Part 5 out of 10
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 minutiae, 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
'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
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
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
'A does not mind wind and weather; 'a has had many a north-easter in his
'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
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
'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
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
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.
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 half-audible 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
'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
'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, oothsayers, 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.'
END OF VOLUME I
BY SIR WALTER SCOTT
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
Here's a good world!
Knew you of this fair work?
JULIA MANNERING to MATILDA MARCHMONT
'I must take up the thread of my story, my dearest Matilda, where I broke
'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
'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 rinding 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.'
A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with
thine ears. See how yon justice rails upon yon simple thief.
Hark in thine ear: Change places; and, handy-dandy, which
is the justice, which is the thief?
Among those who took the most lively interest in endeavouring to discover
the person by whom young Charles Hazlewood had been waylaid and wounded
was Gilbert Glossin, Esquire, late writer in ----, now Laird of
Ellangowan, and one of the worshipful commission of justices of the peace
for the county of ----. His motives for exertion on this occasion were
manifold; but we presume that our readers, from what they already know of
this gentleman, will acquit him of being actuated by any zealous or
intemperate love of abstract justice.
The truth was, that this respectable personage felt himself less at ease
than he had expected, after his machinations put him in possession of his
benefactor's estate. His reflections within doors, where so much occurred
to remind him of former times, were not always the self-congratulations
of successful stratagem. And when he looked abroad he could not but be
sensible that he was excluded from the society of the gentry of the
county, to whose rank he conceived he had raised himself. He was not
admitted to their clubs, and at meetings of a public nature, from which
he could not be altogether excluded, he found himself thwarted and looked
upon with coldness and contempt. Both principle and prejudice cooperated
in creating this dislike; for the gentlemen of the county despised him
for the lowness of his birth, while they hated him for the means by which
he had raised his fortune. With the common people his reputation stood
still worse. They would neither yield him the territorial appellation of
Ellangowan nor the usual compliment of Mr. Glossin: with them he was bare
Glossin; and so incredibly was his vanity interested by this trifling
circumstance, that he was known to give half-a-crown to a beggar because
he had thrice called him Ellangowan in beseeching him for a penny. He
therefore felt acutely the general want of respect, and particularly when
he contrasted his own character and reception in society with those of
Mr. Mac-Morlan, who, in far inferior worldly circumstances, was beloved
and respected both by rich and poor, and was slowly but securely laying
the foundation of a moderate fortune, with the general good-will and
esteem of all who knew him.
Glossin, while he repined internally at what he would fain have called
the prejudices and prepossessions of the country, was too wise to make
any open complaint. He was sensible his elevation was too recent to be
immediately forgotten, and the means by which he had attained it too
odious to be soon forgiven. But time, thought he, diminishes wonder and
palliates misconduct. With the dexterity, therefore, of one who made his
fortune by studying the weak points of human nature, he determined to lie
by for opportunities to make himself useful even to those who most
disliked him; trusting that his own abilities, the disposition of country
gentlemen to get into quarrels, when a lawyer's advice becomes precious,
and a thousand other contingencies, of which, with patience and address,
he doubted not to be able to avail himself, would soon place him in a
more important and respectable light to his neighbours, and perhaps raise
him to the eminence sometimes attained by a shrewd, worldly, bustling man
of business, when, settled among a generation of country gentlemen, he
becomes, in Burns's language,
The tongue of the trump to them a'.
The attack on Colonel Mannering's house, followed by the accident of
Hazlewood's wound, appeared to Glossin a proper opportunity to impress
upon the country at large the service which could be rendered by an
active magistrate (for he had been in the commission for some time), well
acquainted with the law, and no less so with the haunts and habits of the
illicit traders. He had acquired the latter kind of experience by a
former close alliance with some of the most desperate smugglers, in
consequence of which he had occasionally acted, sometimes as a partner,
sometimes as legal adviser, with these persons, But the connexion had
been dropped many years; nor, considering how short the race of eminent
characters of this description, and the frequent circumstances occur to
make them retire from particular scenes of action, had he the least
reason to think that his present researches could possibly compromise any
old friend who might possess means of retaliation. The having been
concerned in these practices abstractedly was a circumstance which,
according to his opinion, ought in no respect to interfere with his now
using his experience in behalf of the public, or rather to further his
own private views. To acquire the good opinion and countenance of Colonel
Mannering would be no small object to a gentleman who was much disposed
to escape from Coventry, and to gain the favour of old Hazlewood, who was
a leading man in the county, was of more importance still. Lastly, if he
should succeed in discovering, apprehending, and convicting the culprits,
he would have the satisfaction of mortifying, and in some degree
disparaging, Mac-Morlan, to whom, as sheriff-substitute of the county,
this sort of investigation properly belonged, and who would certainly
suffer in public opinion should the voluntary exertions of Glossin be
more successful than his own.
