; ‘and there is no immediate duty
to interfere with what I owe to my family as the daughter of Glengael.’

Mrs. Walkinshaw had, from her first interview, admired the august
presence and lofty sentiments of Mrs. Eadie; but nothing had before
occurred to afford her even a glimpse of her dormant pride and sleeping
energies, the sinews of a spirit capable of heroic and masculine
effort; and she felt for a moment awed by the incidental disclosure
of a power and resolution, that she had never once imagined to exist
beneath the calm and equable sensibility which constituted the general
tenor of her friend’s character.

When the minister had read the letter, he again expressed his opinion
that it was unnecessary to go to Edinburgh; but Mrs. Eadie, without
entering into any observation on his argument, said,--

‘On second thoughts, it may not be necessary for you to go--but I
must. I am summoned by my kinsman; and it is not for me to question
the propriety of what he asks, but only to obey. It is the cause of my
father’s house.’

The minister smiled at her determination, and said, ‘I suppose there is
nothing else for me but also to obey. I do not, however, recollect who
this Frazer is--Was he out with your father in the Forty-five?’

‘No; but his father was,’ replied Mrs. Eadie, ‘and was likewise
executed at Carlisle. He, himself, was bred to the bar, and is an
advocate in Edinburgh.’ And, turning suddenly round to Mrs. Walkinshaw,
she added solemnly, ‘There is something in this--There is some
mysterious link between the fortunes of your family and mine. It has
brought your brother-in-law here to-day, as if a new era were begun to
you, and also this letter of auspicious omen to the blood of Glengael.’

Mr. Eadie laughingly remarked, ‘That he had not for a long time heard
from her such a burst of Highland lore.’

But Mrs. Walkinshaw was so affected by the solemnity with which it had
been expressed, that she inadvertently said, ‘I hope in Heaven it may
be so.’

‘I am persuaded it is,’ rejoined Mrs. Eadie, still serious; and
emphatically taking her by the hand, she said, ‘The minister dislikes
what he calls my Highland freats, and believes they have their source
in some dark remnants of pagan superstition; on that account, I abstain
from speaking of many things that I see, the signs and forecoming
shadows of events--nevertheless, my faith in them is none shaken,
for the spirit has more faculties than the five senses, by which,
among other things, the heart is taught to love or hate, it knows not
wherefore--Mark, therefore, my words, and bear them in remembrance--for
this day the fortunes of Glengael are mingled with those of your
house.--The lights of both have been long set; but the time is coming,
when they shall again shine in their brightness.’

‘I should be incredulous no more,’ replied the minister, ‘if you could
persuade her brother-in-law, Mr. George Walkinshaw, to help Frazer with
a loan towards the sum required for the purchase of Glengael.’

Perceiving, however, that he was treading too closely on a tender
point, he turned the conversation, and nothing more particular occurred
that evening. The interval between then and Monday was occupied by the
two families in little preparations for their respective journeys; Mr.
Eadie, notwithstanding the pecuniary inconvenience, having agreed to
accompany his wife.

In the meantime, George, for some reason best known to himself, it
would appear, had resolved to make the visit of so many connexions a
festival; for, on the day after he had been at Camrachle, he wrote
to his brother-in-law, the Laird of Dirdumwhamle, to join the party
with Mrs. Milrookit, and to bring their son with them,--a circumstance
which, when he mentioned it to his mother, only served to make her
suspect that more was meant than met either the eye or ear in such
extraordinary kindness; and the consequence was, that she secretly
resolved to take the advice of Mr. Keelevin, as to how she ought to
conduct herself; for, from the time of his warsle, as she called it,
with Pitwinnoch for the aliment, he had regained her good opinion. She
had also another motive for being desirous of conferring with him, no
less than a laudable wish to have her will made, especially as the
worthy lawyer, now far declined into the vale of years, had been for
some time in ill health, and unable to give regular attendance to his
clients at the office: ‘symptoms,’ as the Leddy said when she heard it
‘that he felt the cauld hand o’ Death muddling about the root o’ life,
and a warning to a’ that wanted to profit by his skill, no to slumber
and sleep like the foolish virgins, that aloo’t their cruises to burn
out, and were wakened to desperation, when the shout got up that the
bridegroom and the musickers were coming.’

But the worthy lawyer, when she called, was in no condition to attend
any longer to worldly concerns,--a circumstance which she greatly
deplored, as she mentioned it to her son George, who, however, was far
from sympathizing with her anxiety; on the contrary, the news, perhaps,
afforded him particular satisfaction. For he was desirous that the
world should continue to believe his elder brother had been entirely
disinherited, and Mr. Keelevin was the only person that he thought
likely to set the heirs in that respect right.



CHAPTER LXII


On the day appointed, the different members of the Grippy family
assembled at Kittlestonheugh. Mrs. Charles and her two children were
the last that arrived; and during the drive from Camrachle, both
James and Mary repeated many little instances of Walter’s kindness,
so lasting are the impressions of affection received in the artless
and heedless hours of childhood; and they again anticipated, from the
recollection of his good nature, a long summer day with him of frolic
and mirth.

But they were now several years older, and they had undergone that
unconscious change, by which, though the stores of memory are
unaltered, the moral being becomes another creature, and can no longer
feel towards the same object as it once felt. On alighting from the
carriage, they bounded with light steps and jocund hearts in quest of
their uncle; but, when they saw him sitting by himself in the garden,
they paused, and were disappointed.

They recognised in him the same person whom they formerly knew, but
they had heard he was daft; and they beheld him stooping forward, with
his hands sillily hanging between his knees; and he appeared melancholy
and helpless.

‘Uncle Watty,’ said James, compassionately, ‘what for are ye sitting
there alone?’

Watty looked up, and gazing at him vacantly for a few seconds, said,
‘’Cause naebody will sit wi’ me, for I’m a daft man.’ He then drooped
his head, and sank into the same listless posture in which they had
found him.

‘Do ye no ken me?’ said Mary.

He again raised his eyes, and alternately looked at them both, eagerly
and suspiciously. Mary appeared to have outgrown his recollection, for
he turned from her; but, after some time, he began to discover James;
and a smile of curious wonder gradually illuminated his countenance,
and developed itself into a broad grin of delight, as he said,--

‘What a heap o’ meat, Jamie Walkinshaw, ye maun hae eaten to mak you
sic a muckle laddie;’ and he drew the boy towards him to caress him as
he had formerly done; but the child, escaping from his hands, retired
several paces backward, and eyed him with pity, mingled with disgust.

Walter appeared struck with his look and movement; and again folding
his hands, dropped them between his knees, and hung his head, saying to
himself,--‘But I’m daft; naebody cares for me noo; I’m a cumberer o’
the ground, and a’ my Betty Bodles are ta’en away.’

The accent in which this was expressed touched the natural tenderness
of the little girl; and she went up to him, and said,--‘Uncle, I’m your
wee Betty Bodle; what for will ye no speak to me?’

His attention was again roused, and he took her by the hand, and,
gently stroking her head, said, ‘Ye’re a bonny flower, a lily-like
leddy, and leil in the heart and kindly in the e’e; but ye’re no
my Betty Bodle.’ Suddenly, however, something in the cast of her
countenance reminded him so strongly of her more childish appearance,
that he caught her in his arms, and attempted to dandle her; but the
action was so violent that it frightened the child, and she screamed,
and struggling out of his hands, ran away. James followed her; and
their attention being soon drawn to other objects, poor Walter was left
neglected by all during the remainder of the forenoon.

At dinner he was brought in and placed at the table, with one of the
children on each side; but he paid them no attention.

‘What’s come o’er thee, Watty?’ said his mother. ‘I thought ye would
hae been out o’ the body wi’ your Betty Bodle; but ye ne’er let on ye
see her.’

‘’Cause she’s like a’ the rest,’ said he sorrowfully. ‘She canna abide
me; for ye ken I’m daft--It’s surely an awfu’ leprosy this daftness,
that it gars every body flee me; but I canna help it--It’s no my fau’t,
but the Maker’s that made me, and the laws that found me guilty. But,
Geordie,’ he added, turning to his brother, ‘what’s the use o’ letting
me live in this world, doing nothing, and gude for naething?’

Mrs. Charles felt her heart melt within her at the despondency with
which this was said, and endeavoured to console him; he, however, took
no notice of her attentions, but sat seemingly absorbed in melancholy,
and heedless to the endeavours which even the compassionate children
made to induce him to eat.

‘No,’ said he; ‘I’ll no eat ony mair--it’s even down wastrie for sic
a useless set-by thing as the like o’ me to consume the fruits o’ the
earth. The cost o’ my keep would be a braw thing to Bell Fatherlans,
so I hope, Geordie, ye’ll mak it o’er to her; for when I gae hame I’ll
lie doun and die.’

‘Haud thy tongue, and no fright folk wi’ sic blethers,’ exclaimed his
mother; ‘but eat your dinner, and gang out to the green and play wi’
the weans.’

‘An I were na a daft creature, naebody would bid me play wi’ weans--and
the weans ken that I am sae, and mak a fool o’ me for’t--I dinna like
to be every body’s fool. I’m sure the law, when it found me guilty,
might hae alloot me a mair merciful punishment. Meg Wilcat, that stealt
Provost Murdoch’s cocket-hat, and was whippit for’t at the Cross, was
pitied wi’ many a watery e’e; but every body dauds and dings the daft
Laird o’ Grippy.’

‘Na! as I’m to be trusted,’ exclaimed the Leddy, ‘if I dinna think,
Geordie, that the creature’s coming to its senses again;’ and she added
laughing, ‘and what will come o’ your braw policy, and your planting
and plenishing? for ye’ll hae to gie’t back, and count in the Court to
the last bawbee for a’ the rental besides.’

George was never more at a loss than for an answer to parry this
thrust; but, fortunately for him, Walter rose and left the room,
and, as he had taken no dinner, his mother followed to remonstrate
with him against the folly of his conduct. Her exhortations and her
menaces were, however, equally ineffectual; the poor natural was not
to be moved; he felt his own despised and humiliated state; and the
expectation which he had formed of the pleasure he was to enjoy, in
again being permitted to caress and fondle his Betty Bodle, was so
bitterly disappointed, that it cut him to the heart. No persuasion, no
promise, could entice him to return to the dining-room; but a settled
and rivetted resolution to go back to Glasgow obliged his mother to
desist, and allow him to take his own way. He accordingly quitted the
house, and immediately on arriving at home went to bed. Overpowered
by the calls of hunger, he was next day allured to take some food;
and from day to day after, for several years, he was in the same
manner tempted to eat; but all power of volition, from the period of
the visit, appeared to have become extinct within him. His features
suffered a melancholy change, and he never spoke--nor did he seem to
recognize any one; but gradually, as it were, the whole of his mind and
intellect ebbed away, leaving scarcely the merest instincts of life.
But the woeful form which Nature assumes in the death-bed of fatuity
admonishes us to draw the curtain over the last scene of poor Watty.



CHAPTER LXIII


In the foregoing chapter we were led, by our regard for the simple
affections and harmless character of the second Laird, to overstep
a period of several years. We must now, in consequence, return, and
resume the narrative from the time that Walter retired from the
company; but, without entering too minutely into the other occurrences
of the day, we may be allowed to observe, in the sage words of the
Leddy, that the party enjoyed themselves with as much insipidity as is
commonly found at the formal feasts of near relations.

Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw, put on her guard by the conjectures of the
minister of Camrachle, soon perceived an evident partiality on the part
of her brother-in-law towards her son, and that he took particular
pains to make the boy attentive to Robina, as his daughter was called.
Indeed, the design of George was so obvious, and the whole proceedings
of the day so peculiarly marked, that even the Leddy could not but
observe them.

‘I’m thinking,’ said she, ‘that the seeds of a matrimony are sown
among us this day, for Geordie’s a far-before looking soothsayer, and
a Chaldee excellence like his father; and a bodie does na need an e’e
in the neck to discern that he’s just wising and wiling for a purpose
of marriage hereafter between Jamie and Beenie. Gude speed the wark!
for really we hae had but little luck among us since the spirit o’
disinheritance got the upper hand; and it would be a great comfort if
a’ sores could be salved and healed in the fulness of time, when the
weans can be married according to law.’

‘I do assure you, mother,’ replied her dutiful son, ‘that nothing would
give me greater pleasure; and I hope, that, by the frequent renewal
of these little cordial and friendly meetings, we may help forward so
desirable an event.’

‘But,’ replied the old Leddy piously, ‘marriages are made in Heaven;
and, unless there has been a booking among the angels above, a’ that
can be done by man below, even to the crying, for the third and last
time, in the kirk, will be only a thrashing the water and a raising of
bells. Howsever, the prayers of the righteous availeth much; and we
should a’ endeavour, by our walk and conversation, to compass a work so
meet for repentance until it’s brought to a come-to-pass. So I hope,
Bell Fatherlans, that ye’ll up and be doing in this good work, watching
and praying, like those who stand on the tower of Siloam looking
towards Lebanon.’

‘I think,’ said Mrs. Charles smiling, ‘that you are looking far
forward. The children are still but mere weans, and many a day must
pass over their green heads before such a project ought even to be
thought of.’

‘It’s weel kent, Bell,’ replied her mother-in-law, ‘that ye were ne’er
a queen of Sheba, either for wisdom or forethought; but I hae heard my
friend that’s awa--your worthy father, Geordie--often say, that as the
twig is bent the tree’s inclined, which is a fine sentiment, and should
teach us to set about our undertakings with a knowledge of better
things than of silver and gold, in order that we may be enabled to work
the work o’ Providence.’

But just as the Leddy was thus expatiating away in high solemnity, a
dreadful cry arose among the pre-ordained lovers. The children had
quarrelled; and, notwithstanding all the admonitions which they had
received to be kind to one another, Miss Robina had given James a slap
on the face, which he repaid with such instantaneous energy, that,
during the remainder of the visit, they were never properly reconciled.

Other causes were also in operation destined to frustrate the
long-forecasting prudence of her father. Mr. and Mrs. Eadie, on their
arrival at Edinburgh, took up their abode with her relation Mr. Frazer,
the intending purchaser of Glengael; and they had not been many days
in his house, till they came to the determination to adopt Ellen, his
eldest daughter, who was then about the age of James. Accordingly,
after having promoted the object of their journey, when they returned
to the manse of Camrachle, they were allowed to take Ellen with them;
and the intimacy which arose among the children in the progress of time
ripened into love between her and James. For although his uncle, in the
prosecution of his own purpose, often invited the boy to spend several
days together with his cousin at Kittlestonheugh, and did everything
in his power during those visits to inspire the children with a mutual
affection, their distaste for each other seemed only to increase.

Robina was sly and demure, observant, quiet, and spiteful. Ellen, on
the contrary, was full of buoyancy and glee, playful and generous,
qualities which assimilated much more with the dispositions of James
than those of his cousin, so that, long before her beauty had awakened
passion, she was to him a more interesting and delightful companion.

The amusements, also, at Camrachle, were more propitious to the growth
of affection than those at Kittlestonheugh, where every thing was
methodized into system, and where, if the expression may be allowed,
the genius of design and purpose controlled and repressed nature. The
lawn was preserved in a state of neatness too trim for the gambols of
childhood; and the walks were too winding for the straight-forward
impulses of its freedom and joy. At Camrachle the fields were open, and
their expanse unbounded. The sun, James often thought, shone brighter
there than at Kittlestonheugh; the birds sang sweeter in the wild
broom than in his uncle’s shrubbery, and the moonlight glittered like
gladness in the burns; but on the wide water of the Clyde it was always
dull and silent.

There are few situations more congenial to the diffusion of tenderness
and sensibility--the elements of affection--than the sunny hills and
clear waters of a rural neighbourhood, and few of all the beautiful
scenes of Scotland excel the environs of Camrachle. The village stands
on the slope of a gentle swelling ground, and consists of a single row
of scattered thatched cottages, behind which a considerable stream
carries its tributary waters to the Cart. On the east end stands the
little church, in the centre of a small cemetery, and close to it
the modest mansion of the minister. The house which Mrs. Walkinshaw
occupied was a slated cottage near the manse. It was erected by
a native of the village, who had made a moderate competency as a
tradesman in Glasgow; and, both in point of external appearance and
internal accommodation, it was much superior to any other of the same
magnitude in the parish. A few ash-trees rose among the gardens, and
several of them were tufted with the nests of magpies, the birds
belonging to which had been so long in the practice of resorting there,
that they were familiar to all the children of the village.

But the chief beauty in the situation of Camrachle is a picturesque and
extensive bank, shaggy with hazel, along the foot of which runs the
stream already mentioned. The green and gowany brow of this romantic
terrace commands a wide and splendid view of all the champaign district
of Renfrewshire. And it was often observed, by the oldest inhabitants,
that whenever any of the natives of the clachan had been long absent,
the first spot they visited on their return was the crown of this
bank, where they had spent the sunny days of their childhood. Here
the young Walkinshaws and Ellen Frazer also instinctively resorted,
and their regard for each other was not only ever after endeared by
the remembrance of their early pastimes there, but associated with
delightful recollections of glorious summer sunshine, the fresh green
mornings of spring, and the golden evenings of autumn.



CHAPTER LXIV


As James approached his fourteenth year, his uncle, still with a
view to a union with Robina, proposed, that, when Mr. Eadie thought
his education sufficient for the mercantile profession, he should be
sent to his counting-house. But the early habits and the tenor of the
lessons he had received were not calculated to ensure success to James
as a merchant. He was robust, handsome, and adventurous, fond of active
pursuits, and had imbibed, from the Highland spirit of Mrs. Eadie,
a tinge of romance and enthusiasm. The bias of his character, the
visions of his reveries, and the cast of his figure and physiognomy,
were decidedly military. But the field of heroic enterprise was then
vacant,--the American war was over, and all Europe slumbered in repose,
unconscious of the hurricane that was then gathering; and thus, without
any consideration of his own inclinations and instincts, James, like
many of those who afterwards distinguished themselves in the great
conflict, acceded to the proposal.

He had not, however, been above three or four years settled in Glasgow
when his natural distaste for sedentary and regular business began to
make him dislike the place; and his repugnance was heightened almost to
disgust by the discovery of his uncle’s sordid views with respect to
him; nor, on the part of his cousin, was the design better relished;
for, independent of an early and ungracious antipathy, she had placed
her affections on another object; and more than once complained to the
old Leddy of her father’s tyranny in so openly urging on a union that
would render her miserable, especially, as she said, when her cousin’s
attachment to Ellen Frazer was so unequivocal. But Leddy Grippy had
set her mind on the match as strongly as her son; and, in consequence,
neither felt nor showed any sympathy for Robina.

‘Never fash your head,’ she said to her one day, when the young lady
was soliciting her mediation,--‘Never fash your head, Beenie, my dear,
about Jamie’s calf-love of yon daffodil; but be an obedient child, and
walk in the paths of pleasantness that ye’re ordain’t to, both by me
and your father; for we hae had oure lang a divided family; and it’s
full time we were brought to a cordial understanding with one another.’

‘But,’ replied the disconsolate damsel, ‘even though he had no precious
attachment, I’ll ne’er consent to marry him, for really I can never
fancy him.’

‘And what for can ye no fancy him?’ cried the Leddy--‘I would like to
ken that? But, to be plain wi’ you, Beenie, it’s a shame to hear a weel
educated miss like you, brought up wi’ a Christian principle, speaking
about fancying young men. Sic a thing was never alloo’t nor heard tell
o’ in my day and generation. But that comes o’ your ganging to see
Douglas tragedy, at that kirk o’ Satan in Dunlop Street; where, as I am
most creditably informed, the play-actors court ane another afore a’
the folk.’

‘I am sure you have yourself experienced,’ replied Robina, ‘what it
is to entertain a true affection, and to know that our wishes and
inclinations are not under our own control.--How would you have liked
had your father forced you to marry a man against your will?’

‘Lassie, lassie!’ exclaimed the Leddy, ‘if ye live to be a grandmother
like me, ye’ll ken the right sense o’ a lawful and tender affection.
But there’s no sincerity noo like the auld sincerity, when me and your
honest grandfather, that was in mine, and is noo in Abraham’s bosom,
came thegither--we had no foistring and parleyvooing, like your novelle
turtle-doves--but discoursed in a sober and wise-like manner anent the
cost and charge o’ a family; and the upshot was a visibility of solid
cordiality and kindness, very different, Beenie, my dear, frae the
puff-paste love o’ your Clarissy Harlots.’

‘Ah! but your affection was mutual from the beginning--you were not
perhaps devoted to another?’

‘Gude guide us, Beenie Walkinshaw! are ye devoted to another?--Damon
and Phillis, pastorauling at hide and seek wi’ their sheep, was the
height o’ discretion, compared wi’ sic curdooing. My lass, I’ll let no
grass grow beneath my feet, till I hae gi’en your father notice o’ this
loup-the-window, and hey cockalorum-like love.’

‘Impossible!’ exclaimed the young lady; ‘you will never surely be so
rash as to betray me?’

‘Wha is’t wi’--But I need na speer; for I’ll be none surprised to hear
that it’s a play-actor, or a soldier officer, or some other clandestine
poetical.’

Miss possessed more shrewdness than her grandmother gave her credit
for, and perceiving the turn and tendency of their conversation, she
exerted all her address to remove the impression which she had thus
produced, by affecting to laugh, saying,--

‘What has made you suppose that I have formed any improper attachment?
I was only anxious that you should speak to my father, and try to
persuade him that I can never be happy with my cousin.’

‘How can I persuade him o’ ony sic havers? or how can ye hope that
I would if it was in my power--when ye know what a comfort it will
be to us a’, to see such a prudent purpose o’ marriage brought to
perfection?--Na, na, Beenie, ye’re an instrument in the hands o’
Providence to bring aboot a great blessing to your family; and I would
be as daft as your uncle Watty, when he gaed out to shoot the flees,
were I to set mysel an adversary to such a righteous ordinance--so you
maun just mak up your mind to conform. My word, but ye’re weel an to be
married in your teens--I was past thirty before man speer’t my price.’

‘But,’ said Robina, ‘you forget that James himself has not yet
consented--I am sure he is devoted to Ellen Frazer--and that he will
never consent.’

‘Weel, I declare if e’er I heard the like of sic upsetting.--I
won’er what business either you or him hae to consenting or
non-consenting.--Is’t no the pleasure o’ your parentage that ye’re to
be married, and will ye dare to commit the sin of disobedient children?
Beenie Walkinshaw, had I said sic a word to my father, who was a man
o’ past-ordinar sense, weel do I ken what I would hae gotten--I only
just ance in a’ my life, in a mistak, gied him a contradiction, and
he declared that, had I been a son as I was but a dochter, he would
hae grippit me by the cuff o’ the neck and the back o’ the breeks,
and shuttled me through the window. But the end o’ the world is
drawing near, and corruption’s working daily to a head; a’ modesty
and maidenhood has departed frae womankind, and the sons of men are
workers of iniquity--priests o’ Baal, and transgressors every one--a’,
therefore, my leddy, that I hae to say to you is a word o’ wisdom, and
they ca’t conform--Beenie, conform--and obey the fifth commandment.’

Robina was, however, in no degree changed by her grandmother’s
exhortations and animadversions; on the contrary, she was determined
to take her own way, which is a rule that we would recommend to all
young ladies, as productive of the happiest consequences in cases of
the tender passion. But scarcely had she left the house, till Leddy
Grippy, reflecting on what had passed, was not quite at ease in her
mind, with respect to the sentimental insinuation of being devoted to
another. For, although, in the subsequent conversation, the dexterity
and address of the young lady considerably weakened the impression
which it had at first made, still enough remained to make her suspect
it really contained more than was intended to have been conveyed.
But, to avoid unnecessary disturbance, she resolved to give her son
a hint to observe the motions of his daughter, while, at the same
time, she also determined to ascertain how far there was any ground to
suppose that from the attachment of James to Ellen Frazer, there was
reason to apprehend that he might likewise be as much averse to the
projected marriage as Robina. And with this view she sent for him that
evening--but what passed will furnish matter for another chapter.



CHAPTER LXV


The Leddy was seated at her tea-table when young Walkinshaw arrived,
and, as on all occasions when she had any intention in her head, she
wore an aspect pregnant with importance. She was now an old woman, and
had so long survived the sorrows of her widowhood, that even the weeds
were thrown aside, and she had resumed her former dresses, unchanged
from the fashion in which they were originally made. Her appearance, in
consequence, was at once aged and ancient.

‘Come your ways, Jamie,’ said she, ‘and draw in a chair and sit down;
but, afore doing sae, tell the lass to bring ben the treck-pot,’--which
he accordingly did; and as soon as the treck-pot, alias teapot, was on
the board, she opened her trenches.

‘Jamie,’ she began, ‘your uncle George has a great notion of you, and
has done muckle for your mother, giving her, o’ his own free will,
a handsome ’nuity; by the which she has brought you, and Mary your
sister, up wi’ great credit and confort. I would therefore fain hope,
that, in the way o’ gratitude, there will be no slackness on your part.’

James assured her that he had a very strong sense of his uncle’s
kindness; and that, to the best of his ability, he would exert himself
to afford him every satisfaction; but that Glasgow was not a place
which he much liked, and that he would rather go abroad, and push his
fortune elsewhere, than continue confined to the counting-house.

‘There’s baith sense and sadness, Jamie, in what ye say,’ replied
the Leddy; ‘but I won’er what ye would do abroad, when there’s sic
a bein beild biggit for you at home. Ye ken, by course o’ nature,
that your uncle’s ordaint to die, and that he has only his ae dochter
Beenie, your cousin, to inherit the braw conquest o’ your worthy
grandfather--the whilk, but for some mistak o’ law, and the sudden
o’ercome o’ death amang us, would hae been yours by right o’ birth.
So that it’s in a manner pointed out to you by the forefinger o’
Providence to marry Beenie.’

James was less surprised at this suggestion than the old lady expected,
and said, with a degree of coolness that she was not prepared for,--

‘I dare say what you speak of would not be disagreeable to my uncle,
for several times he has himself intimated as much, but it is an event
that can never take place.’

‘And what for no? I’m sure Beenie’s fortune will be a better bargain
than a landless lad like you can hope for at ony other hand.’

‘True, but I’ll never marry for money.’

‘And what will ye marry for, then?’ exclaimed the Leddy. ‘Tak my word
o’ experience for’t, my man,--a warm downseat’s o’ far mair consequence
in matrimony than the silly low o’ love; and think what a bonny
business your father and mother made o’ their gentle-shepherding. But,
Jamie, what’s the reason ye’ll no tak Beenie?--there maun surely be
some because for sic unnaturality?’

‘Why,’ said he laughing, ‘I think it’s time enough for me yet to be
dreaming o’ marrying.’

‘That’s no a satisfaction to my question; but there’s ae thing I would
fain gie you warning o’, and that’s, if ye’ll no marry Beenie, I dinna
think ye can hae ony farther to look, in the way o’ patronage, frae
your uncle.’

‘Then,’ said James indignantly, ‘if his kindness is only given on such
a condition as that, I ought not to receive it an hour longer.’

‘Here’s a tap o’ tow!’ exclaimed the Leddy. ‘Aff and awa wi’ you to
your mother at Camrachle, and gallant about the braes and dyke-sides
wi’ that lang windlestrae-legget tawpie, Nell Frizel--She’s the because
o’ your rebellion. ’Deed ye may think shame o’t, Jamie; for it’s a’
enough to bring disgrace on a’ manner o’ affection to hear what I hae
heard about you and her.’

‘What have you heard?’ cried he, burning with wrath and indignation.

‘The callan’s gaun aff at the head, to look at me as if his e’en were
pistols--How dare ye, sir?--But it’s no worth my while to lose my
temper wi’ a creature that doesna ken the homage and honour due to his
aged grandmother. Howsever, I’ll be as plain as I’m pleasant wi’ you,
my man; and if there’s no an end soon put to your pastoraulity wi’ yon
Highland heron, and a sedate and dutiful compliancy vouchsafed to your
benefactor, uncle George, there will be news in the land or lang.’

‘You really place the motives of my uncle’s conduct towards me in a
strange light, and you forget that Robina is perhaps as strongly averse
to the connection as I am.’

‘So she would fain try to gar me true,’ replied the Leddy; ‘the whilk
is a most mystical thing; but, poor lassie, I needna be surprised at
it, when she jealouses that your affections are set on a loup-the-dyke
Jenny Cameron like Nell Frizel. Howsever, Jamie, no to make a confabble
about the matter, there can be no doubt if ye’ll sing “We’ll gang
nae mair to yon toun,” wi’ your back to the manse o’ Camrachle, that
Beenie, who is a most sweet-tempered and obedient fine lassie, will
soon be wrought into a spirit of conformity wi’ her father’s will and
my wishes.’

‘I cannot but say,’ replied Walkinshaw, ‘that you consider affection
as very pliant. Nor do I know why you take such liberties with Miss
Frazer; who, in every respect, is infinitely superior to Robina.’

‘Her superior!’ cried the Leddy; ‘but love’s blin’ as well as fey,
or ye would as soon think o’ likening a yird tead to a patrick or a
turtle-dove, as Nell Frizel to Beenie Walkinshaw. Eh man! Jamie, but
ye hae a poor taste; and I may say, as the auld sang sings, “Will ye
compare a docken till a tansie?” I would na touch her wi’ the tangs.’

‘But you know,’ said Walkinshaw, laughing at the excess of her
contempt, ‘that there is no accounting for tastes.’

‘The craw thinks it’s ain bird the whitest,’ replied the Leddy; ‘but,
for a’ that, it’s as black as the back o’ the bress; and, therefore, I
would advise you to believe me, that Nell Frizel is just as ill-far’t a
creature as e’er came out the Maker’s hand. I hae lived threescore and
fifteen years in the world, and surely, in the course o’ nature, should
ken by this time what beauty is and ought to be.’

How far the Leddy might have proceeded with her argument is impossible
to say; for it was suddenly interrupted by her grandson bursting into
an immoderate fit of laughter, which had the effect of instantly
checking her eloquence, and turning the course of her ideas and
animadversions into another channel. In the course, however, of a few
minutes, she returned to the charge, but with no better success; and
Walkinshaw left her, half resolved to come to some explanation on the
subject with his uncle. It happened, however, that this discussion,
which we have just related, took place on a Saturday night; and the
weather next day being bright and beautiful, instead of going to his
uncle’s at Kittlestonheugh, as he commonly did on Sunday, from the time
he had been placed in the counting-house, he rose early, and walked to
Camrachle, where he arrived to breakfast, and afterwards accompanied
his mother and sister to church.

The conversation with the old Leddy was still ringing in his ears,
and her strictures on the beauty and person of Ellen Frazer seemed
so irresistibly ridiculous, when he beheld her tall and elegant
figure advancing to the minister’s pew, that he could with difficulty
preserve the decorum requisite to the sanctity of the place. Indeed,
the effect was so strong, that Ellen herself noticed it; insomuch,
that, when they met after sermon in the church-yard, she could not
refrain from asking what had tickled him. Simple as the question was,
and easy as the explanation might have been, he found himself, at the
moment, embarrassed, and at a loss to answer her. Perhaps, had they
been by themselves, this would not have happened; but Mrs. Eadie,
and his mother and sister, were present. In the evening, however,
when he accompanied Mary and her to a walk, along the brow of the
hazel bank, which overlooked the village, he took an opportunity of
telling her what had passed, and of expressing his determination to
ascertain how far his uncle was seriously bent on wishing him to marry
Robina; protesting, at the same time, that it was a union which could
never be--intermingled with a thousand little tender demonstrations,
infinitely more delightful to the ears of Ellen than it is possible
to make them to our readers. Indeed, Nature plainly shows, that the
conversations of lovers are not fit for the public, by the care which
she takes to tell the gentle parties, that they must speak in whispers,
and choose retired spots and shady bowers, and other sequestered
poetical places, for their conferences.



CHAPTER LXVI


The conversations between the Leddy and her grandchildren were not of
a kind to keep with her. On Monday morning she sent for her son, and,
without explaining to him what had passed, cunningly began to express
her doubts if ever a match would take place between James and Robina;
recommending that the design should be given up, and an attempt made to
conciliate a union between his daughter and her cousin Dirdumwhamle’s
son, by which, as she observed, the gear would still be kept in the
family.

George, however, had many reasons against the match, not only with
respect to the entail, but in consideration of Dirdumwhamle having six
sons by his first marriage, and four by his second, all of whom stood
between his nephew and the succession to his estate. It is, therefore,
almost unnecessary to say, that he had a stronger repugnance to his
mother’s suggestion than if she had proposed a stranger rather than
their relation.

‘But,’ said he, ‘what reason have you to doubt that James and
Robina are not likely to gratify our hopes and wishes? He is a very
well-behaved lad; and though his heart does not appear to lie much
to the business of the counting-house, still he is so desirous,
apparently, to give satisfaction, that I have no doubt in time he will
acquire steadiness and mercantile habits.’

‘It would na be easy to say,’ replied the Leddy, ‘a’ the whys and
wherefores that I hae for my suspection. But, ye ken, if the twa hae na
a right true love and kindness for ane anither, it will be a doure job
to make them happy in the way o’ matrimonial felicity; and, to be plain
wi’ you, Geordie, I would be nane surprised if something had kittled
between Jamie and a Highland lassie, ane Nell Frizel, that bides wi’
the new-light minister o’ Camrachle.’

The Laird had incidentally heard of Ellen, and once or twice, when he
happened to visit his sister-in-law, he had seen her, and was struck
with her beauty. But it had never occurred to him that there was any
attachment between her and his nephew. The moment, however, that the
Leddy mentioned her name, he acknowledged to himself its probability.

‘But do you really think,’ said he anxiously, ‘that there is anything
of the sort between her and him?’

‘Frae a’ that I can hear, learn, and understand,’ replied the Leddy,
‘though it may na be probable-like, yet I fear it’s oure true; for
when he gangs to see his mother, and it’s ay wi’ him as wi’ the
saints,--“O mother dear Jerusalem, when shall I come to thee?”--I am
most creditably informed that the twa do nothing but sauly forth hand
in hand to walk in the green valleys, singing, “Low down in the broom,”
and “Pu’ing lilies both fresh and gay,”--which is as sure a symptom o’
something very like love, as the hen’s cackle is o’ a new-laid egg.’

‘Nevertheless,’ said the Laird, ‘I should have no great apprehensions,
especially when he comes to understand how much it is his interest to
prefer Robina.’

‘That’s a’ true, Geordie; but I hae a misdoot that a’s no right and
sound wi’ her mair than wi’ him; and when we reflek how the mim
maidens nowadays hae delivered themselves up to the little-gude in
the shape and glamour o’ novelles and Thomson’s _Seasons_, we need
be nane surprised to fin’ Miss as headstrong in her obdooracy as the
lovely young Lavinia that your sister Meg learnt to ’cite at the
boarding-school.’

‘It is not likely, however,’ said the Laird, ‘that she has yet fixed
her affections on any one; and a very little attention on the part of
James would soon overcome any prejudice that she may happen to have
formed against him,--for now, when you bring the matter to mind, I do
recollect that I have more than once observed a degree of petulance and
repugnance on her part.’

‘Then I mak no doot,’ exclaimed the old lady, ‘that she is in a begoted
state to another, and it wou’d be wise to watch her. But, first and
foremost, you should sift Jamie’s tender passion--that’s the novelle
name for calf-love; and if it’s within the compass o’ a possibility,
get the swine driven through’t, or it may work us a’ muckle dule, as
his father’s moonlight marriage did to your ain, worthy man!--That was
indeed a sair warning to us a’, and is the because to this day o’ a’
the penance o’ vexation and tribulation that me and you, Geordie, are
sae obligated to dree.’

The admonition was not lost; on the contrary, George, who was a
decisive man of business, at once resolved to ascertain whether there
were indeed any reasonable grounds for his mother’s suspicions.
For this purpose, on returning to the counting-house, he requested
Walkinshaw to come in the evening to Kittlestonheugh, as he had
something particular to say. The look and tone with which the
communication was made convinced James that he could not be mistaken
with respect to the topic intended, which, he conjectured, was
connected with the conversation he had himself held with the Leddy on
the preceding Saturday evening; and it was the more agreeable to him,
as he was anxious to be relieved from the doubts which began to trouble
him regarding the views and motives of his uncle’s partiality. For,
after parting from Ellen, he had, in the course of his walk back to
Glasgow, worked himself up into a determination to quit the place, if
any hope of the suggested marriage with Robina was the tenure by which
he held her father’s favour. His mind, in consequence, as he went
to Kittlestonheugh in the evening, was occupied with many plans and
schemes--the vague and aimless projects which fill the imagination of
youth, when borne forward either by hopes or apprehensions. Indeed,
the event contemplated, though it was still contingent on the spirit
with which his uncle might receive his refusal, he yet, with the common
precipitancy of youth, anticipated as settled, and his reflections were
accordingly framed and modified by that conclusion. To leave Glasgow
was determined; but where to go, and what to do, were points not so
easily arranged; and ever and anon the image of Ellen Frazer rose in
all the radiance of her beauty, like the angel to Balaam, and stood
between him and his purpose.

The doubts, the fears, and the fondness, which alternately predominated
in his bosom, received a secret and sympathetic energy from the
appearance and state of external nature. The weather was cloudy but not
lowering--a strong tempest seemed, however, to be raging at a distance;
and several times he paused and looked back at the enormous masses of
dark and troubled vapour, which were drifting along the whole sweep
of the northern horizon, from Ben Lomond to the Ochils, as if some
awful burning was laying waste the world beyond them; while a long and
splendid stream of hazy sunshine, from behind the Cowal mountains,
brightened the rugged summits of Dumbuck, and, spreading its golden
fires over Dumbarton moor, gilded the brow of Dumgoin, and lighted up
the magnificent vista which opens between them of the dark and distant
Grampians.

The appearance of the city was also in harmony with the general
sublimity of the evening. Her smoky canopy was lowered almost to a
covering--a mist from the river hovered along her skirts and scattered
buildings, but here and there some lofty edifice stood proudly eminent,
and the pinnacles of the steeples glittering like spear-points through
the cloud, suggested to the fancy strange and solemn images of heavenly
guardians, stationed to oppose the adversaries of man.

A scene so wild, so calm, and yet so troubled and darkened, would, at
any time, have heightened the enthusiasm of young Walkinshaw, but the
state of his feelings made him more than ordinarily susceptible to the
eloquence of its various lights and shadows. The uncertainty which
wavered in the prospects of his future life, found a mystical reflex
in the swift and stormy wrack of the carry, that some unfelt wind was
silently urging along the distant horizon. The still and stationary
objects around--the protected city and the everlasting hills, seemed
to bear an assurance, that, however obscured the complexion of his
fortunes might at that moment be, there was still something within
himself that ought not to suffer any change, from the evanescent
circumstances of another’s frown or favour. This confidence in himself,
felt perhaps for the first time that evening, gave a degree of vigour
and decision to the determination which he had formed; and by the time
he had reached the porch of his uncle’s mansion, his step was firm, his
emotions regulated, and a full and manly self-possession had succeeded
to the fluctuating feelings with which he left Glasgow, in so much that
even his countenance seemed to have received some new impress, and to
have lost the softness of youth, and taken more decidedly the cast and
characteristics of manhood.



CHAPTER LXVII


Walkinshaw found his uncle alone, who, after some slight inquiries,
relative to unimportant matters of business, said to him,--

‘I have been desirous to see you, because I am anxious to make
some family arrangements, to which, though I do not anticipate any
objection on your part, as they will be highly advantageous to your
interests, it is still proper that we should clearly understand each
other respecting. It is unnecessary to inform you, that, by the
disinheritance of your father, I came to the family estate, which, in
the common course of nature, might have been yours--and you are quite
aware, that, from the time it became necessary to cognosce your uncle,
I have uniformly done more for your mother’s family than could be
claimed or was expected of me.’

‘I am sensible of all that, sir,’ replied Walkinshaw, ‘and I hope there
is nothing which you can reasonably expect me to do, that I shall not
feel pleasure in performing.’

His uncle was not quite satisfied with this; the firmness with which
it was uttered, and the self-reservation which it implied--were not
propitious to his wishes, but he resumed,--

‘In the course of a short time, you will naturally be looking to me for
some establishment in business, and certainly if you conduct yourself
as you have hitherto done, it is but right that I should do something
for you--much, however, will depend, as to the extent of what I may
do, on the disposition with which you fall in with my views. Now, what
I wish particularly to say to you is, that having but one child, and
my circumstances enabling me to retire from the active management of
the house, it is in my power to resign a considerable share in your
favour--and this it is my wish to do in the course of two or three
years; if’--and he paused, looking his nephew steadily in the face.

‘I trust,’ said Walkinshaw, ‘it can be coupled with no condition that
will prevent me from availing myself of your great liberality.’

His uncle was still more damped by this than by the former observation,
and he replied peevishly,--

‘I think, young man, considering your destitute circumstances, you
might be a little more grateful for my friendship. It is but a cold
return to suppose I would subject you to any condition that you would
not gladly agree to.’

This, though hastily conceived, was not so sharply expressed as to have
occasioned any particular sensation; but the train of Walkinshaw’s
reflections, with his suspicion of the object for which he was that
evening invited to the country, made him feel it acutely, and his blood
mounted at the allusion to his poverty. Still, without petulance, but
in an emphatic manner, he replied,--

‘I have considered your friendship always as disinterested, and as such
I have felt and cherished the sense of gratitude which it naturally
inspired; but I frankly confess, that, had I any reason to believe
it was less so than I hope it is, I doubt I should be unable to feel
exactly as I have hitherto felt.’

‘And in the name of goodness!’ exclaimed his uncle, at once surprised
and apprehensive; ‘what reason have you to suppose that I was not
actuated by my regard for you as my nephew?’

‘I have never had any, nor have I said so,’ replied Walkinshaw; ‘but
you seem to suspect that I may not be so agreeable to some purpose you
intend as the obligations you have laid me under, perhaps, entitle you
to expect.’

‘The purpose I intend,’ said the uncle, ‘is the strongest proof that I
can give you of my affection. It is nothing less than founded on a hope
that you will so demean yourself, as to give me the pleasure, in due
time, of calling you by a dearer name than nephew.’

