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Title: Guy Mannering, Or, the Astrologer — Volume 01
Author: Scott, Walter
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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GUY MANNERING

BY SIR WALTER SCOTT


VOLUME I



GUY MANNERING

OR

THE ASTROLOGER


VOLUME I


     'Tis said that words and signs have power
     O'er sprites in planetary hour;
     But scarce I praise their venturous part
     Who tamper with such dangerous art.

          Lay of the Last Minstrel.



INTRODUCTION

The Novel or Romance of Waverley made its way to the public slowly, of
course, at first, but afterwards with such accumulating popularity as
to encourage the Author to a second attempt. He looked about for a name
and a subject; and the manner in which the novels were composed cannot
be better illustrated than by reciting the simple narrative on which
Guy Mannering was originally founded; but to which, in the progress of
the work, the production ceased to bear any, even the most distant
resemblance. The tale was originally told me by an old servant of my
father's, an excellent old Highlander, without a fault, unless a
preference to mountain dew over less potent liquors be accounted one.
He believed as firmly in the story as in any part of his creed.

A grave and elderly person, according to old John MacKinlay's account,
while travelling in the wilder parts of Galloway, was benighted. With
difficulty he found his way to a country seat, where, with the
hospitality of the time and country, he was readily admitted. The owner
of the house, a gentleman of good fortune, was much struck by the
reverend appearance of his guest, and apologised to him for a certain
degree of confusion which must unavoidably attend his reception, and
could not escape his eye. The lady of the house was, he said, confined
to her apartment, and on the point of making her husband a father for
the first time, though they had been ten years married. At such an
emergency, the laird said, he feared his guest might meet with some
apparent neglect.

'Not so, sir,' said the stranger; 'my wants are few, and easily
supplied, and I trust the present circumstances may even afford an
opportunity of showing my gratitude for your hospitality. Let me only
request that I may be informed of the exact minute of the birth; and I
hope to be able to put you in possession of some particulars which may
influence in an important manner the future prospects of the child now
about to come into this busy and changeful world. I will not conceal
from you that I am skilful in understanding and interpreting the
movements of those planetary bodies which exert their influences on the
destiny of mortals. It is a science which I do not practise, like
others who call themselves astrologers, for hire or reward; for I have
a competent estate, and only use the knowledge I possess for the
benefit of those in whom I feel an interest.' The laird bowed in
respect and gratitude, and the stranger was accommodated with an
apartment which commanded an ample view of the astral regions.

The guest spent a part of the night in ascertaining the position of the
heavenly bodies, and calculating their probable influence; until at
length the result of his observations induced him to send for the
father and conjure him in the most solemn manner to cause the
assistants to retard the birth if practicable, were it but for five
minutes. The answer declared this to be impossible; and almost in the
instant that the message was returned the father and his guest were
made acquainted with the birth of a boy.

The Astrologer on the morrow met the party who gathered around the
breakfast table with looks so grave and ominous as to alarm the fears
of the father, who had hitherto exulted in the prospects held out by
the birth of an heir to his ancient property, failing which event it
must have passed to a distant branch of the family. He hastened to draw
the stranger into a private room.

'I fear from your looks,' said the father, 'that you have bad tidings
to tell me of my young stranger; perhaps God will resume the blessing
He has bestowed ere he attains the age of manhood, or perhaps he is
destined to be unworthy of the affection which we are naturally
disposed to devote to our offspring?'

'Neither the one nor the other,' answered the stranger; 'unless my
judgment greatly err, the infant will survive the years of minority,
and in temper and disposition will prove all that his parents can wish.
But with much in his horoscope which promises many blessings, there is
one evil influence strongly predominant, which threatens to subject him
to an unhallowed and unhappy temptation about the time when he shall
attain the age of twenty-one, which period, the constellations
intimate, will be the crisis of his fate. In what shape, or with what
peculiar urgency, this temptation may beset him, my art cannot
discover.'

'Your knowledge, then, can afford us no defence,' said the anxious
father, 'against the threatened evil?'

'Pardon me,' answered the stranger, 'it can. The influence of the
constellations is powerful; but He who made the heavens is more
powerful than all, if His aid be invoked in sincerity and truth. You
ought to dedicate this boy to the immediate service of his Maker, with
as much sincerity as Samuel was devoted to the worship in the Temple by
his parents. You must regard him as a being separated from the rest of
the world. In childhood, in boyhood, you must surround him with the
pious and virtuous, and protect him to the utmost of your power from
the sight or hearing of any crime, in word or action. He must be
educated in religious and moral principles of the strictest
description. Let him not enter the world, lest he learn to partake of
its follies, or perhaps of its vices. In short, preserve him as far as
possible from all sin, save that of which too great a portion belongs
to all the fallen race of Adam. With the approach of his twenty-first
birthday comes the crisis of his fate. If he survive it, he will be
happy and prosperous on earth, and a chosen vessel among those elected
for heaven. But if it be otherwise--' The Astrologer stopped, and
sighed deeply.

'Sir,' replied the parent, still more alarmed than before, 'your words
are so kind, your advice so serious, that I will pay the deepest
attention to your behests; but can you not aid me farther in this most
important concern? Believe me, I will not be ungrateful.'

'I require and deserve no gratitude for doing a good action,' said the
stranger, 'in especial for contributing all that lies in my power to
save from an abhorred fate the harmless infant to whom, under a
singular conjunction of planets, last night gave life. There is my
address; you may write to me from time to time concerning the progress
of the boy in religious knowledge. If he be bred up as I advise, I
think it will be best that he come to my house at the time when the
fatal and decisive period approaches, that is, before he has attained
his twenty-first year complete. If you send him such as I desire, I
humbly trust that God will protect His own through whatever strong
temptation his fate may subject him to.' He then gave his host his
address, which was a country seat near a post town in the south of
England, and bid him an affectionate farewell.

The mysterious stranger departed, but his words remained impressed upon
the mind of the anxious parent. He lost his lady while his boy was
still in infancy. This calamity, I think, had been predicted by the
Astrologer; and thus his confidence, which, like most people of the
period, he had freely given to the science, was riveted and confirmed.
The utmost care, therefore, was taken to carry into effect the severe
and almost ascetic plan of education which the sage had enjoined. A
tutor of the strictest principles was employed to superintend the
youth's education; he was surrounded by domestics of the most
established character, and closely watched and looked after by the
anxious father himself.

The years of infancy, childhood, and boyhood passed as the father could
have wished. A young Nazarene could not have been bred up with more
rigour. All that was evil was withheld from his observation: he only
heard what was pure in precept, he only witnessed what was worthy in
practice.

But when the boy began to be lost in the youth, the attentive father
saw cause for alarm. Shades of sadness, which gradually assumed a
darker character, began to over-cloud the young man's temper. Tears,
which seemed involuntary, broken sleep, moonlight wanderings, and a
melancholy for which he could assign no reason, seemed to threaten at
once his bodily health and the stability of his mind. The Astrologer
was consulted by letter, and returned for answer that this fitful state
of mind was but the commencement of his trial, and that the poor youth
must undergo more and more desperate struggles with the evil that
assailed him. There was no hope of remedy, save that he showed
steadiness of mind in the study of the Scriptures. 'He suffers,
continued the letter of the sage,' from the awakening of those harpies
the passions, which have slept with him, as with others, till the
period of life which he has now attained. Better, far better, that they
torment him by ungrateful cravings than that he should have to repent
having satiated them by criminal indulgence.'

The dispositions of the young man were so excellent that he combated,
by reason and religion, the fits of gloom which at times overcast his
mind, and it was not till he attained the commencement of his
twenty-first year that they assumed a character which made his father
tremble for the consequences. It seemed as if the gloomiest and most
hideous of mental maladies was taking the form of religious despair.
Still the youth was gentle, courteous, affectionate, and submissive to
his father's will, and resisted with all his power the dark suggestions
which were breathed into his mind, as it seemed by some emanation of
the Evil Principle, exhorting him, like the wicked wife of Job, to
curse God and die.

The time at length arrived when he was to perform what was then thought
a long and somewhat perilous journey, to the mansion of the early
friend who had calculated his nativity. His road lay through several
places of interest, and he enjoyed the amusement of travelling more
than he himself thought would have been possible. Thus he did not reach
the place of his destination till noon on the day preceding his
birthday. It seemed as if he had been carried away with an unwonted
tide of pleasurable sensation, so as to forget in some degree what his
father had communicated concerning the purpose of his journey. He
halted at length before a respectable but solitary old mansion, to
which he was directed as the abode of his father's friend.

The servants who came to take his horse told him he had been expected
for two days. He was led into a study, where the stranger, now a
venerable old man, who had been his father's guest, met him with a
shade of displeasure, as well as gravity, on his brow. 'Young man,' he
said, 'wherefore so slow on a journey of such importance?' 'I thought,'
replied the guest, blushing and looking downward,' that there was no
harm in travelling slowly and satisfying my curiosity, providing I
could reach your residence by this day; for such was my father's
charge.' 'You were to blame,' replied the sage, 'in lingering,
considering that the avenger of blood was pressing on your footsteps.
But you are come at last, and we will hope for the best, though the
conflict in which you are to be engaged will be found more dreadful the
longer it is postponed. But first accept of such refreshments as nature
requires to satisfy, but not to pamper, the appetite.'

The old man led the way into a summer parlour, where a frugal meal was
placed on the table. As they sat down to the board they were joined by
a young lady about eighteen years of age, and so lovely that the sight
of her carried off the feelings of the young stranger from the
peculiarity and mystery of his own lot, and riveted his attention to
everything she did or said. She spoke little and it was on the most
serious subjects. She played on the harpsichord at her father's
command, but it was hymns with which she accompanied the instrument. At
length, on a sign from the sage, she left the room, turning on the
young stranger as she departed a look of inexpressible anxiety and
interest.

The old man then conducted the youth to his study, and conversed with
him upon the most important points of religion, to satisfy himself that
he could render a reason for the faith that was in him. During the
examination the youth, in spite of himself, felt his mind occasionally
wander, and his recollections go in quest of the beautiful vision who
had shared their meal at noon. On such occasions the Astrologer looked
grave, and shook his head at this relaxation of attention; yet, on the
whole, he was pleased with the youth's replies.

At sunset the young man was made to take the bath; and, having done so,
he was directed to attire himself in a robe somewhat like that worn by
Armenians, having his long hair combed down on his shoulders, and his
neck, hands, and feet bare. In this guise he was conducted into a
remote chamber totally devoid of furniture, excepting a lamp, a chair,
and a table, on which lay a Bible. 'Here,' said the Astrologer, 'I must
leave you alone to pass the most critical period of your life. If you
can, by recollection of the great truths of which we have spoken, repel
the attacks which will be made on your courage and your principles, you
have nothing to apprehend. But the trial will be severe and arduous.'
His features then assumed a pathetic solemnity, the tears stood in his
eyes, and his voice faltered with emotion as he said, 'Dear child, at
whose coming into the world I foresaw this fatal trial, may God give
thee grace to support it with firmness!'

The young man was left alone; and hardly did he find himself so, when,
like a swarm of demons, the recollection of all his sins of omission
and commission, rendered even more terrible by the scrupulousness with
which he had been educated, rushed on his mind, and, like furies armed
with fiery scourges, seemed determined to drive him to despair. As he
combated these horrible recollections with distracted feelings, but
with a resolved mind, he became aware that his arguments were answered
by the sophistry of another, and that the dispute was no longer
confined to his own thoughts. The Author of Evil was present in the
room with him in bodily shape, and, potent with spirits of a melancholy
cast, was impressing upon him the desperation of his state, and urging
suicide as the readiest mode to put an end to his sinful career. Amid
his errors, the pleasure he had taken in prolonging his journey
unnecessarily, and the attention which he had bestowed on the beauty of
the fair female when his thoughts ought to have been dedicated to the
religious discourse of her father, were set before him in the darkest
colours; and he was treated as one who, having sinned against light,
was therefore deservedly left a prey to the Prince of Darkness.

As the fated and influential hour rolled on, the terrors of the hateful
Presence grew more confounding to the mortal senses of the victim, and
the knot of the accursed sophistry became more inextricable in
appearance, at least to the prey whom its meshes surrounded. He had not
power to explain the assurance of pardon which he continued to assert,
or to name the victorious name in which he trusted. But his faith did
not abandon him, though he lacked for a time the power of expressing
it. 'Say what you will,' was his answer to the Tempter; 'I know there
is as much betwixt the two boards of this Book as can ensure me
forgiveness for my transgressions and safety for my soul.' As he spoke,
the clock, which announced the lapse of the fatal hour, was heard to
strike. The speech and intellectual powers of the youth were instantly
and fully restored; he burst forth into prayer, and expressed in the
most glowing terms his reliance on the truth and on the Author of the
Gospel. The Demon retired, yelling and discomfited, and the old man,
entering the apartment, with tears congratulated his guest on his
victory in the fated struggle.

The young man was afterwards married to the beautiful maiden, the first
sight of whom had made such an impression on him, and they were
consigned over at the close of the story to domestic happiness. So
ended John MacKinlay's legend.

The Author of Waverley had imagined a possibility of framing an
interesting, and perhaps not an unedifying, tale out of the incidents
of the life of a doomed individual, whose efforts at good and virtuous
conduct were to be for ever disappointed by the intervention, as it
were, of some malevolent being, and who was at last to come off
victorious from the fearful struggle. In short, something was meditated
upon a plan resembling the imaginative tale of Sintram and his
Companions, by Mons. le Baron de la Motte Fouque, although, if it then
existed, the author had not seen it.

The scheme projected may be traced in the three or four first chapters
of the work; but farther consideration induced the author to lay his
purpose aside. It appeared, on mature consideration, that astrology,
though its influence was once received and admitted by Bacon himself,
does not now retain influence over the general mind sufficient even to
constitute the mainspring of a romance. Besides, it occurred that to do
justice to such a subject would have required not only more talent than
the Author could be conscious of possessing, but also involved
doctrines and discussions of a nature too serious for his purpose and
for the character of the narrative. In changing his plan, however,
which was done in the course of printing, the early sheets retained the
vestiges of the original tenor of the story, although they now hang
upon it as an unnecessary and unnatural incumbrance. The cause of such
vestiges occurring is now explained and apologised for.

It is here worthy of observation that, while the astrological doctrines
have fallen into general contempt, and been supplanted by superstitions
of a more gross and far less beautiful character, they have, even in
modern days, retained some votaries.

One of the most remarkable believers in that forgotten and despised
science was a late eminent professor of the art of legerdemain. One
would have thought that a person of this description ought, from his
knowledge of the thousand ways in which human eyes could be deceived,
to have been less than others subject to the fantasies of superstition.
Perhaps the habitual use of those abstruse calculations by which, in a
manner surprising to the artist himself, many tricks upon cards, etc.,
are performed, induced this gentleman to study the combination of the
stars and planets, with the expectation of obtaining prophetic
communications.

He constructed a scheme of his own nativity, calculated according to
such rules of art as he could collect from the best astrological
authors. The result of the past he found agreeable to what had hitherto
befallen him, but in the important prospect of the future a singular
difficulty occurred. There were two years during the course of which he
could by no means obtain any exact knowledge whether the subject of the
scheme would be dead or alive. Anxious concerning so remarkable a
circumstance, he gave the scheme to a brother astrologer, who was also
baffled in the same manner. At one period he found the native, or
subject, was certainly alive; at another that he was unquestionably
dead; but a space of two years extended between these two terms, during
which he could find no certainty as to his death or existence.

The astrologer marked the remarkable circumstance in his diary, and
continued his exhibitions in various parts of the empire until the
period was about to expire during which his existence had been
warranted as actually ascertained. At last, while he was exhibiting to
a numerous audience his usual tricks of legerdemain, the hands whose
activity had so often baffled the closest observer suddenly lost their
power, the cards dropped from them, and he sunk down a disabled
paralytic. In this state the artist languished for two years, when he
was at length removed by death. It is said that the diary of this
modern astrologer will soon be given to the public.

The fact, if truly reported, is one of those singular coincidences
which occasionally appear, differing so widely from ordinary
calculation, yet without which irregularities human life would not
present to mortals, looking into futurity, the abyss of impenetrable
darkness which it is the pleasure of the Creator it should offer to
them. Were everything to happen in the ordinary train of events, the
future would be subject to the rules of arithmetic, like the chances of
gaming. But extraordinary events and wonderful runs of luck defy the
calculations of mankind and throw impenetrable darkness on future
contingencies.

To the above anecdote, another, still more recent, may be here added.
The author was lately honoured with a letter from a gentleman deeply
skilled in these mysteries, who kindly undertook to calculate the
nativity of the writer of Guy Mannering, who might be supposed to be
friendly to the divine art which he professed. But it was impossible to
supply data for the construction of a horoscope, had the native been
otherwise desirous of it, since all those who could supply the minutiae
of day, hour, and minute have been long removed from the mortal sphere.

Having thus given some account of the first idea, or rude sketch, of
the story, which was soon departed from, the Author, in following out
the plan of the present edition, has to mention the prototypes of the
principal characters in Guy Mannering.

Some circumstances of local situation gave the Author in his youth an
opportunity of seeing a little, and hearing a great deal, about that
degraded class who are called gipsies; who are in most cases a mixed
race between the ancient Egyptians who arrived in Europe about the
beginning of the fifteenth century and vagrants of European descent.

The individual gipsy upon whom the character of Meg Merrilies was
founded was well known about the middle of the last century by the name
of Jean Gordon, an inhabitant of the village of Kirk Yetholm, in the
Cheviot Hills, adjoining to the English Border. The Author gave the
public some account of this remarkable person in one of the early
numbers of Blackwood's Magazine, to the following purpose:--

'My father remembered old Jean Gordon of Yetholm, who had great sway
among her tribe. She was quite a Meg Merrilies, and possessed the
savage virtue of fidelity in the same perfection. Having been often
hospitably received at the farmhouse of Lochside, near Yetholm, she had
carefully abstained from committing any depredations on the farmer's
property. But her sons (nine in number) had not, it seems, the same
delicacy, and stole a brood-sow from their kind entertainer. Jean was
mortified at this ungrateful conduct, and so much ashamed of it that
she absented herself from Lochside for several years.

'It happened in course of time that, in consequence of some temporary
pecuniary necessity, the goodman of Lochside was obliged to go to
Newcastle to raise some money to pay his rent. He succeeded in his
purpose, but, returning through the mountains of Cheviot, he was
benighted and lost his way.

'A light glimmering through the window of a large waste barn, which had
survived the farm-house to which it had once belonged, guided him to a
place of shelter; and when he knocked at the door it was opened by Jean
Gordon. Her very remarkable figure, for she was nearly six feet high,
and her equally remarkable features and dress, rendered it impossible
to mistake her for a moment, though he had not seen her for years; and
to meet with such a character in so solitary a place, and probably at
no great distance from her clan, was a grievous surprise to the poor
man, whose rent (to lose which would have been ruin) was about his
person.

'Jean set up a loud shout of joyful recognition--

"Eh, sirs! the winsome gudeman of Lochside! Light down, light down; for
ye maunna gang farther the night, and a friend's house sae near." The
farmer was obliged to dismount and accept of the gipsy's offer of
supper and a bed. There was plenty of meat in the barn, however it
might be come by, and preparations were going on for a plentiful
repast, which the farmer, to the great increase of his anxiety,
observed was calculated for ten or twelve guests, of the same
description, probably, with his landlady.

'Jean left him in no doubt on the subject. She brought to his
recollection the story of the stolen sow, and mentioned how much pain
and vexation it had given her. Like other philosophers, she remarked
that the world grew worse daily; and, like other parents, that the
bairns got out of her guiding, and neglected the old gipsy regulations,
which commanded them to respect in their depredations the property of
their benefactors. The end of all this was an inquiry what money the
farmer had about him; and an urgent request, or command, that he would
make her his purse-keeper, since the bairns, as she called her sons,
would be soon home. The poor farmer made a virtue of necessity, told
his story, and surrendered his gold to Jean's custody. She made him put
a few shillings in his pocket, observing, it would excite suspicion
should he be found travelling altogether penniless.

'This arrangement being made, the farmer lay down on a sort of
shake-down, as the Scotch call it, or bed-clothes disposed upon some
straw, but, as will easily be believed, slept not.

'About midnight the gang returned, with various articles of plunder,
and talked over their exploits in language which made the farmer
tremble. They were not long in discovering they had a guest, and
demanded of Jean whom she had got there.

'"E'en the winsome gudeman of Lochside, poor body," replied Jean; "he's
been at Newcastle seeking for siller to pay his rent, honest man, but
deil-be-lickit he's been able to gather in, and sae he's gaun e'en hame
wi' a toom purse and a sair heart."

"'That may be, Jean," replied one of the banditti, "but we maun ripe
his pouches a bit, and see if the tale be true or no." Jean set up her
throat in exclamations against this breach of hospitality, but without
producing any change in their determination. The farmer soon heard
their stifled whispers and light steps by his bedside, and understood
they were rummaging his clothes. When they found the money which the
providence of Jean Gordon had made him retain, they held a consultation
if they should take it or no; but the smallness of the booty, and the
vehemence of Jean's remonstrances, determined them in the negative.
They caroused and went to rest. As soon as day dawned Jean roused her
guest, produced his horse, which she had accommodated behind the
hallan, and guided him for some miles, till he was on the highroad to
Lochside. She then restored his whole property; nor could his earnest
entreaties prevail on her to accept so much as a single guinea.

'I have heard the old people at Jedburgh say, that all Jean's sons were
condemned to die there on the same day. It is said the jury were
equally divided, but that a friend to justice, who had slept during the
whole discussion, waked suddenly and gave his vote for condemnation in
the emphatic words, "Hang them a'!" Unanimity is not required in a
Scottish jury, so the verdict of guilty was returned. Jean was present,
and only said, "The Lord help the innocent in a day like this!" Her own
death was accompanied with circumstances of brutal outrage, of which
poor Jean was in many respects wholly undeserving. She had, among other
demerits, or merits, as the reader may choose to rank it, that of being
a stanch Jacobite. She chanced to be at Carlisle upon a fair or
market-day, soon after the year 1746, where she gave vent to her
political partiality, to the great offence of the rabble of that city.
Being zealous in their loyalty when there was no danger, in proportion
to the tameness with which they had surrendered to the Highlanders in
1745, the mob inflicted upon poor Jean Gordon no slighter penalty than
that of ducking her to death in the Eden. It was an operation of some
time, for Jean was a stout woman, and, struggling with her murderers,
often got her head above water; and, while she had voice left,
continued to exclaim at such intervals, "Charlie yet! Charlie yet!"
When a child, and among the scenes which she frequented, I have often
heard these stories, and cried piteously for poor Jean Gordon.

'Before quitting the Border gipsies, I may mention that my grandfather,
while riding over Charterhouse Moor, then a very extensive common, fell
suddenly among a large band of them, who were carousing in a hollow of
the moor, surrounded by bushes. They instantly seized on his horse's
bridle with many shouts of welcome, exclaiming (for he was well known
to most of them) that they had often dined at his expense, and he must
now stay and share their good cheer. My ancestor was, a little alarmed,
for, like the goodman of Lochside, he had more money about his person
than he cared to risk in such society. However, being naturally a bold,
lively-spirited man, he entered into the humour of the thing and sate
down to the feast, which consisted of all the varieties of game,
poultry, pigs, and so forth that could be collected by a wide and
indiscriminate system of plunder. The dinner was a very merry one; but
my relative got a hint from some of the older gipsies to retire just
when--

     The mirth and fun grew fast and furious,

and, mounting his horse accordingly, he took a French leave of his
entertainers, but without experiencing the least breach of hospitality.
I believe Jean Gordon was at this festival.'[Footnote: Blackwood's
Magazine, vol. I, p. 54]

Notwithstanding the failure of Jean's issue, for which

     Weary fa' the waefu' wuddie,

a granddaughter survived her, whom I remember to have seen. That is, as
Dr. Johnson had a shadowy recollection of Queen Anne as a stately lady
in black, adorned with diamonds, so my memory is haunted by a solemn
remembrance of a woman of more than female height, dressed in a long
red cloak, who commenced acquaintance by giving me an apple, but whom,
nevertheless, I looked on with as much awe as the future Doctor, High
Church and Tory as he was doomed to be, could look upon the Queen. I
conceive this woman to have been Madge Gordon, of whom an impressive
account is given in the same article in which her mother Jean is
mentioned, but not by the present writer:--

'The late Madge Gordon was at this time accounted the Queen of the
Yetholm clans. She was, we believe, a granddaughter of the celebrated
Jean Gordon, and was said to have much resembled her in appearance. The
following account of her is extracted from the letter of a friend, who
for many years enjoyed frequent and favourable opportunities of
observing the characteristic peculiarities of the Yetholm
tribes:--"Madge Gordon was descended from the Faas by the mother's
side, and was married to a Young. She was a remarkable personage--of a
very commanding presence and high stature, being nearly six feet high.
She had a large aquiline nose, penetrating eyes, even in her old age,
bushy hair, that hung around her shoulders from beneath a gipsy bonnet
of straw, a short cloak of a peculiar fashion, and a long staff nearly
as tall as herself. I remember her well; every week she paid my father
a visit for her awmous when I was a little boy, and I looked upon Madge
with no common degree of awe and terror. When she spoke vehemently (for
she made loud complaints) she used to strike her staff upon the floor
and throw herself into an attitude which it was impossible to regard
with indifference. She used to say that she could bring from the
remotest parts of the island friends to revenge her quarrel while she
sat motionless in her cottage; and she frequently boasted that there
was a time when she was of still more considerable importance, for
there were at her wedding fifty saddled asses, and unsaddled asses
without number. If Jean Gordon was the prototype of the CHARACTER of
Meg Merrilies, I imagine Madge must have sat to the unknown author as
the representative of her PERSON."'[Footnote: Blackwood's Magazine,
vol. I, p. 56.]

How far Blackwood's ingenious correspondent was right, how far
mistaken, in his conjecture the reader has been informed.

To pass to a character of a very different description, Dominie
Sampson,--the reader may easily suppose that a poor modest humble
scholar who has won his way through the classics, yet has fallen to
leeward in the voyage of life, is no uncommon personage in a country
where a certain portion of learning is easily attained by those who are
willing to suffer hunger and thirst in exchange for acquiring Greek and
Latin. But there is a far more exact prototype of the worthy Dominie,
upon which is founded the part which he performs in the romance, and
which, for certain particular reasons, must be expressed very generally.

Such a preceptor as Mr. Sampson is supposed to have been was actually
tutor in the family of a gentleman of considerable property. The young
lads, his pupils, grew up and went out in the world, but the tutor
continued to reside in the family, no uncommon circumstance in Scotland
in former days, where food and shelter were readily afforded to humble
friends and dependents. The laird's predecessors had been imprudent, he
himself was passive and unfortunate. Death swept away his sons, whose
success in life might have balanced his own bad luck and incapacity.
Debts increased and funds diminished, until ruin came. The estate was
sold; and the old man was about to remove from the house of his fathers
to go he knew not whither, when, like an old piece of furniture, which,
left alone in its wonted corner, may hold together for a long while,
but breaks to pieces on an attempt to move it, he fell down on his own
threshold under a paralytic affection.

The tutor awakened as from a dream. He saw his patron dead, and that
his patron's only remaining child, an elderly woman, now neither
graceful nor beautiful, if she ever had been either the one or the
other, had by this calamity become a homeless and penniless orphan. He
addressed her nearly in the words which Dominie Sampson uses to Miss
Bertram, and professed his determination not to leave her. Accordingly,
roused to the exercise of talents which had long slumbered, he opened a
little school and supported his patron's child for the rest of her
life, treating her with the same humble observance and devoted
attention which he had used towards her in the days of her prosperity.

Such is the outline of Dominie Sampson's real story, in which there is
neither romantic incident nor sentimental passion; but which, perhaps,
from the rectitude and simplicity of character which it displays, may
interest the heart and fill the eye of the reader as irresistibly as if
it respected distresses of a more dignified or refined character.

These preliminary notices concerning the tale of Guy Mannering and some
of the characters introduced may save the author and reader in the
present instance the trouble of writing and perusing a long string of
detached notes.

I may add that the motto of this novel was taken from the Lay of the
Last Minstrel, to evade the conclusions of those who began to think
that, as the author of Waverley never quoted the works of Sir Walter
Scott, he must have reason for doing so, and that the circumstances
might argue an identity between them.

ABBOTSFORD, August 1, 1829.



ADDITIONAL NOTE

GALWEGIAN LOCALITIES AND PERSONAGES WHICH HAVE BEEN SUPPOSED TO BE
ALLUDED TO IN THE NOVEL

An old English proverb says, that more know Tom Fool than Tom Fool
knows; and the influence of the adage seems to extend to works composed
under the influence of an idle or foolish planet. Many corresponding
circumstances are detected by readers of which the Author did not
suspect the existence. He must, however, regard it as a great
compliment that, in detailing incidents purely imaginary, he has been
so fortunate in approximating reality as to remind his readers of
actual occurrences. It is therefore with pleasure he notices some
pieces of local history and tradition which have been supposed to
coincide with the fictitious persons, incidents, and scenery of Guy
Mannering.

The prototype of Dirk Hatteraick is considered as having been a Dutch
skipper called Yawkins. This man was well known on the coast of
Galloway and Dumfriesshire, as sole proprietor and master of a buckkar,
or smuggling lugger, called the 'Black Prince.' Being distinguished by
his nautical skill and intrepidity, his vessel was frequently
freighted, and his own services employed, by French, Dutch, Manx, and
Scottish smuggling companies.

A person well known by the name of Buckkar-tea, from having been a
noted smuggler of that article, and also by that of Bogle Bush, the
place of his residence, assured my kind informant Mr. Train, that he
had frequently seen upwards of two hundred Lingtow men assemble at one
time, and go off into the interior of the country, fully laden with
contraband goods.

In those halcyon days of the free trade, the fixed price for carrying a
box of tea or bale of tobacco from the coast of Galloway to Edinburgh
was fifteen shillings, and a man with two horses carried four such
packages. The trade was entirely destroyed by Mr. Pitt's celebrated
commutation law, which, by reducing the duties upon excisable articles,
enabled the lawful dealer to compete with the smuggler. The statute was
called in Galloway and Dumfries-shire, by those who had thriven upon
the contraband trade, 'the burning and starving act.'

Sure of such active assistance on shore, Yawkins demeaned himself so
boldly that his mere name was a terror to the officers of the revenue.
He availed himself of the fears which his presence inspired on one
particular night, when, happening to be ashore with a considerable
quantity of goods in his sole custody, a strong party of excisemen came
down on him. Far from shunning the attack, Yawkins sprung forward,
shouting, 'Come on, my lads; Yawkins is before you.' The revenue
officers were intimidated and relinquished their prize, though defended
only by the courage and address of a single man. On his proper element
Yawkins was equally successful. On one occasion he was landing his
cargo at the Manxman's Lake near Kirkcudbright, when two revenue
cutters (the 'Pigmy' and the 'Dwarf') hove in sight at once on
different tacks, the one coming round by the Isles of Fleet, the other
between the point of Rueberry and the Muckle Ron. The dauntless
freetrader instantly weighed anchor and bore down right between the
luggers, so close that he tossed his hat on the deck of the one and his
wig on that of the other, hoisted a cask to his maintop, to show his
occupation, and bore away under an extraordinary pressure of canvass,
without receiving injury. To account for these and other hairbreadth
escapes, popular superstition alleged that Yawkins insured his
celebrated buckkar by compounding with the devil for one-tenth of his
crew every voyage. How they arranged the separation of the stock and
tithes is left to our conjecture. The buckkar was perhaps called the
'Black Prince' in honour of the formidable insurer.

The 'Black Prince' used to discharge her cargo at Luce, Balcarry, and
elsewhere on the coast; but her owner's favourite landing-places were
at the entrance of the Dee and the Cree, near the old Castle of
Rueberry, about six miles below Kirkcudbright. There is a cave of large
dimensions in the vicinity of Rueberry, which, from its being
frequently used by Yawkins and his supposed connexion with the
smugglers on the shore, is now called Dirk Hatteraick's Cave. Strangers
who visit this place, the scenery of which is highly romantic, are also
shown, under the name of the Gauger's Loup, a tremendous precipice,
being the same, it is asserted, from which Kennedy was precipitated.

Meg Merrilies is in Galloway considered as having had her origin in the
traditions concerning the celebrated Flora Marshal, one of the royal
consorts of Willie Marshal, more commonly called the Caird of
Barullion, King of the Gipsies of the Western Lowlands. That potentate
was himself deserving of notice from the following peculiarities:--He
was born in the parish of Kirkmichael about the year 1671; and, as he
died at Kirkcudbright 23d November 1792, he must then have been in the
one hundred and twentieth year of his age. It cannot be said that this
unusually long lease of existence was noted by any peculiar excellence
of conduct or habits of life. Willie had been pressed or enlisted in
the army seven times, and had deserted as often; besides three times
running away from the naval service. He had been seventeen times
lawfully married; and, besides, such a reasonably large share of
matrimonial comforts, was, after his hundredth year, the avowed father
of four children by less legitimate affections. He subsisted in his
extreme old age by a pension from the present Earl of Selkirk's
grandfather. Will Marshal is buried in Kirkcudbright church, where his
monument is still shown, decorated with a scutcheon suitably blazoned
with two tups' horns and two cutty spoons.

In his youth he occasionally took an evening walk on the highway, with
the purpose of assisting travellers by relieving them of the weight of
their purses. On one occasion the Caird of Barullion robbed the Laird
of Bargally at a place between Carsphairn and Dalmellington. His
purpose was not achieved without a severe struggle, in which the gipsy
lost his bonnet, and was obliged to escape, leaving it on the road. A
respectable farmer happened to be the next passenger, and, seeing the
bonnet, alighted, took it up, and rather imprudently put it on his own
head. At this instant Bargally came up with some assistants, and,
recognising the bonnet, charged the farmer of Bantoberick with having
robbed him, and took him into custody. There being some likeness
between the parties, Bargally persisted in his charge, and, though the
respectability of the farmer's character was proved or admitted, his
trial before the Circuit Court came on accordingly. The fatal bonnet
lay on the table of the court. Bargally swore that it was the identical
article worn by the man who robbed him; and he and others likewise
deponed that they had found the accused on the spot where the crime was
committed, with the bonnet on his head. The case looked gloomily for
the prisoner, and the opinion of the judge seemed unfavourable. But
there was a person in court who knew well both who did and who did not
commit the crime. This was the Caird of Barullion, who, thrusting
himself up to the bar near the place where Bargally was standing,
suddenly seized on the bonnet, put it on his head, and, looking the
Laird full in the face, asked him, with a voice which attracted the
attention of the court and crowded audience--'Look at me, sir, and tell
me, by the oath you have sworn--Am not _I_ the man who robbed you
between Carsphairn and Dalmellington?' Bargally replied, in great
astonishment, 'By Heaven! you are the very man.' 'You see what sort of
memory this gentleman has,' said the volunteer pleader; 'he swears to
the bonnet whatever features are under it. If you yourself, my Lord,
will put it on your head, he will be willing to swear that your
Lordship was the party who robbed him between Carsphairn and
Dalmellington.' The tenant of Bantoberick was unanimously acquitted;
and thus Willie Marshal ingeniously contrived to save an innocent man
from danger, without incurring any himself, since Bargally's evidence
must have seemed to every one too fluctuating to be relied upon.

While the King of the Gipsies was thus laudably occupied, his royal
consort, Flora, contrived, it is said, to steal the hood from the
judge's gown; for which offence, combined with her presumptive guilt as
a gipsy, she was banished to New England, whence she never returned.

Now, I cannot grant that the idea of Meg Merrilies was, in the first
concoction of the character, derived from Flora Marshal, seeing I have
already said she was identified with Jean Gordon, and as I have not the
Laird of Bargally's apology for charging the same fact on two several
individuals. Yet I am quite content that Meg should be considered as a
representative of her sect and class in general, Flora as well as
others.

The other instances in which my Gallovidian readers have obliged me by
assigning to

     Airy nothing
     A local habitation and a name,

shall also be sanctioned so far as the Author may be entitled to do so.
I think the facetious Joe Miller records a case pretty much in point;
where the keeper of a museum, while showing, as he said, the very sword
with which Balaam was about to kill his ass, was interrupted by one of
the visitors, who reminded him that Balaam was not possessed of a
sword, but only wished for one. 'True, sir,' replied the ready-witted
cicerone; 'but this is the very sword he wished for.' The Author, in
application of this story, has only to add that, though ignorant of the
coincidence between the fictions of the tale and some real
circumstances, he is contented to believe he must unconsciously have
thought or dreamed of the last while engaged in the composition of Guy
Mannering.



GUY MANNERING

OR

THE ASTROLOGER



CHAPTER I

     He could not deny that, looking round upon the dreary region,
     and seeing nothing but bleak fields and naked trees, hills
     obscured by fogs, and flats covered with inundations, he did
     for some time suffer melancholy to prevail upon him, and
     wished himself again safe at home.

          --'Travels of Will. Marvel,' IDLER, No. 49.


It was in the beginning of the month of November 17--when a young
English gentleman, who had just left the university of Oxford, made use
of the liberty afforded him to visit some parts of the north of
England; and curiosity extended his tour into the adjacent frontier of
the sister country. He had visited, on the day that opens our history,
some monastic ruins in the county of Dumfries, and spent much of the
day in making drawings of them from different points, so that, on
mounting his horse to resume his journey, the brief and gloomy twilight
of the season had already commenced. His way lay through a wide tract
of black moss, extending for miles on each side and before him. Little
eminences arose like islands on its surface, bearing here and there
patches of corn, which even at this season was green, and sometimes a
hut or farm-house, shaded by a willow or two and surrounded by large
elder-bushes. These insulated dwellings communicated with each other by
winding passages through the moss, impassable by any but the natives
themselves. The public road, however, was tolerably well made and safe,
so that the prospect of being benighted brought with it no real danger.
Still it is uncomfortable to travel alone and in the dark through an
unknown country; and there are few ordinary occasions upon which Fancy
frets herself so much as in a situation like that of Mannering.

As the light grew faint and more faint, and the morass appeared blacker
and blacker, our traveller questioned more closely each chance
passenger on his distance from the village of Kippletringan, where he
proposed to quarter for the night. His queries were usually answered by
a counter-challenge respecting the place from whence he came. While
sufficient daylight remained to show the dress and appearance of a
gentleman, these cross interrogatories were usually put in the form of
a case supposed, as, 'Ye'll hae been at the auld abbey o' Halycross,
sir? there's mony English gentlemen gang to see that.'--Or, 'Your
honour will be come frae the house o' Pouderloupat?' But when the voice
of the querist alone was distinguishable, the response usually was,
'Where are ye coming frae at sic a time o' night as the like o'
this?'--or, 'Ye'll no be o' this country, freend?' The answers, when
obtained, were neither very reconcilable to each other nor accurate in
the information which they afforded. Kippletringan was distant at first
'a gey bit'; then the 'gey bit' was more accurately described as
'ablins three mile'; then the 'three mile' diminished into 'like a mile
and a bittock'; then extended themselves into 'four mile or thereawa';
and, lastly, a female voice, having hushed a wailing infant which the
spokeswoman carried in her arms, assured Guy Mannering, 'It was a weary
lang gate yet to Kippletringan, and unco heavy road for foot
passengers.' The poor hack upon which Mannering was mounted was
probably of opinion that it suited him as ill as the female respondent;
for he began to flag very much, answered each application of the spur
with a groan, and stumbled at every stone (and they were not few) which
lay in his road.

Mannering now grew impatient. He was occasionally betrayed into a
deceitful hope that the end of his journey was near by the apparition
of a twinkling light or two; but, as he came up, he was disappointed to
find that the gleams proceeded from some of those farm-houses which
occasionally ornamented the surface of the extensive bog. At length, to
complete his perplexity, he arrived at a place where the road divided
into two. If there had been light to consult the relics of a
finger-post which stood there, it would have been of little avail, as,
according to the good custom of North Britain, the inscription had been
defaced shortly after its erection. Our adventurer was therefore
compelled, like a knight-errant of old, to trust to the sagacity of his
horse, which, without any demur, chose the left-hand path, and seemed
to proceed at a somewhat livelier pace than before, affording thereby a
hope that he knew he was drawing near to his quarters for the evening.
This hope, however, was not speedily accomplished, and Mannering, whose
impatience made every furlong seem three, began to think that
Kippletringan was actually retreating before him in proportion to his
advance.

It was now very cloudy, although the stars from time to time shed a
twinkling and uncertain light. Hitherto nothing had broken the silence
around him but the deep cry of the bog-blitter, or bull-of-the-bog, a
large species of bittern, and the sighs of the wind as it passed along
the dreary morass. To these was now joined the distant roar of the
ocean, towards which the traveller seemed to be fast approaching. This
was no circumstance to make his mind easy. Many of the roads in that
country lay along the sea-beach, and were liable to be flooded by the
tides, which rise with great height, and advance with extreme rapidity.
Others were intersected with creeks and small inlets, which it was only
safe to pass at particular times of the tide. Neither circumstance
would have suited a dark night, a fatigued horse, and a traveller
ignorant of his road. Mannering resolved, therefore, definitively to
halt for the night at the first inhabited place, however poor, he might
chance to reach, unless he could procure a guide to this unlucky
village of Kippletringan.

A miserable hut gave him an opportunity to execute his purpose. He
found out the door with no small difficulty, and for some time knocked
without producing any other answer than a duet between a female and a
cur-dog, the latter yelping as if he would have barked his heart out,
the other screaming in chorus. By degrees the human tones predominated;
but the angry bark of the cur being at the instant changed into a howl,
it is probable something more than fair strength of lungs had
contributed to the ascendency.

'Sorrow be in your thrapple then!' these were the first articulate
words, 'will ye no let me hear what the man wants, wi' your yaffing?'

'Am I far from Kippletringan, good dame?'

'Frae Kippletringan!!!' in an exalted tone of wonder, which we can but
faintly express by three points of admiration. 'Ow, man! ye should hae
hadden eassel to Kippletringan; ye maun gae back as far as the whaap,
and baud the whaap till ye come to Ballenloan, and then--'

'This will never do, good dame! my horse is almost quite knocked up;
can you not give me a night's lodgings?'

'Troth can I no; I am a lone woman, for James he's awa to Drumshourloch
Fair with the year-aulds, and I daurna for my life open the door to ony
o' your gang-there-out sort o' bodies.'

'But what must I do then, good dame? for I can't sleep here upon the
road all night.'

'Troth, I kenna, unless ye like to gae down and speer for quarters at
the Place. I'se warrant they'll tak ye in, whether ye be gentle or
semple.'

'Simple enough, to be wandering here at such a time of night,' thought
Mannering, who was ignorant of the meaning of the phrase; 'but how
shall I get to the PLACE, as you call it?'

'Ye maun baud wessel by the end o' the loan, and take tent o' the
jaw-hole.'

'O, if ye get to eassel and wessel again, I am undone! Is there nobody
that could guide me to this Place? I will pay him handsomely.'

The word pay operated like magic. 'Jock, ye villain,' exclaimed the
voice from the interior, 'are ye lying routing there, and a young
gentleman seeking the way to the Place? Get up, ye fause loon, and show
him the way down the muckle loaning. He'll show you the way, sir, and
I'se warrant ye'll be weel put up; for they never turn awa naebody frae
the door; and ye'll be come in the canny moment, I'm thinking, for the
laird's servant--that's no to say his body-servant, but the helper
like--rade express by this e'en to fetch the houdie, and he just staid
the drinking o' twa pints o' tippenny to tell us how my leddy was ta'en
wi' her pains.'

'Perhaps,' said Mannering, 'at such a time a stranger's arrival might
be inconvenient?'

'Hout, na, ye needna be blate about that; their house is muckle eneugh,
and decking time's aye canty time.'

By this time Jock had found his way into all the intricacies of a
tattered doublet and more tattered pair of breeches, and sallied forth,
a great white-headed, bare-legged, lubberly boy of twelve years old, so
exhibited by the glimpse of a rush-light which his half-naked mother
held in such a manner as to get a peep at the stranger without greatly
exposing herself to view in return. Jock moved on westward by the end
of the house, leading Mannering's horse by the bridle, and piloting
with some dexterity along the little path which bordered the formidable
jaw-hole, whose vicinity the stranger was made sensible of by means of
more organs than one. His guide then dragged the weary hack along a
broken and stony cart-track, next over a ploughed field, then broke
down a slap, as he called it, in a drystone fence, and lugged the
unresisting animal through the breach, about a rood of the simple
masonry giving way in the splutter with which he passed. Finally, he
led the way through a wicket into something which had still the air of
an avenue, though many of the trees were felled. The roar of the ocean
was now near and full, and the moon, which began to make her
appearance, gleamed on a turreted and apparently a ruined mansion of
considerable extent. Mannering fixed his eyes upon it with a
disconsolate sensation.

'Why, my little fellow,' he said, 'this is a ruin, not a house?'

'Ah, but the lairds lived there langsyne; that's Ellangowan Auld Place.
There's a hantle bogles about it; but ye needna be feared, I never saw
ony mysell, and we're just at the door o' the New Place.'

Accordingly, leaving the ruins on the right, a few steps brought the
traveller in front of a modern house of moderate size, at which his
guide rapped with great importance. Mannering told his circumstances to
the servant; and the gentleman of the house, who heard his tale from
the parlour, stepped forward and welcomed the stranger hospitably to
Ellangowan. The boy, made happy with half-a-crown, was dismissed to his
cottage, the weary horse was conducted to a stall, and Mannering found
himself in a few minutes seated by a comfortable supper, for which his
cold ride gave him a hearty appetite.



CHAPTER II

     Comes me cranking in,
     And cuts me from the best of all my land
     A huge half-moon, a monstrous cantle, out

          Henry IV, Part 1.


The company in the parlour at Ellangowan consisted of the Laird and a
sort of person who might be the village schoolmaster, or perhaps the
minister's assistant; his appearance was too shabby to indicate the
minister, considering he was on a visit to the Laird.

The Laird himself was one of those second-rate sort of persons that are
to be found frequently in rural situations. Fielding has described one
class as feras consumere nati; but the love of field-sports indicates a
certain activity of mind, which had forsaken Mr. Bertram, if ever he
possessed it. A good-humoured listlessness of countenance formed the
only remarkable expression of his features, although they were rather
handsome than otherwise. In fact, his physiognomy indicated the inanity
of character which pervaded his life. I will give the reader some
insight into his state and conversation before he has finished a long
lecture to Mannering upon the propriety and comfort of wrapping his
stirrup-irons round with a wisp of straw when he had occasion to ride
in a chill evening.

Godfrey Bertram of Ellangowan succeeded to a long pedigree and a short
rent-roll, like many lairds of that period. His list of forefathers
ascended so high that they were lost in the barbarous ages of Galwegian
independence, so that his genealogical tree, besides the Christian and
crusading names of Godfreys, and Gilberts, and Dennises, and Rolands
without end, bore heathen fruit of yet darker ages--Arths, and Knarths,
and Donagilds, and Hanlons. In truth, they had been formerly the stormy
chiefs of a desert but extensive domain, and the heads of a numerous
tribe called Mac-Dingawaie, though they afterwards adopted the Norman
surname of Bertram. They had made war, raised rebellions, been
defeated, beheaded, and hanged, as became a family of importance, for
many centuries. But they had gradually lost ground in the world, and,
from being themselves the heads of treason and traitorous conspiracies,
the Bertrams, or Mac-Dingawaies, of Ellangowan had sunk into
subordinate accomplices. Their most fatal exhibitions in this capacity
took place in the seventeenth century, when the foul fiend possessed
them with a spirit of contradiction, which uniformly involved them in
controversy with the ruling powers. They reversed the conduct of the
celebrated Vicar of Bray, and adhered as tenaciously to the weaker side
as that worthy divine to the stronger. And truly, like him, they had
their reward.

Allan Bertram of Ellangowan, who flourished tempore Caroli primi, was,
says my authority, Sir Robert Douglas, in his Scottish Baronage (see
the title 'Ellangowan'), 'a steady loyalist, and full of zeal for the
cause of His Sacred Majesty, in which he united with the great Marquis
of Montrose and other truly zealous and honourable patriots, and
sustained great losses in that behalf. He had the honour of knighthood
conferred upon him by His Most Sacred Majesty, and was sequestrated as
a malignant by the parliament, 1642, and afterwards as a resolutioner
in the year 1648.' These two cross-grained epithets of malignant and
resolutioner cost poor Sir Allan one half of the family estate. His son
Dennis Bertram married a daughter of an eminent fanatic who had a seat
in the council of state, and saved by that union the remainder of the
family property. But, as ill chance would have it, he became enamoured
of the lady's principles as well as of her charms, and my author gives
him this character: 'He was a man of eminent parts and resolution, for
which reason he was chosen by the western counties one of the committee
of noblemen and gentlemen to report their griefs to the privy council
of Charles II. anent the coming in of the Highland host in 1678.' For
undertaking this patriotic task he underwent a fine, to pay which he
was obliged to mortgage half of the remaining moiety of his paternal
property. This loss he might have recovered by dint of severe economy,
but on the breaking out of Argyle's rebellion Dennis Bertram was again
suspected by government, apprehended, sent to Dunnotar Castle on the
coast of the Mearns, and there broke his neck in an attempt to escape
from a subterranean habitation called the Whigs' Vault, in which he was
confined with some eighty of the same persuasion. The apprizer
therefore (as the holder of a mortgage was then called) entered upon
possession, and, in the language of Hotspur, 'came me cranking in,' and
cut the family out of another monstrous cantle of their remaining
property.

Donohoe Bertram, with somewhat of an Irish name and somewhat of an
Irish temper, succeeded to the diminished property of Ellangowan. He
turned out of doors the Reverend Aaron Macbriar, his mother's chaplain
(it is said they quarrelled about the good graces of a milkmaid); drank
himself daily drunk with brimming healths to the king, council, and
bishops; held orgies with the Laird of Lagg, Theophilus Oglethorpe, and
Sir James Turner; and lastly, took his grey gelding and joined Clavers
at Killiecrankie. At the skirmish of Dunkeld, 1689, he was shot dead by
a Cameronian with a silver button (being supposed to have proof from
the Evil One against lead and steel), and his grave is still called the
Wicked Laird's Lair.

His son Lewis had more prudence than seems usually to have belonged to
the family. He nursed what property was yet left to him; for Donohoe's
excesses, as well as fines and forfeitures, had made another inroad
upon the estate. And although even he did not escape the fatality which
induced the Lairds of Ellangowan to interfere with politics, he had yet
the prudence, ere he went out with Lord Kenmore in 1715, to convey his
estate to trustees, in order to parry pains and penalties in case the
Earl of Mar could not put down the Protestant succession. But Scylla
and Charybdis--a word to the wise--he only saved his estate at expense
of a lawsuit, which again subdivided the family property. He was,
however, a man of resolution. He sold part of the lands, evacuated the
old cattle, where the family lived in their decadence as a mouse (said
an old farmer) lives under a firlot. Pulling down part of these
venerable ruins, he built with the stones a narrow house of three
stories high, with a front like a grenadier's cap, having in the very
centre a round window like the single eye of a Cyclops, two windows on
each side, and a door in the middle, leading to a parlour and
withdrawing-room full of all manner of cross lights.

This was the New Place of Ellangowan, in which we left our hero, better
amused perhaps than our readers, and to this Lewis Bertram retreated,
full of projects for re-establishing the prosperity of his family. He
took some land into his own hand, rented some from neighbouring
proprietors, bought and sold Highland cattle and Cheviot sheep, rode to
fairs and trysts, fought hard bargains, and held necessity at the
staff's end as well as he might. But what he gained in purse he lost in
honour, for such agricultural and commercial negotiations were very ill
looked upon by his brother lairds, who minded nothing but
cock-fighting, hunting, coursing, and horse-racing, with now and then
the alternative of a desperate duel. The occupations which he followed
encroached, in their opinion, upon the article of Ellangowan's gentry,
and he found it necessary gradually to estrange himself from their
society, and sink into what was then a very ambiguous character, a
gentleman farmer. In the midst of his schemes death claimed his
tribute, and the scanty remains of a large property descended upon
Godfrey Bertram, the present possessor, his only son.

The danger of the father's speculations was soon seen. Deprived of
Laird Lewis's personal and active superintendence, all his undertakings
miscarried, and became either abortive or perilous. Without a single
spark of energy to meet or repel these misfortunes, Godfrey put his
faith in the activity of another. He kept neither hunters nor hounds,
nor any other southern preliminaries to ruin; but, as has been observed
of his countrymen, he kept a man of business, who answered the purpose
equally well. Under this gentleman's supervision small debts grew into
large, interests were accumulated upon capitals, movable bonds became
heritable, and law charges were heaped upon all; though Ellangowan
possessed so little the spirit of a litigant that he was on two
occasions charged to make payment of the expenses of a long lawsuit,
although he had never before heard that he had such cases in court.
Meanwhile his neighbours predicted his final ruin. Those of the higher
rank, with some malignity, accounted him already a degraded brother.
The lower classes, seeing nothing enviable in his situation, marked his
embarrassments with more compassion. He was even a kind of favourite
with them, and upon the division of a common, or the holding of a
black-fishing or poaching court, or any similar occasion when they
conceived themselves oppressed by the gentry, they were in the habit of
saying to each other, 'Ah, if Ellangowan, honest man, had his ain that
his forbears had afore him, he wadna see the puir folk trodden down
this gait.' Meanwhile, this general good opinion never prevented their
taking advantage of him on all possible occasions, turning their cattle
into his parks, stealing his wood, shooting his game, and so forth,
'for the Laird, honest man, he'll never find it; he never minds what a
puir body does.' Pedlars, gipsies, tinkers, vagrants of all
descriptions, roosted about his outhouses, or harboured in his kitchen;
and the Laird, who was 'nae nice body,' but a thorough gossip, like
most weak men, found recompense for his hospitality in the pleasure of
questioning them on the news of the country side.