Actuated by motives so stimulating, and well acquainted with the lower
retainers of the law, Glossin set every spring in motion to detect and
apprehend, if possible, some of the gang who had attacked Woodbourne, and
more particularly the individual who had wounded Charles Hazlewood. He
promised high rewards, he suggested various schemes, and used his
personal interest among his old acquaintances who favoured the trade,
urging that they had better make sacrifice of an understrapper or two
than incur the odium of having favoured such atrocious proceedings. But
for some time all these exertions were in vain. The common people of the
country either favoured or feared the smugglers too much to afford any
evidence against them. At length this busy magistrate obtained
information that a man, having the dress and appearance of the person who
had wounded Hazlewood, had lodged on the evening before the rencontre at
the Gordon Arms in Kippletringan. Thither Mr. Glossin immediately went,
for the purpose of interrogating our old acquaintance Mrs. Mac-Candlish.
The reader may remember that Mr. Glossin did not, according to this good
woman's phrase, stand high in her books. She therefore attended his
summons to the parlour slowly and reluctantly, and, on entering the room,
paid her respects in the coldest possible manner. The dialogue then
proceeded as follows:--
'A fine frosty morning, Mrs. Mac-Candlish.'
'Ay, sir; the morning's weel eneugh,' answered the landlady, drily.
'Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I wish to know if the justices are to dine here as
usual after the business of the court on Tuesday?'
'I believe--I fancy sae, sir--as usual' (about to leave the room).
'Stay a moment, Mrs. Mac-Candlish; why, you are in a prodigious hurry, my
good friend! I have been thinking a club dining here once a month would
be a very pleasant thing.'
'Certainly, sir; a club of RESPECTABLE gentlemen.'
'True, true,' said Glossin, 'I mean landed proprietors and gentlemen of
weight in the county; and I should like to set such a thing a-going.'
The short dry cough with which Mrs. Mac-Candlish received this proposal
by no means indicated any dislike to the overture abstractedly
considered, but inferred much doubt how far it would succeed under the
auspices of the gentleman by whom it was proposed. It was not a cough
negative, but a cough dubious, and as such Glossin felt it; but it was
not his cue to take offence.
'Have there been brisk doings on the road, Mrs. Mac-Candlish? Plenty of
company, I suppose?'
'Pretty weel, sir,--but I believe I am wanted at the bar.'
'No, no; stop one moment, cannot you, to oblige an old customer? Pray, do
you remember a remarkably tall young man who lodged one night in your
house last week?'
'Troth, sir, I canna weel say; I never take heed whether my company be
lang or short, if they make a lang bill.'
'And if they do not, you can do that for them, eh, Mrs. Mac-Candlish? ha,
ha, ha! But this young man that I inquire after was upwards of six feet
high, had a dark frock, with metal buttons, light-brown hair unpowdered,
blue eyes, and a straight nose, travelled on foot, had no servant or
baggage; you surely can remember having seen such a traveller?'
'Indeed, sir,' answered Mrs. Mac-Candlish, bent on baffling his
inquiries, 'I canna charge my memory about the matter; there's mair to do
in a house like this, I trow, than to look after passengers' hair, or
their een, or noses either.'
'Then, Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I must tell you in plain terms that this person
is suspected of having been guilty of a crime; and it is in consequence
of these suspicions that I, as a magistrate, require this information
from you; and if you refuse to answer my questions, I must put you upon
'Troth, sir, I am no free to swear; [Footnote: Some of the strict
dissenters decline taking an oath before a civil magistrate.] we ay gaed
to the Antiburgher meeting. It's very true, in Bailie Mac-Candlish's time
(honest man) we keepit the kirk, whilk was most seemly in his station, as
having office; but after his being called to a better place than
Kippletringan I hae gaen back to worthy Maister Mac-Grainer. And so ye
see, sir, I am no clear to swear without speaking to the minister,
especially against ony sackless puir young thing that's gaun through the
country, stranger and freendless like.'
'I shall relieve your scruples, perhaps, without troubling Mr.
Mac-Grainer, when I tell you that this fellow whom I inquire after is the
man who shot your young friend Charles Hazlewood.'
'Gudeness! wha could hae thought the like o' that o' him? Na, if it had
been for debt, or e'en for a bit tuilzie wi' the gauger, the deil o'
Nelly Mac-Candlish's tongue should ever hae wranged him. But if he really
shot young Hazlewood--but I canna think it, Mr. Glossin; this will be
some o' your skits now. I canna think it o' sae douce a lad; na, na, this
is just some o' your auld skits. Ye'll be for having a horning or a
caption after him.'
'I see you have no confidence in me, Mrs. Mac-Candlish; but look at these
declarations, signed by the persons who saw the crime committed, and
judge yourself if the description of the ruffian be not that of your
He put the papers into her hand, which she perused very carefully, often
taking off her spectacles to cast her eyes up to heaven, or perhaps to
wipe a tear from them, for young Hazlewood was an especial favourite with
the good dame. 'Aweel, aweel,' she said, when she had concluded her
examination, 'since it's e'en sae, I gie him up, the villain. But O, we
are erring mortals! I never saw a face I liked better, or a lad that was
mair douce and canny: I thought he had been some gentleman under trouble.