Notwithstanding all the preparations which Walkinshaw had made to hear
the proposal with firmness, it overcame him like a thunder-clap--and he
sat some time looking quickly from side to side, and unable to answer.

‘You do not speak,’ said his uncle, and he added, softly and
inquisitively, ‘Is there any cause to make you averse to Robina?--I
trust I may say to you, as a young man of discretion and good sense,
that there is no green and foolish affection which ought for a moment
to weigh with you against the advantages of a marriage with your
cousin--Were there nothing else held out to you, the very circumstance
of regaining so easily the patrimony, which your father had so
inconsiderately forfeited, should of itself be sufficient. But, besides
that, on the day you are married to Robina, it is my fixed intent to
resign the greatest part of my concern in the house to you, thereby
placing you at once in opulence.’

While he was thus earnestly speaking, Walkinshaw recovered his
self-possession; and being averse to give a disagreeable answer, he
said, that he could not but duly estimate, to the fullest extent, all
the advantages which the connexion would insure; ‘But,’ said he, ‘have
you spoken to Robina herself?’

‘No,’ replied his uncle, with a smile of satisfaction, anticipating
from the question something like a disposition to acquiesce in his
views. ‘No; I leave that to you--that’s your part. You now know my
wishes; and I trust and hope you are sensible that few proposals could
be made to you so likely to promote your best interests.’

Walkinshaw saw the difficulties of his situation. He could no longer
equivocate with them. It was impossible, he felt, to say that he would
speak on the subject to Robina, without being guilty of duplicity
towards his uncle. Besides this, he conceived it would sully the honour
and purity of his affection for Ellen Frazer to allow himself to seek
any declaration of refusal from Robina, however certain of receiving
it. His uncle saw his perplexity, and said,--

‘This proposal seems to have very much disconcerted you--but I will
be plain; for, in a matter on which my heart is so much set, it is
prudent to be candid. I do not merely suspect, but have some reason to
believe, that you have formed a schoolboy attachment to Mrs. Eadie’s
young friend. Now, without any other remark on the subject, I will
only say, that, though Miss Frazer is a very fine girl, and of a most
respectable family, there is nothing in the circumstances of her
situation compared with those of your cousin, that would make any man
of sense hesitate between them.’

So thought Walkinshaw; for, in his opinion, the man of sense would at
once prefer Ellen.

‘However,’ continued his uncle,--‘I will not at present press this
matter further. I have opened my mind to you, and I make no doubt, that
you will soon see the wisdom and propriety of acceding to my wishes.’

Walkinshaw thought he would be acting unworthy of himself if he allowed
his uncle to entertain any hope of his compliance; and, accordingly, he
said, with some degree of agitation, but not so much as materially to
affect the force with which he expressed himself,--

‘I will not deny that your information with respect to Miss Frazer is
correct; and the state of our sentiments renders it impossible that I
should for a moment suffer you to expect I can ever look on Robina but
as my cousin.’

‘Well, well, James,’ interrupted his uncle,--‘I know all that; and I
calculated on hearing as much, and even more; but take time to reflect
on what I have proposed; and I shall be perfectly content to see the
result in your actions. So, let us go to your aunt’s room, and take tea
with her and Robina.’

‘Impossible!--never!’ exclaimed Walkinshaw, rising;--‘I cannot allow
you for a moment longer to continue in so fallacious an expectation.
My mind is made up; my decision was formed before I came here; and no
earthly consideration will induce me to forgo an affection that has
grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength.’

His uncle laughed, and rubbed his hands, exceedingly amused at this
rhapsody, and said, with the most provoking coolness,--

‘I shall not increase your flame by stirring the fire--you are
still but a youth--and it is very natural that you should have a
love fit--all, therefore, that I mean to say at present is, take
time--consider--reflect on the fortune you may obtain, and contrast it
with the penury and dependence to which your father and mother exposed
themselves by the rash indulgence of an inconsiderate attachment.’

‘Sir,’ exclaimed Walkinshaw, fervently, ‘I was prepared for the
proposal you have made, and my determination with respect to it was
formed and settled before I came here.’

‘Indeed!’ said his uncle coldly; ‘and pray what is it?’

‘To quit Glasgow; to forgo all the pecuniary advantages that I may
derive from my connexion with you--if’--and he made a full stop and
looked his uncle severely in the face,--‘if,’ he resumed, ‘your
kindness was dictated with a view to this proposal.’

A short silence ensued, in which Walkinshaw still kept his eye brightly
and keenly fixed on his uncle’s face; but the Laird was too much a man
of the world not to be able to endure this scrutiny.

‘You are a strange fellow,’ he at last said, with a smile, that he
intended should be conciliatory; ‘but as I was prepared for a few
heroics I can forgive you.’

‘Forgive!’ cried the hot and indignant youth; ‘what have I done to
deserve such an insult? I thought your kindness merited my gratitude. I
felt towards you as a man should feel towards a great benefactor; but
now it would almost seem that you have in all your kindness but pursued
some sinister purpose. Why am I selected to be your instrument? Why are
my feelings and affections to be sacrificed on your sordid altars?’

He found his passion betraying him into irrational extravagance, and,
torn by the conflict within him, he covered his face with his hands,
and burst into tears.

‘This is absolute folly, James,’ said his uncle soberly.

‘It is not folly,’ was again his impassioned answer. ‘My words may be
foolish, but my feelings are at this moment wise. I cannot for ten
times all your fortune, told a hundred times, endure to think I may be
induced to barter my heart. It may be that I am ungrateful; if so, as I
can never feel otherwise upon the subject than I do, send me away, as
unworthy longer to share your favour; but worthy I shall nevertheless
be of something still better.’

‘Young man, you will be more reasonable to-morrow,’ said his uncle,
contemptuously, and immediately left the room. Walkinshaw at the same
moment also took his hat, and, rushing towards the door, quitted the
house; but in turning suddenly round the corner, he ran against Robina,
who, having some idea of the object of his visit, had been listening at
the window to their conversation.



CHAPTER LXVIII


The agitation in which Walkinshaw was at the moment when he encountered
Robina, prevented him from being surprised at meeting her, and also
from suspecting the cause which had taken her to that particular place
so late in the evening. The young lady was more cool and collected, as
we believe young ladies always are on such occasions, and she was the
first who spoke.

‘Where are you running so fast?’ said she. ‘I thought you would have
stayed tea. Will you not go back with me? My mother expects you.’

‘Your father does not,’ replied Walkinshaw tersely; ‘and I wish it had
been my fortune never to have set my foot within his door.’

‘Dear me!’ exclaimed Miss Robina, as artfully as if she had known
nothing, nor overheard every word which had passed. ‘What has happened?
I hope nothing has occurred to occasion any quarrel between you. Do
think, James, how prejudicial it must be to your interests to quarrel
with my father.’

‘Curse that eternal word “interests”!’ was the unceremonious answer.
‘Your father seems to think that human beings have nothing but
interests; that the heart keeps a ledger, and values everything in
pounds sterling. Our best affections, our dearest feelings, are with
him only as tare, that should pass for nothing in the weight of moral
obligations.’

‘But stop,’ said Robina, ‘don’t be in such a hurry; tell me what all
this means--what has affections and dear feelings to do with your
counting-house affairs?--I thought you and he never spoke of anything
but rum puncheons and sugar cargoes.’

‘He is incapable of knowing the value of anything less tangible and
vendible!’ exclaimed her cousin--‘but I have done with both him and
you.’

‘Me!’ cried Miss Robina, with an accent of the most innocent
admiration, that any sly and shrewd miss of eighteen could possibly
assume.--‘Me! what have I to do with your hopes and your affections,
and your tangible and vendible commodities?’

‘I beg your pardon, I meant no offence to you, Robina--I am overborne
by my feelings,’ said Walkinshaw; ‘and if you knew what has passed, you
would sympathize with me.’

‘But as I do not,’ replied the young lady coolly, ‘you must allow me to
say that your behaviour appears to me very extravagant--surely nothing
has passed between you and my father that I may not know?’

This was said in a manner that instantly recalled Walkinshaw to his
senses. The deep and cunning character of his cousin he had often
before remarked--with, we may say plainly, aversion--and he detected
at once in the hollow and sonorous affectation of sympathy with which
her voice was tuned, particularly in the latter clause of the sentence,
the insincerity and hypocrisy of her conduct.--He did not, however,
suspect that she had been playing the eavesdropper; and, therefore,
still tempered with moderation his expression of the sentiments she was
so ingeniously leading him on to declare.

‘No,’ said he, calmly, ‘nothing has passed between your father and me
that you may not know, but it will come more properly from him, for it
concerns you, and in a manner that I can never take interest or part
in.’

‘Concerns me! concerns me!’ exclaimed the actress; ‘it is impossible
that anything of mine could occasion a misunderstanding between you.’

‘But it has,’ said Walkinshaw; ‘and to deal with you, Robina, as
you ought to be dealt with, for affecting to be so ignorant of your
father’s long-evident wishes and intents--he has actually declared that
he is most anxious we should be married.’

‘I can see no harm in that,’ said she, adding dryly, ‘provided it is
not to one another.’

‘But it is to one another,’ said Walkinshaw, unguardedly, and in the
simplicity of earnestness, which Miss perceiving, instantly with the
adroitness of her sex turned to account--saying with well-feigned
diffidence,--

‘I do not see why that should be so distressing to you.’

‘No!’ replied he. ‘But the thing can never be, and it is of no use for
us to talk of it--so good night.’

‘Stay,’ cried Robina,--‘what you have told me deserves
consideration.--Surely I have given you no reason to suppose that in a
matter so important, I may not find it my interest to comply with my
father’s wishes.’

‘Heavens!’ exclaimed Walkinshaw, raising his clenched hands in a
transport to the skies.

‘Why are you so vehement?’ said Robina.

‘Because,’ replied he solemnly, ‘interest seems the everlasting
consideration of our family--interest disinherited my father--interest
made my uncle Walter consign my mother to poverty--interest proved the
poor repentant wretch insane--interest claims the extinction of all I
hold most precious in life--and interest would make me baser than the
most sordid of all our sordid race.’

‘Then I am to understand you dislike me so much, that you have refused
to accede to my father’s wishes for our mutual happiness?’

‘For our mutual misery, I have refused to accede,’ was the abrupt
reply--‘and if you had not some motive for appearing to feel
otherwise--which motive I neither can penetrate nor desire to know, you
would be as resolute in your objection to the bargain as I am--match
I cannot call it, for it proceeds in a total oblivion of all that can
endear or ennoble such a permanent connexion.’

Miss was conscious of the truth of this observation, and with all her
innate address, it threw her off her guard, and she said,--

‘Why do you suppose that I am so insensible? My father may intend what
he pleases, but my consent must be obtained before he can complete
his intentions.’ She had, however, scarcely said so much, when she
perceived she was losing the vantage-ground that she had so dexterously
occupied, and she turned briskly round and added, ‘But, James, why
should we fall out about this?--there is time enough before us to
consider the subject dispassionately--my father cannot mean that the
marriage should take place immediately.’

‘Robina, you are your father’s daughter, and the heiress of his nature
as well as of his estate--no such marriage ever can or shall take
place; nor do you wish it should--but I am going too far--it is enough
that I declare my affections irrevocably engaged, and that I will never
listen to a second proposition on that subject, which has to-night
driven me wild. I have quitted your father--I intend it for ever--I
will never return to his office. All that I built on my connexion with
him is now thrown down--perhaps with it my happiness is also lost--but
no matter, I cannot be a dealer in such bargaining as I have heard
to-night. I am thankful to Providence that gave me a heart to feel
better, and friends who taught me to think more nobly. However, I waste
my breath and spirits idly; my resolution is fixed, and when I say Good
night, I mean Farewell.’

With these words he hurried away, and, after walking a short time on
the lawn, Robina returned into the house; and going up to her mother’s
apartment, where her father was sitting, she appeared as unconcerned
and unconscious of the two preceding conversations, as if she had
neither been a listener to the one, nor an actress in the other.

On entering the room, she perceived that her father had been mentioning
to her mother something of what had passed between himself and her
cousin; but it was her interest, on account of the direction which
her affections had taken, to appear ignorant of many things, and
studiously to avoid any topic with her father that might lead him to
suspect her bent; for she had often observed, that few individuals
could be proposed to him as a match for her that he entertained so
strong a prejudice against; although really, in point of appearance,
relationship, and behaviour, it could hardly be said that the object
of her preference was much inferior to her romantic cousin. The
sources and motives of that prejudice she was, however, regardless
of discovering. She considered it in fact as an unreasonable and
unaccountable antipathy, and was only anxious for the removal of any
cause that might impede the consummation she devoutly wished. Glad,
therefore, to be so fully mistress of Walkinshaw’s sentiments as she
had that night made herself, she thought, by a judicious management
of her knowledge, she might overcome her father’s prejudice;--and the
address and dexterity with which she tried this we shall attempt to
describe in the following chapter.



CHAPTER LXIX


‘I thought,’ said she, after seating herself at the tea-table, ‘that my
cousin would have stopped to-night; but I understand he has gone away.’

‘Perhaps,’ replied her father, ‘had you requested him, he might have
stayed!’

‘I don’t think he would for me,’ was her answer.--‘He does not appear
particularly satisfied when I attempt to interfere with any of his
proceedings.’

‘Then you do sometimes attempt to interfere?’ said her father, somewhat
surprised at the observation, and not suspecting that she had heard one
word of what had passed, every syllable of which was carefully stored
in the treasury of her bosom.

The young lady perceived that she was proceeding a little too quickly,
and drew in her horns.

‘All,’ said she, ‘that I meant to remark was, that he is not very
tractable, which I regret;’ and she contrived to give a sigh.

‘Why should you regret it so particularly?’ inquired her father, a
little struck at the peculiar accent with which she had expressed
herself.

‘I cannot tell,’ was her adroit reply; and then she added, in a brisker
tone,--‘But I wonder what business I have to trouble myself about him?’

For some time her father made no return to this; but, pushing back his
chair from the tea-table till he had reached the chimney-corner, he
leant his elbow on the mantelpiece, and appeared for several minutes
in a state of profound abstraction. In the meantime, Mrs. Walkinshaw
had continued the conversation with her daughter, observing to her that
she did, indeed, think her cousin must be a very headstrong lad; for he
had spoken that night to her father in such a manner as had not only
astonished but distressed him. ‘However,’ said she,--‘he is still a
mere boy; and, I doubt not, will, before long is past, think better of
what his uncle has been telling him.’

‘I am extremely sorry,’ replied Robina, with the very voice of the
most artless sympathy, though, perhaps, a little more accentuated
than simplicity would have employed--‘I am very sorry, indeed, that
any difference has arisen between him and my father. I am sure I have
always heard him spoken of as an amiable and very deserving young man.
I trust it is of no particular consequence.’

‘It is of the utmost consequence,’ interposed her father; ‘and it is of
more to you than to any other besides.’

‘To me, Sir! how is that possible?--What have I to do with him, or he
with me? I am sure, except in being more deficient in his civilities
than those of most of my acquaintance, I have had no occasion to remark
anything particular in his behaviour or conduct towards me.’

‘I know it--I know it,’ exclaimed her father; ‘and therein lies the
source of all my anxiety.’

‘I fear that I do not rightly understand you,’ said the cunning girl.

‘Nor do I almost wish that you ever should; but, nevertheless, my heart
is so intent on the business, that I think, were you to second my
endeavours, the scheme might be accomplished.’

‘The scheme?--What scheme?’ replied the most unaffected Robina.

‘In a word, child,’ said her father, ‘how would you like James as a
husband?’

‘How can I tell?’ was her simple answer. ‘He has never given me any
reason to think on the subject.’

‘You cannot, however, but long have seen that it was with me a
favourite object?’

‘I confess it;--and, perhaps, I have myself,’ she said, with a second
sigh--‘thought more of it than I ought to have done; but I have never
had any encouragement from him.’

‘How unhappy am I,’ thought her father to himself--‘The poor thing is
as much disposed to the match as my heart could hope for.--Surely,
surely, by a little address and perseverance, the romantic boy may be
brought to reason and to reflect;’ and he then said to her--‘My dear
Robina, you have been the subject of my conversation with James this
evening; but I am grieved to say, that his sentiments, at present, are
neither favourable to your wishes nor to mine.--He seems enchanted by
Mrs. Eadie’s relation, and talked so much nonsense on the subject that
we almost quarrelled.’

‘I shall never accept of a divided heart,’ said the young lady
despondingly; ‘and I entreat, my dear father, that you will never take
another step in the business; for, as long as I can recollect, he has
viewed me with eyes of aversion--and in all that time he has been the
playmate, and the lover, perhaps, of Ellen Frazer.--Again I implore you
to abandon every idea of promoting a union between him and me: It can
never take place on his part but from the most sordid considerations of
interest; nor on mine without feeling that I have been but as a bale
bargained for.’

Her father listened with attention to what she said--it appeared
reasonable--it was spirited; but there was something, nevertheless, in
it which did not quite satisfy his mind, though the sense was clear and
complete.

‘Of course,’ he replied, guardedly; ‘I should never require you to
bestow your hand where you had not already given your affections; but
it does not follow that because the headstrong boy is at this time
taken up with Miss Frazer, that he is always to remain of the same
mind. On the contrary, Robina, were you to exert a little address, I am
sure you would soon draw him from that unfortunate attachment.’

‘What woman,’ said she, with an air of supreme dignity, ‘would submit
to pilfer the betrothed affections of any man? No, sir, I cannot do
that--nor ought I; and pardon me when I use the expression, nor will I.
Had my cousin made himself more agreeable to me, I do not say that such
would have been my sentiments; but having seen nothing in his behaviour
that can lead me to hope from him anything but the same constancy in
his dislike which I have ever experienced, I should think myself base,
indeed, were I to allow you to expect that I may alter my opinion.’

Nothing further passed at that time; for to leave the impression which
she intended to produce as strong as possible, she immediately rose and
left the room. Her father soon after also quitted his seat, and after
taking two or three turns across the floor, went to his own apartment.

‘I am the most unfortunate of men,’ said he to himself, ‘and my poor
Robina is no less frustrated in her affections. I cannot, however,
believe that the boy is so entirely destitute of prudence as not to
think of what I have told him. I must give him time. Old heads do
not grow on young shoulders. But it never occurred to me that Robina
was attached to him; on the contrary, I have always thought that the
distaste was stronger on her part than on his. But it is of no use to
vex myself on the subject. Let me rest satisfied to-night with having
ascertained that at least on Robina’s part there is no objection to the
match. My endeavours hereafter must be directed to detach James from
the girl Frazer. It will, however, be no easy task, for he is ardent
and enthusiastic, and she has undoubtedly many of those graces which
readiest find favour in a young man’s eye.’

He then hastily rose, and hurriedly paced the room.

‘Why am I cursed,’ he exclaimed, ‘with this joyless and barren fate?
Were Robina a son, all my anxieties would be hushed; but with her my
interest in the estate of my ancestors terminates. Her mother, however,
may yet’--and he paused. ‘It is very weak,’ he added in a moment
after, ‘to indulge in these reflections. I have a plain task before
me, and instead of speculating on hopes and chances, I ought to set
earnestly about it, and leave no stone unturned till I have performed
it thoroughly.’

With this he composed his mind for the remainder of the evening, and
when he again joined Robina and her mother, the conversation by all
parties was studiously directed to indifferent topics.



CHAPTER LXX


There are few things more ludicrous, and at the same time more
interesting, than the state of a young man in love, unless, perhaps, it
be that of an old man in the same unfortunate situation. The warmth of
the admiration, the blindness of the passion, and the fond sincerity of
the enthusiasm, which gives grace and sentiment to the instinct, all
awaken sympathy, and even inspire a degree of compassionate regard;
but the extravagance of feeling beyond what any neutral person can
sympathize with, the ostrich-like simplicity of the expedients resorted
to in assignations, and that self-approved sagacity and prudence in
concealing what everybody with half an eye can see, afford the most
harmless and diverting spectacles of human absurdity. However, as we
are desirous of conciliating the reverence of the young and fair,
perhaps it may be as well to say nothing more on this head, but allow
them to enjoy, in undisturbed faith, the amiable anticipation of that
state of beatitude which Heaven, and all married personages, know is
but a very very transient enchantment.

But we cannot, with any regard to the fidelity of circumstantial
history, omit to relate what passed in young Walkinshaw’s bosom, after
he parted from his cousin.--To render it in some degree picturesque, we
might describe his appearance; but when we spoke of him as a handsome
manly youth for his inches and his eild, we said perhaps as much as
we could well say upon that head, unless we were to paint the colour
and fashion of his clothes,--a task in which we have no particular
relish;--and, therefore, we may just briefly mention that they were
in the style of the sprucest clerks of Glasgow; and everybody knows,
that if the bucks of the Trongate would only button their coats, they
might pass for gentlemen of as good blood and breeding as the best in
Bond Street. But, even though Walkinshaw had been in the practice of
buttoning his, he was that night in no condition to think of it. His
whole bosom was as a flaming furnace--raging as fiercely as those of
the Muirkirk Iron Works that served to illuminate his path.

He felt as if he had been held in a state of degradation; and had been
regarded as so destitute of all the honourable qualities of a young
man, that he would not scruple to barter himself in the most sordid
manner. His spirit then mounting on the exulting wings of youthful
hope, bore him aloft into the cloudy and meteoric region of romance,
and visions of fortune and glory almost too splendid for the aching
sight of his fancy, presented themselves in a thousand smiling forms,
beckoning him away from the smoky confines and fœtid airs of Glasgow,
and pointing to some of the brightest and beaming bubbles that allure
fantastic youth. But, in the midst of these glittering visions of
triumphant adventure, ‘a change came o’er the spirit of his dream,’
and he beheld Ellen Frazer in the simple and tasteful attire in which
she appeared so beautiful at Camrachle church. In the background of
the sunny scene was a pretty poetical cottage, with a lamb tethered by
the foot on the green, surrounded by a flock of snowy geese, enjoying
their noontide siesta, and on the ground troops of cocks and hens, with
several gabbling bandy-legged ducks; at the sight of which another
change soon came o’er the spirit of his dream; and the elegant mansion
that his uncle had made of the old house of Grippy, with all its
lawns and plantations, and stately gate and porter’s lodge, together
with an elegant carriage in the avenue, presented a most alluring
picture.--But it, too, soon vanished; and in the next change, he beheld
Robina converted into his wife, carping at all his little pranks and
humours, and studious only of her own enjoyments, without having any
consideration for those that might be his. Then all was instantly
darkened; and after a terrible burst of whirlwinds, and thunder and
lightning, the cloud again opened, and he saw in its phantasmagorial
mirror a calm and summer sunset, with his beautiful Ellen Frazer in
the shape of a venerable matron, partaking of the temperate pleasures
of an aged man, seated on a rustic seat, under a tree, on the brow of
Camrachlebank, enjoying the beauties of the view, and talking of their
children’s children; and in the visage of that aged man, he discovered
a most respectable resemblance of himself.--So fine a close of a life,
untroubled by any mischance, malady, or injustice, could not fail
to produce the most satisfactory result. Accordingly, he decidedly
resolved, that it should be his; and that, as he had previously
determined, the connexion with his uncle should thenceforth be cut for
ever.

By the time that imagination rather than reason had worked him into
this decision, he arrived at Glasgow; and being resolved to carry his
intention into immediate effect, instead of going to the house where
he was boarded, at his uncle’s expense, he went to the Leddy’s, partly
with the intention of remaining there, but chiefly to remonstrate
with her for having spoken of his attachment to Ellen Frazer; having
concluded, naturally enough, that it was from her his uncle had
received the information.

On entering the parlour he found the old lady seated alone, in her
elbow chair, at the fireside. A single slender candle stood at her
elbow, on a small claw-foot table; and she was winding the yarn from a
pirn, with a hand-reel, carefully counting the turns. Hearing the door
open, she looked round, and seeing who it was, said,--

‘Is that thee, Jamie Walkinshaw?--six and thirty--where came ye
frae--seven and thirty--at this time o’ night?--eight and thirty--sit
ye down--nine and thirty--snuff the candle--forty.’

‘I’ll wait till ye’re done,’ said he, ‘as I wish to tell you
something--for I have been out at Kittlestonheugh, where I had some
words with my uncle.’

‘No possible!--nine and forty,’--replied the Leddy;--‘what hast been
about?--fifty’----

‘He seems to regard me as if I had neither a will nor feelings, neither
a head nor a heart.’

‘I hope ye hae baith--five and fifty--but hae ye been
condumacious?--seven and--plague tak the laddie, I’m out in my count,
and I’ll hae to begin the cut again; so I may set by the reel. What
were you saying, Jamie, anent an outcast wi’ your uncle?’

‘He has used me exceedingly ill--ripping up the obligations he has laid
me under, and taunting me with my poverty.’

‘And is’t no true that ye’re obligated to him, and that, but for the
uncly duty he has fulfilled towards you, ye would this night hae been a
bare lad?--gude kens an ye would na hae been as scant o’ cleeding as a
salmon in the river.’

‘It may be so, but when it is considered that he got the family estate
by a quirk of law, he could scarcely have done less than he did for my
unfortunate father’s family. But I could have forgiven all that, had he
not, in a way insulting to my feelings, intimated that he expected I
would break with Ellen Frazer, and offer myself to Robina.’

‘And sure am I, Jamie,’ replied the Leddy, ‘that it will be lang before
you can do better.’

‘My mind, however, is made up,’ said he; ‘and to-morrow morning I shall
go to Camrachle, and tell my mother that I have resolved to leave
Glasgow.--I will never again set my foot in the counting-house.’

‘Got ye ony drink, Jamie, in the gait hame, that ye’re in sic a
wud humour for dancing “Auld Sir Simon the King”, on the road to
Camrachle?--Man, an I had as brisk a bee in the bonnet, I would set
aff at ance, cracking my fingers at the moon and seven stars as I gaed
louping alang.--But, to speak the words of soberness, I’m glad ye hae
discretion enough to tak a night’s rest first.’

‘Do not think so lightly of my determination--It is fixed--and, from
the moment I quitted Kittlestonheugh, I resolved to be no longer
under any obligation to my uncle--He considers me as a mere passive
instrument for his own ends.’

‘Hech, sirs! man, but ye hae a great share o’ sagacity,’ exclaimed
the Leddy; ‘and because your uncle is fain that ye should marry his
only dochter, and would, if ye did sae, leave you for dowry and tocher
a braw estate and a bank o’ siller, ye think he has pookit you by the
nose.’

‘No--not for that; but because he thinks so meanly of me, as to expect
that, for mercenary considerations, I would bargain away both my
feelings and my principles.’

‘Sure am I he would ne’er mint ony sic matter,’ replied the Leddy;
‘and if he wantit you to break wi’ yon galloping nymph o’ the Highland
heather, and draw up wi’ that sweet primrose-creature, your cousin
Beenie, wha is a lassie o’ sense and composity, and might be a match to
majesty, it was a’ for your honour and exaltation.’

‘Don’t distress me any further with the subject,’ said he. ‘Will you
have the goodness to let me stay here to-night? for, as I told you,
there shall never now be any addition made to the obligations which
have sunk me so low.’

‘’Deed, my lad, an ye gang on in that deleerit manner, I’ll no only gie
you a bed, but send baith for a doctor and a gradawa, that your head
may be shaved, and a’ proper remedies--outwardly and inwardly--gotten
to bring you back to a right way o’ thinking. But to end a’ debates,
ye’ll just pack up your ends and your awls and gang hame to Mrs.
Spruil’s, for the tow’s to spin and the woo’s to card that ’ill be the
sheets and blankets o’ your bed in this house the night--tak my word
for’t.’

‘In that case, I will at once go to Camrachle. The night is fine, and
the moon’s up.’

‘Awa wi’ you, and show how weel ye hae come to years o’ discretion, by
singing as ye gang,--

  Scotsman ho! Scotsman lo!
  Where shall this poor Scotsman go?
  Send him east, send him west,
  Send him to the craw’s nest.’

Notwithstanding the stern mood that Walkinshaw was in, this latter
sally of his grandmother’s eccentric humour compelled him to laugh, and
he said gaily, ‘But I shall be none the worse of a little supper before
I set out. I hope you will not refuse me that?’

The old Lady, supposing that she had effectually brought him, as she
said, round to himself, cheerfully acquiesced; but she was not a little
disappointed, when, after some light and ludicrous conversation on
general topics, he still so persisted either to remain in the house or
to proceed to his mother’s, that she found herself obliged to order a
bed to be prepared for him--at the same time she continued to express
her confidence that he would be in a more docile humour next morning.
‘I hope,’ said she, ‘nevertheless, that the spirit of obedience will
soople that stiff neck o’ thine, in the slumbers and watches of the
night, or I ne’er would be consenting to countenance such outstrapulous
rebellion.’



CHAPTER LXXI


Walkinshaw passed a night of ‘restless ecstasy’. Sometimes he reflected
on the proposition with all the coolness that the Laird himself
could have desired; but still and anon the centripetal movement of
the thoughts and feelings which generated this prudence was suddenly
arrested before they had gravitated into anything like resolution, and
then he was thrown as wild and as wide from the object of his uncle’s
solicitude as ever.

In the calmer, perhaps it may therefore be said, in the wiser course
of his reflections, Robina appeared to him a shrewd and sensible girl,
with a competent share of personal beauty, and many other excellent
household qualities, to make her a commendable wife. With her he would
at once enter on the enjoyment of opulence, and with it independence;
and, moreover, and above all, have it in his power to restore his
mother and sister to that state in society, to which, by birth and
original expectations, they considered themselves as having some
claim. This was a pleasing and a proud thought; and not to indulge it
at the expense of a little sacrifice of personal feeling, seemed to him
selfish and unmanly. But then he would remember with what high-toned
bravery of determination he had boasted to his uncle of his pure and
unalterable affections; how contemptuously he had spoken of pecuniary
inducements, and in what terms, too, he had told Robina herself, that
she had nothing to hope from him. It was, therefore, impossible that he
could present himself to either with any expression of regret for what
had passed, without appearing, in the eyes of both, as equally weak
and unworthy. But the very thought of finding that he could think of
entertaining the proposition at all, was more acute and mortifying than
even this; and he despised himself when he considered how Ellen Frazer
would look upon him, if she knew he had been so base as, for a moment,
to calculate the sordid advantages of preferring his cousin.

But what was to be done? To return to the counting-house, after his
resolute declaration; to embark again in that indoor and tame drudgery
which he ever hated, and which was rendered as vile as slavery, by the
disclosures which had taken place, could not be. He would be baser than
were he to sell himself to his uncle’s purposes, could he yield to such
a suggestion.

To leave Glasgow was his only alternative; but how? and where to
go? and where to obtain the means? were stinging questions that he
could not answer; and then what was he to gain? To marry Robina was
to sacrifice Ellen Frazer; to quit the country entailed the same
consequence. Besides all that, in so doing he would add to the sorrows
and the disappointments of his gentle-hearted and affectionate mother,
who had built renewed hopes on his success under the auspices of his
uncle, and who looked eagerly forward to the time when he should be
so established in business as to bring his sister before the world in
circumstances befitting his father’s child; for the hereditary pride
of family was mingled with his sensibility; and even the beautiful
and sprightly Ellen Frazer herself, perhaps, owed something of her
superiority over Robina to the Highland pedigrees and heroic traditions
which Mrs. Eadie delighted to relate of her ancestors.

While tossing on these troubled and conflicting tides of the mind, he
happened to recollect, that a merchant, a schoolfellow of his father,
and who, when he occasionally met him, always inquired, with more than
common interest, for his mother and sister, had at that time a vessel
bound for New York, where he intended to establish a store, and was in
want of a clerk; and it occurred to him, that, perhaps, through that
means, he might accomplish his wishes. This notion was as oil to his
agitation, and hope restored soon brought sleep and soothing dreams
to his pillow; but his slumbers were not of long duration, for before
sunrise he awoke; and, in order to avoid the garrulous remonstrances
of the Leddy, he rose and went to Camrachle for the purpose, as he
persuaded himself, to consult his mother; but, for all that we have
been able to understand, it was in reality only to communicate his
determination. But these sort of self-delusions are very common to
youths under age.

The morning air, as he issued from Glasgow, was cold and raw. Heavy
blobs of water, the uncongenial distillations of the midnight fogs,
hung so dully on the hoary hedges, that even Poesy would be guilty
of downright extravagance, were she, on any occasion, to call such
gross uncrystalline knobs of physic glass by any epithet implying
dew. The road was not miry, but gluey, and reluctant, and wearisome
to the tread. The smoke from the farm-houses rolled listlessly down
the thatch, and lazily spread itself into a dingy azure haze, that
lingered and lowered among the stacks of the farm-yards. The cows,
instead of proceeding, with their ordinary sedate common sense, to the
pastures, stood on the loans, looking east and west, and lowing to
one another--no doubt concerning the state of the weather. The birds
chirped peevishly, as they hopped from bough to bough. The ducks
walked in silence to their accustomed pools. The hens, creatures at
all times of a sober temperament, condoled in actual sadness together
under sheds and bushes; and chanticleer himself wore a paler crest than
usual, and was so low in spirits, that he only once had heart enough
to wind his bugle-horn. Nature was sullen--and the herd-boy drew his
blanket-mantle closer round him, and snarlingly struck the calf as he
grudgingly drove the herd afield. On the ground, at the door of the
toll-bar house, lay a gill-stoup on its side, and near it, on a plate,
an empty glass and a bit of bread, which showed that some earlier
traveller had, in despite of the statute, but in consideration of the
damp and unwholesome morning, obtained a dram from the gudewife’s ain
bottle.

In consequence of these sympathetic circumstances, before Walkinshaw
reached Camrachle, his heart was almost as heavy as his limbs were
tired. His mother, when she saw him pass the parlour window, as he
approached the door, was surprised at his appearance, and suffered
something like a shock of fear when she perceived the dulness of his
eye and the dejection of his features.

‘What has brought you here?’ was her first exclamation; ‘and what has
happened?’

But, instead of replying, he walked in, and seated himself at the
fireside, complaining of his cold and uncomfortable walk, and the
heaviness of the road. His sister was preparing breakfast, and
happening not to be in the room, his mother repeated her anxious
inquiries with an accent of more earnest solicitude.

‘I fear,’ said Walkinshaw, ‘that I am only come to distress you;’ and
he then briefly recapitulated what had passed between himself and his
uncle respecting Robina. But a sentiment of tenderness for his mother’s
anxieties, blended with a wish to save her from the disagreeable
sensation with which he knew his determination to quit Glasgow would
affect her, made him suppress the communication that he had come
expressly to make.

Mrs. Walkinshaw had been too long accustomed to the occasional
anticipations in which her brother-in-law had indulged on the subject,
to be surprised at what had taken place on his part; and both from her
own observations, and from the repugnance her son expressed, she had
no doubt that his attachment to Ellen Frazer was the chief obstacle
to the marriage. The considerations and reflections to which this
conclusion naturally gave rise, held her for some time silent. The
moment, however, that Walkinshaw, encouraged by the seeming slightness
of her regret at his declamations against the match, proceeded to a
fuller disclosure of his sentiments, and to intimate his resolution
to go abroad, her maternal fears were startled, and she was plunged
into the profoundest sorrow. But still during breakfast she said
nothing--misfortune and disappointment had indeed so long subdued
her gentle spirit into the most patient resignation, that, while her
soul quivered in all its tenderest feelings, she seldom even sighed,
but, with a pale cheek and a meek supplication, expressed only by a
heavenward look of her mild and melancholy eyes, she seemed to say,
‘Alas! am I still doomed to suffer?’ That look was ever irresistible
with her children: in their very childhood it brought them, with
all their artless and innocent caresses, to her bosom; and, on this
occasion, it so penetrated the very core of Walkinshaw’s heart, that he
took her by the hand and burst into tears.



CHAPTER LXXII


We are no casuists, and therefore cannot undertake to determine whether
Jenny did right or wrong in marrying Auld Robin Gray for the sake of
her poor father and mother; especially as it has been ever held by the
most approved moralists, that there are principles to be abided by,
even at the expense of great and incontrovertible duties. But of this
we are quite certain, that there are few trials to which the generous
heart can be subjected more severe than a contest between its duties
and its affections--between the claims which others have upon the
conduct of the man for their advantage, and the desires that he has
himself to seek his own gratification. In this predicament stood young
Walkinshaw; and at the moment when he took his mother by the hand, the
claims of filial duty were undoubtedly preferred to the wishes of love.

‘I am,’ said he, ‘at your disposal, mother--do with me as you think
fit.--When I resented the mean opinion that my uncle seemed to hold
of me, I forgot you--I thought only of myself. My first duties, I now
feel, are due to the world, and the highest of them to my family.--But
I wish that I had never known Ellen Frazer.’

‘In that wish, my dear boy, you teach me what I ought myself to
do.--No, James, I can never desire nor expect that my children will
sacrifice themselves for me--for I regard it as no less than immolation
when the heart revolts at the tasks which the hand performs. But my
life has long been one continued sorrow; and it is natural that I
should shrink at the approach of another and a darker cloud. I will
not, however, ask you to remain with your uncle, nor even oppose your
resolution to go abroad. But be not precipitate--consider the grief,
the anxieties, and the humiliations, that both your father and I have
endured, and think, were you united to Ellen Frazer, supposing her
father and friends would consent to so unequal a match, what would be
her fate were you cut early off, as your father was?--It is the thought
of that--of what I myself, with you and for you, have borne, which
weighs so grievously at this moment on my spirits.’

‘Do you wish me to return to Glasgow?’ said Walkinshaw with an anxious
and agitated voice.

‘Not unless you feel yourself that you can do so without
humiliation--for bitter, James, as my cup has been, and ill able as I
am to wrestle with the blast, I will never counsel child of mine to do
that which may lessen him in his own opinion. Heaven knows that there
are mortifications ready enough in the world to humble us--we do not
need to make any for ourselves--no, unless you can meet your uncle with
a frank face and a free heart, do not return.’

‘I am sure, then, that I never can,’ replied Walkinshaw. ‘I feel as if
he had insulted my nature, by venturing to express what he seems to
think of me; and a man can forgive almost any injury but a mean opinion
of him.’

‘But if you do not go to him, perhaps you will not find it difficult to
obtain a situation in another counting-house?’

‘If I am not to return to his, I would rather at once leave the
place--I never liked it, and I shall now like it less than ever. In a
word, my intention is to go, if possible, to America.’

‘Go where you will, my blessing and tears is all, my dear boy, that I
can give you.’

‘Then you approve of my wish to go to America?’

‘I do not object to it, James--It is a difficult thing for a mother to
say that she approves of her son exposing himself to any hazard.’

‘What would you have said, could I have obtained a commission in the
army and a war raging?’

‘Just what I say now--nor should I have felt more sorrow in seeing you
go to a campaign than I shall feel when you leave me to encounter the
yet to you untried perils of the world. Indeed, I may say, I should
almost feel less, for in the army, with all its hazard, there is a
certain degree of assurance, that a young man, if he lives, will be
fashioned into an honourable character.’

‘I wish that there was a war,’ said Walkinshaw with such sincere
simplicity, that even his mother could scarcely refrain from smiling.

The conversation was, at this juncture, interrupted by the entrance of
Mrs. Eadie, who immediately perceived that something particular had
occurred to disturb the tranquillity of her friend, and, for a moment,
she looked at Walkinshaw with an austere and majestic eye. His mother
observed the severity of her aspect, and thought it as well at once to
mention what had happened.

Mrs. Eadie listened to the recital of his uncle’s proposal, and his
resolution to go abroad, with a degree of juridical serenity, that lent
almost as much solemnity to her appearance as it derived dignity from
her august form; and, when Mrs. Walkinshaw concluded, she said,--

‘We have foreseen all this--and I am only surprised that now, when
it has come to pass, it should affect you so much. I dreamt, last
night, Mrs. Walkinshaw, that you were dead, and laid out in your
winding-sheet. I thought I was sitting beside the corpse, and that,
though I was sorrowful, I was, nevertheless, strangely pleased. In that
moment, my cousin, Glengael, came into the room, and he had a large
ancient book, with brazen clasps on it, under his arm. That book he
gave to Ellen Frazer, whom I then saw was also in the room, and she
undid the brazen clasps, and opening it, showed her father a particular
passage, which he read aloud, and, when he paused, I saw you rise, and,
throwing aside the winding-sheet, you appeared richly dressed, with a
cheerful countenance, and on your hands were wedding-gloves. It was to
tell you this auspicious dream that I came here this morning, and I
have no doubt it betokens some happy change in your fortunes, to come
by the agency of Glengael. Therefore, give yourself no uneasiness about
this difference between James and his uncle; for, you may rest assured,
it will terminate in some great good to your family; but there will be
a death first, that’s certain.’

Although Walkinshaw was familiar with the occasional gleams of the
sibilline pretensions of Mrs. Eadie, and always treated them with
reverence, he could not resist from smiling at the earnestness with
which she delivered her prediction, saying, ‘But I do not see in what
way the dream has anything to do with my case.’

‘You do not see,’ replied the Leddy sternly, ‘nor do I see; but it
does not, therefore, follow, that there is no sympathy between them.
The wheels of the world work in darkness, James, and it requires
the sight of the seer to discern what is coming round, though the
auguries of their index are visible to all eyes. But,’ and she turned
to Mrs. Walkinshaw, ‘it strikes me, that, in the present state of your
circumstances, I might write to my cousin. The possession of Glengael
gives him weight with Government, and, perhaps, his influence might be
of use to your son.’

This afforded a ray of hope to Walkinshaw, of which he had never
entertained the slightest notion, and it also, in some degree,
lightened the spirits of his mother. They both expressed their sense of
her kindness; and James said gaily, that he had no doubt the omens of
her dream would soon be verified; but she replied solemnly,--

‘No! though Glengael may be able, by his interest, to serve you, the
agency of death can alone fulfil the vision; but, for the present, let
us say no more on that head. I will write to-day to Mr. Frazer, and
inquire in what way he can best assist all our wishes.’

