Part 6 out of 10
I lay where that wretched man lies, and that he stood here in life and
health! But these regrets are all too late.'
Stifling, therefore, his feelings, he crept forward to the cave, which
was so near the spot where the body was found that the smugglers might
have heard from their hiding-place the various conjectures of the
bystanders concerning the fate of their victim. But nothing could be more
completely concealed than the entrance to their asylum. The opening, not
larger than that of a fox-earth, lay in the face of the cliff directly
behind a large black rock, or rather upright stone, which served at once
to conceal it from strangers and as a mark to point out its situation to
those who used it as a place of retreat. The space between the stone and
the cliff was exceedingly narrow, and, being heaped with sand and other
rubbish, the most minute search would not have discovered the mouth of
the cavern without removing those substances which the tide had drifted
before it. For the purpose of further concealment, it was usual with the
contraband traders who frequented this haunt, after they had entered, to
stuff the mouth with withered seaweed, loosely piled together as if
carried there by the waves. Dirk Hatteraick had not forgotten this
Glossin, though a bold and hardy man, felt his heart throb and his knees
knock together when he prepared to enter this den of secret iniquity, in
order to hold conference with a felon, whom he justly accounted one of
the most desperate and depraved of men. 'But he has no interest to injure
me,' was his consolatory reflection. He examined his pocket-pistols,
however, before removing the weeds and entering the cavern, which he did
upon hands and knees. The passage, which at first was low and narrow,
just admitting entrance to a man in a creeping posture, expanded after a
few yards into a high arched vault of considerable width. The bottom,
ascending gradually, was covered with the purest sand. Ere Glossin had
got upon his feet, the hoarse yet suppressed voice of Hatteraick growled
through the recesses of the cave:--
'Hagel and donner! be'st du?'
'Are you in the dark?'
'Dark? der deyvil! ay,' said Dirk Hatteraick; 'where should I have a
'I have brought light'; and Glossin accordingly produced a tinder-box and
lighted a small lantern.
'You must kindle some fire too, for hold mich der deyvil, Ich bin ganz
'It is a cold place, to be sure,' said Glossin, gathering together some
decayed staves of barrels and pieces of wood, which had perhaps lain in
the cavern since Hatteraick was there last.
'Cold? Snow-wasser and hagel! it's perdition; I could only keep myself
alive by rambling up and down this d--d vault, and thinking about the
merry rouses we have had in it.'
The flame then began to blaze brightly, and Hatteraick hung his bronzed
visage and expanded his hard and sinewy hands over it, with an avidity
resembling that of a famished wretch to whom food is exposed. The light
showed his savage and stern features, and the smoke, which in his agony
of cold he seemed to endure almost to suffocation, after circling round
his head, rose to the dim and rugged roof of the cave, through which it
escaped by some secret rents or clefts in the rock; the same doubtless
that afforded air to the cavern when the tide was in, at which time the
aperture to the sea was filled with water.
'And now I have brought you some breakfast,' said Glossin, producing some
cold meat and a flask of spirits. The latter Hatteraick eagerly seized
upon and applied to his mouth; and, after a hearty draught, he exclaimed
with great rapture, 'Das schmeckt! That is good, that warms the liver!'
Then broke into the fragment of a High-Dutch song,--
Saufen Bier und Brantewein,
Schmeissen alle die Fenstern ein;
Ich bin liederlich,
Du bist liederlich;
Sind wir nicht liederlich Leute a?
'Well said, my hearty Captain!' cried Glossin, endeavouring to catch the
tone of revelry,--
'Gin by pailfuls, wine in rivers,
Dash the window-glass to shivers!
For three wild lads were we, brave boys,
And three wild lads were we;
Thou on the land, and I on the sand,
And Jack on the gallows-tree!
That's it, my bully-boy! Why, you're alive again now! And now let us talk
about our business.'
'YOUR business, if you please,' said Hatteraick. 'Hagel and donner! mine
was done when I got out of the bilboes.'
'Have patience, my good friend; I'll convince you our interests are just
Hatteraick gave a short dry cough, and Glossin, after a pause, proceeded.
'How came you to let the boy escape?'
'Why, fluch and blitzen! he was no charge of mine. Lieutenant Brown gave
him to his cousin that's in the Middleburgh house of Vanbeest and
Vanbruggen, and told him some goose's gazette about his being taken in a
skirmish with the land-sharks; he gave him for a footboy. Me let him
escape! the bastard kinchin should have walked the plank ere I troubled
myself about him.'
'Well, and was he bred a foot-boy then?'
'Nein, nein; the kinchin got about the old man's heart, and he gave him
his own name, and bred him up in the office, and then sent him to India;
I believe he would have packed him back here, but his nephew told him it
would do up the free trade for many a day if the youngster got back to
'Do you think the younker knows much of his own origin now?'
'Deyvil!' replied Hatteraick, 'how should I tell what he knows now? But
he remembered something of it long. When he was but ten years old he
persuaded another Satan's limb of an English bastard like himself to
steal my lugger's khan--boat--what do you call it? to return to his
country, as he called it; fire him! Before we could overtake them they
had the skiff out of channel as far as the Deurloo; the boat might have
'I wish to Heaven she had, with him in her!' ejaculated Glossin.
'Why, I was so angry myself that, sapperment! I did give him a tip over
the side; but split him! the comical little devil swam like a duck; so I
made him swim astern for a mile to teach him manners, and then took him
in when he was sinking. By the knocking Nicholas I he'll plague you, now
he's come over the herring-pond! When he was so high he had the spirit of
thunder and lightning.'
'How did he get back from India?'
'Why, how should I know? The house there was done up; and that gave us a
shake at Middleburgh, I think; so they sent me again to see what could be
done among my old acquaintances here, for we held old stories were done
away and forgotten. So I had got a pretty trade on foot within the last
two trips; but that stupid hounds-foot schelm, Brown, has knocked it on
the head again, I suppose, with getting himself shot by the colonel-man.'
'Why were not you with them?'
'Why, you see, sapperment! I fear nothing; but it was too far within
land, and I might have been scented.'
'True. But to return to this youngster--'
'Ay, ay, donner and blitzen! HE'S your affair,' said the Captain.
'How do you really know that he is in this country?'
'Why, Gabriel saw him up among the hills.'
'Gabriel! who is he?'
'A fellow from the gipsies, that, about eighteen years since, was pressed
on board that d--d fellow Pritchard's sloop-of-war. It was he came off
and gave us warning that the Shark was coming round upon us the day
Kennedy was done; and he told us how Kennedy had given the information.
The gipsies and Kennedy had some quarrel besides. This Gab went to the
East Indies in the same ship with your younker, and, sapperment! knew him
well, though the other did not remember him. Gab kept out of his eye
though, as he had served the States against England, and was a deserter
to boot; and he sent us word directly, that we might know of his being
here, though it does not concern us a rope's end.'
'So, then, really, and in sober earnest, he is actually in this country,
Hatteraick, between friend and friend?' asked Glossin, seriously.
'Wetter and donner, yaw! What do you take me for?'
'For a bloodthirsty, fearless miscreant!' thought Glossin internally; but
said aloud, 'And which of your people was it that shot young Hazlewood?'
'Sturmwetter!' said the Captain, 'do ye think we were mad? none of US,
man. Gott! the country was too hot for the trade already with that d-d
frolic of Brown's, attacking what you call Woodbourne House.'
'Why, I am told,' said Glossin, 'it was Brown who shot Hazlewood?'
'Not our lieutenant, I promise you; for he was laid six feet deep at
Derncleugh the day before the thing happened. Tausend deyvils, man! do ye
think that he could rise out of the earth to shoot another man?'
A light here began to break upon Glossin's confusion of ideas. 'Did you
not say that the younker, as you call him, goes by the name of Brown?'
'Of Brown? yaw; Vanbeest Brown. Old Vanbeest Brown, of our Vanbeest and
Vanbruggen, gave him his own name, he did.'
'Then,' said Glossin, rubbing his hands, 'it is he, by Heaven, who has
committed this crime!'
'And what have we to do with that?' demanded Hatteraick.
Glossin paused, and, fertile in expedients, hastily ran over his project
in his own mind, and then drew near the smuggler with a confidential air.
'You know, my dear Hatteraick, it is our principal business to get rid of
this young man?'
'Umph!' answered Dirk Hatteraick.
'Not,' continued Glossin--'not that I would wish any personal harm to
him--if--if--if we can do without. Now, he is liable to be seized upon by
justice, both as bearing the same name with your lieutenant, who was
engaged in that affair at Woodbourne, and for firing at young Hazlewood
with intent to kill or wound.'
'Ay, ay,' said Dirk Hatteraick; 'but what good will that do you? He'll be
loose again as soon as he shows himself to carry other colours.'
'True, my dear Dirk; well noticed, my friend Hatteraick! But there is
ground enough for a temporary imprisonment till he fetch his proofs from
England or elsewhere, my good friend. I understand the law, Captain
Hatteraick, and I'll take it upon me, simple Gilbert Glossin of
Ellangowan, justice of peace for the county of---, to refuse his bail, if
he should offer the best in the country, until he is brought up for a
second examination; now where d'ye think I'll incarcerate him?'
'Hagel and wetter! what do I care?'
'Stay, my friend; you do care a great deal. Do you know your goods that
were seized and carried to Woodbourne are now lying in the custom-house
at Portanferry? (a small fishing-town). Now I will commit this younker--'
'When you have caught him.'
'Ay, ay, when I have caught him; I shall not be long about that. I will
commit him to the workhouse, or bridewell, which you know is beside the
'Yaw, the rasp-house; I know it very well.'
'I will take care that the redcoats are dispersed through the country;
you land at night with the crew of your lugger, receive your own goods,
and carry the younker Brown with you back to Flushing. Won't that do?'
'Ay, carry him to Flushing,' said the Captain, 'or--to America?'
'Ay, ay, my friend.'
'Psha! Wherever you have a mind.'
'Ay, or--pitch him overboard?'
'Nay, I advise no violence.'
'Nein, nein; you leave that to me. Sturmwetter! I know you of old. But,
hark ye, what am I, Dirk Hatteraick, to be the better of this?'