But I gie him up, the villain! To shoot Charles Hazlewood, and before the
young ladies, poor innocent things! I gie him up.'
'So you admit, then, that such a person lodged here the night before this
'Troth did he, sir, and a' the house were taen wi' him, he was sic a
frank, pleasant young man. It wasna for his spending, I'm sure, for he
just had a mutton-chop and a mug of ale, and maybe a glass or twa o'
wine; and I asked him to drink tea wi' mysell, and didna put that into
the bill; and he took nae supper, for he said he was defeat wi' travel a'
the night afore. I daresay now it had been on some hellicat errand or
'Did you by any chance learn his name?'
'I wot weel did I,' said the landlady, now as eager to communicate her
evidence as formerly desirous to suppress it. 'He tell'd me his name was
Brown, and he said it was likely that an auld woman like a gipsy wife
might be asking for him. Ay, ay! tell me your company, and I'll tell you
wha ye are! O the villain! Aweel, sir, when he gaed away in the morning
he paid his bill very honestly, and gae something to the chambermaid nae
doubt; for Grizzy has naething frae me, by twa pair o' new shoo ilka
year, and maybe a bit compliment at Hansel Monanday--' Here Glossin found
it necessary to interfere and bring the good woman back to the point.
'Ou then, he just said, "If there comes such a person to inquire after
Mr. Brown, you will say I am gone to look at the skaters on Loch Creeran,
as you call it, and I will be back here to dinner." But he never came
back, though I expected him sae faithfully that I gae a look to making
the friar's chicken mysell, and to the crappitheads too, and that's what
I dinna do for ordinary, Mr. Glossin. But little did I think what skating
wark he was gaun about--to shoot Mr. Charles, the innocent lamb!'
Mr. Glossin having, like a prudent examinator, suffered his witness to
give vent to all her surprise and indignation, now began to inquire
whether the suspected person had left any property or papers about the
'Troth, he put a parcel--a sma' parcel--under my charge, and he gave me
some siller, and desired me to get him half-a-dozen ruffled sarks, and
Peg Pasley's in hands wi' them e'en now; they may serve him to gang up
the Lawnmarket [Footnote: The procession of the criminals to the gallows
of old took that direction, moving, as the school-boy rhyme had it, Up
the Lawnmarket, Down the West Bow, Up the lang ladder, And down the
little tow.] in, the scoundrel!' Mr. Glossin then demanded to see the
packet, but here mine hostess demurred.
'She didna ken--she wad not say but justice should take its course--but
when a thing was trusted to ane in her way, doubtless they were
responsible; but she suld cry in Deacon Bearcliff, and if Mr. Glossin
liked to tak an inventar o' the property, and gie her a receipt before
the Deacon--or, what she wad like muckle better, an it could be sealed up
and left in Deacon Bearcliff's hands--it wad mak her mind easy. She was
for naething but justice on a' sides.'
Mrs. Mac-Candlish's natural sagacity and acquired suspicion being
inflexible, Glossin sent for Deacon Bearcliff, to speak 'anent the
villain that had shot Mr. Charles Hazlewood.' The Deacon accordingly made
his appearance with his wig awry, owing to the hurry with which, at this
summons of the Justice, he had exchanged it for the Kilmarnock cap in
which he usually attended his customers. Mrs. Mac-Candlish then produced
the parcel deposited with her by Brown, in which was found the gipsy's
purse. On perceiving the value of the miscellaneous contents, Mrs.
Mac-Candlish internally congratulated herself upon the precautions she
had taken before delivering them up to Glossin, while he, with an
appearance of disinterested candour, was the first to propose they should
be properly inventoried, and deposited with Deacon Bearcliff, until they
should be sent to the Crown-office. 'He did not,' he observed, 'like to
be personally responsible for articles which seemed of considerable
value, and had doubtless been acquired by the most nefarious practices.'
He then examined the paper in which the purse had been wrapt up. It was
the back of a letter addressed to V. Brown, Esquire, but the rest of the
address was torn away. The landlady, now as eager to throw light upon the
criminal's escape as she had formerly been desirous of withholding it,
for the miscellaneous contents of the purse argued strongly to her mind
that all was not right,--Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I say, now gave Glossin to
understand that her position and hostler had both seen the stranger upon
the ice that day when young Hazlewood was wounded.
Our readers' old acquaintance Jock Jabos was first summoned, and admitted
frankly that he had seen and conversed upon the ice that morning with a
stranger, who, he understood, had lodged at the Gordon Arms the night
'What turn did your conversation take?' said Glossin.
'Turn? ou, we turned nae gate at a', but just keep it straight forward
upon the ice like.'
'Well, but what did ye speak about?'