In the meantime, the Leddy had been informed by her maid of
Walkinshaw’s early departure for Camrachle; and, in consequence,
as soon as she had breakfasted, a messenger was dispatched to the
counting-house, to request that the Laird might be sent to her when
he came to town; but this was unnecessary, for he had scarcely passed
a more tranquil night than his nephew; and, before her messenger came
back, he was in the parlour with Robina, whom he had brought with him
in the carriage to spend the day with one of her friends. Why the young
lady should have chosen so unpleasant a day for her visit, particularly
as it was a volunteer, and had been, as she said, only concerted with
herself after the conversation of the preceding evening, we must allow
the sagacity of the reader to discover; but she appeared flurried,
and put out of countenance, when her grandmother told her, that she
expected Dirdumwhamle and Mrs. Milrookit to dinner, and ‘I think,’ said
she, ‘Beenie, that ye ought to bide wi’ me to meet them, for I expect
Walky’--so she styled Walkinshaw, their son; ‘and if ye’re no to get
the ae cousin, I dinna see but ye might set your cap for the other.’

‘I trust and hope,’ exclaimed the Laird, ‘that she has more sense.
Walkinshaw Milrookit has nothing.’

‘And what has Jamie Walkinshaw?’ said the Leddy. ‘’Deed, Geordie,
though I canna but say ye’re baith pawky and auld farrant, it’s no to
be controverted that ye hae gotten your father’s bee in the bonnet,
anent ancestors and forbears, and nae gude can come out o’ ony sic
havers. Beenie, my Leddy, ne’er fash your head wi’ your father’s
dodrums; but, an ye can hook Walky’s heart wi’ the tail o’ your ee,
ye’s no want my helping hand at the fishing.’

‘Mother,’ said George vehemently, ‘I am astonished that you can talk
so lightly to the girl. I have my own reasons for being most decidedly
averse to any such union. And though I do feel that James has used me
ill, and that his headstrong conduct deserves my severest displeasure,
I not only think it a duty to bring about a marriage between Robina and
him, but will endeavour to act in it as such. Perhaps, had she been
entirely free, I might have felt less interest in the business; but
knowing, as I now do, that his coldness alone has prevented her from
cherishing towards him a just and proper affection, I should be wanting
in my obligations as a father, were I not to labour, by all expedient
means, to promote the happiness of my child.’

During this speech the young lady appeared both out of countenance and
inwardly amused, while her grandmother, placing her hands to her sides,
looked at her with a queer and inquisitive eye, and said,--

‘It’s no possible, Beenie Walkinshaw, that thou’s sic a masquerading
cutty as to hae beguilt baith thy father and me? But, if ever I
had an e’e in my head, and could see wi’ that e’e, it’s as true
as the deil’s in Dublin city, that I hae had a discernment o’ thy
heart-hatred to Jamie Walkinshaw. But let your father rin to the woody
as he will--they’re no to be born that ’ill live to see that I hae
a judgement and an understanding o’ what’s what. Howsever, Geordie,
what’s to be done wi’ that ne’er-do-well water-wag-tail that’s flown
awa to its mother? Poor woman, she canna afford to gie’t drammock.
Something maun be done, and wi’ your wis’ for a fresh clecking of the
pedigrees o’ the Walkinshaws o’ Kittlestonheugh, that I hae been sae
lang deaved and driven doited wi’; “for the space of forty years,” I
may say, in the words of the Psalmist, “the race hae grieved me.” Ye
canna do better than just tak a hurl in your chaise to Camrachle, and
bring him in by the lug and horn, and nail him to the desk wi’ a pin to
his nose.’

There was worse advice, the Laird thought, than this; and, after some
further remarks to the same effect, he really did set off for Camrachle
with the express intention of doing everything in his power to heal
the breach, and to conciliate again the affection and gratitude of his
nephew.



CHAPTER LXXIII


As soon as the carriage had left the door, the Leddy resumed the
conversation with her granddaughter.

‘Noo, Beenie Walkinshaw,’ said she, ‘I maun put you to the straights
o’ a question. Ye’ll no tell me, lassie, that ye hae na flung stoor in
your father’s een, after the converse that we had thegither by oursels
the other day; therefore and accordingly, I requeesht to know, what’s
at the bottom o’ this black art and glamour that ye hae been guilty
o’?--whatna scamp or hempy is’t that the cutty has been gallanting wi’,
that she’s trying to cast the glaiks in a’ our een for?--Wha is’t?--I
insist to know--for ye’ll ne’er gar me believe that there’s no a
because for your jookery pawkrie.’

‘You said,’ replied Miss, half blushing, half laughing, ‘that you would
lend a helping hand to me with Walkinshaw Milrookit.’

‘Eh! Megsty me! I’m sparrow-blasted!’ exclaimed the Leddy, throwing
herself back in the chair, and lifting both her hands and eyes in
wonderment.--‘But thou, Beenie Walkinshaw, is a soople fairy; and so
a’ the time that thy father,--as blin’ as the silly blin’ bodie that
his wife gart believe her gallant’s horse was a milch cow sent frae
her minny,--was wising and wyling to bring about a matrimony, or, as I
should ca’t, a matter-o’-money conjugality wi’ your cousin Jamie, hae
ye been linking by the dyke-sides, out o’ sight, wi’ Walky Milrookit?
Weel, that beats print! Whatna novelle gied you that lesson, lassie?
Hech sirs! auld as I am, but I would like to read it. Howsever, Beenie,
as the ae oe’s as sib to me as the ither, I’ll be as gude as my word;
and when Dirdumwhamle and your aunty, wi’ your joe, are here the day,
we’ll just lay our heads thegither for a purpose o’ marriage, and let
your father play the Scotch measure or shantruse, wi’ the bellows and
the shank o’ the besom, to some warlock wallop o’ his auld papistical
and paternostering ancestors, that hae been--Gude preserve us!--for
aught I ken to the contrary, suppin’ brimstone broth wi’ the deil lang
afore the time o’ Adam and Eve. Methuselah himself, I verily believe,
could be naething less than half a cousin to the nine hundred and
ninety-ninth Walkinshaw o’ Kittlestonheugh. Howsever, Beenie, thou’s
a--thou’s a--I’ll no say what--ye little dooble cutty, to keep me in
the dark, when I could hae gi’en you and Walky sae muckle convenience
for courting. But, for a’ that, I’ll no be devoid o’ grace, but act the
part of a kind and affectionate grandmother, as it is well known I hae
ay been to a’ my bairns’ childer; only I never thought to hae had a
finger in the pye o’ a Clarissy Harlot wedding.’

‘But,’ said Robina, ‘what if my father should succeed in persuading
James still to fall in with his wishes? My situation will be dreadful.’

‘’Deed, an that come to a possibility, I ken na what’s to be done,’
replied the Leddy; ‘for ye know it will behove me to tak my ain son,
your father’s part; and as I was saying, Jamie Walkinshaw being as
dear to me as Walky Milrookit, I can do no less than help you to him,
which need be a matter of no diffeequalty, ’cause ye hae gart your
father trow that ye’re out o’ the body for Jamie; so, as I said before,
ye maun just conform.’

Miss looked aghast for a moment, and exclaimed, clasping her hands,
at finding the total contempt with which her grandmother seemed to
consider her affections,--

‘Heaven protect me! I am ruined and undone!’

‘Na, if that’s the gait o’t, Beenie, I hae nothing to say, but to help
to tak up the loupen-steek in your stocking wi’ as much brevity as is
consistent wi’ perspicuity, as the minister o’ Port Glasgow says.’

‘What do you mean? to what do you allude?’ cried the young lady
terrified.

‘Beenie Walkinshaw, I’ll be calm; I’ll no lose my composity. But it’s
no to seek what I could say, ye Jerusalem concubine, to bring sic a
crying sin into my family. O woman, woman! but ye’re a silly nymph, and
the black stool o’ repentance is oure gude for you!’

Robina was so shocked and thunderstruck at the old lady’s imputations
and kindling animadversions, that she actually gasped with horror.

‘But,’ continued her grandmother,--‘since it canna be helped noo, I
maun just tell your father, as well as I can, and get the minister when
we’re thegither in the afternoon, and declare an irregular marriage,
which is a calamity that never happened on my side of the house.’

Unable any longer to control her agitation, Robina started from her
seat, exclaiming, ‘Hear me, in mercy! spare such horrible--’

‘Spare!’ interrupted the Leddy, with the sharpest tone of her
indignation,--‘An’ ye were my dochter as ye’re but my grand-dochter,
I would spare you, ye Israelitish handmaid, and randy o’ Babylon.
But pride ne’er leaves its master without a fa’--your father’s weel
serv’t--he would tak nane o’ my advice in your education; but instead
o’ sending you to a Christian school, got down frae Manchester,
in England, a governess for miss, my leddy, wi’ gum-flowers on her
head, and paint on her cheeks, and speaking in sic high English, that
the Babel babble o’ Mull and Moydart was a perfection o’ sense when
compar’t wi’t.’

‘Good heavens! how have you fallen into this strange mistake?’ said
Robina, so much recovered, that she could scarcely refrain from
laughing.

‘Beenie, Beenie! ye may ca’t a mistake; but I say it’s a shame and a
sin. O sic a blot to come on the ’scutcheon of my old age; and wha will
tell your poor weakly mother, that, since the hour o’ your luckless
clecking, has ne’er had a day to do weel. Lang, lang has she been
sitting on the brink o’ the grave, and this sore stroke will surely
coup her in.’

‘How was it possible,’ at last exclaimed Robina, in full
self-possession, ‘that you could put such an indelicate construction on
anything that I have said?’

The Leddy had by this time melted into a flood of tears, and was
searching for her handkerchief to wipe her eyes; but, surprised at
the firmness with which she was addressed, she looked up as she leant
forward, with one hand still in her pocket, and the other grasping the
arm of the elbow chair in which she was seated.

‘Yes,’ continued Robina, ‘you have committed a great error; and though
I am mortified to think you could for a moment entertain so unworthy an
opinion of me, I can hardly keep from laughing at the mistake.’

But although the Leddy was undoubtedly highly pleased to learn that she
had distressed herself without reason, still, for the sake of her own
dignity, which she thought somehow compromised by what she had said,
she seemed as if she could have wished there had been a little truth in
the imputation; for she said,--

‘I’m blithe to hear you say sae, Beenie; but it was a very natural
delusion on my part, for ye ken in thir novelle and play-actoring times
nobody can tell what might happen. Howsever, I’m glad it’s no waur;
but ye maun alloo that it was a very suspectionable situation for you
to be discovered colleaguing wi’ Walky Milrookit in sic a clandestine
manner; and, therefore, I see that na better can be made o’t, but to
bring a purpose o’ marriage to pass between you, as I was saying,
without fashing your father about it till it’s by hand; when, after he
has got his ramping and stamping over, he’ll come to himsel, and mak us
a’ jocose.’

The conversation was continued with the same sort of consistency as far
as the old lady was concerned, till Mrs. Milrookit and Dirdumwhamle,
with their son, arrived.

Young Milrookit, as we have already intimated, was, in point of
personal figure, not much inferior to James; and though he certainly
was attached to his cousin, Robina, with unfeigned affection, he had
still so much of the leaven of his father in him, that her prospective
chance of succeeding to the estate of Kittlestonheugh had undoubtedly
some influence in heightening the glow of his passion.

A marriage with her was as early and as ardently the chief object of
his father’s ambition, as the union with his cousin Walkinshaw had
been with her’s; and the hope of seeing it consummated made the old
gentleman, instead of settling him in any town business, resolve to
make him a farmer, that he might one day be qualified to undertake the
management of the Kittlestonheugh estate. It is, therefore, unnecessary
to mention, that, when Robina and her lover had retired, on being
told by their grandmother they might ‘divert themselves in another
room’, Dirdumwhamle engaged, with the most sympathetic alacrity, in
the scheme, as he called it, to make the two affectionate young things
happy. But what passed will be better told in a new chapter.



CHAPTER LXXIV


‘Indeed, Leddy,’ said the Laird of Dirdumwhamle, when she told him of
the detection, as she called it, of Robina’s notion of his son--‘Blood
ye ken’s thicker than water; and I have na been without a thought mysel
that there was something by the common o’ cousinship atween them.
But hearing, as we often a’ have done, of the great instancy that my
gude-brother was in for a match tweesh her and James, I could na think
of making mysel an interloper. But if it’s ordaint that she prefers
Walky, I’m sure I can see nae harm in you and me giving the twa young
things a bit canny shove onward in the road to a blithesome bridal.’

‘I am thinking,’ rejoined his wife, ‘that, perhaps, it might be as
prudent and more friendly to wait the upshot o’ her father’s endeavours
wi’ James,--for even although he should be worked into a compliancy,
still there will be no marriage, and then Robina can avow her
partiality for Walky.’

‘Meg,’ replied the Leddy, ‘ye speak as one of the foolish women--ye
ken naething about it; your brother Geordie’s just his father’s ain
gett, and winna be put off frae his intents by a’ the powers of law and
government--let him ance get Jamie to conform, and he’ll soon thraw
Beenie into an obedience, and what will then become o’ your Walky?--Na,
na, Dirdumwhamle, heed her not, she lacketh understanding--it’s you
and me, Laird, that maun work the wherry in this breeze--ye’re a man
o’ experience in the ways o’ matrimony, having been, as we all know,
thrice married,--and I am an aged woman, that has na travelled the
world for sax-and-seventy years without hearing the toast o’ “Love
and opportunity”. Now, have na we the love ready-made to our hands in
the fond affection of Beenie and Walky?--and surely neither o’ us is
in such a beggary o’ capacity, that we’re no able to conceit a time
and place for an opportunity. Had it been, as I had at ae time this
very day, a kind of a because to jealouse, I’ll no say what--it was
my purpose to hae sent for a minister or a magistrate, and got an
unregular marriage declared outright--though it would hae gi’en us
a’ het hearts and red faces for liveries. Noo, Laird, ye’re a man o’
sagacity and judgement, dinna ye think, though we hae na just sic an
exploit to break our hearts wi’ shame and tribulation, that we might
ettle at something o’ the same sort?--and there can be no sin in’t,
Meg; for is’t no commanded in Scripture to increase and multiply? and
what we are wis’ing to bring about is a purpose o’ marriage, which is
the natural way o’ plenishing the earth, and raising an increase o’ the
children of men.’

Much and devoutly as the Laird of Dirdumwhamle wished for such a
consummation, he was not quite prepared for proceedings of so sudden
and hasty a character. And being a personage of some worldly prudence,
eagerly as he longed for the match, he was averse to expose himself to
any strictures for the part he might take in promoting it. Accordingly,
instead of acquiescing at once in his mother-in-law’s suggestion, he
said jocularly,

‘Hooly, hooly, Leddy; it may come vera weel off Walky and Robina’s
hands to make a private marriage for themselves, poor young things,
but it never will do for the like o’ you and me to mess or mell in the
matter, by ony open countenancing o’ a ceremony. It’s vera true that I
see nae objection to the match, and would think I did nae ill in the
way o’ a quiet conneevance to help them on in their courtship, but
things are no ripe for an affhand ploy.’

‘I’m glad to hear you say sae,’ interposed Mrs. Milrookit; ‘for really
my mother seems fey about this connection; and nae gude can come o’
ony thing sae rashly devised. My brother would, in my opinion, have
great cause to complain, were the gudeman to be art or part in ony such
conspiracy.’

The Leddy never liked to have her judgement called in question;
(indeed, what ladies do?) and still less by a person so much her
inferior in point of understanding (so she herself thought) as her
daughter.

‘My word, Meg,’ was her reply, ‘but t’ou has a stock o’ impudence,
to haud up thy snout in that gait to the she that bore thee.--Am I
one of these that hae, by reason of more strength, amaist attain’t
to the age of fourscore, without learning the right frae the wrang
o’ a’ moral conduct, as that delightful man, Dr. Pringle o’ Garnock,
said in his sermon on the Fast Day, when he preached in the Wynd
Kirk, that t’ou has the spirit o’ sedition, to tell me that I hae
lost my solid judgement, when I’m labouring in the vineyard o’ thy
family?--Dirdumwhamle, your wife there, she’s my dochter, and sorry
am I to say’t, but it’s well known, and I dinna misdoot ye hae found
it to your cost, that she is a most unreasonable, narrow, contracted
woman, and wi’ a’ her ’conomical throughgality--her direction-books to
mak grozette wine for deil-be-lickit, and her Katy Fisher’s cookery,
whereby she would gar us trow she can mak fat kail o’ chucky stanes and
an auld horse shoe--we a’ ken, and ye ken, Laird, warst o’ a’, that
she flings away the peas, and maks her hotch-potch wi’ the shawps,
or, as the auld bye-word says, tynes bottles gathering straes. So
what need the like o’ you and me sit in council, and the Shanedrims
of the people, wi’ ane o’ the stupidest bawkie birds that e’er the
Maker o’t took the trouble to put the breath o’ life in? Fey, did ye
say?--that’s a word o’ discretion to fling at the head o’ your aged
parent. Howsever, it’s no worth my condescendence to lose my temper wi’
the like o’ her. But, Meg Walkinshaw, or Mrs. Milrookit, though ye be
there afore your gudeman, the next time ye diminish my understanding,
I’ll may be let ye ken what it is to blaspheme your mother, so tak heed
lest ye fall. And now to wind up the thread o’ what we were discoursing
anent--It’s my opinion, Dirdumwhamle, we should put no molestation in
the way o’ that purpose o’ marriage. So, if ye dinna like to tell your
son to gang for a minister, I’ll do it mysel; and the sooner it’s by
hand and awa, as the sang sings, the sooner we’ll a’ be in a situation
to covenant and ’gree again wi’ Beenie’s father.’

The Laird was delighted to see the haste and heartiness with which the
Leddy was resolved to consummate the match; but he said,--

‘Do as ye like, Leddy--do as ye like; but I’ll no coom my fingers wi’
meddling in ony sic project. The wark be a’ your ain.’

‘Surely neither you nor that unreverent and misleart tumphy your wife,
our Meg, would refuse to be present at the occasion?’

‘’Deed, Leddy, I’m unco sweert; I’ll no deny that,’ replied
Dirdumwhamle.

‘If it is to take place this day, and in this house, gudeman, I’m sure
it will be ill put on blateness, both on your part and mine, no to be
present,’ said Mrs. Milrookit.

‘Noo, that’s a word o’ sense, Meg,’ cried her mother, exultingly;
‘that’s something like the sagacity o’ a Christian parent. Surely
it would be a most Pagan-like thing, for the father and mother o’
the bridegroom to be in the house, to ken o’ what was going on, and,
fidging fain, as ye baith are, for the comfort it’s to bring to us a’,
to sit in another room wi’ a cloud on your brows, and your hands in a
mournful posture. Awa, awa, Dirdumwhamle, wi’ the like o’ that; I hae
nae brow o’ sic worldly hypocrisy. But we hae nae time to lose, for
your gude-brother will soon be back frae Camrachle, and I would fain
hae a’ o’er before he comes. Hech, sirs! but it will be a sport if we
can get him to be present at the wedding-dinner, and he ken naething
about it. So I’ll just send the lass at ance for Dr. De’ilfear; for
it’s a great thing, ye ken, to get a bridal blessed wi’ the breath o’ a
sound orthodox; and I’ll gae ben and tell Beenie and Walky, that they
maun mak some sort o’ a preparation.’

‘But, when they are married, what’s to become o’ them?--where are
they to bide?--and what hae they to live upon?’--said Mrs. Milrookit,
anxiously.

‘Dinna ye fash your head, Meg,’ said her mother, ‘about ony sic
trivialities. They can stay wi’ me till after the reconciliation, when,
nae doot, her father will alloo a genteel aliment; so we need na vex
oursels about taking thought for to-morrow; sufficient for the day is
the evil thereof. But ye hae bonny gooses and a’ manner o’ poultry at
the Dirdumwhamle. So, as we’ll need something to keep the banes green,
ye may just send us a tasting; na, for that matter, we’ll no cast out
wi’ the like o’ a sooking grumphie; or, if ye were chancing to kill a
sheep, a side o’ mutton’s worth house-room; and butter and eggs,--I’m
no a novice, as the Renfrew Doctor said,--butter and eggs may dine a
provice, wi’ the help o’ bread for kitchen.’

In concluding this speech, the Leddy, who had, in the meantime, risen,
gave a joyous geck with her head, and swept triumphantly out of the
room.



CHAPTER LXXV


In the meantime, Kittlestonheugh, as, according to the Scottish
fashion, we should denominate Squire Walkinshaw, had proceeded to
Camrachle, where he arrived at his sister-in-law’s door just as Mrs.
Eadie was taking her leave, with the intention of writing to her
relation Mr. Frazer in behalf of James. As the carriage drove up, Mrs.
Charles, on seeing it approach, begged her to stop; but, upon second
thoughts, it was considered better that she should not remain, and also
that she should defer her letter to Glengael until after the interview.
She was accordingly at the door when the Laird alighted, who, being but
slightly acquainted with her, only bowed, and was passing on without
speaking into the house, when she arrested him by one of her keen and
supreme looks, of which few could withstand the searching brightness.

‘Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said she, after eyeing him inquisitively for two or
three seconds, ‘before you go to Mrs. Charles, I would speak with you.’

It would not be easy to explain the reason which induced Mrs. Eadie so
suddenly to determine on interfering, especially after what had just
passed; but still, as she did so, we are bound, without investigating
her motives too curiously, to relate the sequel.

Mr. Walkinshaw bowed, thereby intimating his acquiescence; and she
walked on towards the manse with slow steps and a majestic attitude,
followed by the visitor in silence. But she had not advanced above four
or five paces, when she turned round, and touching him emphatically on
the arm, said,--

‘Let us not disturb the minister, but go into the churchyard; we can
converse there--the dead are fit witnesses to what I have to say.’

Notwithstanding all his worldliness, there was something so striking
in her august air, the impressive melancholy of her countenance, and
the solemn Siddonian grandeur of her voice, that Kittlestonheugh was
awed, and could only at the moment again intimate his acquiescence by
a profound bow. She then proceeded with her wonted dignity towards the
churchyard, and entering the stile which opened into it, she walked on
to the south side of the church. The sun by this time had exhaled away
the morning mists, and was shining brightly on the venerable edifice,
and on the humble tombs and frail memorials erected nigh.

‘Here,’ said she, stopping when they had reached the small turfless
space which the feet of the rustic Sabbath pilgrims had trodden bare in
front of the southern door,--‘Here let us stop--the sun shines warmly
here, and the church will shelter us from the cold north-east wind. Mr.
Walkinshaw, I am glad that we have met, before you entered yon unhappy
house. The inmates are not in circumstances to contend with adversity:
your sister loves her children too well not to wish that her son may
obtain the great advantages which your proposal to him holds out; and
he has too kind and generous a heart, not to go far, and willingly to
sacrifice much on her account. You have it therefore in your power to
make a family, which has hitherto known little else but misfortune,
miserable or happy.’

‘It cannot, I hope, madam,’ was his reply, ‘be thought of me, that I
should not desire greatly to make them happy.--Since you are acquainted
with what has taken place, you will do me the justice to admit, that
I could do nothing more expressive of the regard I entertain for my
nephew, and of the esteem in which I hold his mother, than by offering
him my only child in marriage, and with such a dowry, too, as no one in
his situation could almost presume to expect.’

Mrs. Eadie did not make any immediate answer, but again fixed her
bright and penetrating eye for a few seconds so intensely on his
countenance, that he turned aside from its irresistible ray.

‘What you say, sir, sounds well; but if, in seeking to confer that
benefit, you mar for ever the happiness you wish to make, and know
before that such must be the consequence, some other reason than either
regard for your nephew, or esteem for his mother, must be the actuating
spring that urges you to persevere.’

Firm of purpose, and fortified in resolution, as Kittlestonheugh was,
something both in the tone and the substance of this speech made him
thrill from head to foot.

‘What other motive than my affection can I have?’ said he.

‘Interest,’ replied Mrs. Eadie, with a look that withered him to the
heart,--‘Interest; nothing else ever made a man force those to be
unhappy whom he professed to love.’

‘I am sorry, madam, that you think so ill of me,’ was his reply,
expressed coldly and haughtily.

‘I did not wish you to come here, that we should enter into any debate;
but only to entreat that you will not press your wish for the marriage
too urgently; because, out of the love and reverence which your nephew
has for his mother, I fear he may be worked on to comply.’

‘Fear! Madam--I cannot understand your meaning.’

The glance that Mrs. Eadie darted at these words convinced him it was
in vain to equivocate with her.

‘Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said she, after another long pause, and a keen and
suspicious scrutiny of his face--‘it has always been reported, that
some of my mother’s family possessed the gift of a discerning spirit.
This morning, when I saw you alight from your carriage, I felt as if
the mantle of my ancestors had fallen upon me. It is a hallowed and
oracular inheritance; and, under its mysterious inspirations, I dare
not disguise what I feel.--You have come to-day----’

‘Really, madam,’ interrupted the merchant testily, ‘I come for
some better purpose than to listen to Highland stories about the
second-sight. I must wish you good morning.’

In saying this, he turned round, and was moving to go away, when the
lady, throwing back her shawl, magnificently raised her hand, and took
hold of him by the arm--

‘Stop, Mr. Walkinshaw, this is a place of truth--There is no deceit
in death and the grave--Life and the living may impose upon us; but
here, where we stand, among the sincere--the dead--I tell you, and
your heart, sir, knows that what I tell you is true, there is no
affection--no love for your nephew--nor respect for his mother, in the
undivulged motives of that seeming kindness with which you are, shall I
say plainly, seeking their ruin?’

The impassioned gestures and the suppressed energy with which this was
said, gave an awful and mysterious effect to expressions that were in
themselves simple, in so much that the astonished man of the world
regarded her, for some time, with a mingled sentiment of wonder and
awe. At last he said, with a sneer,--

‘Upon my word, Mrs. Eadie, the minister himself could hardly preach
with more eloquence. It is a long time since I have been so lectured;
and I should like to know by what authority I am so brought to book?’

The sarcastic tone in which this was said provoked the pride and
Highland blood of the lady, who, stepping back, and raising her right
arm with a towering grandeur, shook it over him as she said,--

‘I have no more to say;--the fate of the blood of Glengael is twined
and twisted with the destiny of Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw’s family; but
at your dying hour you will remember what I have said, and, trembling,
think of this place--of these tombs, these doors that lead into the
judgement-chamber of Heaven, and of yon sun, that is the eye of the
Almighty’s chief sentinel over man.’

She then dropped her hand, and, walking slowly past him, went straight
towards the manse, the door of which she had almost reached before
he recovered himself from the amazement and apprehension with which
he followed her with his eye. His feelings, however, he soon so
far mastered in outward appearance, that he even assumed an air of
ineffable contempt; but, nevertheless, an impression had been so
stamped by her mystery and menace, that, in returning towards the
dwelling of Mrs. Charles, he gradually fell into a moody state of
thoughtfulness and abstraction.



CHAPTER LXXVI


Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw had been a good deal surprised by the abrupt
manner in which Mrs. Eadie had intercepted her brother-in-law. Her
son, not a little pleased of an opportunity to avoid his uncle, no
sooner saw them pass the window than he made his escape from the house.
Observing that they did not go to the manse, but turned off towards
the churchyard, he hastened to take refuge with his old preceptor, the
minister, possibly to see Ellen Frazer. The relation, however, of what
passed in the manse does not fall within the scope of our narrative,
particularly as it will be easily comprehended and understood by its
effects. We have, therefore, only at present to mention, that Mrs.
Charles, in the meantime, sat in wonder and expectation, observing
to her daughter, a mild and unobtrusive girl, who seldom spoke many
sentences at a time, that she thought of late Mrs. Eadie seemed
unusually attentive to her Highland superstitions. ‘She has been, I
think, not so well of late,--her nerves are evidently in a high state
of excitement. It is much to be regretted that she is so indisposed at
this time, when we stand so much in need of her advice.’

Mary replied that she had noticed with sorrow a very great change
indeed in their friend,--and she added,--

‘Ellen says that she often walks out at night to the churchyard, and
sits moaning over the graves of her children. It is strange after they
have been so long dead, that her grief should have so unexpectedly
broken out afresh. The minister, I am sure, is very uneasy--for I have
noticed that he looks paler than he used to do, and with a degree of
sadness that is really very affecting.’

While they were thus speaking Mr. Walkinshaw came in, and the first
words he said, before taking a seat, were,--

‘Is the minister’s wife in her right mind? She seems to me a little
touched. I could with difficulty preserve my gravity at her fantastical
nonsense.’

Mrs. Charles, out of respect for her friend, did not choose to make any
reply to this observation, so that her brother-in-law found himself
obliged to revert to the business which had brought him to Camrachle.

‘I thought James was here,’ said he; ‘what has become of him?’

‘He has just stepped out.--I suspect he was not exactly prepared to
meet you.’

‘He is hot and hasty,’ rejoined the uncle; ‘we had rather an unpleasant
conversation last night. I hope, since he has had time to reflect on
what I said, he sees things differently.’

‘I am grieved,’ replied Mrs. Charles with a sigh, ‘that anything should
have arisen to mar the prospects that your kindness had opened to him.
But young men will be headstrong; their feelings often run away with
their judgement.’

‘But,’ said Kittlestonheugh, ‘I can forgive him. I never looked for any
conduct in him different from that of others of his own age. Folly is
the superfluous blossoms of youth: they drop off as the fruit forms. I
hope he is not resolute in adhering to his declaration about leaving
Glasgow.’

‘He seems at present quite resolved,’ replied his mother, with a deep
and slow sigh, which told how heavily that determination lay upon her
heart.

‘Perhaps, then,’ said his uncle, ‘it may just be as well to leave him
to himself for a few days; and I had better say nothing more to him on
the subject.’

‘I think,’ replied Mrs. Charles, timidly, as if afraid that she might
offend,--‘it is needless at present to speak to him about Robina:
he must have time to reflect.’--She would have added, ‘on the great
advantages of the match to him;’ but knowing, as she did, the decided
sentiments of her son, she paused in the unfinished sentence, and felt
vexed with herself for having said so much.

‘But,’ inquired her brother-in-law, in some degree solaced by the
manner in which she had expressed herself--‘But, surely, the boy will
not be so ridiculous as to absent himself from the counting-house?’

‘He speaks of going abroad,’ was the soft and diffident answer.

‘Impossible! he has not the means.’

She then told him what he had been considering with respect to his
father’s old acquaintance, who had the vessel going to America.

‘In that case,’ said his uncle, with an off-hand freedom that seemed
much like generosity,--‘I must undertake the expense of his outfit. He
will be none the worse of seeing a little of the world; and he will
return to us in the course of a year or two a wiser and a better man.’

‘Your kindness, sir, is truly extraordinary, and I shall be most happy
if he can be persuaded to avail himself of it; but his mind lies
towards the army, and, if he could get a cadetcy to India, I am sure he
would prefer it above all things.’

‘A cadetcy to India!’ exclaimed the astonished uncle.--‘By what chance
or interest could he hope for such an appointment?’

‘Mrs. Eadie’s cousin, who bought back her father’s estate, she says,
has some Parliamentary interest, and she intends to write him to beg
his good offices for James.’

Kittlestonheugh was thunderstruck:--this was a turn in the affair that
he had never once imagined within the scope and range of possibility.
‘Do you think,’ said he, ‘that he had any view to this in his
ungrateful insolence to me last night? If I thought so, every desire I
had to serve him should be henceforth suppressed and extinguished.’

At this crisis the door was opened, and Mr. Eadie, the minister,
came in, by which occurrence the conversation was interrupted, and
the vehemence of Mr. Walkinshaw was allowed to subside during the
interchange of the common reciprocities of the morning.

‘I am much grieved, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said the worthy clergyman, after a
short pause, ‘to hear of this unfortunate difference with your nephew.
I hope the young man will soon come to a more considerate way of
thinking.’

Mr. Walkinshaw thought Mr. Eadie a most sensible man, and could not
but express his confidence, that, when the boy came to see how much
all his best friends condemned his conduct, and were so solicitous for
his compliance, he would repent his precipitation. ‘We must, however,’
said he, ‘give him time. His mother tells me that he has resolved to
go to America. I shall do all in my power to assist his views in that
direction, not doubting in the end to reap the happiest effects.’

‘But before taking any step in that scheme,’ said the minister, ‘he
has resolved to wait the issue of a letter which I have left my wife
writing to her relation--for he would prefer a military life to any
other.’

‘From all that I can understand,’ replied the uncle, ‘Mr. Frazer, your
friend, will not be slack in using his interests to get him to India;
for he cannot but be aware of the penniless condition of my nephew, and
must be glad to get him out of his daughter’s way.’

There was something in this that grated the heart of the mother, and
jarred on the feelings of the minister.

‘No,’ said the latter; ‘on the contrary, the affection which Glengael
bears to his daughter would act with him as a motive to lessen any
obstacles that might oppose her happiness. Were Mrs. Eadie to say--but,
for many reasons, she will not yet--that she believes her young friend
is attached to Ellen, I am sure Mr. Frazer would exert himself, in
every possible way, to advance his fortune.’

‘In that he would but do as I am doing,’ replied the merchant with a
smile of self-gratulation; and he added briskly, addressing himself to
his sister-in-law, ‘Will James accept favours from a stranger, with a
view to promote a union with that stranger’s daughter, and yet scorn
the kindness of his uncle?’

The distressed mother had an answer ready; but long dependence on her
cool and wary brother-in-law, together with her natural gentleness,
made her bury it in her heart. The minister, however, who owed him no
similar obligations, and was of a more courageous nature, did more than
supply what she would have said.

‘The cases, Mr. Walkinshaw, are not similar. The affection between your
nephew and Ellen is mutual; but your favour is to get him to agree to a
union at which his heart revolts.’

‘Revolts! you use strong language unnecessarily,’ was the indignant
retort.

‘I beg your pardon, Mr. Walkinshaw,’ said the worthy presbyter,
disturbed at the thought of being so unceremonious; ‘I am much
interested in your nephew--I feel greatly for his present unhappy
situation. I need not remind you that he has been to me, and with me,
as my own son; and therefore you ought not to be surprised that I
should take his part, particularly as, in so doing, I but defend the
generous principles of a very noble youth.’

‘Well, well,’ exclaimed the Laird peevishly, ‘I need not at present
trouble myself any further--I am as willing as ever to befriend him as
I ought; but, from the humour he is in, it would serve no good purpose
for me at present to interfere. I shall therefore return to Glasgow;
and, when Mrs. Eadie receives her answer, his mother will have the
goodness to let me know.’

With these words he hastily bade his sister-in-law good morning, and
hurried into his carriage.

‘His conduct is very extraordinary,’ said the minister as he drove
off. ‘There is something more than the mere regard and anxiety of an
uncle in all this, especially when he knows that the proposed match
is so obnoxious to his daughter. I cannot understand it; but come,
Mrs. Walkinshaw, let us go over to the manse--James is to dine with
me to-day, and we shall be the better of all being together; for Mrs.
Eadie seems much out of spirits, and her health of late has not been
good. Go, Mary, get your bonnet too, and come with us.’

So ended the pursuit to Camrachle; and we shall now beg the courteous
reader to return with us to Glasgow, where we left the Leddy in high
spirits, in the act of sending for the Reverend Dr. De’ilfear to marry
her grandchildren.



CHAPTER LXXVII


Long before Kittlestonheugh returned to Glasgow, the indissoluble knot
was tied between his daughter and her cousin, Walkinshaw Milrookit. The
Laird of Dirdumwhamle was secretly enjoying this happy consummation
of a scheme which he considered as securing to his son the probable
reversion of an affluent fortune, and a flourishing estate. Occasional
flakes of fear floated, however, in the sunshine of his bosom, and
fell cold for a moment on his heart. His wife was less satisfied. She
knew the ardour with which her brother had pursued another object; she
respected the consideration that was due to him as a parent in the
disposal of his daughter; and she justly dreaded his indignation and
reproaches. She was, therefore, anxious that Mr. Milrookit should
return with her to the country before he came back from Camrachle. But
her mother, the Leddy, was in high glee, and triumphant at having so
cleverly, as she thought, accomplished a most meritorious stratagem,
she would not for a moment listen to the idea of their going away
before dinner.

‘Na; ye’ll just bide where ye are,’ said she. ‘It will be an unco-like
thing no to partake o’ the marriage feast, though ye hae come without
a wedding garment, after I hae been at the cost and outlay o’ a jigot
o’ mutton, a fine young poney cock, and a Florentine pie; dainties
that the like o’ hae na been in my house since Geordie, wi’ his quirks
o’ law, wheedled me to connive wi’ him to deprive uncle Watty o’ his
seven lawful senses, forbye the property. But I trow I hae now gotten
the blin’ side o’ him at last: he’ll no daur to say a word to me about
a huggery-muggery matrimonial, take my word for’t; for he kens the
black craw I hae to pluck wi’ him anent the prank he played me in
the deevelry o’ the concos mentos, whilk ought in course o’ justice
to have entitled me to a full half of the income o’ the lands; and a
blithe thing, Dirdumwhamle, that would hae been to you and your wife,
could we hae wrought it into a come-to-pass; for sure am I, that, in
my experience and throughgality, I would na hae tied my talent in a
napkin, nor hid it in a stroopless tea-pot, in the corner o’ the press,
but laid it out to usury wi’ Robin Carrick. Howsever, maybe, for a’
that, Meg, when I’m dead and gone, ye’ll find, in the bonny pocket-book
ye sewed lang syne at the boarding-school for your father, a testimony
o’ the advantage it was to hae had a mother. But, Sirs, a wedding-day
is no a time for molloncholious moralizing; so I’ll mak a skip and
a passover o’ a matter and things pertaining to sic Death, and the
Leddy’s confabbles as legacies, and kittle up your notions wi’ a wee
bit spree and sprose o’ jocosity, afore the old man comes; for so, in
course o’ nature, it behoves us to ca’ the bride’s father, as he’s now,
by the benison o’ Dr. De’ilfear, on the lawfu’ toll-road to become, in
due season, an ancestor. Nae doubt, he would hae liked better had it
been to one of his ain Walkinshaws o’ Kittlestonheugh; but, when folk
canna get the gouden goun, they should be thankful when they get the
sleeve.’

While the Leddy was thus holding forth to the Laird and his wife, the
carriage with George stopped at the door. Dirdumwhamle, notwithstanding
all his inward pleasure, changed colour. Mrs. Milrookit fled to another
room, to which the happy pair had retired after the ceremony, that
they might not be visible to any accidental visitors; and even the
Leddy was for a time smitten with consternation. She, however, was the
first who recovered her self-possession; and, before Mr. Walkinshaw was
announced, she was seated in her accustomed elbow chair with a volume
of Mathew Henry’s _Commentary_ on her lap, and her spectacles on her
nose, as if she had been piously reading. Dirdumwhamle sat opposite
to her, and was apparently in a profound sleep, from which he was not
roused until some time after the entrance of his brother-in-law.

‘So, Geordie,’ said the Leddy, taking off her spectacles, and shutting
the book, as her son entered; ‘what’s come o’ Jamie?--hae ye no brought
the Douglas-tragedy-like mountebank back wi’ you?’

‘Let him go to the devil,’ was the answer.

‘That’s an ill wis, Geordie.--And so ye hae been a gouk’s errant? But
how are they a’ at Camrachle?’ replied the Leddy; ‘and, to be sober,
what’s the callan gaun to do? And what did he say for himsel, the
kick-at-the-benweed foal that he is? If his mother had laid on the taws
better, he would nae hae been sae skeigh. But, sit down, Geordie, and
tell me a’ about it.--First and foremost, howsever, gie that sleepy
bodie, Dirdumwhamle, a shoogle out o’ his dreams. What’s set the man a
snoring like the bars o’ Ayr, at this time o’ day, I won’er?’

But Dirdumwhamle did not require to be so shaken; for, at this
juncture, he began to yawn and stretch his arms, till, suddenly seeing
his brother-in-law, he started wide awake.

‘I am really sorry to say, mother,’ resumed Kittlestonheugh, ‘that my
jaunt to Camrachle has been of no avail. The minister’s wife, who, by
the way, is certainly not in her right mind, has already written to her
relation, Glengael, to beg his interest to procure a cadetship to India
for James; and, until she receives an answer, I will let the fellow tak
his own way.’

‘Vera right, Geordie, vera right; ye could na act a more prudential and
Solomon-like part,’ replied his mother. ‘But, since he will to Cupar,
let him gang, and a’ sorrow till him; and just compose your mind to
approve o’ Beenie’s marriage wi’ Walky, who is a lad of a methodical
nature, and no a hurly-burly ramstam, like yon flea-luggit thing,
Jamie.’

Dirdumwhamle would fain have said amen, but it stuck in his throat. Nor
had he any inducement to make any effort further by the decisive manner
in which his brother-in-law declared, that he would almost as soon
carry his daughter’s head to the churchyard as see that match.

‘Weel, weel; but I dare say, Geordie, ye need na mair waste your bir
about it,’ exclaimed the Leddy; ‘for, frae something I hae heard
the lad himsel say, this very day, it’s no a marriage that ever noo
is likely to happen in this warld;’ and she winked significantly to
the bridegroom’s father.--‘But, Geordie,’ she continued, ‘there is a
because that I would like to understand. How is’t that ye’re sae doure
against Walky Milrookit? I’m sure he’s a very personable lad--come o’ a
gude family--sib to us a’; and, failing you and yours, heir o’ entail
to the Kittlestonheugh. Howsever, no to fash you wi’ the like o’ that,
as I see ye’re kindling, I would, just by way o’ diversion, be blithe
to learn how it would gang wi’ you, if Beenie, after a’ this straemash,
was to loup the window under cloud o’ night wi’ some gaberlunzie o’
a crookit and blin’ soldier-officer, or, wha kens, maybe a drunken
drammatical divor frae the play-house, wi’ ill-colour’t darnt silk
stockings; his coat out at the elbows, and his hat on ajee? How would
you like that, Geordie?--Sic misfortunes are no uncos noo-a-days.’

Her son, notwithstanding the chagrin he suffered, was obliged to smile,
saying, ‘I have really a better opinion, both of Beenie’s taste and her
sense, than to suppose any such adventure possible.’

‘So hae I,’ replied the Leddy. ‘But ye ken, if her character were to
get sic a claut by a fox paw, ye would be obligated to tak her hame,
and mak a genteel settlement befitting your only dochter.’

‘I think,’ said George, ‘in such a case as you suppose, a genteel
settlement would be a little more than could in reason be expected.’