A circumstance arrested Ellangowan's progress on the highroad to ruin.
This was his marriage with a lady who had a portion of about four
thousand pounds. Nobody in the neighbourhood could conceive why she
married him and endowed him with her wealth, unless because he had a
tall, handsome figure, a good set of features, a genteel address, and
the most perfect good-humour. It might be some additional
consideration, that she was herself at the reflecting age of
twenty-eight, and had no near relations to control her actions or
choice.

It was in this lady's behalf (confined for the first time after her
marriage) that the speedy and active express, mentioned by the old dame
of the cottage, had been despatched to Kippletringan on the night of
Mannering's arrival.

Though we have said so much of the Laird himself, it still remains that
we make the reader in some degree acquainted with his companion. This
was Abel Sampson, commonly called, from his occupation as a pedagogue,
Dominie Sampson. He was of low birth, but having evinced, even from his
cradle, an uncommon seriousness of disposition, the poor parents were
encouraged to hope that their bairn, as they expressed it, 'might wag
his pow in a pulpit yet.' With an ambitious view to such a
consummation, they pinched and pared, rose early and lay down late, ate
dry bread and drank cold water, to secure to Abel the means of
learning. Meantime, his tall, ungainly figure, his taciturn and grave
manners, and some grotesque habits of swinging his limbs and screwing
his visage while reciting his task, made poor Sampson the ridicule of
all his school-companions. The same qualities secured him at Glasgow
College a plentiful share of the same sort of notice. Half the youthful
mob of 'the yards' used to assemble regularly to see Dominie Sampson
(for he had already attained that honourable title) descend the stairs
from the Greek class, with his lexicon under his arm, his long
misshapen legs sprawling abroad, and keeping awkward time to the play
of his immense shoulder-blades, as they raised and depressed the loose
and threadbare black coat which was his constant and only wear. When he
spoke, the efforts of the professor (professor of divinity though he
was) were totally inadequate to restrain the inextinguishable laughter
of the students, and sometimes even to repress his own. The long,
sallow visage, the goggle eyes, the huge under-jaw, which appeared not
to open and shut by an act of volition, but to be dropped and hoisted
up again by some complicated machinery within the inner man, the harsh
and dissonant voice, and the screech-owl notes to which it was exalted
when he was exhorted to pronounce more distinctly,--all added fresh
subject for mirth to the torn cloak and shattered shoe, which have
afforded legitimate subjects of raillery against the poor scholar from
Juvenal's time downward. It was never known that Sampson either
exhibited irritability at this ill usage, or made the least attempt to
retort upon his tormentors. He slunk from college by the most secret
paths he could discover, and plunged himself into his miserable
lodging, where, for eighteenpence a week, he was allowed the benefit of
a straw mattress, and, if his landlady was in good humour, permission
to study his task by her fire. Under all these disadvantages, he
obtained a competent knowledge of Greek and Latin, and some
acquaintance with the sciences.

In progress of time, Abel Sampson, probationer of divinity, was
admitted to the privileges of a preacher. But, alas! partly from his
own bashfulness, partly owing to a strong and obvious disposition to
risibility which pervaded the congregation upon his first attempt, he
became totally incapable of proceeding in his intended discourse,
gasped, grinned, hideously rolled his eyes till the congregation
thought them flying out of his head, shut the Bible, stumbled down the
pulpit-stairs, trampling upon the old women who generally take their
station there, and was ever after designated as a 'stickit minister.'
And thus he wandered back to his own country, with blighted hopes and
prospects, to share the poverty of his parents. As he had neither
friend nor confidant, hardly even an acquaintance, no one had the means
of observing closely how Dominie Sampson bore a disappointment which
supplied the whole town with a week's sport. It would be endless even
to mention the numerous jokes to which it gave birth, from a ballad
called 'Sampson's Riddle,' written upon the subject by a smart young
student of humanity, to the sly hope of the Principal that the fugitive
had not, in imitation of his mighty namesake, taken the college gates
along with him in his retreat.

To all appearance, the equanimity of Sampson was unshaken. He sought to
assist his parents by teaching a school, and soon had plenty of
scholars, but very few fees. In fact, he taught the sons of farmers for
what they chose to give him, and the poor for nothing; and, to the
shame of the former be it spoken, the pedagogue's gains never equalled
those of a skilful ploughman. He wrote, however, a good hand, and added
something to his pittance by copying accounts and writing letters for
Ellangowan. By degrees, the Laird, who was much estranged from general
society, became partial to that of Dominie Sampson. Conversation, it is
true, was out of the question, but the Dominie was a good listener, and
stirred the fire with some address. He attempted even to snuff the
candles, but was unsuccessful, and relinquished that ambitious post of
courtesy after having twice reduced the parlour to total darkness. So
his civilities, thereafter, were confined to taking off his glass of
ale in exactly the same time and measure with the Laird, and in
uttering certain indistinct murmurs of acquiescence at the conclusion
of the long and winding stories of Ellangowan.

On one of these occasions, he presented for the first time to Mannering
his tall, gaunt, awkward, bony figure, attired in a threadbare suit of
black, with a coloured handkerchief, not over clean, about his sinewy,
scraggy neck, and his nether person arrayed in grey breeches, dark-blue
stockings, clouted shoes, and small copper buckles.

Such is a brief outline of the lives and fortunes of those two persons
in whose society Mannering now found himself comfortably seated.



CHAPTER III

     Do not the hist'ries of all ages
     Relate miraculous presages
     Of strange turns in the world's affairs,
     Foreseen by astrologers, soothsayers,
     Chaldeans, learned genethliacs,
     And some that have writ almanacks?

          Hudibras.

The circumstances of the landlady were pleaded to Mannering, first, as
an apology for her not appearing to welcome her guest, and for those
deficiencies in his entertainment which her attention might have
supplied, and then as an excuse for pressing an extra bottle of good
wine. 'I cannot weel sleep,' said the Laird, with the anxious feelings
of a father in such a predicament, 'till I hear she's gotten ower with
it; and if you, sir, are not very sleepery, and would do me and the
Dominie the honour to sit up wi' us, I am sure we shall not detain you
very late. Luckie Howatson is very expeditious. There was ance a lass
that was in that way; she did not live far from hereabouts--ye needna
shake your head and groan, Dominie; I am sure the kirk dues were a'
weel paid, and what can man do mair?--it was laid till her ere she had
a sark ower her head; and the man that she since wadded does not think
her a pin the waur for the misfortune. They live, Mr. Mannering, by the
shoreside at Annan, and a mair decent, orderly couple, with six as fine
bairns as ye would wish to see plash in a saltwater dub; and little
curlie Godfrey--that's the eldest, the come o' will, as I may say--he's
on board an excise yacht. I hae a cousin at the board of excise; that's
Commissioner Bertram; he got his commissionership in the great contest
for the county, that ye must have heard of, for it was appealed to the
House of Commons. Now I should have voted there for the Laird of
Balruddery; but ye see my father was a Jacobite, and out with Kenmore,
so he never took the oaths; and I ken not weel how it was, but all that
I could do and say, they keepit me off the roll, though my agent, that
had a vote upon my estate, ranked as a good vote for auld Sir Thomas
Kittlecourt. But, to return to what I was saying, Luckie Howatson is
very expeditious, for this lass--'

Here the desultory and long-winded narrative of the Laird was
interrupted by the voice of some one ascending the stairs from the
kitchen story, and singing at full pitch of voice. The high notes were
too shrill for a man, the low seemed too deep for a woman. The words,
as far as Mannering could distinguish them, seemed to run thus:--

    Canny moment, lucky fit!
    Is the lady lighter yet?
    Be it lad, or be it lass,
    Sign wi' cross and sain wi' mass.

'It's Meg Merrilies, the gipsy, as sure as I am a sinner,' said Mr.
Bertram. The Dominie groaned deeply, uncrossed his legs, drew in the
huge splay foot which his former posture had extended, placed it
perpendicularly, and stretched the other limb over it instead, puffing
out between whiles huge volumes of tobacco smoke. 'What needs ye groan,
Dominie? I am sure Meg's sangs do nae ill.'

'Nor good neither,' answered Dominie Sampson, in a voice whose
untuneable harshness corresponded with the awkwardness of his figure.
They were the first words which Mannering had heard him speak; and as
he had been watching with some curiosity when this eating, drinking,
moving, and smoking automaton would perform the part of speaking, he
was a good deal diverted with the harsh timber tones which issued from
him. But at this moment the door opened, and Meg Merrilies entered.

Her appearance made Mannering start. She was full six feet high, wore a
man's great-coat over the rest of her dress, had in her hand a goodly
sloethorn cudgel, and in all points of equipment, except her
petticoats, seemed rather masculine than feminine. Her dark elf-locks
shot out like the snakes of the gorgon between an old-fashioned bonnet
called a bongrace, heightening the singular effect of her strong and
weather-beaten features, which they partly shadowed, while her eye had
a wild roll that indicated something like real or affected insanity.

'Aweel, Ellangowan,' she said, 'wad it no hae been a bonnie thing, an
the leddy had been brought to bed, and me at the fair o' Drumshourloch,
no kenning, nor dreaming a word about it? Wha was to hae keepit awa the
worriecows, I trow? Ay, and the elves and gyre-carlings frae the bonnie
bairn, grace be wi' it? Ay, or said Saint Colme's charm for its sake,
the dear?' And without waiting an answer she began to sing--

     Trefoil, vervain, John's-wort, dill,
     Hinders witches of their
     will, Weel is them, that weel may
     Fast upon Saint Andrew's day.

     Saint Bride and her brat,
     Saint Colme and his cat,
     Saint Michael and his spear,
     Keep the house frae reif and wear.

This charm she sung to a wild tune, in a high and shrill voice, and,
cutting three capers with such strength and agility as almost to touch
the roof of the room, concluded, 'And now, Laird, will ye no order me a
tass o' brandy?'

'That you shall have, Meg. Sit down yont there at the door and tell us
what news ye have heard at the fair o' Drumshourloch.'

'Troth, Laird, and there was muckle want o' you, and the like o' you;
for there was a whin bonnie lasses there, forbye mysell, and deil ane
to gie them hansels.'

'Weel, Meg, and how mony gipsies were sent to the tolbooth?'

'Troth, but three, Laird, for there were nae mair in the fair, bye
mysell, as I said before, and I e'en gae them leg-bail, for there's nae
ease in dealing wi' quarrelsome fowk. And there's Dunbog has warned the
Red Rotten and John Young aff his grunds--black be his cast! he's nae
gentleman, nor drap's bluid o' gentleman, wad grudge twa gangrel puir
bodies the shelter o' a waste house, and the thristles by the roadside
for a bit cuddy, and the bits o' rotten birk to boil their drap
parritch wi'. Weel, there's Ane abune a'; but we'll see if the red cock
craw not in his bonnie barn-yard ae morning before day-dawing.'

'Hush! Meg, hush! hush! that's not safe talk.'

'What does she mean?' said Mannering to Sampson, in an undertone.

'Fire-raising,' answered the laconic Dominie.

'Who, or what is she, in the name of wonder?'

'Harlot, thief, witch, and gipsy,' answered Sampson again.

'O troth, Laird,' continued Meg, during this by-talk, 'it's but to the
like o' you ane can open their heart; ye see, they say Dunbog is nae
mair a gentleman than the blunker that's biggit the bonnie house down
in the howm. But the like o' you, Laird, that's a real gentleman for
sae mony hundred years, and never hunds puir fowk aff your grund as if
they were mad tykes, nane o' our fowk wad stir your gear if ye had as
mony capons as there's leaves on the trysting-tree. And now some o' ye
maun lay down your watch, and tell me the very minute o' the hour the
wean's born, an I'll spae its fortune.'

'Ay, but, Meg, we shall not want your assistance, for here's a student
from Oxford that kens much better than you how to spae its fortune; he
does it by the stars.'

'Certainly, sir,' said Mannering, entering into the simple humour of
his landlord, 'I will calculate his nativity according to the rule of
the "triplicities," as recommended by Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Diocles,
and Avicenna. Or I will begin ab hora questionis, as Haly, Messahala,
Ganwehis, and Guido Bonatus have recommended.'

One of Sampson's great recommendations to the favour of Mr. Bertram
was, that he never detected the most gross attempt at imposition, so
that the Laird, whose humble efforts at jocularity were chiefly
confined to what were then called bites and bams, since denominated
hoaxes and quizzes, had the fairest possible subject of wit in the
unsuspecting Dominie. It is true, he never laughed, or joined in the
laugh which his own simplicity afforded--nay, it is said, he never
laughed but once in his life, and on that memorable occasion his
landlady miscarried, partly through surprise at the event itself, and
partly from terror at the hideous grimaces which attended this unusual
cachinnation. The only effect which the discovery of such impositions
produced upon this saturnine personage was, to extort an ejaculation of
'Prodigious!' or 'Very facetious!' pronounced syllabically, but without
moving a muscle of his own countenance.

On the present occasion, he turned a gaunt and ghastly stare upon the
youthful astrologer, and seemed to doubt if he had rightly understood
his answer to his patron.

'I am afraid, sir,' said Mannering, turning towards him, 'you may be
one of those unhappy persons who, their dim eyes being unable to
penetrate the starry spheres, and to discern therein the decrees of
heaven at a distance, have their hearts barred against conviction by
prejudice and misprision.'

'Truly,' said Sampson, 'I opine with Sir Isaac Newton, Knight, and
umwhile master of his Majesty's mint, that the (pretended) science of
astrology is altogether vain, frivolous, and unsatisfactory.' And here
he reposed his oracular jaws.

'Really,' resumed the traveller, 'I am sorry to see a gentleman of your
learning and gravity labouring under such strange blindness and
delusion. Will you place the brief, the modern, and, as I may say, the
vernacular name of Isaac Newton in opposition to the grave and sonorous
authorities of Dariot, Bonatus, Ptolemy, Haly, Eztler, Dieterick,
Naibob, Harfurt, Zael, Taustettor, Agrippa, Duretus, Maginus, Origen,
and Argol? Do not Christians and Heathens, and Jews and Gentiles, and
poets and philosophers, unite in allowing the starry influences?'

'Communis error--it is a general mistake,' answered the inflexible
Dominie Sampson.

'Not so,' replied the young Englishman; 'it is a general and
well-grounded belief.'

'It is the resource of cheaters, knaves, and cozeners,' said Sampson.

'Abusus non tollit usum.--The abuse of anything doth not abrogate the
lawful use thereof.'

During this discussion Ellangowan was somewhat like a woodcock caught
in his own springe. He turned his face alternately from the one
spokesman to the other, and began, from the gravity with which
Mannering plied his adversary, and the learning which he displayed in
the controversy, to give him credit for being half serious. As for Meg,
she fixed her bewildered eyes upon the astrologer, overpowered by a
jargon more mysterious than her own.

Mannering pressed his advantage, and ran over all the hard terms of art
which a tenacious memory supplied, and which, from circumstances
hereafter to be noticed, had been familiar to him in early youth.

Signs and planets, in aspects sextile, quartile, trine, conjoined, or
opposite; houses of heaven, with their cusps, hours, and minutes;
almuten, almochoden, anabibazon, catabibazon; a thousand terms of equal
sound and significance, poured thick and threefold upon the unshrinking
Dominie, whose stubborn incredulity bore him out against the pelting of
this pitiless storm.

At length the joyful annunciation that the lady had presented her
husband with a fine boy, and was (of course) as well as could be
expected, broke off this intercourse. Mr. Bertram hastened to the
lady's apartment, Meg Merrilies descended to the kitchen to secure her
share of the groaning malt and the 'ken-no,' [Footnote: See Note i.]
and Mannering, after looking at his watch, and noting with great
exactness the hour and minute of the birth, requested, with becoming
gravity, that the Dominie would conduct him to some place where he
might have a view of the heavenly bodies.

The schoolmaster, without further answer, rose and threw open a door
half sashed with glass, which led to an old-fashioned terrace-walk
behind the modern house, communicating with the platform on which the
ruins of the ancient castle were situated. The wind had arisen, and
swept before it the clouds which had formerly obscured the sky. The
moon was high, and at the full, and all the lesser satellites of heaven
shone forth in cloudless effulgence. The scene which their light
presented to Mannering was in the highest degree unexpected and
striking.

We have observed, that in the latter part of his journey our traveller
approached the sea-shore, without being aware how nearly. He now
perceived that the ruins of Ellangowan Castle were situated upon a
promontory, or projection of rock, which formed one side of a small and
placid bay on the sea-shore. The modern mansion was placed lower,
though closely adjoining, and the ground behind it descended to the sea
by a small swelling green bank, divided into levels by natural
terraces, on which grew some old trees, and terminating upon the white
sand. The other side of the bay, opposite to the old castle, was a
sloping and varied promontory, covered chiefly with copsewood, which on
that favoured coast grows almost within water-mark. A fisherman's
cottage peeped from among the trees. Even at this dead hour of night
there were lights moving upon the shore, probably occasioned by the
unloading a smuggling lugger from the Isle of Man which was lying in
the bay. On the light from the sashed door of the house being observed,
a halloo from the vessel of 'Ware hawk! Douse the glim!' alarmed those
who were on shore, and the lights instantly disappeared.

It was one hour after midnight, and the prospect around was lovely. The
grey old towers of the ruin, partly entire, partly broken, here bearing
the rusty weather-stains of ages, and there partially mantled with ivy,
stretched along the verge of the dark rock which rose on Mannering's
right hand. In his front was the quiet bay, whose little waves,
crisping and sparkling to the moonbeams, rolled successively along its
surface, and dashed with a soft and murmuring ripple against the
silvery beach. To the left the woods advanced far into the ocean,
waving in the moonlight along ground of an undulating and varied form,
and presenting those varieties of light and shade, and that interesting
combination of glade and thicket, upon which the eye delights to rest,
charmed with what it sees, yet curious to pierce still deeper into the
intricacies of the woodland scenery. Above rolled the planets, each, by
its own liquid orbit of light, distinguished from the inferior or more
distant stars. So strangely can imagination deceive even those by whose
volition it has been excited, that Mannering, while gazing upon these
brilliant bodies, was half inclined to believe in the influence
ascribed to them by superstition over human events. But Mannering was a
youthful lover, and might perhaps be influenced by the feelings so
exquisitely expressed by a modern poet:--

     For fable is Love's world, his home, his birthplace:
     Delightedly dwells he 'mong fays, and talismans,
     And spirits, and delightedly believes
     Divinities, being himself divine
     The intelligible forms of ancient poets,
     The fair humanities of old religion,
     The power, the beauty, and the majesty,
     That had their haunts in dale, or piny mountain,
     Or forest, by slow stream, or pebbly spring,
     Or chasms and wat'ry depths--all these have vanish'd;
     They live no longer in the faith of reason!
     But still the heart doth need a language, still
     Doth the old instinct bring back the old names.
     And to yon starry world they now are gone,
     Spirits or gods, that used to share this earth
     With man as with their friend, and to the lover
     Yonder they move, from yonder visible sky
     Shoot influence down; and even at this day
     'T is Jupiter who brings whate'er is great,
     And Venus who brings everything that's fair.

Such musings soon gave way to others. 'Alas!' he muttered, 'my good old
tutor, who used to enter so deep into the controversy between Heydon
and Chambers on the subject of astrology, he would have looked upon the
scene with other eyes, and would have seriously endeavoured to discover
from the respective positions of these luminaries their probable
effects on the destiny of the new-born infant, as if the courses or
emanations of the stars superseded, or at least were co-ordinate with,
Divine Providence. Well, rest be with him! he instilled into me enough
of knowledge for erecting a scheme of nativity, and therefore will I
presently go about it.' So saying, and having noted the position of the
principal planetary bodies, Guy Mannering returned to the house. The
Laird met him in the parlour, and, acquainting him with great glee that
the boy was a fine healthy little fellow, seemed rather disposed to
press further conviviality. He admitted, however, Mannering's plea of
weariness, and, conducting him to his sleeping apartment, left him to
repose for the evening.



CHAPTER IV

    Come and see' trust thine own eyes
    A fearful sign stands in the house of life,
    An enemy a fiend lurks close behind
    The radiance of thy planet O be warned!

         COLERIDGE, from SCHILLER


The belief in astrology was almost universal in the middle of the
seventeenth century; it began to waver and become doubtful towards the
close of that period, and in the beginning of the eighteenth the art
fell into general disrepute, and even under general ridicule. Yet it
still retained many partizans even in the seats of learning. Grave and
studious men were both to relinquish the calculations which had early
become the principal objects of their studies, and felt reluctant to
descend from the predominating height to which a supposed insight into
futurity, by the power of consulting abstract influences and
conjunctions, had exalted them over the rest of mankind.

Among those who cherished this imaginary privilege with undoubting
faith was an old clergyman with whom Mannering was placed during his
youth. He wasted his eyes in observing the stars, and his brains in
calculations upon their various combinations. His pupil, in early
youth, naturally caught some portion of his enthusiasm, and laboured
for a time to make himself master of the technical process of
astrological research; so that, before he became convinced of its
absurdity, William Lilly himself would have allowed him 'a curious
fancy and piercing judgment in resolving a question of nativity.'

On the present occasion he arose as early in the morning as the
shortness of the day permitted, and proceeded to calculate the nativity
of the young heir of Ellangowan. He undertook the task secundum artem,
as well to keep up appearances as from a sort of curiosity to know
whether he yet remembered, and could practise, the imaginary science.
He accordingly erected his scheme, or figure of heaven, divided into
its twelve houses, placed the planets therein according to the
ephemeris, and rectified their position to the hour and moment of the
nativity. Without troubling our readers with the general
prognostications which judicial astrology would have inferred from
these circumstances, in this diagram there was one significator which
pressed remarkably upon our astrologer's attention. Mars, having
dignity in the cusp of the twelfth house, threatened captivity or
sudden and violent death to the native; and Mannering, having recourse
to those further rules by which diviners pretend to ascertain the
vehemency of this evil direction, observed from the result that three
periods would be particularly hazardous--his fifth, his tenth, his
twenty-first year.

It was somewhat remarkable that Mannering had once before tried a
similar piece of foolery at the instance of Sophia Wellwood, the young
lady to whom he was attached, and that a similar conjunction of
planetary influence threatened her with death or imprisonment in her
thirty-ninth year. She was at this time eighteen; so that, according to
the result of the scheme in both cases, the same year threatened her
with the same misfortune that was presaged to the native or infant whom
that night had introduced into the world. Struck with this coincidence,
Mannering repeated his calculations; and the result approximated the
events predicted, until at length the same month, and day of the month,
seemed assigned as the period of peril to both.

It will be readily believed that, in mentioning this circumstance, we
lay no weight whatever upon the pretended information thus conveyed.
But it often happens, such is our natural love for the marvellous, that
we willingly contribute our own efforts to beguile our better
judgments. Whether the coincidence which I have mentioned was really
one of those singular chances which sometimes happen against all
ordinary calculations; or whether Mannering, bewildered amid the
arithmetical labyrinth and technical jargon of astrology, had
insensibly twice followed the same clue to guide him out of the maze;
or whether his imagination, seduced by some point of apparent
resemblance, lent its aid to make the similitude between the two
operations more exactly accurate than it might otherwise have been, it
is impossible to guess; but the impression upon his mind that the
results exactly corresponded was vividly and indelibly strong.

He could not help feeling surprise at a coincidence so singular and
unexpected. 'Does the devil mingle in the dance, to avenge himself for
our trifling with an art said to be of magical origin? Or is it
possible, as Bacon and Sir Thomas Browne admit, that there is some
truth in a sober and regulated astrology, and that the influence of the
stars is not to be denied, though the due application of it by the
knaves who pretend to practise the art is greatly to be suspected?' A
moment's consideration of the subject induced him to dismiss this
opinion as fantastical, and only sanctioned by those learned men either
because they durst not at once shock the universal prejudices of their
age, or because they themselves were not altogether freed from the
contagious influence of a prevailing superstition. Yet the result of
his calculations in these two instances left so unpleasing an
impression on his mind that, like Prospero, he mentally relinquished
his art, and resolved, neither in jest nor earnest, ever again to
practise judicial astrology.

He hesitated a good deal what he should say to the Laird of Ellangowan
concerning the horoscope of his first-born; and at length resolved
plainly to tell him the judgment which he had formed, at the same time
acquainting him with the futility of the rules of art on which he had
proceeded. With this resolution he walked out upon the terrace.

If the view of the scene around Ellangowan had been pleasing by
moonlight, it lost none of its beauty by the light of the morning sun.
The land, even in the month of November, smiled under its influence. A
steep but regular ascent led from the terrace to the neighbouring
eminence, and conducted Mannering to the front of the old castle. It
consisted of two massive round towers projecting deeply and darkly at
the extreme angles of a curtain, or flat wall, which united them, and
thus protecting the main entrance, that opened through a lofty arch in
the centre of the curtain into the inner court of the castle. The arms
of the family, carved in freestone, frowned over the gateway, and the
portal showed the spaces arranged by the architect for lowering the
portcullis and raising the drawbridge. A rude farm-gate, made of young
fir-trees nailed together, now formed the only safeguard of this once
formidable entrance. The esplanade in front of the castle commanded a
noble prospect.

The dreary scene of desolation through which Mannering's road had lain
on the preceding evening was excluded from the view by some rising
ground, and the landscape showed a pleasing alternation of hill and
dale, intersected by a river, which was in some places visible, and
hidden in others, where it rolled betwixt deep and wooded banks. The
spire of a church and the appearance of some houses indicated the
situation of a village at the place where the stream had its junction
with the ocean. The vales seemed well cultivated, the little inclosures
into which they were divided skirting the bottom of the hills, and
sometimes carrying their lines of straggling hedgerows a little way up
the ascent. Above these were green pastures, tenanted chiefly by herds
of black cattle, then the staple commodity of the country, whose
distant low gave no unpleasing animation to the landscape. The remoter
hills were of a sterner character, and, at still greater distance,
swelled into mountains of dark heath, bordering the horizon with a
screen which gave a defined and limited boundary to the cultivated
country, and added at the same time the pleasing idea that it was
sequestered and solitary. The sea-coast, which Mannering now saw in its
extent, corresponded in variety and beauty with the inland view. In
some places it rose into tall rocks, frequently crowned with the ruins
of old buildings, towers, or beacons, which, according to tradition,
were placed within sight of each other, that, in times of invasion or
civil war, they might communicate by signal for mutual defence and
protection. Ellangowan Castle was by far the most extensive and
important of these ruins, and asserted from size and situation the
superiority which its founders were said once to have possessed among
the chiefs and nobles of the district. In other places the shore was of
a more gentle description, indented with small bays, where the land
sloped smoothly down, or sent into the sea promontories covered with
wood.

A scene so different from what last night's journey had presaged
produced a proportional effect upon Mannering. Beneath his eye lay the
modern house--an awkward mansion, indeed, in point of architecture, but
well situated, and with a warm, pleasant exposure. 'How happily,'
thought our hero, 'would life glide on in such a retirement! On the one
hand, the striking remnants of ancient grandeur, with the secret
consciousness of family pride which they inspire; on the other, enough
of modern elegance and comfort to satisfy every moderate wish. Here
then, and with thee, Sophia!'

We shall not pursue a lover's day-dream any farther. Mannering stood a
minute with his arms folded, and then turned to the ruined castle.

On entering the gateway, he found that the rude magnificence of the
inner court amply corresponded with the grandeur of the exterior. On
the one side ran a range of windows lofty and large, divided by carved
mullions of stone, which had once lighted the great hall of the castle;
on the other were various buildings of different heights and dates, yet
so united as to present to the eye a certain general effect of
uniformity of front. The doors and windows were ornamented with
projections exhibiting rude specimens of sculpture and tracery, partly
entire and partly broken down, partly covered by ivy and trailing
plants, which grew luxuriantly among the ruins. That end of the court
which faced the entrance had also been formerly closed by a range of
buildings; but owing, it was said, to its having been battered by the
ships of the Parliament under Deane, during the long civil war, this
part of the castle was much more ruinous than the rest, and exhibited a
great chasm, through which Mannering could observe the sea, and the
little vessel (an armed lugger), which retained her station in the
centre of the bay. [Footnote: The outline of the above description, as
far as the supposed ruins are concerned, will be found somewhat to
resemble the noble remains of Carlaverock Castle, six or seven miles
from Dumfries, and near to Lochar Moss.] While Mannering was gazing
round the ruins, he heard from the interior of an apartment on the left
hand the voice of the gipsy he had seen on the preceding evening. He
soon found an aperture through which he could observe her without being
himself visible; and could not help feeling that her figure, her
employment, and her situation conveyed the exact impression of an
ancient sibyl.

She sate upon a broken corner-stone in the angle of a paved apartment,
part of which she had swept clean to afford a smooth space for the
evolutions of her spindle. A strong sunbeam through a lofty and narrow
window fell upon her wild dress and features, and afforded her light
for her occupation; the rest of the apartment was very gloomy. Equipt
in a habit which mingled the national dress of the Scottish common
people with something of an Eastern costume, she spun a thread drawn
from wool of three different colours, black, white, and grey, by
assistance of those ancient implements of housewifery now almost
banished from the land, the distaff and spindle. As she spun, she sung
what seemed to be a charm. Mannering, after in vain attempting to make
himself master of the exact words of her song, afterwards attempted the
following paraphrase of what, from a few intelligible phrases, he
concluded to be its purport:--

     Twist ye, twine ye! even so
     Mingle shades of joy and woe,
     Hope, and fear, and peace, and strife,
     In the thread of human life.

     While the mystic twist is spinning,
     And the infant's life beginning,
     Dimly seen through twilight bending,
     Lo, what varied shapes attending!

     Passions wild, and Follies vain,
     Pleasures soon exchanged for pain,
     Doubt, and Jealousy, and Fear
     In the magic dance appear.

     Now they wax, and now they dwindle,
     Whirling with the whirling spindle.
     Twist ye, twine ye! even so
     Mingle human bliss and woe.

Ere our translator, or rather our free imitator, had arranged these
stanzas in his head, and while he was yet hammering out a rhyme for
DWINDLE, the task of the sibyl was accomplished, or her wool was
expended. She took the spindle, now charged with her labours, and,
undoing the thread gradually, measured it by casting it over her elbow
and bringing each loop round between her forefinger and thumb. When she
had measured it out, she muttered to herself--'A hank, but not a haill
ane--the full years o' three score and ten, but thrice broken, and
thrice to OOP (i.e. to unite); he'll be a lucky lad an he win through
wi't.'

Our hero was about to speak to the prophetess, when a voice, hoarse as
the waves with which it mingled, hallooed twice, and with increasing
impatience--'Meg, Meg Merrilies! Gipsy--hag--tausend deyvils!'

'I am coming, I am coming, Captain,' answered Meg; and in a moment or
two the impatient commander whom she addressed made his appearance from
the broken part of the ruins.

He was apparently a seafaring man, rather under the middle size, and
with a countenance bronzed by a thousand conflicts with the north-east
wind. His frame was prodigiously muscular, strong, and thick-set; so
that it seemed as if a man of much greater height would have been an
inadequate match in any close personal conflict. He was hard-favoured,
and, which was worse, his face bore nothing of the insouciance, the
careless, frolicsome jollity and vacant curiosity, of a sailor on
shore. These qualities, perhaps, as much as any others, contribute to
the high popularity of our seamen, and the general good inclination
which our society expresses towards them. Their gallantry, courage, and
hardihood are qualities which excite reverence, and perhaps rather
humble pacific landsmen in their presence; and neither respect nor a
sense of humiliation are feelings easily combined with a familiar
fondness towards those who inspire them. But the boyish frolics, the
exulting high spirits, the unreflecting mirth of a sailor when enjoying
himself on shore, temper the more formidable points of his character.
There was nothing like these in this man's face; on the contrary, a
surly and even savage scowl appeared to darken features which would
have been harsh and unpleasant under any expression or modification.
'Where are you, Mother Deyvilson?' he said, with somewhat of a foreign
accent, though speaking perfectly good English. 'Donner and blitzen! we
have been staying this half-hour. Come, bless the good ship and the
voyage, and be cursed to ye for a hag of Satan!'

At this moment he noticed Mannering, who, from the position which he
had taken to watch Meg Merrilies's incantations, had the appearance of
some one who was concealing himself, being half hidden by the buttress
behind which he stood. The Captain, for such he styled himself, made a
sudden and startled pause, and thrust his right hand into his bosom
between his jacket and waistcoat as if to draw some weapon. 'What
cheer, brother? you seem on the outlook, eh?' Ere Mannering, somewhat
struck by the man's gesture and insolent tone of voice, had made any
answer, the gipsy emerged from her vault and joined the stranger. He
questioned her in an undertone, looking at Mannering--'A shark
alongside, eh?'

She answered in the same tone of under-dialogue, using the cant
language of her tribe--'Cut ben whids, and stow them; a gentry cove of
the ken.' [Footnote: Meaning--Stop your uncivil language; that is a
gentleman from the house below.]

The fellow's cloudy visage cleared up. 'The top of the morning to you,
sir; I find you are a visitor of my friend Mr. Bertram. I beg pardon,
but I took you for another sort of a person.'

Mannering replied, 'And you, sir, I presume, are the master of that
vessel in the bay?'

'Ay, ay, sir; I am Captain Dirk Hatteraick, of the Yungfrauw
Hagenslaapen, well known on this coast; I am not ashamed of my name,
nor of my vessel--no, nor of my cargo neither for that matter.'

'I daresay you have no reason, sir.'

'Tausend donner, no; I'm all in the way of fair trade. Just loaded
yonder at Douglas, in the Isle of Man--neat cogniac--real hyson and
souchong--Mechlin lace, if you want any--right cogniac--we bumped
ashore a hundred kegs last night.'

'Really, sir, I am only a traveller, and have no sort of occasion for
anything of the kind at present.'

'Why, then, good-morning to you, for business must be minded--unless
ye'll go aboard and take schnaps; you shall have a pouch-full of tea
ashore. Dirk Hatteraick knows how to be civil.'

There was a mixture of impudence, hardihood, and suspicious fear about
this man which was inexpressibly disgusting. His manners were those of
a ruffian, conscious of the suspicion attending his character, yet
aiming to bear it down by the affectation of a careless and hardy
familiarity. Mannering briefly rejected his proffered civilities; and,
after a surly good-morning, Hatteraick retired with the gipsy to that
part of the ruins from which he had first made his appearance. A very
narrow staircase here went down to the beach, intended probably for the
convenience of the garrison during a siege. By this stair the couple,
equally amiable in appearance and respectable by profession, descended
to the sea-side. The soi-disant captain embarked in a small boat with
two men, who appeared to wait for him, and the gipsy remained on the
shore, reciting or singing, and gesticulating with great vehemence.



CHAPTER V

     You have fed upon my seignories,
     Dispark'd my parks, and fell'd my forest woods,
     From mine own windows torn my household coat,
     Razed out my impress, leaving me no sign,
     Save men's opinions and my living blood,
     To show the world I am a gentleman.

          Richard II.


When the boat which carried the worthy captain on board his vessel had
accomplished that task, the sails began to ascend, and the ship was got
under way. She fired three guns as a salute to the house of Ellangowan,
and then shot away rapidly before the wind, which blew off shore, under
all the sail she could crowd.

'Ay, ay,' said the Laird, who had sought Mannering for some time, and
now joined him, 'there they go--there go the free-traders--there go
Captain Dirk Hatteraick and the Yungfrauw Hagenslaapen, half Manks,
half Dutchman, half devil! run out the boltsprit, up mainsail, top and
top-gallant sails, royals, and skyscrapers, and away--follow who can!
That fellow, Mr. Mannering, is the terror of all the excise and
custom-house cruisers; they can make nothing of him; he drubs them, or
he distances them;--and, speaking of excise, I come to bring you to
breakfast; and you shall have some tea, that--'

Mannering by this time was aware that one thought linked strangely on
to another in the concatenation of worthy Mr. Bertram's ideas,

     Like orient pearls at random strung;

and therefore, before the current of his associations had drifted
farther from the point he had left, he brought him back by some inquiry
about Dirk Hatteraick.

'O he's a--a--gude sort of blackguard fellow eneugh; naebody cares to
trouble him--smuggler, when his guns are in ballast--privateer, or
pirate, faith, when he gets them mounted. He has done more mischief to
the revenue folk than ony rogue that ever came out of Ramsay.'

'But, my good sir, such being his character, I wonder he has any
protection and encouragement on this coast.'

'Why, Mr. Mannering, people must have brandy and tea, and there's none
in the country but what comes this way; and then there's short
accounts, and maybe a keg or two, or a dozen pounds, left at your
stable-door, instead of a d--d lang account at Christmas from Duncan
Robb, the grocer at Kippletringan, who has aye a sum to make up, and
either wants ready money or a short-dated bill. Now, Hatteraick will
take wood, or he'll take bark, or he'll take barley, or he'll take just
what's convenient at the time. I'll tell you a gude story about that.
There was ance a laird--that's Macfie of Gudgeonford,--he had a great
number of kain hens--that's hens that the tenant pays to the landlord,
like a sort of rent in kind. They aye feed mine very ill; Luckie
Finniston sent up three that were a shame to be seen only last week,
and yet she has twelve bows sowing of victual; indeed her goodman,
Duncan Finniston--that's him that's gone--(we must all die, Mr.
Mannering, that's ower true)--and, speaking of that, let us live in the
meanwhile, for here's breakfast on the table, and the Dominie ready to
say the grace.'

The Dominie did accordingly pronounce a benediction, that exceeded in
length any speech which Mannering had yet heard him utter. The tea,
which of course belonged to the noble Captain Hatteraick's trade, was
pronounced excellent. Still Mannering hinted, though with due delicacy,
at the risk of encouraging such desperate characters. 'Were it but in
justice to the revenue, I should have supposed--'

'Ah, the revenue lads'--for Mr. Bertram never embraced a general or
abstract idea, and his notion of the revenue was personified in the
commissioners, surveyors, comptrollers, and riding officers whom he
happened to know--'the revenue lads can look sharp eneugh out for
themselves, no ane needs to help them; and they have a' the soldiers to
assist them besides; and as to justice--you'll be surprised to hear it,
Mr. Mannering, but I am not a justice of peace!'

Mannering assumed the expected look of surprise, but thought within
himself that the worshipful bench suffered no great deprivation from
wanting the assistance of his good-humoured landlord. Mr. Bertram had
now hit upon one of the few subjects on which he felt sore, and went on
with some energy.

'No, sir, the name of Godfrey Bertram of Ellangowan is not in the last
commission, though there's scarce a carle in the country that has a
plough-gate of land, but what he must ride to quarter-sessions and
write J.P. after his name. I ken fu' weel whom I am obliged to--Sir
Thomas Kittlecourt as good as tell'd me he would sit in my skirts if he
had not my interest at the last election; and because I chose to go
with my own blood and third cousin, the Laird of Balruddery, they
keepit me off the roll of freeholders; and now there comes a new
nomination of justices, and I am left out! And whereas they pretend it
was because I let David Mac-Guffog, the constable, draw the warrants,
and manage the business his ain gate, as if I had been a nose o' wax,
it's a main untruth; for I granted but seven warrants in my life, and
the Dominie wrote every one of them--and if it had not been that
unlucky business of Sandy Mac-Gruthar's, that the constables should
have keepit twa or three days up yonder at the auld castle, just till
they could get conveniency to send him to the county jail--and that
cost me eneugh o' siller. But I ken what Sir Thomas wants very weel--it
was just sic and siclike about the seat in the kirk o' Kilmagirdle--was
I not entitled to have the front gallery facing the minister, rather
than Mac-Crosskie of Creochstone, the son of Deacon Mac-Crosskie, the
Dumfries weaver?'

Mannering expressed his acquiescence in the justice of these various
complaints.

'And then, Mr. Mannering, there was the story about the road and the
fauld-dike. I ken Sir Thomas was behind there, and I said plainly to
the clerk to the trustees that I saw the cloven foot, let them take
that as they like. Would any gentleman, or set of gentlemen, go and
drive a road right through the corner of a fauld-dike and take away, as
my agent observed to them, like twa roods of gude moorland pasture? And
there was the story about choosing the collector of the cess--'

'Certainly, sir, it is hard you should meet with any neglect in a
country where, to judge from the extent of their residence, your
ancestors must have made a very important figure.'

'Very true, Mr. Mannering; I am a plain man and do not dwell on these
things, and I must needs say I have little memory for them; but I wish
ye could have heard my father's stories about the auld fights of the
Mac-Dingawaies--that's the Bertrams that now is--wi' the Irish and wi'
the Highlanders that came here in their berlings from Ilay and Cantire;
and how they went to the Holy Land--that is, to Jerusalem and Jericho,
wi' a' their clan at their heels--they had better have gaen to Jamaica,
like Sir Thomas Kittlecourt's uncle--and how they brought hame relics
like those that Catholics have, and a flag that's up yonder in the
garret. If they had been casks of muscavado and puncheons of rum it
would have been better for the estate at this day; but there's little
comparison between the auld keep at Kittlecourt and the castle o'
Ellangowan; I doubt if the keep's forty feet of front. But ye make no
breakfast, Mr. Mannering; ye're no eating your meat; allow me to
recommend some of the kipper. It was John Hay that catcht it, Saturday
was three weeks, down at the stream below Hempseed ford,' etc. etc. etc.

The Laird, whose indignation had for some time kept him pretty steady
to one topic, now launched forth into his usual roving style of
conversation, which gave Mannering ample time to reflect upon the
disadvantages attending the situation which an hour before he had
thought worthy of so much envy. Here was a country gentleman, whose
most estimable quality seemed his perfect good-nature, secretly
fretting himself and murmuring against others for causes which,
compared with any real evil in life, must weigh like dust in the
balance. But such is the equal distribution of Providence. To those who
lie out of the road of great afflictions are assigned petty vexations
which answer all the purpose of disturbing their serenity; and every
reader must have observed that neither natural apathy nor acquired
philosophy can render country gentlemen insensible to the grievances
which occur at elections, quarter-sessions, and meetings of trustees.

Curious to investigate the manners of the country, Mannering took the
advantage of a pause in good Mr. Bertram's string of stories to inquire
what Captain Hatteraick so earnestly wanted with the gipsy woman.

'O, to bless his ship, I suppose. You must know, Mr. Mannering, that
these free-traders, whom the law calls smugglers, having no religion,
make it all up in superstition; and they have as many spells and charms
and nonsense--'

'Vanity and waur!' said the Dominie;' it is a trafficking with the Evil
One. Spells, periapts, and charms are of his device--choice arrows out
of Apollyon's quiver.'

'Hold your peace, Dominie; ye're speaking for ever'--by the way, they
were the first words the poor man had uttered that morning, excepting
that he said grace and returned thanks--'Mr. Mannering cannot get in a
word for ye! And so, Mr. Mannering, talking of astronomy and spells and
these matters, have ye been so kind as to consider what we were
speaking about last night?'

'I begin to think, Mr. Bertram, with your worthy friend here, that I
have been rather jesting with edge-tools; and although neither you nor
I, nor any sensible man, can put faith in the predictions of astrology,
yet, as it has sometimes happened that inquiries into futurity,
undertaken in jest, have in their results produced serious and
unpleasant effects both upon actions and characters, I really wish you
would dispense with my replying to your question.'

It was easy to see that this evasive answer only rendered the Laird's
curiosity more uncontrollable. Mannering, however, was determined in
his own mind not to expose the infant to the inconveniences which might
have arisen from his being supposed the object of evil prediction. He
therefore delivered the paper into Mr. Bertram's hand, and requested
him to keep it for five years with the seal unbroken, until the month
of November was expired. After that date had intervened he left him at
liberty to examine the writing, trusting that, the first fatal period
being then safely overpassed, no credit would be paid to its farther
contents. This Mr. Bertram was content to promise, and Mannering, to
ensure his fidelity, hinted at misfortunes which would certainly take
place if his injunctions were neglected. The rest of the day, which
Mannering, by Mr. Bertram's invitation, spent at Ellangowan, passed
over without anything remarkable; and on the morning of that which
followed the traveller mounted his palfrey, bade a courteous adieu to
his hospitable landlord and to his clerical attendant, repeated his
good wishes for the prosperity of the family, and then, turning his
horse's head towards England, disappeared from the sight of the inmates
of Ellangowan. He must also disappear from that of our readers, for it
is to another and later period of his life that the present narrative
relates.



CHAPTER VI

     Next, the Justice,
     In fair round belly with good capon lined,
     With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
     Full of wise saws and modern instances--
     And so he plays his part

         --As You Like It


When Mrs. Bertram of Ellangowan was able to hear the news of what had
passed during her confinement, her apartment rung with all manner of
gossiping respecting the handsome young student from Oxford who had
told such a fortune by the stars to the young Laird, 'blessings on his
dainty face.' The form, accent, and manners of the stranger were
expatiated upon. His horse, bridle, saddle, and stirrups did not remain
unnoticed. All this made a great impression upon the mind of Mrs.
Bertram, for the good lady had no small store of superstition.

Her first employment, when she became capable of a little work, was to
make a small velvet bag for the scheme of nativity which she had
obtained from her husband. Her fingers itched to break the seal, but
credulity proved stronger than curiosity; and she had the firmness to
inclose it, in all its integrity, within two slips of parchment, which
she sewed round it to prevent its being chafed. The whole was then put
into the velvet bag aforesaid, and hung as a charm round the neck of
the infant, where his mother resolved it should remain until the period
for the legitimate satisfaction of her curiosity should arrive.

The father also resolved to do his part by the child in securing him a
good education; and, with the view that it should commence with the
first dawnings of reason, Dominie Sampson was easily induced to
renounce his public profession of parish schoolmaster, make his
constant residence at the Place, and, in consideration of a sum not
quite equal to the wages of a footman even at that time, to undertake
to communicate to the future Laird of Ellangowan all the erudition
which he had, and all the graces and accomplishments which--he had not
indeed, but which he had never discovered that he wanted. In this
arrangement the Laird found also his private advantage, securing the
constant benefit of a patient auditor, to whom he told his stories when
they were alone, and at whose expense he could break a sly jest when he
had company.

About four years after this time a great commotion took place in the
county where Ellangowan is situated.

Those who watched the signs of the times had long been of opinion that
a change of ministry was about to take place; and at length, after a
due proportion of hopes, fears, and delays, rumours from good authority
and bad authority, and no authority at all; after some clubs had drank
Up with this statesman and others Down with him; after riding, and
running, and posting, and addressing, and counter-addressing, and
proffers of lives and fortunes, the blow was at length struck, the
administration of the day was dissolved, and parliament, as a natural
consequence, was dissolved also.

Sir Thomas Kittlecourt, like other members in the same situation,
posted down to his county, and met but an indifferent reception. He was
a partizan of the old administration; and the friends of the new had
already set about an active canvass in behalf of John Featherhead,
Esq., who kept the best hounds and hunters in the shire. Among others
who joined the standard of revolt was Gilbert Glossin, writer in--,
agent for the Laird of Ellangowan. This honest gentleman had either
been refused some favour by the old member, or, what is as probable, he
had got all that he had the most distant pretension to ask, and could
only look to the other side for fresh advancement. Mr. Glossin had a
vote upon Ellangowan's property; and he was now determined that his
patron should have one also, there being no doubt which side Mr.
Bertram would embrace in the contest. He easily persuaded Ellangowan
that it would be creditable to him to take the field at the head of as
strong a party as possible; and immediately went to work, making votes,
as every Scotch lawyer knows how, by splitting and subdividing the
superiorities upon this ancient and once powerful barony. These were so
extensive that, by dint of clipping and paring here, adding and eking
there, and creating over-lords upon all the estate which Bertram held
of the crown, they advanced at the day of contest at the head of ten as
good men of parchment as ever took the oath of trust and possession.
This strong reinforcement turned the dubious day of battle. The
principal and his agent divided the honour; the reward fell to the
latter exclusively. Mr. Gilbert Glossin was made clerk of the peace,
and Godfrey Bertram had his name inserted in a new commission of
justices, issued immediately upon the sitting of the parliament.

This had been the summit of Mr. Bertram's ambition; not that he liked
either the trouble or the responsibility of the office, but he thought
it was a dignity to which he was well entitled, and that it had been
withheld from him by malice prepense. But there is an old and true
Scotch proverb, 'Fools should not have chapping sticks'; that is,
weapons of offence. Mr. Bertram was no sooner possessed of the judicial
authority which he had so much longed for than he began to exercise it
with more severity than mercy, and totally belied all the opinions
which had hitherto been formed of his inert good-nature. We have read
somewhere of a justice of peace who, on being nominated in the
commission, wrote a letter to a bookseller for the statutes respecting
his official duty in the following orthography--'Please send the ax
relating to a gustus pease.' No doubt, when this learned gentleman had
possessed himself of the axe, he hewed the laws with it to some
purpose. Mr. Bertram was not quite so ignorant of English grammar as
his worshipful predecessor; but Augustus Pease himself could not have
used more indiscriminately the weapon unwarily put into his hand.

In good earnest, he considered the commission with which he had been
entrusted as a personal mark of favour from his sovereign; forgetting
that he had formerly thought his being deprived of a privilege, or
honour, common to those of his rank was the result of mere party cabal.
He commanded his trusty aid-de-camp, Dominie Sampson, to read aloud the
commission; and at the first words, 'The King has been pleased to
appoint'--'Pleased!' he exclaimed in a transport of gratitude; 'honest
gentleman! I'm sure he cannot be better pleased than I am.'

Accordingly, unwilling to confine his gratitude to mere feelings or
verbal expressions, he gave full current to the new-born zeal of
office, and endeavoured to express his sense of the honour conferred
upon him by an unmitigated activity in the discharge of his duty. New
brooms, it is said, sweep clean; and I myself can bear witness that, on
the arrival of a new housemaid, the ancient, hereditary, and domestic
spiders who have spun their webs over the lower division of my
bookshelves (consisting chiefly of law and divinity) during the
peaceful reign of her predecessor, fly at full speed before the
probationary inroads of the new mercenary. Even so the Laird of
Ellangowan ruthlessly commenced his magisterial reform, at the expense
of various established and superannuated pickers and stealers who had
been his neighbours for half a century. He wrought his miracles like a
second Duke Humphrey; and by the influence of the beadle's rod caused
the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the palsied to labour. He
detected poachers, black-fishers, orchard-breakers, and
pigeon-shooters; had the applause of the bench for his reward, and the
public credit of an active magistrate.

All this good had its rateable proportion of evil. Even an admitted
nuisance of ancient standing should not be abated without some caution.
The zeal of our worthy friend now involved in great distress sundry
personages whose idle and mendicant habits his own lachesse had
contributed to foster, until these habits had become irreclaimable, or
whose real incapacity for exertion rendered them fit objects, in their
own phrase, for the charity of all well-disposed Christians. The
'long-remembered beggar,' who for twenty years had made his regular
rounds within the neighbourhood, received rather as an humble friend
than as an object of charity, was sent to the neighbouring workhouse.
The decrepit dame, who travelled round the parish upon a hand-barrow,
circulating from house to house like a bad shilling, which every one is
in haste to pass to his neighbour,--she, who used to call for her
bearers as loud, or louder, than a traveller demands post-horses,--even
she shared the same disastrous fate. The 'daft Jock,' who, half knave,
half idiot, had been the sport of each succeeding race of village
children for a good part of a century, was remitted to the county
bridewell, where, secluded from free air and sunshine, the only
advantages he was capable of enjoying, he pined and died in the course
of six months. The old sailor, who had so long rejoiced the smoky
rafters of every kitchen in the country by singing 'Captain Ward' and
'Bold Admiral Benbow,' was banished from the county for no better
reason than that he was supposed to speak with a strong Irish accent.
Even the annual rounds of the pedlar were abolished by the Justice, in
his hasty zeal for the administration of rural police.

These things did not pass without notice and censure. We are not made
of wood or stone, and the things which connect themselves with our
hearts and habits cannot, like bark or lichen, be rent away without our
missing them. The farmer's dame lacked her usual share of intelligence,
perhaps also the self-applause which she had felt while distributing
the awmous (alms), in shape of a gowpen (handful) of oatmeal, to the
mendicant who brought the news. The cottage felt inconvenience from
interruption of the petty trade carried on by the itinerant dealers.
The children lacked their supply of sugarplums and toys; the young
women wanted pins, ribbons, combs, and ballads; and the old could no
longer barter their eggs for salt, snuff, and tobacco. All these
circumstances brought the busy Laird of Ellangowan into discredit,
which was the more general on account of his former popularity. Even
his lineage was brought up in judgment against him. They thought
'naething of what the like of Greenside, or Burnville, or Viewforth
might do, that were strangers in the country; but Ellangowan! that had
been a name amang them since the Mirk Monanday, and lang before--HIM to
be grinding the puir at that rate! They ca'd his grandfather the Wicked
Laird; but, though he was whiles fractious aneuch, when he got into
roving company and had ta'en the drap drink, he would have scorned to
gang on at this gate. Na, na, the muckle chumlay in the Auld Place
reeked like a killogie in his time, and there were as mony puir folk
riving at the banes in the court, and about the door, as there were
gentles in the ha'. And the leddy, on ilka Christmas night as it came
round, gae twelve siller pennies to ilka puir body about, in honour of
the twelve apostles like. They were fond to ca' it papistrie; but I
think our great folk might take a lesson frae the papists whiles. They
gie another sort o' help to puir folk than just dinging down a saxpence
in the brod on the Sabbath, and kilting, and scourging, and drumming
them a' the sax days o' the week besides.'

Such was the gossip over the good twopenny in every ale-house within
three or four miles of Ellangowan, that being about the diameter of the
orbit in which our friend Godfrey Bertram, Esq., J. P., must be
considered as the principal luminary. Still greater scope was given to
evil tongues by the removal of a colony of gipsies, with one of whom
our reader is somewhat acquainted, and who had for a great many years
enjoyed their chief settlement upon the estate of Ellangowan.



CHAPTER VII

     Come, princes of the ragged regiment,
     You of the blood! PRIGS, my most upright lord,
     And these, what name or title e'er they bear,
     JARKMAN, or PATRICO, CRANKE or CLAPPER-DUDGEON,
     PRATER or ABRAM-MAN--I speak of all.