'Why, is it not your interest as well as mine?' said Glossin; 'besides, I
set you free this morning.'
'YOU set me free! Donner and deyvil! I set myself free. Besides, it was
all in the way of your profession, and happened a long time ago, ha, ha,
'Pshaw! pshaw! don't let us jest; I am not against making a handsome
compliment; but it's your affair as well as mine.'
'What do you talk of my affair? is it not you that keep the younker's
whole estate from him? Dirk Hatteraick never touched a stiver of his
'Hush! hush! I tell you it shall be a joint business.'
'Why, will ye give me half the kitt?'
'What, half the estate? D'ye mean we should set up house together at
Ellangowan, and take the barony ridge about?'
'Sturmwetter, no! but you might give me half the value--half the gelt.
Live with you? nein. I would have a lusthaus of mine own on the
Middleburgh dyke, and a blumengarten like a burgomaster's.'
'Ay, and a wooden lion at the door, and a painted sentinel in the garden,
with a pipe in his mouth! But, hark ye, Hatteraick, what will all the
tulips and flower-gardens and pleasure-houses in the Netherlands do for
you if you are hanged here in Scotland?'
Hatteraick's countenance fell. 'Der deyvil! hanged!'
'Ay, hanged, mein Herr Captain. The devil can scarce save Dirk Hatteraick
from being hanged for a murderer and kidnapper if the younker of
Ellangowan should settle in this country, and if the gallant Captain
chances to be caught here reestablishing his fair trade! And I won't say
but, as peace is now so much talked of, their High Mightinesses may not
hand him over to oblige their new allies, even if he remained in
'Poz hagel, blitzen, and donner! I--I doubt you say true.'
'Not,' said Glossin, perceiving he had made the desired impression, 'not
that I am against being civil'; and he slid into Hatteraick's passive
hand a bank-note of some value.
'Is this all?' said the smuggler. 'You had the price of half a cargo for
winking at our job, and made us do your business too.'
'But, my good friend, you forget: In this case you will recover all your
'Ay, at the risk of all our own necks; we could do that without you.'
'I doubt that, Captain Hatteraick,' said Glossin, drily;' because you
would probably find a-'dozen'redcoats at the custom-house, whom it must
be my business, if we agree about this matter, to have removed. Come,
come, I will be as liberal as I can, but you should have a conscience.'
'Now strafe mich der deyfel! this provokes me more than all the rest! You
rob and you murder, and you want me to rob and murder, and play the
silver-cooper, or kidnapper, as you call it, a dozen times over, and
then, hagel and windsturm! you speak to me of conscience! Can you think
of no fairer way of getting rid of this unlucky lad?'
'No, mein Herr; but as I commit him to your charge-'
'To my charge! to the charge of steel and gunpowder! and--well, if it
must be, it must; but you have a tolerably good guess what's like to come
'O, my dear friend, I trust no degree of severity will be necessary,'
'Severity!' said the fellow, with a kind of groan, 'I wish you had had my
dreams when I first came to this dog-hole, and tried to sleep among the
dry seaweed. First, there was that d-d fellow there, with his broken
back, sprawling as he did when I hurled the rock over a-top on him, ha,
ha! You would have sworn he was lying on the floor where you stand,
wriggling like a crushed frog, and then--'
'Nay, my friend,' said Glossin, interrupting him, 'what signifies going
over this nonsense? If you are turned chicken-hearted, why, the game's
up, that's all; the game's up with us both.'
'Chicken-hearted? no. I have not lived so long upon the account to start
at last, neither for devil nor Dutchman.'
'Well, then, take another schnaps; the cold's at your heart still. And
now tell me, are any of your old crew with you?'
'Nein; all dead, shot, hanged, drowned, and damned. Brown was the last.
All dead but Gipsy Gab, and he would go off the country for a spill of
money; or he'll be quiet for his own sake; or old Meg, his aunt, will
keep him quiet for hers.'
'Meg Merrilies, the old devil's limb of a gipsy witch.'
'Is she still alive?'
'And in this country?'
'And in this country. She was at the Kaim of Derncleugh, at Vanbeest
Brown's last wake, as they call it, the other night, with two of my
people, and some of her own blasted gipsies.'
'That's another breaker ahead, Captain! Will she not squeak, think ye?'
'Not she! she won't start; she swore by the salmon, [Footnote: The great
and invoidable oath of the strolling tribes.] if we did the kinchin no
harm, she would never tell how the gauger got it. Why, man, though I gave
her a wipe with my hanger in the heat of the matter, and cut her arm, and
though she was so long after in trouble about it up at your borough-town
there, der deyvil! old Meg was as true as steel.'
'Why, that's true, as you say,' replied Glossin. 'And yet if she could be
carried over to Zealand, or Hamburgh, or--or--anywhere else, you know, it
were as well.'
Hatteraick jumped upright upon his feet, and looked at Glossin from head
to heel. 'I don't see the goat's foot,' he said, 'and yet he must be the
very deyvil! But Meg Merrilies is closer yet with the kobold than you
are; ay, and I had never such weather as after having drawn her blood.
Nein, nein, I 'll meddle with her no more; she's a witch of the fiend, a
real deyvil's kind,--but that's her affair. Donner and wetter! I'll
neither make nor meddle; that's her work. But for the rest--why, if I
thought the trade would not suffer, I would soon rid you of the younker,
if you send me word when he's under embargo.'
In brief and under tones the two worthy associates concerted their
enterprise, and agreed at which of his haunts Hatteraick should be heard
of. The stay of his lugger on the coast was not difficult, as there were
no king's vessels there at the time.
You are one of those that will not serve God if the devil
bids you. Because we come to do you service, you think we are
When Glossin returned home he found, among other letters and papers sent
to him, one of considerable importance. It was signed by Mr. Protocol, an
attorney in Edinburgh, and, addressing him as the agent for Godfrey
Bertram, Esq., late of Ellangowan, and his representatives, acquainted
him with the sudden death of Mrs. Margaret Bertram of Singleside,
requesting him to inform his clients thereof, in case they should judge
it proper to have any person present for their interest at opening the
repositories of the deceased. Mr. Glossin perceived at once that the
letter-writer was unacquainted with the breach which had taken place
between him and his late patron. The estate of the deceased lady should
by rights, as he well knew, descend to Lucy Bertram; but it was a
thousand to one that the caprice of the old lady might have altered its
destination. After running over contingencies and probabilities in his
fertile mind, to ascertain what sort of personal advantage might accrue
to him from this incident, he could not perceive any mode of availing
himself of it, except in so far as it might go to assist his plan of
recovering, or rather creating, a character, the want of which he had
already experienced, and was likely to feel yet more deeply. 'I must
place myself,' he thought, 'on strong ground, that, if anything goes
wrong with Dirk Hatteraick's project, I may have prepossessions in my
favour at least.' Besides, to do Glossin justice, bad as he was, he might
feel some desire to compensate to Miss Bertram in a small degree, and in
a case in which his own interest did not interfere with hers, the
infinite mischief which he had occasioned to her family. He therefore
resolved early the next morning to ride over to Woodbourne.
It was not without hesitation that he took this step, having the natural
reluctance to face Colonel Mannering which fraud and villainy have to
encounter honour and probity. But he had great confidence in his own
savoir faire. His talents were naturally acute, and by no means confined
to the line of his profession. He had at different times resided a good
deal in England, and his address was free both from country rusticity and
professional pedantry; so that he had considerable powers both of address
and persuasion, joined to an unshaken effrontery, which he affected to
disguise under plainness of manner. Confident, therefore, in himself, he
appeared at Woodbourne about ten in the morning, and was admitted as a
gentleman come to wait upon Miss Bertram.
He did not announce himself until he was at the door of the
breakfast-parlour, when the servant, by his desire, said aloud--'Mr.
Glossin, to wait upon Miss Bertram.' Lucy, remembering the last scene of
her father's existence, turned as pale as death, and had well-nigh fallen
from her chair. Julia Mannering flew to her assistance, and they left the
room together. There remained Colonel Mannering, Charles Hazlewood, with
his arm in a sling, and the Dominie, whose gaunt visage and wall-eyes
assumed a most hostile aspect on recognising Glossin.
That honest gentleman, though somewhat abashed by the effect of his first
introduction, advanced with confidence, and hoped he did not intrude upon
the ladies. Colonel Mannering, in a very upright and stately manner,
observed, that he did not know to what he was to impute the honour of a
visit from Mr. Glossin.
'Hem! hem! I took the liberty to wait upon Miss Bertram, Colonel
Mannering, on account of a matter of business.'
'If it can be communicated to Mr. Mac-Morlan, her agent, sir, I believe
it will be more agreeable to Miss Bertram.'
'I beg pardon, Colonel Mannering,' said Glossin, making a wretched
attempt at an easy demeanour; 'you are a man of the world; there are some
cases in which it is most prudent for all parties to treat with
'Then,' replied Mannering, with a repulsive air, 'if Mr. Glossin will
take the trouble to state his object in a letter, I will answer that Miss
Bertram pays proper attention to it.'
'Certainly,' stammered Glossin; 'but there are cases in which a viva voce
conference--Hem! I perceive--I know--Colonel Mannering has adopted some
prejudices which may make my visit appear intrusive; but I submit to his
good sense, whether he ought to exclude me from a hearing without knowing
the purpose of my visit, or of how much consequence it may be to the
young lady whom he honours with his protection.'
'Certainly, sir, I have not the least intention to do so,' replied the
Colonel. 'I will learn Miss Bertram's pleasure on the subject, and
acquaint Mr. Glossin, if he can spare time to wait for her answer.' So
saying, he left the room.
Glossin had still remained standing in the midst of the apartment.
Colonel Mannering had made not the slightest motion to invite him to sit,
and indeed had remained standing himself during their short interview.
When he left the room, however, Glossin seized upon a chair, and threw
himself into it with an air between embarrassment and effrontery. He felt
the silence of his companions disconcerting and oppressive, and resolved
to interrupt it.
'A fine day, Mr. Sampson.'