‘So think I, Geordie--I am sure I would ne’er counsel you into ony
conformity; but, though we hae nae dread nor fear o’ soldier-officers
or drammaticals, it’s o’ the nature o’ a possibility that she will draw
up wi’ some young lad o’ very creditable connexions and conduct; but
wha, for some thraw o’ your ain, ye would na let her marry.--What would
ye do then, Geordie? Ye would hae to settle, or ye would be a most
horridable parent.’

‘My father, for so doing, disinherited Charles,’ said George gravely,
and the words froze the very spirit of Dirdumwhamle.

‘That’s vera true, Geordie,’ resumed the Leddy; ‘a bitter business it
was to us a’, and was the because o’ your worthy father’s sore latter
end. But ye ken the property’s entail’t; and, when it pleases the Maker
to take you to Himsel, by consequence Beenie will get the estate.’

‘That’s not so certain,’ replied George, jocularly looking at
Dirdumwhamle;--‘my wife has of late been more infirm than usual, and
were I to marry again, and had male heirs--’

‘Hoot, wi’ your male heirs, and your snuffies; I hate the very name
o’ sic things--they hae been the pests o’ my life.--It would hae
been a better world without them,’ exclaimed the Leddy, and then she
added--‘But we need na cast out about sic unborn babes o’ Chevy
Chase. Beenie’s a decent lassie, and will, nae doubt, make a prudent
conjugality; so a’ I hae for the present is to say that I expek ye’ll
tak your dinner wi’ us. Indeed, considering what has happened, it would
na be pleasant to you to be seen on the plane-stanes the day,--for
I’m really sorry to see, Geordie, that ye’re no just in your right
jocularity. Howsever, as we’re to hae a bit ploy, I request and hope
ye’ll bide wi’ us, and help to carve the bubbly-jock, whilk is a beast,
as I hae heard your father often say, that requir’t the skill o’ a
doctor, the strength o’ a butcher, and the practical hand o’ a Glasgow
Magistrate to diject.’

Nothing more particular passed before dinner, the hour of which was
drawing near; but a wedding-feast is, at any time, worthy of a chapter.



CHAPTER LXXVIII


The conversation which the Leddy, to do her justice, had, considering
her peculiar humour and character, so adroitly managed with the
bride’s father, did not tend to produce the happiest feelings among
the conscious wedding-guests. Both the Laird of Dirdumwhamle and his
wife were uneasy, and out of countenance, and the happy pair were
as miserable as ever a couple of clandestine lovers, in the full
possession of all their wishes, could possibly be. But their reverend
grandmother, neither daunted nor dismayed, was in the full enjoyment
of a triumph, and, eager in the anticipation of accomplishing, by her
dexterous address, the felicitous work which, in her own opinion, she
had so well begun. Accordingly, dinner was served, with an air of glee
and pride, so marked, that Kittlestonheugh was struck with it, but said
nothing; and, during the whole of the dijection of the dinner, as his
mother persisted in calling the carving, he felt himself frequently on
the point of inquiring what had put her into such uncommon good humour.
But she did not deem the time yet come for a disclosure, and went on
in the most jocund spirits possible, praising the dishes, and cajoling
her guests to partake.

‘It’s extraordinar to me, Beenie,’ said she to the bride, ‘to lo and
behold you sitting as mim as a May puddock, when you see us a’ here
met for a blithesome occasion--and, Walky, what’s come o’er thee,
that thou’s no a bit mair brisk than the statute o’ marble-stane,
that I ance saw in that sink o’ deceitfulness, the Parliament House
o’ Embrough? As for our Meg, thy mother, she was ay one of your
Moll-on-the-coals, a sigher o’ sadness, and I’m none surprised to
see her in the hypocondoricals; but for Dirdumwhamle, your respectit
father, a man o’ property, family, and connexions--the three cardinal
points o’ gentileety--to be as one in doleful dumps, is sic a doolie
doomster, that uncle Geordie, there whar he sits, like a sow playing
on a trump, is a perfect beautiful Absalom in a sense o’ comparison.
Howsever, no to let us just fa’ knickitty-knock, frae side to
side, till our harns are splattered at the bottom o’ the well o’
despair--I’ll gie you a toast, a thing which, but at an occasion, I
ne’er think o’ minting, and this toast ye maun a’ mak a lippy--Geordie,
my son and bairn, ye ken as weel as I ken, what a happy matrimonial
your sister has had wi’ Dirdumwhamle--and, Dirdumwhamle, I need na
say to you, ye hae found her a winsome helpmate; and surely, Meg, Mr.
Milrookit has been to you a most cordial husband. Noo, what I would
propose for a propine, Geordie, is, Health and happiness to Mr. and
Mrs. Milrookit, and may they long enjoy many happy returns o’ this day.’

The toast was drank with great glee; but, without entering into any
particular exposition of the respective feelings of the party, we shall
just simply notice, as we proceed, that the Leddy gave a significant
nod and a wink both to the bride and bridegroom, while the bride’s
father was seized with a most immoderate fit of laughing at, what he
supposed, the ludicrous eccentricity of his mother.

‘Noo, Geordie, my man,’ continued the Leddy, ‘seeing ye’re in sic
a state o’ mirth and jocundity, and knowing, as we a’ know, that
life is but a weaver’s shuttle, and Time a wabster, that works for
Death, Eternity, and Co., great wholesale merchants; but for a’ that,
I am creditably informed they’ll be obligated, some day, to mak a
sequester--Howsever, that’s nane o’ our concern just now,--but,
Geordie, as I was saying, I would fain tell you o’ an exploit.’

‘I am sure,’ said he laughing, ‘you never appeared to me so capable to
tell it well,--what is it?’

The Leddy did not immediately reply, but looking significantly round
the table, she made a short pause, and then said,--

‘Do you know that ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit,
the life o’ man has been growing shorter and shorter? To me--noo
sax-and-seventy year auld--the monthly moon’s but as a glaik on the
wall--the spring but as a butterflee that taks the wings o’ the
morning--and a’ the summer only as the tinkling o’ a cymbal--as for
hairst and winter, they’re the shadows o’ death; the whilk is an
admonishment, that I should not be overly gair anent the world, but mak
mysel and others happy, by taking the san’tified use o’ what I hae--so,
Geordie and sirs, ye’ll fill another glass.’

Another glass was filled, and the Leddy resumed, all her guests,
save her son, sitting with the solemn aspects of expectation. The
countenance of Kittlestonheugh alone was bright with admiration at the
extraordinary spirits and garrulity of his mother.

‘Noo, Geordie,’ she resumed, ‘as life is but a vapour, a puff out
o’ the stroop o’ the tea-kettle o’ Time--let us a’ consent to mak
one another happy--and there being nae likelihood that ever Jamie
Walkinshaw will colleague wi’ Beenie, your dochter, I would fain hope
ye’ll gie her and Walky there baith your benison and an aliment to mak
them happy.’

George pushed back his chair, and looked as fiercely and as proudly as
any angry and indignant gentleman could well do; but he said nothing.

‘Na,’ said the Leddy, ‘if that’s the gait o’t, ye shall hae’t as ye
will hae’t.--It’s no in your power to mak them unhappy.’

‘Mother, what do you mean?’ was his exclamation.

‘Just that I hae a because for what I mean; but, unless ye compose
yoursel, I’ll no tell you the night--and, in trouth, for that matter,
if ye dinna behave wi’ mair reverence to your aged parent, and no bring
my grey hairs wi’ sorrow to the grave, I’ll no tell you at a’.’

‘This is inexplicable,’ cried her son. ‘In the name of goodness, to
what do you allude?--of what do you complain?’

‘Muckle, muckle hae I to complain o’,’ was the pathetic reply. ‘If
your worthy father had been to the fore, ye would na daur’t to hae
spoken wi’ sic unreverence to me. But what hae I to expek in this world
noo?--when the Laird lights the Leddy, so does a’ the kitchen boys; and
your behaviour, Geordie, is an unco warrandice to every one to lift the
hoof against me in my auld days.’

‘Good Heavens!’ cried he, ‘what have I done?’

‘What hae ye no done?’ exclaimed his mother.--‘Was na my heart set on
a match atween Beenie and Walky there--my ain grandchilder, and weel
worthy o’ ane anither; and hae na ye sworn, for aught I ken, a triple
vow that ye would ne’er gie your consent?’

‘And if I have done so--she is my daughter, and I have my own reasons
for doing what I have done,’ was his very dignified reply.

‘Reasons here, or reasons there,’ said his mother, ‘I hae gude reason
to know that it’s no in your power to prevent it.--Noo, Beenie,
and noo, Walky, down on your knees baith o’ you, and mak a novelle
confession that ye were married the day; and beg your father’s pardon,
who has been so jocose at your wedding feast that for shame he canna
refuse to conciliate, and mak a handsome aliment down on the nail.’

The youthful pair did as they were desired--George looked at them for
about a minute, and was unable to speak. He then threw a wild and
resentful glance round the table, and started from his seat.

‘Never mind him,’ said the Leddy, with the most perfect equanimity;
‘rise, my bairns, and tak your chairs--he’ll soon come to himsel.’

‘He’ll never come to himself--he is distracted--he is ruined--his life
is blasted, and his fortune destroyed,’ were the first words that burst
from the astonished father; and he subjoined impatiently, ‘This cannot
be true--it is impossible!--Do you trifle with me, mother?--Robina, can
you have done this?’

‘’Deed, Geordie, I doubt it’s o’er true,’ replied his mother; ‘and it
cannot be helped noo.’

‘But it may be punished!’ was his furious exclamation.--‘I will never
speak to one of you again! To defraud me of my dearest purpose--to
deceive my hopes--Oh you have made me miserable!’

‘Ye’ll be muckle the better o’ your glass o’ wine, Geordie--tak it, and
compose yoursel like a decent and sedate forethinking man, as ye hae
been ay reputed.’

He seized the glass, and dashed it into a thousand shivers on the
table. All by this time had risen but the Leddy--she alone kept her
seat and her coolness.

‘The man’s gaen by himsel,’ said she with the most matronly
tranquillity.--‘He has scartit and dintit my gude mahogany table past
a’ the power o’ bees-wax and elbow grease to smooth. But, sirs, sit
down--I expekit far waur than a’ this--I did na hope for ony thing
like sic composity and discretion. Really, Geordie, it’s heart salve
to my sorrows to see that ye’re a man o’ a Christian meekness and
resignation.’

The look with which he answered this was, however, so dark, so
troubled, and so lowering, that it struck terror and alarm even into
his mother’s bosom, and instantly silenced her vain and vexatious
attempt to ridicule the tempest of his feelings.--She threw herself
back in her chair, at once overawed and alarmed; and he suddenly turned
round and left the house.



CHAPTER LXXIX


The shock which the delicate frame of Mrs. Walkinshaw of
Kittlestonheugh received on hearing of her daughter’s precipitate
marriage, and the distress which it seemed to give her husband, acted
as a stimulus to the malady which had so long undermined her health,
and the same night she was suddenly seized with alarming symptoms.
Next day the disease evidently made such rapid progress, that even the
Doctors ventured to express their apprehensions of a speedy and fatal
issue.

In the meantime, the Leddy was doing all in her power to keep up the
spirits of the young couple, by the reiterated declaration, that, as
soon as her son ‘had come to himsel’’, as she said, ‘he would come down
with a most genteel settlement;’ but day after day passed, and there
was no indication of any relenting on his part; and Robina, as we still
must continue to call her, was not only depressed with the thought of
her rashness, but grieved for the effect it had produced on her mother.

None of the party, however, suffered more than the Laird of
Dirdumwhamle. He heard of the acceleration with which the indisposition
of Mrs. Walkinshaw was proceeding to a crisis, and, knowing the
sentiments of his brother-in-law with respect to male heirs, he could
not disguise to himself the hazard that he ran of seeing his son cut
out from the succession to the Kittlestonheugh estate; and the pang of
this thought was sharpened and barbed by the reflection, that he had
himself contributed and administered to an event which, but for the
marriage, would probably have been procrastinated for years, during
which it was impossible to say what might have happened.

At Camrachle, the news of the marriage diffused unmingled satisfaction.
Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw saw in it the happy escape of her son from
a connexion that might have embittered his life; and cherished the
hope that her brother-in-law would still continue his friendship and
kindness.

Walkinshaw himself was still more delighted with the event than his
mother. He laughed at the dexterity with which his grandmother had
brought it about; and, exulting in the feeling of liberty which it
gave to himself, he exclaimed, ‘We shall now see whether, indeed, my
uncle was actuated towards me by the affection he professed, or by some
motive of which the springs are not yet discovered.’

The minister, who was present at this sally, said little; but he
agreed with his young friend, that the event would soon put his
uncle’s affections to the test. ‘I cannot explain to myself,’ was his
only observation, ‘why we should all so unaccountably distrust the
professions of your uncle, and suppose, with so little reason, in truth
against the evidence of facts, that he is not actuated by the purest
and kindest motives.’

‘That very suspicion,’ said Mrs. Eadie mysteriously, ‘is to me a
sufficient proof that he is not so sincere in his professions as he
gets the credit of being. But I know not how it is, that, in this
marriage, and in the sudden illness of his wife, I perceive the tokens
of great good to our friends.’

‘In the marriage,’ replied the minister, ‘I certainly do see something
which gives me reason to rejoice; but I confess that the illness
of Mrs. Walkinshaw does not appear to me to bode any good. On the
contrary, I have no doubt, were she dying, that her husband will not be
long without a young wife.’

‘Did not I tell you,’ said Mrs. Eadie, turning to Mrs. Charles, ‘that
there would be a death before the good to come by Glengael, to you or
yours, would be gathered? Mrs. Walkinshaw of Kittlestonheugh is doomed
to die soon; when this event comes to pass, let us watch the issues and
births of Time.’

‘You grow more and more mystical every day,’ said her husband
pensively. ‘I am sorry to observe how much you indulge yourself in
superstitious anticipations; you ought to struggle against them.’

‘I cannot,’ replied the majestic Leddy, with solemnity--‘The mortal
dwelling of my spirit is shattered, and lights and glimpses of
hereafter are breaking in upon me. It has been ever so with all my
mother’s race. The gift is an ancient inheritance of our blood; but it
comes not to us till earthly things begin to lose their hold on our
affections. The sense of it is to me an assurance that the bark of life
has borne me to the river’s mouth. I shall now soon pass that headland,
beyond which lies the open sea:--from the islands therein no one ever
returns.’

Mr. Eadie sighed; and all present regarded her with compassion, for her
benign countenance was strangely pale; her brilliant eyes shone with
a supernatural lustre; and there was a wild and incommunicable air in
her look, mysteriously in unison with the oracular enthusiasm of her
melancholy.

At this juncture a letter was handed in. It was the answer from
Glengael to Mrs. Eadie’s application respecting Walkinshaw; and it had
the effect of changing the painful tenor of the conversation.

The contents were in the highest degree satisfactory. Mr. Frazer not
only promised his influence, declaring that he considered himself as
the agent of the family interests, but said, that he had no doubt of
procuring at once the cadetcy, stating, at the same time, that the
progress and complexion of the French Revolution rendered it probable
that Government would find it expedient to augment the army; in which
case, a commission for young Walkinshaw would be readily obtained; and
he concluded with expressions of his sorrow at hearing his kinswoman
had of late been so unwell, urging her to visit him at Glengael Castle,
to which the family was on the point of removing for the summer, and
where her native air might, perhaps, essentially contribute to her
recovery.

‘Yes,’ said she, after having read the letter aloud, and congratulated
Walkinshaw on the prospect which had opened.--‘Yes; I will visit
Glengael. The spirits of my fathers hover in the silence of those
mountains, and dwell in the loneliness of the heath. A voice within
has long told me, that my home is there, and I have been an exile since
I left it.’

‘My dear Gertrude,’ said Mr. Eadie,--‘you distress me exceedingly this
morning. To hear you say so pains me to the heart. It seems to imply
that you have not been happy with me.’

‘I was happy with you,’ was her impressive answer. ‘I was happy;
but then I thought the hopes of my youth had perished.--The woeful
discovery that rose like a ghost upon me withered my spirit; and the
death of my children has since extinguished the love of life. Still,
while the corporeal tenement remained in some degree entire, I felt not
as I now feel; but the door is thrown open for my departure. I feel the
airs of the world of spirits blowing in upon me; and as I look round
to see if I have set my house in order, all the past of life appears
in a thousand pictures; and the most vivid in the series are the sunny
landscapes of my early years.’

Mr. Eadie saw that it was in vain to reason with his wife in such a
mood; and the Walkinshaws sympathized with the tenderness that dictated
his forbearance, while James turned the conversation, by proposing to
his sister and Ellen, that they should walk into Glasgow next day, to
pay their respects to the young couple.

Doubtless there was a little waggery at the bottom of this proposition;
but there was also something of a graver feeling.--He was desirous to
ascertain what effect the marriage of Robina had produced on his uncle
with respect to himself, and also to communicate, through the medium of
his grandmother, the favourable result of the application to Glengael,
in the hope, that, if there was any sincerity in the professions of
partiality with which he had been flattered, that his uncle would
assist him in his outfit either for India or the army. Accordingly,
the walk was arranged as he proposed; but the roads in the morning
were so deep and sloughy, that the ladies did not accompany him; a
disappointment which, however acute it might be to him, was hailed
as a God-send by the Leddy, whose troubles and vexations of spirit
had, from the wedding-day, continued to increase, and still no hope of
alleviation appeared.



CHAPTER LXXX


‘Really,’ said the Leddy, after Walkinshaw had told her the news, and
that only the wetness of the road had prevented his sister and Ellen
from coming with him to town,--‘Really, Jamie, to tell you the gude’s
truth, though I would hae been blithe to see Mary, and that weel-bred
lassie, your joe Nell Frizel--I’m very thankful they hae na come--for,
unless I soon get some relief, I’ll be herrit out o’ house and hall
wi’ Beenie and Walky,--twa thoughtless wantons,--set them up wi’ a
clandestine marriage in their teens! it’s enough to put marriages out
of fashion.’

‘I thought,’ replied Walkinshaw, playing with her humours, ‘that the
marriage was all your own doing.’

‘My doing, Jamie Walkinshaw! wha daurs to say the like o’ that?
I’m as clear o’t as the child unborn--to be sure they were married
here, but that was no fault o’ mine--my twa grandchildren, it
could ne’er be expected that I would let them be married on the
crown-o’-the-causey--But, wasna baith his mother and father
present, and is that no gospel evidence, that I was but an innocent
onlooker?--No, no, Jamie, whomsoever ye hear giving me the wyte o’ ony
sic Gretna Green job, I redde ye put your foot on the spark, and no let
it singe my character.--I’m abundantly and overmuch punished already,
for the harmless jocosity, in the cost and cumbering o’ their keeping.’

‘Well, but unless you had sanctioned their marriage, and approved o’t
beforehand, they would never have thought of taking up their residence
with you.’

‘Ye’re no far wrang there, Jamie; I’ll no deny that I gied my
approbation, and I would hae done as muckle for your happiness, had ye
been o’ a right conforming spirit and married Beenie, by the whilk a’
this hobbleshaw would hae been spare’t; but there’s a awful difference
between approving o’ a match, and providing a living and house-room,
bed, board, and washing, for two married persons--and so, although it
may be said in a sense, that I had a finger in the pye, yet every body
who kens me, kens vera weel that I would ne’er hae meddled wi’ ony sic
gunpowder plot, had there been the least likelihood that it would bring
upon me sic a heavy handful. In short, nobody, Jamie, has been more
imposed upon than I hae been--I’m the only sufferer. De’il-be-lickit
has it cost Dirdumwhamle, but an auld Muscovy duck, that he got sent
him frae ane o’ your uncle’s Jamaica skippers two years ago, and it was
then past laying--we smoor’t it wi’ ingons the day afore yesterday, but
ye might as soon hae tried to mak a dinner o’ a hesp o’ seven heere
yarn, for it was as teugh as the grannie of the cock that craw’t to
Peter.’

‘But surely,’ said Walkinshaw, affecting to condole with her, ‘surely
my uncle, when he has had time to cool, will come forward with
something handsome.’

‘Surely--Na, an he dinna do that, what’s to become o’ me?--Oh! Jamie,
your uncle’s no a man like your worthy grandfather,--he was a saint o’
a Christian disposition--when your father married against both his will
and mine, he did na gar the house dirl wi’ his stamp to the quaking
foundation; but on the Lord’s day thereafter, took me by the arm--oh!
he was o’ a kindly nature--and we gaed o’er thegither, and wis’d your
father and mother joy, wi’ a hunder pound in our hand--that was acting
the parent’s part!’

‘But, notwithstanding all that kindness, you know he disinherited my
father,’ replied Walkinshaw seriously, ‘and I am still suffering the
consequences.’

‘The best o’ men, Jamie,’ said the Leddy, sympathisingly, ‘are no
perfect, and your grandfather, I’ll ne’er maintain, was na a no mere
man--so anent the disinheritance, there was ay something I could na
weel understand; for, although I had got an inkling o’ the law frae
my father, who was a deacon at a plea--as a’ the Lords in Embro’
could testificate, still there was a because in that act of sederunt
and session, the whilk, in my opinion, required an interlocutor frae
the Lord Ordinary to expiscate and expone, and, no doubt, had your
grandfather been spare’t, there would hae been a rectification.--But,
waes me, the Lord took him to himsel; in the very hour when Mr.
Keelevin, the lawyer, was doun on his knees reading a scantling
o’ a new last will and settlement.--Eh! Jamie, that was a moving
sight,--before I could get a pen, to put in your dying grandfather’s
hand, to sign the paper, he took his departal to a better world, where,
we are taught to hope, there are neither lawyers nor laws.’

‘But if my uncle will not make a settlement on Robina, what will you
do?’ said Walkinshaw, laughing.

‘Haud your tongue, and dinna terrify folk wi’ ony sic impossibility!’
exclaimed the Leddy--‘Poor man, he has something else to think o’
at present. Is na your aunty brought nigh unto the gates o’ death?
Would ye expek him to be thinking o’ marriage settlements and wedding
banquets, when death’s so busy in his dwelling? Ye’re an unfeeling
creature, Jamie--But the army’s the best place for sic graceless getts.
Whan do ye begin to spend your half-crown out o’ saxpence a day? And
is Nell Frizel to carry your knapsack? Weel, I ay thought she was a
cannonading character, and I’ll be none surprised o’ her fighting
the French or the Yanky Doodles belyve, wi’ a stone in the foot of a
stocking, for I am most creditably informed, that that’s the conduct o’
the soldier’s wives in the field o’ battle.’

It was never very easy to follow the Leddy, when she was on what the
sailors call one of her jawing tacks; and Walkinshaw, who always
enjoyed her company most when she was in that humour, felt little
disposed to interrupt her. In order, however, to set her off in a
new direction, he said,--‘But, when I get my appointment, I hope
you’ll give me something to buy a sword, which is the true bride o’ a
soldier.’

‘And a poor tocher he gets wi’ her,’ said the Leddy;--‘wounds and
bruises, and putrefying sores, to make up a pack for beggary. No doubt,
howsever, but I maun break the back o’ a guinea for you.’

‘Nay, I expect you’ll give your old friend, Robin Carrick, a forenoon’s
call. I’ll not be satisfied if you don’t.’

‘Well, if e’er I heard sic a stand-and-deliver-like speech since ever
I was born,’--exclaimed his grandmother. ‘Did I think, when I used to
send the impudent smytcher, wi’ my haining o’ twa-three pounds to the
bank, that he was contriving to commit sic a highway robbery on me at
last?’

‘But,’ said Walkinshaw, ‘I have always heard you say, that there should
be no stepbairns in families. Now, as you are so kind to Robina and
Walky, it can never be held fair if you tie up your purse to me.’

‘Thou’s a wheedling creature, Jamie,’ replied the Leddy, ‘and nae doubt
I maun do my duty, as every body knows I hae ay done, to a’ my family;
but I’ll soon hae little to do’t wi’, if the twa new married eating
moths are ordain’t to devour a’ my substance. But there’s ae thing I’ll
do for thee, the whilk may be far better than making noughts in Robin
Carrick’s books. I’ll gang out to the Kittlestonheugh, and speer for
thy aunty; and though thy uncle, like a bull of Bashan, said he would
not speak to me, I’ll gar him fin’ the weight o’ a mother’s tongue,
and maybe, through my persuadgeon, he may be wrought to pay for thy
sword and pistols, and other sinews o’ war. For, to speak the truth,
I’m wearying to mak a clean breast wi’ him, and to tell him o’ his
unnaturality to his own dochter; and what’s far waur, the sin, sorrow,
and iniquity, of allooing me, his aged parent, to be rookit o’ plack
and bawbee by twa glaikit jocklandys that dinna care what they burn,
e’en though it were themselves.’

But, before the Leddy got this laudable intention carried into effect,
her daughter-in-law, to the infinite consternation of Dirdumwhamle,
died; and, for some time after that event, no opportunity presented
itself, either for her to be delivered of her grudge, or for any mutual
friend to pave the way to a reconciliation. Young Mrs. Milrookit saw
her mother, and received her last blessing; but it was by stealth,
and unknown to her father. So that, altogether, it would not have
been easy, about the period of the funeral, to have named in all the
royal city a more constipated family, as the Leddy assured all her
acquaintance, the Walkinshaws and Milrookits, were, baith in root and
branch, herself being the wizent and forlorn trunk o’ the tree.



CHAPTER LXXXI


On the day immediately after the funeral of her sister-in-law, Mrs.
Charles Walkinshaw was surprised by a visit from the widower.

‘I am come,’ said he, ‘partly to relieve my mind from the weight that
oppresses it, arising from an occurrence to which I need not more
particularly allude, and partly to vindicate myself from the harsh
insinuations of James. He will find that I have not been so sordid in
my views as he so unaccountably and so unreasonably supposed, and that
I am still disposed to act towards him in the same liberal spirit I
have ever done. What is the result of the application to Mrs. Eadie’s
friend? And is there any way by which I can be rendered useful in the
business?’

This was said in an off-hand man-of-the-world way. It was perfectly
explicit. It left no room for hesitation; but still it was not said in
such a manner as to bring with it the comfort it might have done to the
meek and sensitive bosom of the anxious mother.

‘I know not in what terms to thank you,’ was her answer, diffidently
and doubtingly expressed. ‘Your assistance certainly would be most
essential to James, for, now that he has received a commission in the
King’s army, I shall be reduced to much difficulty.’

‘In the King’s army! I thought he was going to India?’ exclaimed her
brother-in-law, evidently surprised.

‘So it was originally intended; but,’ said the mother, ‘Mr. Frazer
thought, in the present state of Europe, that it would be of more
advantage for him to take his chance in the regular army; and has
in consequence obtained a commission in a regiment that is to be
immediately increased. He has, indeed, proved a most valuable friend;
for, as the recruiting is to be in the Highlands, he has invited James
to Glengael, and is to afford him his countenance to recruit among
his dependants, assuring Mrs. Eadie that, from the attachment of the
adherents of the family, he has no doubt that, in the course of the
summer, James may be able to entitle himself to a Company, and then’----

This is very extraordinary friendship, thought the Glasgow merchant
to himself. These Highlanders have curious ideas about friendship and
kindred; but, nevertheless, when things are reduced to their money
price, they are just like other people. ‘But,’ said he aloud, ‘what do
you mean is to take place when James has obtained a Company?’

‘I suppose,’ replied the gentle widow timidly, she knew not wherefore,
‘that he will then not object to the marriage of James and Ellen.’

‘I think,’ said her brother-in-law, ‘he ought to have gone to India.
Were he still disposed to go there, my purse shall be open to him.’

‘He could not hope for such rapid promotion as he may obtain through
the means of Glengael,’ replied Mrs. Charles somewhat firmly; so
steadily, indeed, that it disconcerted the Laird; still he preserved
his external equanimity, and said,--

‘Nevertheless, I am willing to assist his views in whichever way they
lie. What has become of him?’

Mrs. Charles then told him that, in consequence of the very encouraging
letter from Mr. Frazer, Walkinshaw had gone to mention to his father’s
old friend, who had the vessel fitting out for New York, the change
that had taken place in his destination, and to solicit a loan to help
his outfit.

Her brother-in-law bit his lips at this information. He had obtained
no little reputation among his friends for the friendship which he had
shown to his unfortunate brother’s family; and all those who knew his
wish to accomplish a match between James and his daughter, sympathised
in sincerity with his disappointment. But something, it would not be
easy to say what, troubled him when he heard this, and he said,--

‘I think James carries his resentment too far. I had certainly done him
no ill, and he might have applied to me before going to a stranger.’

‘Favours,’ replied the widow, ‘owe all their grace and gratitude to
the way in which they are conferred. James has peculiar notions, and
perhaps he has felt more from the manner in which you spoke to him than
from the matter you said.’

‘Let us not revert to that subject--it recalls mortifying reflections,
and the event cannot be undone. But do you then think Mr. Frazer will
consent to allow his daughter to marry James? She is an uncommonly fine
girl, and, considering the family connexions, surely might do better.’

This was said in an easy disengaged style, but it was more assumed than
sincere; indeed, there was something in it implying an estimate of
considerations, independent of affections, which struck so disagreeably
on the feelings, that his delicate auditor did not very well know what
to say; but she added,--

‘James intends, as soon as we are able to make the necessary
arrangements, to set out for Glengael Castle, where, being in a
neighbourhood where there are many old officers, he will be able to
procure some information with respect to the best mode of proceeding
with his recruiting; and Mr. Frazer has kindly said that it will be for
his advantage to start from the castle.’

‘I suppose Miss Frazer will accompany him?’ replied the widower dryly.

‘No,’ said his sister-in-law, ‘she does not go till she accompanies
Mrs. Eadie, who intends to pass the summer at Glengael.’

‘I am glad of that; her presence might interfere with his duty.’

‘Whom do you mean?’ inquired Mrs. Charles, surprised at the remark;
‘whose presence?’ and she subjoined smilingly, ‘You are thinking of
Ellen; and you will hardly guess that we are all of opinion here that
both she and Mrs. Eadie might be of great use to him on the spot.
Mrs. Eadie is so persuaded of it, that the very circumstance of their
marriage being dependent on his raising a sufficient number of men to
entitle him to a company, would, she says, were it known, make the sons
of her father’s clansmen flock around him.’

‘It is to be deplored that a woman, who still retains so many claims,
both on her own account, and the high respectability of her birth,
should have fallen into such a decay of mind,’ said the merchant,
at a loss for a more appropriate comment on his sister-in-law’s
intimation.--‘But,’ continued he, ‘do not let James apply to any other
person. I am ready and willing to advance all he may require; and,
since it is determined that he ought immediately to avail himself
of Mr. Frazer’s invitation, let him lose no time in setting off for
Glengael. This, I trust,’ said he in a gayer humour, which but ill
suited with his deep mourning, ‘will assure both him and Miss Frazer
that I am not so much their enemy as perhaps they have been led to
imagine.’

Soon after this promise the widower took his leave; but, although
his whole behaviour during the visit was unexpectedly kind and
considerate, and although it was impossible to withhold the epithet of
liberality--nay more, even of generosity--from his offer, still it did
not carry that gladness to the widow’s heart which the words and the
assurance were calculated to convey. On the contrary, Mrs. Charles sat
for some time ruminating on what had passed; and when, in the course of
about an hour after, Ellen Frazer, who had been walking on the brow of
the hazel bank with Mary, came into the parlour, she looked at her for
some time without speaking.

The walk had lent to the complexion of Ellen a lively rosy glow. The
conversation which she had held with her companion related to her
lover’s hopes of renown, and it had excited emotions that at once
sparkled in her eyes and fluctuated on her cheek. Her lips were vivid
and smiling; her look was full of intelligence and naïveté--simple at
once and elegant--gay, buoyant, and almost as sly as artless, and a
wreath, if the expression may be allowed, of those nameless graces in
which the charms of beauty are mingled with the allurements of air and
manners, garlanded her tall and blooming form.

She seemed to the mother of her lover a creature so adorned with
loveliness and nobility, that it was impossible to imagine she was not
destined for some higher sphere than the humble fortunes of Walkinshaw.
But in that moment the mother herself forgot the auspices of her own
youth, and how seldom it is that even beauty, the most palpable of all
human excellence, obtains its proper place, or the homage of the manly
heart that Nature meant it should enjoy.



CHAPTER LXXXII


Mr. Walkinshaw had not left Camrachle many minutes when his nephew
appeared. James had in fact returned from Glasgow, while his uncle was
in the house, but, seeing the carriage at the door, he purposely kept
out of the way till it drove off.

His excursion had not been successful. He found his father’s old
acquaintance sufficiently cordial in the way of inquiries, and even
disposed to sympathise with him, when informed of his determination
to go abroad; but when the army was mentioned the merchant’s heart
froze; and after a short pause, and the expression of some frigiverous
observations with respect to the licentiousness of the military life,
it was suggested that his uncle was the proper quarter to apply to. In
this crisis, their conversation was interrupted by the entrance of a
third party, when Walkinshaw retired.

During his walk back to Camrachle, his heart was alternately sick and
saucy, depressed and proud.

He could not conceive how he had been so deluded, as to suppose that he
had any right to expect friendship from the gentleman he had applied
to. He felt that in so doing he acted with the greenness of a boy, and
he was mortified at his own softness. Had there been any reciprocity of
obligations between his father and the gentleman, the case would have
been different. ‘Had they been for forty or fifty years,’ thought he,
‘in the mutual interchange of mercantile dependence, then perhaps I
might have had some claim, and, no doubt, it would have been answered,
but I was a fool to mistake civilities for friendship.’ Perhaps,
however, had the case been even as strong as he put it, he might still
have found himself quite as much deceived.

‘As to making any appeal to my uncle, that was none of his business,’
said he to himself. ‘I did not ask the fellow for advice, I solicited
but a small favour. There is no such heart-scalding insolence as in
refusing a solicitation, to refer the suppliant to others, and with
prudential admonitions too--curse him who would beg, were it not to
avoid doing worse.’

This brave humour lasted for the length of more than a mile’s walk,
during which the young soldier marched briskly along, whistling
courageous tunes, and flourishing his stick with all the cuts of the
broadsword, lopping the boughs of the hedges, as if they had been the
limbs of Frenchmen, and switching away the heads of the thistles and
benweeds in his path, as if they had been Parisian carmagnols, against
whom, at that period, the loyalty of the British bosom was beginning to
grow fretful and testy.

But the greater part of the next mile was less animated--occasionally,
cowardly thoughts glimmered palely through the glorious turbulence of
youthful heroism, and once or twice he paused and looked back towards
Glasgow, wondering if there was any other in all that great city, who
might be disposed to lend him the hundred pounds he had begged for his
outfit.

‘There is not one,’ said he, and he sighed, but in a moment after he
exclaimed, ‘and who the devil cares? It does not do for soldiers to
think much; let them do their duty at the moment; that’s all they have
to think of; I will go on in the track I have chosen, and trust to
Fortune for a windfall;’ again ‘In the Garb of Old Gaul’ was gallantly
whistled, and again the hedges and thistles felt the weight of his
stick.

But as he approached Camrachle, his mood shifted into the minor
key, and when the hazel bank and the ash-trees, with the nests of
the magpies in them, appeared in sight, the sonorous bravery of the
Highland march became gradually modulated into a low and querulous
version of ‘Lochaber no more’, and when he discovered the carriage at
his mother’s door, his valour so subsided into boyish bashfulness, that
he shrank away, as we have already mentioned, and did not venture to go
home, till he saw that his uncle had left the house.

On his entrance, however, he received a slight sensation of pleasure at
seeing both his mother and sister with more comfort in their looks than
he had expected, and he was, in consequence, able to tell them, with
comparative indifference, the failure of his mission. His mother then
related what had passed with his uncle.

The news perplexed Walkinshaw; they contradicted the opinion he had so
warmly felt and expressed of his uncle; they made him feel he had acted
rashly and ungratefully--but still such strange kindness occasioned a
degree of dubiety, which lessened the self-reproaches of his contrition.

‘However,’ said he, with a light and joyous heart, ‘I shall not again
trouble either myself or him, as I have done; but in this instance,
at least, he has acted disinterestedly, and I shall cheerfully avail
myself of his offer, because it is generous--I accept it also as
encouragement--after my disappointment, it is a happy omen; I will take
it as a brave fellow does his bounty-money--a pledge from Fortune of
some famous “all hail hereafter”.’

What his sentiments would have been, had he known the tenor of his
uncle’s mind at that moment,--could he even but have suspected that the
motive which dictated such seeming generosity, so like an honourable
continuance of his former partiality, was prompted by a wish to remove
him as soon as possible from the company of Ellen Frazer, in order to
supplant him in her affections, we need not attempt to imagine how he
would have felt. It is happy for mankind, that they know so little of
the ill said of them behind their backs, by one another, and of the
evil that is often meditated in satire and in malice, and still oftener
undertaken from motives of interest and envy. Walkinshaw rejoicing
in the good fortune that had so soon restored the alacrity of his
spirits--so soon wiped away the corrosive damp of disappointment from
its brightness--did not remain long with his mother and sister, but
hastened to communicate the inspiring tidings to Ellen Frazer.

She was standing on the green in front of the manse, when she saw him
coming bounding towards her, waving his hat in triumph and exultation,
and she put on a grave face, and looked so rebukingly, that he halted
abruptly, and said--‘What’s the matter?’

‘It’s very ridiculous to see any body behaving so absurdly,’ was her
cool and solemn answer.

‘But I have glorious news to tell you; my uncle has come forward in the
handsomest manner, and all’s clear for action.’

This was said in an animated manner, and intended to upset her gravity,
which, from his knowledge of her disposition, he suspected, was a
sinless hypocrisy, put on only to teaze him. But she was either serious
or more resolute in her purpose than he expected; for she replied with
the most chastising coolness,--

‘I thought you were never to have any thing to say again to your uncle?’

Walkinshaw felt this pierce deeper than it was intended to do, and he
reddened exceedingly, as he said, awkwardly,--

‘True! but I have done him injustice; and had he not been one of the
best dispositioned men, he would never have continued his kindness to
me as he has done; for I treated him harshly.’

‘It says but little for you, that, after enjoying his good-will so
long, you should have thrown his favours at him, and so soon after be
obliged to confess you have done him wrong.’

Walkinshaw hung his head, still more and more confused. There was
too much truth in the remark not to be felt as a just reproach; and,
moreover, he thought it somewhat hard, as his folly had been on her
account, that she should so taunt him. But Ellen, perceiving she had
carried the joke a little too far, threw off her disguise, and, with
one of her most captivating looks and smiles, said,--‘Now that I have
tamed you into rational sobriety, let’s hear what you have got to say.
Men should never be spoken to when they are huzzaing. Remember the
lesson when you are with your regiment.’

What further followed befits not our desultory pen to rehearse; but,
during this recital of what had taken place at Glasgow, and the other
incidents of the day, the lovers unconsciously strayed into the
minister’s garden, where a most touching and beautiful dialogue ensued,
of which having lost our notes, we regret, on account of our fair
readers, and all his Majesty’s subalterns, who have not yet joined,
that we cannot furnish a transcript.--The result, however, was, that,
when Ellen returned into the manse, after parting from Walkinshaw, her
beautiful eyes looked red and watery, and two huge tears tumbled out of
them when she told her aunt that he intended to set off for Glengael in
the course of two or three days.



CHAPTER LXXXIII


Next day Walkinshaw found himself constrained, by many motives, to go
into Glasgow, in order to thank his uncle for the liberality of his
offer, and, in accepting it, to ask pardon for the rudeness of his
behaviour.

His reception in the counting-house was all he could have wished; it
was even more cordial than the occasion required, and the cheque given,
as the realization of the promise, considerably exceeded the necessary
amount. Emboldened by so much kindness, Walkinshaw, who felt for his
cousins, and really sympathised with the Leddy under the burden of
expense which she had brought upon herself, ventured to intercede in
their behalf, and he was gratified with his uncle’s answer.

‘I am pleased, James,’ said he, ‘that you take so great an interest in
them; but make your mind easy, for, although I have been shamefully
used, and cannot but long resent it, still, as a man, I ought not to
indulge my anger too far. I, therefore, give you liberty to go and tell
them, that, although I do not mean to hold any intercourse with Robina
and her husband, I have, nevertheless, ordered my man of business to
prepare a deed of settlement on her, such as I ought to make on my
daughter.’

Walkinshaw believed, when he heard this, that he possessed no faculty
whatever to penetrate the depths of character, so bright and shining
did all the virtues of his uncle at that moment appear;--virtues of
which, a month before, he did not conceive he possessed a single
spark. It may, therefore, be easily imagined, that he hastened with
light steps and long strides towards his grandmother’s house, to
communicate the generous tidings. But, on reaching the door, he met
the old lady, wrapped up, as it seemed, for a journey, with her maid,
coming out, carrying a small trunk under her arm. On seeing him, she
made a movement to return; but, suddenly recollecting herself, she
said,--‘Jamie, I hae nae time, for I’m gaun to catch the Greenock
flying coach at the Black Bull, and ye can come wi’ me.’

‘But, what has become o’ Robina?’ cried he, surprised at this
intelligence and sudden movement.

His grandmother took hold of him by the arm, and giving it an
indescribable squeeze of exultation, said,--‘I’ll tell you, it’s just
a sport. They would need long spoons that sup parridge wi’ the de’il,
or the like o’ me, ye maun ken. I was just like to be devour’t into
beggary by them. Ae frien’ after another calling, glasses o’ wine
ne’er devauling; the corks playing clunk in the kitchen frae morning
to night, as if they had been in a change-house on a fair-day. I could
stand it no longer. So yesterday, when that nabal, Dirdumwhamle, sent
us a pair o’ his hunger’t hens, I told baith Beenie and Walky, that
they were obligated to go and thank their parents, and to pay them a
marriage visit for a day or twa, although we’re a’ in black for your
aunty, her mother; and so this morning I got them off, Lord be praised;
and I am noo on my way to pay a visit to Miss Jenny Purdie, my cousin,
at Greenock.’

‘Goodness! and is this to throw poor Beenie and Walky adrift?’
exclaimed Walkinshaw.

‘Charity, Jamie, my bairn, begins at hame, and they hae a nearer claim
on Dirdumwhamle, who is Walky’s lawful father, than on me; so e’en let
them live upon him till I invite them back again.’