          Beggar's Bush.


Although the character of those gipsy tribes which formerly inundated
most of the nations of Europe, and which in some degree still subsist
among them as a distinct people, is generally understood, the reader
will pardon my saying a few words respecting their situation in
Scotland.

It is well known that the gipsies were at an early period acknowledged
as a separate and independent race by one of the Scottish monarchs, and
that they were less favourably distinguished by a subsequent law, which
rendered the character of gipsy equal in the judicial balance to that
of common and habitual thief, and prescribed his punishment
accordingly. Notwithstanding the severity of this and other statutes,
the fraternity prospered amid the distresses of the country, and
received large accessions from among those whom famine, oppression, or
the sword of war had deprived of the ordinary means of subsistence.
They lost in a great measure by this intermixture the national
character of Egyptians, and became a mingled race, having all the
idleness and predatory habits of their Eastern ancestors, with a
ferocity which they probably borrowed from the men of the north who
joined their society. They travelled in different bands, and had rules
among themselves, by which each tribe was confined to its own district.
The slightest invasion of the precincts which had been assigned to
another tribe produced desperate skirmishes, in which there was often
much blood shed.

The patriotic Fletcher of Saltoun drew a picture of these banditti
about a century ago, which my readers will peruse with astonishment:--

'There are at this day in Scotland (besides a great many poor families
very meanly provided for by the church boxes, with others who, by
living on bad food, fall into various diseases) two hundred thousand
people begging from door to door. These are not only no way
advantageous, but a very grievous burden to so poor a country. And
though the number of them be perhaps double to what it was formerly, by
reason of this present great distress, yet in all times there have been
about one hundred thousand of those vagabonds, who have lived without
any regard or subjection either to the laws of the land or even those
of God and nature ... No magistrate could ever discover, or be
informed, which way one in a hundred of these wretches died, or that
ever they were baptized. Many murders have been discovered among them;
and they are not only a most unspeakable oppression to poor tenants
(who, if they give not bread or some kind of provision to perhaps forty
such villains in one day, are sure to be insulted by them), but they
rob many poor people who live in houses distant from any neighbourhood.
In years of plenty, many thousands of them meet together in the
mountains, where they feast and riot for many days; and at country
weddings, markets, burials, and other the like public occasions, they
are to be seen, both man and woman, perpetually drunk, cursing,
blaspheming, and fighting together.'

Notwithstanding the deplorable picture presented in this extract, and
which Fletcher himself, though the energetic and eloquent friend of
freedom, saw no better mode of correcting than by introducing a system
of domestic slavery, the progress of time, and increase both of the
means of life and of the power of the laws, gradually reduced this
dreadful evil within more narrow bounds. The tribes of gipsies,
jockies, or cairds--for by all these denominations such banditti were
known--became few in number, and many were entirely rooted out. Still,
however, a sufficient number remained to give, occasional alarm and
constant vexation. Some rude handicrafts were entirely resigned to
these itinerants, particularly the art of trencher-making, of
manufacturing horn-spoons, and the whole mystery of the tinker. To
these they added a petty trade in the coarse sorts of earthenware. Such
were their ostensible means of livelihood. Each tribe had usually some
fixed place of rendezvous, which they occasionally occupied and
considered as their standing camp, and in the vicinity of which they
generally abstained from depredation. They had even talents and
accomplishments, which made them occasionally useful and entertaining.
Many cultivated music with success; and the favourite fiddler or piper
of a district was often to be found in a gipsy town. They understood
all out-of-door sports, especially otter-hunting, fishing, or finding
game. They bred the best and boldest terriers, and sometimes had good
pointers for sale. In winter the women told fortunes, the men showed
tricks of legerdemain; and these accomplishments often helped to while
away a weary or stormy evening in the circle of the 'farmer's ha'.' The
wildness of their character, and the indomitable pride with which they
despised all regular labour, commanded a certain awe, which was not
diminished by the consideration that these strollers were a vindictive
race, and were restrained by no check, either of fear or conscience,
from taking desperate vengeance upon those who had offended them. These
tribes were, in short, the pariahs of Scotland, living like wild
Indians among European settlers, and, like them, judged of rather by
their own customs, habits, and opinions, than as if they had been
members of the civilised part of the community. Some hordes of them yet
remain, chiefly in such situations as afford a ready escape either into
a waste country or into another Jurisdiction. Nor are the features of
their character much softened. Their numbers, however, are so greatly
diminished that, instead of one hundred thousand, as calculated by
Fletcher, it would now perhaps be impossible to collect above five
hundred throughout all Scotland.

A tribe of these itinerants, to whom Meg Merrilies appertained, had
long been as stationary as their habits permitted in a glen upon the
estate of Ellangowan. They had there erected a few huts, which they
denominated their 'city of refuge,' and where, when not absent on
excursions, they harboured unmolested, as the crows that roosted in the
old ash-trees around them. They had been such long occupants that they
were considered in some degree as proprietors of the wretched shealings
which they inhabited. This protection they were said anciently to have
repaid by service to the Laird in war, or more frequently, by infesting
or plundering the lands of those neighbouring barons with whom he
chanced to be at feud. Latterly their services were of a more pacific
nature. The women spun mittens for the lady, and knitted boot-hose for
the Laird, which were annually presented at Christmas with great form.
The aged sibyls blessed the bridal bed of the Laird when he married,
and the cradle of the heir when born. The men repaired her ladyship's
cracked china, and assisted the Laird in his sporting parties, wormed
his dogs, and cut the ears of his terrier puppies. The children
gathered nuts in the woods, and cranberries in the moss, and mushrooms
on the pastures, for tribute to the Place. These acts of voluntary
service, and acknowledgments of dependence, were rewarded by protection
on some occasions, connivance on others, and broken victuals, ale, and
brandy when circumstances called for a display of generosity; and this
mutual intercourse of good offices, which had been carried on for at
least two centuries, rendered the inhabitants of Derncleugh a kind of
privileged retainers upon the estate of Ellangowan. 'The knaves' were
the Laird's 'exceeding good friends'; and he would have deemed himself
very ill used if his countenance could not now and then have borne them
out against the law of the country and the local magistrate. But this
friendly union was soon to be dissolved.

The community of Derncleugh, who cared for no rogues but their own,
were wholly without alarm at the severity of the Justice's proceedings
towards other itinerants. They had no doubt that he determined to
suffer no mendicants or strollers in the country but what resided on
his own property, and practised their trade by his immediate
permission, implied or expressed. Nor was Mr. Bertram in a hurry to
exert his newly-acquired authority at the expense of these old
settlers. But he was driven on by circumstances.

At the quarter-sessions our new Justice was publicly upbraided by a
gentleman of the opposite party in county politics, that, while he
affected a great zeal for the public police, and seemed ambitious of
the fame of an active magistrate, he fostered a tribe of the greatest
rogues in the country, and permitted them to harbour within a mile of
the house of Ellangowan. To this there was no reply, for the fact was
too evident and well known. The Laird digested the taunt as he best
could, and in his way home amused himself with speculations on the
easiest method of ridding himself of these vagrants, who brought a
stain upon his fair fame as a magistrate. Just as he had resolved to
take the first opportunity of quarrelling with the pariahs of
Derncleugh, a cause of provocation presented itself.

Since our friend's advancement to be a conservator of the peace, he had
caused the gate at the head of his avenue, which formerly, having only
one hinge, remained at all times hospitably open--he had caused this
gate, I say, to be newly hung and handsomely painted. He had also shut
up with paling, curiously twisted with furze, certain holes in the
fences adjoining, through which the gipsy boys used to scramble into
the plantations to gather birds' nests, the seniors of the village to
make a short cut from one point to another, and the lads and lasses for
evening rendezvous--all without offence taken or leave asked. But these
halcyon days were now to have an end, and a minatory inscription on one
side of the gate intimated 'prosecution according to law' (the painter
had spelt it 'persecution'--l'un vaut bien l'autre) to all who should
be found trespassing on these inclosures. On the other side, for
uniformity's sake, was a precautionary annunciation of spring-guns and
man-traps of such formidable powers that, said the rubrick, with an
emphatic nota bene--'if a man goes in they will break a horse's leg.'

In defiance of these threats, six well-grown gipsy boys and girls were
riding cock-horse upon the new gate, and plaiting may-flowers, which it
was but too evident had been gathered within the forbidden precincts.
With as much anger as he was capable of feeling, or perhaps of
assuming, the Laird commanded them to descend;--they paid no attention
to his mandate: he then began to pull them down one after
another;--they resisted, passively at least, each sturdy bronzed varlet
making himself as heavy as he could, or climbing up as fast as he was
dismounted.

The Laird then called in the assistance of his servant, a surly fellow,
who had immediate recourse to his horsewhip. A few lashes sent the
party a-scampering; and thus commenced the first breach of the peace
between the house of Ellangowan and the gipsies of Derncleugh.

The latter could not for some time imagine that the war was real; until
they found that their children were horsewhipped by the grieve when
found trespassing; that their asses were poinded by the ground-officer
when left in the plantations, or even when turned to graze by the
roadside, against the provision of the turnpike acts; that the
constable began to make curious inquiries into their mode of gaining a
livelihood, and expressed his surprise that the men should sleep in the
hovels all day, and be abroad the greater part of the night.

When matters came to this point, the gipsies, without scruple, entered
upon measures of retaliation. Ellangowan's hen-roosts were plundered,
his linen stolen from the lines or bleaching-ground, his fishings
poached, his dogs kidnapped, his growing trees cut or barked. Much
petty mischief was done, and some evidently for the mischief's sake. On
the other hand, warrants went forth, without mercy, to pursue, search
for, take, and apprehend; and, notwithstanding their dexterity, one or
two of the depredators were unable to avoid conviction. One, a stout
young fellow, who sometimes had gone to sea a-fishing, was handed over
to the captain of the impress service at D--; two children were soundly
flogged, and one Egyptian matron sent to the house of correction.

Still, however, the gipsies made no motion to leave the spot which they
had so long inhabited, and Mr. Bertram felt an unwillingness to deprive
them of their ancient 'city of refuge'; so that the petty warfare we
have noticed continued for several months, without increase or
abatement of hostilities on either side.



CHAPTER VIII

     So the red Indian, by Ontario's side,
     Nursed hardy on the brindled panther's hide,
     As fades his swarthy race, with anguish sees
     The white man's cottage rise beneath the trees;
     He leaves the shelter of his native wood,
     He leaves the murmur of Ohio's flood,
     And forward rushing in indignant grief,
     Where never foot has trod the fallen leaf,
     He bends his course where twilight reigns sublime.
     O'er forests silent since the birth of time.

          SCENES OF INFANCY.


In tracing the rise and progress of the Scottish Maroon war, we must
not omit to mention that years had rolled on, and that little Harry
Bertram, one of the hardiest and most lively children that ever made a
sword and grenadier's cap of rushes, now approached his fifth revolving
birthday. A hardihood of disposition, which early developed itself,
made him already a little wanderer; he was well acquainted with every
patch of lea ground and dingle around Ellangowan, and could tell in his
broken language upon what baulks grew the bonniest flowers, and what
copse had the ripest nuts. He repeatedly terrified his attendants by
clambering about the ruins of the old castle, and had more than once
made a stolen excursion as far as the gipsy hamlet.

On these occasions he was generally brought back by Meg Merrilies, who,
though she could not be prevailed upon to enter the Place of Ellangowan
after her nephew had been given up to the press-gang, did not
apparently extend her resentment to the child. On the contrary, she
often contrived to waylay him in his walks, sing him a gipsy song, give
him a ride upon her jackass, and thrust into his pocket a piece of
gingerbread or a red-cheeked apple. This woman's ancient attachment to
the family, repelled and checked in every other direction, seemed to
rejoice in having some object on which it could yet repose and expand
itself. She prophesied a hundred times, 'that young Mr. Harry would be
the pride o' the family, and there hadna been sic a sprout frae the
auld aik since the death of Arthur Mac-Dingawaie, that was killed in
the battle o' the Bloody Bay; as for the present stick, it was good for
nothing but fire-wood.' On one occasion, when the child was ill, she
lay all night below the window, chanting a rhyme which she believed
sovereign as a febrifuge, and could neither be prevailed upon to enter
the house nor to leave the station she had chosen till she was informed
that the crisis was over.

The affection of this woman became matter of suspicion, not indeed to
the Laird, who was never hasty in suspecting evil, but to his wife, who
had indifferent health and poor spirits. She was now far advanced in a
second pregnancy, and, as she could not walk abroad herself, and the
woman who attended upon Harry was young and thoughtless, she prayed
Dominie Sampson to undertake the task of watching the boy in his
rambles, when he should not be otherwise accompanied. The Dominie loved
his young charge, and was enraptured with his own success in having
already brought him so far in his learning as to spell words of three
syllables. The idea of this early prodigy of erudition being carried
off by the gipsies, like a second Adam Smith,[Footnote: The father of
Economical Philosophy was, when a child, actually carried off by
gipsies, and remained some hours in their possession.] was not to be
tolerated; and accordingly, though the charge was contrary to all his
habits of life, he readily undertook it, and might be seen stalking
about with a mathematical problem in his head, and his eye upon a child
of five years old, whose rambles led him into a hundred awkward
situations. Twice was the Dominie chased by a cross-grained cow, once
he fell into the brook crossing at the stepping-stones, and another
time was bogged up to the middle in the slough of Lochend, in
attempting to gather a water-lily for the young Laird. It was the
opinion of the village matrons who relieved Sampson on the latter
occasion, 'that the Laird might as weel trust the care o' his bairn to
a potatoe bogle'; but the good Dominie bore all his disasters with
gravity and serenity equally imperturbable. 'Pro-di-gi-ous!' was the
only ejaculation they ever extorted from the much-enduring man.

The Laird had by this time determined to make root-and-branch work with
the Maroons of Derncleugh. The old servants shook their heads at his
proposal, and even Dominie Sampson ventured upon an indirect
remonstrance. As, however, it was couched in the oracular phrase, 'Ne
moveas Camerinam,' neither the allusion, nor the language in which it
was expressed, were calculated for Mr. Bertram's edification, and
matters proceeded against the gipsies in form of law. Every door in the
hamlet was chalked by the ground-officer, in token of a formal warning
to remove at next term. Still, however, they showed no symptoms either
of submission or of compliance. At length the term-day, the fatal
Martinmas, arrived, and violent measures of ejection were resorted to.
A strong posse of peace-officers, sufficient to render all resistance
vain, charged the inhabitants to depart by noon; and, as they did not
obey, the officers, in terms of their warrant, proceeded to unroof the
cottages, and pull down the wretched doors and windows--a summary and
effectual mode of ejection still practised in some remote parts of
Scotland when a tenant proves refractory. The gipsies for a time beheld
the work of destruction in sullen silence and inactivity; then set
about saddling and loading their asses, and making preparations for
their departure. These were soon accomplished, where all had the habits
of wandering Tartars; and they set forth on their journey to seek new
settlements, where their patrons should neither be of the quorum nor
custos rotulorum.

Certain qualms of feeling had deterred Ellangowan from attending in
person to see his tenants expelled. He left the executive part of the
business to the officers of the law, under the immediate direction of
Frank Kennedy, a supervisor, or riding-officer, belonging to the
excise, who had of late become intimate at the Place, and of whom we
shall have more to say in the next chapter. Mr. Bertram himself chose
that day to make a visit to a friend at some distance. But it so
happened, notwithstanding his precautions, that he could not avoid
meeting his late tenants during their retreat from his property.

It was in a hollow way, near the top of a steep ascent, upon the verge
of the Ellangowan estate, that Mr. Bertram met the gipsy procession.
Four or five men formed the advanced guard, wrapped in long loose
great-coats that hid their tall slender figures, as the large slouched
hats, drawn over their brows, concealed their wild features, dark eyes,
and swarthy faces. Two of them carried long fowling-pieces, one wore a
broadsword without a sheath, and all had the Highland dirk, though they
did not wear that weapon openly or ostentatiously. Behind them followed
the train of laden asses, and small carts or TUMBLERS, as they were
called in that country, on which were laid the decrepit and the
helpless, the aged and infant part of the exiled community. The women
in their red cloaks and straw hats, the elder children with bare heads
and bare feet, and almost naked bodies, had the immediate care of the
little caravan. The road was narrow, running between two broken banks
of sand, and Mr. Bertram's servant rode forward, smacking his whip with
an air of authority, and motioning to the drivers to allow free passage
to their betters. His signal was unattended to. He then called to the
men who lounged idly on before, 'Stand to your beasts' heads, and make
room for the Laird to pass.'

'He shall have his share of the road,' answered a male gipsy from under
his slouched and large-brimmed hat, and without raising his face, 'and
he shall have nae mair; the highway is as free to our cuddies as to his
gelding.'

The tone of the man being sulky, and even menacing, Mr. Bertram thought
it best to put his dignity in his pocket, and pass by the procession
quietly, on such space as they chose to leave for his accommodation,
which was narrow enough. To cover with an appearance of indifference
his feeling of the want of respect with which he was treated, he
addressed one of the men, as he passed him without any show of
greeting, salute, or recognition--'Giles Baillie,' he said, 'have you
heard that your son Gabriel is well?' (The question respected the young
man who had been pressed.)

'If I had heard otherwise,' said the old man, looking up with a stern
and menacing countenance, 'you should have heard of it too.' And he
plodded on his way, tarrying no further question. [Footnote: This
anecdote is a literal fact.] When the Laird had pressed on with
difficulty among a crowd of familiar faces, which had on all former
occasions marked his approach with the reverence due to that of a
superior being, but in which he now only read hatred and contempt, and
had got clear of the throng, he could not help turning his horse, and
looking back to mark the progress of their march. The group would have
been an excellent subject for the pencil of Calotte. The van had
already reached a small and stunted thicket, which was at the bottom of
the hill, and which gradually hid the line of march until the last
stragglers disappeared.

His sensations were bitter enough. The race, it is true, which he had
thus summarily dismissed from their ancient place of refuge, was idle
and vicious; but had he endeavoured to render them otherwise? They were
not more irregular characters now than they had been while they were
admitted to consider themselves as a sort of subordinate dependents of
his family; and ought the mere circumstance of his becoming a
magistrate to have made at once such a change in his conduct towards
them? Some means of reformation ought at least to have been tried
before sending seven families at once upon the wide world, and
depriving them of a degree of countenance which withheld them at least
from atrocious guilt. There was also a natural yearning of heart on
parting with so many known and familiar faces; and to this feeling
Godfrey Bertram was peculiarly accessible, from the limited qualities
of his mind, which sought its principal amusements among the petty
objects around him. As he was about to turn his horse's head to pursue
his journey, Meg Merrilies, who had lagged behind the troop,
unexpectedly presented herself.

She was standing upon one of those high precipitous banks which, as we
before noticed, overhung the road, so that she was placed considerably
higher than Ellangowan, even though he was on horseback; and her tall
figure, relieved against the clear blue sky, seemed almost of
supernatural stature. We have noticed that there was in her general
attire, or rather in her mode of adjusting it, somewhat of a foreign
costume, artfully adopted perhaps for the purpose of adding to the
effect of her spells and predictions, or perhaps from some traditional
notions respecting the dress of her ancestors. On this occasion she had
a large piece of red cotton cloth rolled about her head in the form of
a turban, from beneath which her dark eyes flashed with uncommon
lustre. Her long and tangled black hair fell in elf-locks from the
folds of this singular head-gear. Her attitude was that of a sibyl in
frenzy, and she stretched out in her right hand a sapling bough which
seemed just pulled.

'I'll be d--d,' said the groom, 'if she has not been cutting the young
ashes in the dukit park!' The Laird made no answer, but continued to
look at the figure which was thus perched above his path.

'Ride your ways,' said the gipsy, 'ride your ways, Laird of Ellangowan;
ride your ways, Godfrey Bertram! This day have ye quenched seven
smoking hearths; see if the fire in your ain parlour burn the blyther
for that. Ye have riven the thack off seven cottar houses; look if your
ain roof-tree stand the faster. Ye may stable your stirks in the
shealings at Derncleugh; see that the hare does not couch on the
hearthstane at Ellangowan. Ride your ways, Godfrey Bertram; what do ye
glower after our folk for? There's thirty hearts there that wad hae
wanted bread ere ye had wanted sunkets, and spent their life-blood ere
ye had scratched your finger. Yes; there's thirty yonder, from the auld
wife of an hundred to the babe that was born last week, that ye have
turned out o' their bits o' bields, to sleep with the tod and the
blackcock in the muirs! Ride your ways, Ellangowan. Our bairns are
hinging at our weary backs; look that your braw cradle at hame be the
fairer spread up; not that I am wishing ill to little Harry, or to the
babe that's yet to be born--God forbid--and make them kind to the poor,
and better folk than their father! And now, ride e'en your ways; for
these are the last words ye'll ever hear Meg Merrilies speak, and this
is the last reise that I'll ever cut in the bonny woods of Ellangowan.'

So saying, she broke the sapling she held in her hand, and flung it
into the road. Margaret of Anjou, bestowing on her triumphant foes her
keen-edged malediction, could not have turned from them with a gesture
more proudly contemptuous. The Laird was clearing his voice to speak,
and thrusting his hand in his pocket to find a half-crown; the gipsy
waited neither for his reply nor his donation, but strode down the hill
to overtake the caravan.

Ellangowan rode pensively home; and it was remarkable that he did not
mention this interview to any of his family. The groom was not so
reserved; he told the story at great length to a full audience in the
kitchen, and concluded by swearing, that 'if ever the devil spoke by
the mouth of a woman, he had spoken by that of Meg Merrilies that
blessed day.'



CHAPTER IX

     Paint Scotland greeting ower her thrissle,
     Her mutchkin stoup as toom's a whistle,
     And d--n'd excisemen in a bustle,
     Seizing a stell,
     Triumphant crushin't like a mussel,
     Or lampit shell

          BURNS.


During the period of Mr. Bertram's active magistracy, he did not forget
the affairs of the revenue. Smuggling, for which the Isle of Man then
afforded peculiar facilities, was general, or rather universal, all
along the southwestern coast of Scotland. Almost all the common people
were engaged in these practices; the gentry connived at them, and the
officers of the revenue were frequently discountenanced in the exercise
of their duty by those who should have protected them.

There was at this period, employed as a riding-officer or supervisor,
in that part of the country a certain Francis Kennedy, already named in
our narrative--a stout, resolute, and active man, who had made seizures
to a great amount, and was proportionally hated by those who had an
interest in the fair trade, as they called the pursuit of these
contraband adventurers. This person was natural son to a gentleman of
good family, owing to which circumstance, and to his being of a jolly,
convivial disposition, and singing a good song, he was admitted to the
occasional society of the gentlemen of the country, and was a member of
several of their clubs for practising athletic games, at which he was
particularly expert.

At Ellangowan Kennedy was a frequent and always an acceptable guest.
His vivacity relieved Mr. Bertram of the trouble of thought, and the
labour which it cost him to support a detailed communication of ideas;
while the daring and dangerous exploits which he had undertaken in the
discharge of his office formed excellent conversation. To all these
revenue adventures did the Laird of Ellangowan seriously incline, and
the amusement which he derived from Kennedy's society formed an
excellent reason for countenancing and assisting the narrator in the
execution of his invidious and hazardous duty.

'Frank Kennedy,' he said, 'was a gentleman, though on the wrang side of
the blanket; he was connected with the family of Ellangowan through the
house of Glengubble. The last Laird of Glengubble would have brought
the estate into the Ellangowan line; but, happening to go to Harrigate,
he there met with Miss Jean Hadaway--by the by, the Green Dragon at
Harrigate is the best house of the twa--but for Frank Kennedy, he's in
one sense a gentleman born, and it's a shame not to support him against
these blackguard smugglers.'

After this league had taken place between judgment and execution, it
chanced that Captain Dirk Hatteraick had landed a cargo of spirits and
other contraband goods upon the beach not far from Ellangowan, and,
confiding in the indifference with which the Laird had formerly
regarded similar infractions of the law, he was neither very anxious to
conceal nor to expedite the transaction. The consequence was that Mr.
Frank Kennedy, armed with a warrant from Ellangowan, and supported by
some of the Laird's people who knew the country, and by a party of
military, poured down upon the kegs, bales, and bags, and after a
desperate affray, in which severe wounds were given and received,
succeeded in clapping the broad arrow upon the articles, and bearing
them off in triumph to the next custom-house. Dirk Hatteraick vowed, in
Dutch, German, and English, a deep and full revenge, both against the
gauger and his abettors; and all who knew him thought it likely he
would keep his word.

A few days after the departure of the gipsy tribe, Mr. Bertram asked
his lady one morning at breakfast whether this was not little Harry's
birthday.

'Five years auld exactly, this blessed day,' answered the lady; 'so we
may look into the English gentleman's paper.'

Mr. Bertram liked to show his authority in trifles. 'No, my dear, not
till to-morrow. The last time I was at quarter-sessions the sheriff
told us that DIES--that dies inceptus--in short, you don't understand
Latin, but it means that a term-day is not begun till it's ended.'

'That sounds like nonsense, my dear.'

'May be so, my dear; but it may be very good law for all that. I am
sure, speaking of term-days, I wish, as Frank Kennedy says, that
Whitsunday would kill Martinmas and be hanged for the murder; for there
I have got a letter about that interest of Jenny Cairns's, and deil a
tenant's been at the Place yet wi' a boddle of rent, nor will not till
Candlemas. But, speaking of Frank Kennedy, I daresay he'll be here the
day, for he was away round to Wigton to warn a king's ship that's lying
in the bay about Dirk Hatteraick's lugger being on the coast again, and
he'll be back this day; so we'll have a bottle of claret and drink
little Harry's health.'

'I wish,' replied the lady, 'Frank Kennedy would let Dirk Hatteraick
alane. What needs he make himself mair busy than other folk? Cannot he
sing his sang, and take his drink, and draw his salary, like Collector
Snail, honest man, that never fashes ony body? And I wonder at you,
Laird, for meddling and making. Did we ever want to send for tea or
brandy frae the borough-town when Dirk Hatteraick used to come quietly
into the bay?'

'Mrs. Bertram, you know nothing of these matters. Do you think it
becomes a magistrate to let his own house be made a receptacle for
smuggled goods? Frank Kennedy will show you the penalties in the act,
and ye ken yoursell they used to put their run goods into the Auld
Place of Ellangowan up by there.'

'Oh dear, Mr. Bertram, and what the waur were the wa's and the vault o'
the auld castle for having a whin kegs o' brandy in them at an orra
time? I am sure ye were not obliged to ken ony thing about it; and what
the waur was the King that the lairds here got a soup o' drink and the
ladies their drap o' tea at a reasonable rate?--it's a shame to them to
pit such taxes on them!--and was na I much the better of these Flanders
head and pinners that Dirk Hatteraick sent me a' the way from Antwerp?
It will be lang or the King sends me ony thing, or Frank Kennedy
either. And then ye would quarrel with these gipsies too! I expect
every day to hear the barnyard's in a low.'

'I tell you once more, my dear, you don't understand these things--and
there's Frank Kennedy coming galloping up the avenue.'

'Aweel! aweel! Ellangowan,' said the lady, raising her voice as the
Laird left the room, 'I wish ye may understand them yoursell, that's
a'!'

From this nuptial dialogue the Laird joyfully escaped to meet his
faithful friend, Mr. Kennedy, who arrived in high spirits. 'For the
love of life, Ellangowan,' he said, 'get up to the castle! you'll see
that old fox Dirk Hatteraick, and his Majesty's hounds in full cry
after him.' So saying, he flung his horse's bridle to a boy, and ran up
the ascent to the old castle, followed by the Laird, and indeed by
several others of the family, alarmed by the sound of guns from the
sea, now distinctly heard.

On gaining that part of the ruins which commanded the most extensive
outlook, they saw a lugger, with all her canvass crowded, standing
across the bay, closely pursued by a sloop of war, that kept firing
upon the chase from her bows, which the lugger returned with her
stern-chasers. 'They're but at long bowls yet,' cried Kennedy, in great
exultation, 'but they will be closer by and by. D--n him, he's starting
his cargo! I see the good Nantz pitching overboard, keg after keg!
That's a d--d ungenteel thing of Mr. Hatteraick, as I shall let him
know by and by. Now, now! they've got the wind of him! that's it,
that's it! Hark to him! hark to him! Now, my dogs! now, my dogs! Hark
to Ranger, hark!'

'I think,' said the old gardener to one of the maids, 'the ganger's
fie,' by which word the common people express those violent spirits
which they think a presage of death.

Meantime the chase continued. The lugger, being piloted with great
ability, and using every nautical shift to make her escape, had now
reached, and was about to double, the headland which formed the extreme
point of land on the left side of the bay, when a ball having hit the
yard in the slings, the mainsail fell upon the deck. The consequence of
this accident appeared inevitable, but could not be seen by the
spectators; for the vessel, which had just doubled the headland, lost
steerage, and fell out of their sight behind the promontory. The sloop
of war crowded all sail to pursue, but she had stood too close upon the
cape, so that they were obliged to wear the vessel for fear of going
ashore, and to make a large tack back into the bay, in order to recover
sea-room enough to double the headland.

'They'll lose her, by--, cargo and lugger, one or both,' said Kennedy;
'I must gallop away to the Point of Warroch (this was the headland so
often mentioned), and make them a signal where she has drifted to on
the other side. Good-bye for an hour, Ellangowan; get out the gallon
punch-bowl and plenty of lemons. I'll stand for the French article by
the time I come back, and we'll drink the young Laird's health in a
bowl that would swim the collector's yawl.' So saying, he mounted his
horse and galloped off.

About a mile from the house, and upon the verge of the woods, which, as
we have said, covered a promontory terminating in the cape called the
Point of Warroch, Kennedy met young Harry Bertram, attended by his
tutor, Dominie Sampson. He had often promised the child a ride upon his
galloway; and, from singing, dancing, and playing Punch for his
amusement, was a particular favourite. He no sooner came scampering up
the path, than the boy loudly claimed his promise; and Kennedy, who saw
no risk, in indulging him, and wished to tease the Dominie, in whose
visage he read a remonstrance, caught up Harry from the ground, placed
him before him, and continued his route; Sampson's 'Peradventure,
Master Kennedy-' being lost in the clatter of his horse's feet. The
pedagogue hesitated a moment whether he should go after them; but
Kennedy being a person in full confidence of the family, and with whom
he himself had no delight in associating, 'being that he was addicted
unto profane and scurrilous jests,' he continued his own walk at his
own pace, till he reached the Place of Ellangowan.

The spectators from the ruined walls of the castle were still watching
the sloop of war, which at length, but not without the loss of
considerable time, recovered sea-room enough to weather the Point of
Warroch, and was lost to their sight behind that wooded promontory.
Some time afterwards the discharges of several cannon were heard at a
distance, and, after an interval, a still louder explosion, as of a
vessel blown up, and a cloud of smoke rose above the trees and mingled
with the blue sky. All then separated on their different occasions,
auguring variously upon the fate of the smuggler, but the majority
insisting that her capture was inevitable, if she had not already gone
to the bottom.

'It is near our dinner-time, my dear,' said Mrs. Bertram to her
husband; 'will it be lang before Mr. Kennedy comes back?'

'I expect him every moment, my dear,' said the Laird; 'perhaps he is
bringing some of the officers of the sloop with him.'

'My stars, Mr. Bertram! why did not ye tell me this before, that we
might have had the large round table? And then, they're a' tired o'
saut meat, and, to tell you the plain truth, a rump o' beef is the best
part of your dinner. And then I wad have put on another gown, and ye
wadna have been the waur o' a clean neck-cloth yoursell. But ye delight
in surprising and hurrying one. I am sure I am no to baud out for ever
against this sort of going on; but when folk's missed, then they are
moaned.'

'Pshaw, pshaw! deuce take the beef, and the gown, and table, and the
neck-cloth! we shall do all very well. Where's the Dominie, John? (to a
servant who was busy about the table) where's the Dominie and little
Harry?'

'Mr. Sampson's been at hame these twa hours and mair, but I dinna think
Mr. Harry cam hame wi' him.'

'Not come hame wi' him?' said the lady; 'desire Mr. Sampson to step
this way directly.'

'Mr. Sampson,' said she, upon his entrance, 'is it not the most
extraordinary thing in this world wide, that you, that have free
up-putting--bed, board, and washing--and twelve pounds sterling a year,
just to look after that boy, should let him out of your sight for twa
or three hours?'

Sampson made a bow of humble acknowledgment at each pause which the
angry lady made in her enumeration of the advantages of his situation,
in order to give more weight to her remonstrance, and then, in words
which we will not do him the injustice to imitate, told how Mr. Francis
Kennedy 'had assumed spontaneously the charge of Master Harry, in
despite of his remonstrances in the contrary.'

'I am very little obliged to Mr. Francis Kennedy for his pains,' said
the lady, peevishly; 'suppose he lets the boy drop from his horse, and
lames him? or suppose one of the cannons comes ashore and kills him? or
suppose--'

'Or suppose, my dear,' said Ellangowan, 'what is much more likely than
anything else, that they have gone aboard the sloop or the prize, and
are to come round the Point with the tide?'

'And then they may be drowned,' said the lady.

'Verily,' said Sampson, 'I thought Mr. Kennedy had returned an hour
since. Of a surety I deemed I heard his horse's feet.'

'That,' said John, with a broad grin, 'was Grizzel chasing the
humble-cow out of the close.'

Sampson coloured up to the eyes, not at the implied taunt, which he
would never have discovered, or resented if he had, but at some idea
which crossed his own mind. 'I have been in an error,' he said; 'of a
surety I should have tarried for the babe.' So saying, he snatched his
bone-headed cane and hat, and hurried away towards Warroch wood faster
than he was ever known to walk before or after.

The Laird lingered some time, debating the point with the lady. At
length he saw the sloop of war again make her appearance; but, without
approaching the shore, she stood away to the westward with all her
sails set, and was soon out of sight. The lady's state of timorous and
fretful apprehension was so habitual that her fears went for nothing
with her lord and master; but an appearance of disturbance and anxiety
among the servants now excited his alarm, especially when he was called
out of the room, and told in private that Mr. Kennedy's horse had come
to the stable door alone, with the saddle turned round below its belly
and the reins of the bridle broken; and that a farmer had informed them
in passing that there was a smuggling lugger burning like a furnace on
the other side of the Point of Warroch, and that, though he had come
through the wood, he had seen or heard nothing of Kennedy or the young
Laird, 'only there was Dominie Sampson gaun rampauging about like mad,
seeking for them.'

All was now bustle at Ellangowan. The Laird and his servants, male and
female, hastened to the wood of Warroch. The tenants and cottagers in
the neighbourhood lent their assistance, partly out of zeal, partly
from curiosity. Boats were manned to search the sea-shore, which, on
the other side of the Point, rose into high and indented rocks. A vague
suspicion was entertained, though too horrible to be expressed, that
the child might have fallen from one of these cliffs.

The evening had begun to close when the parties entered the wood, and
dispersed different ways in quest of the boy and his companion. The
darkening of the atmosphere, and the hoarse sighs of the November wind
through the naked trees, the rustling of the withered leaves which
strewed the glades, the repeated halloos of the different parties,
which often drew them together in expectation of meeting the objects of
their search, gave a cast of dismal sublimity to the scene.

At length, after a minute and fruitless investigation through the wood,
the searchers began to draw together into one body, and to compare
notes. The agony of the father grew beyond concealment, yet it scarcely
equalled the anguish of the tutor. 'Would to God I had died for him!'
the affectionate creature repeated, in notes of the deepest distress.
Those who were less interested rushed into a tumultuary discussion of
chances and possibilities. Each gave his opinion, and each was
alternately swayed by that of the others. Some thought the objects of
their search had gone aboard the sloop; some that they had gone to a
village at three miles' distance; some whispered they might have been
on board the lugger, a few planks and beams of which the tide now
drifted ashore.

At this instant a shout was heard from the beach, so loud, so shrill,
so piercing, so different from every sound which the woods that day had
rung to, that nobody hesitated a moment to believe that it conveyed
tidings, and tidings of dreadful import. All hurried to the place, and,
venturing without scruple upon paths which at another time they would
have shuddered to look at, descended towards a cleft of the rock, where
one boat's crew was already landed. 'Here, sirs, here! this way, for
God's sake! this way! this way!' was the reiterated cry. Ellangowan
broke through the throng which had already assembled at the fatal spot,
and beheld the object of their terror. It was the dead body of Kennedy.
At first sight he seemed to have perished by a fall from the rocks,
which rose above the spot on which he lay in a perpendicular precipice
of a hundred feet above the beach. The corpse was lying half in, half
out of the water; the advancing tide, raising the arm and stirring the
clothes, had given it at some distance the appearance of motion, so
that those who first discovered the body thought that life remained.
But every spark had been long extinguished.

'My bairn! my bairn!' cried the distracted father, 'where can he be?' A
dozen mouths were opened to communicate hopes which no one felt. Some
one at length mentioned--the gipsies! In a moment Ellangowan had
reascended the cliffs, flung himself upon the first horse he met, and
rode furiously to the huts at Derncleugh. All was there dark and
desolate; and, as he dismounted to make more minute search, he stumbled
over fragments of furniture which had been thrown out of the cottages,
and the broken wood and thatch which had been pulled down by his
orders. At that moment the prophecy, or anathema, of Meg Merrilies fell
heavy on his mind. 'You have stripped the thatch from seven cottages;
see that the roof-tree of your own house stand the surer!'

'Restore,' he cried, 'restore my bairn! bring me back my son, and all
shall be forgot and forgiven!' As he uttered these words in a sort of
frenzy, his eye caught a glimmering of light in one of the dismantled
cottages; it was that in which Meg Merrilies formerly resided. The
light, which seemed to proceed from fire, glimmered not only through
the window, but also through the rafters of the hut where the roofing
had been torn off.

He flew to the place; the entrance was bolted. Despair gave the
miserable father the strength of ten men; he rushed against the door
with such violence that it gave way before the momentum of his weight
and force. The cottage was empty, but bore marks of recent habitation:
there was fire on the hearth, a kettle, and some preparation for food.
As he eagerly gazed around for something that might confirm his hope
that his child yet lived, although in the power of those strange
people, a man entered the hut.

It was his old gardener. 'O sir!' said the old man, 'such a night as
this I trusted never to live to see! ye maun come to the Place
directly!'

'Is my boy found? is he alive? have ye found Harry Bertram? Andrew,
have ye found Harry Bertram?'

'No, sir; but-'

'Then he is kidnapped! I am sure of it, Andrew! as sure as that I tread
upon earth! She has stolen him; and I will never stir from this place
till I have tidings of my bairn!'

'O, but ye maun come hame, sir! ye maun come hame! We have sent for the
Sheriff, and we'll seta watch here a' night, in case the gipsies
return; but YOU--ye maun come hame, sir, for my lady's in the
dead-thraw.'

Bertram turned a stupefied and unmeaning eye on the messenger who
uttered this calamitous news; and, repeating the words 'in the
dead-thraw!' as if he could not comprehend their meaning, suffered the
old man to drag him towards his horse. During the ride home he only
said, 'Wife and bairn baith--mother and son baith,--sair, sair to
abide!'

It is needless to dwell upon the new scene of agony which awaited him.
The news of Kennedy's fate had been eagerly and incautiously
communicated at Ellangowan, with the gratuitous addition, that,
doubtless, 'he had drawn the young Laird over the craig with him,
though the tide had swept away the child's body; he was light, puir
thing, and would flee farther into the surf.'

Mrs. Bertram heard the tidings; she was far advanced in her pregnancy;
she fell into the pains of premature labour, and, ere Ellangowan had
recovered his agitated faculties, so as to comprehend the full distress
of his situation, he was the father of a female infant, and a widower.



CHAPTER X

     But see, his face is black and full of blood;
     His eye-balls farther out than when he lived,
     Staring full ghastly like a strangled man,
     His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretch d with struggling,
     His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd
     And tugg'd for life, and was by strength subdued

          Henry VI, Part II


The Sheriff-depute of the county arrived at Ellangowan next morning by
daybreak. To this provincial magistrate the law of Scotland assigns
judicial powers of considerable extent, and the task of inquiring into
all crimes committed within his jurisdiction, the apprehension and
commitment of suspected persons, and so forth. [Footnote: The Scottish
sheriff discharges, on such occasions as that now mentioned, pretty
much the same duty as a coroner.]

The gentleman who held the office in the shire of---at the time of this
catastrophe was well born and well educated; and, though somewhat
pedantic and professional in his habits, he enjoyed general respect as
an active and intelligent magistrate. His first employment was to
examine all witnesses whose evidence could throw light upon this
mysterious event, and make up the written report, proces verbal, or
precognition, as it is technically called, which the practice of
Scotland has substituted for a coroner's inquest. Under the Sheriff's
minute and skilful inquiry, many circumstances appeared which seemed
incompatible with the original opinion that Kennedy had accidentally
fallen from the cliffs. We shall briefly detail some of these.

The body had been deposited in a neighbouring fisher-hut, but without
altering the condition in which it was found. This was the first object
of the Sheriff's examination. Though fearfully crushed and mangled by
the fall from such a height, the corpse was found to exhibit a deep cut
in the head, which, in the opinion of a skilful surgeon, must have been
inflicted by a broadsword or cutlass. The experience of this gentleman
discovered other suspicious indications. The face was much blackened,
the eyes distorted, and the veins of the neck swelled. A coloured
handkerchief, which the unfortunate man had worn round his neck, did
not present the usual appearance, but was much loosened, and the knot
displaced and dragged extremely tight; the folds were also compressed,
as if it had been used as a means of grappling the deceased, and
dragging him perhaps to the precipice.

On the other hand, poor Kennedy's purse was found untouched; and, what
seemed yet more extraordinary, the pistols which he usually carried
when about to encounter any hazardous adventure were found in his
pockets loaded. This appeared particularly strange, for he was known
and dreaded by the contraband traders as a man equally fearless and
dexterous in the use of his weapons, of which he had given many signal
proofs. The Sheriff inquired whether Kennedy was not in the practice of
carrying any other arms? Most of Mr. Bertram's servants recollected
that he generally had a couteau de chasse, or short hanger, but none
such was found upon the dead body; nor could those who had seen him on
the morning of the fatal day take it upon them to assert whether he
then carried that weapon or not.

The corpse afforded no other indicia respecting the fate of Kennedy;
for, though the clothes were much displaced and the limbs dreadfully
fractured, the one seemed the probable, the other the certain,
consequences of such a fall. The hands of the deceased were clenched
fast, and full of turf and earth; but this also seemed equivocal.

The magistrate then proceeded to the place where the corpse was first
discovered, and made those who had found it give, upon the spot, a
particular and detailed account of the manner in which it was lying. A
large fragment of the rock appeared to have accompanied, or followed,
the fall of the victim from the cliff above. It was of so solid and
compact a substance that it had fallen without any great diminution by
splintering; so that the Sheriff was enabled, first, to estimate the
weight by measurement, and then to calculate, from the appearance of
the fragment, what portion of it had been bedded into the cliff from
which it had descended. This was easily detected by the raw appearance
of the stone where it had not been exposed to the atmosphere. They then
ascended the cliff, and surveyed the place from whence the stony
fragment had fallen. It seemed plain, from the appearance of the bed,
that the mere weight of one man standing upon the projecting part of
the fragment, supposing it in its original situation, could not have
destroyed its balance and precipitated it, with himself, from the
cliff. At the same time, it appeared to have lain so loose that the use
of a lever, or the combined strength of three or four men, might easily
have hurled it from its position. The short turf about the brink of the
precipice was much trampled, as if stamped by the heels of men in a
mortal struggle, or in the act of some violent exertion. Traces of the
same kind, less visibly marked, guided the sagacious investigator to
the verge of the copsewood, which in that place crept high up the bank
towards the top of the precipice.

With patience and perseverance they traced these marks into the
thickest part of the copse, a route which no person would have
voluntarily adopted, unless for the purpose of concealment. Here they
found plain vestiges of violence and struggling, from space to space.
Small boughs were torn down, as if grasped by some resisting wretch who
was dragged forcibly along; the ground, where in the least degree soft
or marshy, showed the print of many feet; there were vestiges also
which might be those of human blood. At any rate it was certain that
several persons must have forced their passage among the oaks, hazels,
and underwood with which they were mingled; and in some places appeared
traces as if a sack full of grain, a dead body, or something of that
heavy and solid description, had been dragged along the ground. In one
part of the thicket there was a small swamp, the clay of which was
whitish, being probably mixed with marl. The back of Kennedy's coat
appeared besmeared with stains of the same colour.

At length, about a quarter of a mile from the brink of the fatal
precipice, the traces conducted them to a small open space of ground,
very much trampled, and plainly stained with blood, although withered
leaves had been strewed upon the spot, and other means hastily taken to
efface the marks, which seemed obviously to have been derived from a
desperate affray. On one side of this patch of open ground was found
the sufferer's naked hanger, which seemed to have been thrown into the
thicket; on the other, the belt and sheath, which appeared to have been
hidden with more leisurely care and precaution.

The magistrate caused the footprints which marked this spot to be
carefully measured and examined. Some corresponded to the foot of the
unhappy victim; some were larger, some less; indicating that at least
four or five men had been busy around him. Above all, here, and here
only, were observed the vestiges of a child's foot; and as it could be
seen nowhere else, and the hard horse-track which traversed the wood of
Warroch was contiguous to the spot, it was natural to think that the
boy might have escaped in that direction during the confusion. But, as
he was never heard of, the Sheriff, who made a careful entry of all
these memoranda, did not suppress his opinion, that the deceased had
met with foul play, and that the murderers, whoever they were, had
possessed themselves of the person of the child Harry Bertram.

Every exertion was now made to discover the criminals. Suspicion
hesitated between the smugglers and the gipsies. The fate of Dirk
Hatteraick's vessel was certain. Two men from the opposite side of
Warroch Bay (so the inlet on the southern side of the Point of Warroch
is called) had seen, though at a great distance, the lugger drive
eastward, after doubling the headland, and, as they judged from her
manoeuvres, in a disabled state. Shortly after, they perceived that she
grounded, smoked, and finally took fire. She was, as one of them
expressed himself, 'in a light low' (bright flame) when they observed a
king's ship, with her colours up, heave in sight from behind the cape.
The guns of the burning vessel discharged themselves as the fire
reached them; and they saw her at length blow up with a great
explosion. The sloop of war kept aloof for her own safety; and, after
hovering till the other exploded, stood away southward under a press of
sail. The Sheriff anxiously interrogated these men whether any boats
had left the vessel. They could not say, they had seen none; but they
might have put off in such a direction as placed the burning vessel,
and the thick smoke which floated landward from it, between their
course and the witnesses' observation.

That the ship destroyed was Dirk Hatteraick's no one doubted. His
lugger was well known on the coast, and had been expected just at this
time. A letter from the commander of the king's sloop, to whom the
Sheriff made application, put the matter beyond doubt; he sent also an
extract from his log-book of the transactions of the day, which
intimated their being on the outlook for a smuggling lugger, Dirk
Hatteraick master, upon the information and requisition of Francis
Kennedy, of his Majesty's excise service; and that Kennedy was to be
upon the outlook on the shore, in case Hatteraick, who was known to be
a desperate fellow, and had been repeatedly outlawed, should attempt to
run his sloop aground. About nine o'clock A.M. they discovered a sail
which answered the description of Hatteraick's vessel, chased her, and,
after repeated signals to her to show colours and bring-to, fired upon
her. The chase then showed Hamburgh colours and returned the fire; and
a running fight was maintained for three hours, when, just as the
lugger was doubling the Point of Warroch, they observed that the
main-yard was shot in the slings, and that the vessel was disabled. It
was not in the power of the man-of-war's men for some time to profit by
this circumstance, owing to their having kept too much in shore for
doubling the headland. After two tacks, they accomplished this, and
observed the chase on fire and apparently deserted. The fire having
reached some casks of spirits, which were placed on the deck, with
other combustibles, probably on purpose, burnt with such fury that no
boats durst approach the vessel, especially as her shotted guns were
discharging one after another by the heat. The captain had no doubt
whatever that the crew had set the vessel on fire and escaped in their
boats. After watching the conflagration till the ship blew up, his
Majesty's sloop, the Shark, stood towards the Isle of Man, with the
purpose of intercepting the retreat of the smugglers, who, though they
might conceal themselves in the woods for a day or two, would probably
take the first opportunity of endeavouring to make for this asylum. But
they never saw more of them than is above narrated.

Such was the account given by William Pritchard, master and commander
of his Majesty's sloop of war, Shark, who concluded by regretting
deeply that he had not had the happiness to fall in with the scoundrels
who had had the impudence to fire on his Majesty's flag, and with an
assurance that, should he meet Mr. Dirk Hatteraick in any future
cruise, he would not fail to bring him into port under his stern, to
answer whatever might be alleged against him.

As, therefore, it seemed tolerably certain that the men on board the
lugger had escaped, the death of Kennedy, if he fell in with them in
the woods, when irritated by the loss of their vessel and by the share
he had in it, was easily to be accounted for. And it was not improbable
that to such brutal tempers, rendered desperate by their own
circumstances, even the murder of the child, against whose father, as
having become suddenly active in the prosecution of smugglers,
Hatteraick was known to have uttered deep threats, would not appear a
very heinous crime.

Against this hypothesis it was urged that a crew of fifteen or twenty
men could not have lain hidden upon the coast, when so close a search
took place immediately after the destruction of their vessel; or, at
least, that if they had hid themselves in the woods, their boats must
have been seen on the beach; that in such precarious circumstances, and
when all retreat must have seemed difficult if not impossible, it was
not to be thought that they would have all united to commit a useless
murder for the mere sake of revenge. Those who held this opinion
supposed either that the boats of the lugger had stood out to sea
without being observed by those who were intent upon gazing at the
burning vessel, and so gained safe distance before the sloop got round
the headland; or else that, the boats being staved or destroyed by the
fire of the Shark during the chase, the crew had obstinately determined
to perish with the vessel. What gave some countenance to this supposed
act of desperation was, that neither Dirk Hatteraick nor any of his
sailors, all well-known men in the fair trade, were again seen upon
that coast, or heard of in the Isle of Man, where strict inquiry was
made. On the other hand, only one dead body, apparently that of a
seaman killed by a cannon-shot, drifted ashore. So all that could be
done was to register the names, description, and appearance of the
individuals belonging to the ship's company, and offer a reward for the
apprehension of them, or any one of them, extending also to any person,
not the actual murderer, who should give evidence tending to convict
those who had murdered Francis Kennedy.

Another opinion, which was also plausibly supported, went to charge
this horrid crime upon the late tenants of Derncleugh. They were known
to have resented highly the conduct of the Laird of Ellangowan towards
them, and to have used threatening expressions, which every one
supposed them capable of carrying into effect. The kidnapping the child
was a crime much more consistent with their habits than with those of
smugglers, and his temporary guardian might have fallen in an attempt
to protect him. Besides, it was remembered that Kennedy had been an
active agent, two or three days before, in the forcible expulsion of
these people from Derncleugh, and that harsh and menacing language had
been exchanged between him and some of the Egyptian patriarchs on that
memorable occasion.

The Sheriff received also the depositions of the unfortunate father and
his servant, concerning what had passed at their meeting the caravan of
gipsies as they left the estate of Ellangowan. The speech of Meg
Merrilies seemed particularly suspicious. There was, as the magistrate
observed in his law language, damnum minatum--a damage, or evil turn,
threatened--and malum secutum--an evil of the very kind predicted
shortly afterwards following. A young woman, who had been gathering
nuts in Warroch wood upon the fatal day, was also strongly of opinion,
though she declined to make positive oath, that she had seen Meg
Merrilies--at least a woman of her remarkable size and appearance
--start suddenly out of a thicket; she said she had called to her by
name, but, as the figure turned from her and made no answer, she was
uncertain if it were the gipsy or her wraith, and was afraid to go
nearer to one who was always reckoned, in the vulgar phrase, 'no
canny.' This vague story received some corroboration from the
circumstance of a fire being that evening found in the gipsy's deserted
cottage. To this fact Ellangowan and his gardener bore evidence. Yet it
seemed extravagant to suppose that, had this woman been accessory to
such a dreadful crime, she would have returned, that very evening on
which it was committed, to the place of all others where she was most
likely to be sought after.

Meg Merrilies was, however, apprehended and examined. She denied
strongly having been either at Derncleugh or in the wood of Warroch
upon the day of Kennedy's death; and several of her tribe made oath in
her behalf, that she had never quitted their encampment, which was in a
glen about ten miles distant from Ellangowan. Their oaths were indeed
little to be trusted to; but what other evidence could be had in the
circumstances? There was one remarkable fact, and only one, which arose
from her examination. Her arm appeared to be slightly wounded by the
cut of a sharp weapon, and was tied up with a handkerchief of Harry
Bertram's. But the chief of the horde acknowledged he had 'corrected
her' that day with his whinger; she herself, and others, gave the same
account of her hurt; and for the handkerchief, the quantity of linen
stolen from Ellangowan during the last months of their residence on the
estate easily accounted for it, without charging Meg with a more
heinous crime.

It was observed upon her examination that she treated the questions
respecting the death of Kennedy, or 'the gauger,' as she called him,
with indifference; but expressed great and emphatic scorn and
indignation at being supposed capable of injuring little Harry Bertram.
She was long confined in jail, under the hope that something might yet
be discovered to throw light upon this dark and bloody transaction.
Nothing, however, occurred; and Meg was at length liberated, but under
sentence of banishment from the county as a vagrant, common thief, and
disorderly person. No traces of the boy could ever be discovered; and
at length the story, after making much noise, was gradually given up as
altogether inexplicable, and only perpetuated by the name of 'The
Gauger's Loup,' which was generally bestowed on the cliff from which
the unfortunate man had fallen or been precipitated.



CHAPTER XI

    ENTER TIME, AS CHORUS
    I, that please some, try all, both joy and terror
    Of good and bad; that make and unfold error,
    Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
    To use my wings Impute it not a crime
    To me, or my swift passage, that I slide
    O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried
    Of that wide gap.