'Ou, he just asked questions like ony ither stranger,' answered the
postilion, possessed, as it seemed, with the refractory and
uncommunicative spirit which had left his mistress.
'But about what?' said Glossin.
'Ou, just about the folk that was playing at the curling, and about auld
Jock Stevenson that was at the cock, and about the leddies, and sic
'What ladies? and what did he ask about them, Jock?' said the
'What leddies? Ou, it was Miss Jowlia Mannering and Miss Lucy Bertram,
that ye ken fu' weel yoursell, Mr. Glossin; they were walking wi' the
young Laird of Hazlewood upon the ice.'
'And what did you tell him about them?' demanded Glossin.
'Tut, we just said that was Miss Lucy Bertram of Ellangowan, that should
ance have had a great estate in the country; and that was Miss Jowlia
Mannering, that was to be married to young Hazlewood, see as she was
hinging on his arm. We just spoke about our country clashes like; he was
a very frank man.'
'Well, and what did he say in answer?'
'Ou, he just stared at the young leddies very keen-like, and asked if it
was for certain that the marriage was to be between Miss Mannering and
young Hazlewood; and I answered him that it was for positive and absolute
certain, as I had an undoubted right to say sae; for my third cousin Jean
Clavers (she's a relation o' your ain, Mr. Glossin, ye wad ken Jean lang
syne?), she's sib to the houskeeper at Woodbourne, and she's tell'd me
mair than ance that there was naething could be mair likely.'
'And what did the stranger say when you told him all this?' said Glossin.
'Say?' echoed the postilion, 'he said naething at a'; he just stared at
them as they walked round the loch upon the ice, as if he could have
eaten them, and he never took his ee aff them, or said another word, or
gave another glance at the bonspiel, though there was the finest fun
amang the curlers ever was seen; and he turned round and gaed aff the
loch by the kirkstile through Woodbourne fir-plantings, and we saw nae
mair o' him.'
'Only think,' said Mrs. Mac-Candlish, 'what a hard heart he maun hae had,
to think o' hurting the poor young gentleman in the very presence of the
leddy he was to be married to!'
'O, Mrs. Mac-Candlish,' said Glossin, 'there's been many cases such as
that on the record; doubtless he was seeking revenge where it would be
deepest and sweetest.'
'God pity us!' said Deacon Bearcliff, 'we're puir frail creatures when
left to oursells! Ay, he forgot wha said, "Vengeance is mine, and I will
'Weel, aweel, sirs,' said Jabos, whose hard-headed and uncultivated
shrewdness seemed sometimes to start the game when others beat the
bush--'weel, weel, ye may be a' mista'en yet; I'll never believe that a
man would lay a plan to shoot another wi' his ain gun. Lord help ye, I
was the keeper's assistant down at the Isle mysell, and I'll uphaud it
the biggest man in Scotland shouldna take a gun frae me or I had weized
the slugs through him, though I'm but sic a little feckless body, fit for
naething but the outside o' a saddle and the fore-end o' a poschay; na,
na, nae living man wad venture on that. I'll wad my best buckskins, and
they were new coft at Kirkcudbright Fair, it's been a chance job after
a'. But if ye hae naething mair to say to me, I am thinking I maun gang
and see my beasts fed'; and he departed accordingly.
The hostler, who had accompanied him, gave evidence to the same purpose.
He and Mrs. Mac-Candlish were then reinterrogated whether Brown had no
arms with him on that unhappy morning. 'None,' they said, 'but an
ordinary bit cutlass or hanger by his side.'
'Now,' said the Deacon, taking Glossin by the button (for, in considering
this intricate subject, he had forgot Glossin's new accession of
rank),'this is but doubtfu' after a', Maister Gilbert; for it was not sae
dooms likely that he would go down into battle wi' sic sma' means.'
Glossin extricated himself from the Deacon's grasp and from the
discussion, though not with rudeness; for it was his present interest to
buy golden opinions from all sorts of people. He inquired the price of
tea and sugar, and spoke of providing himself for the year; he gave Mrs.
Mac-Candlish directions to have a handsome entertainment in readiness for
a party of five friends whom he intended to invite to dine with him at
the Gordon Arms next Saturday week; and, lastly, he gave a half-crown to
Jock Jabos, whom the hostler had deputed to hold his steed.
'Weel,' said the Deacon to Mrs. Mac-Candlish, as he accepted her offer of
a glass of bitters at the bar, 'the deil's no sae ill as he's ca'd. It's
pleasant to see a gentleman pay the regard to the business o' the county
that Mr. Glossin does.'
'Ay, 'deed is't, Deacon,' answered the landlady; 'and yet I wonder our
gentry leave their ain wark to the like o' him. But as lang as siller's
current, Deacon, folk maunna look ower nicely at what king's head's
'I doubt Glossin will prove but shand after a', mistress,' said Jabos, as
he passed through the little lobby beside the bar; 'but this is a gude
half-crown ony way.'