Walkinshaw, though really shocked, he could not tell why, was yet so
tickled by the Leddy’s adroitness, that he laughed most immoderately,
and was unable for some time in consequence to communicate the
message, of which he was the joyous bearer; but when he told her, she
exclaimed,--

‘Na, if that’s the turn things hae ta’en, I’ll defer my visit to Miss
Jenny for the present; so we’ll return back. For surely, baith Beenie
and Walky will no be destitute of a’ consideration, when they come to
their kingdom, for the dreadfu’ cost and outlay that I hae been at
the last five weeks. But, if they’re guilty o’ sic niggerality, I’ll
mak out a count--bed, board, and washing, at five and twenty shillings
a-week, Mrs. Scrimpit, the minister’s widow of Toomgarnels, tells me,
would be a charge o’ great moderation;--and if they pay’t, as pay’t
they shall, or I’ll hae them for an affront to the Clerk’s Chambers;
ye’s get the whole half o’t, Jamie, to buy yoursel a braw Andrew
Ferrara. But I marvel, wi’ an exceeding great joy, at this cast o’
grace that’s come on your uncle. For, frae the hour he saw the light,
he was o’ a most voracious nature for himsel; and while the fit lasts,
I hope ye’ll get him to do something for you.’

Walkinshaw then told her not only what his uncle had done, but with the
ardour in which the free heart of youth delights to speak of favours,
he recapitulated all the kind and friendly things that had been said to
him.

‘Jamie, Jamie, I ken your uncle Geordie better than you,--for I hae
been his mother. It’s no for a courtesy o’ causey clash that he’s
birling his mouldy pennies in sic firlots,--tak my word for’t.’

‘There is no possible advantage can arise to him from his kindness to
me.’

‘That’s to say, my bairn, that ye hae na a discerning spirit to see’t;
but if ye had the second sight o’ experience as I hae, ye would fin’ a
whaup in the nest, or I am no a Christian sister, bapteesed Girzel.’

By this time they had returned to the house, and the maid having
unlocked the door, and carried in the trunk, Walkinshaw followed his
grandmother into the parlour, with the view of enjoying what she
herself called, the observes of her phlosification; but the moment
she had taken her seat, instead of resuming the wonted strain of her
jocular garrulity, she began to sigh deeply, and weep bitterly, a
thing which he never saw her do before but in a way that seldom failed
to amuse him; on this occasion, however, her emotion was unaffected,
and it moved him to pity her. ‘What’s the matter with you?’ said he,
kindly;--she did not, however, make any answer for some time, but at
last she said,--

‘Thou’s gaun awa to face thy faes,--as the sang sings, “far far frae
me and Logan braes,”--and I am an aged person, and may ne’er see thee
again; and I am wae to let thee gang, for though thou was ay o’ a
nature that had nae right reverence for me, a deevil’s buckie, my heart
has ay warm’t to thee mair than to a’ the lave o’ my grandchildren;
but it’s no in my power to do for thee as thy uncle has done, though
it’s well known to every one that kens me, that I hae a most generous
heart,--far mair than e’er he had,--and I would na part wi’ thee
without hanselling thy knapsack. Hegh, Sirs! little did I think whan
the pawky laddie spoke o’ my bit gathering wi’ Robin Carrick, that
it was in a sincerity; but thou’s get a part. I’ll no let thee gang
without a solid benison, so tak the key, and gang into the scrutoire
and bring out the pocket-book.’

Walkinshaw was petrified, but did as he was desired; and, having
given her the pocket-book, sewed by his aunt, Mrs. Milrookit, at the
boarding-school, she took several of Robin’s promissory-notes out, and
looking them over, presented him with one for fifty pounds.

‘Now, Jamie Walkinshaw,’ said she, ‘if ye spend ae plack o’ that like a
prodigal son,--it’s no to seek what I will say whan ye come back,--but
I doot, I doot, lang before that day I’ll be deep and dumb aneath the
yird, and naither to see nor hear o’ thy weel or thy woe.’

So extraordinary and unlooked-for an instance of liberality on the part
of his grandmother, together with the unfeigned feeling by which she
was actuated, quite overwhelmed Walkinshaw, and he stood holding the
bill in his hand, unable to speak. In the meantime, she was putting up
her other bills, and, in turning them over, seeing one for forty-nine
pounds, she said, ‘Jamie, forty-nine pounds is a’ the same as fifty to
ane that pays his debts by the roll of a drum, so tak this, and gie me
that back.’



CHAPTER LXXXIV


The time between the visit to Glasgow and the departure of Walkinshaw
for Glengael was the busiest period that had occurred in the annals
of Camrachle from the placing of Mr. Eadie in the cure of the parish.
To the young men belonging to the hamlet, who had grown up with
Walkinshaw, it was an era of great importance; and some of them doubted
whether he ought not to have beaten up for recruits in a neighbourhood
where he was known rather than in the Highlands. But the elder
personages, particularly the matrons, were thankful that the Lord was
pleased to order it differently.

His mother and sister, with the assistance of Ellen Frazer, were
more thriftily engaged in getting his baggage ready; and although
the sprightliness of Ellen never sparkled more brilliantly for the
amusement of her friends, there were moments when her bosom echoed in a
low soft murmur to the sigh of anxiety that frequently burst from his
mother’s breast.

Mr. Eadie was not the least interested in the village. He seemed as if
he could not give his pupil advice enough, and Walkinshaw thought he
had never before been so tiresome. They took long walks together, and
ever and anon the burden of the worthy minister’s admonition was the
sins and deceptions of the world, and the moral perils of a military
life.

But no one--neither tutor, mother, nor amorosa--appeared so profoundly
occupied with the event as Mrs. Eadie, whose majestic intellect was
evidently touched with the fine frenzy of a superstition at once awful
and elevated. She had dreams of the most cheering augury, though all
the incidents were wild and funereal; and she interpreted the voices of
the birds and the chattering of the magpies in language more oriental
and coherent than Macpherson’s _Ossian_.

The moon had changed on the day on which Walkinshaw went into
Glasgow, and she watched the appearance of its silver rim with the
most mysterious solicitude. Soon after sunset on the third evening,
as she was sitting on a tombstone in the churchyard with Mr. Eadie,
she discovered it in the most favourable aspect of the Heavens, and
in the very position which assured the most fortunate issues to all
undertakings commenced at its change.

‘So it appears,’ said she, ‘like a boat, and it is laden with the old
moon--that betokens a storm.’

‘But when?’ said her husband with a sigh, mournfully disposed to humour
the aberrations of her fancy.

‘The power is not yet given to me to tell,’ was her solemn response.
‘But the sign is a witness that the winds of the skies shall perform
some dreadful agency in the fortunes of all enterprises ruled by this
lunar influence. Had the moon been first seen but as a portion of a
broken ring, I would have veiled my face, and deplored the omen. She
comes forth, however, in her brightness--a silver boat sailing the
azure depths of the Heavens, and bearing a rich lading of destiny to
the glorious portals of the sun.’

At that moment a cow looked over the churchyard wall, and lowed so
close to Mr. Eadie’s ear, that it made him start and laugh. Instead,
however, of disturbing the Pythian mood of his lady, it only served to
deepen it; but she said nothing, though her look intimated that she was
offended by his levity.

After a pause of several minutes she rose, and moved towards the gate
without accepting his proffered arm.

‘I am sorry,’ said he, ‘that you are displeased with me; but really the
bathos of that cow was quite irresistible.’

‘Do you think,’ was her mystical reply, ‘that an animal, which, for
good reasons, the wise Egyptians hardly erred in worshipping, made to
us but an inarticulate noise? It was to me a prophetic salutation. On
the morning before my father left Glengael to join the royal standard,
I heard the same sound. An ancient woman, my mother’s nurse, and one of
her own blood, told me that it was a fatal enunciation, for then the
moon was in the wane; but heard, she said, when the new moon is first
seen, it is the hail of a victory or a bridal.’

‘It is strange,’ replied the minister, unguardedly attempting to reason
with her, ‘that the knowledge of these sort of occurrences should be
almost exclusively confined to the inhabitants of the Highlands.’

‘It is strange,’ said she; ‘but no one can expound the cause. The
streamers of the northern light shine not in southern skies.’

At that moment she shuddered, and, grasping the minister wildly by the
arm, she seemed to follow some object with her eye that was moving past
them.

‘What’s the matter--what do you look at?’ he exclaimed with anxiety and
alarm.

‘I thought it was Walkinshaw’s uncle,’ said she with a profound and
heavy sigh, as if her very spirit was respiring from a trance.

‘It was nobody,’ replied the minister thoughtfully.

‘It was his wraith,’ said Mrs. Eadie.

The tone in which this was expressed curdled his very blood, and he
was obliged to own to himself, in despite of the convictions of his
understanding, that there are more things in the heavens and the earth
than philosophy can yet explain; and he repeated the quotation from
_Hamlet_, partly to remove the impression which his levity had made.

‘I am glad to hear you allow so much,’ rejoined Mrs. Eadie; ‘and I
think you must admit that of late I have given you many proofs in
confirmation. Did I not tell you when the cock crowed on the roof of
our friend’s cottage, that we should soon hear of some cheerful change
in the lot of the inmates? and next day came Walkinshaw from Glasgow
with the news of the happy separation from his uncle. On the evening
before I received my letter from Glengael, you may well remember the
glittering star that announced it in the candle. As sure as the
omen in the crowing of the cock, and the shining of that star, were
fulfilled, will the auguries which I have noted be found the harbingers
of events.’

Distressing as these shadows and gleams of lunacy were to those by whom
Mrs. Eadie was justly beloved and venerated, to herself they afforded
a high and holy delight. Her mind, during the time the passion lasted,
was to others obscure and oracular. It might be compared to the moon in
the misty air when she is surrounded with a halo, and her light loses
its silveryness, and invests the landscape with a shroudy paleness and
solemnity. But Mrs. Eadie felt herself as it were ensphered in the
region of spirits, and moving amidst marvels and mysteries sublimer
than the faculties of ordinary mortals could explore.

The minister conducted his wife to the house of Walkinshaw’s mother,
where she went to communicate the agreeable intelligence, as she
thought, of the favourable aspect of the moon, as it had appeared
to her Highland astrology. But he was so distressed by the evident
increase of her malady, that he did not himself immediately go in.
Indeed, it was impossible for him not to acknowledge, even to the most
delicate suggestions of his own mind towards her, that she was daily
becoming more and more fascinated by her visionary contemplations;
and in consequence, after taking two or three turns in the village,
he determined to advise her to go with Walkinshaw to Glengael, in the
hope that the change of circumstances, and the interest that she might
take once more in the scenes of her youth, would draw her mind from its
wild and wonderful imaginings, and fix her attention again on objects
calculated to inspire more sober, but not less affecting, feelings.



CHAPTER LXXXV


The result of Mr. Eadie’s reflections was a proposition to Walkinshaw
to delay his journey for a day or two, until Mrs. Eadie could be
prepared to accompany him; but, when the subject was mentioned to
her, she declared the most decided determination not to trouble the
tide of his fortune by any interposition of hers which had been full
of disappointments and sorrows. From whatever sentiment this feeling
arose, it was undoubtedly dictated by magnanimity; for it implied a
sense of sacrifice on her part; nevertheless, it was arranged, that,
although Walkinshaw should set out at the time originally fixed, Mrs.
Eadie, accompanied by Ellen Frazer, should follow him to Glengael as
soon after as possible.

To the lovers this was no doubt delightful; but, when the Laird of
Kittlestonheugh heard of it in Glasgow, it disturbed him exceedingly.
The departure of Ellen Frazer from Camrachle to Glengael, where his
nephew was for a time to fix his head-quarters, was an occurrence that
he had not contemplated, and still less, if any degree can exist in an
absolute negative, that the minister’s insane wife should accompany her.

A circumstance, however, occurred at the time, which tended materially
to diminish his anxieties: A number of gentlemen belonging to the
royal city had projected a sea excursion in Allan M’Lean’s pilot-boat,
and one of the party proposed to Kittlestonheugh that he should be of
their party--for they were all friends, and sympathized, of course,
with the most heartfelt commiseration, for the loss he had sustained
in his wife, who had been nearly twenty years almost as much dead as
alive, and particularly in the grief he suffered by the injudicious
marriage of his daughter. George, with his habitual suavity, accepted
the invitation; and on the selfsame day that our friend and personal
acquaintance Walkinshaw set off in the coach from the classical and
manufacturing town (as we believe Gibbon the historian yclyped the
royal city) for the soi-disant intellectual metropolis and modern
Athens of Edinburgh, his uncle embarked at the stair of the west quay
of Greenock.

What stores were laid in by those Glasgow Argonautics--what baskets of
limes, what hampers of wine and rum, and loaves of sugar, and cheese
and bacon hams, with a modicum of biscuit,--we must leave for some
more circumstantial historian to describe. Sufficient for us, and for
all acquainted with the munificent consideration of the Glottiani for
themselves, is the fact, that seven of the primest magnates of the
royal city embarked together to enjoy the sea air, and the appetite
consequent thereon, in one of the best sailing and best navigated
schooners at that time on the west of Scotland. Whether any of them,
in the course of the voyage, suffered the affliction of sea-sickness,
we have never heard; but from our own opinion, believing the thing
probable, we shall not enter into any controversy on the subject.
There was, to be sure, some rumour shortly after, that, off Ailsa,
they did suffer from one kind of malady or another; but whether from
eating of that delicious encourager of appetite, solan goose--the most
savoury product of the rocky pyramid--or from a stomachique inability
to withstand the tossings of the sea, we have never received any
satisfactory explanation. Be this, however, as it may, no jovial,
free-hearted, good kind of men, ever enjoyed themselves better than the
party aboard the pilot boat.

They traversed the picturesque Kyles of Bute--coasted the shores of
Cantyre--touched at the beautiful port of Campbelton--doubled the
cliffy promontory--passed Gigha--left Isla on the left--navigated the
sound of Jura--prudently kept along the romantic coast of Lorn and
Appin--sailed through the sound of Mull--drank whisky at Rum--and,
afraid of the beds and bowls of the hospitable Skye, cast anchor in
Garelock. What more they did, and where they farther navigated the
iron shores and tusky rocks of the headlands, that grin in unsatiated
hunger upon the waves and restless waters of the Minch, we shall not
here pause to describe. Let it be enough that they were courageously
resolved to double Cape Wrath, and to enjoy the midnight twilights, and
the smuggled gin of Kirkwall;--the aurora borealis of the hyperborean
region, with the fresh ling of Tamy Tomson’s cobble boat at Hoy, and
the silvery glimpses of Ursa Major; together with the tasty whilks and
lampets that Widow Calder o’ the Foul Anchor at Stromness, assured
her customers in all her English--were pickled to a concupiscable
state of excellence. Our immediate duty is to follow the steps of the
Laird’s nephew; and without entering upon any unnecessary details,--our
readers, we trust, have remarked, that we entertain a most commendable
abhorrence of all circumstantiality,--we shall allow Allan M’Lean and
his passengers to go where it pleased themselves, while we return to
Camrachle; not that we have much more to say respecting what passed
there, than that Walkinshaw, as had been previously arranged, set out
alone for Glengael Castle, in Inverness-shire; the parting from his
mother and sister being considerably alleviated by the reflection,
that Ellen Frazer, in attendance on Mrs. Eadie, was soon to follow
him. Why this should have given him any particular pleasure, we cannot
understand; but, as the young man, to speak prosaically, was in love,
possibly there are some juvenile persons capable of entering into his
feelings. Not, however, knowing, of our own knowledge, what is meant by
the phrase--we must just thus simply advert to the fact; expressing,
at the same time, a most philosophical curiosity to be informed what
it means, and why it is that young gentlemen and ladies, in their
teens, should be more liable to the calamity than personages of greater
erudition in the practices of the world.



CHAPTER LXXXVI


In the summer of the year 1793, we have some reason to believe that the
rugging and riving times of antiquity were so well over in the north
of Scotland, that, not only might any one of his Majesty’s subalterns
travel there on the recruiting service, but even any spinster, not
less than threescore, without let, hindrance, or molestation, to say
nothing of personal violence; we shall not, therefore, attempt to
seduce the tears of our fair readers, with a sentimental description of
the incidents which befell our friend Walkinshaw, in his journey from
Camrachle to Glengael, except to mention, in a parenthetical way, that,
when he alighted from the Edinburgh coach at the canny twa and twae
toun of Aberdeenawa, he had some doubt if the inhabitants spoke any
Christian language.

Having remained there a night and part of a day, to see the place, and
to make an arrangement with the host of an hostel, for a man and gig to
take him to Glengael Castle, he turned his face towards the northwest,
and soon entered what to him appeared a new region. Mrs. Eadie had
supplied him with introductory letters to all her kith and kin, along
the line of his route, and the recommendations of the daughter of
the old Glengael were billets on the hospitality and kindness of the
country. They were even received as the greatest favours by those who
knew her least, so cherished and so honoured was the memory of the
ill-fated chieftain, among the descendants of that brave and hardy
race, who suffered in the desolation of the clans at Culloden.

The appearance and the natural joyous spirits of Walkinshaw endeared
him to the families at the houses where he stopped on his way to
Glengael, and his journey was, in consequence, longer and happier than
he expected. On the afternoon of the ninth day after leaving Aberdeen,
he arrived at the entrance of the rugged valley, in which the residence
of Mr. Frazer was situated.

During the morning, he had travelled along the foot of the mountains
and patches of cultivation, and here and there small knots of larches,
recently planted, served to vary the prospect and enliven his journey;
but as he approached the entrance to Glengael, these marks of
civilization and improvement gradually became rarer. When he entered on
the land that had been forfeited, they entirely disappeared, for the
green spots that chequered the heath there were as the graves of a race
that had been rooted out or slaughtered. They consisted of the sites
of cottages which the soldiers of the Duke of Cumberland’s army had
plundered and burnt in the year Forty-five.

The reflections which these monuments of fidelity awakened in the
breast of the young soldier, as the guide explained to him what they
were, saddened his spirit, and the scene which opened, when he entered
the cliffy pass that led into Glengael, darkened it more and more. It
seemed to him as if he was quitting the habitable world, and passing
into the realms, not merely of desolation, but of silence and herbless
sterility. A few tufts of heath and fern among the rocks, in the bottom
of the glen, showed that it was not absolutely the valley of death.

The appearance of the lowering steeps, that hung their loose crags
over the road, was as if some elder mountains had been crushed into
fragments, and the wreck thrown in torrents, to fill up that dreary,
soundless, desolate solitude, where nature appeared a famished
skeleton, pining amidst poverty and horror.

But, after travelling for two or three miles through this interdicted
chasm, the cliffs began to recede, and on turning a lofty projecting
rock, his ears were gladdened with the sound of a small torrent that
was leaping in a hundred cascades down a ravine fringed with birch and
hazel. From that point verdure began to reappear, and as the stream in
its course was increased by other mountain rivulets, the scenery of the
glen gradually assumed a more refreshing aspect. The rocks became again
shaggy with intermingled heath and brambles, and the stately crimson
foxglove, in full blossom, rose so thickly along the sides of the
mountains, that Walkinshaw, unconscious that it was from the effect of
their appearance, began to dream in his reverie of guarded passes, and
bloody battles, and picquets of red-coated soldiers bivouacking on the
hills.

But his attention was soon roused from these heroical imaginings by a
sudden turn of the road, laying open before him the glassy expanse of
an extensive lake, and on the summit of a lofty rocky peninsula, which
projected far into its bosom, the walls and turrets of Glengael.

From the desolate contrast of the pass he had travelled, it seemed to
him that he had never beheld a landscape so romantic and beautiful. The
mountains, from the margin of the water, were green to their summits,
and a few oaks and firs around the castle enriched the picturesque
appearance of the little promontory on which it stood. Beyond a distant
vista of the dark hills of Ross, the sun had retired, but the clouds,
in glorious masses of golden fires, rose in a prodigality of splendid
forms, in which the military imagination of the young enthusiast had no
difficulty in discovering the towers, and domes, and pinnacles of some
airy Babylon, with burnished chariots on the walls, and brazen warriors
in clusters on the battlements.

This poetical enchantment, however, was soon dissolved. The road along
the skirt of the lake, as it approached the castle, was rugged and
steep, and where it turned off into the peninsula, towards the gate,
it literally lay on the cornice of a precipice, which, with all his
valour, made Walkinshaw more than once inclined to leap from the gig.
Here and there a fragment of an old wall showed that it had once been
fenced, and where the rains had scooped hollows on the edge of the
cliff, a few stakes had recently been put up; but there was an air of
decay and negligence around, that prepared the mind of the visitor for
the ruinous aspect of the castle.

Mr. Frazer, owing to his professional avocations, had seldom resided
there, and he was too ambitious to raise the means to redeem the bonds
he had granted for the purchase, to lay anything out in improvements.
The state and appearance of the place was, in consequence, lone and
dismal. Not only were the outer walls mantled with ivy, but the arch of
the gateway was broken. Many of the windows in the principal edifice
were rudely filled up with stones. The slates in several places had
fallen from the extinguisher-less desolate roofed turrets, and patches
of new lime on different places of the habitable buildings, bore
testimony to the stinted funds which the proprietor allowed for repairs.

Within the gate the scene was somewhat more alluring. The space
inclosed by the walls had been converted into a garden, which Mrs.
Frazer and her daughters superintended, and had ornamented with
evergreens and flowers. The apartments of the family were also neatly
repaired, and showed, in the midst of an evident parsimony, a degree of
taste that bespoke a favourable opinion of the inhabitants, which the
reception given to Walkinshaw confirmed.

Mr. Frazer, an elderly gentleman, of an acute and penetrating look, met
him at the door, and, heartily shaking him by the hand, led him into a
parlour, where Mrs. Frazer, with two daughters, the sisters of Ellen,
were sitting. The young ladies and their mother received him even with
more frankness than the advocate. It was, indeed, not difficult to
perceive, that they had previously formed an agreeable opinion of him,
which they were pleased to find his prepossessing appearance confirm.
But after the first congratulatory greetings were over, a slight cloud
was cast on the spirits of the family by his account of the health of
their relation Mrs. Eadie. It, however, was not of very long duration,
for the intelligence that she might be daily expected with Ellen soon
chased it away.



CHAPTER LXXXVII


As Mr. Eadie found he could not conveniently get away from his parish,
and the health of his lady requiring that she should travel by easy
stages, it was arranged, after Walkinshaw’s departure, that his sister
should take the spare corner of the carriage. Accordingly, on the day
following his arrival at Glengael, they all made their appearance at
the castle.

Mrs. Eadie’s malady had, in the meantime, undergone no change. On the
contrary, she was become more constantly mystical, and the mournful
feelings awakened by the sight of her early home, desolated by time
and the ravages of war, rather served to increase her superstitious
reveries. Every feature of the landscape recalled some ancient domestic
tradition; and as often as she alluded to the ghostly stories that were
blended with her ancestral tales, she expatiated in the loftiest and
wildest flights of seeming inspiration and prophecy.

But still she enjoyed lucid intervals of a serene and tender
melancholy. On one occasion, while she was thus walking with the young
ladies in the environs of the castle, she stopped abruptly, and,
looking suddenly around, burst into tears.

‘It was here,’ said she--‘on this spot, that the blossoms of my early
hopes fell, and were scattered for ever.’

At that moment, a gentleman, some ten or twelve years older than
Walkinshaw, dressed in the Highland garb, was seen coming towards the
castle, and the majestic invalid uttered a terrific shriek, and fainted
in the arms of her companions. The stranger, on hearing the scream, and
seeing her fall, ran to the assistance of the ladies.

When Mrs. Eadie was so far recovered as to be able to look up, the
stranger happened to be standing behind Ellen, on whose lap her head
was laid, and, not seeing him, she lay, for some time after the entire
restoration of her faculties, in a state of profound solemnity and
sorrow. ‘O Frazer!’ she exclaimed pathetically.

‘I have seen him,’ she added; ‘and my time cannot now be long.’

At that instant her eye lighted on the stranger as he moved into
another position. She looked at him for some time with startled
amazement and awe; and, turning round to one of the young ladies, said,
with an accent of indescribable grief, ‘I have been mistaken.’ She
then rose, and the stranger introduced himself. He was the same person
in whom, on his arrival from France, she had fourteen years before
discovered the son of her early lover. Seeing him on the spot where she
had parted from his father, and dressed in the garb and tartan of the
clan which her lover wore on that occasion, she had, in her visionary
mood, believed he was an apparition.

Saving these occasional hallucinations, her health certainly received
new energy from her native air; and, by her presence at the castle, she
was of essential service to the recruiting of her young friend.

In the meantime, Glengael being informed of the attachment between
Walkinshaw and Ellen, had espoused his interests with great ardour;
and French Frazer, as the stranger was called, also raising men for
promotion, the castle became a scene of so much bustle as materially to
disturb the shattered nerves of the invalid. With a view, therefore,
to change the scene, and to enable Mrs. Eadie to enjoy the benefit of
sea-bathing, an excursion was proposed to Caithness and Sutherland,
where Glengael was desirous of introducing the officers to certain
political connexions which he had in these counties, and it was
proposed that, while the gentlemen went to pay their visits, the ladies
should take up their residence at the little town of Wick.

The weather had, for some days before their departure from Glengael,
been bright and calm, and the journey to Wick was performed with
comparative ease and comfort. The party had, however, scarcely
alighted at the house, which a servant sent on before had provided
for their accommodation, when the wind changed, and the skies were
overcast. For three days it raged a continual tempest; the rain fell
in torrents, and the gentlemen, instead of being able to proceed on
their visit, were confined to the house. At the end of the third
day the storm subsided, and, though the weather was broken, there
were intervals which allowed them to make little excursions in the
neighbourhood.

The objects they visited, and the tales and traditions of the country,
were alike new and interesting to the whole party; and it was agreed,
that, before leaving Wick, the gentlemen should conduct the ladies to
some of the remarkable spots which they had themselves visited;--among
other places, Girnigo Castle, the ancient princely abode of the Earls
of Caithness, the superb remains of which still obtain additional
veneration in the opinion of the people, from the many guilty and
gloomy traditions that fear and fancy have exaggerated in preserving
the imperfect recollections of its early history.

Mrs. Eadie had agreed to accompany them, the walk not exceeding three
or four miles; but on the evening preceding the day which they had
fixed for the excursion, when the weather had all the appearance of
being settled, she saw, or imagined that she saw, at sunset, some awful
prodigy which admonished her not to go.

‘I beheld,’ said she, ‘between me and the setting sun, a shadowy
hand bearing an hour-glass, run out; and when I looked again, I saw
the visionary semblance of Walkinshaw’s uncle pass me with a pale
countenance. Twice have I witnessed the same apparition of his wraith,
and I know from the sign, that either his time is not to be long, or
to-morrow we shall hear strange tidings.’

It was useless to reason or to argue with her sublime and
incomprehensible pretensions; but as it was deemed not prudent to leave
her alone, Glengael and Mrs. Frazer agreed to remain at Wick, while
French Frazer and the young ladies, with Walkinshaw and his sister,
went to inspect the ruins of Girnigo, and the rocks, caverns, and
precipices of Noss-head.

Of all places in the wild and withered region of Caithness, the
promontory of Noss-head presents, alike to the marine voyager and the
traveller by land, one of the most tremendous objects. The waves of
the universal sea have, from the earliest epochs, raged against it.
Huge rocks, torn from the cliffs, stand half hid in the waters, like
the teeth and racks of destruction grinning for shipwrecks. No calm
of the ocean is there without a swell, and no swell without horror.
The sea-birds, that love to build on the wildest cliffs and precipices
of that coast of ruins, shun Noss-head, for the ocean laves against
it in everlasting cataracts, and the tides, whether in ebb or flow,
hurl past in devouring whirlpools. To the pilots afar at sea it is a
lofty landmark and a beacon,--but the vessel embayed either within
its northern or its southern cliffs, may be known by the marks on her
sails, or the name on the pieces of her stern,--but none of her crew
ever escape to tell the circumstances of her fate. Even there the
miserable native earns no spoils from the waves;--whatever reaches the
shore consists of fragments, or splinters, or corses, or limbs,--all
are but the crumbs and the surfeit-relics of destruction.



CHAPTER LXXXVIII


Mr. Donald Gunn, the worthy Dominie of Wick, who had agreed to act as a
guide to Girnigo, was, soon after sunrise, at the door, summoning the
party to make ready for the journey; for, although the morning was fair
and bright, he had seen signs in the preceding evening, which made him
apprehensive of another storm. ‘The wind,’ said he to Walkinshaw, who
was the first that obeyed the call, ‘often, at this time of the year,
rises about noon, when the waves jump with such agility against the
rocks, that the most periculous points of view cannot be seen in their
proper elegance, without the risk of breaking your neck, or at least
being washed away, and drowned for ever.’

Walkinshaw, accordingly, upon Gunn’s report, as he called it, roused
the whole party, and they set out for Staxigo, preceded by the Dominie,
who, at every turn of the road, ‘indexed,’ as he said, ‘the most
interesting places.’

During the walk to the village, the weather still continued propitious;
but the schoolmaster observed that a slight occasional breeze from
the north-east, the wildest wind that blows on that coast, rippled
the glassy sea, as it undulated among the rocks below their path; a
sure indication, so early in the morning, of a tempestuous afternoon.
His companions, however, unacquainted with the omens of that ravenous
shore, heard his remark without anxiety.

After breakfasting at Elspeth Heddle’s public in Staxigo on milk,
and ham and eggs, a partan, and haddocks, they went on to the ruins
of Girnigo. The occasional fetching of the wind’s breath, which the
Dominie had noticed in their morning walk, was now become a steady
gale, and the waves began to break against the rugged cliffs and
headlands to the southward, insomuch, that, when the party reached the
peninsula on which the princely ruins of the united castles of Girnigo
and Sinclair are situated, they found several fishermen, belonging to
Wick, who had gone out to sea at daybreak, busily drawing their boats
on shore, in the little port on the south side of the cliffs, under the
walls. The visitors inquired why they were so careful in such bright
and summer weather; but they directed the attention of the Dominie to
long flakes of goat’s beard in the skies, and to the sea-birds flying
towards the upland.

By this time the billows were breaking white and high on the
extremities of Noss-head, and the long grass on the bartisans and
window-sills of the ruins streamed and hissed in the wind. The sun was
bright; but the streaks of hoary vapour that veined the pure azure of
the heavens retained their position and menacing appearance. There
was, however, nothing in the phenomena of the skies to occasion any
apprehension; and the party, without thinking of the immediate horrors
of a storm, sympathised with their guide, as he related to them the
mournful legends of those solitary towers. But, although he dwelt, with
particular emphasis, on the story of the Bishop, whom one of the Earls
of Caithness had ordered his vassals to boil in a cauldron, on account
of his extortions, their sympathy was more sorrowfully awakened by the
woeful fate of the young Master of Caithness, who, in 1572, fell a
victim to the jealousy of his father.

‘George, the Earl at that time,’ said the schoolmaster, ‘with his son
the Master of Caithness, was on the leet of the lovers of Euphemia,
the only daughter of an ancestor of Lord Reay. The lady was young
and beautiful, and naturally preferred the son to the father; but
the Earl was a haughty baron, and, in revenge for his son proving a
more thriving wooer, was desirous of putting him for a season out
of the way--but not by the dirk, as the use and wont of that epoch
of unrule might have justified. Accordingly, one afternoon, as they
were sitting together in the hall at yonder architraved window in the
second story, the wrathful Earl clapped his hands thrice, and in came
three black-aviced kerns in rusted armour, who, by a signal harmonized
between them and Earl George, seized the lawful heir, and dragged him
to a dampish captivity in yon vault, of which you may see the yawning
hungry throat in the chasm between the two principal lumps of the
buildings.’

The learned Dominie then proceeded to relate the sequel of this strange
story--by which it appeared, that, soon after the imprisonment of his
son, the Earl being obliged to render his attendance at the court of
Stirling, left his son in the custody of Murdow Mackean Roy, who,
soon after the departure of his master, was persuaded by the prisoner
to connive at a plan for his escape. But the plot was discovered by
William, the Earl’s second son, who apprehended Murdow, and executed
him in the instant. Immediately after, he went down into the dungeon,
and threatened his brother also with immediate punishment, if he again
attempted to corrupt his keepers. The indignant young nobleman, though
well ironed, sprang upon Lord William, and bruised him with such
violence, that he soon after died. David and Inghrame Sinclair were
then appointed custodiers of the prisoner; but, availing themselves
of the absence of the Earl, and the confusion occasioned by the death
of William, they embezzled the money in the castle, and fled, leaving
their young lord in the dungeon, a prey to the horrors of hunger, of
which he died.

About seven years after, the Earl, while he lamented the fatal
consequences of his own rash rivalry, concealed his thirst for revenge.
Having heard that Inghrame Sinclair, who had retired with his booty to
a distant part of the country, intended to celebrate the marriage of
his daughter by a great feast, he resolved to make the festival the
scene of punishment. Accordingly, with a numerous retinue, he proceeded
to hunt in the neighbourhood of Inghrame Sinclair’s residence; and,
availing himself of the hospitable courtesies of the time, he entered
the banquet-hall, and slew the traitor in the midst of his guests.--

While the visitors in the lee of the ruins were listening to the
Dominie’s legend, the wind had continued to increase and the sea
to rise, and the spray of the waves was springing in stupendous
water-spouts and spires of foam over all the headlands in view to the
south.

‘Aye,’ said the Dominie, pointing out to them the ruins of Clyth
Castle, over which the sea was breaking white in the distance, ‘we
may expect a dry storm, for Clyth has got on its shroud. Look where
it stands like a ghost on the shore. It is a haunted and unhallowed
monument.

‘In olden and ancient times the Laird of Clyth went over to Denmark,
and, being at the court of Elsineur, counterfeited, by the help of a
handsome person, and a fine elocution, the style and renown of the
most prosperous gentleman in all Caithness, by which he beguiled a
Prince of Copenhagen to give him his daughter in marriage, a lady of
rare and surpassing beauty. After his marriage he returned to Scotland
to prepare for the reception of his gorgeous bride; but, when he beheld
his own rude turret amidst the spray of the ocean’s sea, and thought
of the golden palaces and sycamore gardens of Denmark, he was shocked
at the idea of a magnificent princess inhabiting such a bleak abode,
and overwhelmed with the dread of the indignation that his guilt would
excite among her friends. So when the Danish man-of-war, with the lady
on board, was approaching the coast, he ordered lights and fires along
the cliffs of Ulbster, by which the pilots were bewildered, and the
ship was dashed in pieces. The princess and her maids of honour, with
many of the sailors, were drowned; but her body was found, beautiful
in death, with rings on her fingers, and gems in her ears; and she
was interred, as became a high-born lady of her breeding, in the
vault where she now lies, among the ancestors of Sir John Sinclair
of Ulbster; and ever since that time, the Castle of Clyth has been
untenanted, and as often as the wind blows from the north-east, it is
covered with a shroud as if doing penance for the maiden of Denmark.’

Notwithstanding the pedantry in the Dominie’s language in relating
this tradition, the unaffected earnestness with which he expressed
himself, moved the compassion of his auditors, and some of the ladies
shed tears; which the gentlemen observing, Walkinshaw, to raise their
spirits, proposed they should go forward towards Noss-head to view the
dreadful turbulency of the breakers. But, before they had approached
within half a mile of the promontory, the violence of the gale had
increased to such a degree, that they found themselves several times
obliged to take refuge in the hollows of the rocks, unable to withstand
the fury of the wind, and the lavish showers of spray, that rose in
sheets from the waves, and came heavier than rain on the blast.



CHAPTER LXXXIX


In the meantime, the Glasgow party on board Allan M’Lean’s pilot-boat
was enjoying their sail and sosherie. Enticed by the beauty of the
sunny weather, which had preceded the arrival of our Glengael friends
at Wick, they had made a long stretch as far to the north as the
Mainland of Shetland, and after enjoying fresh ling and stockfish in
the highest perfection there, and laying in a capital assortment of
worsted hose for winter, they again weighed anchor, with the intention
of returning by the Pentland Firth. Being, however, overtaken by the
boisterous weather, which obliged Mr. Frazer and his two recruiting
guests to stop at Wick, they went into Kirkwall Bay, where they were
so long detained, that the thoughts of business and bills began to
deteriorate their pleasure.

To none of the party was the detention so irksome as to Mr. Walkinshaw,
for, independent of the cares of his mercantile concerns, his fancy was
running on Ellen Frazer, and he was resolved, as soon as he returned
to the Clyde, to sound her father with a proposal, to solicit her for
his second wife. Why a gentleman, so well advanced in life, should have
thought of offering himself as a candidate for a lady’s love, against
his nephew, we must leave to be accounted for by those who are able to
unravel the principles of the Earl of Caithness’s enmity to his son,
particularly as we are in possession of no reasonable theory, adequate
to explain how he happened to prefer Ellen Frazer to the numerous
beauties of the royal city. It is sufficient for us, as historians,
simply to state the fact, and narrate the events to which it gave rise.

Mr. Walkinshaw then, being rendered weary of the Orkneys, and, perhaps,
also of the joviality of his companions, by the mingled reflections of
business, and the tender intention of speedily taking a second wife,
resolved, rather than again incur the uncertainties of the winds and
waves, to leave the pilot-boat at Kirkwall, and embark for Thurso, in
order to return home over land; a vessel belonging to that port being
then wind-bound in the bay. Accordingly, on the same morning that the
party from Wick went to visit Girnigo Castle, and the magnificent
horrors of Noss-head, he embarked.

For some time after leaving Kirkwall, light airs and summer breezes
enabled the sloop in which he had taken his passage to work pleasantly
round Moulhead. But before she had passed the spiky rocks and islets of
Copinshaw, the master deemed it prudent to stand farther out to sea;
for the breeze had freshened, and the waves were dashing themselves
into foam on Roseness and the rugged shores of Barra.

The motion of the sloop, notwithstanding the experience which
the passenger had gained in the pilot-boat, overwhelmed him with
unutterable sickness, and he lay on the deck in such affliction, that
he once rashly wished he was drowned. The cabin-boy who attended him
was so horror-struck at hearing so profane a wish at sea, while the
wind was rising on a lee shore, that he left him to shift for himself.

For some time the master did not think it necessary to shorten sail,
but only to stretch out towards the south-east; but, as the sun mounted
towards the meridian, the gale so continued to increase, that he not
only found it necessary to reef, but in the end to hand almost all his
canvas save the foresail. Still, as there were no clouds, no rain,
no thunder nor lightning, the sea-sick Glasgow merchant dreamt of no
danger.

‘Maybe,’ said the cabin-boy in passing, as the Laird happened to look
up from his prostrate situation on the deck, ‘ye’ll get your ugly wish
oure soon.’

The regardless manner and serious tone in which this was said had an
immediate and restorative effect. Mr. Walkinshaw roused himself, and,
looking round, was surprised to see the sails taken in; and, casting
his eyes to leeward, beheld, with a strong emotion of consternation,
the ocean boiling with tremendous violence, and the spindrift rising
like steam.

‘It blows a dreadful gale?’ said he inquiringly to the master.

‘It does,’ was the emphatic reply.

‘I hope there is no danger,’ cried the merchant, alarmed, and drawing
himself close under the larboard gunnel.

The master, who was looking anxiously towards Duncansby-head, which
presented a stupendous tower of foaming spray, over the starboard bow,
replied,--

‘I hope we shall be able to weather Noss-head.’

‘And if we do not,’ said Mr. Walkinshaw, ‘what’s to be done?’

‘You’ll be drowned,’ cried the cabin-boy, who had seated himself on the
lee-side of the companion; and the bitterness of the reproachful accent
with which this was said stung the proud merchant to the quick--but he
said nothing; his fears were, however, now all awake, and he saw, with
a feeling of inexpressible alarm, that the crew were looking eagerly
and sorrowfully towards the roaring precipices of Caithness.

Still the vessel kept bravely to her helm, and was working slowly
outward; but, as she gradually wore round, her broadside became more
and more exposed to the sea, and once or twice her decks were washed
fore and aft.

‘This is terrible work, Captain,’ said Mr. Walkinshaw.

‘It is,’ was all the answer he received.

‘Is there no port we can bear away for?’

‘None.’

‘Good Heavens! Captain, if this continues till night?’

The master eyed him for a moment, and said with a shudder,--

‘If it does, sir, we shall never see night.’

‘You’ll be drowned,’ added the little boy, casting an angry look from
behind the companion.

‘Almighty Powers!--surely we are not in such danger?’ exclaimed the
terrified merchant.

‘Hold your tongue,’ again cried the boy.

Mr. Walkinshaw heard him, and for a moment was petrified, for the
command was not given with insolence, but solemnity.

A cry of ‘Hold fast’, in the same instant, came from the forecastle,
and, after a momentary pause, a dreadful sea broke aboard, and swept
the deck. The master, who had himself taken the helm, was washed
overboard, and the tiller was broken.

‘We are gone!’ said the little boy, as he shook the water from his
jacket, and crawled on towards the mast, at the foot of which he seated
himself, for the loss of the tiller, and the damage the rudder had
sustained, rendered the vessel unmanageable, and she drifted to her
fate before the wind.

‘Is there indeed no hope?’ cried Mr. Walkinshaw to one of the sailors,
who was holding by the shrouds.

‘If we get into Sinclair’s Bay, there is a sandy beach,’ replied the
sailor.

‘And if we do not?’ exclaimed the passenger in the accent of despair.

‘We’ll a’ be drowned,’ replied the boy with a scowling glance, as he
sat cowering with his head between his knees, at the foot of the mast.

‘We shall not get into Sinclair’s Bay,’ said the sailor, firmly; ‘but
we may pass Noss-head.’

‘Do you think so?’ said Mr. Walkinshaw, catching something like hope
and fortitude from the sedate courage of the sailor.

Another cry of ‘Hold fast’ prepared him for a second breach of the sea,
and he threw himself on the deck, and took hold of a ring-bolt, in
which situation he continued, though the vessel rose to the wave. In
the meantime, the resolute sailor, after looking calmly and collectedly
around for some time, went from the larboard to the starboard, and
mounted several rattlings of the shrouds, against which he leant with
his back, while the vessel was fast driving towards Noss-head.