         Winter's Tale.


Our narration is now about to make a large stride, and omit a space of
nearly seventeen years; during which nothing occurred of any particular
consequence with respect to the story we have undertaken to tell. The
gap is a wide one; yet if the reader's experience in life enables him
to look back on so many years, the space will scarce appear longer in
his recollection than the time consumed in turning these pages.

It was, then, in the month of November, about seventeen years after the
catastrophe related in the last chapter, that, during a cold and stormy
night, a social group had closed around the kitchen-fire of the Gordon
Arms at Kippletringan, a small but comfortable inn kept by Mrs.
Mac-Candlish in that village. The conversation which passed among them
will save me the trouble of telling the few events occurring during
this chasm in our history, with which it is necessary that the reader
should be acquainted.

Mrs. Mac-Candlish, throned in a comfortable easychair lined with black
leather, was regaling herself and a neighbouring gossip or two with a
cup of genuine tea, and at the same time keeping a sharp eye upon her
domestics, as they went and came in prosecution of their various duties
and commissions. The clerk and precentor of the parish enjoyed at a
little distance his Saturday night's pipe, and aided its bland
fumigation by an occasional sip of brandy and water. Deacon Bearcliff,
a man of great importance in the village, combined the indulgence of
both parties: he had his pipe and his tea-cup, the latter being laced
with a little spirits. One or two clowns sat at some distance, drinking
their twopenny ale.

'Are ye sure the parlour's ready for them, and the fire burning clear,
and the chimney no smoking?' said the hostess to a chambermaid.

She was answered in the affirmative. 'Ane wadna be uncivil to them,
especially in their distress,' said she, turning to the Deacon.

'Assuredly not, Mrs. Mac-Candlish; assuredly not. I am sure ony sma'
thing they might want frae my shop, under seven, or eight, or ten
pounds, I would book them as readily for it as the first in the
country. Do they come in the auld chaise?'

'I daresay no,' said the precentor; 'for Miss Bertram comes on the
white powny ilka day to the kirk--and a constant kirk-keeper she
is--and it's a pleasure to hear her singing the psalms, winsome young
thing.'

'Ay, and the young Laird of Hazlewood rides hame half the road wi' her
after sermon,' said one of the gossips in company. 'I wonder how auld
Hazlewood likes that.'

'I kenna how he may like it now,' answered another of the tea-drinkers;
'but the day has been when Ellangowan wad hae liked as little to see
his daughter taking up with their son.'

'Ay, has been,' answered the first, with somewhat of emphasis.

'I am sure, neighbour Ovens,' said the hostess, 'the Hazlewoods of
Hazlewood, though they are a very gude auld family in the county, never
thought, till within these twa score o' years, of evening themselves
till the Ellangowans. Wow, woman, the Bertrams of Ellangowan are the
auld Dingawaies lang syne. There is a sang about ane o' them marrying a
daughter of the King of Man; it begins--

     Blythe Bertram's ta'en him ower the faem,
     To wed a wife, and bring her hame--

I daur say Mr. Skreigh can sing us the ballant.'

'Gudewife,' said Skreigh, gathering up his mouth, and sipping his tiff
of brandy punch with great solemnity, 'our talents were gien us to
other use than to sing daft auld sangs sae near the Sabbath day.'

'Hout fie, Mr. Skreigh; I'se warrant I hae heard you sing a blythe sang
on Saturday at e'en before now. But as for the chaise, Deacon, it hasna
been out of the coach-house since Mrs. Bertram died, that's sixteen or
seventeen years sin syne. Jock Jabos is away wi' a chaise of mine for
them; I wonder he's no come back. It's pit mirk; but there's no an ill
turn on the road but twa, and the brigg ower Warroch burn is safe
eneugh, if he haud to the right side. But then there's Heavieside Brae,
that's just a murder for post-cattle; but Jock kens the road brawly.'

A loud rapping was heard at the door.

'That's no them. I dinna hear the wheels. Grizzel, ye limmer, gang to
the door.'

'It's a single gentleman,' whined out Grizzel; 'maun I take him into
the parlour?'

'Foul be in your feet, then; it'll be some English rider. Coming
without a servant at this time o' night! Has the hostler ta'en the
horse? Ye may light a spunk o' fire in the red room.'

'I wish, ma'am,' said the traveller, entering the kitchen, 'you would
give me leave to warm myself here, for the night is very cold.'

His appearance, voice, and manner produced an instantaneous effect in
his favour. He was a handsome, tall, thin figure, dressed in black, as
appeared when he laid aside his riding-coat; his age might be between
forty and fifty; his cast of features grave and interesting, and his
air somewhat military. Every point of his appearance and address
bespoke the gentleman. Long habit had given Mrs. Mac-Candlish an acute
tact in ascertaining the quality of her visitors, and proportioning her
reception accordingly:--

     To every guest the appropriate speech was made,
     And every duty with distinction paid;
     Respectful, easy, pleasant, or polite--
     'Your honour's servant!' 'Mister Smith, good-night.'

On the present occasion she was low in her courtesy and profuse in her
apologies. The stranger begged his horse might be attended to: she went
out herself to school the hostler.

'There was never a prettier bit o' horse-flesh in the stable o' the
Gordon Arms,' said the man, which information increased the landlady's
respect for the rider. Finding, on her return, that the stranger
declined to go into another apartment (which, indeed, she allowed,
would be but cold and smoky till the fire bleezed up), she installed
her guest hospitably by the fireside, and offered what refreshment her
house afforded.

'A cup of your tea, ma'am, if you will favour me.'

Mrs. Mac-Candlish bustled about, reinforced her teapot with hyson, and
proceeded in her duties with her best grace. 'We have a very nice
parlour, sir, and everything very agreeable for gentlefolks; but it's
bespoke the night for a gentleman and his daughter that are going to
leave this part of the country; ane of my chaises is gane for them, and
will be back forthwith. They're no sae weel in the warld as they have
been; but we're a' subject to ups and downs in this life, as your
honour must needs ken,--but is not the tobacco-reek disagreeable to
your honour?'

'By no means, ma'am; I am an old campaigner, and perfectly used to it.
Will you permit me to make some inquiries about a family in this
neighbourhood?'

The sound of wheels was now heard, and the landlady hurried to the door
to receive her expected guests; but returned in an instant, followed by
the postilion. 'No, they canna come at no rate, the Laird's sae ill.'

'But God help them,' said the landlady, 'the morn's the term, the very
last day they can bide in the house; a' thing's to be roupit.'

'Weel, but they can come at no rate, I tell ye; Mr. Bertram canna be
moved.'

'What Mr. Bertram?' said the stranger; 'not Mr. Bertram of Ellangowan,
I hope?'

'Just e'en that same, sir; and if ye be a friend o' his, ye have come
at a time when he's sair bested.'

'I have been abroad for many years,--is his health so much deranged?'

'Ay, and his affairs an' a',' said the Deacon; 'the creditors have
entered into possession o' the estate, and it's for sale; and some that
made the maist by him--I name nae names, but Mrs. Mac-Candlish kens wha
I mean (the landlady shook her head significantly)--they're sairest on
him e'en now. I have a sma' matter due myself, but I would rather have
lost it than gane to turn the auld man out of his house, and him just
dying.'

'Ay, but,' said the parish clerk, 'Factor Glossin wants to get rid of
the auld Laird, and drive on the sale, for fear the heir-male should
cast up upon them; for I have heard say, if there was an heir-male they
couldna sell the estate for auld Ellangowan's debt.'

'He had a son born a good many years ago,' said the stranger; 'he is
dead, I suppose?'

'Nae man can say for that,' answered the clerk mysteriously.

'Dead!' said the Deacon, 'I'se warrant him dead lang syne; he hasna
been heard o' these twenty years or thereby.'

'I wot weel it's no twenty years,' said the landlady; 'it's no abune
seventeen at the outside in this very month. It made an unco noise ower
a' this country; the bairn disappeared the very day that Supervisor
Kennedy cam by his end. If ye kenn'd this country lang syne, your
honour wad maybe ken Frank Kennedy the Supervisor. He was a heartsome
pleasant man, and company for the best gentlemen in the county, and
muckle mirth he's made in this house. I was young then, sir, and newly
married to Bailie Mac-Candlish, that's dead and gone (a sigh); and
muckle fun I've had wi' the Supervisor. He was a daft dog. O, an he
could hae hauden aff the smugglers a bit! but he was aye venturesome.
And so ye see, sir, there was a king's sloop down in Wigton Bay, and
Frank Kennedy, he behoved to have her up to chase Dirk Hatteraick's
lugger--ye'll mind Dirk Hatteraick, Deacon? I daresay ye may have dealt
wi' him--(the Deacon gave a sort of acquiescent nod and humph). He was
a daring chield, and he fought his ship till she blew up like peelings
of ingans; and Frank Kennedy, he had been the first man to board, and
he was flung like a quarter of a mile off, and fell into the water
below the rock at Warroch Point, that they ca' the Gauger's Loup to
this day.'

'And Mr. Bertram's child,' said the stranger, 'what is all this to him?'

'Ou, sir, the bairn aye held an unco wark wi' the Supervisor; and it
was generally thought he went on board the vessel alang wi' him, as
bairns are aye forward to be in mischief.'

'No, no,' said the Deacon, 'ye're clean out there, Luckie; for the
young Laird was stown away by a randy gipsy woman they ca'd Meg
Merrilies--I mind her looks weel--in revenge for Ellangowan having
gar'd her be drumm'd through Kippletringan for stealing a silver spoon.'

'If ye'll forgieme, Deacon,' said the precentor, 'ye're e'en as far
wrang as the gudewife.'

'And what is your edition of the story, sir?' said the stranger,
turning to him with interest.

'That's maybe no sae canny to tell,' said the precentor, with solemnity.

Upon being urged, however, to speak out, he preluded with two or three
large puffs of tobacco-smoke, and out of the cloudy sanctuary which
these whiffs formed around him delivered the following legend, having
cleared his voice with one or two hems, and imitating, as near as he
could, the eloquence which weekly thundered over his head from the
pulpit.

'What we are now to deliver, my brethren,--hem--hem,--I mean, my good
friends,--was not done in a corner, and may serve as an answer to
witch-advocates, atheists, and misbelievers of all kinds. Ye must know
that the worshipful Laird of Ellangowan was not so preceese as he might
have been in clearing his land of witches (concerning whom it is said,
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"), nor of those who had familiar
spirits, and consulted with divination, and sorcery, and lots, which is
the fashion with the Egyptians, as they ca' themsells, and other
unhappy bodies, in this our country. And the Laird was three years
married without having a family; and he was sae left to himsell, that
it was thought he held ower muckle troking and communing wi' that Meg
Merrilies, wha was the maist notorious witch in a' Galloway and
Dumfries-shire baith.'

'Aweel, I wot there's something in that,' said Mrs. Mac-Candlish; 'I've
kenn'd him order her twa glasses o' brandy in this very house.'

'Aweel, gudewife, then the less I lee. Sae the lady was wi' bairn at
last, and in the night when she should have been delivered there comes
to the door of the ha' house--the Place of Ellangowan as they ca'd--an
ancient man, strangely habited, and asked for quarters. His head, and
his legs, and his arms were bare, although it was winter time o' the
year, and he had a grey beard three-quarters lang. Weel, he was
admitted; and when the lady was delivered, he craved to know the very
moment of the hour of the birth, and he went out and consulted the
stars. And when he came back he tell'd the Laird that the Evil One wad
have power over the knave-bairn that was that night born, and he
charged him that the babe should be bred up in the ways of piety, and
that he should aye hae a godly minister at his elbow to pray WI' the
bairn and FOR him. And the aged man vanished away, and no man of this
country ever saw mair o' him.'

'Now, that will not pass,' said the postilion, who, at a respectful
distance, was listening to the conversation, 'begging Mr. Skreigh's and
the company's pardon; there was no sae mony hairs on the warlock's face
as there's on Letter-Gae's [Footnote: The precentor is called by Allan
Ramsay, The letter-gae of haly rhyme.] ain at this moment, and he had
as gude a pair o' boots as a man need streik on his legs, and gloves
too; and I should understand boots by this time, I think.'

'Whisht, Jock,' said the landlady.

'Ay? and what do YE ken o' the matter, friend Jabos?' said the
precentor, contemptuously.

'No muckle, to be sure, Mr. Skreigh, only that I lived within a
penny-stane cast o' the head o' the avenue at Ellangowan, when a man
cam jingling to our door that night the young Laird was born, and my
mother sent me, that was a hafflin callant, to show the stranger the
gate to the Place, which, if he had been sic a warlock, he might hae
kenn'd himsell, ane wad think; and he was a young, weel-faured,
weel-dressed lad, like an Englishman. And I tell ye he had as gude a
hat, and boots, and gloves, as ony gentleman need to have. To be sure
he DID gie an awesome glance up at the auld castle, and there WAS some
spae-wark gaed on, I aye heard that; but as for his vanishing, I held
the stirrup mysell when he gaed away, and he gied me a round
half-crown. He was riding on a haick they ca'd Souple Sam, it belanged
to the George at Dumfries; it was a blood-bay beast, very ill o' the
spavin; I hae seen the beast baith before and since.'

'Aweel, aweel, Jock,' answered Mr. Skreigh, with a tone of mild
solemnity, 'our accounts differ in no material particulars; but I had
no knowledge that ye had seen the man. So ye see, my friends, that this
soothsayer having prognosticated evil to the boy, his father engaged a
godly minister to be with him morn and night.'

'Ay, that was him they ca'd Dominie Sampson,' said the postilion.

'He's but a dumb dog that,' observed the Deacon; 'I have heard that he
never could preach five words of a sermon endlang, for as lang as he
has been licensed.'

'Weel, but,' said the precentor, waving his hand, as if eager to
retrieve the command of the discourse, 'he waited on the young Laird by
night and day. Now it chanced, when the bairn was near five years auld,
that the Laird had a sight of his errors, and determined to put these
Egyptians aff his ground, and he caused them to remove; and that Frank
Kennedy, that was a rough, swearing fellow, he was sent to turn them
off. And he cursed and damned at them, and they swure at him; and that
Meg Merrilies, that was the maist powerfu' with the Enemy of Mankind,
she as gude as said she would have him, body and soul, before three
days were ower his head. And I have it from a sure hand, and that's ane
wha saw it, and that's John Wilson, that was the Laird's groom, that
Meg appeared to the Laird as he was riding hame from Singleside, over
Gibbie's know, and threatened him wi' what she wad do to his family;
but whether it was Meg, or something waur in her likeness, for it
seemed bigger than ony mortal creature, John could not say.'

'Aweel,' said the postilion, 'it might be sae, I canna say against it,
for I was not in the country at the time; but John Wilson was a
blustering kind of chield, without the heart of a sprug.'

'And what was the end of all this?' said the stranger, with some
impatience.

'Ou, the event and upshot of it was, sir,' said the precentor, 'that
while they were all looking on, beholding a king's ship chase a
smuggler, this Kennedy suddenly brake away frae them without ony reason
that could be descried--ropes nor tows wad not hae held him--and made
for the wood of Warroch as fast as his beast could carry him; and by
the way he met the young Laird and his governor, and he snatched up the
bairn, and swure, if HE was bewitched, the bairn should have the same
luck as him; and the minister followed as fast as he could, and almaist
as fast as them, for he was wonderfully swift of foot, and he saw Meg
the witch, or her master in her similitude, rise suddenly out of the
ground, and claught the bairn suddenly out of the ganger's arms; and
then he rampauged and drew his sword, for ye ken a fie man and a cusser
fearsna the deil.'

'I believe that's very true,' said the postilion.

'So, sir, she grippit him, and clodded him like a stane from the sling
ower the craigs of Warroch Head, where he was found that evening; but
what became of the babe, frankly I cannot say. But he that was minister
here then, that's now in a better place, had an opinion that the bairn
was only conveyed to fairy-land for a season.'

The stranger had smiled slightly at some parts of this recital, but ere
he could answer the clatter of a horse's hoofs was heard, and a smart
servant, handsomely dressed, with a cockade in his hat, bustled into
the kitchen, with 'Make a little room, good people'; when, observing
the stranger, he descended at once into the modest and civil domestic,
his hat sunk down by his side, and he put a letter into his master's
hands. 'The family at Ellangowan, sir, are in great distress, and
unable to receive any visits.'

'I know it,' replied his master. 'And now, madam, if you will have the
goodness to allow me to occupy the parlour you mentioned, as you are
disappointed of your guests--'

'Certainly, sir,' said Mrs. Mac-Candlish, and hastened to light the way
with all the imperative bustle which an active landlady loves to
display on such occasions.

'Young man,' said the Deacon to the servant, filling a glass, 'ye'll no
be the waur o' this, after your ride.'

'Not a feather, sir; thank ye, your very good health, sir.'

'And wha may your master be, friend?'

'What, the gentleman that was here? that's the famous Colonel
Mannering, sir, from the East Indies.'

'What, him we read of in the newspapers?'

'Ay, ay, just the same. It was he relieved Cuddieburn, and defended
Chingalore, and defeated the great Mahratta chief, Ram Jolli Bundleman.
I was with him in most of his campaigns.'

'Lord safe us,' said the landlady; 'I must go see what he would have
for supper; that I should set him down here!'

'O, he likes that all the better, mother. You never saw a plainer
creature in your life than our old Colonel; and yet he has a spice of
the devil in him too.'

The rest of the evening's conversation below stairs tending little to
edification, we shall, with the reader's leave, step up to the parlour.



CHAPTER XII

     Reputation! that's man's idol
     Set up against God, the Maker of all laws,
     Who hath commanded us we should not kill,
     And yet we say we must, for Reputation!
     What honest man can either fear his own,
     Or else will hurt another's reputation?
     Fear to do base unworthy things is valour;
     If they be done to us, to suffer them
     Is valour too.

          BEN JONSON.


The Colonel was walking pensively up and down the parlour when the
officious landlady reentered to take his commands. Having given them in
the manner he thought would be most acceptable 'for the good of the
house,' be begged to detain her a moment.

'I think,' he said, 'madam, if I understood the good people right, Mr.
Bertram lost his son in his fifth year?'

'O ay, sir, there's nae doubt o' that, though there are mony idle
clashes about the way and manner, for it's an auld story now, and
everybody tells it, as we were doing, their ain way by the ingleside.
But lost the bairn was in his fifth year, as your honour says, Colonel;
and the news being rashly tell'd to the leddy, then great with child,
cost her her life that samyn night; and the Laird never throve after
that day, but was just careless of everything, though, when his
daughter Miss Lucy grew up, she tried to keep order within doors; but
what could she do, poor thing? So now they're out of house and hauld.'

'Can you recollect, madam, about what time of the year the child was
lost?' The landlady, after a pause and some recollection, answered,
'she was positive it was about this season'; and added some local
recollections that fixed the date in her memory as occurring about the
beginning of November 17--.

The stranger took two or three turns round the room in silence, but
signed to Mrs. Mac-Candlish not to leave it.

'Did I rightly apprehend,' he said, 'that the estate of Ellangowan is
in the market?'

'In the market? It will be sell'd the morn to the highest
bidder--that's no the morn, Lord help me! which is the Sabbath, but on
Monday, the first free day; and the furniture and stocking is to be
roupit at the same time on the ground. It's the opinion of the haill
country that the sale has been shamefully forced on at this time, when
there's sae little money stirring in Scotland wi' this weary American
war, that somebody may get the land a bargain. Deil be in them, that I
should say sae!'--the good lady's wrath rising at the supposed
injustice.

'And where will the sale take place?'

'On the premises, as the advertisement says; that's at the house of
Ellangowan, your honour, as I understand it.'

'And who exhibits the title-deeds, rent-roll, and plan?'

'A very decent man, sir; the sheriff-substitute of the county, who has
authority from the Court of Session. He's in the town just now, if your
honour would like to see him; and he can tell you mair about the loss
of the bairn than ony body, for the sheriff-depute (that's his
principal, like) took much pains to come at the truth o' that matter,
as I have heard.'

'And this gentleman's name is--'

'Mac-Morlan, sir; he's a man o' character, and weel spoken o'.'

'Send my compliments--Colonel Mannering's compliments to him, and I
would be glad he would do me the pleasure of supping with me, and bring
these papers with him; and I beg, good madam, you will say nothing of
this to any one else.'

'Me, sir? ne'er a word shall I say. I wish your honour (a courtesy), or
ony honourable gentleman that's fought for his country (another
courtesy), had the land, since the auld family maun quit (a sigh),
rather than that wily scoundrel Glossin, that's risen on the ruin of
the best friend he ever had. And now I think on't, I'll slip on my hood
and pattens, and gang to Mr. Mac-Morlan mysell, he's at hame e'en now;
it's hardly a step.'

'Do so, my good landlady, and many thanks; and bid my servant step here
with my portfolio in the meantime.'

In a minute or two Colonel Mannering was quietly seated with his
writing materials before him. We have the privilege of looking over his
shoulder as he writes, and we willingly communicate its substance to
our readers. The letter was addressed to Arthur Mervyn, Esq., of Mervyn
Hall, Llanbraithwaite, Westmoreland. It contained some account of the
writer's previous journey since parting with him, and then proceeded as
follows:--

'And now, why will you still upbraid me with my melancholy, Mervyn? Do
you think, after the lapse of twenty-five years, battles, wounds,
imprisonment, misfortunes of every description, I can be still the same
lively, unbroken Guy Mannering who climbed Skiddaw with you, or shot
grouse upon Crossfell? That you, who have remained in the bosom of
domestic happiness, experience little change, that your step is as
light and your fancy as full of sunshine, is a blessed effect of health
and temperament, cooperating with content and a smooth current down the
course of life. But MY career has been one of difficulties and doubts
and errors. From my infancy I have been the sport of accident, and,
though the wind has often borne me into harbour, it has seldom been
into that which the pilot destined. Let me recall to you--but the task
must be brief--the odd and wayward fates of my youth, and the
misfortunes of my manhood.

'The former, you will say, had nothing very appalling. All was not for
the best; but all was tolerable. My father, the eldest son of an
ancient but reduced family, left me with little, save the name of the
head of the house, to the protection of his more fortunate brothers.
They were so fond of me that they almost quarrelled about me. My uncle,
the bishop, would have had me in orders, and offered me a living; my
uncle, the merchant, would have put me into a counting-house, and
proposed to give me a share in the thriving concern of Mannering and
Marshall, in Lombard Street. So, between these two stools, or rather
these two soft, easy, well-stuffed chairs of divinity and commerce, my
unfortunate person slipped down, and pitched upon a dragoon saddle.
Again, the bishop wished me to marry the niece and heiress of the Dean
of Lincoln; and my uncle, the alderman, proposed to me the only
daughter of old Sloethorn, the great wine-merchant, rich enough to play
at span-counter with moidores and make thread-papers of bank-notes; and
somehow I slipped my neck out of both nooses, and married--poor, poor
Sophia Wellwood.

'You will say, my military career in India, when I followed my regiment
there, should have given me some satisfaction; and so it assuredly has.
You will remind me also, that if I disappointed the hopes of my
guardians, I did not incur their displeasure; that the bishop, at his
death, bequeathed me his blessing, his manuscript sermons, and a
curious portfolio containing the heads of eminent divines of the church
of England; and that my uncle, Sir Paul Mannering, left me sole heir
and executor to his large fortune. Yet this availeth me nothing; I told
you I had that upon my mind which I should carry to my grave with me, a
perpetual aloes in the draught of existence. I will tell you the cause
more in detail than I had the heart to do while under your hospitable
roof. You will often hear it mentioned, and perhaps with different and
unfounded circumstances. I will therefore speak it out; and then let
the event itself, and the sentiments of melancholy with which it has
impressed me, never again be subject of discussion between us.

'Sophia, as you well know, followed me to India. She was as innocent as
gay; but, unfortunately for us both, as gay as innocent. My own manners
were partly formed by studies I had forsaken, and habits of seclusion
not quite consistent with my situation as commandant of a regiment in a
country where universal hospitality is offered and expected by every
settler claiming the rank of a gentleman. In a moment of peculiar
pressure (you know how hard we were sometimes run to obtain white faces
to countenance our line-of-battle), a young man named Brown joined our
regiment as a volunteer, and, finding the military duty more to his
fancy than commerce, in which he had been engaged, remained with us as
a cadet. Let me do my unhappy victim justice: he behaved with such
gallantry on every occasion that offered that the first vacant
commission was considered as his due. I was absent for some weeks upon
a distant expedition; when I returned I found this young fellow
established quite as the friend of the house, and habitual attendant of
my wife and daughter. It was an arrangement which displeased me in many
particulars, though no objection could be made to his manners or
character. Yet I might have been reconciled to his familiarity in my
family, but for the suggestions of another. If you read over--what I
never dare open--the play of "Othello," you will have some idea of what
followed--I mean of my motives; my actions, thank God! were less
reprehensible. There was another cadet ambitious of the vacant
situation. He called my attention to what he led me to term coquetry
between my wife and this young man. Sophia was virtuous, but proud of
her virtue; and, irritated by my jealousy, she was so imprudent as to
press and encourage an intimacy which she saw I disapproved and
regarded with suspicion. Between Brown and me there existed a sort of
internal dislike. He made an effort or two to overcome my prejudice;
but, prepossessed as I was, I placed them to a wrong motive. Feeling
himself repulsed, and with scorn, he desisted; and as he was without
family and friends, he was naturally more watchful of the deportment of
one who had both.

'It is odd with what torture I write this letter. I feel inclined,
nevertheless, to protract the operation, just as if my doing so could
put off the catastrophe which has so long embittered my life. But--it
must be told, and it shall be told briefly.

'My wife, though no longer young, was still eminently handsome,
and--let me say thus far in my own justification-she was fond of being
thought so--I am repeating what I said before. In a word, of her virtue
I never entertained a doubt; but, pushed by the artful suggestions of
Archer, I thought she cared little for my peace of mind, and that the
young fellow Brown paid his attentions in my despite, and in defiance
of me. He perhaps considered me, on his part, as an oppressive
aristocratic man, who made my rank in society and in the army the means
of galling those whom circumstances placed beneath me. And if he
discovered my silly jealousy, he probably considered the fretting me in
that sore point of my character as one means of avenging the petty
indignities to which I had it in my power to subject him. Yet an acute
friend of mine gave a more harmless, or at least a less offensive,
construction to his attentions, which he conceived to be meant for my
daughter Julia, though immediately addressed to propitiate the
influence of her mother. This could have been no very flattering or
pleasing enterprise on the part of an obscure and nameless young man;
but I should not have been offended at this folly as I was at the
higher degree of presumption I suspected. Offended, however, I was, and
in a mortal degree.

'A very slight spark will kindle a flame where everything lies open to
catch it. I have absolutely forgot the proximate cause of quarrel, but
it was some trifle which occurred at the card-table which occasioned
high words and a challenge. We met in the morning beyond the walls and
esplanade of the fortress which I then commanded, on the frontiers of
the settlement. This was arranged for Brown's safety, had he escaped. I
almost wish he had, though at my own expense; but he fell by the first
fire. We strove to assist him; but some of these looties, a species of
native banditti who were always on the watch for prey, poured in upon
us. Archer and I gained our horses with difficulty, and cut our way
through them after a hard conflict, in the course of which he received
some desperate wounds. To complete the misfortunes of this miserable
day, my wife, who suspected the design with which I left the fortress,
had ordered her palanquin to follow me, and was alarmed and almost made
prisoner by another troop of these plunderers. She was quickly released
by a party of our cavalry; but I cannot disguise from myself that the
incidents of this fatal morning gave a severe shock to health already
delicate. The confession of Archer, who thought himself dying, that he
had invented some circumstances, and for his purposes put the worst
construction upon others, and the full explanation and exchange of
forgiveness with me which this produced, could not check the progress
of her disorder. She died within about eight months after this
incident, bequeathing me only the girl of whom Mrs. Mervyn is so good
as to undertake the temporary charge. Julia was also extremely ill; so
much so that I was induced to throw up my command and return to Europe,
where her native air, time, and the novelty of the scenes around her
have contributed to dissipate her dejection and restore her health.

'Now that you know my story, you will no longer ask me the reason of my
melancholy, but permit me to brood upon it as I may. There is, surely,
in the above narrative enough to embitter, though not to poison, the
chalice which the fortune and fame you so often mention had prepared to
regale my years of retirement.

'I could add circumstances which our old tutor would have quoted as
instances of DAY FATALITY,--you would laugh were I to mention such
particulars, especially as you know I put no faith in them. Yet, since
I have come to the very house from which I now write, I have learned a
singular coincidence, which, if I find it truly established by
tolerable evidence, will serve as hereafter for subject of curious
discussion. But I will spare you at present, as I expect a person to
speak about a purchase of property now open in this part of the
country. It is a place to which I have a foolish partiality, and I hope
my purchasing may be convenient to those who are parting with it, as
there is a plan for buying it under the value. My respectful
compliments to Mrs. Mervyn, and I will trust you, though you boast to
be so lively a young gentleman, to kiss Julia for me. Adieu, dear
Mervyn.--Thine ever, GUY MANNERING.'

Mr. Mac-Morlan now entered the room. The well-known character of
Colonel Mannering at once disposed this gentleman, who was a man of
intelligence and probity, to be open and confidential. He explained the
advantages and disadvantages of the property. 'It was settled,' he
said, 'the greater part of it at least, upon heirs-male, and the
purchaser would have the privilege of retaining in his hands a large
proportion of the price, in case of the reappearance, within a certain
limited term, of the child who had disappeared.'

'To what purpose, then, force forward a sale?' said Mannering.
Mac-Morlan smiled. 'Ostensibly,' he answered, 'to substitute the
interest of money instead of the ill-paid and precarious rents of an
unimproved estate; but chiefly it was believed, to suit the wishes and
views of a certain intended purchaser, who had become a principal
creditor, and forced himself into the management of the affairs by
means best known to himself, and who, it was thought, would find it
very convenient to purchase the estate without paying down the price.'

Mannering consulted with Mr. Mac-Morlan upon the steps for thwarting
this unprincipled attempt. They then conversed long on the singular
disappearance of Harry Bertram upon his fifth birthday, verifying thus
the random prediction of Mannering, of which, however, it will readily
be supposed he made no boast. Mr. Mac-Morlan was not himself in office
when that incident took place; but he was well acquainted with all the
circumstances, and promised that our hero should have them detailed by
the sheriff-depute himself, if, as he proposed, he should become a
settler in that part of Scotland. With this assurance they parted, well
satisfied with each other and with the evening's conference.

On the Sunday following, Colonel Mannering attended the parish church
with great decorum. None of the Ellangowan family were present; and it
was understood that the old Laird was rather worse than better. Jock
Jabos, once more despatched for him, returned once more without his
errand; but on the following day Miss Bertram hoped he might be removed.



CHAPTER XIII

     They told me, by the sentence of the law,
     They had commission to seize all thy fortune.
     Here stood a ruffian with a horrid face,
     Lording it o'er a pile of massy plate,
     Tumbled into a heap for public sale;
     There was another, making villainous jests
     At thy undoing; he had ta'en possession
     Of all thy ancient most domestic ornaments.

          OTWAY.


Early next morning Mannering mounted his horse and, accompanied by his
servant, took the road to Ellangowan. He had no need to inquire the
way. A sale in the country is a place of public resort and amusement,
and people of various descriptions streamed to it from all quarters.

After a pleasant ride of about an hour, the old towers of the ruin
presented themselves in the landscape. The thoughts, with what
different feelings he had lost sight of them so many years before,
thronged upon the mind of the traveller. The landscape was the same;
but how changed the feelings, hopes, and views of the spectator! Then
life and love were new, and all the prospect was gilded by their rays.
And now, disappointed in affection, sated with fame and what the world
calls success, his mind, goaded by bitter and repentant recollection,
his best hope was to find a retirement in which he might nurse the
melancholy that was to accompany him to his grave. 'Yet why should an
individual mourn over the instability of his hopes and the vanity of
his prospects? The ancient chiefs who erected these enormous and
massive towers to be the fortress of their race and the seat of their
power,--could they have dreamed the day was to come when the last of
their descendants should be expelled, a ruined wanderer, from his
possessions! But Nature's bounties are unaltered. The sun will shine as
fair on these ruins, whether the property of a stranger or of a sordid
and obscure trickster of the abused law, as when the banners of the
founder first waved upon their battlements.'

These reflections brought Mannering to the door of the house, which was
that day open to all. He entered among others, who traversed the
apartments, some to select articles for purchase, others to gratify
their curiosity. There is something melancholy in such a scene, even
under the most favourable circumstances. The confused state of the
furniture, displaced for the convenience of being easily viewed and
carried off by the purchasers, is disagreeable to the eye. Those
articles which, properly and decently arranged, look creditable and
handsome, have then a paltry and wretched appearance; and the
apartments, stripped of all that render them commodious and
comfortable, have an aspect of ruin and dilapidation. It is disgusting
also to see the scenes of domestic society and seclusion thrown open to
the gaze of the curious and the vulgar, to hear their coarse
speculations and brutal jests upon the fashions and furniture to which
they are unaccustomed,--a frolicsome humour much cherished by the
whisky which in Scotland is always put in circulation on such
occasions. All these are ordinary effects of such a scene as Ellangowan
now presented; but the moral feeling, that in this case they indicated
the total ruin of an ancient and honourable family, gave them treble
weight and poignancy.

It was some time before Colonel Mannering could find any one disposed
to answer his reiterated questions concerning Ellangowan himself. At
length an old maidservant, who held her apron to her eyes as she spoke,
told him 'the Laird was something better, and they hoped he would be
able to leave the house that day. Miss Lucy expected the chaise every
moment, and, as the day was fine for the time o' year, they had carried
him in his easychair up to the green before the auld castle, to be out
of the way of this unco spectacle.' Thither Colonel Mannering went in
quest of him, and soon came in sight of the little group, which
consisted of four persons. The ascent was steep, so that he had time to
reconnoitre them as he advanced, and to consider in what mode he should
make his address.

Mr. Bertram, paralytic and almost incapable of moving, occupied his
easy-chair, attired in his nightcap and a loose camlet coat, his feet
wrapped in blankets. Behind him, with his hands crossed on the cane
upon which he rested, stood Dominie Sampson, whom Mannering recognised
at once. Time had made no change upon him, unless that his black coat
seemed more brown, and his gaunt cheeks more lank, than when Mannering
last saw him. On one side of the old man was a sylph-like form--a young
woman of about seventeen, whom the Colonel accounted to be his
daughter. She was looking from time to time anxiously towards the
avenue, as if expecting the post-chaise; and between whiles busied
herself in adjusting the blankets so as to protect her father from the
cold, and in answering inquiries, which he seemed to make with a
captious and querulous manner. She did not trust herself to look
towards the Place, although the hum of the assembled crowd must have
drawn her attention in that direction. The fourth person of the group
was a handsome and genteel young man, who seemed to share Miss
Bertram's anxiety, and her solicitude to soothe and accommodate her
parent.

This young man was the first who observed Colonel Mannering, and
immediately stepped forward to meet him, as if politely to prevent his
drawing nearer to the distressed group. Mannering instantly paused and
explained. 'He was,' he said, 'a stranger to whom Mr. Bertram had
formerly shown kindness and hospitality; he would not have intruded
himself upon him at a period of distress, did it not seem to be in some
degree a moment also of desertion; he wished merely to offer such
services as might be in his power to Mr. Bertram and the young lady.'

He then paused at a little distance from the chair. His old
acquaintance gazed at him with lack-lustre eye, that intimated no
tokens of recognition; the Dominie seemed too deeply sunk in distress
even to observe his presence. The young man spoke aside with Miss
Bertram, who advanced timidly, and thanked Colonel Mannering for his
goodness; 'but,' she said, the tears gushing fast into her eyes, 'her
father, she feared, was not so much himself as to be able to remember
him.'

She then retreated towards the chair, accompanied by the Colonel.
'Father,' she said, 'this is Mr. Mannering, an old friend, come to
inquire after you.'

'He's very heartily welcome,' said the old man, raising himself in his
chair, and attempting a gesture of courtesy, while a gleam of
hospitable satisfaction seemed to pass over his faded features; 'but,
Lucy, my dear, let us go down to the house; you should not keep the
gentleman here in the cold. Dominie, take the key of the wine-cooler.
Mr. a--a--the gentleman will surely take something after his ride.'

Mannering was unspeakably affected by the contrast which his
recollection made between this reception and that with which he had
been greeted by the same individual when they last met. He could not
restrain his tears, and his evident emotion at once attained him the
confidence of the friendless young lady.

'Alas!' she said, 'this is distressing even to a stranger; but it may
be better for my poor father to be in this way than if he knew and
could feel all.'

A servant in livery now came up the path, and spoke in an undertone to
the young gentleman--'Mr. Charles, my lady's wanting you yonder sadly,
to bid for her for the black ebony cabinet; and Lady Jean Devorgoil is
wi' her an' a'; ye maun come away directly.'

'Tell them you could not find me, Tom, or, stay,--say I am looking at
the horses.'

'No, no, no,' said Lucy Bertram, earnestly; 'if you would not add to
the misery of this miserable moment, go to the company directly. This
gentleman, I am sure, will see us to the carriage.'

'Unquestionably, madam,' said Mannering, 'your young friend may rely on
my attention.'

'Farewell, then,' said young Hazlewood, and whispered a word in her
ear; then ran down the steep hastily, as if not trusting his resolution
at a slower pace.

'Where's Charles Hazlewood running?' said the invalid, who apparently
was accustomed to his presence and attentions; 'where's Charles
Hazlewood running? what takes him away now?'

'He'll return in a little while,' said Lucy, gently.

The sound of voices was now heard from the ruins. The reader may
remember there was a communication between the castle and the beach, up
which the speakers had ascended.

'Yes, there's a plenty of shells and seaware for manure, as you
observe; and if one inclined to build a new house, which might indeed
be necessary, there's a great deal of good hewn stone about this old
dungeon, for the devil here--'

'Good God!' said Miss Bertram hastily to Sampson, ''t is that wretch
Glossin's voice! If my father sees him, it will kill him outright!'

Sampson wheeled perpendicularly round, and moved with long strides to
confront the attorney as he issued from beneath the portal arch of the
ruin. 'Avoid ye!' he said, 'avoid ye! wouldst thou kill and take
possession?'

'Come, come, Master Dominie Sampson,' answered Glossin insolently, 'if
ye cannot preach in the pulpit, we'll have no preaching here. We go by
the law, my good friend; we leave the gospel to you.'

The very mention of this man's name had been of late a subject of the
most violent irritation to the unfortunate patient. The sound of his
voice now produced an instantaneous effect. Mr. Bertram started up
without assistance and turned round towards him; the ghastliness of his
features forming a strange contrast with the violence of his
exclamations.--'Out of my sight, ye viper! ye frozen viper, that I
warmed, till ye stung me! Art thou not afraid that the walls of my
father's dwelling should fall and crush thee limb and bone? Are ye not
afraid the very lintels of the door of Ellangowan Castle should break
open and swallow you up? Were ye not friendless, houseless, penniless,
when I took ye by the hand; and are ye not expelling me--me and that
innocent girl--friendless, houseless, and penniless, from the house
that has sheltered us and ours for a thousand years?'

Had Glossin been alone, he would probably have slunk off; but the
consciousness that a stranger was present, besides the person who came
with him (a sort of land-surveyor), determined him to resort to
impudence. The task, however, was almost too hard even for his
effrontery--'Sir--sir--Mr. Bertram, sir, you should not blame me, but
your own imprudence, sir--'

The indignation of Mannering was mounting very high. 'Sir,' he said to
Glossin, 'without entering into the merits of this controversy, I must
inform you that you have chosen a very improper place, time, and
presence for it. And you will oblige me by withdrawing without more
words.'

Glossin, being a tall, strong, muscular man, was not unwilling rather
to turn upon the stranger, whom he hoped to bully, than maintain his
wretched cause against his injured patron.--'I do not know who you are,
sir,' he said, 'and I shall permit no man to use such d--d freedom with
me.'

Mannering was naturally hot-tempered: his eyes flashed a dark light; he
compressed his nether lip so closely that the blood sprung, and
approaching Glossin--'Look you, sir,' he said,' that you do not know me
is of little consequence. _I_ KNOW YOU; and if you do not instantly
descend that bank, without uttering a single syllable, by the Heaven
that is above us you shall make but one step from the top to the
bottom!'

The commanding tone of rightful anger silenced at once the ferocity of
the bully. He hesitated, turned on his heel, and, muttering something
between his teeth about unwillingness to alarm the lady, relieved them
of his hateful company.

Mrs. Mac-Candlish's postilion, who had come up in time to hear what
passed, said aloud, 'If he had stuck by the way, I would have lent him
a heezie, the dirty scoundrel, as willingly as ever I pitched a boddle.'

He then stepped forward to announce that his horses were in readiness
for the invalid and his daughter. But they were no longer necessary.
The debilitated frame of Mr. Bertram was exhausted by this last effort
of indignant anger, and when he sunk again upon his chair, he expired
almost without a struggle or groan. So little alteration did the
extinction of the vital spark make upon his external appearance that
the screams of his daughter, when she saw his eye fix and felt his
pulse stop, first announced his death to the spectators.



CHAPTER XIV

     The bell strikes one. We take no note of time
     But from its loss. To give it then a tongue
     Is wise in man. As if an angel spoke,
     I feel the solemn sound.

           YOUNG.


The moral which the poet has rather quaintly deduced from the necessary
mode of measuring time may be well applied to our feelings respecting
that portion of it which constitutes human life. We observe the aged,
the infirm, and those engaged in occupations of immediate hazard,
trembling as it were upon the very brink of non-existence, but we
derive no lesson from the precariousness of their tenure until it has
altogether failed. Then, for a moment at least--

          Our hopes and fears
     Start up alarm'd, and o'er life's narrow verge
     Look down--on what? a fathomless abyss,
     A dark eternity, how surely ours!

The crowd of assembled gazers and idlers at Ellangowan had followed the
views of amusement, or what they called business, which brought them
there, with little regard to the feelings of those who were suffering
upon that occasion. Few, indeed, knew anything of the family. The
father, betwixt seclusion, misfortune, and imbecility, had drifted, as
it were, for many years out of the notice of his contemporaries; the
daughter had never been known to them. But when the general murmur
announced that the unfortunate Mr. Bertram had broken his heart in the
effort to leave the mansion of his forefathers, there poured forth a
torrent of sympathy like the waters from the rock when stricken by the
wand of the prophet. The ancient descent and unblemished integrity of
the family were respectfully remembered; above all, the sacred
veneration due to misfortune, which in Scotland seldom demands its
tribute in vain, then claimed and received it.

Mr. Mac-Morlan hastily announced that he would suspend all farther
proceedings in the sale of the estate and other property, and
relinquish the possession of the premises to the young lady, until she
could consult with her friends and provide for the burial of her father.

Glossin had cowered for a few minutes under the general expression of
sympathy, till, hardened by observing that no appearance of popular
indignation was directed his way, he had the audacity to require that
the sale should proceed.

'I will take it upon my own authority to adjourn it,' said the
Sheriff-substitute, 'and will be responsible for the consequences. I
will also give due notice when it is again to go forward. It is for the
benefit of all concerned that the lands should bring the highest price
the state of the market will admit, and this is surely no time to
expect it. I will take the responsibility upon myself.'

Glossin left the room and the house too with secrecy and despatch; and
it was probably well for him that he did so, since our friend Jock
Jabos was already haranguing a numerous tribe of bare-legged boys on
the propriety of pelting him off the estate.

Some of the rooms were hastily put in order for the reception of the
young lady, and of her father's dead body. Mannering now found his
farther interference would be unnecessary, and might be misconstrued.
He observed, too, that several families connected with that of
Ellangowan, and who indeed derived their principal claim of gentility
from the alliance, were now disposed to pay to their trees of genealogy
a tribute which the adversity of their supposed relatives had been
inadequate to call forth; and that the honour of superintending the
funeral rites of the dead Godfrey Bertram (as in the memorable case of
Homer's birthplace) was likely to be debated by seven gentlemen of rank
and fortune, none of whom had offered him an asylum while living. He
therefore resolved, as his presence was altogether useless, to make a
short tour of a fortnight, at the end of which period the adjourned
sale of the estate of Ellangowan was to proceed.

But before he departed he solicited an interview with the Dominie. The
poor man appeared, on being informed a gentleman wanted to speak to
him, with some expression of surprise in his gaunt features, to which
recent sorrow had given an expression yet more grisly. He made two or
three profound reverences to Mannering, and then, standing erect,
patiently waited an explanation of his commands.

'You are probably at a loss to guess, Mr. Sampson,' said Mannering,
'what a stranger may have to say to you?'

'Unless it were to request that I would undertake to train up some
youth in polite letters and humane learning; but I cannot--I cannot; I
have yet a task to perform.'

'No, Mr. Sampson, my wishes are not so ambitious. I have no son, and my
only daughter, I presume, you would not consider as a fit pupil.'

'Of a surety no,' replied the simple-minded Sampson. 'Nathless, it was
I who did educate Miss Lucy in all useful learning, albeit it was the
housekeeper who did teach her those unprofitable exercises of hemming
and shaping.'

'Well, sir,' replied Mannering, 'it is of Miss Lucy I meant to speak.
You have, I presume, no recollection of me?'

Sampson, always sufficiently absent in mind, neither remembered the
astrologer of past years, nor even the stranger who had taken his
patron's part against Glossin, so much had his friend's sudden death
embroiled his ideas.

'Well, that does not signify,' pursued the Colonel; 'I am an old
acquaintance of the late Mr. Bertram, able and willing to assist his
daughter in her present circumstances. Besides, I have thoughts of
making this purchase, and I should wish things kept in order about the
place; will you have the goodness to apply this small sum in the usual
family expenses?' He put into the Dominie's hand a purse containing
some gold.

'Pro-di-gi-ous!' exclaimed Dominie Sampson. 'But if your honour would
tarry--'

'Impossible, sir, impossible,' said Mannering, making his escape from
him.

'Pro-di-gi-ous!' again exclaimed Sampson, following to the head of the
stairs, still holding out the purse. 'But as touching this coined
money--'

Mannering escaped downstairs as fast as possible.

'Pro-di-gi-ous!' exclaimed Dominie Sampson, yet the third time, now
standing at the front door. 'But as touching this specie--'

But Mannering was now on horseback, and out of hearing. The Dominie,
who had never, either in his own right or as trustee for another, been
possessed of a quarter part of this sum, though it was not above twenty
guineas, 'took counsel,' as he expressed himself, 'how he should demean
himself with respect unto the fine gold' thus left in his charge.
Fortunately he found a disinterested adviser in Mac-Morlan, who pointed
out the most proper means of disposing of it for contributing to Miss
Bertram's convenience, being no doubt the purpose to which it was
destined by the bestower.

Many of the neighbouring gentry were now sincerely eager in pressing
offers of hospitality and kindness upon Miss Bertram. But she felt a
natural reluctance to enter any family for the first time as an object
rather of benevolence than hospitality, and determined to wait the
opinion and advice of her father's nearest female relation, Mrs.
Margaret Bertram of Singleside, an old unmarried lady, to whom she
wrote an account of her present distressful situation.

The funeral of the late Mr. Bertram was performed with decent privacy,
and the unfortunate young lady was now to consider herself as but the
temporary tenant of the house in which she had been born, and where her
patience and soothing attentions had so long 'rocked the cradle of
declining age.' Her communication with Mr. Mac-Morlan encouraged her to
hope that she would not be suddenly or unkindly deprived of this
asylum; but fortune had ordered otherwise.

For two days before the appointed day for the sale of the lands and
estate of Ellangowan, Mac-Morlan daily expected the appearance of
Colonel Mannering, or at least a letter containing powers to act for
him. But none such arrived. Mr. Mac-Morlan waked early in the morning,
walked over to the Post-office,--there were no letters for him. He
endeavoured to persuade himself that he should see Colonel Mannering to
breakfast, and ordered his wife to place her best china and prepare
herself accordingly. But the preparations were in vain. 'Could I have
foreseen this,' he said, 'I would have travelled Scotland over, but I
would have found some one to bid against Glossin.' Alas! such
reflections were all too late. The appointed hour arrived; and the
parties met in the Masons' Lodge at Kippletringan, being the place
fixed for the adjourned sale. Mac-Morlan spent as much time in
preliminaries as decency would permit, and read over the articles of
sale as slowly as if he had been reading his own death-warrant. He
turned his eye every time the door of the room opened, with hopes which
grew fainter and fainter. He listened to every noise in the street of
the village, and endeavoured to distinguish in it the sound of hoofs or
wheels. It was all in vain. A bright idea then occurred, that Colonel
Mannering might have employed some other person in the transaction; he
would not have wasted a moment's thought upon the want of confidence in
himself which such a manoeuvre would have evinced. But this hope also
was groundless. After a solemn pause, Mr. Glossin offered the upset
price for the lands and barony of Ellangowan. No reply was made, and no
competitor appeared; so, after a lapse of the usual interval by the
running of a sand-glass, upon the intended purchaser entering the
proper sureties, Mr. Mac-Morlan was obliged, in technical terms, to
'find and declare the sale lawfully completed, and to prefer the said
Gilbert Glossin as the purchaser of the said lands and estate.' The
honest writer refused to partake of a splendid entertainment with which
Gilbert Glossin, Esquire, now of Ellangowan, treated the rest of the
company, and returned home in huge bitterness of spirit, which he
vented in complaints against the fickleness and caprice of these Indian
nabobs, who never knew what they would be at for ten days together.
Fortune generously determined to take the blame upon herself, and cut
off even this vent of Mac-Morlan's resentment.

An express arrived about six o'clock at night, 'very particularly
drunk,' the maid-servant said, with a packet from Colonel Mannering,
dated four days back, at a town about a hundred miles' distance from
Kippletringan, containing full powers to Mr. Mac-Morlan, or any one
whom he might employ, to make the intended purchase, and stating that
some family business of consequence called the Colonel himself to
Westmoreland, where a letter would find him, addressed to the care of
Arthur Mervyn, Esq., of Mervyn Hall.

Mac-Morlan, in the transports of his wrath, flung the power of attorney
at the head of the innocent maidservant, and was only forcibly withheld
from horse-whipping the rascally messenger by whose sloth and
drunkenness the disappointment had taken place.



CHAPTER XV

     My gold is gone, my money is spent,
     My land now take it unto thee.
     Give me thy gold, good John o' the Scales,
     And thine for aye my land shall be.

     Then John he did him to record draw.
     And John he caste him a gods-pennie;
     But for every pounde that John agreed,
     The land, I wis, was well worth three.

          HEIR OF LINNE.


The Galwegian John o' the Scales was a more clever fellow than his
prototype. He contrived to make himself heir of Linne without the
disagreeable ceremony of 'telling down the good red gold.' Miss Bertram
no sooner heard this painful, and of late unexpected, intelligence than
she proceeded in the preparations she had already made for leaving the
mansion-house immediately. Mr. Mac-Morlan assisted her in these
arrangements, and pressed upon her so kindly the hospitality and
protection of his roof, until she should receive an answer from her
cousin, or be enabled to adopt some settled plan of life, that she felt
there would be unkindness in refusing an invitation urged with such
earnestness. Mrs. Mac-Morlan was a ladylike person, and well qualified
by birth and manners to receive the visit, and to make her house
agreeable to Miss Bertram. A home, therefore, and an hospitable
reception were secured to her, and she went on with better heart to pay
the wages and receive the adieus of the few domestics of her father's
family.

Where there are estimable qualities on either side, this task is always
affecting; the present circumstances rendered it doubly so. All
received their due, and even a trifle more, and with thanks and good
wishes, to which some added tears, took farewell of their young
mistress. There remained in the parlour only Mr. Mac-Morlan, who came
to attend his guest to his house, Dominie Sampson, and Miss Bertram.
'And now,' said the poor girl, 'I must bid farewell to one of my oldest
and kindest friends. God bless you, Mr. Sampson, and requite to you all
the kindness of your instructions to your poor pupil, and your
friendship to him that is gone. I hope I shall often hear from you.'
She slid into his hand a paper containing some pieces of gold, and
rose, as if to leave the room.

Dominie Sampson also rose; but it was to stand aghast with utter
astonishment. The idea of parting from Miss Lucy, go where she might,
had never once occurred to the simplicity of his understanding. He laid
the money on the table. 'It is certainly inadequate,' said Mac-Morlan,
mistaking his meaning, 'but the circumstances--'

Mr. Sampson waved his hand impatiently.--'It is not the lucre, it is
not the lucre; but that I, that have ate of her father's loaf, and
drank of his cup, for twenty years and more--to think that I am going
to leave her, and to leave her in distress and dolour! No, Miss Lucy,
you need never think it! You would not consent to put forth your
father's poor dog, and would you use me waur than a messan? No, Miss
Lucy Bertram, while I live I will not separate from you. I'll be no
burden; I have thought how to prevent that. But, as Ruth said unto
Naomi, "Entreat me not to leave thee, nor to depart from thee; for
whither thou goest I will go, and where thou dwellest I will dwell; thy
people shall be my people, and thy God shall be my God. Where thou
diest will I die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and
more also, if aught but death do part thee and me."'

During this speech, the longest ever Dominie Sampson was known to
utter, the affectionate creature's eyes streamed with tears, and
neither Lucy nor Mac-Morlan could refrain from sympathising with this
unexpected burst of feeling and attachment. 'Mr. Sampson,' said
Mac-Morlan, after having had recourse to his snuff-box and handkerchief
alternately, 'my house is large enough, and if you will accept of a bed
there while Miss Bertram honours us with her residence, I shall think
myself very happy, and my roof much favoured, by receiving a man of
your worth and fidelity.' And then, with a delicacy which was meant to
remove any objection on Miss Bertram's part to bringing with her this
unexpected satellite, he added, 'My business requires my frequently
having occasion for a better accountant than any of my present clerks,
and I should be glad to have recourse to your assistance in that way
now and then.'

'Of a surety, of a surety,' said Sampson eagerly; 'I understand
book-keeping by double entry and the Italian method.'