The Dominie answered with something between an acquiescent grunt and an
'You never come down to see your old acquaintance on the Ellangowan
property, Mr. Sampson. You would find most of the old stagers still
stationary there. I have too much respect for the late family to disturb
old residenters, even under pretence of improvement. Besides, it's not my
way, I don't like it; I believe, Mr. Sampson, Scripture particularly
condemns those who oppress the poor, and remove landmarks.'
'Or who devour the substance of orphans,' subjoined the Dominie.
'Anathema, Maranatha!' So saying, he rose, shouldered the folio which he
had been perusing, faced to the right about, and marched out of the room
with the strides of a grenadier.
Mr. Glossin, no way disconcerted, or at least feeling it necessary not to
appear so, turned to young Hazlewood, who was apparently busy with the
newspaper.--' Any news, sir?' Hazlewood raised his eyes, looked at him,
and pushed the paper towards him, as if to a stranger in a coffee-house,
then rose, and was about to leave the room. 'I beg pardon, Mr. Hazlewood,
but I can't help wishing you joy of getting so easily over that infernal
accident.' This was answered by a sort of inclination of the head, as
slight and stiff as could well be imagined. Yet it encouraged our man of
law to proceed.--' I can promise you, Mr. Hazlewood, few people have
taken the interest in that matter which I have done, both for the sake of
the country and on account of my particular respect for your family,
which has so high a stake in it; indeed, so very high a stake that, as
Mr. Featherhead is 'turning old now, and as there's a talk, since his
last stroke, of his taking the Chiltern Hundreds, it might be worth your
while to look about you. I speak as a friend, Mr. Hazlewood, and as one
who understands the roll; and if in going over it together--'
'I beg pardon, sir, but I have no views in which your assistance could be
'O, very well, perhaps you are right; it's quite time enough, and I love
to see a young gentleman cautious. But I was talking of your wound. I
think I have got a clue to that business--I think I have, and if I don't
bring the fellow to condign punishment--!'
'I beg your pardon, sir, once more; but your zeal outruns my wishes. I
have every reason to think the wound was accidental; certainly it was not
premeditated. Against ingratitude and premeditated treachery, should you
find any one guilty of them, my resentment will be as warm as your own.'
This was Hazlewood's answer.
'Another rebuff,' thought Glossin; 'I must try him upon the other tack.'
'Right, sir; very nobly said! I would have no more mercy on an ungrateful
man than I would on a woodcock. And now we talk of sport (this was a sort
of diverting of the conversation which Glossin had learned from his
former patron), I see you often carry a gun, and I hope you will be soon
able to take the field again. I observe you confine yourself always to
your own side of the Hazleshaws burn. I hope, my dear sir, you will make
no scruple of following your game to the Ellangowan bank; I believe it is
rather the best exposure of the two for woodcocks, although both are
As this offer only excited a cold and constrained bow, Glossin was
obliged to remain silent, and was presently afterwards somewhat relieved
by the entrance of Colonel Mannering.
'I have detained you some time, I fear, sir,' said he, addressing
Glossin; 'I wished to prevail upon Miss Bertram to see you, as, in my
opinion, her objections ought to give way to the necessity of hearing in
her own person what is stated to be of importance that she should know.
But I find that circumstances of recent occurrence, and not easily to be
forgotten, have rendered her so utterly repugnant to a personal interview
with Mr. Glossin that it would be cruelty to insist upon it; and she has
deputed me to receive his commands, or proposal, or, in short, whatever
he may wish to say to her.'
'Hem, hem! I am sorry, sir--I am very sorry, Colonel Mannering, that Miss
Bertram should suppose--that any prejudice, in short--or idea that
anything on my part--'
'Sir,' said the inflexible Colonel, 'where no accusation is made, excuses
or explanations are unnecessary. Have you any objection to communicate to
me, as Miss Bertram's temporary guardian, the circumstances which you
conceive to interest her?'
'None, Colonel Mannering; she could not choose a more respectable friend,
or one with whom I, in particular, would more anxiously wish to
'Have the goodness to speak to the point, sir, if you please.'
'Why, sir, it is not so easy all at once--but Mr. Hazlewood need not
leave the room,--I mean so well to Miss Bertram that I could wish the
whole world to hear my part of the conference.'
'My friend Mr. Charles Hazlewood will not probably be anxious, Mr.
Glossin, to listen to what cannot concern him. And now, when he has left
us alone, let me pray you to be short and explicit in what you have to
say. I am a soldier, sir, somewhat impatient of forms and introductions.'
So saying, he drew himself up in his chair and waited for Mr. Glossin's
'Be pleased to look at that letter,' said Glossin, putting Protocol's
epistle into Mannering's hand, as the shortest way of stating his
The Colonel read it and returned it, after pencilling the name of the
writer in his memorandum-book. 'This, sir, does not seem to require much
discussion. I will see that Miss Bertram's interest is attended to.'
'But, sir,--but, Colonel Mannering,' added Glossin, 'there is another
matter which no one can explain but myself. This lady--this Mrs. Margaret
Bertram, to my certain knowledge, made a general settlement of her
affairs in Miss Lucy Bertram's favour while she lived with my old friend
Mr. Bertram at Ellangowan. The Dominie--that was the name by which my
deceased friend always called that very respectable man Mr. Sampson--he
and I witnessed the deed. And she had full power at that time to make
such a settlement, for she was in fee of the estate of Singleside even
then, although it was life rented by an elder sister. It was a whimsical
settlement of old Singleside's, sir; he pitted the two cats his daughters
against each other, ha, ha, ha!'
'Well, sir,' said Mannering, without the slightest smile of sympathy,
'but to the purpose. You say that this lady had power to settle her
estate on Miss Bertram, and that she did so?'
'Even so, Colonel,' replied Glossin. 'I think I should understand the
law, I have followed it for many years; and, though I have given it up to
retire upon a handsome competence, I did not throw away that knowledge
which is pronounced better than house and land, and which I take to be
the knowledge of the law, since, as our common rhyme has it,
'Tis most excellent,
To win the land that's gone and spent.
No, no, I love the smack of the whip: I have a little, a very little law
yet, at the service of my friends.'
Glossin ran on in this manner, thinking he had made a favourable
impression on Mannering. The Colonel, indeed, reflected that this might
be a most important crisis for Miss Bertram's interest, and resolved that
his strong inclination to throw Glossin out at window or at door should
not interfere with it. He put a strong curb on his temper, and resolved
to listen with patience at least, if without complacency. He therefore
let Mr. Glossin get to the end of his self-congratulations, and then
asked him if he knew where the deed was.
'I know--that is, I think--I believe I can recover it. In such cases
custodiers have sometimes made a charge.'
'We won't differ as to that, sir,' said the Colonel, taking out his
'But, my dear sir, you take me so very short. I said SOME PERSONS MIGHT
make such a claim, I mean for payment of the expenses of the deed,
trouble in the affair, etc. But I, for my own part, only wish Miss
Bertram and her friends to be satisfied that I am acting towards her with
honour. There's the paper, sir! It would have been a satisfaction to me
to have delivered it into Miss Bertram's own hands, and to have wished
her joy of the prospects which it opens. But, since her prejudices on the
subject are invincible, it only remains for me to transmit her my best
wishes through you, Colonel Mannering, and to express that I shall
willingly give my testimony in support of that deed when I shall be
called upon. I have the honour to wish you a good morning, sir.'
This parting speech was so well got up, and had so much the tone of
conscious integrity unjustly suspected, that even Colonel Mannering was
staggered in his bad opinion. He followed him two or three steps, and
took leave of him with more politeness (though still cold and formal)
than he had paid during his visit. Glossin left the house half pleased
with the impression he had made, half mortified by the stern caution and
proud reluctance with which he had been received. 'Colonel Mannering
might have had more politeness,' he said to himself. 'It is not every man
that can bring a good chance of 400 Pounds a year to a penniless girl.
Singleside must be up to 400 Pounds a year now; there's Reilageganbeg,
Gillifidget, Loverless, Liealone, and the Spinster's Knowe--good 400
Pounds a year. Some people might have made their own of it in my place;
and yet, to own the truth, after much consideration, I don't see how that
Glossin was no sooner mounted and gone than the Colonel despatched a
groom for Mr. Mac-Morlan, and, putting the deed into his hand, requested
to know if it was likely to be available to his friend Lucy Bertram.
Mac-Morlan perused it with eyes that sparkled with delight, snapped his
fingers repeatedly, and at length exclaimed, 'Available! it's as tight as
a glove; naebody could make better wark than Glossin, when he didna let
down a steek on purpose. But (his countenance falling) the auld b---,
that I should say so, might alter at pleasure!'
'Ah! And how shall we know whether she has done so?'
'Somebody must attend on Miss Bertram's part when the repositories of the
deceased are opened.'
'Can you go?' said the Colonel.
'I fear I cannot,' replied Mac-Morlan; 'I must attend a jury trial before
'Then I will go myself,' said the Colonel; 'I'll set out to-morrow.
Sampson shall go with me; he is witness to this settlement. But I shall
want a legal adviser.'
'The gentleman that was lately sheriff of this county is high in
reputation as a barrister; I will give you a card of introduction to
'What I like about you, Mr. Mac-Morlan,' said the Colonel, 'is that you
always come straight to the point. Let me have it instantly. Shall we
tell Miss Lucy her chance of becoming an heiress?'
'Surely, because you must have some powers from her, which I will
instantly draw out. Besides, I will be caution for her prudence, and that
she will consider it only in the light of a chance.'
Mac-Morlan judged well. It could not be discerned from Miss Bertram's
manner that she founded exulting hopes upon the prospect thus
unexpectedly opening before her. She did, indeed, in the course of the
evening ask Mr. Mac-Morlan, as if by accident, what might be the annual
income of the Hazlewood property; but shall we therefore aver for certain
that she was considering whether an heiress of four hundred a year might
be a suitable match for the young Laird?
Give me a cup of sack, to make mine eyes look red. For I must
speak in passion, and I will do it in King Cambyses' vein.
--Henry IV, part I.