CHAPTER XC


The party from Glengael, who had, as we have described, been obliged to
take refuge from the wind in the lee of the rocks, stood contemplating
the scene in silence. The sky was without a cloud--but the atmosphere
was nevertheless almost like steam, through which the sun shone so
sickly, that, even without hearing the hiss of the wind, or the rage
of the ocean, no shelter could have prevented the spectator from being
sensible that some extraordinary violence agitated and troubled the
whole air. Every shrub and bramble not only bent before the wind, but
it may be said their branches literally streamed in the blast. There
was a torrent which ran towards the sea, near the spot where the party
stood; but the wind caught its waters as they fell in a cataract, and
blew them over the face of the hill like a wreath of mist. A few birch
trees, that skirted the dell through which this stream ran, brushed the
ground before the breeze; and the silver lining of their leaves was
so upturned in the constant current of the storm, that they had the
appearance of being covered with hoar frost. Not a bee was abroad on
the heath, and the sea birds were fluttering and cowering in the lee
of the rocks--a bernacle, that attempted to fly from behind a block
of granite, was whirled screaming away in the wind, and flung with
such resistless impetuosity against the precipice, behind a corner
of which the party were sheltering, that it was killed on the spot.
The landscape was bright in the hazy sunshine; but the sheep lay in
the hollows of the ground, unable to withstand the deluge of the dry
tempest that swept all before it, and a wild and lonely lifelessness
reigned on the mountains.

The appearance of the sea was awful. It was not because the waves
rolled in more tremendous volumes than any of the party had ever before
seen, and burst against the iron precipices of Noss-head with the roar
and the rage of the falls of Niagara--the whole expanse of the ocean
was enveloped with spindrift, and, as it occasionally opened, a vessel
was seen. At first it was thought she was steering for the bay of Wick,
but it soon appeared that she drifted at random towards Sinclair’s Bay,
and could, by nothing less than some miraculous change of the wind,
reach the anchorage opposite to Kiess Castle.

Ellen Frazer was the first who spoke of the sloop’s inevitable
fate.--‘It is dreadful,’ said she, ‘for us to stand in safety here,
like spectators at a tragedy, and see yon unfortunate bark rushing
without hope to destruction. Let us make an attempt to reach the
beach--she may be driven on the shore, and we may have it in our power
to assist the poor wretches, if any should escape.’

They, accordingly, endeavoured to reach the strand; but before they
could wrestle with the wind half-way towards it, they saw that the
vessel could not attain Sinclair’s Bay, and that her only chance of
salvation was in weathering Noss-head, to which she was fast nearing.
They, in consequence, changed their course, and went towards the
promontory; but, by the time they had gained the height, they saw it
was hopeless to think they could render any assistance, and they halted
under the ledge of an overhanging rock, to see if she would be able to
weather that dreadful headland.

The place where they took shelter was to the windward of the spray,
which rose like a furious cataract against the promontory; and in
pyramids of foam, that were seen many leagues off at sea, deluged the
land to a great extent far beyond Castle Girnigo. It happened that
Ellen Frazer had a small telescope in her hand, which they had brought
with them, and, when they were under cover, she applied it to her eye.

‘The sailors,’ said she, ‘seem to have abandoned themselves to
despair--I see two prostrate on the deck. There is one standing on
the shrouds, as if he hopes to be able to leap on the rocks when she
strikes. The dog is on the end of the bowsprit--I can look at them no
more.’

She then handed the telescope to Mary, and, retiring to a little
distance, seated herself on a stone, and, covering her face with her
handkerchief, could no longer control her tears. The vessel, in the
meantime, was fast drifting towards the rocks, with her broadside to
the wave.

‘I think,’ said Mary, ‘that she must have lost her helm; nobody is
near where it should be.--They have no hope.--One of the men, who
had thrown himself on the deck, is risen. He is tying himself to the
shrouds.--There is a boy at the foot of the mast, sitting cowering on
the deck, holding his head between his hands.’

Walkinshaw, without speaking, took the telescope from his sister, who
went and sat down in silence beside Ellen. By this time, the vessel had
drifted so near, that everything on her deck was distinct to the naked
eye.

‘The person on the deck,’ said Walkinshaw, after looking through the
glass about the space of a minute, ‘is not a sailor--he has long
clothes, and has the appearance of a gentleman, probably a passenger.
That poor little boy!--he is evidently covering his ears, as if he
could shut out the noise of the roaring death that awaits him. What a
brave and noble fellow that is on the shrouds,--if coolness and courage
can save, he is safe.’

At this moment, a shriek from Mary roused Ellen, and they both ran to
the spot where Walkinshaw was standing. A tremendous wave had covered
the vessel, as it were, with a winding-sheet of foam, and before
it cleared away, she was among the breakers that raged against the
headland.

‘She is gone!’ said Walkinshaw, and he took his sister and Ellen by the
hands.--‘Let us leave these horrors.’ But the ladies trembled so much,
that they were unable to walk; and Ellen became so faint, that she was
obliged to sit down on the ground, while her lover ran with his hat
to find, if possible, a little fresh water to revive her. He had not,
however, been absent many minutes, when another shriek from his sister
called him back, and, on returning, he found that a large dog, dripping
wet, and whimpering and moaning, had laid himself at the feet of the
ladies with a look of the most piteous and helpless expression. It was
the dog they had seen on the bowsprit of the vessel, and they had no
doubt her fate was consummated; but three successive enormous billows
coming, with all the force of the German Ocean, from the Baltic, rolled
into the bay. The roar with which they broke as they hurled by the
cliff, where the party were standing, drew the attention of Walkinshaw
even from Ellen; and, to his surprise, he saw that the waves had, in
their sweep, drawn the vessel into the bay, and that she was coming
driving along the side of the precipice, and, if not dashed in pieces
before, would pass within a few yards of where they stood. Her bowsprit
was carried away, which showed how narrowly she had already escaped
destruction.

The ladies, roused again into eager and anxious sympathy by this
new incident, approached with Walkinshaw as near as possible to the
brink of the cliff--to the very edge of which the raging waters
raised their foamy crests as they passed in their might and majesty
from the headland into the bay. Another awful wave was soon after
seen rising at a distance, and, as it came rolling onward nearer and
nearer, it swallowed up every lesser billow. When it approached the
vessel, it swept her along so closely to the rocks that Walkinshaw
shouted unconsciously, and the dog ran barking to the edge of the
precipice,--all on board were for a moment animated with fresh
energy,--the little boy stood erect; and the sailor on the shrouds,
seeing Walkinshaw and the ladies, cried bravely, as the vessel rose on
the swell in passing, ‘It will not do yet.’ But the attention of his
admiring spectators was suddenly drawn from him to the gentleman. ‘Good
Heavens!’ exclaimed Ellen Frazer, ‘it is your uncle!’

It was even so. Mr. Walkinshaw, on raising his head to look up, saw
and recognized them, and, wildly starting from the deck, shook his
uplifted hands with a hideous and terrific frenzy. This scene was,
however, but for an instant; the flank of the wave, as it bore the
vessel along, broke against a projecting rock, and she was wheeled away
by the revulsion to a great distance.

The sailor in the shrouds still stood firm; a second wave, more
appalling than the former, brought the vessel again towards the cliff.
The dog, anticipating what would happen, ran towards the spot where
she was likely to strike. The surge swung her almost to the top of the
precipice,--the sailor leapt from the shrouds, and caught hold of a
projecting rock,--the dog seized him by the jacket to assist him up,
but the ravenous sea was not to lose its prey.--In the same moment
the wave broke, and the vessel was again tossed away from the rock,
and a frightful dash of the breakers tore down the sailor and the
faithful dog. Another tremendous revulsion, almost in the same moment,
terminated the fate of the vessel. As it came roaring along it caught
her by the broadside, and dashed her into ten thousand shivers against
an angle of the promontory, scarcely more than two hundred yards from
the spot where the horror-struck spectators stood. Had she been made of
glass, her destruction and fragments could not have been greater. They
floated like chaff on the waters; and, for the space of four or five
seconds, the foam amidst which they weltered was coloured in several
places with blood.



CHAPTER XCI


The same gale which proved so fatal on the coast of Caithness, carried
the Glasgow party briskly home.

Before their arrival the news of the loss of Mr. Walkinshaw had reached
the city, and Dirdumwhamle and his son were as busy, as heirs and
executors could well be, in taking possession of his fortune, which,
besides the estate of Kittlestonheugh, greatly exceeded their most
sanguine expectations. They were, however, smitten with no little
concern when, on applying to Mr. Pitwinnoch, the lawyer, to receive
infeftment of the lands, they heard from him, after he had perused the
deed of entail, that Robina had no right to the inheritance; but that
our friend Walkinshaw was the lawful heir.

It was, however, agreed, as the world, as well as themselves, had
uniformly understood and believed that old Grippy had disinherited his
eldest son, to say nothing about this important discovery. Walky and
Robina accordingly took possession in due form of her father’s mansion.
Their succession was unquestioned, and they mourned in all the most
fashionable pomp of woe for the loss they had sustained, receiving the
congratulatory condolence of their friends with the most befitting
decorum. To do the lady, however, justice, the tears which she shed
were immediate from the heart; for, with all his hereditary propensity
to gather and hold, her father had many respectable domestic virtues,
and was accounted by the world a fair and honourable man. It is also
due to her likewise to mention, that she was not informed, either by
her husband or father-in-law, of the mistake they had been all in with
regard to the entail; so that, whatever blame did attach to them for
the part they played, she was innocent of the fraud.

To Walkinshaw’s mother the loss of her brother-in-law was a severe
misfortune, for with him perished her annuity of fifty pounds a year.
She entertained, however, a hope that Robina would still continue it;
but the feelings arising from the consciousness of an unjust possession
of the estate, operated on the mind of Milrookit in such a way, as to
make him suddenly become wholly under the influence of avarice. Every
necessary expense was grudged; his wife, notwithstanding the wealth she
had brought him, was not allowed to enjoy a guinea; in a word, from
the day in which Pitwinnoch informed him that she had no right to the
property, he was devoured, in the most singular manner, with the most
miserly passions and fears.

The old Leddy, for some time after the shock she had met with in the
sudden death of her son, mourned with more unaffected sorrow than might
have been expected from her character; and having, during that period,
invited Mrs. Charles to spend a few weeks with her, the loss of the
annuity, and conjectures respecting the continuance of it, frequently
formed the subject of their conversation.

‘It’s my notion,’ the Leddy would say, ‘that Beenie will see to a
continuality o’ the ’nuity--but Walky’s sic a Nabal, that nae doot it
maun be a task o’ dexterity on her side to get him to agree. Howsever,
when they’re a’ settled, I’ll no be mealy-mouthed wi’ them. My word! a
bein bargain he has gotten wi’ her, and I’m wae to think it did nae fa’
to your Jamie’s luck, who is a laddie o’ a winsome temper--just as like
his grandfather, my friend that was, as a kittling’s like a cat--the
only difference being a wee thought mair o’ daffing and playrifety.’

Nor was it long after these observations that the Leddy had an
opportunity of speaking to her grandchildren on the subject. One day
soon after, when they happened to call, she took occasion to remind
them how kind she had been at the time of their marriage, and also
that, but for her agency, it might never have taken place.

‘Noo,’ said she, ‘there is ae thing I would speak to you anent, though
I was in the hope ye would hae spar’t me the obligation, by making
me a reasonable gratis gift for the cost and outlay I was at, forbye
trouble on your account. But the compliment is like the chariot-wheels
o’ Pharaoh, sae dreigh o’ drawing, that I canna afford to be blate wi’
you ony langer. Howsever, Walky and Beenie, I hae a projection in my
head, the whilk is a thought o’ wisdom for you to consider, and it’s o’
the nature o’ a solemn league and covenant. If ye’ll consent to alloo
Bell Fatherlans her ’nuity of fifty pounds per annus, as it is called
according to law, I’ll score you out o’ my books for the bed, board,
and washing due to me, and a heavy soom it is.’

‘Where do you think we are to get fifty pounds a year?’ exclaimed
Milrookit. ‘Fifty pounds a year!’

‘Just in the same neuk, Walky, where ye found the Kittlestonheugh
estate and the three and twenty thousand pounds o’ lying siller,
Beenie’s braw tocher,’ replied the Leddy; ‘and I think ye’re a very
crunkly character, though your name’s no Habakkuk, to gi’e me sic a
constipation o’ an answer.’

‘I can assure you, Leddy,’ said he, ‘if it was a thing within the
compass of my power, I would na need to be told to be liberal to
Mrs. Charles; but the burden o’ a family’s coming upon us, and it’s
necessary, nay, it’s a duty, to consider that charity begins at hame.’

‘And what’s to become o’ her and her dochter? Gude guide us! would the
hard nigger let her gang on the session? for I canna help her.’

‘All I can say at present,’ was his reply, ‘is that we are in no
circumstances to spare any thing like fifty pounds a year.’

‘Then I can tell thee, Walky, I will this very day mak out my count,
and every farthing I can extortionate frae thee, meeserable penure pig
that thou art, shall be pay’t o’er to her to the last fraction, just to
wring thy heart o’ niggerality.’

‘If you have any lawful claim against me, of course I am obliged to pay
you.’

‘If I hae ony lawful claim?--ye Goliah o’ cheatrie--if I hae ony lawful
claim?--But I’ll say nothing--I’ll mak out an account--and there’s
nae law in Christendom to stop me for charging what I like--my goose
shall lay gouden eggs, if the life bide in my bodie.--Ye unicorn of
oppression, to speak to me o’ law, that was so kind to you--but law ye
shall get, and law ye shall hae--and be made as lawful as it’s possible
for caption and horning, wi’ clerk and signet to implement.’

‘If you will make your little favours a debt, nobody can prevent you;
but I will pay no more than is justly due.’

The Leddy made no reply, but her eyes looked unutterable things; and
after sitting for some time in that energetic posture of displeasure,
she turned round to Robina, and said, with an accent of the most
touching sympathy,--

‘Hegh, Beenie! poor lassie! but thou hast ta’en thy sheep to a silly
market. A skelp-the-dub creature to upbraid me wi’ his justly dues!
But crocodile or croakin-deil, as I should ca’ him, he’ll get his ain
justly dues.--Mr. Milrookit o’ Kittlestonheugh, as it’s no the fashion
when folk hae recourse to the civil war o’ a law-plea, to stand on a
ceremony, maybe ye’ll find some mair pleasant place than this room, an
ye were to tak the pains to gang to the outside o’ my door; and I’ll
send, through the instrumentality o’ a man o’ business, twa lines anent
that bit sma’ matter for bed, board, and washing due to me for and
frae that time, when, ye ken, Mr. Milrookit, ye had na ae stiver to
keep yourself and your wife frae starvation.--So out o’ my house, and
daur no longer to pollute my presence, ye partan-handit, grip-and-haud
smiddy-vice Mammon o’ unrighteousness.’

After this gentle hint, as the Leddy afterwards called it, Milrookit
and Robina hastily obeyed her commands, and returned to their carriage;
but before driving home, he thought it necessary, under the menace he
had received, to take the advice of his lawyer, Mr. Pitwinnoch. Some
trifling affairs, however, prevented him from driving immediately to
his office, and the consequence was, that the Leddy, who never allowed
the grass to grow in her path, was there before him.



CHAPTER XCII


‘Mr. Pitwinnoch,’ said the Leddy, on being shown into what she
called ‘the bottomless pit o’ his consulting-room,’ where he wrote
alone,--‘ye’ll be surprised to see me, and troth ye may think it’s no
sma’ instancy that has brought me sae far afield the day; for I hae
been sic a lamiter with the rheumateese, that, for a’ the last week, I
was little better than a nymph o’ anguish; my banes were as sair as if
I had been brayed in a mortar, and shot into Spain. But ye maun know
and understand, that I hae a notion to try my luck and fortune in the
rowley-powley o’ a law-plea.’

‘Indeed!’ said the lawyer. ‘What has happened?’

‘Aye! Mr. Pitwinnoch, ye may weel speer; but my twa ungrateful
grandchildren, that I did sae muckle for at their marriage, hae used
me waur than I were a Papistical Jew o’ Jericho. I just, in my civil
and discreet manner, was gi’en them a delicate memento mori concerning
their unsettled count for bed, board, and washing; when up got
Milrookit, as if he would hae flown out at the broad side o’ the house,
and threepit that he didna owe me the tenth part o’ half a farthing;
and threatened to tak me afore the Lords for a Canaanitish woman,
and an extortioner.--Noo, don’t you think that’s a nice point, as my
worthy father used to say, and music to the ears of a’ the Fifteen at
Embrough?’

‘Mr. Milrookit, surely,’ said the lawyer, ‘can never resist so just a
demand. How much is it?’

‘But, first and forwards,’ replied the Leddy, ‘before we come to the
condescendence, I should state the case; and, Mr. Pitwinnoch, ye maun
understand that I hae some knowledge o’ what pertains to law, for my
father was most extraordinare at it; and so I need not tell you, that
it’s weel for me the day to know what I know. For Milrookit, as I was
saying, having refused, point-blank, Mr. Pitwinnoch, to implement the
’nuity of fifty pounds per annus, that your client--(that’s a legal
word, Mr. Pitwinnoch)--that your client settled on my gude-dochter, I
told him he would--then and there refusing--be bound over to pay me for
the bed, board, and washing. And what would ye think, Mr. Pitwinnoch?
he responded, with a justly due,--but I’ll due him; and though, had
he been calm and well-bred, I might have put up with ten pounds; yet,
seeing what a ramping lion he made himsel, I’ll no faik a farthing o’
a thousand, which, at merchants’ interest, will enable me to pay the
’nuity. So, when we get it, ye’ll hae to find me somebody willing to
borrow on an heritable bond.’

‘I think you can hardly expect so much as a thousand pounds. If I
recollect rightly, Mr. and Mrs. Milrookit stayed but six weeks with
you,’ said the lawyer.

‘Time,’ replied the Leddy, ‘ye ken, as I hae often heard my father
say, was no item in law; and unless there’s a statute of vagrancy in
the Decisions, or the Raging Magistratom, there can be no doot that I
hae’t in my power to put what value I please on my house, servitude,
and expense, which is the strong ground of the case. Therefore, you
will write a letter forthwith to Mr. Milrookit of Kittlestonheugh,
charging him with a lawful debt, and a’ justly due to me, of one
thousand pounds, without condescending on particulars at present, as
the damages can be afterwards assessed, when we hae gotten payment of
the principal, which everybody must allow is a most liberal offer on my
part.’

It was with some difficulty that Mr. Pitwinnoch could preserve himself
in a proper state of solemnity to listen to the instructions of his
client; but what lawyer would laugh, even in his own ‘bottomless pit’?
However, he said,--

‘Undoubtedly, Mrs. Walkinshaw, you have a good ground of action; but,
perhaps, I may be able to effect an amicable arrangement, if you would
submit the business to arbitration.’

‘Arbitration, Mr. Pitwinnoch!’ exclaimed the Leddy; ‘never propound
such a thing to me; for often hae I heard my father say, that
arbitration was the greatest cut-throat of legal proceedings that had
been devised since the discovery of justice at Amalphi. Na, na--I
hae mair sense than to virdict my case wi’ any sic pannelling as
arbitration. So, law being my only remeid, I hope ye’ll leave no stone
unturned till you hae brought Mr. Milrookit’s nose to the grindstone;
and to help you to haud it there, I hae brought a five pound note as
hansel for good luck,--this being the first traffic in legalities
that I hae had on my own bottom; for, in the concos mentos o’ Watty,
my son, ye ken I was keepit back, in order to be brought forward as
a witness; but there is no need o’ ony decreet o’ court for such an
interlocutor on the present occasion.’

The Leddy having, in this clear and learned manner, delivered her
instructions, she left the office, and soon after Milrookit was also
shown into ‘the bottomless pit,’ where he gave an account of the
transaction, somewhat different, but, perhaps, no nearer the truth.
He was, however, not a little surprised to find the pursuer had been
there before him, and that she had instructed proceedings. But what
struck him with the greatest consternation was a suggestion from Mr.
Pitwinnoch to compromise the matter.

‘Take my advice, Mr. Milrookit,’ said he, ‘and settle this
quietly--there is no saying what a law-suit may lead to; and,
considering the circumstances under which you hold the estate, don’t
stir, lest the sleeping dog awake. Let us pacify the old Leddy with two
or three hundred pounds.’

‘Two or three hundred pounds, for six weeks of starvation! The thing,
Mr. Pitwinnoch, is ridiculous.’

‘True, sir,’ replied the lawyer; ‘but then the state of the Entail--you
should consider that. Be thankful if she will take a couple of
hundreds.’

‘Nay, if you counsel me to do that, I have no alternative, and must
submit.’

‘You will do wisely in at once agreeing,’ said Pitwinnoch; and, after
some further conversation to the same effect, Milrookit gave a cheque
for two hundred pounds, and retired grumbling.

The lawyer, rejoicing in so speedy and fortunate a settlement, as soon
as he left the office, went to the Leddy, exulting in his address.

‘Twa hundred pounds!’ said she,--‘but the fifth part o’ my thousand!
I’ll ne’er tak ony sic payment. Ye’ll carry it back to Mr. Milrookit,
and tell him I’ll no faik a plack o’ my just debt; and what’s mair, if
he does na pay me the whole tot down at once, he shall be put to the
horn without a moment’s delay.’

‘I assure you,’ replied the lawyer, ‘that this is a result far beyond
hope--you ought not for a moment to make a word about it; for you must
be quite aware that he owes you no such sum as this. You said yourself
that ten pounds would have satisfied you.’

‘And so it would--but that was before I gaed to law wi’ him,’ cried
the Leddy; ‘but seeing now how I hae the rights o’ the plea, I’ll hae
my thousand pounds if the hide be on his snout. Whatna better proof
could ye hae o’ the justice o’ my demand, than that he should hae come
down in terror at once wi’ two hundred pounds? I hae known my father
law for seven years, and even when he won, he had money to pay out of
his own pocket--so, wi’ sic eres o’ victory as ye hae gotten, I would
be waur than mad no to stand out. Just gang till him, and come na back
to me without the thousand pound--every farthing, Mr. Pitwinnoch--and
your own costs besides; or, if ye dinna, maybe I’ll get another man
o’ business that will do my turn better--for, in an extremity like a
lawsuit, folk maunna stand on friendships. Had Mr. Keelevin been noo to
the fore, I wouldna needed to be put to my peremptors; but, honest man,
he’s gone. Howsever, there’s one Thomas Whitteret, that was his clerk
when my friend that’s awa’ made his deed o’ settlement--and I hae heard
he has a nerve o’ ability; so, if ye bring na me the thousand pounds
this very afternoon, I’ll apply to him to be my agent.’

Mr. Pitwinnoch said not a word to this, but left the house, and,
running to the Black Bull Inn, ordered a post-chaise, and was at
Kittlestonheugh almost as soon as his client. A short conversation
settled the business--the very name of Thomas Whitteret, an old clerk
of Keelevin, and probably acquainted with the whole affair, was worth
five thousand pounds, and, in consequence, in much less time than the
Leddy expected, she did receive full payment of her thousand pounds;
but, instead of expressing any pleasure at her success, she regretted
that she should have made a charge of such moderation, being persuaded,
that, had she stood out, the law would have given her double the money.



CHAPTER XCIII


Mr. Pitwinnoch was instructed to lay out the money at five per cent.
interest to pay Mrs. Charles the annuity; and one of his clerks
mentioned the circumstance to a companion in Mr. Whitteret’s office.
This led to an application from him for the loan, on account of
a country gentleman in the neighbourhood, who, having obtained a
considerable increase of his rental, was intending to enlarge his
mansion, and extend his style of living,--a very common thing at that
period, the effects of which are beginning to show themselves,--but,
as the Leddy said on another occasion, that’s none of our concern at
present.

The security offered being unexceptionable, an arrangement was speedily
concluded, and an heritable bond for the amount prepared. As the party
borrowing the money lived at some distance from the town, Mr. Whitteret
sent one of his young men to get it signed, and to deliver it to the
Leddy. It happened that the youth employed in this business was a
little acquainted with the Leddy, and knowing her whimsical humour,
when he carried it home he stopped, and fell into conversation with her
about Walkinshaw, whom he knew.

‘I maun gar his mother write to him,’ said the Leddy, ‘to tell him
what a victory I hae gotten;--for ye maun ken, Willy Keckle, that
I hae overcome principalities and powers in this controversy.--Wha
ever heard o’ thousands o’ pounds gotten for sax weeks’ bed, board,
and washing, like mine? But it was a rightous judgement on the Nabal
Milrookit,--whom I’ll never speak to again in this world, and no in the
next either, I doot, unless he mends his manners. He made an absolute
refuse to gie a continuality o’ Jamie’s mother’s ’nuity, which was
the because o’ my going to law with him for a thousand pounds, value
received in bed, board, and washing, for six weeks.--And the case,
Willy,--you that’s breeding for a limb o’ the law,--ye should ken, was
sic an absolute fact, that he was obligated by a judicature to pay me
down the money.’

Willy Keckle was so amused with her account of the speedy justice which
she had obtained, as she said, by instructing Mr. Pitwinnoch herself of
the ‘nice point,’ and ‘the strong ground,’ that he could not refrain
from relating the conversation to his master.

Mr. Whitteret was diverted with the story; but it seemed so strange and
unaccountable, that the amount of the demand, and the readiness with
which it was paid, dwelt on his mind as extraordinary circumstances;
and he having occasion next day to go into Edinburgh, where Mr. Frazer
had returned from Glengael, to attend his professional duties, he
happened to be invited to dine with a party where that gentleman was,
and the company consisting chiefly of lawyers,--as dinner parties
unfortunately are in the modern Athens,--he amused them with the story
of the Leddy’s legal knowledge.

Glengael, from the interest which he took in his young friend,
Walkinshaw, whom he had left at the castle, was led to inquire somewhat
particularly into the history of the Kittlestonheugh family, expressing
his surprise and suspicion, in common with the rest of the company,
as to the motives which could have influenced a person of Milrookit’s
character to comply so readily with a demand so preposterous.

One thing led on to another, and Mr. Whitteret recollected something
of the deed which had been prepared when he was in Mr. Keelevin’s
office, and how old Grippy died before it was executed. The object of
this deed was then discussed, and the idea presenting itself to the
mind of Glengael, that, possibly, it might have some connection with
the Entail, inquired more particularly respecting the terms of that
very extraordinary settlement, expressing his astonishment that it
should not have contained a clause to oblige the person marrying the
heiress to take the name of Walkinshaw, to which the old man, by all
accounts, had been so much attached. The whole affair, the more it
was considered, seemed the more mysterious; and the conclusion in the
penetrating mind of Mr. Frazer was, that Milrookit had undoubtedly some
strong reason for so quietly hushing the old Leddy’s claim.

His opinion at the moment was, that Robina’s father had left a will,
making some liberal provision for his sister-in-law’s family; and that
Milrookit was anxious to stand on such terms with his connections, as
would prevent any of them, now that Walkinshaw had left Glasgow, from
inquiring too anxiously into the state of his father-in-law’s affairs.
But, without expressing what was passing in his mind, he so managed the
conversation as to draw out the several opinions of his legal brethren.
Some of them coincided with his own. There was, however, one old pawkie
and shrewd writer to the signet present, who remained silent, but whom
Mr. Frazer observed attending with an uncommon degree of earnest and
eager watchfulness to what was said, practising, in fact, nearly the
same sort of policy which prompted himself to lead the conversation.

Mr. Pilledge,--for so this W. S. was called--had acquired a
considerable fortune and reputation in the Parliament House, by the
address with which he discovered dormant rights and legal heirs; and
Mr. Frazer had no doubt, from the evident interest which he had taken
in the Kittlestonheugh story, that he would soon take some steps to
ascertain the real motives which had led Milrookit to act in the
Leddy’s case so inconsistently with his general character. In so far
he was, therefore, not displeased to observe his earnestness; but he
had often heard it said, that Mr. Pilledge was in the practice of
making bargains with those clients whose dormant rights he undertook
to establish, by which it was insinuated that he had chiefly built up
his fortune--his general practice being very limited; and Mr. Frazer
resolved to watch his movements, in order to protect his young friend.

This opinion of Pilledge was not unfounded; for the same evening,
after the party broke up, he accompanied Whitteret to the hotel where
he stayed, and, in the course of the walk, renewed the conversation
respecting the singular entail of old Grippy. The Glasgow lawyer
was shrewd enough to perceive, that such unusual interest in a case
where he had no concern could not be dictated by the mere wonder and
curiosity which the Writer to the Signet affected to express; but,
being unacquainted with the general character of Pilledge, he ascribed
his questions and conjectures to the effect of professional feelings
perplexed by a remarkable case.

But it happened next morning that he had occasion to attend a
consultation with Mr. Frazer, who, taking an opportunity to revert to
the subject, which had so occupied their attention on the preceding
afternoon, gave him a hint to be on his guard with respect to Pilledge,
suggesting, on Walkinshaw’s account, that Whitteret might find it of
advantage to himself, could he really ascertain the secret reasons
and motives by which the possessor of the Kittlestonheugh estate was
actuated.

‘It would not give you much trouble,’ said he, ‘were you to step into
the Register Office, and look at the terms of the original deed of
entail; for although the disinheritance of the eldest son, as I have
always understood, was final, there may be some flaw in the succession
with respect to the daughter.’

This extrajudicial advice was not lost. As soon as the consultation was
over, Whitteret went to the Register Office, where, not a little to his
surprise, he found Pilledge, as Frazer had suspected, already in the
act of reading the registered deed of the entail. A short conversation
then ensued, in which Whitteret intimated that he had also come for the
same purpose.

‘Then,’ said Pilledge, ‘let us go together, for it appears to me that
the heirs-female of the sons do not succeed before the heirs whatsoever
of the daughters; and Milrookit’s right would be preferable to that of
his wife, if the eldest son has not left a son.’

‘But the eldest son has left a son,’ replied Whitteret.

‘In that case,’ said Pilledge, ‘we may make a good thing of it with
him. I’ll propose to him to undertake his claim upon an agreement for
half the rent, in the event of success, and we can divide the bakes.’

‘You may save yourself the trouble,’ replied Whitteret coolly; ‘for I
shall write to him by the first post--in the meantime, Mr. Frazer has
authorized me to act.’

‘Frazer! how can he authorize you?’ said Pilledge, discontentedly.

‘He knows that best himself; but the right of the son of the eldest son
is so clear, that there will be no room for any proceedings.’

‘You are mistaken there,’ replied Pilledge, eagerly. ‘I never saw a
deed yet that I could not drive a horse and cart through, and I should
think that Milrookit is not such a fool as to part with the estate
without a struggle. But since you are agent for the heir of entail, I
will offer to conduct the respondent’s case. I think you said he is
rich, independent of the heritable subject.’

This conscientious conversation was abruptly terminated on the part of
Whitteret, who immediately went to Mr. Frazer, and communicated the
important discovery which had been made, with respect to Walkinshaw
being the heir of entail. He also mentioned something of what had
passed with Mr. Pilledge, expressing his apprehensions, from what he
knew of Pitwinnoch, Milrookit’s man of business, in Glasgow, that
Pilledge, with his assistance, might involve the heir in expensive
litigation.

Mr. Frazer knew enough of the metaphysical ingenuity of the Parliament
House, to be aware that, however clear and evident any right might
be, it was never beyond the possibility of dispute there, and he
immediately suggested that some steps should be taken, to induce
Milrookit at once to resign the possession of the property; but, while
they were thus speaking Pilledge was already on the road to Glasgow, to
apprise Milrookit of what was impending, and to counsel him to resist.



CHAPTER XCIV


From the circumstance of Milrookit and Robina staying with the Leddy
at the time of their marriage, the porter at the inn, where Pilledge
alighted on his arrival at Glasgow, supposed they lived in her house,
and conducted him there. But, on reaching the door, seeing the name
of Mrs. Walkinshaw on a brass plate, not quite so large as the one
that the Lord Provost of the royal city sported on the occasion of his
Majesty’s most gracious visit to the lawful and intellectual metropolis
of his ancient kingdom, he resolved to address himself to her, for
what purpose it would not be easy to say, further than he thought,
perhaps, from what he had heard of her character, that she might be of
use in the projected litigation. Accordingly, he applied his hand to
the knocker, and was shown into the room where she was sitting alone,
spinning.

‘You are the lady,’ said he, ‘I presume, of the late much respected Mr.
Claud Walkinshaw, commonly styled of Grippy.’

‘So they say, for want o’ a better,’ replied the Leddy, stopping at the
same time her wheel and looking up to him; ‘but wha are ye, and what’s
your will?’

‘My name is Pilledge. I am a writer to the signet, and I have come to
see Mr. Milrookit of Kittlestonheugh, respecting an important piece of
business;’--and he seated himself unbidden. As he said this, the Leddy
pricked up her ears, for, exulting in her own knowledge of the law, by
which she had recently so triumphed, as she thought, she became eager
to know what the important piece of business could be, and replied,--

‘Nae doot, it’s anent the law-plea he has been brought into, on account
of his property.’

Milrookit had been engaged in no suit whatever, but this was the way
she took to trot the Edinburgh writer, and she added,--

‘How do ye think it’ll gang wi’ him? Is there ony prospect o’ the Lord
Ordinary coming to a decision on the pursuer’s petition?’

This really looked so like the language of the Parliament House,
considering it came from an old lady, that Pilledge was taken in, and
his thoughts running on the entail, he immediately fancied that she
alluded to something connected with it, and said,--

‘I should think, Madam, that your evidence would be of the utmost
importance to the case, and it was to advise with him chiefly as to the
line of defence he ought to take that I came from Edinburgh.’

‘Nae doot, Sir, I could gie an evidence, and instruct on the merits
of the interdict,’ said she learnedly; ‘but I ne’er hae yet been able
to come to a right understanding anent and concerning the different
aforesaids set forth in the respondent’s reclaiming petition. Noo, I
would be greatly obligated if ye would expone to me the nice point,
that I may be able to decern accordingly.’

The Writer to the Signet had never heard a clearer argument, either at
the bar or on the bench, and he replied,--

‘Indeed, Mem, it lies in a very small compass. It appears that the
heir-male of your eldest son is the rightful heir of entail; but there
are so many difficulties in the terms of the settlement, that I should
not be surprised were the Court to set the deed aside, in which case,
Mrs. Milrookit would still retain the estate, as heir-at-law of her
father.’

We must allow the reader to conceive with what feelings the Leddy heard
this; but new and wonderful as it was felt to be, she still preserved
her juridical gravity, and said,--

‘It’s vera true what ye say, Sir, that the heir-male of my eldest
son,--is a son,--I can easily understand that point o’ law;--but can ye
tell me how the heir-at-law of her father, Mrs. Milrookit that is, came
to be a dochter, when it was ay the intent and purpose o’ my friend
that’s awa, the testator, to make no provision but for heirs-male,
which his heart, poor man, was overly set on. Howsever, I suppose
that’s to be considered in the precognition!’

‘Certainly, Mem,’ replied the Writer to the Signet; ‘nothing is more
clear than that your husband intended the estate to go, in the first
instance, to the heirs-male of his sons; first to those of Walter, the
second son; and failing them, to those of George, the third son; and
failing them, then to go back to the heirs-male of Charles, the eldest
son; and failing them, to the heirs-general of Margaret, your daughter.
It is, therefore, perfectly clear, that Mrs. Milrookit being, as you
justly observe, a daughter, the estate, according to the terms of the
settlement, passes her, and goes to the heir of entail, who is the son
of your eldest son.’

‘I understand that weel,’ said the Leddy; ‘it’s as plain as a
pike-staff, that my oe Jamie, the soldier-officer, is by right the
heir; and I dinna see how Walky Milrookit, or his wife Beenie, that is,
according to law, Robina, can, by any decreet o’ Court, keep him out of
his ain,--poor laddie!’

‘It is very natural for you, Mem, to say so; but the case has other
points, and especially as the heir of entail is in the army, I
certainly would not advise Mr. Milrookit to surrender.’

‘But he’ll be maybe counselled better,’ rejoined the Leddy, inwardly
rejoicing at the discovery she had made, and anxious to get rid of the
visitor, in order that she might act at once, ‘and if ye’ll tak my
advice, ye’ll no sca’d your lips in other folks’ kail. Mr. Pitwinnoch
is just as gude a Belzebub’s baby for a law-plea, as ony Writer to the
Signet in that bottomless pit, the House o’ Parliament in Edinbrough;
and since ye hae told me what ye hae done, it’s but right to let you
ken what I’ll do. As yet I hae had but ae lawsuit, and I trow it was
soon brought, by my own mediation, to a victory; but it winna be lang
till I hae another; for if Milrookit does na consent, the morn’s
morning, to gie up the Kittlestonheugh, he’ll soon fin’ again what it
is to plea wi’ a woman o’ my experience.’

Pilledge was petrified; he saw that he was in the hands of the Leddy,
and that she had completely overreached him. But still he was resolved
that his journey should not be barren if he could possibly prevent it.
He accordingly wished her good afternoon, and, returning to the inn,
ordered a chaise, and proceeded to Kittlestonheugh.

The moment that he left the Leddy, her cloak and bonnet were put in
requisition, and attended by her maid, on whose arm she leaned, being
still lame with the rheumatism, she sallied forth to Pitwinnoch’s
office, resolved on action.

He had not, however, acted on what she called her great Bed and Board
plea entirely to her satisfaction; for she thought, had he seen the
rights of her case as well as she did herself, and had counselled her
better, she might have got much more than a thousand pounds. She was,
therefore, determined, if he showed the least hesitation in obeying her
‘peremptors,’ that she would immediately proceed to Mr. Whitteret’s
office, and appoint him her agent. How she happened to imagine that
she had any right to institute proceedings against Milrookit, for the
restoration of the estate to Walkinshaw, will be best understood by our
narrative of what passed at the consultation.



CHAPTER XCV


‘It was a happy thing for me, Mr. Pitwinnoch,’ said the Leddy, after
being seated in his inner chamber--‘a happy thing, indeed, that I had
a father, and sic a father as he was. Weel kent he the rights o’ the
law; so that I may say I was brought up at the feet o’ Gamaliel. But
the bed and board plea, Mr. Pitwinnoch, that ye thought sae lightly o’,
and wanted me to mak a sacrifice o’ wi’ an arbitration, was bairn’s
play to the case I hae noo in hand. Ye maun ken, then, that I hae ta’en
a suspektion in my head, that Milrookit--the de’il rook him for what
he did to me--has nae right because to keep, in a wrongous manner,
my gudeman’s estate and property o’ the Kittlestonheugh. ’Deed, Mr.
Pitwinnoch, ye may glower; but it’s my intent and purpose to gar him
surrender at discretion, in due course of law. So he’ll see what it
is to deal wi’ a woman o’ my legality. In short, Mr. Pitwinnoch, I’ll
mak him fin’ that I’m a statute at large; for, as I said before, the
thousand pounds was but erles, and a foretaste, that I hae been oure
lang, Mr. Pitwinnoch, of going to law.’

‘You surprise me, Madam,--I cannot understand what you mean,’ replied
the astonished lawyer.

‘Your surprise, and having no understanding, Mr. Pitwinnoch, is a
symptom to me that ye’re no qualified to conduct my case; but, before
going to Thomas Whitteret, who, as I am creditably informed, is a man
o’ a most great capacity, I thought it was but right to sound the depth
o’ your judgement and learning o’ the law; and if I found you o’ a
proper sufficiency, to gie you a preferment, ’cause ye were my agent in
the last plea.’

‘But, Madam,’ said the astonished lawyer, ‘how can you possibly have
fancied that Mr. Milrookit has not, in right of his wife, properly
succeeded to the estate?’

‘Because she’s no a male-heir--being in terms of the act--but a woman.
What say ye to that? Is na that baith a nice point and a ground of
action? Na, ye need na look sae constipated, Mr. Pitwinnoch, for the
heirs-general o’ Margaret, the dochter, hae a better right than the
heir-at-law o’ George, the third and last son, the same being an
heir-female.’

‘In the name of goodness, where have you, Madam, collected all this
stuff?’

‘Stuff! Mr. Pitwinnoch, is that the way to speak o’ my legality?
Howsever, since ye’re sae dumfoundert, I’ll just be as plain’s am
pleasant wi’ you. Stuff truly! I think Mr. Whitteret’s the man for me.’

‘I beg your pardon, Mrs. Walkinshaw; but I wish you would be a little
more explicit, and come to the point.’

‘Have na I come to ae point already, anent the male-heir?’

‘True, Madam,’ said the lawyer; ‘but even, admitting all you have
stated to be perfectly correct, Mr. Milrookit then has the right in
himself, for you know it is to the heirs-general of his mother, and not
to herself, that the property goes.’

‘Ye need na tell me that. Do you think I dinna ken that he’s an
heir-general to his mother, being her only child? Ye mak light, I
canna but say, o’ my understanding, Mr. Pitwinnoch. Howsever, is’t
no plain that his wife, not being an heir-male, is debarred frae
succeeding; and, he being an heir-general, cannot, according to the
law of the case, succeed? Surely, Mr. Pitwinnoch, that’s no to be
contested? Therefore, I maintain that he is lawfully bound to renounce
the property, and that he shall do the morn’s morning if there’s a
toun-officer in Glasgow.’

‘But, Madam, you have no possible right to it,’ exclaimed the lawyer,
puzzled.

‘Me! am I a male-heir? an aged woman, and a grandmother! Surely, Mr.
Pitwinnoch, your education maun hae been greatly neglekit, to ken so
little o’ the laws o’ nature and nations. No: the heir-male is a young
man, the eldest son’s only son.’

The lawyer began to quake for his client as the Leddy proceeded,--

‘For ye ken that the deed of entail was first on Walter, the second
son; and, failing his heirs-male, then on George and his heirs-male;
and, failing them, then it went back to Charles the eldest son, and to
his heirs-male; if there’s law in the land, his only son ought to be an
heir-male, afore Milrookit’s wife that’s but an only dochter.’

‘Has Mr. Whitteret put this into your head?--he was bred wi’ Keelevin,
who drew up the deed,’ said the lawyer seriously, struck with the
knowledge which the Leddy seemed to have so miraculously acquired of
the provisions of the entail.