Our postilion had thrust himself into the room to announce his chaise
and horses; he tarried, unobserved, during this extraordinary scene,
and assured Mrs. Mac-Candlish it was the most moving thing he ever saw;
'the death of the grey mare, puir hizzie, was naething till't.' This
trifling circumstance afterwards had consequences of greater moment to
the Dominie.

The visitors were hospitably welcomed by Mrs. Mac-Morlan, to whom, as
well as to others, her husband intimated that he had engaged Dominie
Sampson's assistance to disentangle some perplexed accounts, during
which occupation he would, for convenience sake, reside with the
family. Mr. Mac-Morlan's knowledge of the world induced him to put this
colour upon the matter, aware that, however honourable the fidelity of
the Dominie's attachment might be both to his own heart and to the
family of Ellangowan, his exterior ill qualified him to be a'squire of
dames,' and rendered him, upon the whole, rather a ridiculous appendage
to a beautiful young woman of seventeen.

Dominie Sampson achieved with great zeal such tasks as Mr. Mac-Morlan
chose to entrust him with; but it was speedily observed that at a
certain hour after breakfast he regularly disappeared, and returned
again about dinner-time. The evening he occupied in the labour of the
office. On Saturday he appeared before Mac-Morlan with a look of great
triumph, and laid on the table two pieces of gold. 'What is this for,
Dominie?' said Mac-Morlan.

'First to indemnify you of your charges in my behalf, worthy sir; and
the balance for the use of Miss Lucy Bertram.'

'But, Mr. Sampson, your labour in the office much more than recompenses
me; I am your debtor, my good friend.'

'Then be it all,' said the Dominie, waving his hand, 'for Miss Lucy
Bertram's behoof.'

'Well, but, Dominie, this money-'

'It is honestly come by, Mr. Mac-Morlan; it is the bountiful reward of
a young gentleman to whom I am teaching the tongues; reading with him
three hours daily.'

A few more questions extracted from the Dominie that this liberal pupil
was young Hazlewood, and that he met his preceptor daily at the house
of Mrs. Mac-Candlish, whose proclamation of Sampson's disinterested
attachment to the young lady had procured him this indefatigable and
bounteous scholar.

Mac-Morlan was much struck with what he heard. Dominie Sampson was
doubtless a very good scholar, and an excellent man, and the classics
were unquestionably very well worth reading; yet that a young man of
twenty should ride seven miles and back again each day in the week, to
hold this sort of TETE-A-TETE of three hours, was a zeal for literature
to which he was not prepared to give entire credit. Little art was
necessary to sift the Dominie, for the honest man's head never admitted
any but the most direct and simple ideas. 'Does Miss Bertram know how
your time is engaged, my good friend?'

'Surely not as yet. Mr. Charles recommended it should be concealed from
her, lest she should scruple to accept of the small assistance arising
from it; but,' he added, 'it would not be possible to conceal it long,
since Mr. Charles proposed taking his lessons occasionally in this
house.'

'O, he does!' said Mac-Morlan.' Yes, yes, I can understand that better.
And pray, Mr. Sampson, are these three hours entirely spent
inconstruing and translating?'

'Doubtless, no; we have also colloquial intercourse to sweeten study:
neque semper arcum tendit apollo.'

The querist proceeded to elicit from this Galloway Phoebus what their
discourse chiefly turned upon.

'Upon our past meetings at Ellangowan; and, truly, I think very often
we discourse concerning Miss Lucy, for Mr. Charles Hazlewood in that
particular resembleth me, Mr. Mac-Morlan. When I begin to speak of her
I never know when to stop; and, as I say (jocularly), she cheats us out
of half our lessons.'

'O ho!' thought Mac-Morlan, 'sits the wind in that quarter? I've heard
something like this before.'

He then began to consider what conduct was safest for his protegee, and
even for himself; for the senior Mr. Hazlewood was powerful, wealthy,
ambitious, and vindictive, and looked for both fortune and title in any
connexion which his son might form. At length, having the highest
opinion of his guest's good sense and penetration, he determined to
take an opportunity, when they should happen to be alone, to
communicate the matter to her as a simple piece of intelligence. He did
so in as natural a manner as he could. 'I wish you joy of your friend
Mr. Sampson's good fortune, Miss Bertram; he has got a pupil who pays
him two guineas for twelve lessons of Greek and Latin.'

'Indeed! I am equally happy and surprised. Who can be so liberal? is
Colonel Mannering returned?'

'No, no, not Colonel Mannering; but what do you think of your
acquaintance, Mr. Charles Hazlewood? He talks of taking his lessons
here; I wish we may have accommodation for him.'

Lucy blushed deeply. 'For Heaven's sake, no, Mr. Mac-Morlan, do not let
that be; Charles Hazlewood has had enough of mischief about that
already.'

'About the classics, my dear young lady?' wilfully seeming to
misunderstand her; 'most young gentlemen have so at one period or
another, sure enough; but his present studies are voluntary.'

Miss Bertram let the conversation drop, and her host made no effort to
renew it, as she seemed to pause upon the intelligence in order to form
some internal resolution.

The next day Miss Bertram took an opportunity of conversing with Mr.
Sampson. Expressing in the kindest manner her grateful thanks for his
disinterested attachment, and her joy that he had got such a provision,
she hinted to him that his present mode of superintending Charles
Hazlewood's studies must be so inconvenient to his pupil that, while
that engagement lasted, he had better consent to a temporary
separation, and reside either with his scholar or as near him as might
be. Sampson refused, as indeed she had expected, to listen a moment to
this proposition; he would not quit her to be made preceptor to the
Prince of Wales. 'But I see,' he added, 'you are too proud to share my
pittance; and peradventure I grow wearisome unto you.'

'No indeed; you were my father's ancient, almost his only, friend. I am
not proud; God knows, I have no reason to be so. You shall do what you
judge best in other matters; but oblige me by telling Mr. Charles
Hazlewood that you had some conversation with me concerning his
studies, and that I was of opinion that his carrying them on in this
house was altogether impracticable, and not to be thought of.'

Dominie Sampson left her presence altogether crest-fallen, and, as he
shut the door, could not help muttering the 'varium et mutabile' of
Virgil. Next day he appeared with a very rueful visage, and tendered
Miss Bertram a letter. 'Mr. Hazlewood,' he said, 'was to discontinue
his lessons, though he had generously made up the pecuniary loss. But
how will he make up the loss to himself of the knowledge he might have
acquired under my instruction? Even in that one article of writing,--he
was an hour before he could write that brief note, and destroyed many
scrolls, four quills, and some good white paper. I would have taught
him in three weeks a firm, current, clear, and legible hand; he should
have been a calligrapher,--but God's will be done.'

The letter contained but a few lines, deeply regretting and murmuring
against Miss Bertram's cruelty, who not only refused to see him, but to
permit him in the most indirect manner to hear of her health and
contribute to her service. But it concluded with assurances that her
severity was vain, and that nothing could shake the attachment of
Charles Hazlewood.

Under the active patronage of Mrs. Mac-Candlish, Sampson picked up some
other scholars--very different indeed from Charles Hazlewood in rank,
and whose lessons were proportionally unproductive. Still, however, he
gained something, and it was the glory of his heart to carry it to Mr.
Mac-Morlan weekly, a slight peculium only subtracted to supply his
snuff-box and tobacco-pouch.

And here we must leave Kippletringan to look after our hero, lest our
readers should fear they are to lose sight of him for another quarter
of a century.



CHAPTER XVI

     Our Polly is a sad slut, nor heeds what we have taught her,
     I wonder any man alive will ever rear a daughter,
     For when she's drest with care and cost, all tempting, fine,
       and gay,
     As men should serve a cucumber, she flings herself away.

          Beggar's Opera.


After the death of Mr. Bertram, Mannering had set out upon a short
tour, proposing to return to the neighbourhood of Ellangowan before the
sale of that property should take place. He went, accordingly, to
Edinburgh and elsewhere, and it was in his return towards the
south-western district of Scotland, in which our scene lies, that, at a
post-town about a hundred miles from Kippletringan, to which he had
requested his friend, Mr. Mervyn, to address his letters, he received
one from that gentleman which contained rather unpleasing intelligence.
We have assumed already the privilege of acting a secretis to this
gentleman, and therefore shall present the reader with an extract from
this epistle.

'I beg your pardon, my dearest friend, for the pain I have given you in
forcing you to open wounds so festering as those your letter referred
to. I have always heard, though erroneously perhaps, that the
attentions of Mr. Brown were intended for Miss Mannering. But, however
that were, it could not be supposed that in your situation his boldness
should escape notice and chastisement. Wise men say that we resign to
civil society our natural rights of self-defence only on condition that
the ordinances of law should protect us. Where the price cannot be
paid, the resignation becomes void. For instance, no one supposes that
I am not entitled to defend my purse and person against a highwayman,
as much as if I were a wild Indian, who owns neither law nor
magistracy. The question of resistance or submission must be determined
by my means and situation. But if, armed and equal in force, I submit
to injustice and violence from any man, high or low, I presume it will
hardly be attributed to religious or moral feeling in me, or in any one
but a Quaker. An aggression on my honour seems to me much the same. The
insult, however trifling in itself, is one of much deeper consequence
to all views in life than any wrong which can be inflicted by a
depredator on the highway, and to redress the injured party is much
less in the power of public jurisprudence, or rather it is entirely
beyond its reach. If any man chooses to rob Arthur Mervyn of the
contents of his purse, supposing the said Arthur has not means of
defence, or the skill and courage to use them, the assizes at Lancaster
or Carlisle will do him justice by tucking up the robber; yet who will
say I am bound to wait for this justice, and submit to being plundered
in the first instance, if I have myself the means and spirit to protect
my own property? But if an affront is offered to me, submission under
which is to tarnish my character for ever with men of honour, and for
which the twelve judges of England, with the chancellor to boot, can
afford me no redress, by what rule of law or reason am I to be deterred
from protecting what ought to be, and is, so infinitely dearer to every
man of honour than his whole fortune? Of the religious views of the
matter I shall say nothing, until I find a reverend divine who shall
condemn self-defence in the article of life and property. If its
propriety in that case be generally admitted, I suppose little
distinction can be drawn between defence of person and goods and
protection of reputation. That the latter is liable to be assailed by
persons of a different rank in life, untainted perhaps in morals, and
fair in character, cannot affect my legal right of self-defence. I may
be sorry that circumstances have engaged me in personal strife with
such an individual; but I should feel the same sorrow for a generous
enemy who fell under my sword in a national quarrel. I shall leave the
question with the casuists, however; only observing, that what I have
written will not avail either the professed duellist or him who is the
aggressor in a dispute of honour. I only presume to exculpate him who
is dragged into the field by such an offence as, submitted to in
patience, would forfeit for ever his rank and estimation in society.

'I am sorry you have thoughts of settling in Scotland, and yet glad
that you will still be at no immeasurable distance, and that the
latitude is all in our favour. To move to Westmoreland from Devonshire
might make an East-Indian shudder; but to come to us from Galloway or
Dumfries-shire is a step, though a short one, nearer the sun. Besides,
if, as I suspect, the estate in view be connected with the old haunted
castle in which you played the astrologer in your northern tour some
twenty years since, I have heard you too often describe the scene with
comic unction to hope you will be deterred from making the purchase. I
trust, however, the hospitable gossiping Laird has not run himself upon
the shallows, and that his chaplain, whom you so often made us laugh
at, is still in rerum natura.

'And here, dear Mannering, I wish I could stop, for I have incredible
pain in telling the rest of my story; although I am sure I can warn you
against any intentional impropriety on the part of my temporary ward,
Julia Mannering. But I must still earn my college nickname of Downright
Dunstable. In one word, then, here is the matter.

'Your daughter has much of the romantic turn of your disposition, with
a little of that love of admiration which all pretty women share less
or more. She will besides, apparently, be your heiress; a trifling
circumstance to those who view Julia with my eyes, but a prevailing
bait to the specious, artful, and worthless. You know how I have jested
with her about her soft melancholy, and lonely walks at morning before
any one is up, and in the moonlight when all should be gone to bed, or
set down to cards, which is the same thing. The incident which follows
may not be beyond the bounds of a joke, but I had rather the jest upon
it came from you than me.

'Two or three times during the last fortnight I heard, at a late hour
in the night or very early in the morning, a flageolet play the little
Hindu tune to which your daughter is so partial. I thought for some
time that some tuneful domestic, whose taste for music was laid under
constraint during the day, chose that silent hour to imitate the
strains which he had caught up by the ear during his attendance in the
drawing-room. But last night I sat late in my study, which is
immediately under Miss Mannering's apartment, and to my surprise I not
only heard the flageolet distinctly, but satisfied myself that it came
from the lake under the window. Curious to know who serenaded us at
that unusual hour, I stole softly to the window of my apartment. But
there were other watchers than me. You may remember, Miss Mannering
preferred that apartment on account of a balcony which opened from her
window upon the lake. Well, sir, I heard the sash of her window thrown
up, the shutters opened, and her own voice in conversation with some
person who answered from below. This is not "Much ado about nothing"; I
could not be mistaken in her voice, and such tones, so soft, so
insinuating; and, to say the truth, the accents from below were in
passion's tenderest cadence too,--but of the sense I can say nothing. I
raised the sash of my own window that I might hear something more than
the mere murmur of this Spanish rendezvous; but, though I used every
precaution, the noise alarmed the speakers; down slid the young lady's
casement, and the shutters were barred in an instant. The dash of a
pair of oars in the water announced the retreat of the male person of
the dialogue. Indeed, I saw his boat, which he rowed with great
swiftness and dexterity, fly across the lake like a twelve-oared barge.
Next morning I examined some of my domestics, as if by accident, and I
found the gamekeeper, when making his rounds, had twice seen that boat
beneath the house, with a single person, and had heard the flageolet. I
did not care to press any farther questions, for fear of implicating
Julia in the opinions of those of whom they might be asked. Next
morning, at breakfast, I dropped a casual hint about the serenade of
the evening before, and I promise you Miss Mannering looked red and
pale alternately. I immediately gave the circumstance such a turn as
might lead her to suppose that my observation was merely casual. I have
since caused a watch-light to be burnt in my library, and have left the
shutters open, to deter the approach of our nocturnal guest; and I have
stated the severity of approaching winter, and the rawness of the fogs,
as an objection to solitary walks. Miss Mannering acquiesced with a
passiveness which is no part of her character, and which, to tell you
the plain truth, is a feature about the business which I like least of
all. Julia has too much of her own dear papa's disposition to be curbed
in any of her humours, were there not some little lurking consciousness
that it may be as prudent to avoid debate.

'Now my story is told, and you will judge what you ought to do. I have
not mentioned the matter to my good woman, who, a faithful secretary to
her sex's foibles, would certainly remonstrate against your being made
acquainted with these particulars, and might, instead, take it into her
head to exercise her own eloquence on Miss Mannering; a faculty which,
however powerful when directed against me, its legitimate object,
might, I fear, do more harm than good in the case supposed. Perhaps
even you yourself will find it most prudent to act without
remonstrating, or appearing to be aware of this little anecdote. Julia
is very like a certain friend of mine; she has a quick and lively
imagination, and keen feelings, which are apt to exaggerate both the
good and evil they find in life. She is a charming girl, however, as
generous and spirited as she is lovely. I paid her the kiss you sent
her with all my heart, and she rapped my fingers for my reward with all
hers. Pray return as soon as you can. Meantime rely upon the care of,
yours faithfully, 'ARTHUR MERVYN.

'P.S.--You will naturally wish to know if I have the least guess
concerning the person of the serenader. In truth, I have none. There is
no young gentleman of these parts, who might be in rank or fortune a
match for Miss Julia, that I think at all likely to play such a
character. But on the other side of the lake, nearly opposite to Mervyn
Hall, is a d--d cake-house, the resort of walking gentlemen of all
descriptions--poets, players, painters, musicians--who come to rave,
and recite, and madden about this picturesque land of ours. It is
paying some penalty for its beauties, that they are the means of
drawing this swarm of coxcombs together. But were Julia my daughter, it
is one of those sort of fellows that I should fear on her account. She
is generous and romantic, and writes six sheets a week to a female
correspondent; and it's a sad thing to lack a subject in such a case,
either for exercise of the feelings or of the pen. Adieu, once more.
Were I to treat this matter more seriously than I have done, I should
do injustice to your feelings; were I altogether to overlook it, I
should discredit my own.'

The consequence of this letter was, that, having first despatched the
faithless messenger with the necessary powers to Mr. Mac-Morlan for
purchasing the estate of Ellangowan, Colonel Mannering turned his
horse's head in a more southerly direction, and neither 'stinted nor
staid' until he arrived at the mansion of his friend Mr. Mervyn, upon
the banks of one of the lakes of Westmoreland.



CHAPTER XVII

     Heaven first, in its mercy, taught mortals their letters,
     For ladies in limbo, and lovers in fetters,
     Or some author, who, placing his persons before ye,
     Ungallantly leaves them to write their own story.

          POPE, imitated.


When Mannering returned to England, his first object had been to place
his daughter in a seminary for female education, of established
character. Not, however, finding her progress in the accomplishments
which he wished her to acquire so rapid as his impatience expected, he
had withdrawn Miss Mannering from the school at the end of the first
quarter. So she had only time to form an eternal friendship with Miss
Matilda Marchmont, a young lady about her own age, which was nearly
eighteen. To her faithful eye were addressed those formidable quires
which issued forth from Mervyn Hall on the wings of the post while Miss
Mannering was a guest there. The perusal of a few short extracts from
these may be necessary to render our story intelligible.

FIRST EXTRACT

'Alas! my dearest Matilda, what a tale is mine to tell! Misfortune from
the cradle has set her seal upon your unhappy friend. That we should be
severed for so slight a cause--an ungrammatical phrase in my Italian
exercise, and three false notes in one of Paisiello's sonatas! But it
is a part of my father's character, of whom it is impossible to say
whether I love, admire, or fear him the most. His success in life and
in war, his habit of making every obstacle yield before the energy of
his exertions, even where they seemed insurmountable--all these have
given a hasty and peremptory cast to his character, which can neither
endure contradiction nor make allowance for deficiencies. Then he is
himself so very accomplished. Do you know, there was a murmur, half
confirmed too by some mysterious words which dropped from my poor
mother, that he possesses other sciences, now lost to the world, which
enable the possessor to summon up before him the dark and shadowy forms
of future events! Does not the very idea of such a power, or even of
the high talent and commanding intellect which the world may mistake
for it,--does it not, dear Matilda, throw a mysterious grandeur about
its possessor? You will call this romantic; but consider I was born in
the land of talisman and spell, and my childhood lulled by tales which
you can only enjoy through the gauzy frippery of a French translation.
O, Matilda, I wish you could have seen the dusky visages of my Indian
attendants, bending in earnest devotion round the magic narrative, that
flowed, half poetry, half prose, from the lips of the tale-teller! No
wonder that European fiction sounds cold and meagre, after the
wonderful effects which I have seen the romances of the East produce
upon their hearers.'

SECOND EXTRACT

'You are possessed, my dear Matilda, of my bosom-secret, in those
sentiments with which I regard Brown. I will not say his memory; I am
convinced he lives, and is faithful. His addresses to me were
countenanced by my deceased parent, imprudently countenanced perhaps,
considering the prejudices of my father in favour of birth and rank.
But I, then almost a girl, could not be expected surely to be wiser
than her under whose charge nature had placed me. My father, constantly
engaged in military duty, I saw but at rare intervals, and was taught
to look up to him with more awe than confidence. Would to Heaven it had
been otherwise! It might have been better for us all at this day!'

THIRD EXTRACT

'You ask me why I do not make known to my father that Brown yet lives,
at least that he survived the wound he received in that unhappy duel,
and had written to my mother expressing his entire convalescence, and
his hope of speedily escaping from captivity. A soldier, that "in the
trade of war has oft slain men," feels probably no uneasiness at
reflecting upon the supposed catastrophe which almost turned me into
stone. And should I show him that letter, does it not follow that
Brown, alive and maintaining with pertinacity the pretensions to the
affections of your poor friend for which my father formerly sought his
life, would be a more formidable disturber of Colonel Mannering's peace
of mind than in his supposed grave? If he escapes from the hands of
these marauders, I am convinced he will soon be in England, and it will
be then time to consider how his existence is to be disclosed to my
father. But if, alas! my earnest and confident hope should betray me,
what would it avail to tear open a mystery fraught with so many painful
recollections? My dear mother had such dread of its being known, that I
think she even suffered my father to suspect that Brown's attentions
were directed towards herself, rather than permit him to discover their
real object; and O, Matilda, whatever respect I owe to the memory of a
deceased parent, let me do justice to a living one. I cannot but
condemn the dubious policy which she adopted, as unjust to my father,
and highly perilous to herself and me. But peace be with her ashes! her
actions were guided by the heart rather than the head; and shall her
daughter, who inherits all her weakness, be the first to withdraw the
veil from her defects?'

FOURTH EXTRACT 'MERVYN HALL.

'If India be the land of magic, this, my dearest Matilda, is the
country of romance. The scenery is such as nature brings together in
her sublimest moods-sounding cataracts--hills which rear their scathed
heads to the sky--lakes that, winding up the shadowy valleys, lead at
every turn to yet more romantic recesses--rocks which catch the clouds
of heaven. All the wildness of Salvator here, and there the fairy
scenes of Claude. I am happy too in finding at least one object upon
which my father can share my enthusiasm. An admirer of nature, both as
an artist and a poet, I have experienced the utmost pleasure from the
observations by which he explains the character and the effect of these
brilliant specimens of her power. I wish he would settle in this
enchanting land. But his views lie still farther north, and he is at
present absent on a tour in Scotland, looking, I believe, for some
purchase of land which may suit him as a residence. He is partial, from
early recollections, to that country. So, my dearest Matilda, I must be
yet farther removed from you before I am established in a home. And O
how delighted shall I be when I can say, Come, Matilda, and be the
guest of your faithful Julia!

'I am at present the inmate of Mr. and Mrs. Mervyn, old friends of my
father. The latter is precisely a good sort of woman, ladylike and
housewifely; but for accomplishments or fancy--good lack, my dearest
Matilda, your friend might as well seek sympathy from Mrs.
Teach'em;--you see I have not forgot school nicknames. Mervyn is a
different--quite a different being from my father, yet he amuses and
endures me. He is fat and good-natured, gifted with strong shrewd sense
and some powers of humour; but having been handsome, I suppose, in his
youth, has still some pretension to be a beau garcon, as well as an
enthusiastic agriculturist. I delight to make him scramble to the tops
of eminences and to the foot of waterfalls, and am obliged in turn to
admire his turnips, his lucerne, and his timothy grass. He thinks me, I
fancy, a simple romantic Miss, with some--the word will be out--beauty
and some good-nature; and I hold that the gentleman has good taste for
the female outside, and do not expect he should comprehend my
sentiments farther. So he rallies, hands, and hobbles (for the dear
creature has got the gout too), and tells old stories of high life, of
which he has seen a great deal; and I listen, and smile, and look as
pretty, as pleasant, and as simple as I can, and we do very well.

'But, alas! my dearest Matilda, how would time pass away, even in this
paradise of romance, tenanted as it is by a pair assorting so ill with
the scenes around them, were it not for your fidelity in replying to my
uninteresting details? Pray do not fail to write three times a week at
least; you can be at no loss what to say.'

FIFTH EXTRACT

'How shall I communicate what I have now to tell! My hand and heart
still flutter so much, that the task of writing is almost impossible!
Did I not say that he lived? did I not say I would not despair? How
could you suggest, my dear Matilda, that my feelings, considering I had
parted from him so young, rather arose from the warmth of my
imagination than of my heart? O I was sure that they were genuine,
deceitful as the dictates of our bosom so frequently are. But to my
tale--let it be, my friend, the most sacred, as it is the most sincere,
pledge of our friendship.

'Our hours here are early--earlier than my heart, with its load of
care, can compose itself to rest. I therefore usually take a book for
an hour or two after retiring to my own room, which I think I have told
you opens to a small balcony, looking down upon that beautiful lake of
which I attempted to give you a slight sketch. Mervyn Hall, being
partly an ancient building, and constructed with a view to defence, is
situated on the verge of the lake. A stone dropped from the projecting
balcony plunges into water deep enough to float a skiff. I had left my
window partly unbarred, that, before I went to bed, I might, according
to my custom, look out and see the moonlight shining upon the lake. I
was deeply engaged with that beautiful scene in the "Merchant of
Venice" where two lovers, describing the stillness of a summer night,
enhance on each other its charms, and was lost in the associations of
story and of feeling which it awakens, when I heard upon the lake the
sound of a flageolet. I have told you it was Brown's favourite
instrument. Who could touch it in a night which, though still and
serene, was too cold, and too late in the year, to invite forth any
wanderer for mere pleasure? I drew yet nearer the window, and hearkened
with breathless attention; the sounds paused a space, were then
resumed, paused again, and again reached my ear, ever coming nearer and
nearer. At length I distinguished plainly that little Hindu air which
you called my favourite. I have told you by whom it was taught me; the
instrument, the tones, were his own! Was it earthly music, or notes
passing on the wind, to warn me of his death?

'It was some time ere I could summon courage to step on the balcony;
nothing could have emboldened me to do so but the strong conviction of
my mind that he was still alive, and that we should again meet; but
that conviction did embolden me, and I ventured, though with a
throbbing heart. There was a small skiff with a single person. O,
Matilda, it was himself! I knew his appearance after so long an
absence, and through the shadow of the night, as perfectly as if we had
parted yesterday, and met again in the broad sunshine! He guided his
boat under the balcony, and spoke to me; I hardly knew what he said, or
what I replied. Indeed, I could scarcely speak for weeping, but they
were joyful tears. We were disturbed by the barking of a dog at some
distance, and parted, but not before he had conjured me to prepare to
meet him at the same place and hour this evening.

'But where and to what is all this tending? Can I answer this question?
I cannot. Heaven, that saved him from death and delivered him from
captivity, that saved my father, too, from shedding the blood of one
who would not have blemished a hair of his head, that Heaven must guide
me out of this labyrinth. Enough for me the firm resolution that
Matilda shall not blush for her friend, my father for his daughter, nor
my lover for her on whom he has fixed his affection.'



CHAPTER XVIII

     Talk with a man out of a window!--a proper saying.

          Much Ado about Nothing.


We must proceed with our extracts from Miss Mannering's letters, which
throw light upon natural good sense, principle, and feelings, blemished
by an imperfect education and the folly of a misjudging mother, who
called her husband in her heart a tyrant until she feared him as such,
and read romances until she became so enamoured of the complicated
intrigues which they contain as to assume the management of a little
family novel of her own, and constitute her daughter, a girl of
sixteen, the principal heroine. She delighted in petty mystery and
intrigue and secrets, and yet trembled at the indignation which these
paltry manoeuvres excited in her husband's mind. Thus she frequently
entered upon a scheme merely for pleasure, or perhaps for the love of
contradiction, plunged deeper into it than she was aware, endeavoured
to extricate herself by new arts, or to cover her error by
dissimulation, became involved in meshes of her own weaving, and was
forced to carry on, for fear of discovery, machinations which she had
at first resorted to in mere wantonness.

Fortunately the young man whom she so imprudently introduced into her
intimate society, and encouraged to look up to her daughter, had a fund
of principle and honest pride which rendered him a safer intimate than
Mrs. Mannering ought to have dared to hope or expect. The obscurity of
his birth could alone be objected to him; in every other respect,

     With prospects bright upon the world he came,
     Pure love of virtue, strong desire of fame,
     Men watched the way his lofty mind would take,
     And all foretold the progress he would make.

But it could not be expected that he should resist the snare which Mrs.
Mannering's imprudence threw in his way, or avoid becoming attached to
a young lady whose beauty and manners might have justified his passion,
even in scenes where these are more generally met with than in a remote
fortress in our Indian settlements. The scenes which followed have been
partly detailed in Mannering's letter to Mr. Mervyn; and to expand what
is there stated into farther explanation would be to abuse the patience
of our readers.

We shall therefore proceed with our promised extracts from Miss
Mannering's letters to her friend.

SIXTH EXTRACT

'I have seen him again, Matilda--seen him twice. I have used every
argument to convince him that this secret intercourse is dangerous to
us both; I even pressed him to pursue his views of fortune without
farther regard to me, and to consider my peace of mind as sufficiently
secured by the knowledge that he had not fallen under my father's
sword. He answers--but how can I detail all he has to answer? He claims
those hopes as his due which my mother permitted him to entertain, and
would persuade me to the madness of a union without my father's
sanction. But to this, Matilda, I will not be persuaded. I have
resisted, I have subdued, the rebellious feelings which arose to aid
his plea; yet how to extricate myself from this unhappy labyrinth in
which fate and folly have entangled us both!

'I have thought upon it, Matilda, till my head is almost giddy; nor can
I conceive a better plan than to make a full confession to my father.
He deserves it, for his kindness is unceasing; and I think I have
observed in his character, since I have studied it more nearly, that
his harsher feelings are chiefly excited where he suspects deceit or
imposition; and in that respect, perhaps, his character was formerly
misunderstood by one who was dear to him. He has, too, a tinge of
romance in his disposition; and I have seen the narrative of a generous
action, a trait of heroism, or virtuous self-denial, extract tears from
him which refused to flow at a tale of mere distress. But then Brown
urges that he is personally hostile to him. And the obscurity of his
birth, that would be indeed a stumbling-block. O, Matilda, I hope none
of your ancestors ever fought at Poictiers or Agincourt! If it were not
for the veneration which my father attaches to the memory of old Sir
Miles Mannering, I should make out my explanation with half the tremor
which must now attend it.'

SEVENTH EXTRACT

'I have this instant received your letter--your most welcome letter!
Thanks, my dearest friend, for your sympathy and your counsels; I can
only repay them with unbounded confidence.

'You ask me what Brown is by origin, that his descent should be so
unpleasing to my father. His story is shortly told. He is of Scottish
extraction, but, being left an orphan, his education was undertaken by
a family of relations settled in Holland. He was bred to commerce, and
sent very early to one of our settlements in the East, where his
guardian had a correspondent. But this correspondent was dead when he
arrived in India, and he had no other resource than to offer himself as
a clerk to a counting-house. The breaking out of the war, and the
straits to which we were at first reduced, threw the army open to all
young men who were disposed to embrace that mode of life; and Brown,
whose genius had a strong military tendency, was the first to leave
what might have been the road to wealth, and to choose that of fame.
The rest of his history is well known to you; but conceive the
irritation of my father, who despises commerce (though, by the way, the
best part of his property was made in that honourable profession by my
great-uncle), and has a particular antipathy to the Dutch--think with
what ear he would be likely to receive proposals for his only child
from Vanbeest Brown, educated for charity by the house of Vanbeest and
Vanbruggen! O, Matilda, it will never do; nay, so childish am I, I
hardly can help sympathising with his aristocratic feelings. Mrs.
Vanbeest Brown! The name has little to recommend it, to be sure. What
children we are!'

EIGHTH EXTRACT

'It is all over now, Matilda! I shall never have courage to tell my
father; nay, most deeply do I fear he has already learned my secret
from another quarter, which will entirely remove the grace of my
communication, and ruin whatever gleam of hope I had ventured to
connect with it. Yesternight Brown came as usual, and his flageolet on
the lake announced his approach. We had agreed that he should continue
to use this signal. These romantic lakes attract numerous visitors, who
indulge their enthusiasm in visiting the scenery at all hours, and we
hoped that, if Brown were noticed from the house, he might pass for one
of those admirers of nature, who was giving vent to his feelings
through the medium of music. The sounds might also be my apology,
should I be observed on the balcony. But last night, while I was
eagerly enforcing my plan of a full confession to my father, which he
as earnestly deprecated, we heard the window of Mr. Mervyn's library,
which is under my room, open softly. I signed to Brown to make his
retreat, and immediately reentered, with some faint hopes that our
interview had not been observed.

'But, alas! Matilda, these hopes vanished the instant I beheld Mr.
Mervyn's countenance at breakfast the next morning. He looked so
provokingly intelligent and confidential, that, had I dared, I could
have been more angry than ever I was in my life; but I must be on good
behaviour, and my walks are now limited within his farm precincts,
where the good gentleman can amble along by my side without
inconvenience. I have detected him once or twice attempting to sound my
thoughts, and watch the expression of my countenance. He has talked of
the flageolet more than once, and has, at different times, made
eulogiums upon the watchfulness and ferocity of his dogs, and the
regularity with which the keeper makes his rounds with a loaded
fowling-piece. He mentioned even man-traps and springguns. I should be
loth to affront my father's old friend in his own house; but I do long
to show him that I am my father's daughter, a fact of which Mr. Mervyn
will certainly be convinced if ever I trust my voice and temper with a
reply to these indirect hints. Of one thing I am certain--I am grateful
to him on that account--he has not told Mrs. Mervyn. Lord help me, I
should have had such lectures about the dangers of love and the night
air on the lake, the risk arising from colds and fortune-hunters, the
comfort and convenience of sack-whey and closed windows! I cannot help
trifling, Matilda, though my heart is sad enough. What Brown will do I
cannot guess. I presume, however, the fear of detection prevents his
resuming his nocturnal visits. He lodges at an inn on the opposite
shore of the lake, under the name, he tells me, of Dawson; he has a bad
choice in names, that must be allowed. He has not left the army, I
believe, but he says nothing of his present views.

'To complete my anxiety, my father is returned suddenly, and in high
displeasure. Our good hostess, as I learned from a bustling
conversation between her housekeeper and her, had no expectation of
seeing him for a week; but I rather suspect his arrival was no surprise
to his friend Mr. Mervyn. His manner to me was singularly cold and
constrained, sufficiently so to have damped all the courage with which
I once resolved to throw myself on his generosity. He lays the blame of
his being discomposed and out of humour to the loss of a purchase in
the south-west of Scotland on which he had set his heart; but I do not
suspect his equanimity of being so easily thrown off its balance. His
first excursion was with Mr. Mervyn's barge across the lake to the inn
I have mentioned. You may imagine the agony with which I waited his
return! Had he recognized Brown, who can guess the consequence! He
returned, however, apparently without having made any discovery. I
understand that, in consequence of his late disappointment, he means
now to hire a house in the neighbourhood of this same Ellangowan, of
which I am doomed to hear so much; he seems to think it probable that
the estate for which he wishes may soon be again in the market. I will
not send away this letter until I hear more distinctly what are his
intentions.'

'I have now had an interview with my father, as confidential as, I
presume, he means to allow me. He requested me to-day, after breakfast,
to walk with him into the library; my knees, Matilda, shook under me,
and it is no exaggeration to say I could scarce follow him into the
room. I feared I knew not what. From my childhood I had seen all around
him tremble at his frown. He motioned me to seat myself, and I never
obeyed a command so readily, for, in truth, I could hardly stand. He
himself continued to walk up and down the room. You have seen my
father, and noticed, I recollect, the remarkably expressive cast of his
features. His eyes are naturally rather light in colour, but agitation
or anger gives them a darker and more fiery glance; he has a custom
also of drawing in his lips when much moved, which implies a combat
between native ardour of temper and the habitual power of self-command.
This was the first time we had been alone since his return from
Scotland, and, as he betrayed these tokens of agitation, I had little
doubt that he was about to enter upon the subject I most dreaded.

'To my unutterable relief, I found I was mistaken, and that, whatever
he knew of Mr. Mervyn's suspicions or discoveries, he did not intend to
converse with me on the topic. Coward as I was, I was inexpressibly
relieved, though, if he had really investigated the reports which may
have come to his ear, the reality could have been nothing to what his
suspicions might have conceived. But, though my spirits rose high at my
unexpected escape, I had not courage myself to provoke the discussion,
and remained silent to receive his commands.

'"Julia," he said, "my agent writes me from Scotland that he has been
able to hire a house for me, decently furnished, and with the necessary
accommodation for my family; it is within three miles of that I had
designed to purchase." Then he made a pause, and seemed to expect an
answer.

'"Whatever place of residence suits you, sir, must be perfectly
agreeable to me."

'"Umph! I do not propose, however, Julia, that you shall reside quite
alone in this house during the winter."

'"Mr. and Mrs. Mervyn," thought I to myself.--"Whatever company is
agreeable to you, sir," I answered aloud.

'"O, there is a little too much of this universal spirit of submission,
an excellent disposition in action, but your constantly repeating the
jargon of it puts me in mind of the eternal salaams of our black
dependents in the East. In short, Julia, I know you have a relish for
society, and I intend to invite a young person, the daughter of a
deceased friend, to spend a few months with us."

'"Not a governess, for the love of Heaven, papa!" exclaimed poor I, my
fears at that moment totally getting the better of my prudence.

'"No, not a governess, Miss Mannering," replied the Colonel, somewhat
sternly, "but a young lady from whose excellent example, bred as she
has been in the school of adversity, I trust you may learn the art to
govern yourself."

'To answer this was trenching upon too dangerous ground, so there was a
pause.

'"Is the young lady a Scotchwoman, papa?"

'"Yes"--drily enough.

'"Has she much of the accent, sir?"

'"Much of the devil!" answered my father hastily; "do you think I care
about a's and aa's, and i's and ee's,? I tell you, Julia, I am serious
in the matter. You have a genius for friendship, that is, for running
up intimacies which you call such." (Was not this very harshly said,
Matilda?) "Now I wish to give you an opportunity at least to make one
deserving friend, and therefore I have resolved that this young lady
shall be a member of my family for some months, and I expect you will
pay to her that attention which is due to misfortune and virtue."

'"Certainly, sir. Is my future friend red-haired?"

'He gave me one of his stern glances; you will say, perhaps, I deserved
it; but I think the deuce prompts me with teasing questions on some
occasions.

'"She is as superior to you, my love, in personal appearance as in
prudence and affection for her friends."

'"Lord, papa, do you think that superiority a recommendation? Well,
sir, but I see you are going to take all this too seriously; whatever
the young lady may be, I am sure, being recommended by you, she shall
have no reason to complain of my want of attention." After a
pause--"Has she any attendant? because you know I must provide for her
proper accommodation if she is without one."

'"N--no--no, not properly an attendant; the chaplain who lived with her
father is a very good sort of man, and I believe I shall make room for
him in the house."

"'Chaplain, papa? Lord bless us!"

'"Yes, Miss Mannering, chaplain; is there anything very new in that
word? Had we not a chaplain at the Residence, when we were in India?"

'"Yes, papa, but you was a commandant then."

'"So I will be now, Miss Mannering, in my own family at least."

'"Certainly, sir. But will he read us the Church of England service?"

'The apparent simplicity with which I asked this question got the
better of his gravity. "Come, Julia," he said, "you are a sad girl, but
I gain nothing by scolding you. Of these two strangers, the young lady
is one whom you cannot fail, I think, to love; the person whom, for
want of a better term, I called chaplain, is a very worthy, and
somewhat ridiculous personage, who will never find out you laugh at him
if you don't laugh very loud indeed."

'"Dear papa, I am delighted with that part of his character. But pray,
is the house we are going to as pleasantly situated as this?"

'"Not perhaps as much to your taste; there is no lake under the
windows, and you will be under the necessity of having all your music
within doors."

'This last coup de main ended the keen encounter of our wits, for you
may believe, Matilda, it quelled all my courage to reply.

'Yet my spirits, as perhaps will appear too manifest from this
dialogue, have risen insensibly, and, as it were, in spite of myself.
Brown alive, and free, and in England! Embarrassment and anxiety I can
and must endure. We leave this in two days for our new residence. I
shall not fail to let you know what I think of these Scotch inmates,
whom I have but too much reason to believe my father means to quarter
in his house as a brace of honourable spies; a sort of female
Rozencrantz and reverend Guildenstern, one in tartan petticoats, the
other in a cassock. What a contrast to the society I would willingly
have secured to myself! I shall write instantly on my arriving at our
new place of abode, and acquaint my dearest Matilda with the farther
fates of--her

'JULIA MANNERING.'



CHAPTER XIX

     Which sloping hills around inclose,
     Where many a beech and brown oak grows
     Beneath whose dark and branching bowers
     Its tides a far-fam'd river pours,
     By natures beauties taught to please,
     Sweet Tusculan of rural easel

          WARTON.


Woodbourne, the habitation which Mannering, by Mr. Mac-Morlan's
mediation, had hired for a season, was a large comfortable mansion,
snugly situated beneath a hill covered with wood, which shrouded the
house upon the north and east; the front looked upon a little lawn
bordered by a grove of old trees; beyond were some arable fields,
extending down to the river, which was seen from the windows of the
house. A tolerable, though old-fashioned garden, a well-stocked
dove-cot, and the possession of any quantity of ground which the
convenience of the family might require, rendered the place in every
respect suitable, as the advertisements have it, 'for the accommodation
of a genteel family.'

Here, then, Mannering resolved, for some time at least, to set up the
staff of his rest. Though an East-Indian, he was not partial to an
ostentatious display of wealth. In fact, he was too proud a man to be a
vain one. He resolved, therefore, to place himself upon the footing of
a country gentleman of easy fortune, without assuming, or permitting
his household to assume, any of the faste which then was considered as
characteristic of a nabob.

He had still his eye upon the purchase of Ellangowan, which Mac-Morlan
conceived Mr. Glossin would be compelled to part with, as some of the
creditors disputed his title to retain so large a part of the
purchase-money in his own hands, and his power to pay it was much
questioned. In that case Mac-Morlan was assured he would readily give
up his bargain, if tempted with something above the price which he had
stipulated to pay. It may seem strange that Mannering was so much
attached to a spot which he had only seen once, and that for a short
time, in early life. But the circumstances which passed there had laid
a strong hold on his imagination. There seemed to be a fate which
conjoined the remarkable passages of his own family history with those
of the inhabitants of Ellangowan, and he felt a mysterious desire to
call the terrace his own from which he had read in the book of heaven a
fortune strangely accomplished in the person of the infant heir of that
family, and corresponding so closely with one which had been strikingly
fulfilled in his own. Besides, when once this thought had got
possession of his imagination, he could not, without great reluctance,
brook the idea of his plan being defeated, and by a fellow like
Glossin. So pride came to the aid of fancy, and both combined to
fortify his resolution to buy the estate if possible.

Let us do Mannering justice. A desire to serve the distressed had also
its share in determining him. He had considered the advantage which
Julia might receive from the company of Lucy Bertram, whose genuine
prudence and good sense could so surely be relied upon. This idea had
become much stronger since Mac-Morlan had confided to him, under the
solemn seal of secrecy, the whole of her conduct towards young
Hazlewood. To propose to her to become an inmate in his family, if
distant from the scenes of her youth and the few whom she called
friends, would have been less delicate; but at Woodbourne she might
without difficulty be induced to become the visitor of a season,
without being depressed into the situation of an humble companion. Lucy
Bertram, with some hesitation, accepted the invitation to reside a few
weeks with Miss Mannering. She felt too well that, however the
Colonel's delicacy might disguise the truth, his principal motive was a
generous desire to afford her his countenance and protection, which his
high connexions, and higher character, were likely to render
influential in the neighbourhood.

About the same time the orphan girl received a letter from Mrs.
Bertram, the relation to whom she had written, as cold and comfortless
as could well be imagined. It inclosed, indeed, a small sum of money,
but strongly recommended economy, and that Miss Bertram should board
herself in some quiet family, either at Kippletringan or in the
neighbourhood, assuring her that, though her own income was very
scanty, she would not see her kinswoman want. Miss Bertram shed some
natural tears over this cold-hearted epistle; for in her mother's time
this good lady had been a guest at Ellangowan for nearly three years,
and it was only upon succeeding to a property of about L400 a year that
she had taken farewell of that hospitable mansion, which otherwise
might have had the honour of sheltering her until the death of its
owner. Lucy was strongly inclined to return the paltry donation, which,
after some struggles with avarice, pride had extorted from the old
lady. But on consideration she contented herself with writing that she
accepted it as a loan, which, she hoped in a short time to repay, and
consulted her relative upon the invitation she had received from
Colonel and Miss Mannering. This time the answer came in course of
post, so fearful was Mrs. Bertram that some frivolous delicacy, or
nonsense, as she termed it, might induce her cousin to reject such a
promising offer, and thereby at the same time to leave herself still a
burden upon her relations. Lucy, therefore, had no alternative, unless
she preferred continuing a burden upon the worthy Mac-Morlans, who were
too liberal to be rich. Those kinsfolk who formerly requested the
favour of her company had of late either silently, or with expressions
of resentment that she should have preferred Mac-Morlan's invitation to
theirs, gradually withdrawn their notice.

The fate of Dominie Sampson would have been deplorable had it depended
upon any one except Mannering, who was an admirer of originality, for a
separation from Lucy Bertram would have certainly broken his heart.
Mac-Morlan had given a full account of his proceedings towards the
daughter of his patron. The answer was a request from Mannering to know
whether the Dominie still possessed that admirable virtue of
taciturnity by which he was so notably distinguished at Ellangowan.
Mac-Morlan replied in the affirmative. 'Let Mr. Sampson know,' said the
Colonel's next letter, 'that I shall want his assistance to catalogue
and put in order the library of my uncle, the bishop, which I have
ordered to be sent down by sea. I shall also want him to copy and
arrange some papers. Fix his salary at what you think befitting. Let
the poor man be properly dressed, and accompany his young lady to
Woodbourne.'

Honest Mac-Morlan received this mandate with great joy, but pondered
much upon executing that part of it which related to newly attiring the
worthy Dominie. He looked at him with a scrutinising eye, and it was
but too plain that his present garments were daily waxing more
deplorable. To give him money, and bid him go and furnish himself,
would be only giving him the means of making himself ridiculous; for
when such a rare event arrived to Mr. Sampson as the purchase of new
garments, the additions which he made to his wardrobe by the guidance
of his own taste usually brought all the boys of the village after him
for many days. On the other hand, to bring a tailor to measure him, and
send home his clothes, as for a school-boy, would probably give
offence. At length Mac-Morlan resolved to consult Miss Bertram, and
request her interference. She assured him that, though she could not
pretend to superintend a gentleman's wardrobe, nothing was more easy
than to arrange the Dominie's.

'At Ellangowan,' she said, 'whenever my poor father thought any part of
the Dominie's dress wanted renewal, a servant was directed to enter his
room by night, for he sleeps as fast as a dormouse, carry off the old
vestment, and leave the new one; nor could any one observe that the
Dominie exhibited the least consciousness of the change put upon him on
such occasions.'

Mac-Morlan, in conformity with Miss Bertram's advice, procured a
skilful artist, who, on looking at the Dominie attentively, undertook
to make for him two suits of clothes, one black and one raven-grey, and
even engaged that they should fit him--as well at least (so the tailor
qualified his enterprise) as a man of such an out-of-the-way build
could be fitted by merely human needles and shears. When this fashioner
had accomplished his task, and the dresses were brought home,
Mac-Morlan, judiciously resolving to accomplish his purpose by degrees,
withdrew that evening an important part of his dress, and substituted
the new article of raiment in its stead. Perceiving that this passed
totally without notice, he next ventured on the waistcoat, and lastly
on the coat. When fully metamorphosed, and arrayed for the first time
in his life in a decent dress, they did observe that the Dominie seemed
to have some indistinct and embarrassing consciousness that a change
had taken place on his outward man. Whenever they observed this dubious
expression gather upon his countenance, accompanied with a glance that
fixed now upon the sleeve of his coat, now upon the knees of his
breeches, where he probably missed some antique patching and darning,
which, being executed with blue thread upon a black ground, had
somewhat the effect of embroidery, they always took care to turn his
attention into some other channel, until his garments, 'by the aid of
use, cleaved to their mould.' The only remark he was ever known to make
on the subject was, that 'the air of a town like Kippletringan seemed
favourable unto wearing apparel, for he thought his coat looked almost
as new as the first day he put it on, which was when he went to stand
trial for his license as a preacher.'

When the Dominie first heard the liberal proposal of Colonel Mannering,
he turned a jealous and doubtful glance towards Miss Bertram, as if he
suspected that the project involved their separation; but when Mr.
Mac-Morlan hastened to explain that she would be a guest at Woodbourne
for some time, he rubbed his huge hands together, and burst into a
portentous sort of chuckle, like that of the Afrite in the tale of 'The
Caliph Vathek.' After this unusual explosion of satisfaction, he
remained quite passive in all the rest of the transaction.

It had been settled that Mr. and Mrs. Mac-Morlan should take possession
of the house a few days before Mannering's arrival, both to put
everything in perfect order and to make the transference of Miss
Bertram's residence from their family to his as easy and delicate as
possible. Accordingly, in the beginning of the month of December the
party were settled at Woodbourne.



CHAPTER XX

    A gigantic genius fit to grapple with whole libraries

        --BOSWELL'S LIFE OF JOHNSON


The appointed day arrived when the Colonel and Miss Mannering were
expected at Woodbourne. The hour was fast approaching, and the little
circle within doors had each their separate subjects of anxiety.
Mac-Morlan naturally desired to attach to himself the patronage and
countenance of a person of Mannering's wealth and consequence. He was
aware, from his knowledge of mankind, that Mannering, though generous
and benevolent, had the foible of expecting and exacting a minute
compliance with his directions. He was therefore racking his
recollection to discover if everything had been arranged to meet the
Colonel's wishes and instructions, and, under this uncertainty of mind,
he traversed the house more than once from the garret to the stables.
Mrs. Mac-Morlan revolved in a lesser orbit, comprehending the
dining-parlour, housekeeper's room, and kitchen. She was only afraid
that the dinner might be spoiled, to the discredit of her housewifely
accomplishments. Even the usual passiveness of the Dominie was so far
disturbed that he twice went to the window which looked out upon the
avenue, and twice exclaimed, 'Why tarry the wheels of their chariot?'
Lucy, the most quiet of the expectants, had her own melancholy
thoughts. She was now about to be consigned to the charge, almost to
the benevolence, of strangers, with whose character, though hitherto
very amiably, displayed, she was but imperfectly acquainted. The
moments, therefore, of suspense passed anxiously and heavily.

At length the trampling of horses and the sound of wheels were heard.
The servants, who had already arrived, drew up in the hall to receive
their master and mistress, with an importance and EMPRESSEMENT which to
Lucy, who had never been accustomed to society, or witnessed what is
called the manners of the great, had something alarming. Mac-Morlan
went to the door to receive the master and mistress of the family, and
in a few moments they were in the drawing-room.

Mannering, who had travelled as usual on horseback, entered with his
daughter hanging upon his arm. She was of the middle size, or rather
less, but formed with much elegance; piercing dark eyes, and jet-black
hair of great length, corresponded with the vivacity and intelligence
of features in which were blended a little haughtiness, and a little
bashfulness, a great deal of shrewdness, and some power of humorous
sarcasm. 'I shall not like her,' was the result of Lucy Bertram's first
glance; 'and yet; I rather think I shall,' was the thought excited by
the second.

Miss Mannering was furred and mantled up to the throat against the
severity of the weather; the Colonel in his military great-coat. He
bowed to Mrs. Mac-Morlan, whom his daughter also acknowledged with a
fashionable courtesy, not dropped so low as at all to incommode her
person. The Colonel then led his daughter up to Miss Bertram, and,
taking the hand of the latter, with an air of great kindness and almost
paternal affection, he said, 'Julia, this is the young lady whom I hope
our good friends have prevailed on to honour our house with a long
visit. I shall be much gratified indeed if you can render Woodbourne as
pleasant to Miss Bertram as Ellangowan was to me when I first came as a
wanderer into this country.'

The young lady courtesied acquiescence, and took her new friend's hand.
Mannering now turned his eye upon the Dominie, who had made bows since
his entrance into the room, sprawling out his leg, and bending his back
like an automaton, which continues to repeat the same movement until
the motion is stopt by the artist. 'My good friend, Mr. Sampson,' said
Mannering, introducing him to his daughter, and darting at the same
time a reproving glance at the damsel, notwithstanding he had himself
some disposition to join her too obvious inclination to risibility;
'this gentleman, Julia, is to put my books in order when they arrive,
and I expect to derive great advantage from his extensive learning.'

'I am sure we are obliged to the gentleman, papa, and, to borrow a
ministerial mode of giving thanks, I shall never forget the
extraordinary countenance he has been pleased to show us. But, Miss
Bertram,' continued she hastily, for her father's brows began to
darken, 'we have travelled a good way; will you permit me to retire
before dinner?'

This intimation dispersed all the company save the Dominie, who, having
no idea of dressing but when he was to rise, or of undressing but when
he meant to go to bed, remained by himself, chewing the cud of a
mathematical demonstration, until the company again assembled in the
drawing-room, and from thence adjourned to the dining-parlour.

When the day was concluded, Mannering took an opportunity to hold a
minute's conversation with his daughter in private.

'How do you like your guests, Julia?'

'O, Miss Bertram of all things; but this is a most original parson;
why, dear sir, no human being will be able to look at him without
laughing.'

'While he is under my roof, Julia, every one must learn to do so.'

'Lord, papa, the very footmen could not keep their gravity!'

'Then let them strip off my livery,' said the Colonel, 'and laugh at
their leisure. Mr. Sampson is a man whom I esteem for his simplicity
and benevolence of character.'

'O, I am convinced of his generosity too,' said this lively lady; 'he
cannot lift a spoonful of soup to his mouth without bestowing a share
on everything round.'

'Julia, you are incorrigible; but remember I expect your mirth on this
subject to be under such restraint that it shall neither offend this
worthy man's feelings nor those of Miss Bertram, who may be more apt to
feel upon his account than he on his own. And so, goodnight, my dear;
and recollect that, though Mr. Sampson has certainly not sacrificed to
the graces, there are many things in this world more truly deserving of
ridicule than either awkwardness of manners or simplicity of character.'

In a day or two Mr. and Mrs. Mac-Morlan left Woodbourne, after taking
an affectionate farewell of their late guest. The household were now
settled in their new quarters. The young ladies followed their studies
and amusements together. Colonel Mannering was agreeably surprised to
find that Miss Bertram was well skilled in French and Italian, thanks
to the assiduity of Dominie Sampson, whose labour had silently made him
acquainted with most modern as well as ancient languages. Of music she
knew little or nothing, but her new friend undertook to give her
lessons, in exchange for which she was to learn from Lucy the habit of
walking, and the art of riding, and the courage necessary to defy the
season. Mannering was careful to substitute for their amusement in the
evening such books as might convey some solid instruction with
entertainment, and, as he read aloud with great skill and taste, the
winter nights passed pleasantly away.