A man that apprehends death to be no more dreadful but as a
drunken sleep, careless, reckless, and fearless of what's
past, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and
--Measure for Measure.
Glossin had made careful minutes of the information derived from these
examinations. They threw little light upon the story, so far as he
understood its purport; but the better-informed reader has received
through means of this investigation an account of Brown's proceedings,
between the moment when we left him upon his walk to Kippletringan and
the time when, stung by jealousy, he so rashly and unhappily presented
himself before Julia Mannering, and well-nigh brought to a fatal
termination the quarrel which his appearance occasioned.
Glossin rode slowly back to Ellangowan, pondering on what he had heard,
and more and more convinced that the active and successful prosecution of
this mysterious business was an opportunity of ingratiating himself with
Hazlewood and Mannering to be on no account neglected. Perhaps, also, he
felt his professional acuteness interested in bringing it to a successful
close. It was, therefore, with great pleasure that, on his return to his
house from Kippletringan, he heard his servants announce hastily, 'that
Mac-Guffog, the thief-taker, and twa or three concurrents, had a man in
hands in the kitchen waiting for his honour.'
He instantly jumped from horseback, and hastened into the house. 'Send my
clerk here directly, ye'll find him copying the survey of the estate in
the little green parlour. Set things to rights in my study, and wheel the
great leathern chair up to the writing-table; set a stool for Mr. Scrow.
Scrow (to the clerk, as he entered the presence-chamber), hand down Sir
George Mackenzie "On Crimes"; open it at the section "Vis Publica et
Privata," and fold down a leaf at the passage "anent the bearing of
unlawful weapons." Now lend me a hand off with my muckle-coat, and hang
it up in the lobby, and bid them bring up the prisoner; I trow I'll sort
him; but stay, first send up Mac-Guffog. Now, Mac-Guffog, where did ye
find this chield?'
Mac-Guffog, a stout, bandy-legged fellow, with a neck like a bull, a face
like a firebrand, and a most portentous squint of the left eye, began,
after various contortions by way of courtesy to the Justice, to tell his
story, eking it out by sundry sly nods and knowing winks, which appeared
to bespeak an intimate correspondence of ideas between the narrator and
his principal auditor. 'Your honour sees I went down to yon place that
your honour spoke o', that's kept by her that your honour kens o', by the
sea-side. So says she, "What are you wanting here? ye'll be come wi' a
broom in your pocket frae Ellangowan?"--So says I, "Deil a broom will
come frae there awa, for ye ken," says I, "his honour Ellangowan himsell
in former times--"'
'Well, well,' said Glossin, 'no occasion to be particular, tell the
'Weel, so we sat niffering about some brandy that I said I wanted, till
he came in.'
'He!' pointing with his thumb inverted to the kitchen, where the prisoner
was in custody. 'So he had his griego wrapped close round him, and I
judged he was not dry-handed; so I thought it was best to speak proper,
and so he believed I was a Manks man, and I kept ay between him and her,
for fear she had whistled. And then we began to drink about, and then I
betted he would not drink out a quartern of Hollands without drawing
breath, and then he tried it, and just then Slounging Jock and Dick
Spur'em came in, and we clinked the darbies on him, took him as quiet as
a lamb; and now he's had his bit sleep out, and is as fresh as a May
gowan, to answer what your honour likes to speir.' This narrative,
delivered with a wonderful quantity of gesture and grimace, received at
the conclusion the thanks and praises which the narrator expected.
'Had he no arms?' asked the Justice.
'Ay, ay, they are never without barkers and slashers.'
'This bundle,' delivering a dirty pocket-book.
'Go downstairs then, Mac-Guffog, and be in waiting.' The officer left the
The clink of irons was immediately afterwards heard upon the stair, and
in two or three minutes a man was introduced, handcuffed and fettered. He
was thick, brawny, and muscular, and although his shagged and grizzled
hair marked an age somewhat advanced, and his stature was rather low, he
appeared, nevertheless, a person whom few would have chosen to cope with
in personal conflict. His coarse and savage features were still flushed,
and his eye still reeled under the influence of the strong potation which
had proved the immediate cause of his seizure. But the sleep, though
short, which Mac-Guffog had allowed him, and still more a sense of the
peril of his situation, had restored to him the full use of his
faculties. The worthy judge and the no less estimable captive looked at
each other steadily for a long time without speaking. Glossin apparently
recognised his prisoner, but seemed at a loss how to proceed with his
investigation. At length he broke silence.--'Soh, Captain, this is you?
you have been a stranger on this coast for some years.'
'Stranger?' replied the other. 'Strange enough, I think; for hold me der
deyvil, if I been ever here before.'
'That won't pass, Mr. Captain.'
'That MUST pass, Mr. Justice, sapperment!'
'And who will you be pleased to call yourself, then, for the present,'
said Glossin, 'just until I shall bring some other folks to refresh your
memory concerning who you are, or at least who you have been?'