Mannering, with Sampson for his companion, lost no time in his journey to
Edinburgh. They travelled in the Colonel's post-chariot, who, knowing his
companion's habits of abstraction, did not choose to lose him out of his
own sight, far less to trust him on horseback, where, in all probability,
a knavish stable-boy might with little address have contrived to mount
him with his face to the tail. Accordingly, with the aid of his valet,
who attended on horseback, he contrived to bring Mr. Sampson safe to an
inn in Edinburgh--for hotels in those days there were none--without any
other accident than arose from his straying twice upon the road. On one
occasion he was recovered by Barnes, who understood his humour, when,
after engaging in close colloquy with the schoolmaster of Moffat
respecting a disputed quantity in Horace's 7th Ode, Book II, the dispute
led on to another controversy concerning the exact meaning of the word
malobathro in that lyric effusion. His second escapade was made for the
purpose of visiting the field of Rullion Green, which was dear to his
Presbyterian predilections. Having got out of the carriage for an
instant, he saw the sepulchral monument of the slain at the distance of
about a mile, and was arrested by Barnes in his progress up the Pentland
Hills, having on both occasions forgot his friend, patron, and
fellow-traveller as completely as if he had been in the East Indies. On
being reminded that Colonel Mannering was waiting for him, he uttered his
usual ejaculation of 'Prodigious! I was oblivious,' and then strode back
to his post. Barnes was surprised at his master's patience on both
occasions, knowing by experience how little he brooked neglect or delay;
but the Dominie was in every respect a privileged person. His patron and
he were never for a moment in each other's way, and it seemed obvious
that they were formed to be companions through life. If Mannering wanted
a particular book, the Dominie could bring it; if he wished to have
accounts summed up or checked, his assistance was equally ready; if he
desired to recall a particular passage in the classics, he could have
recourse to the Dominie as to a dictionary; and all the while this
walking statue was neither presuming when noticed nor sulky when left to
himself. To a proud, shy, reserved man, and such in many respects was
Mannering, this sort of living catalogue and animated automaton had all
the advantages of a literary dumb-waiter.
As soon as they arrived in Edinburgh, and were established at the George
Inn, near Bristo Port, then kept by old Cockburn (I love to be
particular), the Colonel desired the waiter to procure him a guide to Mr.
Pleydell's, the advocate, for whom he had a letter of introduction from
Mr. Mac-Morlan. He then commanded Barnes to have an eye to the Dominie,
and walked forth with a chairman, who was to usher him to the man of law.
The period was near the end of the American war. The desire of room, of
air, and of decent accommodation had not as yet made very much progress
in the capital of Scotland. Some efforts had been made on the south side
of the town towards building houses WITHIN THEMSELVES, as they are
emphatically termed; and the New Town on the north, since so much
extended, was then just commenced. But the great bulk of the better
classes, and particularly those connected with the law, still lived in
flats or dungeons of the Old Town. The manners also of some of the
veterans of the law had not admitted innovation. One or two eminent
lawyers still saw their clients in taverns, as was the general custom
fifty years before; and although their habits were already considered as
old-fashioned by the younger barristers, yet the custom of mixing wine
and revelry with serious business was still maintained by those senior
counsellors who loved the old road, either because it was such or because
they had got too well used to it to travel any other. Among those
praisers of the past time, who with ostentatious obstinacy affected the
manners of a former generation, was this same Paulus Pleydell, Esq.,
otherwise a good scholar, an excellent lawyer, and a worthy man.
Under the guidance of his trusty attendant, Colonel Mannering, after
threading a dark lane or two, reached the High Street, then clanging with
the voices of oyster-women and the bells of pye-men; for it had, as his
guide assured him, just' chappit eight upon the Tron.' It was long since
Mannering had been in the street of a crowded metropolis, which, with its
noise and clamour, its sounds of trade, of revelry, and of license, its
variety of lights, and the eternally changing bustle of its hundred
groups, offers, by night especially, a spectacle which, though composed
of the most vulgar materials when they are separately considered, has,
when they are combined, a striking and powerful effect on the
imagination. The extraordinary height of the houses was marked by lights,
which, glimmering irregularly along their front, ascended so high among
the attics that they seemed at length to twinkle in the middle sky. This
coup d'aeil, which still subsists in a certain degree, was then more
imposing, owing to the uninterrupted range of buildings on each side,
which, broken only at the space where the North Bridge joins the main
street, formed a superb and uniform place, extending from the front of
the Lucken-booths to the head of the Canongate, and corresponding in
breadth and length to the uncommon height of the buildings on either
Mannering had not much time to look and to admire. His conductor hurried
him across this striking scene, and suddenly dived with him into a very
steep paved lane. Turning to the right, they entered a scale staircase,
as it is called, the state of which, so far as it could be judged of by
one of his senses, annoyed Mannering's delicacy not a little. When they
had ascended cautiously to a considerable height, they heard a heavy rap
at a door, still two stories above them. The door opened, and immediately
ensued the sharp and worrying bark of a dog, the squalling of a woman,
the screams of an assaulted cat, and the hoarse voice of a man, who cried
in a most imperative tone, 'Will ye, Mustard? Will ye? down, sir, down!'
'Lord preserve us!' said the female voice, 'an he had worried our cat,
Mr. Pleydell would ne'er hae forgi'en me!'
'Aweel, my doo, the cat's no a prin the waur. So he's no in, ye say?'
'Na, Mr. Pleydell's ne'er in the house on Saturday at e'en,' answered the
'And the morn's Sabbath too,' said the querist. 'I dinna ken what will be
By this time Mannering appeared, and found a tall, strong countryman,
clad in a coat of pepper-and-salt-coloured mixture, with huge metal
buttons, a glazed hat and boots, and a large horsewhip beneath his arm,
in colloquy with a slipshod damsel, who had in one hand the lock of the
door, and in the other a pail of whiting, or camstane, as it is called,
mixed with water--a circumstance which indicates Saturday night in
'So Mr. Pleydell is not at home, my good girl?' said Mannering.
'Ay, sir, he's at hame, but he's no in the house; he's aye out on
Saturday at e'en.'
'But, my good girl, I am a stranger, and my business express. Will you
tell me where I can find him?'
'His honour,' said the chairman, 'will be at Clerihugh's about this time.
Hersell could hae tell'd ye that, but she thought ye wanted to see his
'Well, then, show me to this tavern. I suppose he will see me, as I come
on business of some consequence?'
'I dinna ken, sir,' said the girl; 'he disna like to be disturbed on
Saturdays wi' business; but he's aye civil to strangers.'
'I'll gang to the tavern too,' said our friend Dinmont, 'for I am a
stranger also, and on business e'en sic like.'
'Na,' said the handmaiden, 'an he see the gentleman, he'll see the simple
body too; but, Lord's sake, dinna say it was me sent ye there!'
'Atweel, I am a simple body, that's true, hinny, but I am no come to
steal ony o' his skeel for naething,' said the farmer in his honest
pride, and strutted away downstairs, followed by Mannering and the cadie.
Mannering could not help admiring the determined stride with which the
stranger who preceded them divided the press, shouldering from him, by
the mere weight and impetus of his motion, both drunk and sober
passengers. 'He'll be a Teviotdale tup tat ane,' said the chairman,
'tat's for keeping ta crown o' ta causeway tat gate; he 'll no gang far
or he 'll get somebody to bell ta cat wi' him.'
His shrewd augury, however, was not fulfilled. Those who recoiled from
the colossal weight of Dinmont, on looking up at his size and strength,
apparently judged him too heavy metal to be rashly encountered, and
suffered him to pursue his course unchallenged. Following in the wake of
this first-rate, Mannering proceeded till the farmer made a pause, and,
looking back to the chairman, said, 'I'm thinking this will be the close,
'Ay, ay,' replied Donald, 'tat's ta close.'
Dinmont descended confidently, then turned into a dark alley, then up a
dark stair, and then into an open door. While he was whistling shrilly
for the waiter, as if he had been one of his collie dogs, Mannering
looked round him, and could hardly conceive how a gentleman of a liberal
profession and good society should choose such a scene for social
indulgence. Besides the miserable entrance, the house itself seemed
paltry and half ruinous. The passage in which they stood had a window to
the close, which admitted a little light during the daytime, and a
villainous compound of smells at all times, but more especially towards
evening. Corresponding to this window was a borrowed light on the other
side of the passage, looking into the kitchen, which had no direct
communication with the free air, but received in the daytime, at second
hand, such straggling and obscure light as found its way from the lane
through the window opposite. At present the interior of the kitchen was
visible by its own huge fires--a sort of Pandemonium, where men and
women, half undressed, were busied in baking, broiling, roasting oysters,
and preparing devils on the gridiron; the mistress of the place, with her
shoes slipshod, and her hair straggling like that of Megaera from under a
round-eared cap, toiling, scolding, receiving orders, giving them, and
obeying them all at once, seemed the presiding enchantress of that gloomy
and fiery region.
Loud and repeated bursts of laughter from different quarters of the house
proved that her labours were acceptable, and not unrewarded by a generous
public. With some difficulty a waiter was prevailed upon to show Colonel
Mannering and Dinmont the room where their friend learned in the law held
his hebdomadal carousals. The scene which it exhibited, and particularly
the attitude of the counsellor himself, the principal figure therein,
struck his two clients with amazement.
Mr. Pleydell was a lively, sharp-looking gentleman, with a professional
shrewdness in his eye, and, generally speaking, a professional formality
in his manners. But this, like his three-tailed wig and black coat, he
could slip off on a Saturday evening, when surrounded by a party of jolly
companions, and disposed for what he called his altitudes. On the present
occasion the revel had lasted since four o'clock, and at length, under
the direction of a venerable compotator, who had shared the sports and
festivity of three generations, the frolicsome company had begun to
practise the ancient and now forgotten pastime of HIGH JINKS. This game
was played in several different ways. Most frequently the dice were
thrown by the company, and those upon whom the lot fell were obliged to
assume and maintain for a time a certain fictitious character, or to
repeat a certain number of fescennine verses in a particular order. If
they departed from the characters assigned, or if their memory proved
treacherous in the repetition, they incurred forfeits, which were either
compounded for by swallowing an additional bumper or by paying a small
sum towards the reckoning. At this sport the jovial company were closely
engaged when Mannering entered the room.