Society was quickly formed where there were so many inducements. Most
of the families of the neighbourhood visited Colonel Mannering, and he
was soon able to select from among them such as best suited his taste
and habits. Charles Hazlewood held a distinguished place in his favour,
and was a frequent visitor, not without the consent and approbation of
his parents; for there was no knowing, they thought, what assiduous
attention might produce, and the beautiful Miss Mannering, of high
family, with an Indian fortune, was a prize worth looking after.
Dazzled with such a prospect, they never considered the risk which had
once been some object of their apprehension, that his boyish and
inconsiderate fancy might form an attachment to the penniless Lucy
Bertram, who had nothing on earth to recommend her but a pretty face,
good birth, and a most amiable disposition. Mannering was more prudent.
He considered himself acting as Miss Bertram's guardian, and, while he
did not think it incumbent upon him altogether to check her intercourse
with a young gentleman for whom, excepting in wealth, she was a match
in every respect, he laid it under such insensible restraints as might
prevent any engagement or ECLAIRCISSEMENT taking place until the young
man should have seen a little more of life and of the world, and have
attained that age when he might be considered as entitled to judge for
himself in the matter in which his happiness was chiefly interested.

While these matters engaged the attention of the other members of the
Woodbourne family, Dominie Sampson was occupied, body and soul, in the
arrangement of the late bishop's library, which had been sent from
Liverpool by sea, and conveyed by thirty or forty carts from the
sea-port at which it was landed. Sampson's joy at beholding the
ponderous contents of these chests arranged upon the floor of the large
apartment, from whence he was to transfer them to the shelves, baffles
all description. He grinned like an ogre, swung his arms like the sails
of a wind-mill, shouted 'Prodigious' till the roof rung to his
raptures. 'He had never,' he said, 'seen so many books together, except
in the College Library'; and now his dignity and delight in being
superintendent of the collection raised him, in his own opinion, almost
to the rank of the academical librarian, whom he had always regarded as
the greatest and happiest man on earth. Neither were his transports
diminished upon a hasty examination of the contents of these volumes.
Some, indeed, of BELLES LETTRES, poems, plays, or memoirs he tossed
indignantly aside, with the implied censure of 'psha,' or 'frivolous';
but the greater and bulkier part of the collection bore a very
different character. The deceased prelate, a divine of the old and
deeply-learned cast, had loaded his shelves with volumes which
displayed the antique and venerable attributes so happily described by
a modern poet:--

     That weight of wood, with leathern coat o'erlaid,
     Those ample clasps of solid metal made,
     The close-press'd leaves unoped for many an age,
     The dull red edging of the well-fill'd page,
     On the broad back the stubborn ridges roll'd,
     Where yet the title stands in tarnish'd gold.

Books of theology and controversial divinity, commentaries, and
polyglots, sets of the Fathers, and sermons which might each furnish
forth ten brief discourses of modern date, books of science, ancient
and modern, classical authors in their best and rarest forms--such
formed the late bishop's venerable library, and over such the eye of
Dominie Sampson gloated with rapture. He entered them in the catalogue
in his best running hand, forming each letter with the accuracy of a
lover writing a valentine, and placed each individually on the destined
shelf with all the reverence which I have seen a lady pay to a jar of
old china. With all this zeal his labours advanced slowly. He often
opened a volume when halfway up the library steps, fell upon some
interesting passage, and, without shifting his inconvenient posture,
continued immersed in the fascinating perusal until the servant pulled
him by the skirts to assure him that dinner waited. He then repaired to
the parlour, bolted his food down his capacious throat in squares of
three inches, answered ay and no at random to whatever question was
asked at him, and again hurried back to the library, as soon as his
napkin was removed, and sometimes with it hanging round his neck like a
pinafore;--

     How happily the days of Thalaba went by!

And, having thus left the principal characters of our tale in a
situation which, being sufficiently comfortable to themselves, is, of
course, utterly uninteresting to the reader, we take up the history of
a person who has as yet only been named, and who has all the interest
that uncertainty and misfortune can give.



CHAPTER XXI

     What say'st thou, Wise One? that all powerful Love
     Can fortune's strong impediments remove,
     Nor is it strange that worth should wed to worth,
     The pride of genius with the pride of birth.

          CRABBE.


V. Brown--I will not give at full length his thrice unhappy name--had
been from infancy a ball for fortune to spurn at; but nature had given
him that elasticity of mind which rises higher from the rebound. His
form was tall, manly, and active, and his features corresponded with
his person; for, although far from regular, they had an expression of
intelligence and good-humour, and when he spoke, or was particularly
animated, might be decidedly pronounced interesting. His manner
indicated the military profession, which had been his choice, and in
which he had now attained the rank of captain, the person who succeeded
Colonel Mannering in his command having laboured to repair the
injustice which Brown had sustained by that gentleman's prejudice
against him. But this, as well as his liberation from captivity, had
taken place after Mannering left India. Brown followed at no distant
period, his regiment being recalled home. His first inquiry was after
the family of Mannering, and, easily learning their route northward, he
followed it with the purpose of resuming his addresses to Julia. With
her father he deemed he had no measures to keep; for, ignorant of the
more venomous belief which had been instilled into the Colonel's mind,
he regarded him as an oppressive aristocrat, who had used his power as
a commanding officer to deprive him of the preferment due to his
behaviour, and who had forced upon him a personal quarrel without any
better reason than his attentions to a pretty young woman, agreeable to
herself, and permitted and countenanced by her mother. He was
determined, therefore, to take no rejection unless from the young lady
herself, believing that the heavy misfortunes of his painful wound and
imprisonment were direct injuries received from the father, which might
dispense with his using much ceremony towards him. How far his scheme
had succeeded when his nocturnal visit was discovered by Mr. Mervyn,
our readers are already informed.

Upon this unpleasant occurrence Captain Brown absented himself from the
inn in which he had resided under the name of Dawson, so that Colonel
Mannering's attempts to discover and trace him were unavailing. He
resolved, however, that no difficulties should prevent his continuing
his enterprise while Julia left him a ray of hope. The interest he had
secured in her bosom was such as she had been unable to conceal from
him, and with all the courage of romantic gallantry he determined upon
perseverance. But we believe the reader will be as well pleased to
learn his mode of thinking and intention from his own communication to
his special friend and confidant, Captain Delaserre, a Swiss gentleman
who had a company in his regiment.

EXTRACT

'Let me hear from you soon, dear Delaserre. Remember, I can learn
nothing about regimental affairs but through your friendly medium, and
I long to know what has become of Ayre's court-martial, and whether
Elliot gets the majority; also how recruiting comes on, and how the
young officers like the mess. Of our kind friend the Lieutenant-Colonel
I need ask nothing; I saw him as I passed through Nottingham, happy in
the bosom of his family. What a happiness it is, Philip, for us poor
devils, that we have a little resting-place between the camp and the
grave, if we can manage to escape disease, and steel, and lead, and the
effects of hard living. A retired old soldier is always a graceful and
respected character. He grumbles a little now and then, but then his is
licensed murmuring; were a lawyer, or a physician, or a clergyman to
breathe a complaint of hard luck or want of preferment, a hundred
tongues would blame his own incapacity as the cause. But the most
stupid veteran that ever faltered out the thrice-told tale of a siege
and a battle, and a cock and a bottle, is listened to with sympathy and
reverence when he shakes his thin locks and talks with indignation of
the boys that are put over his head. And you and I, Delaserre,
foreigners both--for what am I the better that I was originally a
Scotchman, since, could I prove my descent, the English would hardly
acknowledge me a countryman?--we may boast that we have fought out our
preferment, and gained that by the sword which we had not money to
compass otherwise. The English are a wise people. While they praise
themselves, and affect to undervalue all other nations, they leave us,
luckily, trap-doors and back-doors open, by which we strangers, less
favoured by nature, may arrive at a share of their advantages. And thus
they are in some respects like a boastful landlord, who exalts the
value and flavour of his six-years-old mutton, while he is delighted to
dispense a share of it to all the company. In short, you, whose proud
family, and I, whose hard fate, made us soldiers of fortune, have the
pleasant recollection that in the British service, stop where we may
upon our career, it is only for want of money to pay the turnpike, and
not from our being prohibited to travel the road. If, therefore, you
can persuade little Weischel to come into OURS, for God's sake let him
buy the ensigncy, live prudently, mind his duty, and trust to the fates
for promotion.

'And now, I hope you are expiring with curiosity to learn the end of my
romance. I told you I had deemed it convenient to make a few days' tour
on foot among the mountains of Westmoreland with Dudley, a young
English artist with whom I have formed some acquaintance. A fine fellow
this, you must know, Delaserre: he paints tolerably, draws beautifully,
converses well, and plays charmingly on the flute; and, though thus
well entitled to be a coxcomb of talent, is, in fact, a modest
unpretending young man. On our return from our little tour I learned
that the enemy had been reconnoitring. Mr. Mervyn's barge had crossed
the lake, I was informed by my landlord, with the squire himself and a
visitor.

'"What sort of person, landlord?"

'"Why, he was a dark officer-looking mon, at they called Colonel.
Squoire Mervyn questioned me as close as I had been at 'sizes. I had
guess, Mr. Dawson" (I told you that was my feigned name), "but I tould
him nought of your vagaries, and going out a-laking in the mere
a-noights, not I; an I can make no sport, I'se spoil none; and Squoire
Mervyn's as cross as poy-crust too, mon; he's aye maundering an my
guests but land beneath his house, though it be marked for the fourth
station in the survey. Noa, noa, e'en let un smell things out o'
themselves for Joe Hodges."

'You will allow there was nothing for it after this but paying honest
Joe Hodges's bill and departing, unless I had preferred making him my
confidant, for which I felt in no way inclined. Besides, I learned that
our ci-devant Colonel was on full retreat for Scotland, carrying off
poor Julia along with him. I understand from those who conduct the
heavy baggage that he takes his winter quarters at a place called
Woodbourne, in ---shire in Scotland. He will be all on the alert just
now, so I must let him enter his entrenchments without any new alarm.
And then, my good Colonel, to whom I owe so many grateful thanks, pray
look to your defence.

'I protest to you, Delaserre, I often think there is a little
contradiction enters into the ardour of my pursuit. I think I would
rather bring this haughty insulting man to the necessity of calling his
daughter Mrs. Brown than I would wed her with his full consent, and
with the King's permission to change my name for the style and arms of
Mannering, though his whole fortune went with them. There is only one
circumstance that chills me a little: Julia is young and romantic. I
would not willingly hurry her into a step which her riper years might
disapprove; no--nor would I like to have her upbraid me, were it but
with a glance of her eye, with having ruined her fortunes, far less
give her reason to say, as some have not been slow to tell their lords,
that, had I left her time for consideration, she would have been wiser
and done better. No, Delaserre, this must not be. The picture presses
close upon me, because I am aware a girl in Julia's situation has no
distinct and precise idea of the value of the sacrifice she makes. She
knows difficulties only by name; and, if she thinks of love and a farm,
it is a ferme ornee, such as is only to be found in poetic description
or in the park of a gentleman of twelve thousand a year. She would be
ill prepared for the privations of that real Swiss cottage we have so
often talked of, and for the difficulties which must necessarily
surround us even before we attained that haven. This must be a point
clearly ascertained. Although Julia's beauty and playful tenderness
have made an impression on my heart never to be erased, I must be
satisfied that she perfectly understands the advantages she foregoes
before she sacrifices them for my sake.

'Am I too proud, Delaserre, when I trust that even this trial may
terminate favourably to my wishes? Am I too vain when I suppose that
the few personal qualities which I possess, with means of competence,
however moderate, and the determination of consecrating my life to her
happiness, may make amends for all I must call upon her to forego? Or
will a difference of dress, of attendance, of style, as it is called,
of the power of shifting at pleasure the scenes in which she seeks
amusement--will these outweigh in her estimation the prospect of
domestic happiness and the interchange of unabating affection? I say
nothing of her father: his good and evil qualities are so strangely
mingled that the former are neutralised by the latter; and that which
she must regret as a daughter is so much blended with what she would
gladly escape from, that I place the separation of the father and child
as a circumstance which weighs little in her remarkable case. Meantime
I keep up my spirits as I may. I have incurred too many hardships and
difficulties to be presumptuous or confident in success, and I have
been too often and too wonderfully extricated from them to be
despondent.

'I wish you saw this country. I think the scenery would delight you. At
least it often brings to my recollection your glowing descriptions of
your native country. To me it has in a great measure the charm of
novelty. Of the Scottish hills, though born among them, as I have
always been assured, I have but an indistinct recollection. Indeed, my
memory rather dwells upon the blank which my youthful mind experienced
in gazing on the levels of the isle of Zealand, than on anything which
preceded that feeling; but I am confident, from that sensation as well
as from the recollections which preceded it, that hills and rocks have
been familiar to me at an early period, and that, though now only
remembered by contrast, and by the blank which I felt while gazing
around for them in vain, they must have made an indelible impression on
my infant imagination. I remember, when we first mounted that
celebrated pass in the Mysore country, while most of the others felt
only awe and astonishment at the height and grandeur of the scenery, I
rather shared your feelings and those of Cameron, whose admiration of
such wild rocks was blended with familiar love, derived from early
association. Despite my Dutch education, a blue hill to me is as a
friend, and a roaring torrent like the sound of a domestic song that
hath soothed my infancy. I never felt the impulse so strongly as in
this land of lakes and mountains, and nothing grieves me so much as
that duty prevents your being with me in my numerous excursions among
recesses. Some drawings I have attempted, but I succeed vilely. Dudley,
on the contrary, draws delightfully, with that rapid touch which seems
like magic; while I labour and botch, and make this too heavy and that
too light, and produce at last a base caricature. I must stick to the
flageolet, for music is the only one of the fine arts which deigns to
acknowledge me.

'Did you know that Colonel Mannering was a draughtsman? I believe not,
for he scorned to display his accomplishments to the view of a
subaltern. He draws beautifully, however. Since he and Julia left
Mervyn Hall, Dudley was sent for there. The squire, it seems, wanted a
set of drawings made up, of which Mannering had done the first four,
but was interrupted by his hasty departure in his purpose of completing
them. Dudley says he has seldom seen anything so masterly, though
slight; and each had attached to it a short poetical description. Is
Saul, you will say, among the prophets? Colonel Mannering write poetry!
Why, surely this man must have taken all the pains to conceal his
accomplishments that others do to display theirs. How reserved and
unsociable he appeared among us! how little disposed to enter into any
conversation which could become generally interesting! And then his
attachment to that unworthy Archer, so much below him in every respect;
and all this because he was the brother of Viscount Archerfield, a poor
Scottish peer! I think, if Archer had longer survived the wounds in the
affair of Cuddyboram, he would have told something that might have
thrown light upon the inconsistencies of this singular man's character.
He repeated to me more than once, "I have that to say which will alter
your hard opinion of our late Colonel." But death pressed him too hard;
and if he owed me any atonement, which some of his expressions seemed
to imply, he died before it could be made.

'I propose to make a further excursion through this country while this
fine frosty weather serves, and Dudley, almost as good a walker as
myself, goes with me for some part of the way. We part on the borders
of Cumberland, when he must return to his lodgings in Marybone, up
three pair of stairs, and labour at what he calls the commercial part
of his profession. There cannot, he says, be such a difference betwixt
any two portions of existence as between that in which the artist, if
an enthusiast, collects the subjects of his drawings and that which
must necessarily be dedicated to turning over his portfolio and
exhibiting them to the provoking indifference, or more provoking
criticism, of fashionable amateurs. "During the summer of my year,"
says Dudley, "I am as free as a wild Indian, enjoying myself at liberty
amid the grandest scenes of nature; while during my winters and springs
I am not only cabined, cribbed, and confined in a miserable garret, but
condemned to as intolerable subservience to the humour of others, and
to as indifferent company, as if I were a literal galley slave." I have
promised him your acquaintance, Delaserre; you will be delighted with
his specimens of art, and he with your Swiss fanaticism for mountains
and torrents.

'When I lose Dudley's company, I am informed that I can easily enter
Scotland by stretching across a wild country in the upper part of
Cumberland; and that route I shall follow, to give the Colonel time to
pitch his camp ere I reconnoitre his position. Adieu! Delaserre. I
shall hardly find another opportunity of writing till I reach Scotland.'



CHAPTER XXII

     Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
     And merrily bend the stile-a,
     A merry heart goes all the day,
     A sad one tires in a mile-a.

          --Winter's Tale.


Let the reader conceive to himself a clear frosty November morning, the
scene an open heath, having for the background that huge chain of
mountains in which Skiddaw and Saddleback are preeminent; let him look
along that BLIND ROAD, by which I mean the track so slightly marked by
the passengers' footsteps that it can but be traced by a slight shade
of verdure from the darker heath around it, and, being only visible to
the eye when at some distance, ceases to be distinguished while the
foot is actually treading it; along this faintly-traced path advances
the object of our present narrative. His firm step, his erect and free
carriage, have a military air which corresponds well with his
well-proportioned limbs and stature of six feet high. His dress is so
plain and simple that it indicates nothing as to rank; it may be that
of a gentleman who travels in this manner for his pleasure, or of an
inferior person of whom it is the proper and usual garb. Nothing can be
on a more reduced scale than his travelling equipment. A volume of
Shakspeare in each pocket, a small bundle with a change of linen slung
across his shoulders, an oaken cudgel in his hand, complete our
pedestrian's accommodations, and in this equipage we present him to our
readers.

Brown had parted that morning from his friend Dudley, and begun his
solitary walk towards Scotland.

The first two or three miles were rather melancholy, from want of the
society to which he had of late been accustomed. But this unusual mood
of mind soon gave way to the influence of his natural good spirits,
excited by the exercise and the bracing effects of the frosty air. He
whistled as he went along, not 'from want of thought,' but to give vent
to those buoyant feelings which he had no other mode of expressing. For
each peasant whom he chanced to meet he had a kind greeting or a
good-humoured jest; the hardy Cumbrians grinned as they passed, and
said, 'That's a kind heart, God bless un!' and the market-girl looked
more than once over her shoulder at the athletic form, which
corresponded so well with the frank and blythe address of the stranger.
A rough terrier dog, his constant companion, who rivalled his master in
glee, scampered at large in a thousand wheels round the heath, and came
back to jump up on him and assure him that he participated in the
pleasure of the journey. Dr. Johnson thought life had few things better
than the excitation produced by being whirled rapidly along in a
post-chaise; but he who has in youth experienced the confident and
independent feeling of a stout pedestrian in an interesting country,
and during fine weather, will hold the taste of the great moralist
cheap in comparison.

Part of Brown's view in choosing that unusual track which leads through
the eastern wilds of Cumberland into Scotland, had been a desire to
view the remains of the celebrated Roman Wall, which are more visible
in that direction than in any other part of its extent. His education
had been imperfect and desultory; but neither the busy scenes in which
he had been engaged, nor the pleasures of youth, nor the precarious
state of his own circumstances, had diverted him from the task of
mental improvement. 'And this then is the Roman Wall,' he said,
scrambling up to a height which commanded the course of that celebrated
work of antiquity. 'What a people! whose labours, even at this
extremity of their empire, comprehended such space, and were executed
upon a scale of such grandeur! In future ages, when the science of war
shall have changed, how few traces will exist of the labours of Vauban
and Coehorn, while this wonderful people's remains will even then
continue to interest and astonish posterity! Their fortifications,
their aqueducts, their theatres, their fountains, all their public
works, bear the grave, solid, and majestic character of their language;
while our modern labours, like our modern tongues, seem but constructed
out of their fragments.' Having thus moralised, he remembered that he
was hungry, and pursued his walk to a small public-house, at which he
proposed to get some refreshment.

The alehouse, for it was no better, was situated in the bottom of a
little dell, through which trilled a small rivulet. It was shaded by a
large ash tree, against which the clay-built shed that served the
purpose of a stable was erected, and upon which it seemed partly to
recline. In this shed stood a saddled horse, employed in eating his
corn. The cottages in this part of Cumberland partake of the rudeness
which characterises those of Scotland. The outside of the house
promised little for the interior, notwithstanding the vaunt of a sign,
where a tankard of ale voluntarily decanted itself into a tumbler, and
a hieroglyphical scrawl below attempted to express a promise of 'good
entertainment for man and horse.' Brown was no fastidious traveller: he
stopped and entered the cabaret. [Footnote: See Note 2.]

The first object which caught his eye in the kitchen was a tall, stout,
country-looking man in a large jockey great-coat, the owner of the
horse which stood in the shed, who was busy discussing huge slices of
cold boiled beef, and casting from time to time an eye through the
window to see how his steed sped with his provender. A large tankard of
ale flanked his plate of victuals, to which he applied himself by
intervals. The good woman of the house was employed in baking. The
fire, as is usual in that country, was on a stone hearth, in the midst
of an immensely large chimney, which had two seats extended beneath the
vent. On one of these sat a remarkably tall woman, in a red cloak and
slouched bonnet, having the appearance of a tinker or beggar. She was
busily engaged with a short black tobacco-pipe.

At the request of Brown for some food, the landlady wiped with her
mealy apron one corner of the deal table, placed a wooden trencher and
knife and fork before the traveller, pointed to the round of beef,
recommended Mr. Dinmont's good example, and finally filled a brown
pitcher with her home-brewed. Brown lost no time in doing ample credit
to both. For a while his opposite neighbour and he were too busy to
take much notice of each other, except by a good-humoured nod as each
in turn raised the tankard to his head. At length, when our pedestrian
began to supply the wants of little Wasp, the Scotch store-farmer, for
such was Mr. Dinmont, found himself at leisure to enter into
conversation.

'A bonny terrier that, sir, and a fell chield at the vermin, I warrant
him; that is, if he's been weel entered, for it a' lies in that.'

'Really, sir,' said Brown, 'his education has been somewhat neglected,
and his chief property is being a pleasant companion.'

'Ay, sir? that's a pity, begging your pardon, it's a great pity that;
beast or body, education should aye be minded. I have six terriers at
hame, forbye twa couple of slow-hunds, five grews, and a wheen other
dogs. There's auld Pepper and auld Mustard, and young Pepper and young
Mustard, and little Pepper and little Mustard. I had them a' regularly
entered, first wi' rottens, then wi' stots or weasels, and then wi' the
tods and brocks, and now they fear naething that ever cam wi' a hairy
skin on't.'

'I have no doubt, sir, they are thoroughbred; but, to have so many
dogs, you seem to have a very limited variety of names for them?'

'O, that's a fancy of my ain to mark the breed, sir. The Deuke himsell
has sent as far as Charlie's Hope to get ane o' Dandy Dinmont's Pepper
and Mustard terriers. Lord, man, he sent Tam Hudson [Footnote: The real
name of this veteran sportsman is now restored.] the keeper, and sicken
a day as we had wi' the foumarts and the tods, and sicken a blythe
gae-down as we had again e'en! Faith, that was a night!'

'I suppose game is very plenty with you?'

'Plenty, man! I believe there's mair hares than sheep on my farm; and
for the moor-fowl or the grey-fowl, they lie as thick as doos in a
dookit. Did ye ever shoot a blackcock, man?'

'Really I had never even the pleasure to see one, except in the museum
at Keswick.'

'There now! I could guess that by your Southland tongue. It's very odd
of these English folk that come here, how few of them has seen a
blackcock! I'll tell you what--ye seem to be an honest lad, and if
you'll call on me, on Dandy Dinmont, at Charlie's Hope, ye shall see a
blackcock, and shoot a blackcock, and eat a blackcock too, man.'

'Why, the proof of the matter is the eating, to be sure, sir; and I
shall be happy if I can find time to accept your invitation.'

'Time, man? what ails ye to gae hame wi' me the now? How d' ye travel?'

'On foot, sir; and if that handsome pony be yours, I should find it
impossible to keep up with you.'

'No, unless ye can walk up to fourteen mile an hour. But ye can come
ower the night as far as Riccarton, where there is a public; or if ye
like to stop at Jockey Grieve's at the Heuch, they would be blythe to
see ye, and I am just gaun to stop and drink a dram at the door wi'
him, and I would tell him you're coming up. Or stay--gudewife, could ye
lend this gentleman the gudeman's galloway, and I'll send it ower the
Waste in the morning wi' the callant?'

The galloway was turned out upon the fell, and was swear to
catch.--'Aweel, aweel, there's nae help for't, but come up the morn at
ony rate. And now, gudewife, I maun ride, to get to the Liddel or it be
dark, for your Waste has but a kittle character, ye ken yoursell.'

'Hout fie, Mr. Dinmont, that's no like you, to gie the country an ill
name. I wot, there has been nane stirred in the Waste since Sawney
Culloch, the travelling-merchant, that Rowley Overdees and Jock Penny
suffered for at Carlisle twa years since. There's no ane in Bewcastle
would do the like o' that now; we be a' true folk now.'

'Ay, Tib, that will be when the deil's blind; and his een's no sair
yet. But hear ye, gudewife, I have been through maist feck o' Galloway
and Dumfries-shire, and I have been round by Carlisle, and I was at the
Staneshiebank Fair the day, and I would like ill to be rubbit sae near
hame, so I'll take the gate.'

'Hae ye been in Dumfries and Galloway?' said the old dame who sate
smoking by the fireside, and who had not yet spoken a word.

'Troth have I, gudewife, and a weary round I've had o't.'

'Then ye'll maybe ken a place they ca' Ellangowan?'

'Ellangowan, that was Mr. Bertram's? I ken the place weel eneugh. The
Laird died about a fortnight since, as I heard.'

'Died!' said the old woman, dropping her pipe, and rising and coming
forward upon the floor--'died? are you sure of that?'

'Troth, am I,' said Dinmont, 'for it made nae sma' noise in the
country-side. He died just at the roup of the stocking and furniture;
it stoppit the roup, and mony folk were disappointed. They said he was
the last of an auld family too, and mony were sorry; for gude blude's
scarcer in Scotland than it has been.'

'Dead!' replied the old woman, whom our readers have already recognised
as their acquaintance Meg Merrilies--'dead! that quits a' scores. And
did ye say he died without an heir?'

'Ay did he, gudewife, and the estate's sell'd by the same token; for
they said they couldna have sell'd it if there had been an heir-male.'

'Sell'd!' echoed the gipsy, with something like a scream; 'and wha
durst buy Ellangowan that was not of Bertram's blude? and wha could
tell whether the bonny knave-bairn may not come back to claim his ain?
wha durst buy the estate and the castle of Ellangowan?'

'Troth, gudewife, just ane o' thae writer chields that buys a' thing;
they ca' him Glossin, I think.'

'Glossin! Gibbie Glossin! that I have carried in my creels a hundred
times, for his mother wasna muckle better than mysell--he to presume to
buy the barony of Ellangowan! Gude be wi' us; it is an awfu' warld! I
wished him ill; but no sic a downfa' as a' that neither. Wae's me!
wae's me to think o't!' She remained a moment silent but still opposing
with her hand the farmer's retreat, who betwixt every question was
about to turn his back, but good-humouredly stopped on observing the
deep interest his answers appeared to excite.

'It will be seen and heard of--earth and sea will not hold their peace
langer! Can ye say if the same man be now the sheriff of the county
that has been sae for some years past?'

'Na, he's got some other birth in Edinburgh, they say; but gude day,
gudewife, I maun ride.' She followed him to his horse, and, while he
drew the girths of his saddle, adjusted the walise, and put on the
bridle, still plied him with questions concerning Mr. Bertram's death
and the fate of his daughter; on which, however, she could obtain
little information from the honest farmer.

'Did ye ever see a place they ca' Derncleugh, about a mile frae the
Place of Ellangowan?'

'I wot weel have I, gudewife. A wild-looking den it is, wi' a whin auld
wa's o' shealings yonder; I saw it when I gaed ower the ground wi' ane
that wanted to take the farm.'

'It was a blythe bit ance!' said Meg, speaking to herself. 'Did ye
notice if there was an auld saugh tree that's maist blawn down, but yet
its roots are in the earth, and it hangs ower the bit burn? Mony a day
hae I wrought my stocking and sat on my sunkie under that saugh.'

'Hout, deil's i' the wife, wi' her saughs, and her sunkies, and
Ellangowans. Godsake, woman, let me away; there's saxpence t' ye to buy
half a mutchkin, instead o' clavering about thae auld-warld stories.'

'Thanks to ye, gudeman; and now ye hae answered a' my questions, and
never speired wherefore I asked them, I'll gie you a bit canny advice,
and ye maunna speir what for neither. Tib Mumps will be out wi' the
stirrup-dram in a gliffing. She'll ask ye whether ye gang ower Willie's
Brae or through Conscowthart Moss; tell her ony ane ye like, but be
sure (speaking low and emphatically) to tak the ane ye dinna tell her.'
The farmer laughed and promised, and the gipsy retreated.

'Will you take her advice?' said Brown, who had been an attentive
listener to this conversation.

'That will I no, the randy quean! Na, I had far rather Tib Mumps kenn'd
which way I was gaun than her, though Tib's no muckle to lippen to
neither, and I would advise ye on no account to stay in the house a'
night.'

In a moment after Tib, the landlady, appeared with her stirrup-cup,
which was taken off. She then, as Meg had predicted, inquired whether
he went the hill or the moss road. He answered, the latter; and, having
bid Brown good-bye, and again told him, 'he depended on seeing him at
Charlie's Hope, the morn at latest,' he rode off at a round pace.



CHAPTER XXIII

     Gallows and knock are too powerful on the highway

        --Winter's Tale.


The hint of the hospitable farmer was not lost on Brown. But while he
paid his reckoning he could not avoid repeatedly fixing his eyes on Meg
Merrilies. She was in all respects the same witch-like figure as when
we first introduced her at Ellangowan Place. Time had grizzled her
raven locks and added wrinkles to her wild features, but her height
remained erect, and her activity was unimpaired. It was remarked of
this woman, as of others of the same description, that a life of
action, though not of labour, gave her the perfect command of her limbs
and figure, so that the attitudes into which she most naturally threw
herself were free, unconstrained, and picturesque. At present she stood
by the window of the cottage, her person drawn up so as to show to full
advantage her masculine stature, and her head somewhat thrown back,
that the large bonnet with which her face was shrouded might not
interrupt her steady gaze at Brown. At every gesture he made and every
tone he uttered she seemed to give an almost imperceptible start. On
his part, he was surprised to find that he could not look upon this
singular figure without some emotion. 'Have I dreamed of such a
figure?' he said to himself, 'or does this wild and singular-looking
woman recall to my recollection some of the strange figures I have seen
in our Indian pagodas?'

While he embarrassed himself with these discussions, and the hostess
was engaged in rummaging out silver in change of half-a-guinea, the
gipsy suddenly made two strides and seized Brown's hand. He expected,
of course, a display of her skill in palmistry, but she seemed agitated
by other feelings.

'Tell me,' she said, 'tell me, in the name of God, young man, what is
your name, and whence you came?'

'My name is Brown, mother, and I come from the East Indies.'

'From the East Indies!' dropping his hand with a sigh; 'it cannot be
then. I am such an auld fool, that everything I look on seems the thing
I want maist to see. But the East Indies! that cannot be. Weel, be what
ye will, ye hae a face and a tongue that puts me in mind of auld times.
Good day; make haste on your road, and if ye see ony of our folk,
meddle not and make not, and they'll do you nae harm.'

Brown, who had by this time received his change, put a shilling into
her hand, bade his hostess farewell, and, taking the route which the
farmer had gone before, walked briskly on, with the advantage of being
guided by the fresh hoof-prints of his horse. Meg Merrilies looked
after him for some time, and then muttered to herself, 'I maun see that
lad again; and I maun gang back to Ellangowan too. The Laird's dead!
aweel, death pays a' scores; he was a kind man ance. The Sheriff's
flitted, and I can keep canny in the bush; so there's no muckle hazard
o' scouring the cramp-ring. I would like to see bonny Ellangowan again
or I die.'

Brown meanwhile proceeded northward at a round pace along the moorish
tract called the Waste of Cumberland. He passed a solitary house,
towards which the horseman who preceded him had apparently turned up,
for his horse's tread was evident in that direction. A little farther,
he seemed to have returned again into the road. Mr. Dinmont had
probably made a visit there either of business or pleasure. 'I wish,'
thought Brown, 'the good farmer had staid till I came up; I should not
have been sorry to ask him a few questions about the road, which seems
to grow wilder and wilder.'

In truth, nature, as if she had designed this tract of country to be
the barrier between two hostile nations, has stamped upon it a
character of wildness and desolation. The hills are neither high nor
rocky, but the land is all heath and morass; the huts poor and mean,
and at a great distance from each other. Immediately around them there
is generally some little attempt at cultivation; but a half-bred foal
or two, straggling about with shackles on their hind legs, to save the
trouble of inclosures, intimate the farmer's chief resource to be the
breeding of horses. The people, too, are of a ruder and more
inhospitable class than are elsewhere to be found in Cumberland,
arising partly from their own habits, partly from their intermixture
with vagrants and criminals, who make this wild country a refuge from
justice. So much were the men of these districts in early times the
objects of suspicion and dislike to their more polished neighbours,
that there was, and perhaps still exists, a by-law of the corporation
of Newcastle prohibiting any freeman of that city to take for
apprentice a native of certain of these dales. It is pithily said,
'Give a dog an ill name and hang him'; and it may be added, if you give
a man, or race of men, an ill name they are very likely to do something
that deserves hanging. Of this Brown had heard something, and suspected
more, from the discourse between the landlady, Dinmont, and the gipsy;
but he was naturally of a fearless disposition, had nothing about him
that could tempt the spoiler, and trusted to get through the Waste with
daylight. In this last particular, however, he was likely to be
disappointed. The way proved longer than he had anticipated, and the
horizon began to grow gloomy just as he entered upon an extensive
morass.

Choosing his steps with care and deliberation, the young officer
proceeded along a path that sometimes sunk between two broken black
banks of moss earth, sometimes crossed narrow but deep ravines filled
with a consistence between mud and water, and sometimes along heaps of
gravel and stones, which had been swept together when some torrent or
waterspout from the neighbouring hills overflowed the marshy ground
below. He began to ponder how a horseman could make his way through
such broken ground; the traces of hoofs, however, were still visible;
he even thought he heard their sound at some distance, and, convinced
that Mr. Dinmont's progress through the morass must be still slower
than his own, he resolved to push on, in hopes to overtake him and have
the benefit of his knowledge of the country. At this moment his little
terrier sprung forward, barking most furiously.

Brown quickened his pace, and, attaining the summit of a small rising
ground, saw the subject of the dog's alarm. In a hollow about a gunshot
below him a man whom he easily recognised to be Dinmont was engaged
with two others in a desperate struggle. He was dismounted, and
defending himself as he best could with the butt of his heavy whip. Our
traveller hastened on to his assistance; but ere he could get up a
stroke had levelled the farmer with the earth, and one of the robbers,
improving his victory, struck him some merciless blows on the head. The
other villain, hastening to meet Brown, called to his companion to come
along, 'for that one's CONTENT,' meaning, probably, past resistance or
complaint. One ruffian was armed with a cutlass, the other with a
bludgeon; but as the road was pretty narrow, 'bar fire-arms,' thought
Brown, 'and I may manage them well enough.' They met accordingly, with
the most murderous threats on the part of the ruffians. They soon
found, however, that their new opponent was equally stout and resolute;
and, after exchanging two or three blows, one of them told him to
'follow his nose over the heath, in the devil's name, for they had
nothing to say to him.'

Brown rejected this composition as leaving to their mercy the
unfortunate man whom they were about to pillage, if not to murder
outright; and the skirmish had just recommenced when Dinmont
unexpectedly recovered his senses, his feet, and his weapon, and
hastened to the scene of action. As he had been no easy antagonist,
even when surprised and alone, the villains did not choose to wait his
joining forces with a man who had singly proved a match for them both,
but fled across the bog as fast as their feet could carry them, pursued
by Wasp, who had acted gloriously during the skirmish, annoying the
heels of the enemy, and repeatedly effecting a moment's diversion in
his master's favour.

'Deil, but your dog's weel entered wi' the vermin now, sir!' were the
first words uttered by the jolly farmer as he came up, his head
streaming with blood, and recognised his deliverer and his little
attendant.

'I hope, sir, you are not hurt dangerously?'

'O, deil a bit, my head can stand a gay clour; nae thanks to them,
though, and mony to you. But now, hinney, ye maun help me to catch the
beast, and ye maun get on behind me, for we maun off like whittrets
before the whole clanjamfray be doun upon us; the rest o' them will no
be far off.' The galloway was, by good fortune, easily caught, and
Brown made some apology for overloading the animal.

'Deil a fear, man,' answered the proprietor; 'Dumple could carry six
folk, if his back was lang eneugh; but God's sake, haste ye, get on,
for I see some folk coming through the slack yonder that it may be just
as weel no to wait for.'

Brown was of opinion that this apparition of five or six men, with whom
the other villains seemed to join company, coming across the moss
towards them, should abridge ceremony; he therefore mounted Dumple en
croupe, and the little spirited nag cantered away with two men of great
size and strength as if they had been children of six years old. The
rider, to whom the paths of these wilds seemed intimately known, pushed
on at a rapid pace, managing with much dexterity to choose the safest
route, in which he was aided by the sagacity of the galloway, who never
failed to take the difficult passes exactly at the particular spot, and
in the special manner, by which they could be most safely crossed. Yet,
even with these advantages, the road was so broken, and they were so
often thrown out of the direct course by various impediments, that they
did not gain much on their pursuers. 'Never mind,' said the undaunted
Scotchman to his companion, 'if we were ance by Withershins' Latch, the
road's no near sae soft, and we'll show them fair play for't.'

They soon came to the place he named, a narrow channel, through which
soaked, rather than flowed, a small stagnant stream, mantled over with
bright green mosses. Dinmont directed his steed towards a pass where
the water appeared to flow with more freedom over a harder bottom; but
Dumple backed from the proposed crossing-place, put his head down as if
to reconnoitre the swamp more nearly, stretching forward his fore-feet,
and stood as fast as if he had been cut out of stone.

'Had we not better,' said Brown, 'dismount, and leave him to his fate;
or can you not urge him through the swamp?'

'Na, na,' said his pilot, 'we maun cross Dumple at no rate, he has mair
sense than mony a Christian.' So saying, he relaxed the reins, and
shook them loosely. 'Come now, lad, take your ain way o't, let's see
where ye'll take us through.'

Dumple, left to the freedom of his own will, trotted briskly to another
part of the latch, less promising, as Brown thought, in appearance, but
which the animal's sagacity or experience recommended as the safer of
the two, and where, plunging in, he attained the other side with little
difficulty.

'I'm glad we're out o' that moss,' said Dinmont, 'where there's mair
stables for horses than change-houses for men; we have the Maiden-way
to help us now, at ony rate.' Accordingly, they speedily gained a sort
of rugged causeway so called, being the remains of an old Roman road
which traverses these wild regions in a due northerly direction. Here
they got on at the rate of nine or ten miles an hour, Dumple seeking no
other respite than what arose from changing his pace from canter to
trot. 'I could gar him show mair action,' said his master, 'but we are
twa lang-legged chields after a', and it would be a pity to stress
Dumple; there wasna the like o' him at Staneshiebank Fair the day.'

Brown readily assented to the propriety of sparing the horse, and added
that, as they were now far out of the reach of the rogues, he thought
Mr. Dinmont had better tie a handkerchief round his head, for fear of
the cold frosty air aggravating the wound.

'What would I do that for?' answered the hardy farmer; 'the best way's
to let the blood barken upon the cut; that saves plasters, hinney.'

Brown, who in his military profession had seen a great many hard blows
pass, could not help remarking, 'he had never known such severe strokes
received with so much apparent indifference.'

'Hout tout, man! I would never be making a humdudgeon about a scart on
the pow; but we'll be in Scotland in five minutes now, and ye maun gang
up to Charlie's Hope wi' me, that's a clear case.'

Brown readily accepted the offered hospitality. Night was now falling
when they came in sight of a pretty river winding its way through a
pastoral country. The hills were greener and more abrupt than those
which Brown had lately passed, sinking their grassy sides at once upon
the river. They had no pretensions to magnificence of height, or to
romantic shapes, nor did their smooth swelling slopes exhibit either
rocks or woods. Yet the view was wild, solitary, and pleasingly rural.
No inclosures, no roads, almost no tillage; it seemed a land which a
patriarch would have chosen to feed his flocks and herds. The remains
of here and there a dismantled and ruined tower showed that it had once
harboured beings of a very different description from its present
inhabitants; those freebooters, namely, to whose exploits the wars
between England and Scotland bear witness.

Descending by a path towards a well-known ford, Dumple crossed the
small river, and then, quickening his pace, trotted about a mile
briskly up its banks, and approached two or three low thatched houses,
placed with their angles to each other, with a great contempt of
regularity. This was the farm-steading of Charlie's Hope, or, in the
language of the country, 'the town.' A most furious barking was set up
at their approach by the whole three generations of Mustard and Pepper,
and a number of allies, names unknown. The farmer [Footnote: See Note
3.] made his well-known voice lustily heard to restore order; the door
opened, and a half-dressed ewe-milker, who had done that good office,
shut it in their faces, in order that she might run 'ben the house' to
cry 'Mistress, mistress, it's the master, and another man wi' him.'
Dumple, turned loose, walked to his own stable-door, and there pawed
and whinnied for admission, in strains which were answered by his
acquaintances from the interior. Amid this bustle Brown was fain to
secure Wasp from the other dogs, who, with ardour corresponding more to
their own names than to the hospitable temper of their owner, were much
disposed to use the intruder roughly.

In about a minute a stout labourer was patting Dumple, and introducing
him into the stable, while Mrs. Dinmont, a well-favoured buxom dame,
welcomed her husband with unfeigned rapture. 'Eh, sirs! gudeman, ye hae
been a weary while away!'



CHAPTER XXIV

     Liddell till now, except in Doric lays,
     Tuned to her murmurs by her love-sick swains,
     Unknown in song, though not a purer stream
     Rolls towards the western main

          Art of Preserving Health.


The present store-farmers of the south of Scotland are a much more
refined race than their fathers, and the manners I am now to describe
have either altogether disappeared or are greatly modified. Without
losing the rural simplicity of manners, they now cultivate arts unknown
to the former generation, not only in the progressive improvement of
their possessions but in all the comforts of life. Their houses are
more commodious, their habits of life regulated so as better to keep
pace with those of the civilised world, and the best of luxuries, the
luxury of knowledge, has gained much ground among their hills during
the last thirty years. Deep drinking, formerly their greatest failing,
is now fast losing ground; and, while the frankness of their extensive
hospitality continues the same, it is, generally speaking, refined in
its character and restrained in its excesses.

'Deil's in the wife,' said Dandie Dinmont, shaking off his spouse's
embrace, but gently and with a look of great affection; 'deil's in ye,
Ailie; d'ye no see the stranger gentleman?'

Ailie turned to make her apology--'Troth, I was sae weel pleased to see
the gudeman, that--but, gude gracious! what's the matter wi' ye baith?'
for they were now in her little parlour, and the candle showed the
streaks of blood which Dinmont's wounded head had plentifully imparted
to the clothes of his companion as well as to his own. 'Ye've been
fighting again, Dandie, wi' some o' the Bewcastle horse-coupers! Wow,
man, a married man, wi' a bonny family like yours, should ken better
what a father's life's worth in the warld'; the tears stood in the good
woman's eyes as she spoke.

'Whisht! whisht! gudewife,' said her husband, with a smack that had
much more affection than ceremony in it; 'never mind, never mind;
there's a gentleman that will tell you that, just when I had ga'en up
to Lourie Lowther's, and had bidden the drinking of twa cheerers, and
gotten just in again upon the moss, and was whigging cannily awa hame,
twa landloupers jumpit out of a peat-hag on me or I was thinking, and
got me down, and knevelled me sair aneuch, or I could gar my whip walk
about their lugs; and troth, gudewife, if this honest gentleman hadna
come up, I would have gotten mair licks than I like, and lost mair
siller than I could weel spare; so ye maun be thankful to him for it,
under God.' With that he drew from his side-pocket a large greasy
leather pocket-book, and bade the gudewife lock it up in her kist.

'God bless the gentleman, and e'en God bless him wi' a' my heart; but
what can we do for him, but to gie him the meat and quarters we wadna
refuse to the poorest body on earth--unless (her eye directed to the
pocketbook, but with a feeling of natural propriety which made the
inference the most delicate possible), unless there was ony other
way--' Brown saw, and estimated at its due rate, the mixture of
simplicity and grateful generosity which took the downright way of
expressing itself, yet qualified with so much delicacy; he was aware
his own appearance, plain at best, and now torn and spattered with
blood, made him an object of pity at least, and perhaps of charity. He
hastened to say his name was Brown, a captain in the----regiment of
cavalry, travelling for pleasure, and on foot, both from motives of
independence and economy; and he begged his kind landlady would look at
her husband's wounds, the state of which he had refused to permit him
to examine. Mrs. Dinmont was used to her husband's broken heads more
than to the presence of a captain of dragoons. She therefore glanced at
a table-cloth not quite clean, and conned over her proposed supper a
minute or two, before, patting her husband on the shoulder, she bade
him sit down for 'a hard-headed loon, that was aye bringing himsell and
other folk into collie-shangies.'

When Dandie Dinmont, after executing two or three caprioles, and
cutting the Highland fling, by way of ridicule of his wife's anxiety,
at last deigned to sit down and commit his round, black, shaggy bullet
of a head to her inspection, Brown thought he had seen the regimental
surgeon look grave upon a more trifling case. The gudewife, however,
showed some knowledge of chirurgery; she cut away with her scissors the
gory locks whose stiffened and coagulated clusters interfered with her
operations, and clapped on the wound some lint besmeared with a
vulnerary salve, esteemed sovereign by the whole dale (which afforded
upon fair nights considerable experience of such cases); she then fixed
her plaster with a bandage, and, spite of her patient's resistance,
pulled over all a night-cap, to keep everything in its right place.
Some contusions on the brow and shoulders she fomented with brandy,
which the patient did not permit till the medicine had paid a heavy
toll to his mouth. Mrs. Dinmont then simply, but kindly, offered her
assistance to Brown.

He assured her he had no occasion for anything but the accommodation of
a basin and towel.

'And that's what I should have thought of sooner,' she said; 'and I did
think o't, but I durst na open the door, for there's a' the bairns,
poor things, sae keen to see their father.'

This explained a great drumming and whining at the door of the little
parlour, which had somewhat surprised Brown, though his kind landlady
had only noticed it by fastening the bolt as soon as she heard it
begin. But on her opening the door to seek the basin and towel (for she
never thought of showing the guest to a separate room), a whole tide of
white-headed urchins streamed in, some from the stable, where they had
been seeing Dumple, and giving him a welcome home with part of their
four-hours scones; others from the kitchen, where they had been
listening to old Elspeth's tales and ballads; and the youngest,
half-naked, out of bed, all roaring to see daddy, and to inquire what
he had brought home for them from the various fairs he had visited in
his peregrinations. Our knight of the broken head first kissed and
hugged them all round, then distributed whistles, penny-trumpets, and
gingerbread, and, lastly, when the tumult of their joy and welcome got
beyond bearing, exclaimed to his guest--'This is a' the gude-wife's
fault, Captain; she will gie the bairns a' their ain way.'

'Me! Lord help me,' said Ailie, who at that instant entered with the
basin and ewer, 'how can I help it? I have naething else to gie them,
poor things!'

Dinmont then exerted himself, and, between coaxing, threats, and
shoving, cleared the room of all the intruders excepting a boy and
girl, the two eldest of the family, who could, as he observed, behave
themselves 'distinctly.' For the same reason, but with less ceremony,
all the dogs were kicked out excepting the venerable patriarchs, old
Pepper and Mustard, whom frequent castigation and the advance of years
had inspired with such a share of passive hospitality that, after
mutual explanation and remonstrance in the shape of some growling, they
admitted Wasp, who had hitherto judged it safe to keep beneath his
master's chair, to a share of a dried-wedder's skin, which, with the
wool uppermost and unshorn, served all the purposes of a Bristol
hearth-rug.

The active bustle of the mistress (so she was called in the kitchen,
and the gudewife in the parlour) had already signed the fate of a
couple of fowls, which, for want of time to dress them otherwise, soon
appeared reeking from the gridiron, or brander, as Mrs. Dinmont
denominated it. A huge piece of cold beef-ham, eggs, butter, cakes, and
barley-meal bannocks in plenty made up the entertainment, which was to
be diluted with home-brewed ale of excellent quality and a case-bottle
of brandy. Few soldiers would find fault with such cheer after a day's
hard exercise and a skirmish to boot; accordingly Brown did great
honour to the eatables. While the gudewife partly aided, partly
instructed, a great stout servant girl, with cheeks as red as her
top-knot, to remove the supper matters and supply sugar and hot water
(which, in the damsel's anxiety to gaze upon an actual live captain,
she was in some danger of forgetting), Brown took an opportunity to ask
his host whether he did not repent of having neglected the gipsy's hint.

'Wha kens?' answered he; 'they're queer deevils; maybe I might just
have 'scaped ae gang to meet the other. And yet I'll no say that
neither; for if that randy wife was coming to Charlie's Hope, she
should have a pint bottle o' brandy and a pound o' tobacco to wear her
through the winter. They're queer deevils; as my auld father used to
say, they're warst where they're warst guided. After a', there's baith
gude and ill about the gipsies.'

This, and some other desultory conversation, served as a 'shoeing-horn'
to draw on another cup of ale and another 'cheerer,' as Dinmont termed
it in his country phrase, of brandy and water. Brown then resolutely
declined all further conviviality for that evening, pleading his own
weariness and the effects of the skirmish, being well aware that it
would have availed nothing to have remonstrated with his host on the
danger that excess might have occasioned to his own raw wound and
bloody coxcomb. A very small bed-room, but a very clean bed, received
the traveller, and the sheets made good the courteous vaunt of the
hostess, 'that they would be as pleasant as he could find ony gate, for
they were washed wi' the fairy-well water, and bleached on the bonny
white gowans, and bittled by Nelly and herself, and what could woman,
if she was a queen, do mair for them?'

They indeed rivalled snow in whiteness, and had, besides, a pleasant
fragrance from the manner in which they had been bleached. Little Wasp,
after licking his master's hand to ask leave, couched himself on the
coverlet at his feet; and the traveller's senses were soon lost in
grateful oblivion.



CHAPTER XXV

     Give ye, Britons, then,
     Your sportive fury, pitiless to pour
     Loose on the nightly robber of the fold.
     Him from his craggy winding haunts unearth'd,
     Let all the thunder of the chase pursue.

           THOMSON'S Seasons.


Brown rose early in the morning and walked out to look at the
establishment of his new friend. All was rough and neglected in the
neighbourhood of the house;--a paltry garden, no pains taken to make
the vicinity dry or comfortable, and a total absence of all those
little neatnesses which give the eye so much pleasure in looking at an
English farm-house. There were, notwithstanding, evident signs that
this arose only from want of taste or ignorance, not from poverty or
the negligence which attends it. On the contrary, a noble cow-house,
well filled with good milk-cows, a feeding-house, with ten bullocks of
the most approved breed, a stable, with two good teams of horses, the
appearance of domestics active, industrious, and apparently contented
with their lot; in a word, an air of liberal though sluttish plenty
indicated the wealthy farmer. The situation of the house above the
river formed a gentle declivity, which relieved the inhabitants of the
nuisances that might otherwise have stagnated around it. At a little
distance was the whole band of children playing and building houses
with peats around a huge doddered oak-tree, which was called Charlie's
Bush, from some tradition respecting an old freebooter who had once
inhabited the spot. Between the farm-house and the hill-pasture was a
deep morass, termed in that country a slack; it had once been the
defence of a fortalice, of which no vestiges now remained, but which
was said to have been inhabited by the same doughty hero we have now
alluded to. Brown endeavoured to make some acquaintance with the
children, but 'the rogues fled from him like quicksilver,' though the
two eldest stood peeping when they had got to some distance. The
traveller then turned his course towards the hill, crossing the
foresaid swamp by a range of stepping-stones, neither the broadest nor
steadiest that could be imagined. He had not climbed far up the hill
when he met a man descending.

He soon recognised his worthy host, though a 'maud,' as it is called,
or a grey shepherd's plaid, supplied his travelling jockey-coat, and a
cap, faced with wild-cat's fur, more commodiously covered his bandaged
head than a hat would have done. As he appeared through the morning
mist, Brown, accustomed to judge of men by their thewes and sinews,
could not help admiring his height, the breadth of his shoulders, and
the steady firmness of his step. Dinmont internally paid the same
compliment to Brown, whose athletic form he now perused somewhat more
at leisure than he had done formerly. After the usual greetings of the
morning, the guest inquired whether his host found any inconvenient
consequences from the last night's affray.

'I had maist forgotten't,' said the hardy Borderer; 'but I think this
morning, now that I am fresh and sober, if you and I were at the
Withershins' Latch, wi' ilka ane a gude oak souple in his hand, we
wadna turn back, no for half a dizzen o' yon scaff-raff.'

'But are you prudent, my good sir,' said Brown, 'not to take an hour or
two's repose after receiving such severe contusions?'

'Confusions!' replied the farmer, laughing in derision. 'Lord, Captain,
naething confuses my head. I ance jumped up and laid the dogs on the
fox after I had tumbled from the tap o' Christenbury Craig, and that
might have confused me to purpose. Na, naething confuses me, unless it
be a screed o' drink at an orra time. Besides, I behooved to be round
the hirsel this morning and see how the herds were coming on; they're
apt to be negligent wi' their footballs, and fairs, and trysts, when
ane's away. And there I met wi' Tarn o' Todshaw, and a wheen o' the
rest o' the billies on the water side; they're a' for a fox-hunt this
morning,--ye'll gang? I'll gie ye Dumple, and take the brood mare
mysell.'