'What bin I? donner and blitzen! I bin Jans Jansen, from Cuxhaven; what
sall Ich bin?'
Glossin took from a case which was in the apartment a pair of small
pocket pistols, which he loaded with ostentatious care. 'You may retire,'
said he to his clerk, 'and carry the people with you, Scrow; but wait in
the lobby within call.'
The clerk would have offered some remonstrances to his patron on the
danger of remaining alone with such a desperate character, although
ironed beyond the possibility of active exertion, but Glossin waved him
off impatiently. When he had left the room the Justice took two short
turns through the apartment, then drew his chair opposite to the
prisoner, so as to confront him fully, placed the pistols before him in
readiness, and said in a steady voice, 'You are Dirk Hatteraick of
Flushing, are you not?'
The prisoner turned his eye instinctively to the door, as if he
apprehended some one was listening. Glossin rose, opened the door, so
that from the chair in which his prisoner sate he might satisfy himself
there was no eavesdropper within hearing, then shut it, resumed his seat,
and repeated his question, 'You are Dirk Hatteraick, formerly of the
Yungfrauw Haagenslaapen, are you not?'
'Tousand deyvils! and if you know that, why ask me?' said the prisoner.
'Because I am surprised to see you in the very last place where you ought
to be, if you regard your safety,' observed Glossin, coolly.
'Der deyvil! no man regards his own safety that speaks so to me!'
'What? unarmed, and in irons! well said, Captain!' replied Glossin,
ironically. 'But, Captain, bullying won't do; you'll hardly get out of
this country without accounting for a little accident that happened at
Warroch Point a few years ago.'
Hatteraick's looks grew black as midnight.
'For my part,' continued Glossin, 'I have no particular wish to be hard
upon an old acquaintance; but I must do my duty. I shall send you off to
Edinburgh in a post-chaise and four this very day.'
'Poz donner! you would not do that?' said Hatteraick, in a lower and more
humbled tone; 'why, you had the matter of half a cargo in bills on
Vanbeest and Vanbruggen.'
'It is so long since, Captain Hatteraick,' answered Glossin,
superciliously, 'that I really forget how I was recompensed for my
'Your trouble? your silence, you mean.'
'It was an affair in the course of business,' said Glossin, 'and I have
retired from business for some time.'
'Ay, but I have a notion that I could make you go steady about and try
the old course again,' answered Dirk Hatteraick. 'Why, man, hold me der
deyvil, but I meant to visit you and tell you something that concerns
'Of the boy?' said Glossin, eagerly.
'Yaw, Mynheer,' replied the Captain, coolly.
'He does not live, does he?'
'As lifelich as you or I,' said Hatteraick.
'Good God! But in India?' exclaimed Glossin.
'No, tousand deyvils, here! on this dirty coast of yours,' rejoined the
'But, Hatteraick, this,--that is, if it be true, which I do not
believe,--this will ruin us both, for he cannot but remember your neat
job; and for me, it will be productive of the worst consequences! It will
ruin us both, I tell you.'
'I tell you,' said the seaman, 'it will ruin none but you; for I am done
up already, and if I must strap for it, all shall out.'
'Zounds,' said the Justice impatiently, 'what brought you back to this
coast like a madman?'
'Why, all the gelt was gone, and the house was shaking, and I thought the
job was clayed over and forgotten,' answered the worthy skipper.
'Stay; what can be done?' said Glossin, anxiously. 'I dare not discharge
you; but might you not be rescued in the way? Ay sure! a word to
Lieutenant Brown, and I would send the people with you by the
'No, no! that won't do. Brown's dead, shot, laid in the locker, man; the
devil has the picking of him.
'Dead? shot? At Woodbourne, I suppose?' replied Glossin.
Glossin paused; the sweat broke upon his brow with the agony of his
feelings, while the hard-featured miscreant who sat opposite coolly
rolled his tobacco in his cheek and squirted the juice into the
fire-grate. 'It would be ruin,' said Glossin to himself, 'absolute ruin,
if the heir should reappear; and then what might be the consequence of
conniving with these men? Yet there is so little time to take measures.
Hark you, Hatteraick; I can't set you at liberty; but I can put you where
you may set yourself at liberty, I always like to assist an old friend. I
shall confine you in the old castle for to-night, and give these people
double allowance of grog. MacGuffog will fall in the trap in which he
caught you. The stancheons on the window of the strong room, as they call
it, are wasted to pieces, and it is not above twelve feet from the level
of the ground without, and the snow lies thick.'
'But the darbies,' said Hatteraick, looking upon his fetters.
'Hark ye,' said Glossin, going to a tool chest, and taking out a small
file,'there's a friend for you, and you know the road to the sea by the
stairs.' Hatteraick shook his chains in ecstasy, as if he were already at
liberty, and strove to extend his fettered hand towards his protector.
Glossin laid his finger upon his lips with a cautious glance at the door,
and then proceeded in his instructions. 'When you escape, you had better
go to the Kaim of Derncleugh.'