Mr. Counsellor Pleydell, such as we have described him, was enthroned as
a monarch in an elbow-chair placed on the dining-table, his scratch wig
on one side, his head crowned with a bottle-slider, his eye leering with
an expression betwixt fun and the effects of wine, while his court around
him resounded with such crambo scraps of verse as these:--
Where is Gerunto now? and what's become of him? Gerunto's drowned because
he could not swim, etc., etc.
Such, O Themis, were anciently the sports of thy Scottish children!
Dinmont was first in the room. He stood aghast a moment, and then
exclaimed, 'It's him, sure enough. Deil o' the like o' that ever I saw!'
At the sound of 'Mr. Dinmont and Colonel Mannering wanting to speak to
you, sir,' Pleydell turned his head, and blushed a little when he saw the
very genteel figure of the English stranger. He was, however, of the
opinion of Falstaff, 'Out, ye villains, play out the play!' wisely
judging it the better way to appear totally unconcerned. 'Where be our
guards?' exclaimed this second Justinian; 'see ye not a stranger knight
from foreign parts arrived at this our court of Holyrood, with our bold
yeoman Andrew Dinmont, who has succeeded to the keeping of our royal
flocks within the forest of Jedwood, where, thanks to our royal care in
the administration of justice, they feed as safe as if they were within
the bounds of Fife? Where be our heralds, our pursuivants, our Lyon, our
Marchmount, our Carrick, and our Snowdown? Let the strangers be placed at
our board, and regaled as beseemeth their quality and this our high
holiday; to-morrow we will hear their tidings.'
'So please you, my liege, to-morrow's Sunday,' said one of the company.
'Sunday, is it? then we will give no offence to the assembly of the kirk;
on Monday shall be their audience.'
Mannering, who had stood at first uncertain whether to advance or
retreat, now resolved to enter for the moment into the whim of the scene,
though internally fretting at Mac-Morlan for sending him to consult with
a crack-brained humourist. He therefore advanced with three profound
congees, and craved permission to lay his credentials at the feet of the
Scottish monarch, in order to be perused at his best leisure. The gravity
with which he accommodated himself to the humour of the moment, and the
deep and humble inclination with which he at first declined, and then
accepted, a seat presented by the master of the ceremonies, procured him
three rounds of applause.
'Deil hae me, if they arena a' mad thegither!' said Dinmont, occupying
with less ceremony a seat at the bottom of the table; 'or else they hae
taen Yule before it comes, and are gaun a-guisarding.'
A large glass of claret was offered to Mannering, who drank it to the
health of the reigning prince. 'You are, I presume to guess,' said the
monarch, 'that celebrated Sir Miles Mannering, so renowned in the French
wars, and may well pronounce to us if the wines of Gascony lose their
flavour in our more northern realm.'
Mannering, agreeably flattered by this allusion to the fame of his
celebrated ancestor, replied by professing himself only a distant
relation of the preux chevalier, and added, 'that in his opinion the wine
was superlatively good.'
'It's ower cauld for my stamach,' said Dinmont, setting down the
'We will correct that quality,' answered King Paulus, the first of the
name; 'we have not forgotten that the moist and humid air of our valley
of Liddel inclines to stronger potations. Seneschal, let our faithful
yeoman have a cup of brandy; it will be more germain to the matter.'
'And now,' said Mannering, 'since we have unwarily intruded upon your
majesty at a moment of mirthful retirement, be pleased to say when you
will indulge a stranger with an audience on those affairs of weight which
have brought him to your northern capital.'
The monarch opened Mac-Morlan's letter, and, running it hastily over,
exclaimed with his natural voice and manner, 'Lucy Bertram of Ellangowan,
poor dear lassie!'
'A forfeit! a forfeit!' exclaimed a dozen voices; 'his majesty has forgot
his kingly character.'
'Not a whit! not a whit!' replied the king; 'I'll be judged by this
courteous knight. May not a monarch love a maid of low degree? Is not
King Cophetua and the Beggar-maid an adjudged case in point?'
'Professional! professional! another forfeit,' exclaimed the tumultuary
'Had not our royal predecessors,' continued the monarch, exalting his
sovereign voice to drown these disaffected clamours,--'had they not their
Jean Logies, their Bessie Carmichaels, their Oliphants, their Sandilands,
and their Weirs, and shall it be denied to us even to name a maiden whom
we delight to honour? Nay, then, sink state and perish sovereignty! for,
like a second Charles V, we will abdicate, and seek in the private shades
of life those pleasures which are denied to a throne.'
So saying, he flung away his crown, and sprung from his exalted station
with more agility than could have been expected from his age, ordered
lights and a wash-hand basin and towel, with a cup of green tea, into
another room, and made a sign to Mannering to accompany him. In less than
two minutes he washed his face and hands, settled his wig in the glass,
and, to Mannering's great surprise, looked quite a different man from the
childish Bacchanal he had seen a moment before.
'There are folks,' he said, 'Mr. Mannering, before whom one should take
care how they play the fool, because they have either too much malice or
too little wit, as the poet says. The best compliment I can pay Colonel
Mannering is to show I am not ashamed to expose myself before him; and
truly I think it is a compliment I have not spared to-night on your
good-nature. But what's that great strong fellow wanting?'
Dinmont, who had pushed after Mannering into the room, began with a
scrape with his foot and a scratch of his head in unison. 'I am Dandie
Dinmont, sir, of the Charlie's Hope--the Liddesdale lad; ye'll mind me?
It was for me ye won yon grand plea.'
'What plea, you loggerhead?' said the lawyer. 'D'ye think I can remember
all the fools that come to plague me?'
'Lord, sir, it was the grand plea about the grazing o' the Langtae Head!'
said the farmer.
'Well, curse thee, never mind; give me the memorial and come to me on
Monday at ten,' replied the learned counsel.
'But, sir, I haena got ony distinct memorial.'
'No memorial, man?' said Pleydell.
'Na, sir, nae memorial,' answered Dandie; 'for your honour said before,
Mr. Pleydell, ye'll mind, that ye liked best to hear us hill-folk tell
our ain tale by word o' mouth.'
'Beshrew my tongue, that said so!' answered the counsellor; 'it will cost
my ears a dinning. Well, say in two words what you've got to say. You see
the gentleman waits.'
'Ou, sir, if the gentleman likes he may play his ain spring first; it's
a' ane to Dandie.'
'Now, you looby,' said the lawyer, 'cannot you conceive that your
business can be nothing to Colonel Mannering, but that he may not choose
to have these great ears of thine regaled with his matters?'
'Aweel, sir, just as you and he like, so ye see to my business,' said
Dandie, not a whit disconcerted by the roughness of this reception.
'We're at the auld wark o' the marches again, Jock o' Dawston Cleugh and
me. Ye see we march on the tap o' Touthop-rigg after we pass the
Pomoragrains; for the Pomoragrains, and Slackenspool, and Bloodylaws,
they come in there, and they belang to the Peel; but after ye pass
Pomoragrains at a muckle great saucer-headed cutlugged stane that they
ca' Charlie's Chuckie, there Dawston Cleugh and Charlie's Hope they
march. Now, I say the march rins on the tap o' the hill where the wind
and water shears; but Jock o' Dawston Cleugh again, he contravenes that,
and says that it bauds down by the auld drove-road that gaes awa by the
Knot o' the Gate ower to Keeldar Ward; and that makes an unco
'And what difference does it make, friend?' said Pleydell. 'How many
sheep will it feed?'
'Ou, no mony,' said Dandie, scratching his head; 'it's lying high and
exposed: it may feed a hog, or aiblins twa in a good year.'
'And for this grazing, which may be worth about five shillings a year,
you are willing to throw away a hundred pound or two?'
'Na, sir, it's no for the value of the grass,' replied Dinmont; 'it's for
'My good friend,' said Pleydell, 'justice, like charity, should begin at
home. Do you justice to your wife and family, and think no more about the
Dinmont still lingered, twisting his hat in his hand. 'It's no for that,
sir; but I would like ill to be bragged wi' him; he threeps he'll bring a
score o' witnesses and mair, and I'm sure there's as mony will swear for
me as for him, folk that lived a' their days upon the Charlie's Hope, and
wadna like to see the land lose its right.'
'Zounds, man, if it be a point of honour,' said the lawyer, 'why don't
your landlords take it up?'
'I dinna ken, sir (scratching his head again); there's been nae
election-dusts lately, and the lairds are unco neighbourly, and Jock and
me canna get them to yoke thegither about it a' that we can say; but if
ye thought we might keep up the rent--'
'No! no! that will never do,' said Pleydell. 'Confound you, why don't you
take good cudgels and settle it?'
'Odd, sir,' answered the farmer, 'we tried that three times already,
that's twice on the land and ance at Lockerby Fair. But I dinna ken;
we're baith gey good at single-stick, and it couldna weel be judged.'
'Then take broadswords, and be d--d to you, as your fathers did before
you,' said the counsel learned in the law.
'Aweel, sir, if ye think it wadna be again the law, it's a' ane to
'Hold! hold!' exclaimed Pleydell, 'we shall have another Lord Soulis'
mistake. Pr'ythee, man, comprehend me; I wish you to consider how very
trifling and foolish a lawsuit you wish to engage in.'
'Ay, sir?' said Dandie, in a disappointed tone. 'So ye winna take on wi'
me, I'm doubting?'
'Me! not I. Go home, go home, take a pint and agree.' Dandie looked but
half contented, and still remained stationary. 'Anything more, my
'Only, sir, about the succession of this leddy that's dead, auld Miss
Margaret Bertram o' Singleside.'
'Ay, what about her?' said the counsellor, rather surprised.
'Ou, we have nae connexion at a' wi' the Bertrams,' said Dandie; 'they
were grand folk by the like o' us; but Jean Liltup, that was auld
Singleside's housekeeper, and the mother of these twa young ladies that
are gane--the last o' them's dead at a ripe age, I trow--Jean Liltup came
out o' Liddel water, and she was as near our connexion as second cousin
to my mother's half-sister. She drew up wi' Singleside, nae doubt, when
she was his housekeeper, and it was a sair vex and grief to a' her kith
and kin. But he acknowledged a marriage, and satisfied the kirk; and now
I wad ken frae you if we hae not some claim by law?'
'Not the shadow of a claim.'