‘I dinna need Mr. Whitteret, nor ony siclike, to instruct me in terms
o’ law--for I got an inkling and an instinct o’ the whole nine points
frae my worthy father, that was himsel bred an advocate, and had more
law-pleas on his hands when he died than ony ither three lairds in
Carrick, Coil, and Cunningham. But no to be my own trumpeter--ye’ll
just, Mr. Pitwinnoch, write a mandamus to Milrookit, in a civil
manner--mind that; and tell him in the same, that I’ll be greatly
obligated if he’ll gie up the house and property of Kittlestonheugh to
the heir-male, James Walkinshaw, his cousin; or, failing therein, ye’ll
say that I hae implemented you to pronounce an interlocutor against
him; and ye may gie him a bit hint frae yoursel--in a noty beny at the
bottom--that you advise him to conform, because you are creditably
informed that I mean to pursue him wi’ a’ the law o’ my displeasure.’

‘Does your grandson know any thing of this extraordinary business?’
said Pitwinnoch; but the Leddy parried the question by saying,--

‘That’s no our present sederunt; but I would ask you, if ye do not
think I hae the justice o’ this plea?’

‘Indeed, Madam, to say the truth, I shall not be surprised if you have;
but there is no need to be so peremptory--the business may be as well
settled by an amicable arrangement.’

‘What’s the use of an amicable arrangement? Is na the law the law?
Surely I did na come to a lawyer for sic dowf and dowie proceedings
as amicable arrangements--no, Mr. Pitwinnoch, ye see yoursel that I
hae decern’t on the rights o’ the case, and therefore (for I maun be
short wi’ you, for talking to me o’ amicable arrangements) ye may
save your breath to cool your porridge; my will and pleasure is, that
Walkinshaw Milrookit shall do to-morrow morning--in manner of law--then
and there--dispone and surrender unto the heir-male of the late Claud
Walkinshaw of Kittlestonheugh, in the shire o’ Lanark, and synod
of Glasgow and Ayr--all and sundry the houses and lands aforesaid,
according to the provisions of an act made and passed in the reign of
our Sovereign Lord the King. Ye see, Mr. Pitwinnoch, that I’m no a daw
in barrow’t feathers, to be picket and pooket in the way I was by sic
trash as the Milrookits.’

The Leddy, having thus instructed her lawyer, bade him adieu, and
returned home, leaning on her maid’s arm, and on the best possible
terms with herself, scarcely for a moment doubting a favourable result
to a proceeding that in courtesy we must call her second law-suit.



CHAPTER XCVI


The shipwreck of the third Laird had left an awful impression on the
minds of all the Glengael party, who, immediately after that disaster,
returned to the castle. To Mrs. Eadie it afforded the strongest
confirmation that she had inherited the inspiring mantle of her
maternal race; and her dreams and visions, which happily for herself
were of the most encouraging augury, became more and more frequent, and
her language increased in mystery and metaphor.

‘Death,’ said she, ‘has performed his task--the winds of heaven and
the ocean waves have obeyed the mandate, and the moon has verified her
influence on the destinies of men. But the volume, with the brazen
clasps, has not yet been opened--the chronicled wisdom of ages has not
yet been unfolded--Antiquity and Learning are still silent in their
niches, and their faces veiled.’

It was of no avail to argue with her, even in her soberest moods,
against the fatal consequences of yielding so entirely to the
somnambulism of her malady. Her friends listened to her with a solemn
compassion, and only hoped that, in the course of the summer, some
improvement might take place in her health, and allay that extreme
occasional excitement of her nervous system which produced such
mournful effects on a mind of rare and splendid endowments. In the
hopes of this favourable change, it was agreed, when Mr. Frazer was
called to Edinburgh on professional business, as we have already
mentioned, that the family should, on her account, remain till late in
the year at Glengael.

Meanwhile Walkinshaw and French Frazer were proceeding with their
recruiting; and it was soon evident to the whole party that the latter
had attached himself in a particular manner to Mary. Mrs. Eadie, if not
the first who observed it, was the first who spoke of it; but, instead
of using that sort of strain which ladies of a certain age commonly
employ on such affairs, she boded of bridal banquets in the loftiest
poetry of her prophetical phraseology. The fortunes of Walkinshaw and
Ellen were lost sight of in the mystical presages of this new theme,
till the letters arrived from Mr. Frazer, announcing the discovery of
the provisions in the deed of entail, and requesting his young friend
to come immediately to Edinburgh. ‘The clasped book of antiquity,’ said
Mrs. Eadie, ‘is now open. Who shall dispute the oracles of fate?’

But with all the perspicuity of her second sight, she saw nothing of
what was passing at Kittlestonheugh on the same afternoon in which
these letters reached the castle.

Mr. Pilledge, it will be recollected, immediately after his interview
with the Leddy, proceeded in a post-chaise to see Milrookit; and, as he
was not embarrassed with much professional diffidence, the purpose of
his visit was soon explained. The consternation with which Walky heard
of the discovery will be easier imagined than described; but something
like a ray of hope and pleasure glimmered in the prospect that Pilledge
held out of being able either to break the entail, or to procrastinate
the contest to an indefinite period at an expence of less than half the
rental of the property.

While they were thus engaged in discussing the subject, and Milrookit
was entering as cordially into the views of the Edinburgh writer, as
could on so short a notice be reasonably expected, Mr. Pitwinnoch was
announced. The instinct of birds of a feather, as the proverb says, had
often before brought him into contact with Pilledge, and a few words of
explanation enabled the triumvirate to understand the feelings of each
other thoroughly.

‘But,’ said Pitwinnoch, ‘I am instructed to take immediate steps, to
establish the rights of the heir of entail.’

‘So much the better,’ replied Pilledge; ‘the business could not be
in abler hands. You can act for your client in the most satisfactory
manner, and as Mr. Milrookit will authorize me to proceed for him, it
will be hard if we cannot make a tough pull.’

Mr. Pitwinnoch thought so too, and then amused them with a laughable
account of the instructions he had received from the Leddy, to demand
the surrender of the estate, and the acknowledgment of the heir, in
the course of the following day. Pilledge, in like manner, recounted,
in his dry and pawkie style, the interview which he had himself with
the same ingenious and redoubtable matron; and that nothing might be
wanting to the enjoyment of their jokes and funny recitals, Milrookit
ordered in wine, and they were all as jocose as possible, when the
servant brought a letter--it was from Mr. Whitteret, written at the
suggestion of Mr. Frazer, to whom he had, immediately after parting
from Pilledge in the Register Office, communicated the discovery. It
simply announced, that steps were taken to serve Walkinshaw heir to the
estate, and suggested on account of the relationship of the parties,
that it might be as well to obviate, by an admission of the claim,
the necessity of any exposure, or of the institution of unpleasant
proceedings, for the fraud that had been practised.

Milrookit trembled as he read,--Pitwinnoch looked aghast, for he
perceived that his own conduct in the transaction might be sifted; and
Pilledge, foreseeing there would be no use for him, quietly took his
hat and slipped away, leaving them to their own meditations.

‘This is a dreadful calamity,’ were the first words that Milrookit
uttered, after a silence of several minutes.

‘It is a most unlucky discovery,’ said Pitwinnoch.

‘And this threat of exposure,’ responded his client.

‘And my character brought into peril!’ exclaimed the lawyer.

‘Had you not rashly advised me,’ said Milrookit, ‘I should never for a
moment have thought of retaining the property.’

‘Both your father and yourself, Sir,’ retorted the lawyer, ‘thought
if it could be done, it ought; I but did my duty as your lawyer, in
recommending what you so evidently wished.’

‘That is not the fact, Sir,’ replied Milrookit, sharply, and the
conversation proceeded to become more abrupt and vehement, till the
anger of high words assumed the form of action, and the lawyer and his
client rushed like two bull-dogs on each other. At that crisis, the
door was suddenly opened, and the old Leddy looking in, said,--

‘Shake him weel, Mr. Pitwinnoch, and if he’ll no conform, I redde ye
gar him conform.’

The rage of the combatants was instantly extinguished, and they stood
pale and confounded, trembling in every limb.

It had happened, after the Leddy returned home from Pitwinnoch’s,
that Robina called, in the carriage, to effect, if possible, a
reconciliation with her, which, for reasons we need not mention,
her husband had engaged her that afternoon to do, and she had, in
consequence, brought her, in the spirit of friendship, as she imagined,
out to Kittlestonheugh. The Leddy, however, prided herself on being
almost as dexterous a diplomatician as she was learned in the law, and
she affected to receive her grand-daughter in the spirit of a total
oblivion of all injuries.

‘Ye ken, Beenie, my dear,’ said she, ‘that I’m an aged person, and for
a’ the few and evil days I hae before me in this howling wilderness,
it’s vera natural that I should like to make a conciliation wi’
my grandchilder, who, I hope, will a’ live in comfort wi’ one
another--every one getting his own right, for it’s a sore thing to go
to law, although I hae some reason to know that there are folks in
our family that ken mair o’ the nine points than they let wit--so I’m
cordial glad to see you, Beenie, and I take it so kind, that if ye’ll
gie me a hurl in the carriage, and send me hame at night, I’ll no
object to gang wi’ you and speer for your gudeman, for whom I hae a’
manner o’ respek, even though he was a thought unreasonable anent my
charge o’ moderation for the bed and board.’

But the truth is, that the Leddy, from the moment Robina entered the
room, was seized with the thirst of curiosity to know how Milrookit
would receive the claim, and had, in this eccentric manner, contrived
to get herself taken to the scene of action.



CHAPTER XCVII


Recalled to their senses by the interruption, both Milrookit and his
lawyer saw that their interests and characters were too intimately
linked in the consequences of the discovery to allow them to incur the
hazards of a public disclosure. Pitwinnoch was the first who recovered
his presence of mind, and, with great cleverness, he suddenly turned
round, and addressed himself to the Leddy:--

‘Though we have had a few words, Mr. Milrookit is quite sensible that
he has not a shadow of reason to withhold the estate from the heir of
entail. He will give it up the moment that it is demanded.’

‘Then I demand it this moment,’ exclaimed the Leddy; ‘and out of this
house, that was my ain, I’ll no depart till Jamie Walkinshaw, the
righteous male-heir, comes to tak possession. It was a most jewdical
habit and repute like action o’ you, Walky Milrookit, to reset and keep
this fine property on a point of law; and I canna see how ye’ll clear
your character o’ the coom ye hae brought on’t by sic a diminishment
of the grounds of the case between an heir-male and an heir-female.’

Milrookit, seeing his wife coming into the room, and eager to get the
business closed as happily as possible, requested Pitwinnoch to follow
him into another apartment; to which they immediately retired, leaving
the ladies together.

‘Beenie,’ said the Leddy, with the most ineffable self-satisfied
equanimity, ‘I hope ye’ll prepare yoursel to hear wi’ composity the
sore affliction that I’m ordain’t to gie you. Eh, Beenie! honesty’s a
braw thing; and I’ll no say that your gudeman, my ain oe, hasna been a
deevil that should get his dues--what they are, the laws and lawyers
as weel as me ken are little short o’ the halter. But, for a’ that,
our ain kith and kin, Beenie--we maun jook and let the jawp gae bye.
So I counsel you to pack up your ends and your awls, and flit your
camp wi’ a’ the speed ye dow; for there’s no saying what a rampageous
soldier-officer, whose trade is to shoot folk, may say or do, when
Jamie Walkinshaw comes to ken the battle that I hae fought wi’ sic
triumphing.’

Mrs. Milrookit, who was totally uninformed either of the circumstances
of her situation, or of what had taken place, scarcely felt more
amazement than terror at this speech, and in perceiving that her
grandmother was acquainted with the business which had brought her
husband and Pitwinnoch to such high words, that their voices were heard
before the carriage reached the door.

‘What has happened?’ was the anxious exclamation of her alarm.

‘Only a discovery that has been made among the Faculty o’ Advocates,
that a dochter’s no a male-heir. So you being but the heir-female of
George, the third son, by course o’ nature the property goes back
to the son of Charles the eldest son--he being, in the words of the
act, an heir-male, and your husband, Walkinshaw Milrookit, being an
heir-general of Margaret, the daughter, is, in a sense o’ law, no heir
at all, which is the reason that your cousin Jamie comes in for the
estate, and that you and Milrookit must take up your bed, and walk to
some other dwelling-place; for here, at Kittlestonheugh, ye hae no
continued city, Beenie, my dear, and I’m very sorry for you. It’s wi’
a very heavy heart, and an e’e o’ pity, that I’m obligated not to be
beautiful on the mountains, but to tell you thir sore news.’

‘Then I’m to understand,’ replied Robina, with a degree of composure
that surprised the Leddy, ‘it has been discovered that my uncle
Charles’ family were not entirely disinherited, but that James succeeds
to the estate? It is only to be regretted that this was not known
sooner, before we took up our residence here.’

‘It’s an auld saying, Beenie, and a true saying, as I know from my own
experience, that the law is a tether o’ length and durability; so ye
need be nane surprised, considering the short time bygane since your
father’s death, that the panel was na brought to judgement sooner.
Indeed, if it had na been by my instrumentality, and the implementing
o’ the case that I gied to Pitwinnoch, there’s no saying how long it
would hae been pending afore the Lords.’

While the Leddy was thus delivering what she called her dark sentence
o’ legality, Pitwinnoch and Milrookit returned into the room, and the
former said to the Leddy,--

‘I’m happy to inform you, Madam, that Mr. Milrookit acts in the
handsomest manner. He is quite satisfied that his cousin, Mr.
Walkinshaw, is the true heir of entail, and is prepared to resign the
estate at once.’

‘Did na I prove to you, Mr. Pitwinnoch, that wi’ baith his feet he had
na ae leg in law to stand on; but ye misdootit my judgement,’ replied
the Leddy, exultingly.

‘But,’ continued the lawyer, ‘in consideration of this most honourable
acquiescence at once on his part, I have undertaken that ye’ll repay
the thousand pounds which, you must be sensible, was a most ridiculous
sum for six weeks’ bed and board in your house.’

‘Truly, and ye’re no far wrang, Mr. Pitwinnoch. It was a vera
ridiculous soom; for, if I had stood out, I might hae got twa thousand,
if no mair. But I canna understand how it is possible you can think
I’ll part wi’ my lawful won money for naething.--What’s the gieing up
o’ the estate to the male heir to me? I’ll get neither plack nor bawbee
by’t, unless it please Jamie to gie me a bit present, by way o’ a fee,
for counselling you how to set about the precognition that’s gotten him
his right.--Na, na, no ae farthing will I faik.’

‘Then, Madam, I shall feel it my duty to advise Mr. Milrookit to revive
the question, and take the matter into Court upon a ground of error,’
said the lawyer.

‘Tak it, tak it, pleasure yoursel in that way; ye can do naething
mair cordial to me;--but I think ye ought to know, and Milrookit to
understand, baith by bed, board, and washing, and heirs-male, what it
is to try the law wi’ me.’

The lawyer and his client exchanged looks: the Leddy, however,
continued her address,--

‘Howsever, Mr. Pitwinnoch, sure am I there was no mistake in the
business; for ye’ll bear in mind that ye made me an offer of twa
hundred, the whilk I refused, and then ye brought me my justly due.
That settles the point o’ law,--tak my word for ’t.’

‘I am afraid,’ said Pitwinnoch to his rueful client, ‘that there is no
chance’--

‘’Deed no, Mr. Pitwinnoch,’ replied the Leddy; ‘neither pursuer nor
respondent has ony chance wi’ me in that plea; so just shake your lugs
and lie down again. A’ your barking would prove afore the Lords but
as water spilt on the ground; for the money is in an heritable bond,
and the whilk bond is in my hands; that’s the strong ground o’ the
case,--touch it whan ye may.’

Pitwinnoch could with difficulty keep his gravity, and poor Milrookit,
finding he had so overreached himself, said,--

‘Well, but when you make your will, I trust and hope you will then
consider how simply I gave you the money.’

‘Mak my will!--that’s a delicate hint to an aged woman. I’ll no forget
that,--and as to your simplicity in paying the justly due for bed,
board, and washing,--was na every pound got as if it had been a tooth
out o’ your head, howkit out by course and force o’ law?’

‘In truth, Leddy,’ said Pitwinnoch, ‘we are all friends here, and it’s
just as well to speak freely. I advised Mr. Milrookit to pay you the
money, rather than hazard any question that might possibly attract
attention to the provisions of the entail; but now since the whole has
been brought to an issue, you must be sensible that he suffers enough
in losing the estate, and that you ought to give him back the money.’

The Leddy sat for several minutes silent, evidently cogitating
an answer, at the end of which she raised her eyes, and said to
Pitwinnoch,--

‘I can see as far through a millstane as ye can do through a fir
deal, and maybe I may tak it in my head to raise a plea wi’ you in an
action of damages, for plotting and libelling in the way that it’s
vera visible ye hae done, jointly and severally, in a plea of the
crown; and aiblins I’ll no tak less than a thousand pounds;--so, Mr.
Pitwinnoch, keep your neck out o’ the woody o’ a law-plea wi’ me, if
ye can; for, in the way of business, I hae done wi’ you; and, as soon
as Mr. Whitteret comes hame, I’ll see whether I ought not to instruct
in a case against you for the art and part conspiracy of the thousand
pounds.’

Milrookit himself was obliged to laugh at the look of consternation
with which this thunderclap broke over the lawyer, who, unable to
withstand the absurdity of the threat, and yet alarmed for the
consequences to his reputation, which such an attempt would entail,
hastily retired.



CHAPTER XCVIII


The Leddy having so happily brought her second lawsuit to a victorious
issue, and already menacing a third, did not feel that her triumph
would be complete, until she had obtained the plaudits of the world;
and the first person on whom she resolved to levy her exactions of
applause was naturally enough the mother of Walkinshaw.

As soon as Pitwinnoch had left the house, she persuaded Milrookit to
send the carriage for Mrs. Charles, with injunctions to the coachman
not to say a word of what had passed, as she intended herself to have
the pleasure of communicating the glad tidings. This he very readily
agreed to; for, notwithstanding the grudge which he felt at having been
so simply mulcted of so large a sum, he really felt his mind relieved
by the result of the discovery; perhaps, in complying, he had some
sinister view towards the Leddy’s good-will--some distant vista of his
thousand pounds.

Mrs. Charles was a good deal surprised at the message to come
immediately to Kittlestonheugh; and her timid and gentle spirit, in
consequence of learning from the coachman that the old lady was there,
anticipated some disaster to her son. Her fears fluttered as she drove
on alone. The broad dark shadows that had crossed the path of her
past pilgrimage were remembered with melancholy forebodings, and the
twilight of the evening having almost faded into night, she caught
gloomy presentiments from the time, and sighed that there was no end to
her sorrows.

The season was now advanced into September; and though the air was
clear, the darkness of the road, the silence of the fields, and the
occasional glimmers of the fire that the horses’ hoofs struck from
the stones, awakened associations of doubt, anxiety, and danger; but
the serene magnificence of the starry heavens inspired hope, and the
all-encompassing sky seemed to her the universal wings of Providence,
vigilant and protecting with innumerable millions of eyes.

Still the devotional enthusiasm of that fancy was but a transient glow
on the habitual pale cast of her thoughts; and she saw before her, in
the remainder of her mortal journey, only a continuance of the same
road which she had long travelled--a narrow and a difficult track
across a sterile waste, harsh with brambles, and bleak and lonely.

So is it often, under the eclipse of fortune, even with the bravest
spirits; forgetting how suddenly before, in the darkest hour, the
views of life have changed, they yield to the aspect of the moment,
and breathe the mean and peevish complaints of faithlessness and
despondency. Let it not, therefore, be imputed as an unworthy weakness,
that a delicate and lowly widow, whose constant experience had been an
unbroken succession of disappointments and humiliations, should, in
such an hour, and shrinking with the sensibilities of a mother, wonder
almost to sinning why she had been made to suffer such a constancy
of griefs. But the midnight of her fate was now past, and the dawn
was soon to open upon her with all its festal attributes of a bright
and joyous morning--though our friend the Leddy was not so brisk in
communicating the change as we could have wished.

She was sitting alone in the parlour when the carriage returned; and as
the trembling mother was shown into the room, she received her with the
most lugubrious face that her features could assume.

‘Come awa’, Bell Fatherlans,’ said she, ‘come away, and sit down. O
this is a most uncertain world--nothing in it has stability;--the winds
blow--the waters run--the grass grows--the snow falls--the day flieth
away unto the uttermost parts of the sea, and the night hideth her
head in the morning cloud, and perisheth for evermore. Many a lesson
we get--many a warning to set our thoughts on things above; but we’re
ay sinking, sinking, sinking, as the sparks fly upward.--Bell, Bell,
we’re a’ like thorns crackling under a kail-pot.’

‘What has occurred?’ exclaimed Mrs. Charles; ‘I beg you’ll tell me at
once.’

‘So I will, when I hae solaced you into a religious frame o’ mind to
hear me wi’ a Christian composity o’ temper; for what I maun tell is,
though I say’t mysel, a something.’

‘For goodness and mercy, I entreat you to proceed.--Where is Mr.
Milrookit? where is Robina?’

‘Ye need na hope to see muckle o’ them the night,’ replied the Leddy.
‘Poor folk, they hae gotten their hands filled wi’ cares. O Bell,
Bell--when I think o’t--it’s a judgement--it’s a judgement, Bell
Fatherlans, aboon the capacity o’ man! Really, when I consider how
I hae been directit--and a’ by my own skill, knowledge, wisdom, and
understanding--it’s past a’ comprehension. What would my worthy father
hae said had he lived to see the day that his dochter won sic a braw
estate by her ain interlocutors?--and what would your gudefather hae
said, when he was ay brag bragging o’ the conquest he had made o’ the
Kittlestonheugh o’ his ancestors--the whilk took him a lifetime to
do--had he seen me, just wi’ a single whisk o’ dexterity, a bit touch
of the law, make the vera same conquest for your son Jamie Walkinshaw
in less than twa hours?’

‘You astonish me! to what do you allude? I am amazed, and beginning to
be confounded,’ said Mrs. Charles.

‘Indeed it is no wonder,’ replied the Leddy; ‘for wha would hae thought
it, that I, an aged ’literate grandmother, would hae bamboozlet an
Embrough Writer to the Signet on a nice point, and found out the ground
of an action for damages against that tod o’ a bodie Pitwinnoch, for
intromitting wi’ ane of the four pleas o’ the Crown? Had I kent what I
ken now, uncle Watty might still hae been to the fore, and in the full
possession of his seven lawful senses--for, woman as I am, I would hae
been my own man o’ business, counsel, and executioner, in the concos
mentos sederunt--whereby I was so ’frauded o’ my rightful hope and
expectation. But Pitwinnoch will soon fin’ the weight o’ the lion’s paw
that his doobileecity has roused in me.’

Mrs. Charles, who was much amused by the exultation with which the
Leddy had recounted her exploits in the bed and board plea, perceiving
that some new triumph equally improbable had occurred, felt her
anxieties subside into curiosity; and being now tolerably mistress of
her feelings, she again inquired what had happened.

‘I’ll tell you,’ said the Leddy; ‘and surely it’s right and proper you
his mother should know, that, through my implementing, it has been
discovered that your son is an heir-male according to law!’

‘No possible!’ exclaimed the delighted mother, the whole truth flashing
at once on her mind.

‘Aye, that’s just as I might hae expectit--a prophet ne’er got honour
in his own country; and so a’ the thank I’m to get for my pains is a
no possible!’ said the Leddy offended, mistaking the meaning of the
interjection. ‘But it is a true possible; and Milrookit has consentit
to adjudicate the estate--so ye see how ye’re raised to pride and
affluence by my instrumentality. Firstly, by the bed and board plea, I
found a mean to revisidend your ’nuity; and secondly, I hae found the
libel proven, that Beenie, being a dochter, is an heir-female, and is,
by course of law, obligated to renounce the estate.’

‘This is most extraordinary news, indeed,’ rejoined Mrs. Charles,
‘after for so many years believing my poor children so destitute;’ and
a flood of tears happily came to her relief.

‘But, Bell Fatherlans,’ resumed the Leddy, ‘I’ll tak you wi’ the
tear in your ee, as both you and Jamie maun be sensible, that, but
for my discerning, this great thing never could hae been brought to
a come-to-pass. I hope ye’ll confabble thegither anent the loss I
sustained by what happened to uncle Watty, and mak me a reasonable
compensation out o’ the rents; the whilk are noo, as I am creditably
informed, better than fifteen hundred pounds per anno Domini, that’s
the legality for the year o’ our Lord;--a sma’ matter will be a great
satisfaction.’

‘Indeed,’ said Mrs. Charles, ‘James owes you much; and your kindness
in giving him the bill so generously, I know, has made a very deep
impression on his heart.’

‘He was ay a blithe and kindly creature,’ exclaimed the Leddy, wiping
her eye, as if a tear had actually shot into it--‘and may be it winna
fare the waur wi’ him when I’m dead and gone. For I’ll let you into
a secret--it’s my purpose to mak a last will and testament, and cut
off Milrookit wi’ a shilling, for his horridable niggerality about
the bed and board concern. Na, for that matter, as ye’ll can fen noo
without ony ’nuity, but your ain son’s affection, I hae a great mind,
and I’ll do’t too--that’s what I will--for fear I should be wheedled
into an adversary by my dochter Meg for the Milrookits,--I’ll gie the
thousand pound heritable bond to your Mary for a tocher; is not that
most genteel of me? I doot few families hae had a grandmother for their
ancestor like yours.’

Some further conversation to the same effect was continued, and
the injustice which Milrookit had attempted seemed to Mrs. Charles
considerably extenuated by the readiness with which he had acknowledged
the rights of her son. For, notwithstanding all the Leddy’s triumphant
oratory and legal phraseology, she had no difficulty in perceiving the
true circumstances of the case.



CHAPTER XCIX


In the opinion of all the most judicious critics, the Iliad terminated
with the death of Hector; but, as Homer has entertained us with the
mourning of the Trojans, and the funeral of the hero, we cannot, in
our present circumstances, do better than adopt the rule of that great
example. For although it must be evident to all our readers that the
success of the Leddy in her second law-suit, by placing the heir, in
despite of all the devices and stratagem of parchments and Pitwinnoch,
in possession of the patrimony of his ancestors, naturally closes the
_Entail_, a work that will, no doubt, outlive the Iliad, still there
were so many things immediately consequent on that event, that our
story would be imperfect without some account of them.

In the first place, then, Walkinshaw, immediately after the receipt of
Frazer’s letter, acquainting him with the discovery of the provisions
of the deed, returned to Edinburgh, where he arrived on the third day
after his friend had heard from Whitteret, the Glasgow writer, that
Milrookit, without objection, agreed to surrender the estate. The
result of which communication was an immediate and formal declaration
from Walkinshaw of his attachment to Ellen, and a cheerful consent from
her father, that their marriage, as soon as the necessary preparations
could be made, should be celebrated at Glengael.

Upon French Frazer the good fortune of his brother officer was no less
decisive, for any scruple that he might have felt in his attachment to
Mary, on account of his own circumstances, was removed by an assurance
from Walkinshaw that he would, as soon as possible, make a liberal
provision both for her and his mother; and in the same letter which
Walkinshaw wrote home on his return to Edinburgh, and in which he spoke
of his own marriage, he entreated his mother’s consent that Mary should
accept the hand of Frazer.

On Mrs. Eadie, the fulfilment, as she called it, of her visions and
predictions, had the most lamentable effect. Her whole spirit became
engrossed with the most vague and mystical conceptions; and it was soon
evident that an irreparable ruin had fallen upon one of the noblest
of minds. Over her latter days we shall, therefore, draw a veil, and
conclude her little part in our eventful history with simply mentioning
that she never returned to Camrachle; but sank into rest in the
visionary beatitude of her parental solitudes.

Her husband, now a venerable old man, still resides as contentedly
as ever in his parish; and, when we last visited him, in his modest
mansion, he informed us that he had acquiesced in the wishes of his
elders by consenting to receive a helper and successor in the ministry.
So far, therefore, as the best, the most constant, and the kindest
friends of the disinherited family are concerned, our task is finished:
but we have a world of things to tell of the Leddy and the Milrookits,
many of which we must reserve till we shall have leisure to write a
certain story of incomparable humour and pathos.

In the meantime, we must proceed to mention, that the Leddy, finding
it was quite unnecessary to institute any further proceedings, to
eject the Milrookits from Kittlestonheugh, as they of their own accord
removed, as soon as they found a suitable house, returned to her
residence in the royal city, where she resumed her domestic thrift at
the spinning-wheel, having resolved not to go on with her action of
damages against Pitwinnoch, till she had seen her grandson, who, prior
to his marriage, was daily expected.

‘For,’ as she said to his mother, after consulting with Mr. Whitteret,
and stating her grounds of action, ‘it is not so clear a case as my
great bed and board plea--and Mr. Whitteret is in some doubt, whether
Pitwinnoch should be sent to trial by my instrumentality, or that of
Jamie--very sensibly observing--for he’s really a man o’ the heighth o’
discretion yon--that it would be hard for an aged gentlewoman like me,
with a straitened jointure, to take up a cause that would, to a moral
certainty, be defendit, especially when her grandson is so much better
able to afford the expense. The which opinion of counsel has made me
sit down with an arrest of judgement for the present, as the only
reason I hae for going to law at all is to mak money by it. Howsever,
if ye can persuade Jamie to bequeath and dispone to me his right to the
damage, which I mean to assess at a thousand pounds, I’ll implement Mr.
Whitteret to pursue.’

‘I dare say,’ replied Mrs. Charles, ‘that James will very readily
give up to you all his claim; but Mr. Pitwinnoch having rectified the
mistake he was in, we should forgive and forget.’

‘A’ weel I wat, Bell Fatherlans, I needna cast my pearls o’ great price
before swine, by waring my words o’ wisdom wi’ the like o’ you. In
truth, it’s an awfu’ story when I come to think how ye hae been sitting
like an effigy on a tomb, wi’ your hands baith alike syde, and _menti
mori_ written on your vesture and your thigh, instead o’ stirring your
stumps, as ye ought to hae done--no to let your bairns be rookit o’
their right by yon Cain and Abel, the twa cheatrie Milrookits. For sure
am I, had no I ta’en the case in hand, ye might hae continued singing
Wally, wally, up yon bank, and wally, wally, down yon brae, a’ the days
o’ your tarrying in the tabernacles o’ men.’

Her daughter-in-law admitted, that she was, indeed, with all her
family, under the greatest obligations to her,--and that, in all
probability, but for her happy discovery of the errand on which the
writer to the signet had come to Glasgow, they might still have had
their rights withheld.

In conversations of this description the time passed at Glasgow,
while the preparations for the marriage of Walkinshaw and Ellen were
proceeding with all expedient speed at Glengael. Immediately after the
ceremony, the happy pair, accompanied by Mary, returned to Edinburgh,
where it was determined the marriage of Mary with French Frazer should
be celebrated, Mrs. Charles and the old lady being equally desirous of
being present.

We should not, however, be doing justice to ourselves, as faithful
historians, were we to leave the reader under an impression that
the Leddy’s visit to the lawful metropolis was entirely dictated by
affectionate consideration for her grandchildren. She had higher and
more public objects, worthy, indeed, of the spirit with which she
had so triumphantly conducted her causes. But with that remarkable
prudence, so conspicuous in her character, she made no one acquainted
with the real motives by which she was actuated,--namely, to acquire
some knowledge of the criminal law, her father not having, as she said,
‘paid attention to that Court of Justice, his geni being, like her own,
more addicted to the civilities of the Court o’ Session.’

She was led to think of embarking in this course of study, by the
necessity she was often under of making, as she said, her servants
‘walk the carpet’; or, in other words, submit to receive those kind
of benedictions to which servants are, in the opinion of all good
administrators of householdry, so often and so justly entitled. It had
occurred to her that, some time or another, occasion might require
that she should carry a delinquent handmaid before the Magistrates, or
even before the Lords; indeed, she was determined to do so on the very
first occurrence of transgression, and, therefore, she was naturally
anxious to obtain a little insight of the best practice in the
Parliament House, that she might, as she said herself, be made capable
of implementing her man of business how to proceed.

Walkinshaw, by promising to take every legal step that she herself
could take against Pitwinnoch, had evinced, as she considered it, such
a commendable respect for her judgement, that he endeared himself
to her more than ever. He was, in consequence, employed to conduct
her to the Parliament House, that she might hear the pleadings; but
by some mistake he took her to that sink of sin the Theatre, when
_Othello_ was performing, where, as she declared, she had received
all the knowledge of the criminal law she could require, it having
been manifestly shown that any woman stealing a napkin ought to
be prosecuted with the utmost rigour. But her legal studies were
soon interrupted by the wedding festivities; and when she returned
to Glasgow, alas! she was not long permitted to indulge her legal
pursuits; for various causes combined to deprive the world of our
incomparable heroine. Her doleful exit from the tents of Time, Law,
and Physic, it is now our melancholy duty to relate, which we shall
endeavour to do with all that good-humoured pathos for which we are
so greatly and so deservedly celebrated. If nobody says we are so
distinguished, we must modestly do it ourselves, never having been able
to understand why a candidate for parliament or popularity should be
allowed to boast of his virtues more than any other dealer in tales and
fictions.



CHAPTER C


Marriage feasts, we are creditably informed, as the Leddy would have
said, are of greater antiquity than funerals; and those with which
the weddings of Walkinshaw and his sister were celebrated, lacked
nothing of the customary festivities. The dinners which took place in
Edinburgh were, of course, served with all the refinements of taste
and dissertations on character, which render the entertainments in
the metropolis of Mind occasionally so racy and peculiar. But the
cut-and-come-again banquets of Glasgow, as the Leddy called them,
following on the return of the Laird and his bride to his patrimonial
seat, were, in her opinion, far superior, and she enjoyed them with
equal glee and zest.

‘Thanks be, and praise,’ said she, after returning home from one of
those costly piles of food, ‘I hae lived to see, at last, something
like wedding doings in my family. Charlie’s and Bell Fatherlans’s was
a cauldrife commodity, boding scant and want, and so cam o’t--Watty’s
was a walloping galravitch o’ idiocety, and so cam o’t--Geordie’s was
little better than a burial formality trying to gie a smirk, and so cam
o’t--as for Meg’s and Dirdumwhamle’s, theirs was a third marriage--a
cauld-kail-het-again affair--and Beenie and Walky’s Gretna Green,
play-actoring,--Bed, Board, and Washing, bore witness and testimony
to whatna kind o’ bridal they had. But thir jocose gavaulings are
worthy o’ the occasion. Let naebody tell me, noo, that the three P’s
o’ Glasgow mean Packages, Puncheons, and Pigtail, for I have seen and
known that they may be read in a marginal note Pomp, Punch, and Plenty.
To be sure, the Embroshers are no without a genteelity--that maun be
condescended to them. But I jealouse they’re pinched to get gude wine,
poor folk--they try sae mony different bottles: naething hae they like
a gausie bowl. Therefore, commend me to our ain countryside,--Fatted
calves, and feasting Belshazzers,--and let the Embroshers cerimoneez
wi’ their Pharaoh’s lean kine and Grants and Frazers.’

But often when the heart exults, when the ‘bosom’s lord sits light
upon his throne,’ it is an omen of sorrow. On the very night after
this happy revel of the spirits, the Leddy caught a fatal cold, in
consequence of standing in the current of a door while the provost’s
wife, putting on her pattens, stopped the way, and she was next morning
so indisposed that it was found necessary to call in Dr. Sinney
to attend her; who was of opinion, considering she was upwards of
seventy-six, that it might go hard with her if she did not recover;
and, this being communicated to her friends, they began to prepare
themselves for the worst.

Her daughter, the Lady of Dirdumwhamle, came in from the country, and
paid her every mark of attention. At the suggestion of her husband,
she, once or twice, intimated a little anxiety to know if her mother
had made a will; but the Leddy cut her short, by saying,--

‘What’s t’at to thee, Meg? I’m sure I’m no dead yet, that t’ou should
be groping about my bit gathering.’

Dirdumwhamle himself rode daily into Glasgow in the most dutiful
manner; but, receiving no satisfaction from the accounts of his wife
respecting the Leddy’s affairs, he was, of course, deeply concerned at
her situation; and, on one occasion, when he was sitting in the most
sympathising manner at her bedside, he said, with an affectionate and
tender voice,--

‘That he hoped she would soon be well again; but, if it was ordain’t
to be otherwise, he trusted she would give her daughter some small
memorial over and by what she might hae alloo’t her in will.’

‘’Deed,’ replied the Leddy, as she sat supported by pillows, and
breathing heavily, ‘I’ll no forget that--for ye may be sure, when I
intend to dee, that I’ll mak my ain hands my executioners.’

‘Aye, aye,’ rejoined the pathetic Laird, ‘I was ay o’ that opinion, and
that ye would act a mother’s part in your latter end.’

To this the Leddy made no reply; but by accident coughed rather a
little too moistly in his face, which made him shift his seat, and soon
after retire.

He had not long taken his leave, when Milrookit and Robina came in,
both in the most affectionate manner; and, after the kindest inquiries,
they too hoped that she had made her departure clear with this world,
and that, when she was removed to a better, no disputes would arise
among surviving friends.

‘I’m sure,’ said Robina, ‘we shall all greatly miss you; and I would
be very glad if you would give me some little keepsake out of your own
hands, if it were no more than the silver teapot.’

‘I canna do that yet, Beenie, my Leddy, for ye ken I’m obligated to
gie the Laird and Nell Frizel a tea banquet, as soon’s I’m able. But
when I’m dead and gone, for we’re a’ lifelike and a’ deathlike, if ye
outlive me, ye’ll fin’ that I was a grandmother.’

‘It’s pleasant to hear,’ said Milrookit, ‘that ye hae sic an inward
satisfaction of health; but I hope ye’ll no tak it ill at my wishing
for a token o’ my grandfather. I would like if ye would gie me
from yourself the old-fashioned gold watch, just because it was my
grandfather’s, and sae lang in his aught.’

‘Aye, Walky, I won’er thou does na wis for me, for I was longer in his
aught. Bairns, bairns, I purpose to outlive my last will and testament,
so I redde ye keep a calm sough.’

This they thought implied that she had made some provision for them
in her last will and testament; and although disappointed in their
immediate object, they retired in as complete peace of mind as any
affectionate grandchildren like them could retire from a deathbed.

To them succeeded the mother of Walkinshaw.

‘Come away, Bell Fatherlans,’ said the Leddy--‘sit down beside me;’ and
she took her kindly by the hand. ‘The Milrookits, auld and young, hae
been here mair ravenous than the worms and cloks of the tomb, for they
but devour the dead body; but yon greedy caterpillars would strip me
o’ leaf and branch afore my time. There was Dirdumwhamle sympathising
for a something over and aboon what Meg’s to get by the will. Then came
Beenie, another of the same, as the Psalmist says, simpering, like a
yird tead, for my silver teapot, and syne naething less would serve her
gudeman but a solemneesing wheedlie for the auld gold watch. But I’ll
sympathise, and I’ll simper, and I’ll wheedle them.--Hae, tak my keys,
and gang into the desk-head, and ye’ll fin’ a bonny sewt pocketbook in
the doocot hole next the window, bring’t to me.’

Mrs. Charles did as she was desired; and when the pocketbook was
brought, the old Leddy opened it, and, taking out one of her Robin
Carricks, as she called her bills, she said,--

‘Bring me a pen that can spell, and I’ll indoss this bit hundred
pound to thee, Bell, as an over and aboon; and when ye hae gotten’t,
gang and bid Jamie and Mary come to see me, and I’ll gie him the
auld gold watch, and her the silver teapot, just as a reward to
the sympathizing, simpering, and wheedling Milrookits. For between
ourselves, Bell, my time is no to be lang noo amang you. I feel the
clay-cold fingers o’ Death handling my feet; so when I hae settled my
worldly concernments, ye’ll send for Dr. De’ilfear, for I would na like
to mount into the chariots o’ glory without the help o’ an orthodox.’

All that the Leddy required was duly performed. She lingered for
several days; but, at the end of a week from the commencement of her
illness, she closed her eyes, and her death was, after the funeral,
according to the Scottish practice, announced in that loyal and
well-conducted old paper, the _Glasgow Courier_, as having taken place,
‘to the great regret of all surviving friends.’



CHAPTER CI


We have often lamented that so many worthy people should be at the
expense and trouble of making last wills and testaments, and yet
never enjoy what passes at the reading of them. On all the different
occasions where we have been present at such affecting ceremonies, it
was quite edifying to see how justly the sorrow was apportioned to the
legacies; those enjoying the greatest being always the most profoundly
distressed; their tears, by some sort of sympathy, flowing exactly in
accordance with the amount of the sums of money, or the value of the
chattels which they were appointed to receive.

But on no other occasion have we ever been so much struck with the
truth of this discovery as on that when, after attending the Leddy’s
remains to the family sepulchre, our acquaintance, Dirdumwhamle,
invited us to return to the Leddy’s house, in order to be present at
the solemnity. Considering the tenderness of our feelings, and how much
we respect the professed sincerity of mankind, we ought, perhaps, in
justice to ourselves, knowing how incapable we are of withstanding the
mournful melancholy of such posthumous rites, to have eschewed the
invitation of our sighing and mourning friend.

We were, however, enticed, by a little curiosity, to walk with him arm
in arm from the interment, suggesting to him, on the way, every topic
of Christian consolation suitable on such occasions, perceiving how
much he stood in need of them all.

When we entered the parlour, which had been so often blithened with the
jocose spirit of its defunct mistress, we confess that our emotions
were almost too great for our fortitude, and that, as we assured the
Laird of Dirdumwhamle, our sensibility was so affected that we could,
with the utmost difficulty, repress our hysterical sobbings, which he
professed with no less sincerity entirely to believe, Alas! such scenes
are too common in this transitory scene of things.

Seeing how much we were all in need of a glass of wine, Dirdumwhamle,
with that free thought which forms so prominent a feature of his
character, suggested to his lady that she should order in the
decanters, and, with a bit of the shortbread, enable us to fortify our
hearts for the doleful task and duty we had yet to perform.

The decanters were, accordingly, ordered in; the wine poured into the
glasses; and all present to each other sighed, as in silence, the
reciprocity of good wishes.