'Donner! that howff is blown.'
'The devil! well, then, you may steal my skiff that lies on the beach
there, and away. But you must remain snug at the Point of Warroch till I
come to see you.'
'The Point of Warroch?' said Hatteraick, his countenance again falling;
'what, in the cave, I suppose? I would rather it were anywhere else; es
spuckt da: they say for certain that he walks. But, donner and blitzen! I
never shunned him alive, and I won't shun him dead. Strafe mich helle! it
shall never be said Dirk Hatteraick feared either dog or devil! So I am
to wait there till I see you?'
'Ay, ay,' answered Glossin, 'and now I must call in the men.' He did so
'I can make nothing of Captain Jansen, as he calls himself, Mac-Guffog,
and it's now too late to bundle him off to the county jail. Is there not
a strong room up yonder in the old castle?'
'Ay is there, sir; my uncle the constable ance kept a man there for three
days in auld Ellangowan's time. But there was an unco dust about it; it
was tried in the Inner House afore the Feifteen.'
'I know all that, but this person will not stay there very long; it's
only a makeshift for a night, a mere lock-up house till farther
examination. There is a small room through which it opens; you may light
a fire for yourselves there, and I 'll send you plenty of stuff to make
you comfortable. But be sure you lock the door upon the prisoner; and,
hark ye, let him have a fire in the strong room too, the season requires
it. Perhaps he'll make a clean breast to-morrow.'
With these instructions, and with a large allowance of food and liquor,
the Justice dismissed his party to keep guard for the night in the old
castle, under the full hope and belief that they would neither spend the
night in watching nor prayer.
There was little fear that Glossin himself should that night sleep
over-sound. His situation was perilous in the extreme, for the schemes of
a life of villainy seemed at once to be crumbling around and above him.
He laid himself to rest, and tossed upon his pillow for a long time in
vain. At length he fell asleep, but it was only to dream of his patron,
now as he had last seen him, with the paleness of death upon his
features, then again transformed into all the vigour and comeliness of
youth, approaching to expel him from the mansion-house of his fathers.
Then he dreamed that, after wandering long over a wild heath, he came at
length to an inn, from which sounded the voice of revelry; and that when
he entered the first person he met was Frank Kennedy, all smashed and
gory, as he had lain on the beach at Warroch Point, but with a reeking
punch-bowl in his hand. Then the scene changed to a dungeon, where he
heard Dirk Hatteraick, whom he imagined to be under sentence of death,
confessing his crimes to a clergyman. 'After the bloody deed was done,'
said the penitent, 'we retreated into a cave close beside, the secret of
which was known but to one man in the country; we were debating what to
do with the child, and we thought of giving it up to the gipsies, when we
heard the cries of the pursuers hallooing to each other. One man alone
came straight to our cave, and it was that man who knew the secret; but
we made him our friend at the expense of half the value of the goods
saved. By his advice we carried off the child to Holland in our consort,
which came the following night to take us from the coast. That man was--'
'No, I deny it! it was not I!' said Glossin, in half-uttered accents;
and, struggling in his agony to express his denial more distinctly, he
It was, however, conscience that had prepared this mental phantasmagoria.
The truth was that, knowing much better than any other person the haunts
of the smugglers, he had, while the others were searching in different
directions, gone straight to the cave, even before he had learned the
murder of Kennedy, whom he expected to find their prisoner. He came upon
them with some idea of mediation, but found them in the midst of their
guilty terrors, while the rage which had hurried them on to murder began,
with all but Hatteraick, to sink into remorse and fear. Glossin was then
indigent and greatly in debt, but he was already possessed of Mr.
Bertram's ear, and, aware of the facility of his disposition, he saw no
difficulty in enriching himself at his expense, provided the heir-male
were removed, in which case the estate became the unlimited property of
the weak and prodigal father. Stimulated by present gain and the prospect
of contingent advantage, he accepted the bribe which the smugglers
offered in their terror, and connived at, or rather encouraged, their
intention of carrying away the child of his benefactor who, if left
behind, was old enough to have described the scene of blood which he had
witnessed. The only palliative which the ingenuity of Glossin could offer
to his conscience was, that the temptation was great, and came suddenly
upon him, embracing as it were the very advantages on which his mind had
so long rested, and promising to relieve him from distresses which must
have otherwise speedily overwhelmed him. Besides, he endeavoured to think
that self-preservation rendered his conduct necessary. He was, in some
degree, in the power of the robbers, and pleaded hard with his conscience
that, had he declined their offers, the assistance which he could have
called for, though not distant, might not have arrived in time to save
him from men who, on less provocation, had just committed murder.