'Aweel, we're nae puirer,' said Dandie; 'but she may hae thought on us if
she was minded to make a testament. Weel, sir, I've said my say; I'se
e'en wish you good-night, and--' putting his hand in his pocket.
'No, no, my friend; I never take fees on Saturday nights, or without a
memorial. Away with you, Dandie.' And Dandie made his reverence and
But this poor farce has neither truth nor art
To please the fancy or to touch the heart
Dark but not awful dismal but yet mean,
With anxious bustle moves the cumbrous scene,
Presents no objects tender or profound,
But spreads its cold unmeaning gloom around
'Your majesty,' said Mannering, laughing, 'has solemnised your abdication
by an act of mercy and charity. That fellow will scarce think of going to
'O, you are quite wrong,' said the experienced lawyer. 'The only
difference is, I have lost my client and my fee. He'll never rest till he
finds somebody to encourage him to commit the folly he has predetermined.
No! no! I have only shown you another weakness of my character: I always
speak truth of a Saturday night.'
'And sometimes through the week, I should think,' said Mannering,
continuing the same tone.
'Why, yes; as far as my vocation will permit. I am, as Hamlet says,
indifferent honest, when my clients and their solicitors do not make me
the medium of conveying their double-distilled lies to the bench. But
oportet vivere! it is a sad thing. And now to our business. I am glad my
old friend Mac-Morlan has sent you to me; he is an active, honest, and
intelligent man, long sheriff-substitute of the county of--under me, and
still holds the office. He knows I have a regard for that unfortunate
family of Ellangowan, and for poor Lucy. I have not seen her since she
was twelve years old, and she was then a sweet pretty girl, under the
management of a very silly father. But my interest in her is of an early
date. I was called upon, Mr. Mannering, being then sheriff of that
county, to investigate the particulars of a murder which had been
committed near Ellangowan the day on which this poor child was born; and
which, by a strange combination that I was unhappily not able to trace,
involved the death or abstraction of her only brother, a boy of about
five years old. No, Colonel, I shall never forget the misery of the house
of Ellangowan that morning! the father half-distracted--the mother dead
in premature travail--the helpless infant, with scarce any one to attend
it, coming wawling and crying into this miserable world at such a moment
of unutterable misery. We lawyers are not of iron, sir, or of brass, any
more than you soldiers are of steel. We are conversant with the crimes
and distresses of civil society, as you are with those that occur in a
state of war, and to do our duty in either case a little apathy is
perhaps necessary. But the devil take a soldier whose heart can be as
hard as his sword, and his dam catch the lawyer who bronzes his bosom
instead of his forehead! But come, I am losing my Saturday at e'en. Will
you have the kindness to trust me with these papers which relate to Miss
Bertram's business? and stay--to-morrow you'll take a bachelor's dinner
with an old lawyer,--I insist upon it--at three precisely, and come an
hour sooner. The old lady is to be buried on Monday; it is the orphan's
cause, and we'll borrow an hour from the Sunday to talk over this
business, although I fear nothing can be done if she has altered her
settlement, unless perhaps it occurs within the sixty days, and then, if
Miss Bertram can show that she possesses the character of heir-at-law,
why--But, hark! my lieges are impatient of their interregnum. I do not
invite you to rejoin us, Colonel; it would be a trespass on your
complaisance, unless you had begun the day with us, and gradually glided
on from wisdom to mirth, and from mirth to-to-to--extravagance.
Good-night. Harry, go home with Mr. Mannering to his lodging. Colonel, I
expect you at a little past two to-morrow.'
The Colonel returned to his inn, equally surprised at the childish
frolics in which he had found his learned counsellor engaged, at the
candour and sound sense which he had in a moment summoned up to meet the
exigencies of his profession, and at the tone of feeling which he
displayed when he spoke of the friendless orphan.
In the morning, while the Colonel and his most quiet and silent of all
retainers, Dominie Sampson, were finishing the breakfast which Barnes had
made and poured out, after the Dominie had scalded himself in the
attempt, Mr. Pleydell was suddenly ushered in. A nicely dressed bob-wig,
upon every hair of which a zealous and careful barber had bestowed its
proper allowance of powder; a well-brushed black suit, with very clean
shoes and gold buckles and stock-buckle; a manner rather reserved and
formal than intrusive, but withal showing only the formality of manner,
by no means that of awkwardness; a countenance, the expressive and
somewhat comic features of which were in complete repose--all showed a
being perfectly different from the choice spirit of the evening before. A
glance of shrewd and piercing fire in his eye was the only marked
expression which recalled the man of 'Saturday at e'en.'
'I am come,' said he, with a very polite address, 'to use my regal
authority in your behalf in spirituals as well as temporals; can I
accompany you to the Presbyterian kirk, or Episcopal meeting-house? Tros
Tyriusve, a lawyer, you know, is of both religions, or rather I should
say of both forms;--or can I assist in passing the fore-noon otherwise?
You'll excuse my old-fashioned importunity, I was born in a time when a
Scotchman was thought inhospitable if he left a guest alone a moment,
except when he slept; but I trust you will tell me at once if I intrude.'
'Not at all, my dear sir,' answered Colonel Mannering. 'I am delighted to
put myself under your pilotage. I should wish much to hear some of your
Scottish preachers whose talents have done such honour to your
country--your Blair, your Robertson, or your Henry; and I embrace your
kind offer with all my heart. Only,' drawing the lawyer a little aside,
and turning his eye towards Sampson, 'my worthy friend there in the
reverie is a little helpless and abstracted, and my servant, Barnes, who
is his pilot in ordinary, cannot well assist him here, especially as he
has expressed his determination of going to some of your darker and more
remote places of worship.'
The lawyer's eye glanced at Dominie Sampson. 'A curiosity worth
preserving; and I'll find you a fit custodier. Here you, sir (to the
waiter), go to Luckie Finlayson's in the Cowgate for Miles Macfin the
cadie, he'll be there about this time, and tell him I wish to speak to
The person wanted soon arrived. 'I will commit your friend to this man's
charge,' said Pleydell; 'he'll attend him, or conduct him, wherever he
chooses to go, with a happy indifference as to kirk or market, meeting or
court of justice, or any other place whatever; and bring him safe home at
whatever hour you appoint; so that Mr. Barnes there may be left to the
freedom of his own will.'
This was easily arranged, and the Colonel committed the Dominie to the
charge of this man while they should remain in Edinburgh.
'And now, sir, if you please, we shall go to the Grey-friars church, to
hear our historian of Scotland, of the Continent, and of America.'
They were disappointed: he did not preach that morning. 'Never mind,'
said the Counsellor, 'have a moment's patience and we shall do very
The colleague of Dr. Robertson ascended the pulpit. [Footnote: This was
the celebrated Doctor Erskine, a distinguished clergyman, and a most
excellent man.] His external appearance was not prepossessing. A
remarkably fair complexion, strangely contrasted with a black wig without
a grain of powder; a narrow chest and a stooping posture; hands which,
placed like props on either side of the pulpit, seemed necessary rather
to support the person than to assist the gesticulation of the preacher;
no gown, not even that of Geneva, a tumbled band, and a gesture which
seemed scarce voluntary, were the first circumstances which struck a
stranger. 'The preacher seems a very ungainly person,' whispered
Mannering to his new friend.
'Never fear, he's the son of an excellent Scottish lawyer; [Footnote: The
father of Doctor Erskine was an eminent lawyer, and his Institutes of the
Law of Scotland are to this day the text-book of students of that
science.] he'll show blood, I'll warrant him.'
The learned Counsellor predicted truly. A lecture was delivered, fraught
with new, striking, and entertaining views of Scripture history, a sermon
in which the Calvinism of the Kirk of Scotland was ably supported, yet
made the basis of a sound system of practical morals, which should
neither shelter the sinner under the cloak of speculative faith or of
peculiarity of opinion, nor leave him loose to the waves of unbelief and
schism. Something there was of an antiquated turn of argument and
metaphor, but it only served to give zest and peculiarity to the style of
elocution. The sermon was not read: a scrap of paper containing the heads
of the discourse was occasionally referred to, and the enunciation, which
at first seemed imperfect and embarrassed, became, as the preacher warmed
in his progress, animated and distinct; and although the discourse could
not be quoted as a correct specimen of pulpit eloquence, yet Mannering
had seldom heard so much learning, metaphysical acuteness, and energy of
argument brought into the service of Christianity.
'Such,' he said, going out of the church, 'must have been the preachers
to whose unfearing minds, and acute though sometimes rudely exercised
talents, we owe the Reformation.'
'And yet that reverend gentleman,' said Pleydell, 'whom I love for his
father's sake and his own, has nothing of the sour or pharisaical pride
which has been imputed to some of the early fathers of the Calvinistic
Kirk of Scotland. His colleague and he differ, and head different parties
in the kirk, about particular points of church discipline; but without
for a moment losing personal regard or respect for each other, or
suffering malignity to interfere in an opposition steady, constant, and
apparently conscientious on both sides.'
'And you, Mr. Pleydell, what do you think of their points of difference?'
'Why, I hope, Colonel, a plain man may go to heaven without thinking
about them at all; besides, inter nos, I am a member of the suffering and
Episcopal Church of Scotland--the shadow of a shade now, and fortunately
so; but I love to pray where my fathers prayed before me, without
thinking worse of the Presbyterian forms because they do not affect me
with the same associations.' And with this remark they parted until
From the awkward access to the lawyer's mansion, Mannering was induced to
form very moderate expectations of the entertainment which he was to
receive. The approach looked even more dismal by daylight than on the
preceding evening. The houses on each side of the lane were so close that
the neighbours might have shaken hands with each other from the different
sides, and occasionally the space between was traversed by wooden
galleries, and thus entirely closed up. The stair, the scale-stair, was
not well cleaned; and on entering the house Mannering was struck with the
narrowness and meanness of the wainscotted passage. But the library, into
which he was shown by an elderly, respectable-looking man-servant, was a
complete contrast to these unpromising appearances. It was a
well-proportioned room, hung with a portrait or two of Scottish
characters of eminence, by Jamieson, the Caledonian Vandyke, and
surrounded with books, the best editions of the best authors, and in
particular an admirable collection of classics.