After which a pause ensued--a very syncope of sadness--a dwam of woe,
as the Leddy herself would have called it, had she been spared, to
witness how much we all felt.--But she was gone--she had paid the debt
of nature, and done, as Dirdumwhamle said, what we are all in this life
ordained to do. It is, therefore, of no consequence to imagine how she
could either have acted or felt had she been present at the reading of
her last will and testament. In a word, after that hiatus in the essay
of mourning, it was proposed, by young Milrookit, that the Leddy’s
scrutoire should be opened, and the contents thereof examined.

No objection was made on the part of any of the sorrowful and
assembled friends,--quite the contrary. They all evinced the most
natural solicitude, that everything proper and lawful should be
done. ‘It is but showing our respect to the memory of her that is
gone,’ said Dirdumwhamle, ‘to see in what situation she has left her
affairs--not that I have any particular interest in the business, but
only, considering the near connection between her and my family, it
is due to all the relations that the distribution which she has made
of her property should be published among them.--It would have been a
happy and a comfortable thing to every one who knew her worth had her
days been prolonged; but, alas! that was not in her own power. Her time
o’ this world was brought, by course of nature, to an end, and no man
ought to gainsay the ordinances of Providence.--Gudewife, hae ye the
key o’ the desk-head?’

Mrs. Milrookit, his wife, who, during this highly sympathetic
conversation, had kept her handkerchief to her eyes, without removing
it, put her hand into her pocket, and, bringing forth a bunch of keys,
looked for one aside, which, having found, she presented it to her
husband, saying, with a sigh, ‘That’s it.’

He took it in his hand, and, approaching the scrutoire, found, to his
surprise, that it was sealed.

‘How is this?’ cried Dirdumwhamle, in an accent somewhat discordant
with the key in which the performers to the concert of woe were attuned.

‘I thought,’ replied Walkinshaw the Laird, ‘that it was but regular,
when my grandmother died, that, until we all met, as we are now met,
her desk and drawers should be sealed for fear----’

‘For fear of what?’ Dirdumwhamle was on the point of saying as we
thought; but, suddenly checking himself, and, again striking the note
of woe, in perfect harmony, he replied,--

‘Perfectly right, Laird,--when all things are done in order, no one can
have any reason to complain.’

Dirdumwhamle then took off the seal, and applying the key to the lock,
opened the desk-head, and therein, among other things, found the
embroidered pocketbook, so well known to our readers. At the sight of
it, the tears of his lady began to flow, and they flowed the faster
when, on examining its contents, it was discovered that the hundred
pound Robin Carrick was not forthcoming,--she having acquired some
previous knowledge of its existence, and had, indeed, with her most
dutiful husband, made a dead set at it in their last affectionate
conversation with the Leddy, with what success the reader is already
informed.

A search was then made for the heritable bond for a thousand pounds,
but Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw surprised us all into extreme sorrow, when,
on understanding the object of the search, she informed us that the
said bond had been most unaccountably given, as the Milrookits thought,
to her daughter for a dowry.

An inventory of the contents of the desk being duly and properly
made,--indeed we ourselves took down the particulars in the most
complete manner,--an inquest was instituted with respect to the
contents of drawers, papers, boxes, trunks, and even into the last
pouches that the Leddy had worn; but neither the silver teapot nor the
old gold watch were forthcoming. Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw, however,
again explained, and the explanation was attended by the happiest
effects, in so much as to us it seemed to lessen in a great degree the
profound sorrow in which all the Milrookits had been plunged.

But yet no will was found, and Dirdumwhamle was on the point of
declaring that the deceased having died intestate, his wife, her
daughter, succeeded, of course, to all she had left. But while he was
speaking, young Mrs. Milrookit happened to cast her eyes into one of
the pigeon-holes in the scrutoire-head, where, tied with a red tape
in the most business-like manner, a will was found,--we shall not say
that Dirdumwhamle had previously seen it, but undoubtedly he appeared
surprised that it should have been so near his sight and touch, so long
unobserved,--which gave us a hint to suggest, that when people make
their wills and testaments, they should always tie them with red tape,
that none of their heirs, executors, or assigns, may fall into the
mistake of not noticing them at the time of the funeral examination,
and afterwards, when by themselves, tear or burn them by mistake.



CHAPTER CII


It appeared by this will that the Leddy had, with the exception of a
few inconsiderable legacies to the rest of her family, and a trifling
memorial of her affection to our friend Walkinshaw, bequeathed all
to her daughter, at which that lady, with the greatest propriety,
burst out into the most audible lament for her affectionate mother,
and Dirdumwhamle, her husband, became himself so agitated with grief,
that he was almost unable to proceed with the reading of the affecting
document. Having gradually mastered his feelings, he was soon, however,
able to condole with Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw upon the disappointment
she had, no doubt, suffered; observing, by way of consolation, that it
was, after all, only what was to have been expected; for the Leddy, the
most kind of parents, naturally enough considered her own daughter as
the nearest and dearest of all her kith and kin.

During this part of the scene we happened inadvertently to look towards
Walkinshaw, and were not a little shocked to observe a degree of levity
sparkling in his eyes, quite unbecoming such a sorrowful occasion; and
still more distressed were we at the irreverence with which, almost in
actual and evident laughter, he inquired at Dirdumwhamle the date of
the paper.

It was found to have been made several years before, soon after the
decease of poor Walter.

‘Indeed!’ said Walkinshaw pawkily; ‘that’s a very important
circumstance, for I happen to have another will in my pocket, made at
Edinburgh, while the Leddy was there at my marriage, and the contents
run somewhat differently.’

The tears of the Lady of Dirdumwhamle were instantaneously dried up,
and the most sensitive of Lairds himself appeared very much surprised;
while, with some vibrating accent in his voice, he requested that this
new last will and testament might be read.

Sorry are we to say it, that, in doing so, Walkinshaw was so little
affected, that he even chuckled while he read. This was, no doubt,
owing to the little cause he had to grieve, a legacy of five guineas,
to buy a ring, being all that the Leddy had bequeathed to him.

This second will, though clearly and distinctly framed, was evidently
dictated by the Leddy herself. For it began by declaring, that, having
taken it into her most serious consideration, by and with the advice
of her private counsel, Mr. Frazer of Glengael, whom she appointed
executor, she had resolved to make her last will and testament; and
after other formalities, couched somewhat in the same strain, she
bequeathed sundry legacies to her different grandchildren,--first,
as we have said, five guineas, as a token of her particular love, to
Walkinshaw, he standing in no need of any further legacy, and being,
over and moreover, indebted to her sagacity for the recovery of his
estate. Then followed the enumeration of certain trinkets and Robin
Carricks, which were to be delivered over to, and to be held and
enjoyed by, Mary, his sister. To this succeeded a declaration, that her
daughter Margaret, the wife of Dirdumwhamle, should enjoy the main part
of her gathering, in liferent, but not until the Laird, her husband,
had paid his debt of nature, and departed out of this world; and if the
said legatee did not survive her husband, then the legacy was to go to
Mrs. Charles Walkinshaw, the testatrix’s daughter-in-law. ‘As for my
two grateful grandchildren, Walkinshaw Milrookit, and Robina his wife,’
continued the spirit of the Leddy to speak in the will, ‘I bequeath to
them, and their heirs for ever, all and haill that large sum of money
which they still stand indebted to me, for and on account of bed,
board, and washing, of which debt only the inconsiderable trifle of one
thousand pounds was ever paid.’

The testing clause was all that followed this important provision, but
the will was in every respect complete, and so complete also was the
effect intended, that young Milrookit and his wife Robina immediately
rose and retired, without speaking, and Dirdumwhamle and his lady also
prepared to go away, neither of them being seemingly in a condition to
make any remark on the subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the natural conclusion of our story; but perhaps it is expected
that we should say something of the subsequent history of Walkinshaw,
especially as his wife has brought him nine sons,--‘all male heirs,’
as Dirdumwhamle often says with a sigh, when he thinks of his son and
Robina having only added daughters to the increasing population of
the kingdom. But Walkinshaw’s career as a soldier belongs to a more
splendid theme, which, as soon as ever we receive a proper hint to do
so, with ten thousand pounds to account, we propose to undertake, for
he was present at the most splendid achievements of the late universal
war. His early campaigns were not, however, brilliant; but, in common
with all his companions in arms during the first years of that mighty
contest, he still felt, under the repulses of many disasters, that the
indisputable heroism of the British spirit was never impaired, and that
they were still destined to vindicate their ancient superiority over
France.

These heroic breathings do not, however, belong to our domestic story;
and, therefore, all we have to add is, that, as often as he revisited
his patrimonial home on leave of absence, he found the dinnering of
his friends in the royal city almost as hard work as the dragooning
of his foes. Since the peace, now that he is finally settled at
Kittlestonheugh with all his blushing honours thick upon him, the
Lord Provost and Magistrates have never omitted any opportunity in
their power of treating him with all that distinction for which, as a
corporation, they are so deservedly celebrated. Indeed, there are few
communities where there is less of the spirit of ostracism, or where a
man of public merit is more honoured by his fellow-citizens, than in
Glasgow. Therefore say we in fine,--

LET GLASGOW FLOURISH!



GLOSSARY


  _a’_, all.

  _aboon_, above.

  _ae_, one.

  _ahint_, behind.

  _aiblins_, perhaps.

  _ail_, illness.

  _ain_, own.

  _airt_, direction.

  _ajee_, crooked.

  _alloo_, allow.

  _almous_, charitable, alms.

  _an_, if.

  _Andrew Ferrara_, name for a sword.

  _anent_, about.

  _argol bargol_, bandy words, haggle.

  _atweel_, well.

  _aught_, possession, property.

  _auld_, old, eldest.


  _ba’_, ball.

  _bachle_, old shoe.

  _bailie_, city magistrate.

  _bairnswoman_, nurse.

  _bakes_, biscuits.

  _banes_, bones.

  _barming_, interest.

  _barrow’t_, borrowed.

  _bars_, boars.

  _bawbee_, halfpenny.

  _bawkie_, birds, bats.

  _because_, cause, reason.

  _beild_, shelter, refuge.

  _bein_, _bien_, comfortable, well-provided.

  _beltane_, May-day fair.

  _belter_, blows repeated.

  _belyve_, by and by.

  _ben_, into the inner room of a house.

  _benweed_, coarse grass.

  _betherel_, _betheril_, beadle.

  _big_, _biggit_, build, built.

  _bir_, force.

  _birling_, spending.

  _birr_, sound emitted by anything flying forcibly with noise.

  _bit_, small.

  _black-aviced_, of a dark complexion.

  _blae_, blue.

  _blate_, shy, bashful.

  _blethers_, foolishness.

  _blithes-meat_, homely entertainment, generally of bread and cheese,
      given after the birth of a child.

  _blob_, honey.

  _bob_, dance.

  _book_, record in the books of the kirk-session, for publication of
      the banns.

  _boynes_, tubs.

  _brae_, side of a hill.

  _braw_, beautiful, fine.

  _breeks_, breeches.

  _bress_, chimney-piece.

  _broo_, liking.

  _brous_, race at a country wedding.

  _bubbly-jock_, turkey-cock.

  _buckie deevil’s_, wicked imp.

  _buff nor stye_, neither one part nor another.

  _bumming_, buzzing.

  _buss_, kiss.

  _but_, into the outer room of the house.

  _by common_, _by the common_, out of the common.

  _by hand and awa_, out of hand.

  _by ordinare_, out of the ordinary.

  _bye-word_, proverb.


  _callan_, lad.

  _canny_, lucky, cautious.

  _caption and horning_, legal arrest.

  _carritch_, catechism.

  _cast_, aid;
    _cast out_, fall out, quarrel;
    _cast the glaiks_, deceive.

  _cauld_, _cauldrife_, cold, chilling.

  _causey_, path, street.

  _cess_, tax.

  _change-house_, small public-house.

  _chapin_, quart.

  _chapse_, choose.

  _cheatrie_, cheating.

  _chucky-stanes_, small pebbles.

  _chumley-lug_, chimney-corner.

  _claes_, clothes.

  _clap_, stroke.

  _clash_, tittle-tattle, gossip.

  _claught_, clutched.

  _claut_, blow.

  _clavering_, _clavers_, _clishmaclavers_, wordy nonsense.

  _claw_, clause.

  _cleckit_, brought forth.

  _cleeding_, _cleiding_, clothing.

  _clocks_, beetles.

  _clunk_, noise of liquor shaken in a barrel.

  _cockernony_, gathering of a woman’s hair in a knot.

  _cod_, pillow.

  _coft_, bought.

  _cognos’t_, recognized.

  _concos mancos_, _concos montis_, &c., = non compos mentis, not of a
      right mind.

  _condescend upon_, specify particulars of.

  _conjunct_, _conjunk_, conjoined.

  _cook_, manage dexterously.

  _coom_, _coomy_, begrime, dirty.

  _coothy_, _couthy_, genial, kindly.

  _cottar_, cottager.

  _cowp_, overturn.

  _cracks_, familiar talks.

  _craighling_, coughing.

  _creel_, basket.

  _crown-o’-the-causey_, middle of a street.

  _croynt awa’_, shrivelled up.

  _crunkly_, rumpled.

  _cry_, be in labour.

  _cuff_, back part.

  _cuif_, simpleton.

  _curdooing_, love-making.

  _cut_, a certain quantity of reeled yarn.


  _daff_, sport.

  _daud_, thrash.

  _dawty_, fondling.

  _deacon_, head-man.

  _deaved_, deafened.

  _’deed_, indeed.

  _dee’t_, died.

  _deil_, devil;
    _deil-be-licket_, nothing.

  _deleerit_, delirious.

  _den_, hide.

  _devaul_, _divaul_, leave off.

  _ding_, drive, push.

  _dinna_, do not.

  _dirl_, tingle, ring.

  _dispone_, allot, dispose.

  _dividual_, individual.

  _divor_, bankrupt, beggar.

  _dochter_, daughter.

  _docken_, dock herb.

  _doddered_, decaying.

  _doddy_, sulky.

  _dodrums_, doldrums, melancholy.

  _dods_, fit of sulkiness.

  _doited_, crazed, in dotage.

  _doo_, dove.

  _doolie_, sorrowful.

  _door-cheek_, door-post.

  _dorts_, sulky.

  _douce_, sensible.

  _dourness_, stubbornness.

  _dow_, be able.

  _dowf_, melancholy.

  _dowie_, languid.

  _drammatical_, dramatic.

  _drammock_, meat, pulp.

  _draughty_, artful.

  _dree_, endure.

  _dreigh_, wearisome.

  _drook_, drench.

  _drumly_, thickly.

  _Dumbarton youth_, a person beyond thirty-six years of age.

  _dure_, hard.

  _dwinlet_, dwindled.

  _dwin’t_, pined away.

  _dyke_, ditch.


  _ee_, _een_, eye, eyes.

  _eik_, eke, addition.

  _eild_, time of life.

  _ends and awls_, all one’s effects.

  _erles_, earnests.

  _ettle_, try;
    _ettling of pains_, pains of trying.

  _even_, compare, equal.

  _even down_, right down.

  _excambio_, exchange.

  _expiscate_, fish out by inquiry.

  _expone_, explain.

  _eydent_, busy.


  _faik_, abate.

  _fand_, found.

  _farl_, cake.

  _far’t_, _well_, _ill_, good, bad-looking.

  _fash_, _fasherie_, trouble, vex, vexation.

  _fash your thumb_, trouble.

  _fasson_, fashion.

  _feart_, afraid.

  _feckless_, frail.

  _fey_, mad, as if with the doom of death on him.

  _fin’_, find.

  _firlot_, a measure.

  _flannen_, flannel.

  _fleech_, coaxing, wheedling.

  _flichtering_, flying.

  _flit_, remove from one house to another.

  _Florentine pie_, large pie.

  _flyte and flights_, scolding and fine ways.

  _foistring_, shilly-shallying.

  _forbears_, ancestors.

  _forbye_, besides.

  _forenent_, opposite, in front of.

  _forton_, fortune.

  _fou’_, foolish, drunk.

  _freats_, omens, superstitious observances.

  _frush_, brittle.

  _frush green kail-custock-like_, as brittle as the pith of colewort.

  _fyke_, _fykerie_, whim, trouble.


  _gaberlunzie_, beggar.

  _gae_, _gaun_, go, going.

  _gairest_, greediest.

  _gait_, _gate_, way, method.

  _galravitch_, romping, rioting.

  _gane by himsel_, gone beside himself.

  _gar_, _gart_, make, made.

  _garsing_, wandering.

  _gauger_, agent.

  _gausey_, jolly-looking.

  _gausie_, bowl.

  _gavaulings_, revellings.

  _gear_, stuff, possession.

  _geck_, toss the head.

  _geni_, genius, special vein.

  _genty_, neat, genteel.

  _get_, _gett_, child.

  _gethering_, gathering;
    income.

  _gie_, _gied_, give, gave.

  _gin_, if.

  _girns_, snarls.

  _glaikit jocklandys_, inconsiderate persons.

  _glaiks_, rays.

  _gleds_, kites.

  _gloaming_, twilight.

  _glooms_, frowns.

  _gore_, strip of cloth.

  _gouden_, golden.

  _gouk_, fool.

  _goun_, gown.

  _gowan_, daisy.

  _gowls_, noise of the wind.

  _gratus_, gratis.

  _green_, long.

  _greet_, cry.

  _groat_, coin worth an English fourpence.

  _grumphie_, pig.

  _gruntel_, snout.

  _gudedochter_, daughter-in-law.

  _gudefather_, father-in-law.

  _gudesister_, sister-in-law.

  _gumpshion_, sense.

  _gushet_, piece let into garment.


  _hag_, hew.

  _haggis_, pudding made of the pluck, &c., of a sheep, with oatmeal,
      suet, onions, &c., boiled inside the animal’s maw.

  _hain_, be penurious.

  _hainings_, earnings.

  _hairst_, harvest.

  _halver_, halves.

  _hansel_, present.

  _hap_, warm garment.

  _happing_, covering.

  _harigals_, the pluck.

  _harl_, trail.

  _harns_, brains.

  _hateral_, heap.

  _haudthecat_, advocate.

  _haverel_, foolish, nonsensical person;
    _havering_, _havers_, nonsensical talk.

  _heck_, hay-rack in a stable.

  _heckle_, flax-dressing comb.

  _heere_, a certain quantity of reeled yarn.

  _hempy_, rogue worthy of hanging.

  _heritable_, heritable bond.

  _herry_, _herri’t_, harry, harried.

  _hesp_, hank.

  _het_, face, heart.

  _hirpling_, limping.

  _hobbleshaw_, uproar, hubbub.

  _hoggar_, stocking-foot.

  _hogget_, hogshead.

  _horse-couper_, horse-dealer.

  _host_, cough.

  _howkit_, dug.

  _humlet_, humbled.


  _ilk_, _ilka_, each, every.

  _illess_, harmless.

  _implement_, full performance.

  _income_, used in reference to illness.

  _indoss_, endorse.

  _infare_, feast at the reception of bride into her new home.

  _infeftment_, investment with property.

  _ingons_, onions.

  _intil_, to.

  _intromit_, interfere.


  _jams_, projections.

  _jawp_, splash of mud.

  _jealouse_, guess, suspect.

  _jimp_, leap.

  _jink_, turn suddenly.

  _jo_, _joe_, sweetheart.

  _jook_, bow, dodge.


  _kail_, cabbages;
    soup made from them.

  _kail-yard_, kitchen-garden.

  _ken_, know.

  _kern_, peasant, boor.

  _kintra_, country.

  _kirk_, church.

  _kirk and a mill, mak a_, do what one likes.

  _kist_, box, chest.

  _kithing_, appearance.

  _kittle_, generate;
    ticklish.

  _knowe_, hillock.

  _kyteful_, belly-full.


  _lade_, mill-race.

  _laft_, loft.

  _lair_, stick or sink in mire.

  _lameter_, cripple.

  _lang-kail_, coleworts not shorn.

  _lang look_, long way off.

  _lang-nebbit_, long-nosed.

  _lave_, rest.

  _leafu’ lane, by one’s_, quite solitary and alone.

  _leddy_, lady.

  _leet_, list.

  _leil_, loyal.

  _lilt_, sing cheerfully.

  _linty_, linnet.

  _lippen_, look confidently.

  _lippy_, bumper.

  _little-gude_, the devil.

  _loan_, open place near a farm.

  _loup_, leap.

  _loupen-steek_, dropped stitch.

  _low_, blaze, flame.

  _lown_, calm, still.

  _lucky_, an elderly woman.

  _lug_, ear.


  _mailing_, farm.

  _mair_, more.

  _marrow_, equal.

  _marrowed_, partnered.

  _maun_, must.

  _mawkins_, hares.

  _meal-pock_, meal-bag.

  _mean_, be condoled with.

  _meikle_, much.

  _mento mori_, i. e. memento mori, remember thy death.

  _mess or mell_, mix or meddle.

  _midden_, dunghill.

  _mim_, demure.

  _minny_, mother.

  _mint_, give a hint or sign.

  _misleart_, unmannerly.

  _moiling_, drudging.

  _morn, the_, to-morrow.

  _moully_, for want of using.

  _muckle_, much, large.

  _mudge_, stir.

  _mutchkin_, pint.


  _na_, no, not.

  _nabal_, nabob.

  _nane_, not.

  _near-be-gawn_, narrow, stingy.

  _neest_, next.

  _neives_, _nieves_, fists.

  _neuk_, corner.

  _new-kythed_, newly shown.

  _no_, not.

  _non compos mentis_, not of a right mind.

  _novelle_, novel.


  _oe_, grandchild.

  _o’ercome of the spring_, burden of the song.

  _ony_, any.

  _or_, ere.

  _ouer_, _oure_, over.

  _ourie_, shivering.

  _outstrapolous_, obstreperous.

  _overly_, too much.


  _paction_, agreement.

  _panel_, prisoner at the bar of a criminal court.

  _partan_, crab.

  _past-ordinar_, extraordinary.

  _pat_, pot.

  _pawkie_, _pawky_, sly, artful.

  _pendicle_, pendant.

  _penure_, stingy.

  _percep_, perceived.

  _pile_, grain.

  _plack_, copper coin worth one-third of a penny.

  _plane-stanes_, pavement.

  _playock_, child’s toy.

  _plenishing_, furniture for a house.

  _ploy_, sport.

  _polonies_, polonaise, woman’s dress.

  _pook_, pull.

  _poortith_, poverty.

  _pourie_, cream-pot.

  _preces_, chairman.

  _precognition_, preliminary examination.

  _pree_, taste.

  _prigging_, beating down.

  _prin_, pin.

  _provice_, provost.

  _puddock_, frog.

  _pursuer_, prosecutor.


  _quean_, hussy.

  _quirk_, quibble, trick.


  _rabiator_, bully, robber.

  _ram-race_, running headlong with bent head.

  _ramstam_, forward, incautious.

  _randy_, disorderly.

  _rant_, noise, make a noise.

  _ream_, cream.

  _redde_, advise, warn, beg.

  _reelie_, reel, Highland dance.

  _remede_, _remeid_, remedy.

  _respondent_, _respondenting_, defendant, defending.

  _reverence_, power.

  _riant_, smiling.

  _rig-and-fur gamashins_, ribbed leg-protectors.

  _rippet_, small uproar.

  _riving_, tearing.

  _rookit and herrit_, rooked and harried.

  _roos_, roast.

  _roupit_, exposed for auction.

  _routing_, bellowing.

  _roynes_, rinds.

  _rug_, tear.

  _rung_, heavy stick.


  _sae_, so.

  _sauly_, sally.

  _saut_, salt.

  _sauvendie_, knowledge, understanding.

  _scaith_, harm.

  _scantling_, draft.

  _scart_, scratch.

  _scog_, shelter.

  _scoot_, term of utter contempt.

  _scried_, drinking-bouts.

  _scrimpit_, penurious.

  _scud_, beating.

  _sederunt and session_, sitting of a court.

  _seek, no to_, not far to find.

  _session, on the_, on the parish.

  _shank_, handle.

  _shawps_, shells.

  _sho’elt_, shovelled.

  _shoo_, push away.

  _shoogle_, shake.

  _sib_, related.

  _sic_, such.

  _sicker_, sure.

  _sin’_, since.

  _skailing_, dismissing.

  _skeigh_, proud.

  _skelp_, beat.

  _skews_, oblique parts of the gable.

  _sklater_, slater.

  _slaik_, slabber.

  _smeddum_, powder.

  _smiddy_, smithy.

  _smoor’t_, smothered.

  _smytcher_, impudence, term for a child.

  _snaws_, snows.

  _sneck-drawer_, artful fellow.

  _snod_, trim.

  _snood_, ribbon for binding the hair.

  _snooled_, broken in spirit.

  _sonsy_, jolly.

  _sooking_, sucking.

  _soopit_, swept.

  _soople_, souple.

  _sosherie_, enjoyment.

  _sough_, sigh.

  _sourrocks_, leaves of the sorrel.

  _speat_, full flood.

  _speer_, ask.

  _spree_, frolic.

  _sprose_, boast.

  _spyniel_, a quantity of spun yarn.

  _steek_, close.

  _stirk_, young bullock.

  _stoor_, dust.

  _stot_, a young bull.

  _stoup_, measure.

  _straemash_, kick-up.

  _stricts_, exact letter.

  _stroop_, spout.

  _sumph_, softy.

  _suspection_, suspicion.

  _swap_, exchange.

  _swattle_, swallow.

  _sweert_, averse.

  _syde_, long.

  _syne_, ago;
    _sin’ syne_, since then.


  _tae_, toe.

  _ta’enawa_, changeling.

  _taigling_, delaying.

  _tak tent_, take care.

  _tansie_, yellow-flowered herb.

  _tap o’ tow_, head of flax, easily kindled;
    so, of a choleric person.

  _tavert_, senseless.

  _tawpie_, _tawpy_, ill-conditioned, awkward, _esp._ of a girl.

  _taws_, whip.

  _tead_, toad.

  _teetles_, titles.

  _telt_, told.

  _terrogation_, inquiry.

  _thir_, these.

  _thole_, endure.

  _thrangerie butt and ben_, constant work all through the house.

  _thraw_, turn.

  _thrawn_, obstinate.

  _threep_, maintain stoutly, threaten.

  _throughgality_, frugality.

  _tilt_, _till’t_, to it.

  _tirl at the pin_, work at the latch.

  _tocher_, dowry.

  _tod_, fox.

  _toom_, empty.

  _tot_, total.

  _touzle_, rough caressing.

  _tow_, flax.

  _towt_, passing fit.

  _traike_, last.

  _trance-door_, door from the passage to the kitchen.

  _trig_, neat.

  _trotcosey_, garment to cover the neck and shoulders.

  _trow_, know.

  _trump_, Jew’s harp.

  _tuggit_, pulled.

  _tumphy_, dumpish person, dullard.

  _twa_, two.

  _twa-three_, two or three.

  _tweesh_, betwixt.

  _tynes_, loses.


  _unco_, something out of the common.

  _unco-like_, strange.

  _uncos_, news.


  _virl_, ring round the end of a cane.


  _wabster_, weaver.

  _wadset_, reversion.

  _waff_, passing wave.

  _waling_, choosing.

  _wally-wae_, lament.

  _wamling_, rolling.

  _ware_, expend.

  _warrandice_, warrant.

  _warsle_, _warslet_, wrestle, wrestled.

  _wastrie_, wastefulness.

  _wat_, wot, know.

  _waur_, worse.

  _wean_, child.

  _wee_, small.

  _whang_, large slices.

  _whaup_, curlew.

  _wheen_, few.

  _wheest_, be silent.

  _whilk_, which.

  _whin-bush_, ragstone.

  _whir_, whiz.

  _windlestrae_, grass.

  _wise_, will, advise.

  _wissing_, wishing.

  _wizent_, wizened.

  _wrang_, wrong.

  _wrangeously_, wrongly.

  _writer to the Signet_, solicitor.

  _wud_, mad.

  _wuddy_, halter.

  _wull_, will.

  _wyte_, blame.

  _wytid wi’_, accused of.


  _yett_, gate.

  _yill_, ale.

  _yird_, _yirden_, earthy.

  _yocket_, yoked, married.



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LIST OF THE SERIES

_The figures in parentheses denote the number of the book in the series_

~Aeschylus.~ The Seven Plays. Translated by LEWIS CAMPBELL. (117)

~Ainsworth (W. Harrison).~ The Tower of London. (162)

~A Kempis (Thomas).~ Of the Imitation of Christ. (49)

~Aristophanes.~ Frere’s translation of the Acharnians, Knights, Birds,
and Frogs. Introduction by W. W. MERRY. (134)

~Arnold (Matthew).~ Poems. Introduction by Sir A. T. QUILLER-COUCH. (85)

~Aurelius (Marcus).~ The Thoughts. A new translation by JOHN JACKSON.
(60)

~Austen (Jane).~ Emma. Introduction by E. V. LUCAS. (129)

~Bacon.~ The Advancement of Learning, and the New Atlantis.
Introduction by Professor CASE. (93)

    Essays. (24)

~Barham.~ The Ingoldsby Legends. (9)

~Blackmore (R. D.).~ Lorna Doone.

~Borrow.~ The Bible in Spain. (75)

    Lavengro. (66)

    The Romany Rye. (73)

~Brontë Sisters.~

    ~Charlotte Brontë.~ Jane Eyre. (1)

    Shirley. (14)

    Villette. (47)

    The Professor, and the Poems of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë.
    Introduction by THEODORE WATTS-DUNTON. (78)

~Emily Brontë.~ Wuthering Heights. (10)

~Anne Brontë.~ Agnes Grey. (141)

    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. (67) #/

~Brown (Dr. John).~ Horae Subsecivae. Introduction by AUSTIN DOBSON.
(118)

~Browning (Elizabeth Barrett).~ Poems: A Selection. (176)

~Browning (Robert).~ Poems and Plays, 1833-1842. (58)

    Poems, 1842-1864. (137)

~Buckle.~ The History of Civilization in England. 3 vols. (41, 48, 53)

~Bunyan.~ The Pilgrim’s Progress. (12)

~Burke.~ Works. 6 vols.

    Vol. I. General Introduction by Judge WILLIS and Preface by F. W.
    RAFFETY. (71)

    Vols. II, IV, V, VI. Prefaces by F. W. RAFFETY. (81, 112-114)

    Vol. III. Preface by F. H. WILLIS, (111)

~Burns.~ Poems. (34)

~Butler.~ The Analogy of Religion. Edited, with Notes, by W. E.
GLADSTONE. (136)

~Byron.~ Poems: A Selection. (180)

  [_In preparation_

~Carlyle.~ On Heroes and Hero-Worship. (62)

    Past and Present. Introduction by G. K. CHESTERTON. (153)

    Sartor Resartus. (19)

    The French Revolution. Introduction by C. R. L. FLETCHER. 2 vols.
    (125, 126)

    The Life of John Sterling. Introduction by W. HALE WHITE. (144)

~Cervantes.~ Don Quixote. Translated by C. JERVAS. Introduction and
Notes by J. FITZMAURICE-KELLY. 2 vols. With a frontispiece. (130, 131)

~Chaucer.~ The Canterbury Tales. (76)

~Chaucer.~ The Works of. From the text of Professor SKEAT. 3 vols. Vol.
I (42); Vol. II (56); Vol. III, containing the whole of the Canterbury
Tales (76)

~Cobbold.~ Margaret Catchpole. Introduction by CLEMENT SHORTER. (119)

~Coleridge.~ Poems. Introduction by Sir A. T. QUILLER-COUCH. (99)

~Cooper (T. Fenimore).~ The Last of the Mohicans. (163)

~Cowper.~ Letters. Selected, with Introduction, by E. V. LUCAS. (138)

~Darwin.~ The Origin of Species. With a Note by GRANT ALLEN. (11)

~Defoe.~ Captain Singleton. Introduction by THEODORE WATTS-DUNTON. (82)

    Robinson Crusoe. (17)

~De Quincey.~ Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. (23)

~Dickens.~ Great Expectations. With 6 Illustrations by WARWICK GOBLE.
(128)

    Oliver Twist. (8)

    Pickwick Papers. With 43 Illustrations by SEYMOUR and ‘PHIZ.’ 2
    vols. (120, 121)

    Tale of Two Cities. (38)

~Dufferin (Lord).~ Letters from High Latitudes. Illustrated. With
Introduction by R. W. MACAN. (158)

~Eliot (George).~ Adam Bede. (63)

    Felix Holt. Introduction by VIOLA MEYNELL. (179)

    Romola. Introduction by VIOLA MEYNELL. (178)

    Scenes of Clerical Life. Introduction by ANNIE MATHESON. (155)

    Silas Marner, The Lifted Veil, and Brother Jacob. Introduction by
    THEODORE WATTS-DUNTON. (80)

    The Mill on the Floss. (31)

~Emerson.~ English Traits, and Representative Men. (30)

    Essays. First and Second Series. (6)

~English Essays.~ Chosen and arranged by W. PEACOCK. (32)

~English Essays, 1600-1900 (Book of).~ Chosen by S. V. MAKOWER and B.
H. BLACKWELL. (172)

~English Prose from Mandeville to Ruskin.~ Chosen and arranged by W.
PEACOCK. (45)

~English Songs and Ballads.~ Compiled by T. W. H. CROSLAND. (13)

~Fielding.~ Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon. Introduction and Notes by
AUSTIN DOBSON. 2 Illustrations. (142)

~Galt (John).~ The Entail. Introduction by JOHN AYSCOUGH. (177)

~Gaskell (Mrs.).~ Introductions by CLEMENT SHORTER.

    Cousin Phillis, and other Tales, etc. (168)

    Cranford, The Cage at Cranford, and The Moorland Cottage. (110) The
    ‘Cage’ has not hitherto been reprinted.

    Lizzie Leigh, The Grey Woman, and other Tales, etc. (175)

    Mary Barton. (86)

    North and South. (154)

    Ruth. (88)

    Sylvia’s Lovers. (156)

    Wives and Daughters. (157)

~Gibbon.~ Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. With Maps. 7 vols. (35,
44, 51, 55, 64, 69, 74)

    Autobiography. Introduction by J. B. BURY. (139)

~Goethe.~ Faust, Part I (with Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus). Translated by
JOHN ANSTER. Introduction by A. W. WARD. (135)

~Goldsmith.~ Poems. Introduction and Notes by AUSTIN DOBSON. (123)

    The Vicar of Wakefield. (4)

~Grant (James).~ The Captain of the Guard. (159)

~Hawthorne.~ The Scarlet Letter. (26)

~Hazlitt.~ Lectures on the English Comic Writers. Introduction by R.
BRIMLEY JOHNSON. (124)

    Sketches and Essays. (15)

    Spirit of the Age. (57)

    Table-Talk. (5)

    Winterslow. (25)

~Herbert (George).~ Poems. Introduction by ARTHUR WAUGH. (109)

~Herrick.~ Poems. (16)

~Holmes (Oliver Wendell).~ The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. (61)

    The Poet at the Breakfast-Table. Introduction by Sir W. ROBERTSON
    NICOLL. (95)

    The Professor at the Breakfast-Table. Introduction by Sir W.
    ROBERTSON NICOLL. (89)

~Homer.~ Iliad. Translated by Pope. (18)

    Odyssey. Translated by Pope. (36)

~Hood.~ Poems. Introduction by WALTER JERROLD. (87)

~Horne (R. Hengist).~ A New Spirit of the Age. Introduction by WALTER
JERROLD. (127)

~Hume.~ Essays. (33)

~Hunt (Leigh).~ Essays and Sketches. Introduction by R. BRIMLEY
JOHNSON. (115)

    The Town. Introduction and Notes by AUSTIN DOBSON and a
    Frontispiece. (132)

~Irving (Washington).~ The Conquest of Granada. (150)

    The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Introduction by T.
    BALSTON. (173)

~Jerrold (Douglas).~ Mrs. Caudle’s Curtain Lectures, Mr. Caudle’s
Breakfast Talk, and other Stories and Essays. Introduction by WALTER
JERROLD, and 90 Illustrations by KEENE, LEECH, and DOYLE. (122)

~Johnson.~ Lives of the English Poets. Introduction by ARTHUR WAUGH. 2
vols. (83, 84)

~Keats.~ Poems. (7)

~Keble.~ The Christian Year. (181)

  [_In preparation_

~Lamb.~ Essays of Elia, and The Last Essays of Elia. (2)

~Lesage.~ Gil Blas. Translated by T. SMOLLETT, with Introduction and
Notes by J. FITZMAURICE-KELLY. 2 vols. (151, 152)

~Longfellow.~ Evangeline, The Golden Legend, &c. (39)

    Hiawatha, Miles Standish, Tales of a Wayside Inn, &c. (174)

~Lytton.~ Harold. With 6 Illustrations by Charles Burton. (165)

~Macaulay.~ Lays of Ancient Rome; Ivry; The Armada. (27)

~Machiavelli.~ The Prince. Translated by LUIGI RICCI. (43)

~Marcus Aurelius.~ See Aurelius.

~Marlowe.~ Dr. Faustus (with Goethe’s Faust, Part I). Introduction by
A. W. WARD. See Goethe.

~Marryat.~ Mr. Midshipman Easy. (160)

    The King’s Own. With 6 Illustrations by WARWICK GOBLE. (164)

~Mill (John Stuart).~ On Liberty, Representative Government, and the
Subjection of Women. With an Introduction by MRS. FAWCETT. (170)

~Milton.~ The English Poems. (182)

  [_In preparation_

~Montaigne.~ Essays. Translated by J. FLORIO. 3 vols. (65, 70, 77)

~Morris (W.).~ The Defence of Guinevere, The Life and Death of Jason,
and other Poems. (183)

  [_In preparation_

~Motley.~ Rise of the Dutch Republic. Introduction by CLEMENT SHORTER.
3 vols. (96, 97, 98)

~Palgrave.~ The Golden Treasury. With additional Poems, including
FITZGERALD’S translation of Omar Khayyám. (133)

~Peacock (W.).~ English Prose from Mandeville to Ruskin. (45) Selected
English Essays. (32)

~Poe (Edgar Allan).~ Tales of Mystery and Imagination. (21)

~Porter (Jane).~ The Scottish Chiefs. (161)

~Reid (Mayne).~ The Rifle Rangers. With 6 Illustrations by J. E.
SUTCLIFFE. (166)

    The Scalp Hunters. With 6 Illustrations by A. H. COLLINS. (167)

~Reynolds (Sir Joshua).~ The Discourses, and the Letters to ‘The
Idler.’ Introduction by AUSTIN DOBSON. (149)

~Rossetti (Christina).~ Goblin Market, The Prince’s Progress, and other
Poems. (184)

  [_In preparation_

~Rossetti (D. G.).~ Poems and Translations, 1850-1870. (185)

  [_In preparation_

~Ruskin.~ (_Ruskin House Editions, by arrangement with George Allen and
Sons._)

    ‘A Joy for Ever,’ and The Two Paths. Illustrated. (147)

    Sesame and Lilies, and The Ethics of the Dust. (145)

    Time and Tide, and The Crown of Wild Olive. (146)

    Unto this Last, and Munera Pulveris. (148)

~Scott.~ Ivanhoe. (29)

    Lives of the Novelists. Introduction by AUSTIN DOBSON. (94)

    Poems. A Selection. (186)

  [_In preparation_

~Shakespeare.~ Plays and Poems. With a Preface by A. C. SWINBURNE and
general Introductions to the several plays and poems by EDWARD DOWDEN,
and a Note by _T. Watts-Dunton_ on the special typographical features
of this Edition. 9 vols.

    Comedies. 3 vols. (100, 101, 102)

    Histories and Poems. 3 vols. (103, 104, 105)

    Tragedies. 3 vols. (106, 107, 108)

~Shelley.~ Poems. A Selection. (187)

  [_In preparation_

~Sheridan.~ Plays. Introduction by JOSEPH KNIGHT. (79)

~Smith (Adam).~ The Wealth of Nations. 2 vols. (54, 59)

~Smollett.~ Travels through France and Italy. Introduction by THOMAS
SECCOMBE. (90)

~Sophocles.~ The Seven Plays. Translated by the late LEWIS CAMPBELL.
(116)

~Southey (Robert).~ Letters. Selected, with an Introduction and Notes,
by MAURICE H. FITZGERALD. (169)

~Sterne.~ Tristram Shandy. (40)

~Swift.~ Gulliver’s Travels. (20)

~Tennyson (Lord).~ Poems. (3)

~Thackeray.~ Book of Snobs, Sketches and Travels in London, &c. (50)

    Henry Esmond. (28)

    Pendennis. Introduction by EDMUND GOSSE. 2 vols. (91, 92)

~Thoreau.~ Walden. Introduction by THEODORE WATTS-DUNTON. (68)

~Tolstoy.~ Essays and Letters. Translated by AYLMER MAUDE. (46)

    Twenty-three Tales. Translated by L. and A. MAUDE. (72)

~Trollope.~ The Three Clerks. Introduction by W. TEIGNMOUTH SHORE. (143)

~Virgil.~ Translated by DRYDEN. (37)

~Watts-Dunton (Theodore).~ Aylwin. (52)

~Wells (Charles).~ Joseph and his Brethren. With an Introduction by
ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE, and a Note on Rossetti and Charles Wells by
THEODORE WATTS-DUNTON. (143)

~White (Gilbert).~ History of Selborne. (22)

~Whittier.~ Poems. A Selection. (188)

  [_In preparation_

~Wordsworth.~ Poems: A Selection. (189)

  [_In preparation_

_Other Volumes in Preparation._


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Transcriber's note:


There are many inconsistently-hyphenated words in the text, as well as
inconsistent use of apostrophes to indicate ellipsis, and of punctuation
in dialogue.


The following apparent mistakes have been corrected:

p. 78 "Hae," changed to "‘Hae,"

p. 105 "its rocking" changed to "it’s rocking"

p. 111 "mysteries" changed to "mysteries."

p. 115 "frae him." changed to "frae him.’"

p. 147 "Mr Keelevin" changed to "Mr. Keelevin"

p. 163 "waitscoat" changed to "waistcoat"

p. 231 "has feathers." changed to "has feathers.’"

p. 281 "accede," changed to "accede,’"

p. 433 "meddle" changed to "meddle."


The following possible mistakes have not been changed:

p. 61 for her--It’s

p. 68 left--But

p. 193 culated

p. 242 expatrioted

p. 358 Aberdeenawa





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