'But I fear I must leave you this morning, Mr. Dinmont,' replied Brown.

'The fient a bit o' that,' exclaimed the Borderer. 'I'll no part wi' ye
at ony rate for a fortnight mair. Na, na; we dinna meet sic friends as
you on a Bewcastle moss every night.'

Brown had not designed his journey should be a speedy one; he therefore
readily compounded with this hearty invitation by agreeing to pass a
week at Charlie's Hope.

On their return to the house, where the goodwife presided over an ample
breakfast, she heard news of the proposed fox-hunt, not indeed with
approbation, but without alarm or surprise. 'Dand! ye're the auld man
yet; naething will make ye take warning till ye're brought hame some
day wi' your feet foremost.'

'Tut, lass!' answered Dandle, 'ye ken yoursell I am never a prin the
waur o' my rambles.'

So saying, he exhorted Brown to be hasty in despatching his breakfast,
as, 'the frost having given way, the scent would lie this morning
primely.'

Out they sallied accordingly for Otterscope Scaurs, the farmer leading
the way. They soon quitted the little valley, and involved themselves
among hills as steep as they could be without being precipitous. The
sides often presented gullies, down which, in the winter season, or
after heavy rain, the torrents descended with great fury. Some dappled
mists still floated along the peaks of the hills, the remains of the
morning clouds, for the frost had broken up with a smart shower.
Through these fleecy screens were seen a hundred little temporary
streamlets, or rills, descending the sides of the mountains like silver
threads. By small sheep-tracks along these steeps, over which Dinmont
trotted with the most fearless confidence, they at length drew near the
scene of sport, and began to see other men, both on horse and foot,
making toward the place of rendezvous. Brown was puzzling himself to
conceive how a fox-chase could take place among hills, where it was
barely possible for a pony, accustomed to the ground, to trot along,
but where, quitting the track for half a yard's breadth, the rider
might be either bogged or precipitated down the bank. This wonder was
not diminished when he came to the place of action.

They had gradually ascended very high, and now found themselves on a
mountain-ridge, overhanging a glen of great depth, but extremely
narrow. Here the sportsmen had collected, with an apparatus which would
have shocked a member of the Pychely Hunt; for, the object being the
removal of a noxious and destructive animal, as well as the pleasures
of the chase, poor Reynard was allowed much less fair play than when
pursued in form through an open country. The strength of his
habitation, however, and the nature of the ground by which it was
surrounded on all sides, supplied what was wanting in the courtesy of
his pursuers. The sides of the glen were broken banks of earth and
rocks of rotten stone, which sunk sheer down to the little winding
stream below, affording here and there a tuft of scathed brushwood or a
patch of furze. Along the edges of this ravine, which, as we have said,
was very narrow, but of profound depth, the hunters on horse and foot
ranged themselves; almost every farmer had with him at least a brace of
large and fierce greyhounds, of the race of those deer-dogs which were
formerly used in that country, but greatly lessened in size from being
crossed with the common breed. The huntsman, a sort of provincial
officer of the district, who receives a certain supply of meal, and a
reward for every fox he destroys, was already at the bottom of the
dell, whose echoes thundered to the chiding of two or three brace of
foxhounds. Terriers, including the whole generation of Pepper and
Mustard, were also in attendance, having been sent forward under the
care of a shepherd. Mongrel, whelp, and cur of low degree filled up the
burden of the chorus. The spectators on the brink of the ravine, or
glen, held their greyhounds in leash in readiness to slip them at the
fox as soon as the activity of the party below should force him to
abandon his cover.

The scene, though uncouth to the eye of a professed sportsman, had
something in it wildly captivating. The shifting figures on the
mountain-ridge, having the sky for their background, appeared to move
in the air. The dogs, impatient of their restraint, and maddened with
the baying beneath, sprung here and there, and strained at the slips,
which prevented them from joining their companions. Looking down, the
view was equally striking. The thin mists were not totally dispersed in
the glen, so that it was often through their gauzy medium that the eye
strove to discover the motions of the hunters below. Sometimes a breath
of wind made the scene visible, the blue rill glittering as it twined
itself through its rude and solitary dell. They then could see the
shepherds springing with fearless activity from one dangerous point to
another, and cheering the dogs on the scent, the whole so diminished by
depth and distance that they looked like pigmies. Again the mists close
over them, and the only signs of their continued exertions are the
halloos of the men and the clamours of the hounds, ascending as it were
out of the bowels of the earth. When the fox, thus persecuted from one
stronghold to another, was at length obliged to abandon his valley, and
to break away for a more distant retreat, those who watched his motions
from the top slipped their greyhounds, which, excelling the fox in
swiftness, and equalling him in ferocity and spirit, soon brought the
plunderer to his life's end.

In this way, without any attention to the ordinary rules and decorums
of sport, but apparently as much to the gratification both of bipeds
and quadrupeds as if all due ritual had been followed, four foxes were
killed on this active morning; and even Brown himself, though he had
seen the princely sports of India, and ridden a-tiger-hunting upon an
elephant with the Nabob of Arcot, professed to have received an
excellent morning's amusement. When the sport was given up for the day,
most of the sportsmen, according to the established hospitality of the
country, went to dine at Charlie's Hope.

During their return homeward Brown rode for a short time beside the
huntsman, and asked him some questions concerning the mode in which he
exercised his profession. The man showed an unwillingness to meet his
eye, and a disposition to be rid of his company and conversation, for
which Brown could not easily account. He was a thin, dark, active
fellow, well framed for the hardy profession which he exercised. But
his face had not the frankness of the jolly hunter; he was down-looked,
embarrassed, and avoided the eyes of those who looked hard at him.
After some unimportant observations on the success of the day, Brown
gave him a trifling gratuity, and rode on with his landlord. They found
the goodwife prepared for their reception; the fold and the
poultry-yard furnished the entertainment, and the kind and hearty
welcome made amends for all deficiencies in elegance and fashion.



CHAPTER XXVI

     The Elliots and Armstrongs did convene,
     They were a gallant company!

          Ballad of Johnnie Armstrong


Without noticing the occupations of an intervening day or two, which,
as they consisted of the ordinary silvan amusements of shooting and
coursing, have nothing sufficiently interesting to detain the reader,
we pass to one in some degree peculiar to Scotland, which may be called
a sort of salmon-hunting. This chase, in which the fish is pursued and
struck with barbed spears, or a sort of long-shafted trident, called a
waster, is much practised at the mouth of the Esk and in the other
salmon rivers of Scotland. The sport is followed by day and night, but
most commonly in the latter, when the fish are discovered by means of
torches, or fire-grates, filled with blazing fragments of tar-barrels,
which shed a strong though partial light upon the water. On the present
occasion the principal party were embarked in a crazy boat upon a part
of the river which was enlarged and deepened by the restraint of a
mill-wear, while others, like the ancient Bacchanals in their gambols,
ran along the banks, brandishing their torches and spears, and pursuing
the salmon, some of which endeavoured to escape up the stream, while
others, shrouding themselves under roots of trees, fragments of stones,
and large rocks, attempted to conceal themselves from the researches of
the fishermen. These the party in the boat detected by the slightest
indications; the twinkling of a fin, the rising of an airbell, was
sufficient to point out to these adroit sportsmen in what direction to
use their weapon.

The scene was inexpressibly animating to those accustomed to it; but,
as Brown was not practised to use the spear, he soon tired of making
efforts which were attended with no other consequences than jarring his
arms against the rocks at the bottom of the river, upon which, instead
of the devoted salmon, he often bestowed his blow. Nor did he relish,
though he concealed feelings which would not have been understood,
being quite so near the agonies of the expiring salmon, as they lay
flapping about in the boat, which they moistened with their blood. He
therefore requested to be put ashore, and, from the top of a heugh or
broken bank, enjoyed the scene much more to his satisfaction. Often he
thought of his friend Dudley the artist, when he observed the effect
produced by the strong red glare on the romantic banks under which the
boat glided. Now the light diminished to a distant star that seemed to
twinkle on the waters, like those which, according to the legends of
the country, the water-kelpy sends for the purpose of indicating the
watery grave of his victims. Then it advanced nearer, brightening and
enlarging as it again approached, till the broad flickering flame
rendered bank and rock and tree visible as it passed, tingeing them
with its own red glare of dusky light, and resigning them gradually to
darkness, or to pale moonlight, as it receded. By this light also were
seen the figures in the boat, now holding high their weapons, now
stooping to strike, now standing upright, bronzed by the same red glare
into a colour which might have befitted the regions of Pandemonium.

Having amused himself for some time with these effects of light and
shadow, Brown strolled homewards towards the farm-house, gazing in his
way at the persons engaged in the sport, two or three of whom are
generally kept together, one holding the torch, the others with their
spears, ready to avail themselves of the light it affords to strike
their prey. As he observed one man struggling with a very weighty
salmon which he had speared, but was unable completely to raise from
the water, Brown advanced close to the bank to see the issue of his
exertions. The man who held the torch in this instance was the
huntsman, whose sulky demeanour Brown had already noticed with
surprise. 'Come here, sir! come here, sir! look at this ane! He turns
up a side like a sow.' Such was the cry from the assistants when some
of them observed Brown advancing.

'Ground the waster weel, man! ground the waster weel! Haud him down! Ye
haena the pith o' a cat!' were the cries of advice, encouragement, and
expostulation from those who were on the bank to the sportsman engaged
with the salmon, who stood up to his middle in water, jingling among
broken ice, struggling against the force of the fish and the strength
of the current, and dubious in what manner he should attempt to secure
his booty. As Brown came to the edge of the bank, he called out--'Hold
up your torch, friend huntsman!' for he had already distinguished his
dusky features by the strong light cast upon them by the blaze. But the
fellow no sooner heard his voice, and saw, or rather concluded, it was
Brown who approached him, than, instead of advancing his light, he let
it drop, as if accidentally, into the water.

'The deil's in Gabriel!' said the spearman, as the fragments of glowing
wood floated half-blazing, half-sparkling, but soon extinguished, down
the stream. 'The deil's in the man! I'll never master him without the
light; and a braver kipper, could I but land him, never reisted abune a
pair o' cleeks.'[Footnote: See Note 4] Some dashed into the water to
lend their assistance, and the fish, which was afterwards found to
weigh nearly thirty pounds, was landed in safety.

The behaviour of the huntsman struck Brown, although he had no
recollection of his face, nor could conceive why he should, as it
appeared he evidently did, shun his observation. Could he be one of the
footpads he had encountered a few days before? The supposition was not
altogether improbable, although unwarranted by any observation he was
able to make upon the man's figure and face. To be sure the villains
wore their hats much slouched, and had loose coats, and their size was
not in any way so peculiarly discriminated as to enable him to resort
to that criterion. He resolved to speak to his host Dinmont on the
subject, but for obvious reasons concluded it were best to defer the
explanation until a cool hour in the morning.

The sportsmen returned loaded with fish, upwards of one hundred salmon
having been killed within the range of their sport. The best were
selected for the use of the principal farmers, the others divided among
their shepherds, cottars, dependents, and others of inferior rank who
attended. These fish, dried in the turf smoke of their cabins or
shealings, formed a savoury addition to the mess of potatoes, mixed
with onions, which was the principal part of their winter food. In the
meanwhile a liberal distribution of ale and whisky was made among them,
besides what was called a kettle of fish,--two or three salmon, namely,
plunged into a cauldron and boiled for their supper. Brown accompanied
his jolly landlord and the rest of his friends into the large and smoky
kitchen, where this savoury mess reeked on an oaken table, massive
enough to have dined Johnnie Armstrong and his merry-men. All was
hearty cheer and huzza, and jest and clamorous laughter, and bragging
alternately, and raillery between whiles. Our traveller looked
earnestly around for the dark countenance of the fox-hunter; but it was
nowhere to be seen.

At length he hazarded a question concerning him. 'That was an awkward
accident, my lads, of one of you, who dropped his torch in the water
when his companion was struggling with the large fish.'

'Awkward!' returned a shepherd, looking up (the same stout young fellow
who had speared the salmon); 'he deserved his paiks for't, to put out
the light when the fish was on ane's witters! I'm weel convinced
Gabriel drapped the roughies in the water on purpose; he doesna like to
see ony body do a thing better than himsell.'

'Ay,' said another, 'he's sair shamed o' himsell, else he would have
been up here the night; Gabriel likes a little o' the gude thing as
weel as ony o' us.'

'Is he of this country?' said Brown.

'Na, na, he's been but shortly in office, but he's a fell hunter; he's
frae down the country, some gate on the Dumfries side.'

'And what's his name, pray?'

'Gabriel.'

'But Gabriel what?'

'Oh, Lord kens that; we dinna mind folk's afternames muckle here, they
run sae muckle into clans.'

'Ye see, sir,' said an old shepherd, rising, and speaking very slow,
'the folks hereabout are a' Armstrongs and Elliots,[Footnote: See Note
5] and sic like--two or three given names--and so, for distinction's
sake, the lairds and farmers have the names of their places that they
live at; as, for example, Tam o' Todshaw, Will o' the Flat, Hobbie o'
Sorbietrees, and our good master here o' the Charlie's Hope. Aweel,
sir, and then the inferior sort o' people, ye'll observe, are kend by
sorts o' by-names some o' them, as Glaiket Christie, and the Deuke's
Davie, or maybe, like this lad Gabriel, by his employment; as, for
example, Tod Gabbie, or Hunter Gabbie. He's no been lang here, sir, and
I dinna think ony body kens him by ony other name. But it's no right to
rin him doun ahint his back, for he's a fell fox-hunter, though he's
maybe no just sae clever as some o' the folk hereawa wi' the waster.'

After some further desultory conversation, the superior sportsmen
retired to conclude the evening after their own manner, leaving the
others to enjoy themselves, unawed by their presence. That evening,
like all those which Brown had passed at Charlie's Hope, was spent in
much innocent mirth and conviviality. The latter might have approached
to the verge of riot but for the good women; for several of the
neighbouring mistresses (a phrase of a signification how different from
what it bears in more fashionable life!) had assembled at Charlie's
Hope to witness the event of this memorable evening. Finding the
punch-bowl was so often replenished that there was some danger of their
gracious presence being forgotten, they rushed in valorously upon the
recreant revellers, headed by our good mistress Ailie, so that Venus
speedily routed Bacchus. The fiddler and piper next made their
appearance, and the best part of the night was gallantly consumed in
dancing to their music.

An otter-hunt the next day, and a badger-baiting the day after,
consumed the time merrily. I hope our traveller will not sink in the
reader's estimation, sportsman though he may be, when I inform him that
on this last occasion, after young Pepper had lost a fore-foot and
Mustard the second had been nearly throttled, he begged, as a
particular and personal favour of Mr. Dinmont, that the poor badger,
who had made so gallant a defence, should be permitted to retire to his
earth without farther molestation.

The farmer, who would probably have treated this request with supreme
contempt had it come from any other person, was contented in Brown's
case to express the utter extremity of his wonder. 'Weel,' he said,
'that's queer aneugh! But since ye take his part, deil a tyke shall
meddle wi' him mair in my day. We'll e'en mark him, and ca' him the
Captain's brock; and I'm sure I'm glad I can do ony thing to oblige
you,--but, Lord save us, to care about a brock!'

After a week spent in rural sport, and distinguished by the most frank
attentions on the part of his honest landlord, Brown bade adieu to the
banks of the Liddel and the hospitality of Charlie's Hope. The
children, with all of whom he had now become an intimate and a
favourite, roared manfully in full chorus at his departure, and he was
obliged to promise twenty times that he would soon return and play over
all their favourite tunes upon the flageolet till they had got them by
heart. 'Come back again, Captain,' said one little sturdy fellow, 'and
Jenny will be your wife.' Jenny was about eleven years old; she ran and
hid herself behind her mammy.

'Captain, come back,' said a little fat roll-about girl of six, holding
her mouth up to be kissed, 'and I'll be your wife my ainsell.'

'They must be of harder mould than I,' thought Brown, 'who could part
from so many kind hearts with indifference.' The good dame too, with
matron modesty, and an affectionate simplicity that marked the olden
time, offered her cheek to the departing guest. 'It's little the like
of us can do,' she said, 'little indeed; but yet, if there were but ony
thing--'

'Now, my dear Mrs. Dinmont, you embolden me to make a request: would
you but have the kindness to weave me, or work me, just such a grey
plaid as the goodman wears?' He had learned the language and feelings
of the country even during the short time of his residence, and was
aware of the pleasure the request would confer.

'A tait o' woo' would be scarce amang us,' said the goodwife,
brightening, 'if ye shouldna hae that, and as gude a tweel as ever cam
aff a pirn. I'll speak to Johnnie Goodsire, the weaver at the
Castletown, the morn. Fare ye weel, sir! and may ye be just as happy
yoursell as ye like to see a' body else; and that would be a sair wish
to some folk.'

I must not omit to mention that our traveller left his trusty attendant
Wasp to be a guest at Charlie's Hope for a season. He foresaw that he
might prove a troublesome attendant in the event of his being in any
situation where secrecy and concealment might be necessary. He was
therefore consigned to the care of the eldest boy, who promised, in the
words of the old song, that he should have

     A bit of his supper, a bit of his bed,

and that he should be engaged in none of those perilous pastimes in
which the race of Mustard and Pepper had suffered frequent mutilation.
Brown now prepared for his journey, having taken a temporary farewell
of his trusty little companion.

There is an odd prejudice in these hills in favour of riding. Every
farmer rides well, and rides the whole day. Probably the extent of
their large pasture farms, and the necessity of surveying them rapidly,
first introduced this custom; or a very zealous antiquary might derive
it from the times of the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel,' when twenty
thousand horsemen assembled at the light of the beacon-fires.
[Footnote: It would be affectation to alter this reference. But the
reader will understand that it was inserted to keep up the author's
incognito, as he was not likely to be suspected of quoting his own
works. This explanation is also applicable to one or two similar
passages, in this and the other novels, introduced for the same
reason.] But the truth is undeniable; they like to be on horseback, and
can be with difficulty convinced that any one chooses walking from
other motives than those of convenience or necessity. Accordingly,
Dinmont insisted upon mounting his guest and accompanying him on
horseback as far as the nearest town in Dumfries-shire, where he had
directed his baggage to be sent, and from which he proposed to pursue
his intended journey towards Woodbourne, the residence of Julia
Mannering.

Upon the way he questioned his companion concerning the character of
the fox-hunter; but gained little information, as he had been called to
that office while Dinmont was making the round of the Highland fairs.
'He was a shake-rag like fellow,' he said, 'and, he dared to say, had
gipsy blood in his veins; but at ony rate he was nane o' the smaiks
that had been on their quarters in the moss; he would ken them weel if
he saw them again. There are some no bad folk amang the gipsies too, to
be sic a gang,' added Dandie; 'if ever I see that auld randle-tree of a
wife again, I'll gie her something to buy tobacco. I have a great
notion she meant me very fair after a'.'

When they were about finally to part, the good farmer held Brown long
by the hand, and at length said, 'Captain, the woo's sae weel up the
year that it's paid a' the rent, and we have naething to do wi' the
rest o' the siller when Ailie has had her new gown, and the bairns
their bits o' duds. Now I was thinking of some safe hand to put it
into, for it's ower muckle to ware on brandy and sugar; now I have
heard that you army gentlemen can sometimes buy yoursells up a step,
and if a hundred or twa would help ye on such an occasion, the bit
scrape o' your pen would be as good to me as the siller, and ye might
just take yer ain time o' settling it; it wad be a great convenience to
me.' Brown, who felt the full delicacy that wished to disguise the
conferring an obligation under the show of asking a favour, thanked his
grateful friend most heartily, and assured him he would have recourse
to his purse without scruple should circumstances ever render it
convenient for him. And thus they parted with many expressions of
mutual regard.



CHAPTER XXVII

     If thou hast any love of mercy in thee,
     Turn me upon my face that I may die.

           JOANNA BALLIE.


Our traveller hired a post-chaise at the place where he separated from
Dinmont, with the purpose of proceeding to Kippletringan, there to
inquire into the state of the family at Woodbourne, before he should
venture to make his presence in the country known to Miss Mannering.
The stage was a long one of eighteen or twenty miles, and the road lay
across the country. To add to the inconveniences of the journey, the
snow began to fall pretty quickly. The postilion, however, proceeded on
his journey for a good many miles without expressing doubt or
hesitation. It was not until the night was completely set in that he
intimated his apprehensions whether he was in the right road. The
increasing snow rendered this intimation rather alarming, for, as it
drove full in the lad's face and lay whitening all around him, it
served in two different ways to confuse his knowledge of the country,
and to diminish the chance of his recovering the right track. Brown
then himself got out and looked round, not, it may be well imagined,
from any better hope than that of seeing some house at which he might
make inquiry. But none appeared; he could therefore only tell the lad
to drive steadily on. The road on which they were ran through
plantations of considerable extent and depth, and the traveller
therefore conjectured that there must be a gentleman's house at no
great distance. At length, after struggling wearily on for about a
mile, the post-boy stopped, and protested his horses would not budge a
foot farther; 'but he saw,' he said, 'a light among the trees, which
must proceed from a house; the only way was to inquire the road there.'
Accordingly, he dismounted, heavily encumbered with a long great-coat
and a pair of boots which might have rivalled in thickness the
seven-fold shield of Ajax. As in this guise he was plodding forth upon
his voyage of discovery, Brown's impatience prevailed, and, jumping out
of the carriage, he desired the lad to stop where he was by the horses,
and he would himself go to the house; a command which the driver most
joyfully obeyed.

Our traveller groped along the side of the inclosure from which the
light glimmered, in order to find some mode of approaching in that
direction, and, after proceeding for some space, at length found a
stile in the hedge, and a pathway leading into the plantation, which in
that place was of great extent. This promised to lead to the light
which was the object of his search, and accordingly Brown proceeded in
that direction, but soon totally lost sight of it among the trees. The
path, which at first seemed broad and well marked by the opening of the
wood through which it winded, was now less easily distinguishable,
although the whiteness of the snow afforded some reflected light to
assist his search. Directing himself as much as possible through the
more open parts of the wood, he proceeded almost a mile without either
recovering a view of the light or seeing anything resembling a
habitation. Still, however, he thought it best to persevere in that
direction. It must surely have been a light in the hut of a forester,
for it shone too steadily to be the glimmer of an ignis fatuus. The
ground at length became broken and declined rapidly, and, although
Brown conceived he still moved along what had once at least been a
pathway, it was now very unequal, and the snow concealing those
breaches and inequalities, the traveller had one or two falls in
consequence. He began now to think of turning back, especially as the
falling snow, which his impatience had hitherto prevented his attending
to, was coming on thicker and faster.

Willing, however, to make a last effort, he still advanced a little
way, when to his great delight he beheld the light opposite at no great
distance, and apparently upon a level with him. He quickly found that
this last appearance was deception, for the ground continued so rapidly
to sink as made it obvious there was a deep dell, or ravine of some
kind, between him and the object of his search. Taking every precaution
to preserve his footing, he continued to descend until he reached the
bottom of a very steep and narrow glen, through which winded a small
rivulet, whose course was then almost choked with snow. He now found
himself embarrassed among the ruins of cottages, whose black gables,
rendered more distinguishable by the contrast with the whitened surface
from which they rose, were still standing; the side-walls had long
since given way to time, and, piled in shapeless heaps and covered with
snow, offered frequent and embarrassing obstacles to our traveller's
progress. Still, however, he persevered, crossed the rivulet, not
without some trouble, and at length, by exertions which became both
painful and perilous, ascended its opposite and very rugged bank, until
he came on a level with the building from which the gleam proceeded.

It was difficult, especially by so imperfect a light, to discover the
nature of this edifice; but it seemed a square building of small size,
the upper part of which was totally ruinous. It had, perhaps, been the
abode in former times of some lesser proprietor, or a place of strength
and concealment, in case of need, for one of greater importance. But
only the lower vault remained, the arch of which formed the roof in the
present state of the building. Brown first approached the place from
whence the light proceeded, which was a long narrow slit or loop-hole,
such as usually are to be found in old castles. Impelled by curiosity
to reconnoitre the interior of this strange place before he entered,
Brown gazed in at this aperture. A scene of greater desolation could
not well be imagined. There was a fire upon the floor, the smoke of
which, after circling through the apartment, escaped by a hole broken
in the arch above. The walls, seen by this smoky light, had the rude
and waste appearance of a ruin of three centuries old at least. A cask
or two, with some broken boxes and packages, lay about the place in
confusion. But the inmates chiefly occupied Brown's attention. Upon a
lair composed of straw, with a blanket stretched over it, lay a figure,
so still that, except that it was not dressed in the ordinary
habiliments of the grave, Brown would have concluded it to be a corpse.
On a steadier view he perceived it was only on the point of becoming
so, for he heard one or two of those low, deep, and hard-drawn sighs
that precede dissolution when the frame is tenacious of life. A female
figure, dressed in a long cloak, sate on a stone by this miserable
couch; her elbows rested upon her knees, and her face, averted from the
light of an iron lamp beside her, was bent upon that of the dying
person. She moistened his mouth from time to time with some liquid, and
between whiles sung, in a low monotonous cadence, one of those prayers,
or rather spells, which, in some parts of Scotland and the north of
England, are used by the vulgar and ignorant to speed the passage of a
parting spirit, like the tolling of the bell in Catholic days. She
accompanied this dismal sound with a slow rocking motion of her body to
and fro, as if to keep time with her song. The words ran nearly thus:--

     Wasted, weary, wherefore stay,
      Wrestling thus with earth and clay?
      From the body pass away.
           Hark! the mass is singing.

     From thee doff thy mortal weed,
      Mary Mother be thy speed,
      Saints to help thee at thy need.
           Hark! the knell is ringing.

     Fear not snow-drift driving fast,
      Sleet, or hail, or levin blast.
      Soon the shroud shall lap thee fast,
      And the sleep be on thee cast
           That shall ne'er know waking.

     Haste thee, haste thee, to be gone,
      Earth flits fast, and time draws on.
      Gasp thy gasp, and groan thy groan,
           Day is near the breaking.

The songstress paused, and was answered by one or two deep and hollow
groans, that seemed to proceed from the very agony of the mortal
strife. 'It will not be,' she muttered to herself; 'he cannot pass away
with that on his mind, it tethers him here--

     Heaven cannot abide it,
      Earth refuses to hide it.  [Footnote: See Note 6.]

I must open the door'; and, rising, she faced towards the door of the
apartment, observing heedfully not to turn back her head, and,
withdrawing a bolt or two (for, notwithstanding the miserable
appearance of the place, the door was cautiously secured), she lifted
the latch, saying,

     Open lock, end strife,
      Come death, and pass life.

Brown, who had by this time moved from his post, stood before her as
she opened the door. She stepped back a pace, and he entered, instantly
recognising, but with no comfortable sensation, the same gipsy woman
whom he had met in Bewcastle. She also knew him at once, and her
attitude, figure, and the anxiety of her countenance, assumed the
appearance of the well-disposed ogress of a fairy tale, warning a
stranger not to enter the dangerous castle of her husband. The first
words she spoke (holding up her hands in a reproving manner) were,
'Said I not to ye, Make not, meddle not? Beware of the redding straik!
[Footnote: The redding straik, namely, a blow received by a peacemaker
who interferes betwixt two combatants, to red or separate them, is
proverbially said to be the most dangerous blow a man can receive.] You
are come to no house o' fair-strae death.' So saying, she raised the
lamp and turned its light on the dying man, whose rude and harsh
features were now convulsed with the last agony. A roll of linen about
his head was stained with blood, which had soaked also through the
blankets and the straw. It was, indeed, under no natural disease that
the wretch was suffering. Brown started back from this horrible object,
and, turning to the gipsy, exclaimed, 'Wretched woman, who has done
this?'

'They that were permitted,' answered Meg Merrilies, while she scanned
with a close and keen glance the features of the expiring man. 'He has
had a sair struggle; but it's passing. I kenn'd he would pass when you
came in. That was the death-ruckle; he's dead.'

Sounds were now heard at a distance, as of voices. 'They are coming,'
said she to Brown; 'you are a dead man if ye had as mony lives as
hairs.' Brown eagerly looked round for some weapon of defence. There
was none near. He then rushed to the door with the intention of
plunging among the trees, and making his escape by flight from what he
now esteemed a den of murderers, but Merrilies held him with a
masculine grasp. 'Here,' she said, 'here, be still and you are safe;
stir not, whatever you see or hear, and nothing shall befall you.'

Brown, in these desperate circumstances, remembered this woman's
intimation formerly, and thought he had no chance of safety but in
obeying her. She caused him to couch down among a parcel of straw on
the opposite side of the apartment from the corpse, covered him
carefully, and flung over him two or three old sacks which lay about
the place. Anxious to observe what was to happen, Brown arranged as
softly as he could the means of peeping from under the coverings by
which he was hidden, and awaited with a throbbing heart the issue of
this strange and most unpleasant adventure. The old gipsy in the
meantime set about arranging the dead body, composing its limbs, and
straighting the arms by its side. 'Best to do this,' she muttered, 'ere
he stiffen.' She placed on the dead man's breast a trencher, with salt
sprinkled upon it, set one candle at the head and another at the feet
of the body, and lighted both. Then she resumed her song, and awaited
the approach of those whose voices had been heard without.

Brown was a soldier, and a brave one; but he was also a man, and at
this moment his fears mastered his courage so completely that the cold
drops burst out from every pore. The idea of being dragged out of his
miserable concealment by wretches whose trade was that of midnight
murder, without weapons or the slightest means of defence, except
entreaties, which would be only their sport, and cries for help, which
could never reach other ear than their own; his safety entrusted to the
precarious compassion of a being associated with these felons, and
whose trade of rapine and imposture must have hardened her against
every human feeling--the bitterness of his emotions almost choked him.
He endeavoured to read in her withered and dark countenance, as the
lamp threw its light upon her features, something that promised those
feelings of compassion which females, even in their most degraded
state, can seldom altogether smother. There was no such touch of
humanity about this woman. The interest, whatever it was, that
determined her in his favour arose not from the impulse of compassion,
but from some internal, and probably capricious, association of
feelings, to which he had no clue. It rested, perhaps, on a fancied
likeness, such as Lady Macbeth found to her father in the sleeping
monarch. Such were the reflections that passed in rapid succession
through Brown's mind as he gazed from his hiding-place upon this
extraordinary personage. Meantime the gang did not yet approach, and he
was almost prompted to resume his original intention of attempting an
escape from the hut, and cursed internally his own irresolution, which
had consented to his being cooped up where he had neither room for
resistance nor flight.

Meg Merrilies seemed equally on the watch. She bent her ear to every
sound that whistled round the old walls. Then she turned again to the
dead body, and found something new to arrange or alter in its position.
'He's a bonny corpse,' she muttered to herself, 'and weel worth the
streaking.' And in this dismal occupation she appeared to feel a sort
of professional pleasure, entering slowly into all the minutise, as if
with the skill and feelings of a connoisseur. A long, dark-coloured
sea-cloak, which she dragged out of a corner, was disposed for a pall.
The face she left bare, after closing the mouth and eyes, and arranged
the capes of the cloak so as to hide the bloody bandages, and give the
body, as she muttered, 'a mair decent appearance.'

At once three or four men, equally ruffians in appearance and dress,
rushed into the hut. 'Meg, ye limb of Satan, how dare you leave the
door open?' was the first salutation of the party.

'And wha ever heard of a door being barred when a man was in the
dead-thraw? how d'ye think the spirit was to get awa through bolts and
bars like thae?'

'Is he dead, then?' said one who went to the side of the couch to look
at the body.

'Ay, ay, dead enough,' said another; 'but here's what shall give him a
rousing lykewake.' So saying, he fetched a keg of spirits from a
corner, while Meg hastened to display pipes and tobacco. From the
activity with which she undertook the task, Brown conceived good hope
of her fidelity towards her guest. It was obvious that she wished to
engage the ruffians in their debauch, to prevent the discovery which
might take place if by accident any of them should approach too nearly
the place of Brown's concealment.



CHAPTER XXVIII

     Nor board nor garner own we now,
      Nor roof nor latched door,
     Nor kind mate, bound, by holy vow,
      To bless a good man's store
     Noon lulls us in a gloomy den,
      And night is grown our day;
     Uprouse ye, then, my merry men!
      And use it as ye may

          JOANNA BAILLIE.


Brown could now reckon his foes: they were five in number; two of them
were very powerful men, who appeared to be either real seamen or
strollers who assumed that character; the other three, an old man and
two lads, were slighter made, and, from their black hair and dark
complexion, seemed to belong to Meg's tribe. They passed from one to
another the cup out of which they drank their spirits. 'Here's to his
good voyage!' said one of the seamen, drinking; 'a squally night he's
got, however, to drift through the sky in.'

We omit here various execrations with which these honest gentlemen
garnished their discourse, retaining only such of their expletives as
are least offensive.

''A does not mind wind and weather; 'a has had many a north-easter in
his day.'

'He had his last yesterday,' said another gruffly; 'and now old Meg may
pray for his last fair wind, as she's often done before.'

'I'll pray for nane o' him,' said Meg, 'nor for you neither, you randy
dog. The times are sair altered since I was a kinchen-mort. Men were
men then, and fought other in the open field, and there was nae milling
in the darkmans. And the gentry had kind hearts, and would have given
baith lap and pannel to ony puir gipsy; and there was not one, from
Johnnie Faa the upright man to little Christie that was in the
panniers, would cloyed a dud from them. But ye are a' altered from the
gude auld rules, and no wonder that you scour the cramp-ring and trine
to the cheat sae often. Yes, ye are a' altered: you'll eat the
goodman's meat, drink his drink, sleep on the strammel in his barn, and
break his house and cut his throat for his pains! There's blood on your
hands, too, ye dogs, mair than ever came there by fair righting. See
how ye'll die then. Lang it was ere he died; he strove, and strove
sair, and could neither die nor live; but you--half the country will
see how ye'll grace the woodie.'

The party set up a hoarse laugh at Meg's prophecy.

'What made you come back here, ye auld beldam?' said one of the
gipsies; 'could ye not have staid where you were, and spaed fortunes to
the Cumberland flats? Bing out and tour, ye auld devil, and see that
nobody has scented; that's a' you're good for now.'

'Is that a' I am good for now?' said the indignant matron. 'I was good
for mair than that in the great fight between our folk and Patrico
Salmon's; if I had not helped you with these very fambles (holding up
her hands), Jean Baillie would have frummagem'd you, ye feckless
do-little!'

There was here another laugh at the expense of the hero who had
received this amazon's assistance.

'Here, mother,' said one of the sailors, 'here's a cup of the right for
you, and never mind that bully-huff.'

Meg drank the spirits, and, withdrawing herself from farther
conversation, sat down before the spot where Brown lay hid, in such a
posture that it would have been difficult for any one to have
approached it without her rising. The men, however, showed no
disposition to disturb her.

They closed around the fire and held deep consultation together; but
the low tone in which they spoke, and the cant language which they
used, prevented Brown from understanding much of their conversation. He
gathered in general that they expressed great indignation against some
individual. 'He shall have his gruel,' said one, and then whispered
something very low into the ear of his comrade.

'I'll have nothing to do with that,' said the other.

'Are you turned hen-hearted, Jack?'

'No, by G-d, no more than yourself, but I won't. It was something like
that stopped all the trade fifteen or twenty years ago. You have heard
of the Loup?'

'I have heard HIM (indicating the corpse by a jerk of his head) tell
about that job. G-d, how he used to laugh when he showed us how he
fetched him off the perch!'

'Well, but it did up the trade for one while,' said Jack.

'How should that be?' asked the surly villain.

'Why,' replied Jack, 'the people got rusty about it, and would not
deal, and they had bought so many brooms that--'

'Well, for all that,' said the other, 'I think we should be down upon
the fellow one of these darkmans and let him get it well.'

'But old Meg's asleep now,' said another; 'she grows a driveller, and
is afraid of her shadow. She'll sing out, some of these
odd-come-shortlies, if you don't look sharp.'

'Never fear,' said the old gipsy man; 'Meg's true-bred; she's the last
in the gang that will start; but she has some queer ways, and often
cuts queer words.'

With more of this gibberish they continued the conversation, rendering
it thus, even to each other, a dark obscure dialect, eked out by
significant nods and signs, but never expressing distinctly, or in
plain language, the subject on which it turned. At length one of them,
observing Meg was still fast asleep, or appeared to be so, desired one
of the lads 'to hand in the black Peter, that they might flick it
open.' The boy stepped to the door and brought in a portmanteau, which
Brown instantly recognised for his own. His thoughts immediately turned
to the unfortunate lad he had left with the carriage. Had the ruffians
murdered him? was the horrible doubt that crossed his mind. The agony
of his attention grew yet keener, and while the villains pulled out and
admired the different articles of his clothes and linen, he eagerly
listened for some indication that might intimate the fate of the
postilion. But the ruffians were too much delighted with their prize,
and too much busied in examining its contents, to enter into any detail
concerning the manner in which they had acquired it. The portmanteau
contained various articles of apparel, a pair of pistols, a leathern
case with a few papers, and some money, etc., etc. At any other time it
would have provoked Brown excessively to see the unceremonious manner
in which the thieves shared his property, and made themselves merry at
the expense of the owner. But the moment was too perilous to admit any
thoughts but what had immediate reference to self-preservation.

After a sufficient scrutiny into the portmanteau, and an equitable
division of its contents, the ruffians applied themselves more closely
to the serious occupation of drinking, in which they spent the greater
part of the night. Brown was for some time in great hopes that they
would drink so deep as to render themselves insensible, when his escape
would have been an easy matter. But their dangerous trade required
precautions inconsistent with such unlimited indulgence, and they
stopped short on this side of absolute intoxication. Three of them at
length composed themselves to rest, while the fourth watched. He was
relieved in this duty by one of the others after a vigil of two hours.
When the second watch had elapsed, the sentinel awakened the whole,
who, to Brown's inexpressible relief, began to make some preparations
as if for departure, bundling up the various articles which each had
appropriated. Still, however, there remained something to be done. Two
of them, after some rummaging which not a little alarmed Brown,
produced a mattock and shovel; another took a pickaxe from behind the
straw on which the dead body was extended. With these implements two of
them left the hut, and the remaining three, two of whom were the
seamen, very strong men, still remained in garrison.

After the space of about half an hour, one of those who had departed
again returned, and whispered the others. They wrapped up the dead body
in the sea cloak which had served as a pall, and went out, bearing it
along with them. The aged sibyl then arose from her real or feigned
slumbers. She first went to the door, as if for the purpose of watching
the departure of her late inmates, then returned, and commanded Brown,
in a low and stifled voice, to follow her instantly. He obeyed; but, on
leaving the hut, he would willingly have repossessed himself of his
money, or papers at least, but this she prohibited in the most
peremptory manner. It immediately occurred to him that the suspicion of
having removed anything of which he might repossess himself would fall
upon this woman, by whom in all probability his life had been saved. He
therefore immediately desisted from his attempt, contenting himself
with seizing a cutlass, which one of the ruffians had flung aside among
the straw. On his feet, and possessed of this weapon, he already found
himself half delivered from the dangers which beset him. Still,
however, he felt stiffened and cramped, both with the cold and by the
constrained and unaltered position which he had occupied all night.
But, as he followed the gipsy from the door of the hut, the fresh air
of the morning and the action of walking restored circulation and
activity to his benumbed limbs.

The pale light of a winter's morning was rendered more clear by the
snow, which was lying all around, crisped by the influence of a severe
frost. Brown cast a hasty glance at the landscape around him, that he
might be able again to know the spot. The little tower, of which only a
single vault remained, forming the dismal apartment in which he had
spent this remarkable night, was perched on the very point of a
projecting rock overhanging the rivulet. It was accessible only on one
side, and that from the ravine or glen below. On the other three sides
the bank was precipitous, so that Brown had on the preceding evening
escaped more dangers than one; for, if he had attempted to go round the
building, which was once his purpose, he must have been dashed to
pieces. The dell was so narrow that the trees met in some places from
the opposite sides. They were now loaded with snow instead of leaves,
and thus formed a sort of frozen canopy over the rivulet beneath, which
was marked by its darker colour, as it soaked its way obscurely through
wreaths of snow. In one place, where the glen was a little wider,
leaving a small piece of flat ground between the rivulet and the bank,
were situated the ruins of the hamlet in which Brown had been involved
on the preceding evening. The ruined gables, the insides of which were
japanned with turf-smoke, looked yet blacker contrasted with the
patches of snow which had been driven against them by the wind, and
with the drifts which lay around them.

Upon this wintry and dismal scene Brown could only at present cast a
very hasty glance; for his guide, after pausing an instant as if to
permit him to indulge his curiosity, strode hastily before him down the
path which led into the glen. He observed, with some feelings of
suspicion, that she chose a track already marked by several feet, which
he could only suppose were those of the depredators who had spent the
night in the vault. A moment's recollection, however, put his
suspicions to rest. It was not to be thought that the woman, who might
have delivered him up to her gang when in a state totally defenceless,
would have suspended her supposed treachery until he was armed and in
the open air, and had so many better chances of defence or escape. He
therefore followed his guide in confidence and silence. They crossed
the small brook at the same place where it previously had been passed
by those who had gone before. The footmarks then proceeded through the
ruined village, and from thence down the glen, which again narrowed to
a ravine, after the small opening in which they were situated. But the
gipsy no longer followed the same track; she turned aside, and led the
way by a very rugged and uneven path up the bank which overhung the
village. Although the snow in many places hid the pathway, and rendered
the footing uncertain and unsafe, Meg proceeded with a firm and
determined step, which indicated an intimate knowledge of the ground
she traversed. At length they gained the top of the bank, though by a
passage so steep and intricate that Brown, though convinced it was the
same by which he had descended on the night before, was not a little
surprised how he had accomplished the task without breaking his neck.
Above, the country opened wide and uninclosed for about a mile or two
on the one hand, and on the other were thick plantations of
considerable extent.

Meg, however, still led the way along the bank of the ravine out of
which they had ascended, until she heard beneath the murmur of voices.
She then pointed to a deep plantation of trees at some distance. 'The
road to Kippletringan,' she said, 'is on the other side of these
inclosures. Make the speed ye can; there's mair rests on your life than
other folk's. But you have lost all--stay.' She fumbled in an immense
pocket, from which she produced a greasy purse--'Many's the awmous your
house has gi'en Meg and hers; and she has lived to pay it back in a
small degree;' and she placed the purse in his hand.

'The woman is insane,' thought Brown; but it was no time to debate the
point, for the sounds he heard in the ravine below probably proceeded
from the banditti. 'How shall I repay this money,' he said, 'or how
acknowledge the kindness you have done me?'

'I hae twa boons to crave,' answered the sibyl, speaking low and
hastily: 'one, that you will never speak of what you have seen this
night; the other, that you will not leave this country till you see me
again, and that you leave word at the Gordon Arms where you are to be
heard of, and when I next call for you, be it in church or market, at
wedding or at burial, Sunday or Saturday, mealtime or fasting, that ye
leave everything else and come with me.'

'Why, that will do you little good, mother.'

'But 'twill do yoursell muckle, and that's what I'm thinking o'. I am
not mad, although I have had eneugh to make me sae; I am not mad, nor
doating, nor drunken. I know what I am asking, and I know it has been
the will of God to preserve you in strange dangers, and that I shall be
the instrument to set you in your father's seat again. Sae give me your
promise, and mind that you owe your life to me this blessed night.'

'There's wildness in her manner, certainly,' thought Brown, 'and yet it
is more like the wildness of energy than of madness.'--'Well, mother,
since you do ask so useless and trifling a favour, you have my promise.
It will at least give me an opportunity to repay your money with
additions. You are an uncommon kind of creditor, no doubt, but--'

'Away, away, then!' said she, waving her hand. 'Think not about the
goud, it's a' your ain; but remember your promise, and do not dare to
follow me or look after me.' So saying, she plunged again into the
dell, and descended it with great agility, the icicles and snow-wreaths
showering down after her as she disappeared.

Notwithstanding her prohibition, Brown endeavoured to gain some point
of the bank from which he might, unseen, gaze down into the glen; and
with some difficulty (for it must be conceived that the utmost caution
was necessary) he succeeded. The spot which he attained for this
purpose was the point of a projecting rock, which rose precipitously
from among the trees. By kneeling down among the snow and stretching
his head cautiously forward, he could observe what was going on in the
bottom of the dell. He saw, as he expected, his companions of the last
night, now joined by two or three others. They had cleared away the
snow from the foot of the rock and dug a deep pit, which was designed
to serve the purpose of a grave. Around this they now stood, and
lowered into it something wrapped in a naval cloak, which Brown
instantly concluded to be the dead body of the man he had seen expire.
They then stood silent for half a minute, as if under some touch of
feeling for the loss of their companion. But if they experienced such,
they did not long remain under its influence, for all hands went
presently to work to fill up the grave; and Brown, perceiving that the
task would be soon ended, thought it best to take the gipsy woman's
hint and walk as fast as possible until he should gain the shelter of
the plantation.

Having arrived under cover of the trees, his first thought was of the
gipsy's purse. He had accepted it without hesitation, though with
something like a feeling of degradation, arising from the character of
the person by whom he was thus accommodated. But it relieved him from a
serious though temporary embarrassment. His money, excepting a very few
shillings, was in his portmanteau, and that was in possession of Meg's
friends. Some time was necessary to write to his agent, or even to
apply to his good host at Charlie's Hope, who would gladly have
supplied him. In the meantime he resolved to avail himself of Meg's
subsidy, confident he should have a speedy opportunity of replacing it
with a handsome gratuity. 'It can be but a trifling sum,' he said to
himself, 'and I daresay the good lady may have a share of my banknotes
to make amends.'

With these reflections he opened the leathern purse, expecting to find
at most three or four guineas. But how much was he surprised to
discover that it contained, besides a considerable quantity of gold
pieces, of different coinages and various countries, the joint amount
of which could not be short of a hundred pounds, several valuable rings
and ornaments set with jewels, and, as appeared from the slight
inspection he had time to give them, of very considerable value.

Brown was equally astonished and embarrassed by the circumstances in
which he found himself, possessed, as he now appeared to be, of
property to a much greater amount than his own, but which had been
obtained in all probability by the same nefarious means through which
he had himself been plundered. His first thought was to inquire after
the nearest justice of peace, and to place in his hands the treasure of
which he had thus unexpectedly become the depositary, telling at the
same time his own remarkable story. But a moment's consideration
brought several objections to this mode of procedure In the first
place, by observing this course he should break his promise of silence,
and might probably by that means involve the safety, perhaps the life,
of this woman, who had risked her own to preserve his, and who had
voluntarily endowed him with this treasure--a generosity which might
thus become the means of her ruin. This was not to be thought of.
Besides, he was a stranger, and for a time at least unprovided with
means of establishing his own character and credit to the satisfaction
of a stupid or obstinate country magistrate. 'I will think over the
matter more maturely,' he said; 'perhaps there may be a regiment
quartered at the county town, in which case my knowledge of the service
and acquaintance with many officers of the army cannot fail to
establish my situation and character by evidence which a civil judge
could not sufficiently estimate. And then I shall have the commanding
officer's assistance in managing matters so as to screen this unhappy
madwoman, whose mistake or prejudice has been so fortunate for me. A
civil magistrate might think himself obliged to send out warrants for
her at once, and the consequence, in case of her being taken, is pretty
evident. No, she has been upon honour with me if she were the devil,
and I will be equally upon honour with her. She shall have the
privilege of a court-martial, where the point of honour can qualify
strict law. Besides, I may see her at this place, Kipple--Couple--what
did she call it? and then I can make restitution to her, and e'en let
the law claim its own when it can secure her. In the meanwhile,
however, I cut rather an awkward figure for one who has the honour to
bear his Majesty's commission, being little better than the receiver of
stolen goods.'

With these reflections, Brown took from the gipsy's treasure three or
four guineas, for the purpose of his immediate expenses, and, tying up
the rest in the purse which contained them, resolved not again to open
it until he could either restore it to her by whom it was given, or put
it into the hands of some public functionary. He next thought of the
cutlass, and his first impulse was to leave it in the plantation. But,
when he considered the risk of meeting with these ruffians, he could
not resolve on parting with his arms. His walking-dress, though plain,
had so much of a military character as suited not amiss with his having
such a weapon. Besides, though the custom of wearing swords by persons
out of uniform had been gradually becoming antiquated, it was not yet
so totally forgotten as to occasion any particular remark towards those
who chose to adhere to it. Retaining, therefore, his weapon of defence,
and placing the purse of the gipsy in a private pocket, our traveller
strode gallantly on through the wood in search of the promised highroad.



CHAPTER XXIX

    All school day's friendship childhood innocence'
     We Hermia like two artificial gods
     Have with our needles created both one flower,
     Both on one sampler sitting on one cushion,
     Both warbling of one song both in one key
     As if our hands our sides, voices and minds
     Had been incorporate

          A Midsummer Night's Dream


JULIA MANNERING TO MATILDA MARCHMONT

'How can you upbraid me, my dearest Matilda, with abatement in
friendship or fluctuation in affection? Is it possible for me to forget
that you are the chosen of my heart, in whose faithful bosom I have
deposited every feeling which your poor Julia dares to acknowledge to
herself? And you do me equal injustice in upbraiding me with exchanging
your friendship for that of Lucy Bertram. I assure you she has not the
materials I must seek for in a bosom confidante. She is a charming
girl, to be sure, and I like her very much, and I confess our forenoon
and evening engagements have left me less time for the exercise of my
pen than our proposed regularity of correspondence demands. But she is
totally devoid of elegant accomplishments, excepting the knowledge of
French and Italian, which she acquired from the most grotesque monster
you ever beheld, whom my father has engaged as a kind of librarian, and
whom he patronises, I believe, to show his defiance of the world's
opinion. Colonel Mannering seems to have formed a determination that
nothing shall be considered as ridiculous so long as it appertains to
or is connected with him. I remember in India he had picked up
somewhere a little mongrel cur, with bandy legs, a long back, and huge
flapping ears. Of this uncouth creature he chose to make a favourite,
in despite of all taste and opinion; and I remember one instance which
he alleged, of what he called Brown's petulance, was, that he had
criticised severely the crooked legs and drooping ears of Bingo. On my
word, Matilda, I believe he nurses his high opinion of this most
awkward of all pedants upon a similar principle. He seats the creature
at table, where he pronounces a grace that sounds like the scream of
the man in the square that used to cry mackerel, flings his meat down
his throat by shovelfuls, like a dustman loading his cart, and
apparently without the most distant perception of what he is
swallowing, then bleats forth another unnatural set of tones by way of
returning thanks, stalks out of the room, and immerses himself among a
parcel of huge worm-eaten folios that are as uncouth as himself! I
could endure the creature well enough had I anybody to laugh at him
along with me; but Lucy Bertram, if I but verge on the border of a jest
affecting this same Mr. Sampson (such is the horrid man's horrid name),
looks so piteous that it deprives me of all spirit to proceed, and my
father knits his brow, flashes fire from his eye, bites his lip, and
says something that is extremely rude and uncomfortable to my feelings.

'It was not of this creature, however, that I meant to speak to you,
only that, being a good scholar in the modern as well as the ancient
languages, he has contrived to make Lucy Bertram mistress of the
former, and she has only, I believe, to thank her own good sense, or
obstinacy, that the Greek, Latin (and Hebrew, for aught I know), were
not added to her acquisitions. And thus she really has a great fund of
information, and I assure you I am daily surprised at the power which
she seems to possess of amusing herself by recalling and arranging the
subjects of her former reading. We read together every morning, and I
begin to like Italian much better than when we were teased by that
conceited animal Cicipici. This is the way to spell his name, and not
Chichipichi; you see I grow a connoisseur.

'But perhaps I like Miss Bertram more for the accomplishments she wants
than for the knowledge she possesses. She knows nothing of music
whatever, and no more of dancing than is here common to the meanest
peasants, who, by the way, dance with great zeal and spirit. So that I
am instructor in my turn, and she takes with great gratitude lessons
from me upon the harpsichord; and I have even taught her some of La
Pique's steps, and you know he thought me a promising scholar.

'In the evening papa often reads, and I assure you he is the best
reader of poetry you ever heard; not like that actor who made a kind of
jumble between reading and acting,--staring, and bending his brow, and
twisting his face, and gesticulating as if he were on the stage and
dressed out in all his costume. My father's manner is quite different;
it is the reading of a gentleman, who produces effect by feeling,
taste, and inflection of voice, not by action or mummery. Lucy Bertram
rides remarkably well, and I can now accompany her on horseback, having
become emboldened by example. We walk also a good deal in spite of the
cold. So, upon the whole, I have not quite so much time for writing as
I used to have.

'Besides, my love, I must really use the apology of all stupid
correspondents, that I have nothing to say. My hopes, my fears, my
anxieties about Brown are of a less interesting cast since I know that
he is at liberty and in health. Besides, I must own I think that by
this time the gentleman might have given me some intimation what he was
doing. Our intercourse may be an imprudent one, but it is not very
complimentary to me that Mr. Vanbeest Brown should be the first to
discover that such is the case, and to break off in consequence. I can
promise him that we might not differ much in opinion should that happen
to be his, for I have sometimes thought I have behaved extremely
foolishly in that matter. Yet I have so good an opinion of poor Brown,
that I cannot but think there is something extraordinary in his silence.