'These,' said Pleydell, 'are my tools of trade. A lawyer without history
or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some
knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect.'
But Mannering was chiefly delighted with the view from the windows, which
commanded that incomparable prospect of the ground between Edinburgh and
the sea--the Firth of Forth, with its islands, the embayment which is
terminated by the Law of North Berwick, and the varied shores of Fife to
the northward, indenting with a hilly outline the clear blue horizon.
When Mr. Pleydell had sufficiently enjoyed the surprise of his guest, he
called his attention to Miss Bertram's affairs. 'I was in hopes,' he
said, 'though but faint, to have discovered some means of ascertaining
her indefeasible right to this property of Singleside; but my researches
have been in vain. The old lady was certainly absolute fiar, and might
dispose of it in full right of property. All that we have to hope is,
that the devil may not have tempted her to alter this very proper
settlement. You must attend the old girl's funeral to-morrow, to which
you will receive an invitation, for I have acquainted her agent with your
being here on Miss Bertram's part; and I will meet you afterwards at the
house she inhabited, and be present to see fair play at the opening of
the settlement. The old cat had a little girl, the orphan of some
relation, who lived with her as a kind of slavish companion. I hope she
has had the conscience to make her independent, in consideration of the
peine forte et dure to which she subjected her during her lifetime.'
Three gentlemen now appeared, and were introduced to the stranger. They
were men of good sense, gaiety, and general information, so that the day
passed very pleasantly over; and Colonel Mannering assisted, about eight
o'clock at night, in discussing the landlord's bottle, which was, of
course, a magnum. Upon his return to the inn he found a card inviting him
to the funeral of Miss Margaret Bertram, late of Singleside, which was to
proceed from her own house to the place of interment in the Greyfriars
churchyard at one o'clock afternoon.
At the appointed hour Mannering went to a small house in the suburbs to
the southward of the city, where he found the place of mourning
indicated, as usual in Scotland, by two rueful figures with long black
cloaks, white crapes and hat-bands, holding in their hands poles, adorned
with melancholy streamers of the same description. By two other mutes,
who, from their visages, seemed suffering under the pressure of some
strange calamity, he was ushered into the dining-parlour of the defunct,
where the company were assembled for the funeral.
In Scotland the custom, now disused in England, of inviting the relations
of the deceased to the interment is universally retained. On many
occasions this has a singular and striking effect, but it degenerates
into mere empty form and grimace in cases where the defunct has had the
misfortune to live unbeloved and die unlamented. The English service for
the dead, one of the most beautiful and impressive parts of the ritual of
the church, would have in such cases the effect of fixing the attention,
and uniting the thoughts and feelings of the audience present in an
exercise of devotion so peculiarly adapted to such an occasion. But
according to the Scottish custom, if there be not real feeling among the
assistants, there is nothing to supply the deficiency, and exalt or rouse
the attention; so that a sense of tedious form, and almost hypocritical
restraint, is too apt to pervade the company assembled for the mournful
solemnity. Mrs. Margaret Bertram was unluckily one of those whose good
qualities had attached no general friendship. She had no near relations
who might have mourned from natural affection, and therefore her funeral
exhibited merely the exterior trappings of sorrow.
Mannering, therefore, stood among this lugubrious company of cousins in
the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth degree, composing his countenance to
the decent solemnity of all who were around him, and looking as much
concerned on Mrs. Margaret Bertram's account as if the deceased lady of
Singleside had been his own sister or mother. After a deep and awful
pause, the company began to talk aside, under their breaths, however, and
as if in the chamber of a dying person.
'Our poor friend,' said one grave gentleman, scarcely opening his mouth,
for fear of deranging the necessary solemnity of his features, and
sliding his whisper from between his lips, which were as little unclosed
as possible--'our poor friend has died well to pass in the world.'
'Nae doubt,' answered the person addressed, with half-closed eyes; 'poor
Mrs. Margaret was aye careful of the gear.'
'Any news to-day, Colonel Mannering?' said one of the gentlemen whom he
had dined with the day before, but in a tone which might, for its
impressive gravity, have communicated the death of his whole generation.
'Nothing particular, I believe, sir,' said Mannering, in the cadence
which was, he observed, appropriated to the house of mourning.
'I understand,' continued the first speaker, emphatically, and with the
air of one who is well informed--'I understand there IS a settlement.'
'And what does little Jenny Gibson get?'
'A hundred, and the auld repeater.'
'That's but sma' gear, puir thing; she had a sair time o't with the auld
leddy. But it's ill waiting for dead folk's shoon.'
'I am afraid,' said the politician, who was close by Mannering, 'we have
not done with your old friend Tippoo Sahib yet, I doubt he'll give the
Company more plague; and I am told, but you'll know for certain, that
East India Stock is not rising.'
'I trust it will, sir, soon.'
'Mrs. Margaret,' said another person, mingling in the conversation, 'had
some India bonds. I know that, for I drew the interest for her; it would
be desirable now for the trustees and legatees to have the Colonel's
advice about the time and mode of converting them into money. For my part
I think--but there's Mr. Mortcloke to tell us they are gaun to lift.'
Mr. Mortcloke the undertaker did accordingly, with a visage of
professional length and most grievous solemnity, distribute among the
pall-bearers little cards, assigning their respective situations in
attendance upon the coffin. As this precedence is supposed to be
regulated by propinquity to the defunct, the undertaker, however skilful
a master of these lugubrious ceremonies, did not escape giving some
offence. To be related to Mrs. Bertram was to be of kin to the lands of
Singleside, and was a propinquity of which each relative present at that
moment was particularly jealous. Some murmurs there were on the occasion,
and our friend Dinmont gave more open offence, being unable either to
repress his discontent or to utter it in the key properly modulated to
the solemnity. 'I think ye might hae at least gi'en me a leg o' her to
carry,' he exclaimed, in a voice considerably louder than propriety
admitted. 'God! an it hadna been for the rigs o' land, I would hae gotten
her a' to carry mysell, for as mony gentles as are here.'
A score of frowning and reproving brows were bent upon the unappalled
yeoman, who, having given vent to his displeasure, stalked sturdily
downstairs with the rest of the company, totally disregarding the
censures of those whom his remarks had scandalised.
And then the funeral pomp set forth; saulies with their batons and
gumphions of tarnished white crape, in honour of the well-preserved
maiden fame of Mrs. Margaret Bertram. Six starved horses, themselves the
very emblems of mortality, well cloaked and plumed, lugging along the
hearse with its dismal emblazonry, crept in slow state towards the place
of interment, preceded by Jamie Duff, an idiot, who, with weepers and
cravat made of white paper, attended on every funeral, and followed by
six mourning coaches, filled with the company. Many of these now gave
more free loose to their tongues, and discussed with unrestrained
earnestness the amount of the succession, and the probability of its
destination. The principal expectants, however, kept a prudent silence,
indeed ashamed to express hopes which might prove fallacious; and the
agent or man of business, who alone knew exactly how matters stood,
maintained a countenance of mysterious importance, as if determined to
preserve the full interest of anxiety and suspense.
At length they arrived at the churchyard gates, and from thence, amid the
gaping of two or three dozen of idle women with infants in their arms,
and accompanied by some twenty children, who ran gambolling and screaming
alongside of the sable procession, they finally arrived at the
burial-place of the Singleside family. This was a square enclosure in the
Greyfriars churchyard, guarded on one side by a veteran angel without a
nose, and having only one wing, who had the merit of having maintained
his post for a century, while his comrade cherub, who had stood sentinel
on the corresponding pedestal, lay a broken trunk among the hemlock,
burdock, and nettles which grew in gigantic luxuriance around the walls
of the mausoleum. A moss-grown and broken inscription informed the reader
that in the year 1650 Captain Andrew Bertram, first of Singleside,
descended of the very ancient and honourable house of Ellangowan, had
caused this monument to be erected for himself and his descendants. A
reasonable number of scythes and hour-glasses, and death's heads and
cross-bones, garnished the following sprig of sepulchral poetry to the
memory of the founder of the mausoleum:--
Nathaniel's heart, Bezaleel's hand If ever any had, These boldly do I say
had he, Who lieth in this bed.
Here, then, amid the deep black fat loam into which her ancestors were
now resolved, they deposited the body of Mrs. Margaret Bertram; and, like
soldiers returning from a military funeral, the nearest relations who
might be interested in the settlements of the lady urged the dog-cattle
of the hackney coaches to all the speed of which they were capable, in
order to put an end to farther suspense on that interesting topic.
Die and endow a college or a cat.
There is a fable told by Lucian, that while a troop of monkeys, well
drilled by an intelligent manager, were performing a tragedy with great
applause, the decorum of the whole scene was at once destroyed, and the
natural passions of the actors called forth into very indecent and active
emulation, by a wag who threw a handful of nuts upon the stage. In like
manner, the approaching crisis stirred up among the expectants feelings
of a nature very different from those of which, under the superintendence
of Mr. Mortcloke, they had but now been endeavouring to imitate the
expression. Those eyes which were lately devoutly cast up to heaven, or
with greater humility bent solemnly upon earth, were now sharply and
alertly darting their glances through shuttles, and trunks, and drawers,
and cabinets, and all the odd corners of an old maiden lady's
repositories. Nor was their search without interest, though they did not
find the will of which they were in quest.
Here was a promissory note for 20 Pounds by the minister of the nonjuring
chapel, interest marked as paid to Martinmas last, carefully folded up in
a new set of words to the old tune of 'Over the Water to Charlie'; there
was a curious love correspondence between the deceased and a certain
Lieutenant O'Kean of a marching regiment of foot; and tied up with the
letters was a document which at once explained to the relatives why a
connexion that boded them little good had been suddenly broken off, being
the Lieutenant's bond for two hundred pounds, upon which NO interest
whatever appeared to have been paid. Other bills and bonds to a larger
amount, and signed by better names (I mean commercially) than those of
the worthy divine and gallant soldier, also occurred in the course of
their researches, besides a hoard of coins of every size and
denomination, and scraps of broken gold and silver, old earrings, hinges
of cracked, snuff-boxes, mountings of spectacles, etc. etc. etc. Still no
will made its appearance, and Colonel Mannering began full well to hope
that the settlement which he had obtained from Glossin contained the
ultimate arrangement of the old lady's affairs. But his friend Pleydell,
who now came into the room, cautioned him against entertaining this
'I am well acquainted with the gentleman,' he said, 'who is conducting
the search, and I guess from his manner that he knows something more of
the matter than any of us.'