Galled with the anxious forebodings of a guilty conscience, Glossin now
arose and looked out upon the night. The scene which we have already
described in the third chapter of this story, was now covered with snow,
and the brilliant, though waste, whiteness of the land gave to the sea by
contrast a dark and livid tinge. A landscape covered with snow, though
abstractedly it may be called beautiful, has, both from the association
of cold and barrenness and from its comparative infrequency, a wild,
strange, and desolate appearance. Objects well known to us in their
common state have either disappeared, or are so strangely varied and
disguised that we seem gazing on an unknown world. But it was not with
such reflections that the mind of this bad man was occupied. His eye was
upon the gigantic and gloomy outlines of the old castle, where, in a
flanking tower of enormous size and thickness, glimmered two lights, one
from the window of the strong room, where Hatteraick was confined, the
other from that of the adjacent apartment, occupied by his keepers. 'Has
he made his escape, or will he be able to do so? Have these men watched,
who never watched before, in order to complete my ruin? If morning finds
him there, he must be committed to prison; Mac-Morlan or some other
person will take the matter up; he will be detected, convicted, and will
tell all in revenge!'
While these racking thoughts glided rapidly through Glossin's mind, he
observed one of the lights obscured, as by an opaque body placed at the
window. What a moment of interest! 'He has got clear of his irons! he is
working at the stancheons of the window! they are surely quite decayed,
they must give way. O God! they have fallen outward, I heard them clink
among the stones! the noise cannot fail to wake them. Furies seize his
Dutch awkwardness! The light burns free again; they have torn him from
the window, and are binding him in the room! No! he had only retired an
instant on the alarm of the falling bars; he is at the window again, and
the light is quite obscured now; he is getting out!'
A heavy sound, as of a body dropped from a height among the snow,
announced that Hatteraick had completed his escape, and shortly after
Glossin beheld a dark figure, like a shadow, steal along the whitened
beach and reach the spot where the skiff lay. New cause for fear! 'His
single strength will be unable to float her,' said Glossin to himself; 'I
must go to the rascal's assistance. But no! he has got her off, and now,
thank God, her sail is spreading itself against the moon; ay, he has got
the breeze now; would to heaven it were a tempest, to sink him to the
After this last cordial wish, he continued watching the progress of the
boat as it stood away towards the Point of Warroch, until he could no
longer distinguish the dusky sail from the gloomy waves over which it
glided. Satisfied then that the immediate danger was averted, he retired
with somewhat more composure to his guilty pillow.
Why dost not comfort me, and help me out
From this unhallowed and blood-stained hole?
On the next morning, great was the alarm and confusion of the officers
when they discovered the escape of their prisoner. Mac-Guffog appeared
before Glossin with a head perturbed with brandy and fear, and incurred a
most severe reprimand for neglect of duty. The resentment of the Justice
appeared only to be suspended by his anxiety to recover possession of the
prisoner, and the thief-takers, glad to escape from his awful and
incensed presence, were sent off in every direction (except the right
one) to recover their prisoner, if possible. Glossin particularly
recommended a careful search at the Kaim of Derncleugh, which was
occasionally occupied under night by vagrants of different descriptions.
Having thus dispersed his myrmidons in various directions, he himself
hastened by devious paths through the wood of Warroch to his appointed
interview with Hatteraick, from whom he hoped to learn at more leisure
than last night's conference admitted the circumstances attending the
return of the heir of Ellangowan to his native country.
With manoeuvres like those of a fox when he doubles to avoid the pack,
Glossin strove to approach the place of appointment in a manner which
should leave no distinct track of his course. 'Would to Heaven it would
snow,' he said, looking upward, 'and hide these foot-prints. Should one
of the officers light upon them, he would run the scent up like a
bloodhound and surprise us. I must get down upon the sea-beach, and
contrive to creep along beneath the rocks.'
And accordingly he descended from the cliffs with some difficulty, and
scrambled along between the rocks and the advancing tide; now looking up
to see if his motions were watched from the rocks above him, now casting
a jealous glance to mark if any boat appeared upon the sea, from which
his course might be discovered.
But even the feelings of selfish apprehension were for a time superseded,
as Glossin passed the spot where Kennedy's body had been found. It was
marked by the fragment of rock which had been precipitated from the cliff
above, either with the body or after it. The mass was now encrusted with
small shell-fish, and tasselled with tangle and seaweed; but still its
shape and substance were different from those of the other rocks which
lay scattered around. His voluntary walks, it will readily be believed,
had never led to this spot; so that, finding himself now there for the
first time after the terrible catastrophe, the scene at once recurred to
his mind with all its accompaniments of horror. He remembered how, like a
guilty thing, gliding from the neighbouring place of concealment, he had
mingled with eagerness, yet with caution, among the terrified group who
surrounded the corpse, dreading lest any one should ask from whence he
came. He remembered, too, with what conscious fear he had avoided gazing
upon that ghastly spectacle. The wild scream of his patron, 'My bairn! my
bairn!' again rang in his ears. 'Good God!' he exclaimed, 'and is all I
have gained worth the agony of that moment, and the thousand anxious
fears and horrors which have since embittered my life! O how I wish that