'To return to Lucy Bertram. No, my dearest Matilda, she can never,
never rival you in my regard, so that all your affectionate jealousy on
that account is without foundation. She is, to be sure, a very pretty,
a very sensible, a very affectionate girl, and I think there are few
persons to whose consolatory friendship I could have recourse more
freely in what are called the real evils of life. But then these so
seldom come in one's way, and one wants a friend who will sympathise
with distresses of sentiment as well as with actual misfortune. Heaven
knows, and you know, my dearest Matilda, that these diseases of the
heart require the balm of sympathy and affection as much as the evils
of a more obvious and determinate character. Now Lucy Bertram has
nothing of this kindly sympathy, nothing at all, my dearest Matilda.
Were I sick of a fever, she would sit up night after night to nurse me
with the most unrepining patience; but with the fever of the heart,
which my Matilda has soothed so often, she has no more sympathy than
her old tutor. And yet what provokes me is, that the demure monkey
actually has a lover of her own, and that their mutual affection (for
mutual I take it to be) has a great deal of complicated and romantic
interest. She was once, you must know, a great heiress, but was ruined
by the prodigality of her father and the villainy of a horrid man in
whom he confided. And one of the handsomest young gentlemen in the
country is attached to her; but, as he is heir to a great estate, she
discourages his addresses on account of the disproportion of their
fortune.

'But with all this moderation, and self-denial, and modesty, and so
forth, Lucy is a sly girl. I am sure she loves young Hazlewood, and I
am sure he has some guess of that, and would probably bring her to
acknowledge it too if my father or she would allow him an opportunity.
But you must know the Colonel is always himself in the way to pay Miss
Bertram those attentions which afford the best indirect opportunities
for a young gentleman in Hazlewood's situation. I would have my good
papa take care that he does not himself pay the usual penalty of
meddling folks. I assure you, if I were Hazlewood I should look on his
compliments, his bowings, his cloakings, his shawlings, and his
handings with some little suspicion; and truly I think Hazlewood does
so too at some odd times. Then imagine what a silly figure your poor
Julia makes on such occasions! Here is my father making the agreeable
to my friend; there is young Hazlewood watching every word of her lips,
and every motion of her eye; and I have not the poor satisfaction of
interesting a human being, not even the exotic monster of a parson, for
even he sits with his mouth open, and his huge round goggling eyes
fixed like those of a statue, admiring Mess Baartram!

'All this makes me sometimes a little nervous, and sometimes a little
mischievous. I was so provoked at my father and the lovers the other
day for turning me completely out of their thoughts and society, that I
began an attack upon Hazlewood, from which it was impossible for him,
in common civility, to escape. He insensibly became warm in his
defence,--I assure you, Matilda, he is a very clever as well as a very
handsome young man, and I don't think I ever remember having seen him
to the same advantage,--when, behold, in the midst of our lively
conversation, a very soft sigh from Miss Lucy reached my not
ungratified ears. I was greatly too generous to prosecute my victory
any farther, even if I had not been afraid of papa. Luckily for me, he
had at that moment got into a long description of the peculiar notions
and manners of a certain tribe of Indians who live far up the country,
and was illustrating them by making drawings on Miss Bertram's
work-patterns, three of which he utterly damaged by introducing among
the intricacies of the pattern his specimens of Oriental costume. But I
believe she thought as little of her own gown at the moment as of the
Indian turbands and cummerbands. However, it was quite as well for me
that he did not see all the merit of my little manoeuvre, for he is as
sharp-sighted as a hawk, and a sworn enemy to the slightest shade of
coquetry.

'Well, Matilda, Hazlewood heard this same halfaudible sigh, and
instantly repented his temporary attentions to such an unworthy object
as your Julia, and, with a very comical expression of consciousness,
drew near to Lucy's work-table. He made some trifling observation, and
her reply was one in which nothing but an ear as acute as that of a
lover, or a curious observer like myself, could have distinguished
anything more cold and dry than usual. But it conveyed reproof to the
self-accusing hero, and he stood abashed accordingly. You will admit
that I was called upon in generosity to act as mediator. So I mingled
in the conversation, in the quiet tone of an unobserving and
uninterested third party, led them into their former habits of easy
chat, and, after having served awhile as the channel of communication
through which they chose to address each other, set them down to a
pensive game at chess, and very dutifully went to tease papa, who was
still busied with his drawings. The chess-players, you must observe,
were placed near the chimney, beside a little work-table, which held
the board and men, the Colonel at some distance, with lights upon a
library table; for it is a large old-fashioned room, with several
recesses, and hung with grim tapestry, representing what it might have
puzzled the artist himself to explain.

'"Is chess a very interesting game, papa?"

'"I am told so," without honouring me with much of his notice.

'"I should think so, from the attention Mr. Hazlewood and Lucy are
bestowing on it."

'He raised his head "hastily and held his pencil suspended for an
instant. Apparently he saw nothing that excited his suspicions, for he
was resuming the folds of a Mahratta's turban in tranquillity when I
interrupted him with--"How old is Miss Bertram, sir?"

"'How should I know, Miss? About your own age, I suppose."

'"Older, I should think, sir. You are always telling me how much more
decorously she goes through all the honours of the tea-table. Lord,
papa, what if you should give her a right to preside once and for ever!"

'"Julia, my dear," returned papa, "you are either a fool outright or
you are more disposed to make mischief than I have yet believed you."

'"Oh, my dear sir! put your best construction upon it; I would not be
thought a fool for all the world."

'"Then why do you talk like one?" said my father.

'"Lord, sir, I am sure there is nothing so foolish in what I said just
now. Everybody knows you are a very handsome man" (a smile was just
visible), "that is, for your time of life" (the dawn was overcast),
"which is far from being advanced, and I am sure I don't know why you
should not please yourself, if you have a mind. I am sensible I am but
a thoughtless girl, and if a graver companion could render you more
happy--"

'There was a mixture of displeasure and grave affection in the manner
in which my father took my hand, that was a severe reproof to me for
trifling with his feelings. "Julia," he said, "I bear with much of your
petulance because I think I have in some degree deserved it, by
neglecting to superintend your education sufficiently closely. Yet I
would not have you give it the rein upon a subject so delicate. If you
do not respect the feelings of your surviving parent towards the memory
of her whom you have lost, attend at least to the sacred claims of
misfortune; and observe, that the slightest hint of such a jest
reaching Miss Bertram's ears would at once induce her to renounce her
present asylum, and go forth, without a protector, into a world she has
already felt so unfriendly."

'What could I say to this, Matilda? I only cried heartily, begged
pardon, and promised to be a good girl in future. And so here am I
neutralised again, for I cannot, in honour or common good-nature, tease
poor Lucy by interfering with Hazlewood, although she has so little
confidence in me; and neither can I, after this grave appeal, venture
again upon such delicate ground with papa. So I burn little rolls of
paper, and sketch Turks' heads upon visiting cards with the blackened
end--I assure you I succeeded in making a superb Hyder-Ally last
night--and I jingle on my unfortunate harpsichord, and begin at the end
of a grave book and read it backward. After all, I begin to be very
much vexed about Brown's silence. Had he been obliged to leave the
country, I am sure he would at least have written to me. Is it possible
that my father can have intercepted his letters? But no, that is
contrary to all his principles; I don't think he would open a letter
addressed to me to-night, to prevent my jumping out of window
to-morrow. What an expression I have suffered to escape my pen! I
should be ashamed of it, even to you, Matilda, and used in jest. But I
need not take much merit for acting as I ought to do. This same Mr.
Vanbeest Brown is by no means so very ardent a lover as to hurry the
object of his attachment into such inconsiderate steps. He gives one
full time to reflect, that must be admitted. However, I will not blame
him unheard, nor permit myself to doubt the manly firmness of a
character which I have so often extolled to you. Were he capable of
doubt, of fear, of the shadow of change, I should have little to regret.

'And why, you will say, when I expect such steady and unalterable
constancy from a lover, why should I be anxious about what Hazlewood
does, or to whom he offers his attentions? I ask myself the question a
hundred times a day, and it only receives the very silly answer that
one does not like to be neglected, though one would not encourage a
serious infidelity.

'I write all these trifles because you say that they amuse you, and yet
I wonder how they should. I remember, in our stolen voyages to the
world of fiction, you always admired the grand and the romantic,--tales
of knights, dwarfs, giants, and distressed damsels, soothsayers,
visions, beckoning ghosts, and bloody hands; whereas I was partial to
the involved intrigues of private life, or at farthest to so much only
of the supernatural as is conferred by the agency of an Eastern genie
or a beneficent fairy. YOU would have loved to shape your course of
life over the broad ocean, with its dead calms and howling tempests,
its tornadoes, and its billows mountain-high; whereas I should like to
trim my little pinnace to a brisk breeze in some inland lake or
tranquil bay, where there was just difficulty of navigation sufficient
to give interest and to require skill without any sensible degree of
danger. So that, upon the whole, Matilda, I think you should have had
my father, with his pride of arms and of ancestry, his chivalrous point
of honour, his high talents, and his abstruse and mystic studies. You
should have had Lucy Bertram too for your friend, whose fathers, with
names which alike defy memory and orthography, ruled over this romantic
country, and whose birth took place, as I have been indistinctly
informed, under circumstances of deep and peculiar interest. You should
have had, too, our Scottish residence, surrounded by mountains, and our
lonely walks to haunted ruins. And I should have had, in exchange, the
lawns and shrubs, and green-houses and conservatories, of Pine Park,
with your good, quiet, indulgent aunt, her chapel in the morning, her
nap after dinner, her hand at whist in the evening, not forgetting her
fat coach-horses and fatter coachman. Take notice, however, that Brown
is not included in this proposed barter of mine; his good-humour,
lively conversation, and open gallantry suit my plan of life as well as
his athletic form, handsome features, and high spirit would accord with
a character of chivalry. So, as we cannot change altogether out and
out, I think we must e'en abide as we are.'



CHAPTER XXX

     I renounce your defiance; if you parley so roughly I'll
     barricade my gates against you. Do you see yon bay window?
     Storm, I care not, serving the good Duke of Norfolk

          Merry Devil of Edmonton.


JULIA MANNERING to MATILDA MARCHMONT

'I rise from a sick-bed, my dearest Matilda, to communicate the strange
and frightful scenes which have just passed. Alas! how little we ought
to jest with futurity! I closed my letter to you in high spirits, with
some flippant remarks on your taste for the romantic and extraordinary
in fictitious narrative. How little I expected to have had such events
to record in the course of a few days! And to witness scenes of terror,
or to contemplate them in description, is as different, my dearest
Matilda, as to bend over the brink of a precipice holding by the frail
tenure of a half-rooted shrub, or to admire the same precipice as
represented in the landscape of Salvator. But I will not anticipate my
narrative.

'The first part of my story is frightful enough, though it had nothing
to interest my feelings. You must know that this country is
particularly favourable to the commerce of a set of desperate men from
the Isle of Man, which is nearly opposite. These smugglers are
numerous, resolute, and formidable, and have at different times become
the dread of the neighbourhood when any one has interfered with their
contraband trade. The local magistrates, from timidity or worse
motives, have become shy of acting against them, and impunity has
rendered them equally daring and desperate. With all this my father, a
stranger in the land, and invested with no official authority, had, one
would think, nothing to do. But it must be owned that, as he himself
expresses it, he was born when Mars was lord of his ascendant, and that
strife and bloodshed find him out in circumstances and situations the
most retired and pacific.

'About eleven o'clock on last Tuesday morning, while Hazlewood and my
father were proposing to walk to a little lake about three miles'
distance, for the purpose of shooting wild ducks, and while Lucy and I
were busied with arranging our plan of work and study for the day, we
were alarmed by the sound of horses' feet advancing very fast up the
avenue. The ground was hardened by a severe frost, which made the
clatter of the hoofs sound yet louder and sharper. In a moment two or
three men, armed, mounted, and each leading a spare horse loaded with
packages, appeared on the lawn, and, without keeping upon the road,
which makes a small sweep, pushed right across for the door of the
house. Their appearance was in the utmost degree hurried and
disordered, and they frequently looked back like men who apprehended a
close and deadly pursuit. My father and Hazlewood hurried to the front
door to demand who they were, and what was their business. They were
revenue officers, they stated, who had seized these horses, loaded with
contraband articles, at a place about three miles off. But the
smugglers had been reinforced, and were now pursuing them with the
avowed purpose of recovering the goods, and putting to death the
officers who had presumed to do their duty. The men said that, their
horses being loaded, and the pursuers gaining ground upon them, they
had fled to Woodbourne, conceiving that, as my father had served the
King, he would not refuse to protect the servants of government when
threatened to be murdered in the discharge of their duty.

'My father, to whom, in his enthusiastic feelings of military loyalty,
even a dog would be of importance if he came in the King's name, gave
prompt orders for securing the goods in the hall, arming the servants,
and defending the house in case it should be necessary. Hazlewood
seconded him with great spirit, and even the strange animal they call
Sampson stalked out of his den, and seized upon a fowling-piece which
my father had laid aside to take what they call a rifle-gun, with which
they shoot tigers, etc., in the East. The piece went off in the awkward
hands of the poor parson, and very nearly shot one of the excisemen. At
this unexpected and involuntary explosion of his weapon, the Dominie
(such is his nickname) exclaimed, "Prodigious!" which is his usual
ejaculation when astonished. But no power could force the man to part
with his discharged piece, so they were content to let him retain it,
with the precaution of trusting him with no ammunition. This (excepting
the alarm occasioned by the report) escaped my notice at the time, you
may easily believe; but, in talking over the scene afterwards,
Hazlewood made us very merry with the Dominie's ignorant but zealous
valour.

'When my father had got everything into proper order for defence, and
his people stationed at the windows with their firearms, he wanted to
order us out of danger--into the cellar, I believe--but we could not be
prevailed upon to stir. Though terrified to death, I have so much of
his own spirit that I would look upon the peril which threatens us
rather than hear it rage around me without knowing its nature or its
progress. Lucy, looking as pale as a marble statue, and keeping her
eyes fixed on Hazlewood, seemed not even to hear the prayers with which
he conjured her to leave the front of the house. But in truth, unless
the hall-door should be forced, we were in little danger; the windows
being almost blocked up with cushions and pillows, and, what the
Dominie most lamented, with folio volumes, brought hastily from the
library, leaving only spaces through which the defenders might fire
upon the assailants.

'My father had now made his dispositions, and we sat in breathless
expectation in the darkened apartment, the men remaining all silent
upon their posts, in anxious contemplation probably of the approaching
danger. My father, who was quite at home in such a scene, walked from
one to another and reiterated his orders that no one should presume to
fire until he gave the word. Hazlewood, who seemed to catch courage
from his eye, acted as his aid-de-camp, and displayed the utmost
alertness in bearing his directions from one place to another, and
seeing them properly carried into execution. Our force, with the
strangers included, might amount to about twelve men.

'At length the silence of this awful period of expectation was broken
by a sound which at a distance was like the rushing of a stream of
water, but as it approached we distinguished the thick-beating clang of
a number of horses advancing very fast. I had arranged a loophole for
myself, from which I could see the approach of the enemy. The noise
increased and came nearer, and at length thirty horsemen and more
rushed at once upon the lawn. You never saw such horrid wretches!
Notwithstanding the severity of the season, they were most of them
stripped to their shirts and trowsers, with silk handkerchiefs knotted
about their heads, and all well armed with carbines, pistols, and
cutlasses. I, who am a soldier's daughter, and accustomed to see war
from my infancy, was never so terrified in my life as by the savage
appearance of these ruffians, their horses reeking with the speed at
which they had ridden, and their furious exclamations of rage and
disappointment when they saw themselves baulked of their prey. They
paused, however, when they saw the preparations made to receive them,
and appeared to hold a moment's consultation among themselves. At
length one of the party, his face blackened with gunpowder by way of
disguise, came forward with a white handkerchief on the end of his
carbine, and asked to speak with Colonel Mannering. My father, to my
infinite terror, threw open a window near which he was posted, and
demanded what he wanted. "We want our goods, which we have been robbed
of by these sharks," said the fellow; "and our lieutenant bids me say
that, if they are delivered, we'll go off for this bout without
clearing scores with the rascals who took them; but if not, we'll burn
the house, and have the heart's blood of every one in it,"--a threat
which he repeated more than once, graced by a fresh variety of
imprecations, and the most horrid denunciations that cruelty could
suggest.

'"And which is your lieutenant?" said my father in reply.

'"That gentleman on the grey horse," said the miscreant, "with the red
handkerchief bound about his brow."

'"Then be pleased to tell that gentleman that, if he and the scoundrels
who are with him do not ride off the lawn this instant, I will fire
upon them without ceremony." So saying, my father shut the window and
broke short the conference.

'The fellow no sooner regained his troop than, with a loud hurra, or
rather a savage yell, they fired a volley against our garrison. The
glass of the windows was shattered in every direction, but the
precautions already noticed saved the party within from suffering.
Three such volleys were fired without a shot being returned from
within. My father then observed them getting hatchets and crows,
probably to assail the hall-door, and called aloud, "Let none fire but
Hazlewood and me; Hazlewood, mark the ambassador." He himself aimed at
the man on the grey horse, who fell on receiving his shot. Hazlewood
was equally successful. He shot the spokesman, who had dismounted and
was advancing with an axe in his hand. Their fall discouraged the rest,
who began to turn round their horses; and a few shots fired at them
soon sent them off, bearing along with them their slain or wounded
companions. We could not observe that they suffered any farther loss.
Shortly after their retreat a party of soldiers made their appearance,
to my infinite relief. These men were quartered at a village some miles
distant, and had marched on the first rumour of the skirmish. A part of
them escorted the terrified revenue officers and their seizure to a
neighbouring seaport as a place of safety, and at my earnest request
two or three files remained with us for that and the following day, for
the security of the house from the vengeance of these banditti.

'Such, dearest Matilda, was my first alarm. I must not forget to add
that the ruffians left, at a cottage on the roadside, the man whose
face was blackened with powder, apparently because he was unable to
bear transportation. He died in about half an hour after. On examining
the corpse, it proved to be that of a profligate boor in the
neighbourhood, a person notorious as a poacher and smuggler. We
received many messages of congratulation from the neighbouring
families, and it was generally allowed that a few such instances of
spirited resistance would greatly check the presumption of these
lawless men. My father distributed rewards among his servants, and
praised Hazlewood's courage and coolness to the skies. Lucy and I came
in for a share of his applause, because we had stood fire with
firmness, and had not disturbed him with screams or expostulations. As
for the Dominie, my father took an opportunity of begging to exchange
snuff-boxes with him. The honest gentleman was much flattered with the
proposal, and extolled the beauty of his new snuff-box excessively. "It
looked," he said, "as well as if it were real gold from Ophir." Indeed,
it would be odd if it should not, being formed in fact of that very
metal; but, to do this honest creature justice, I believe the knowledge
of its real value would not enhance his sense of my father's kindness,
supposing it, as he does, to be pinchbeck gilded. He has had a hard
task replacing the folios which were used in the barricade, smoothing
out the creases and dog's-ears, and repairing the other disasters they
have sustained during their service in the fortification. He brought us
some pieces of lead and bullets which these ponderous tomes had
intercepted during the action, and which he had extracted with great
care; and, were I in spirits, I could give you a comic account of his
astonishment at the apathy with which we heard of the wounds and
mutilation suffered by Thomas Aquinas or the venerable Chrysostom. But
I am not in spirits, and I have yet another and a more interesting
incident to communicate. I feel, however, so much fatigued with my
present exertion that I cannot resume the pen till to-morrow. I will
detain this letter notwithstanding, that you may not feel any anxiety
upon account of your own

'JULIA MANNERING.'



CHAPTER XXXI

    Here's a good world!
     Knew you of this fair work?

          King John.


JULIA MANNERING to MATILDA MARCHMONT

'I must take up the thread of my story, my dearest Matilda, where I
broke off yesterday.

'For two or three days we talked of nothing but our siege and its
probable consequences, and dinned into my father's unwilling ears a
proposal to go to Edinburgh, or at least to Dumfries, where there is
remarkably good society, until the resentment of these outlaws should
blow over. He answered with great composure that he had no mind to have
his landlord's house and his own property at Woodbourne destroyed;
that, with our good leave, he had usually been esteemed competent to
taking measures for the safety or protection of his family; that, if he
remained quiet at home, he conceived the welcome the villains had
received was not of a nature to invite a second visit, but should he
show any signs of alarm, it would be the sure way to incur the very
risk which we were afraid of. Heartened by his arguments, and by the
extreme indifference with which he treated the supposed danger, we
began to grow a little bolder, and to walk about as usual. Only the
gentlemen were sometimes invited to take their guns when they attended
us, and I observed that my father for several nights paid particular
attention to having the house properly secured, and required his
domestics to keep their arms in readiness in case of necessity.

'But three days ago chanced an occurrence of a nature which alarmed me
more by far than the attack of the smugglers.

'I told you there was a small lake at some distance from Woodbourne,
where the gentlemen sometimes go to shoot wild-fowl. I happened at
breakfast to say I should like to see this place in its present frozen
state, occupied by skaters and curlers, as they call those who play a
particular sort of game upon the ice. There is snow on the ground, but
frozen so hard that I thought Lucy and I might venture to that
distance, as the footpath leading there was well beaten by the repair
of those who frequented it for pastime. Hazlewood instantly offered to
attend us, and we stipulated that he should take his fowling-piece. He
laughed a good deal at the idea of going a-shooting in the snow; but,
to relieve our tremors, desired that a groom, who acts as gamekeeper
occasionally, should follow us with his gun. As for Colonel Mannering,
he does not like crowds or sights of any kind where human figures make
up the show, unless indeed it were a military review, so he declined
the party.

'We set out unusually early, on a fine, frosty, exhilarating morning,
and we felt our minds, as well as our nerves, braced by the elasticity
of the pure air. Our walk to the lake was delightful, or at least the
difficulties were only such as diverted us,--a slippery descent, for
instance, or a frozen ditch to cross, which made Hazlewood's assistance
absolutely necessary. I don't think Lucy liked her walk the less for
these occasional embarrassments.

'The scene upon the lake was beautiful. One side of it is bordered by a
steep crag, from which hung a thousand enormous icicles all glittering
in the sun; on the other side was a little wood, now exhibiting that
fantastic appearance which the pine trees present when their branches
are loaded with snow. On the frozen bosom of the lake itself were a
multitude of moving figures, some flitting along with the velocity of
swallows, some sweeping in the most graceful circles, and others deeply
interested in a less active pastime, crowding round the spot where the
inhabitants of two rival parishes contended for the prize at
curling,--an honour of no small importance, if we were to judge from
the anxiety expressed both by the players and bystanders. We walked
round the little lake, supported by Hazlewood, who lent us each an arm.
He spoke, poor fellow, with great kindness to old and young, and seemed
deservedly popular among the assembled crowd. At length we thought of
retiring.

'Why do I mention these trivial occurrences? Not, Heaven knows, from
the interest I can now attach to them; but because, like a drowning man
who catches at a brittle twig, I seize every apology for delaying the
subsequent and dreadful part of my narrative. But it must be
communicated: I must have the sympathy of at least one friend under
this heart-rending calamity.

'We were returning home by a footpath which led through a plantation of
firs. Lucy had quitted Hazlewood's arm; it is only the plea of absolute
necessity which reconciles her to accept his assistance. I still leaned
upon his other arm. Lucy followed us close, and the servant was two or
three paces behind us. Such was our position, when at once, and as if
he had started out of the earth, Brown stood before us at a short turn
of the road! He was very plainly, I might say coarsely, dressed, and
his whole appearance had in it something wild and agitated. I screamed
between surprise and terror. Hazlewood mistook the nature of my alarm,
and, when Brown advanced towards me as if to speak, commanded him
haughtily to stand back, and not to alarm the lady. Brown replied, with
equal asperity, he had no occasion to take lessons from him how to
behave to that or any other lady. I rather believe that Hazlewood,
impressed with the idea that he belonged to the band of smugglers, and
had some bad purpose in view, heard and understood him imperfectly. He
snatched the gun from the servant, who had come up on a line with us,
and, pointing the muzzle at Brown, commanded him to stand off at his
peril. My screams, for my terror prevented my finding articulate
language, only hastened the catastrophe. Brown, thus menaced, sprung
upon Hazlewood, grappled with him, and had nearly succeeded in
wrenching the fowling-piece from his grasp, when the gun went off in
the struggle, and the contents were lodged in Hazlewood's shoulder, who
instantly fell. I saw no more, for the whole scene reeled before my
eyes, and I fainted away; but, by Lucy's report, the unhappy
perpetrator of this action gazed a moment on the scene before him,
until her screams began to alarm the people upon the lake, several of
whom now came in sight. He then bounded over a hedge which divided the
footpath from the plantation, and has not since been heard of. The
servant made no attempt to stop or secure him, and the report he made
of the matter to those who came up to us induced them rather to
exercise their humanity in recalling me to life, than show their
courage by pursuing a desperado, described by the groom as a man of
tremendous personal strength, and completely armed.

'Hazlewood was conveyed home, that is, to Woodbourne, in safety; I
trust his wound will prove in no respect dangerous, though he suffers
much. But to Brown the consequences must be most disastrous. He is
already the object of my father's resentment, and he has now incurred
danger from the law of the country, as well as from the clamorous
vengeance of the father of Hazlewood, who threatens to move heaven and
earth against the author of his son's wound. How will he be able to
shroud himself from the vindictive activity of the pursuit? how to
defend himself, if taken, against the severity of laws which, I am
told, may even affect his life? and how can I find means to warn him of
his danger? Then poor Lucy's ill-concealed grief, occasioned by her
lover's wound, is another source of distress to me, and everything
round me appears to bear witness against that indiscretion which has
occasioned this calamity.

'For two days I was very ill indeed. The news that Hazlewood was
recovering, and that the person who had shot him was nowhere to be
traced, only that for certain he was one of the leaders of the gang of
smugglers, gave me some comfort. The suspicion and pursuit being
directed towards those people must naturally facilitate Brown's escape,
and I trust has ere this ensured it. But patrols of horse and foot
traverse the country in all directions, and I am tortured by a thousand
confused and unauthenticated rumours of arrests and discoveries.

'Meanwhile my greatest source of comfort is the generous candour of
Hazlewood, who persists in declaring that, with whatever intentions the
person by whom he was wounded approached our party, he is convinced the
gun went off in the struggle by accident, and that the injury he
received was undesigned. The groom, on the other hand, maintains that
the piece was wrenched out of Hazlewood's hands and deliberately
pointed at his body, and Lucy inclines to the same opinion; I do not
suspect them of wilful exaggeration, yet such is the fallacy of human
testimony, for the unhappy shot was most unquestionably discharged
unintentionally. Perhaps it would be the best way to confide the whole
secret to Hazlewood; but he is very young, and I feel the utmost
repugnance to communicate to him my folly. I once thought of disclosing
the mystery to Lucy, and began by asking what she recollected of the
person and features of the man whom we had so unfortunately met; but
she ran out into such a horrid description of a hedgeruffian, that I
was deprived of all courage and disposition to own my attachment to one
of such appearance as she attributed to him. I must say Miss Bertram is
strangely biassed by her prepossessions, for there are few handsomer
men than poor Brown. I had not seen him for a long time, and even in
his strange and sudden apparition on this unhappy occasion, and under
every disadvantage, his form seems to me, on reflection, improved in
grace and his features in expressive dignity. Shall we ever meet again?
Who can answer that question? Write to me kindly, my dearest Matilda;
but when did you otherwise? Yet, again, write to me soon, and write to
me kindly. I am not in a situation to profit by advice or reproof, nor
have I my usual spirits to parry them by raillery. I feel the terrors
of a child who has in heedless sport put in motion some powerful piece
of machinery; and, while he beholds wheels revolving, chains clashing,
cylinders rolling around him, is equally astonished at the tremendous
powers which his weak agency has called into action, and terrified for
the consequences which he is compelled to await, without the
possibility of averting them.

'I must not omit to say that my father is very kind and affectionate.
The alarm which I have received forms a sufficient apology for my
nervous complaints. My hopes are, that Brown has made his escape into
the sister kingdom of England, or perhaps to Ireland or the Isle of
Man. In either case he may await the issue of Hazlewood's wound with
safety and with patience, for the communication of these countries with
Scotland, for the purpose of justice, is not (thank Heaven) of an
intimate nature. The consequences of his being apprehended would be
terrible at this moment. I endeavour to strengthen my mind by arguing
against the possibility of such a calamity. Alas! how soon have sorrows
and fears, real as well as severe, followed the uniform and tranquil
state of existence at which so lately I was disposed to repine! But I
will not oppress you any longer with my complaints. Adieu, my dearest
Matilda! 'JULIA MANNERING.'



NOTES

NOTE 1, p. 25

The groaning malt mentioned in the text was the ale brewed for the
purpose of being drunk after the lady or goodwife's safe delivery. The
ken-no has a more ancient source, and perhaps the custom may be derived
from the secret rites of the Bona Dea. A large and rich cheese was made
by the women of the family, with great affectation of secrecy, for the
refreshment of the gossips who were to attend at the 'canny' minute.
This was the ken-no, so called because its existence was secret (that
is, presumed to be so) from all the males of the family, but especially
from the husband and master. He was accordingly expected to conduct
himself as if he knew of no such preparation, to act as if desirous to
press the female guests to refreshments, and to seem surprised at their
obstinate refusal. But the instant his back was turned the ken-no was
produced; and after all had eaten their fill, with a proper
accompaniment of the groaning malt, the remainder was divided among the
gossips, each carrying a large portion home with the same affectation
of great secrecy.

NOTE 2, p. 198

It is fitting to explain to the reader the locality described in
chapter xxii. There is, or rather I should say there WAS, a little inn
called Mumps's Hall, that is, being interpreted, Beggar's Hotel, near
to Gilsland, which had not then attained its present fame as a Spa. It
was a hedge alehouse, where the Border farmers of either country often
stopped to refresh themselves and their nags, in their way to and from
the fairs and trysts in Cumberland, and especially those who came from
or went to Scotland, through a barren and lonely district, without
either road or pathway, emphatically called the Waste of Bewcastle. At
the period when the adventures described in the novel are supposed to
have taken place, there were many instances of attacks by freebooters
on those who travelled through this wild district, and Mumps's Ha' had
a bad reputation for harbouring the banditti who committed such
depredations.

An old and sturdy yeoman belonging to the Scottish side, by surname an
Armstrong or Elliot, but well known by his soubriquet of Fighting
Charlie of Liddesdale, and still remembered for the courage he
displayed in the frequent frays which took place on the Border fifty or
sixty years since, had the following adventure in the Waste, which
suggested the idea of the scene in the text:--

Charlie had been at Stagshawbank Fair, had sold his sheep or cattle, or
whatever he had brought to market, and was on his return to Liddesdale.
There were then no country banks where cash could be deposited and
bills received instead, which greatly encouraged robbery in that wild
country, as the objects of plunder were usually fraught with gold. The
robbers had spies in the fair, by means of whom they generally knew
whose purse was best stocked, and who took a lonely and desolate road
homeward,--those, in short, who were best worth robbing and likely to
be most easily robbed.

All this Charlie knew full well; but he had a pair of excellent pistols
and a dauntless heart. He stopped at Mumps's Ha', notwithstanding the
evil character of the place. His horse was accommodated where it might
have the necessary rest and feed of corn; and Charlie himself, a
dashing fellow, grew gracious with the landlady, a buxom quean, who
used all the influence in her power to induce him to stop all night.
The landlord was from home, she said, and it was ill passing the Waste,
as twilight must needs descend on him before he gained the Scottish
side, which was reckoned the safest. But Fighting Charlie, though he
suffered himself to be detained later than was prudent, did not account
Mumps's Ha' a safe place to quarter in during the night. He tore
himself away, therefore, from Meg's good fare and kind words, and
mounted his nag, having first examined his pistols, and tried by the
ramrod whether the charge remained in them.

He proceeded a mile or two at a round trot, when, as the Waste
stretched black before him, apprehensions began to awaken in his mind,
partly arising out of Meg's unusual kindness, which he could not help
thinking had rather a suspicious appearance. He therefore resolved to
reload his pistols, lest the powder had become damp; but what was his
surprise, when he drew the charge, to find neither powder nor ball,
while each barrel had been carefully filled with TOW, up to the space
which the loading had occupied! and, the priming of the weapons being
left untouched, nothing but actually drawing and examining the charge
could have discovered the inefficiency of his arms till the fatal
minute arrived when their services were required. Charlie bestowed a
hearty Liddesdale curse on his landlady, and reloaded his pistols with
care and accuracy, having now no doubt that he was to be waylaid and
assaulted. He was not far engaged in the Waste, which was then, and is
now, traversed only by such routes as are described in the text, when
two or three fellows, disguised and variously armed, started from a
moss-hag, while by a glance behind him (for, marching, as the Spaniard
says, with his beard on his shoulder, he reconnoitred in every
direction) Charlie instantly saw retreat was impossible, as other two
stout men appeared behind him at some distance. The Borderer lost not a
moment in taking his resolution, and boldly trotted against his enemies
in front, who called loudly on him to stand and deliver; Charlie
spurred on, and presented his pistol. 'D--n your pistol,' said the
foremost robber, whom Charlie to his dying day protested he believed to
have been the landlord of Mumps's Ha', 'd--n your pistol! I care not a
curse for it.' 'Ay, lad,' said the deep voice of Fighting Charlie, 'but
the TOW'S out now.' He had no occasion to utter another word; the
rogues, surprised at finding a man of redoubted courage well armed,
instead of being defenceless, took to the moss in every direction, and
he passed on his way without farther molestation.

The author has heard this story told by persons who received it from
Fighting Charlie himself; he has also heard that Mumps's Ha' was
afterwards the scene of some other atrocious villainy, for which the
people of the house suffered. But these are all tales of at least half
a century old, and the Waste has been for many years as safe as any
place in the kingdom.

NOTE 3, p. 213

The author may here remark that the character of Dandie Dinmont was
drawn from no individual. A dozen, at least, of stout Liddesdale yeomen
with whom he has been acquainted, and whose hospitality he has shared
in his rambles through that wild country, at a time when it was totally
inaccessible save in the manner described in the text, might lay claim
to be the prototype of the rough, but faithful, hospitable, and
generous farmer. But one circumstance occasioned the name to be fixed
upon a most respectable individual of this class, now no more. Mr.
James Davidson of Hindlee, a tenant of Lord Douglas, besides the points
of blunt honesty, personal strength, and hardihood designed to be
expressed in the character of Dandie Dinmont, had the humour of naming
a celebrated race of terriers which he possessed by the generic names
of Mustard and Pepper (according as their colour was yellow or
greyish-black), without any other individual distinction except as
according to the nomenclature in the text. Mr. Davidson resided at
Hindlee, a wild farm on the very edge of the Teviotdale mountains, and
bordering close on Liddesdale, where the rivers and brooks divide as
they take their course to the Eastern and Western seas. His passion for
the chase in all its forms, but especially for fox-hunting, as followed
in the fashion described in chapter xxv, in conducting which he was
skilful beyond most men in the South Highlands, was the distinguishing
point in his character.

When the tale on which these comments are written became rather
popular, the name of Dandie Dinmont was generally given to him, which
Mr. Davidson received with great good-humour, only saying, while he
distinguished the author by the name applied to him in the country,
where his own is so common--'that the Sheriff had not written about him
mair than about other folk, but only about his dogs.' An English lady
of high rank and fashion, being desirous to possess a brace of the
celebrated Mustard and Pepper terriers, expressed her wishes in a
letter which was literally addressed to Dandie Dinmont, under which
very general direction it reached Mr. Davidson, who was justly proud of
the application, and failed not to comply with a request which did him
and his favourite attendants so much honour.

I trust I shall not be considered as offending the memory of a kind and
worthy man, if I mention a little trait of character which occurred in
Mr. Davidson's last illness. I use the words of the excellent clergyman
who attended him, who gave the account to a reverend gentleman of the
same persuasion:--

'I read to Mr. Davidson the very suitable and interesting truths you
addressed to him. He listened to them with great seriousness, and has
uniformly displayed a deep concern about his soul's salvation. He died
on the first Sabbath of the year (1820); an apoplectic stroke deprived
him in an instant of all sensation, but happily his brother was at his
bedside, for he had detained him from the meeting-house that day to be
near him, although he felt himself not much worse than usual. So you
have got the last little Mustard that the hand of Dandie Dinmont
bestowed.

'His ruling passion was strong even on the eve of death. Mr. Baillie's
fox-hounds had started a fox opposite to his window a few weeks ago,
and as soon as he heard the sound of the dogs his eyes glistened; he
insisted on getting out of bed, and with much difficulty got to the
window and there enjoyed the fun, as he called it. When I came down to
ask for him, he said, "he had seen Reynard, but had not seen his death.
If it had been the will of Providence," he added, "I would have liked
to have been after him; but I am glad that I got to the window, and am
thankful for what I saw, for it has done me a great deal of good."
Notwithstanding these eccentricities (adds the sensible and liberal
clergyman), I sincerely hope and believe he has gone to a better world,
and better company and enjoyments.'

If some part of this little narrative may excite a smile, it is one
which is consistent with the most perfect respect for the simple-minded
invalid and his kind and judicious religious instructor, who, we hope,
will not be displeased with our giving, we trust, a correct edition of
an anecdote which has been pretty generally circulated. The race of
Pepper and Mustard are in the highest estimation at this day, not only
for vermin-killing, but for intelligence and fidelity. Those who, like
the author, possess a brace of them, consider them as very desirable
companions.

NOTE 4, p. 232

The cleek here intimated is the iron hook, or hooks, depending from the
chimney of a Scottish cottage, on which the pot is suspended when
boiling. The same appendage is often called the crook. The salmon is
usually dried by hanging it up, after being split and rubbed with salt,
in the smoke of the turf fire above the cleeks, where it is said to
'reist,' that preparation being so termed. The salmon thus preserved is
eaten as a delicacy, under the name of kipper, a luxury to which Dr.
Redgill has given his sanction as an ingredient of the Scottish
breakfast.--See the excellent novel entitled MARRIAGE.

NOTE 5, p. 234

The distinction of individuals by nicknames when they possess no
property is still common on the Border, and indeed necessary, from the
number of persons having the same name. In the small village of
Lustruther, in Roxburghshire, there dwelt, in the memory of man, four
inhabitants called Andrew, or Dandie, Oliver. They were distinguished
as Dandie Eassil-gate, Dandie Wassilgate, Dandie Thumbie, and Dandie
Dumbie. The two first had their names from living eastward and westward
in the street of the village; the third from something peculiar in the
conformation of his thumb; the fourth from his taciturn habits.

It is told as a well-known jest, that a beggar woman, repulsed from
door to door as she solicited quarters through a village of Annandale,
asked, in her despair, if there were no Christians in the place. To
which the hearers, concluding that she inquired for some persons so
surnamed, answered, 'Na, na, there are nae Christians here; we are a'
Johnstones and Jardines.'

NOTE 6, p. 244

The mysterious rites in which Meg Merrilies is described as engaging
belong to her character as a queen of her race. All know that gipsies
in every country claim acquaintance with the gift of fortune-telling;
but, as is often the case, they are liable to the superstitions of
which they avail themselves in others. The correspondent of Blackwood,
quoted in the Introduction to this Tale, gives us some information on
the subject of their credulity.

'I have ever understood,' he says, speaking of the Yetholm gipsies,'
that they are extremely superstitious, carefully noticing the formation
of the clouds, the flight of particular birds, and the soughing of the
winds, before attempting any enterprise. They have been known for
several successive days to turn back with their loaded carts, asses,
and children, upon meeting with persons whom they considered of unlucky
aspect; nor do they ever proceed on their summer peregrinations without
some propitious omen of their fortunate return. They also burn the
clothes of their dead, not so much from any apprehension of infection
being communicated by them, as the conviction that the very
circumstance of wearing them would shorten the days of their living.
They likewise carefully watch the corpse by night and day till the time
of interment, and conceive that "the deil tinkles at the lyke-wake" of
those who felt in their dead-thraw the agonies and terrors of remorse.'

These notions are not peculiar to the gipsies; but, having been once
generally entertained among the Scottish common people, are now only
found among those who are the most rude in their habits and most devoid
of instruction. The popular idea, that the protracted struggle between
life and death is painfully prolonged by keeping the door of the
apartment shut, was received as certain by the superstitious eld of
Scotland. But neither was it to be thrown wide open. To leave the door
ajar was the plan adopted by the old crones who understood the
mysteries of deathbeds and lykewakes. In that case there was room for
the imprisoned spirit to escape; and yet an obstacle, we have been
assured, was offered to the entrance of any frightful form which might
otherwise intrude itself. The threshold of a habitation was in some
sort a sacred limit, and the subject of much superstition. A bride,
even to this day, is always lifted over it, a rule derived apparently
from the Romans.



GLOSSARY

 'A, he, I.
 a', all.
 abide, endure.
 ablins, aiblins, perhaps.
 abune, above.
 ae, one.
 aff, off.
 afore, before.
 a-guisarding, masquerading.
 ahint, behind.
 aik, an oak.
 ails, hinders, prevents.
 ain, own.
 amang, among.
 an, if.
 ance, once.
 ane, one.
 anent, about.
 aneuch, enough.
 auld, old.
 auld threep, a superstitious notion.
 avise, advise, deliberate.
 awa', away.
 aweel, well.
 awfu', awful.
 awmous, alms.
 aye, ever.

 bairn, a child.
 baith, both.
 ballant, a ballad.
 banes, bones.
 bannock, a flat round or oval cake.
 barken, stiffen, dry to a crust.
 barrow-trams, the shafts of a hand  barrow.
 baulks, ridges.
 berling, a galley.
 bield, a shelter, a house.
 biggit, built.
 billie, a brother, a companion.
 bing out and tour, go out and watch.
 binna, be not.
 birk, a birch tree.
 bit, a little.
 bittle, beat with a bat.
 bittock, a little bit.
 Black Peter, a portmanteau.
 blate, shy, bashful.
 blawn, blown.
 blear, obscure.
 blude, bluid, blood.
 blunker, a cloth printer.
 blythe, glad.
 boddle, a copper coin worth one   third of a penny.
 bogle, a goblin, a spectre.
 bonnet, a cap.
 bonnie, bonny, pretty, fine.
 bonspiel, a match game at curling.
 bottle-head, beetle-head, stupid fellow.
 bow, a boll.
 bowster, a bolster.
 braw, fine.
 brigg, a bridge.
 brock, a badger, a dirty fellow.
 brod, a church collection plate.
 buckkar, a smuggling lugger.
 bully-huff, a bully, a braggart.
 burn, a brook.
 bye, besides.

 ca', call.
 cake-house, a house of entertainment.
 callant, a stripling.
 cam, came.
 canny, lucky, cautious.
 cantle, a fragment.
 canty, cheerful.
 capons, castrated cocks.
 carle, a churl, an old man.
 cast, lot, fate.
 chapping-stick, a stick to strike with.
 cheerer, spirits and hot water.
 chield, a young man.
 chumlay, a chimney.
 clanjamfray, rabble.
 clashes, lies, scandal.
 claught, clutched, caught.
 clecking, hatching.
 clodded, threw heavily.
 close, a lane, a narrow passage.
 clour, a heavy blow.
 cloyed a dud, stolen a rag.
 collieshangie, an uproar.
 come o' will, a child of love.
 cottar, cottage.
 cramp-ring, shackles, fetters.
 cranking, creaking.
 craw, crow.
 creel, a basket.
 cuddy, an ass.
 cusp, an entrance to a house.
 cusser, a courser, a stallion.

 daft, mad, foolish.
 darkmans, night.
 daurna, dare not.
 day-dawing, dawn.
 dead-thraw, death-agony.
 death-ruckle, death-rattle.
 deil-be-lickit, nothing, naught.
 dike, a wall, a ditch.
 dinging, slamming.
 dingle, a dell, a hollow.
 dizzen, a dozen.
 doo, a dove.
 dooket, dukit, a dovecot.
 doun, down.
 douse the glim, put out the light.
 dow, list, wish.
 drap, a drop.
 drumming, driving.
 dub, a puddle.
 duds, clothes.

 eassel, provincial for eastward.
 een, eyes.
 endlang, along.
 eneugh, enough.
 evening, putting on the same level.

 faem, foam.
 fair-strae, natural.
 fambles, hands.
 fash, trouble.
 fauld, a fold.
 fause, false.
 feared, afraid.
 fearsome, frightful.
 feck, a quantity.
 feckless, feeble.
 fell, a skin.
 fernseed, gather the, make invisible.
 fie, mad, foredoomed.
 fient a bit, never a bit
 fient a haet, not the least.
 fire-raising, setting fire.
 firlot, a quarter of a boll.
 fit, a foot.
 flesh, fleesh, a fleece.
 flick, cut.
 flit, remove.
 fond, glad to.
 forbears, ancestors.
 forbye, besides.
 foumart, a polecat.
 fowk, people.
 frae, from.
 frummagem'd, throttled, hanged.
 fu', full.
 fule-body, a foolish person.

 gae, go.
 gaed, went.
 gane, gone.
 gang, go.
 gang-there-out, wandering.
 gangrel, vagrant.
 gar, make.
 gate, gait, way.
 gaun, going.
 gay, gey, very.
 gelding, a castrated horse.
 gentle or semple, high born or common people.
 gie, give.
 gliffing, a surprise, an instant.
 glower, glare.
 gowan, a field daisy.
 gowd, gold.
 gowpen, a double handful.
 greet, weep.
 grieve, an overseer.
 grippet, grasped, caught.
 grunds, grounds.
 gude, guid, good.
 gudeman, master of a house.
 gyre-carlings, witches.

 ha', hall.
 hadden, held, gone.
 hae, have.
 hafflin, half grown.
 haick, hack.
 haill, whole.
 hallan, a partition.
 hame, home.
 hank, a skein of yarn.
 hansel, a present.
 hantle, a quantity.
 haud, hauld, hold.
 hauden, held.
 heezie, a lift.
 herds, herders.
 heuch, a crag, a steep bank.
 hinging, hanging.
 hinney, honey.
 hirsel, a flock.
 hizzie, a housewife, a hussy.
 hog, a young sheep.
 horning, a warrant for a debtor.
 houdie, a midwife.
 howm, flat low ground.
 humble-cow, a cow without horns.
 hunds, hounds.

 ilka, every.
 ingans, onions.
 ingleside, fireside.
 I'se, I'll.
 ither, other.

 jaw-hole, a sink.
 Jethart, Jedburgh.
 jo, a sweetheart.

 kahn, a skiff.
 kaim, a low ridge, a comb.
 kain, part of a farm-rent paid in fowls.
 keep, a stronghold.
 keepit, kept, attended.
 ken, know.
 kenna, do not know.
 kibe, an ulcerated chilblain, a chapped heel.
 killogie, the open space before a kiln fire.
 kilt, upset.
 kilting, girding or tucking up.
 kimmer, a female gossip.
 kinder, children.
 kipper, cured salmon.
 kirk, church.
 kist, a chest, a coffin.
 kitchen-mort, kinchen-mort, a girl.
 kittle, tickle, ticklish.
 kitt, a number, the whole.
 knave, a boy.
 knevell, knead, beat severely.
 kobold, a hobgoblin.

 laird, lord of the manor.
 lampit, a limpet.
 landloupers, persons of wandering tendencies.
 lang, long.
 lang or, long before.
 lang-lugged, long-eared.
 langsyne, long ago.
 lap and paunel, liquor and food.
 lassie, a young girl.
 latch, mire.
 leddy, a lady.
 lee, pasture land.
 leg bail, to give, to run away.
 letter-gae, the precentor is called by Allan Ramsay
 'the letter-gae of haly rhyme.'
 leugh, laughed.
 levin, lightning, scorn.
 licks, blows.
 lift, the sky.
 like, as it were.
 limmer, a jade, a hussy.
 links, the windings of a river.
 lippen, trust.
 loan, an open place, a lane.
 loaning, a milking place.
 long bowls, ninepins.
 looby, a booby, a lout.
 loon, a clown, a rogue.
 loup, leap, start.
 low, blaze, flame.
 luckie, an old woman.
 lugs, ears.
 lunt, blaze, torch.
 lykewake, a watch at night over a dead body.

 mair, more.
 mair by token, especially.
 maist, most.
 maun, must.
 meddling and making, interfering.
 messan, a little dog.
 milling in the darkmans, murder by night.
 mind, remember.
 minded, looked after.
 mirk, dark; pit mirk, pitch dark.
 moaned, mourned.
 Monanday, Monday.
 mony, many.
 moonshie, a secretary.
 morn, tomorrow.
 moss, a morass.
 moss-hag, a pit, a slough.
 muckle, great, much.
 muir, a moor, a heath.
 muscavado, unrefined sugar.
 mutchkin, a measure equal to an English pint.

 na, nae, no.
 nane, none.
 nathless, nevertheless.
 needna, need not.
 nice, simple.
 now, the, at once.

 odd-come-shortly, chance time not far in the future.
 ony, any.
 or, ere.
 orra, odd, occasional.
 orra time, occasionally.
 o't, of it.
 out, out in rebellion.
 out of house and hauld, destitute.
 outcast, a falling out, a quarrel.
 ower, over.
 owt, the exterior, out.

 paiks, punishment.
 parritch, oatmeal porridge.
 peat-hag, a bog.
 penny-stane, a stone quoit.
 periapts, amulets.
 pike, pick.
 pinners, a headdress.
 pirn, a reel.
 pit, put.
 plash, splash.
 plough-gate of land, land that can be tilled with one plough.
 pock, a pouch, a bag.
 poinded, impounded.
 poschay, a post-chaise.
 pouches, pockets.
 pow, the head.
 powny, a pony.
 preceese, exact.
 precentor, a leader of congregational singing.
 prin, a pin.
 puir, poor.

 quean, a young woman, a wench.

 rade, rode.
 ramble, a spree.
 rampauging, raging.
 randle-tree, a horizontal bar across a chimney, on which
  pot-hooks are hung; sometimes used as an opprobrious  epithet.
 randy, wild.
 ranging and riping, scouring and searching.
 rape, rope.
 rasp-house, a custom-house.
 red cock craw, kindle a fire.
 redding-straik, a blow received when trying to separate
     combatants.
 reek, smoke.
 reif and wear, robbery and injury.
 reise, a bough.
 reist, smoke.
 reiver, a robber.
 retour, return of a writ.
 rin, run.
 ripe, search.
 rive, rend, rob.
 rotten, rottan, a rat.
 roup, an auction.
 roupit, sold at auction.
 routing, snoring, bellowing.
 rubbit, robbed.
 rump and dozen, meat and drink, a good dinner.
 run goods, smuggled goods.

 sack, sackcloth.
 sae, so.
 saft, soft.
 sain, bless.
 sair, sore.
 sail, shall.
 samyn, the same.
 sang, song.
 sark, a shirt.
 saugh, a willow tree.
 saul, soul.
 saut, salt.
 sax, six.
 scaff-raff, riff raff.
 scart, scratched, written on.
 schnaps, a dram of liquor.
 scones, flat round cakes.
 scouring the cramp-ring, said metaphorically for being
      thrown into fetters or, generally, into prison.
 screed o' drink, a drinking bout.
 sell'd, sold.
 semple, simple, poor people.
 shake-rag, a tatterdemalion.
 shanks, legs.
 shealing, sheiling, a shed, a hut.
 shear, cut.
 sherra, a sheriff.
 shoeing-horn, something that leads to more drinking.
 shoon, shoes.
 shouther, a shoulder.
 sic, so, such.
 siclike, such.
 siller, money.
 sinsyne, since.
 skeel, a bucket, a tub.
 slack, a hollow, a morass.
 slap, a breach.
 sleepery, sleepy.
 slow-hund, a sleuth hound.
 sma', small.
 smack, smaik, a rogue, a low wretch.
 snaw, snow.
 soup o' drink, a spoonful.
 souple, a cudgel.
 spae, foretell.
 speir, ask.
 sprug, a sparrow.
 spunk, a spark.
 start, betray.
 stell, a stall, a covert.
 stickit, stopped, hindered.
 stir your gear, disturb your goods.
 stark, a heifer, a bullock.
 stiver, a small Dutch coin.
 stoppit, stopped.
 stoup, a drinking vessel, a wooden pitcher.
 stown, stolen.
 strae, straw.
 strammel, straw.
 streik, stretch.
 suld, should.
 sune, soon.
 sunkets, delicacies, provisions of any kind.
 sunkie, a low stool.
 swear, difficult.
 swure, swore.
 syne, since.

 ta'en, taken.
 tait, a tuft.
 tak, take.
 tap, the top.
 tass, a cup.
 tat, that.
 tell'd, told.
 tent, care.
 thack, thatch.
 thae, those.
 thegither, together.
 thereawa', thence, thereabout.
 thrapple, the windpipe, the throat.
 thristle, a thistle.
 till, to.
 tippenny, ale at twopence a bottle.
 tod, a fox.
 tolbooth, a jail.
 toom, empty.
 tow, a rope.
 trine to the cheat, get hanged.
 troking, intercourse, trafficking.
 trow, trust.
 tulzie, tuilzie, a scuffle, a brawl.
 twa, two.
 tweel, a web.
 tyke, a cur.

 umwhile, formerly, late.
 uncanny, weird, unlucky.
 unco, strange, very.
 uphaud, uphold.
 upright man, the leader (and greatest rogue) of the gang.

 wa', wall.
 wad, would.
 wadded, wedded.
 wae, woe.
 waefu', woeful.
 wale, choice.
 ware, spend.
 wark, work.
 warld, the world.
 warlock, a wizard.
 waster, a long spear.
 waur, worse.
 wean, a young child.
 wear, war.
 weary fa', curse.
 wedder, a wether.
 wee, small.
 weel, well.
 weel-faured, well-favored, prepossessing.
 weize, direct, incline.
 wessel, westward.
 wha, who.
 whaap, the (or the Hope), is the sheltered part or hollow of the
     hill. Hoff, howff, haaf, and haven are all modifications of
     the same word.
 wheen, a few.
 whigging, jogging.
 whiles, sometimes.
 whilk, which.
 whin, a few.
 whinger, a kind of knife, a hanger.
 whistle, give information against one.
 whittret, a weasel.
 wi', with.
 win, get.
 witters, the barbs of the spear.
 woo', wool.
 woodie, wuddie, a rope, a halter, the gallows.
 worricow, a hobgoblin.
 wots na, does not know.
 wrang, wrong.
 wrang side of the blanket, illegitimate.
 writer, an attorney.
 wuddie, a rope, the gallows.
 wuss, wish.

 yaffing, chattering, barking.
 yet, yere, your.
 yont, beyond.





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