Meantime, while the search proceeds, let us take a brief glance at one or
two of the company who seem most interested.
Of Dinmont, who, with his large hunting-whip under his arm, stood poking
his great round face over the shoulder of the homme d'affaires, it is
unnecessary to say anything. That thin-looking oldish person, in a most
correct and gentleman-like suit of mourning, is Mac-Casquil, formerly of
Drumquag, who was ruined by having a legacy bequeathed to him of two
shares in the Ayr bank. His hopes on the present occasion are founded on
a very distant relationship, upon his sitting in the same pew with the
deceased every Sunday, and upon his playing at cribbage with her
regularly on the Saturday evenings, taking great care never to come off a
winner. That other coarse-looking man, wearing his own greasy hair tied
in a leathern cue more greasy still, is a tobacconist, a relation of Mrs.
Bertram's mother, who, having a good stock in trade when the colonial war
broke out, trebled the price of his commodity to all the world, Mrs.
Bertram alone excepted, whose tortoise-shell snuff-box was weekly filled
with the best rappee at the old prices, because the maid brought it to
the shop with Mrs. Bertram's respects to her cousin Mr. Quid. That young
fellow, who has not had the decency to put off his boots and buckskins,
might have stood as forward as most of them in the graces of the old
lady, who loved to look upon a comely young man; but it is thought he has
forfeited the moment of fortune by sometimes neglecting her tea-table
when solemnly invited, sometimes appearing there when he had been dining
with blyther company, twice treading upon her cat's tail, and once
affronting her parrot.
To Mannering the most interesting of the group was the poor girl who had
been a sort of humble companion of the deceased, as a subject upon whom
she could at all times expectorate her bad humour. She was for form's
sake dragged into the room by the deceased's favourite female attendant,
where, shrinking into a>corner as soon as possible, she saw with wonder
and affright the intrusive researches of the strangers amongst those
recesses to which from childhood she had looked with awful veneration.
This girl was regarded with an unfavourable eye by all the competitors,
honest Dinmont only excepted; the rest conceived they should find in her
a formidable competitor, whose claims might at least encumber and
diminish their chance of succession. Yet she was the only person present
who seemed really to feel sorrow for the deceased. Mrs. Bertram had been
her protectress, although from selfish motives, and her capricious
tyranny was forgotten at the moment, while the tears followed each other
fast down the cheeks of her frightened and friendless dependent. 'There's
ower muckle saut water there, Drumquag,' said the tobacconist to the
ex-proprietor, 'to bode ither folk muckle gude. Folk seldom greet that
gate but they ken what it's for.' Mr. Mac-Casquil only replied with a
nod, feeling the propriety of asserting his superior gentry in presence
of Mr. Pleydell and Colonel Mannering.
'Very queer if there suld be nae will after a', friend,' said Dinmont,
who began to grow impatient, to the man of business.
'A moment's patience, if you please. She was a good and prudent woman,
Mrs. Margaret Bertram--a good and prudent and well-judging woman, and
knew how to choose friends and depositaries; she may have put her last
will and testament, or rather her mortis causa settlement, as it relates
to heritage, into the hands of some safe friend.'
'I'll bet a rump and dozen,' said Pleydell, whispering to the Colonel,
'he has got it in his own pocket.' Then addressing the man of law, 'Come,
sir, we'll cut this short, if you please: here is a settlement of the
estate of Singleside, executed several years ago, in favour of Miss Lucy
Bertram of Ellangowan.' The company stared fearfully wild. 'You, I
presume, Mr. Protocol, can inform us if there is a later deed?'
'Please to favour me, Mr. Pleydell'; and so saying, he took the deed out
of the learned counsel's hand, and glanced his eye over the contents.
'Too cool,' said Pleydell, 'too cool by half; he has another deed in his
'Why does he not show it then, and be d-d to him!' said the military
gentleman, whose patience began to wax threadbare.
'Why, how should I know?' answered the barrister; 'why does a cat not
kill a mouse when she takes him? The consciousness of power and the love
of teasing, I suppose. Well, Mr. Protocol, what say you to that deed?'
'Why, Mr. Pleydell, the deed is a well-drawn deed, properly authenticated
and tested in forms of the statute.'
'But recalled or superseded by another of posterior date in your
possession, eh?' said the Counsellor.
'Something of the sort, I confess, Mr. Pleydell,' rejoined the man of
business, producing a bundle tied with tape, and sealed at each fold and
ligation with black wax. 'That deed, Mr. Pleydell, which you produce and
found upon, is dated 1st June 17--; but this (breaking the seals and
unfolding the document slowly) is dated the 20th--no, I see it is the
21st--of April of this present year, being ten years posterior.'
'Marry, hang her, brock!' said the Counsellor, borrowing an exclamation
from Sir Toby Belch; 'just the month in which Ellangowan's distresses
became generally public. But let us hear what she has done.'
Mr. Protocol accordingly, having required silence, began to read the
settlement aloud in a slow, steady, business-like tone. The group around,
in whose eyes hope alternately awakened and faded, and who were straining
their apprehensions to get at the drift of the testator's meaning through
the mist of technical language in which the conveyance had involved it,
might have made a study for Hogarth.
The deed was of an unexpected nature. It set forth with conveying and
disponing all and whole the estate and lands of Singleside and others,
with the lands of Loverless, Liealone, Spinster's Knowe, and heaven knows
what beside, 'to and in favours of (here the reader softened his voice to
a gentle and modest piano) Peter Protocol, clerk to the signet, having
the fullest confidence in his capacity and integrity--these are the very
words which my worthy deceased friend insisted upon my inserting--but in
TRUST always (here the reader recovered his voice and style, and the
visages of several of the hearers, which had attained a longitude that
Mr. Mortcloke might have envied, were perceptibly shortened)--in TRUST
always, and for the uses, ends, and purposes hereinafter mentioned.'
In these 'uses, ends, and purposes' lay the cream of the affair. The
first was introduced by a preamble setting forth that the testatrix was
lineally descended from the ancient house of Ellangowan, her respected
great-grandfather, Andrew Bertram, first of Singleside, of happy memory,
having been second son to Allan Bertram, fifteenth Baron of Ellangowan.
It proceeded to state that Henry Bertram, son and heir of Godfrey
Bertram, now of Ellangowan, had been stolen from his parents in infancy,
but that she, the testatrix, WAS WELL ASSURED THAT HE WAS YET ALIVE IN
FOREIGN PARTS, AND BY THE PROVIDENCE OF HEAVEN WOULD BE RESTORED TO THE
POSSESSIONS OF HIS ANCESTORS, in which case the said Peter Protocol was
bound and obliged, like as he bound and obliged himself, by acceptance of
these presents, to denude himself of the said lands of Singleside and
others, and of all the other effects thereby conveyed (excepting always a
proper gratification for his own trouble), to and in favour of the said
Henry Bertram, upon his return to his native country. And during the time
of his residing in foreign parts, or in case of his never again returning
to Scotland, Mr. Peter Protocol, the trustee, was directed to distribute
the rents of the land, and interest of the other funds (deducting always
a proper gratification for his trouble in the premises), in equal
portions, among four charitable establishments pointed out in the will.
The power of management, of letting leases, of raising and lending out
money, in short, the full authority of a proprietor, was vested in this
confidential trustee, and, in the event of his death, went to certain
official persons named in the deed. There were only two legacies; one of
a hundred pounds to a favourite waiting-maid, another of the like sum to
Janet Gibson (whom the deed stated to have been supported by the charity
of the testatrix), for the purpose of binding her an apprentice to some
A settlement in mortmain is in Scotland termed a mortification, and in
one great borough (Aberdeen, if I remember rightly) there is a municipal
officer who takes care of these public endowments, and is thence called
the Master of Mortifications. One would almost presume that the term had
its origin in the effect which such settlements usually produce upon the
kinsmen of those by whom they are executed. Heavy at least was the
mortification which befell the audience who, in the late Mrs. Margaret
Bertram's parlour, had listened to this unexpected destination of the
lands of Singleside. There was a profound silence after the deed had been
Mr. Pleydell was the first to speak. He begged to look at the deed, and,
having satisfied himself that it was correctly drawn and executed, he
returned it without any observation, only saying aside to Mannering,
'Protocol is not worse than other people, I believe; but this old lady
has determined that, if he do not turn rogue, it shall not be for want of
'I really think,' said Mr. Mac-Casquil of Drumquag, who, having gulped
down one half of his vexation, determined to give vent to the rest--'I
really think this is an extraordinary case! I should like now to know
from Mr. Protocol, who, being sole and unlimited trustee, must have been
consulted upon this occasion--I should like, I say, to know how Mrs.
Bertram could possibly believe in the existence of a boy that a' the
world kens was murdered many a year since?'
'Really, sir,' said Mr. Protocol, 'I do not conceive it is possible for
me to explain her motives more than she has done herself. Our excellent
deceased friend was a good woman, sir--a pious woman--and might have
grounds for confidence in the boy's safety which are not accessible to
'Hout,' said the tobacconist, 'I ken very weel what were her grounds for
confidence. There's Mrs. Rebecca (the maid) sitting there has tell'd me a
hundred times in my ain shop, there was nae kenning how her leddy wad
settle her affairs, for an auld gipsy witch wife at Gilsland had
possessed her with a notion that the callant--Harry Bertram ca's she
him?--would come alive again some day after a'. Ye'll no deny that, Mrs.
Rebecca? though I dare to say ye forgot to put your mistress in mind of
what ye promised to say when I gied ye mony a half-crown. But ye'll no
deny what I am saying now, lass?'
'I ken naething at a' about it,' answered Rebecca, doggedly, and looking
straight forward with the firm countenance of one not disposed to be
compelled to remember more than was agreeable to her.
'Weel said, Rebecca! ye're satisfied wi' your ain share ony way,'
rejoined the tobacconist.
The buck of the second-head, for a buck of the first-head he was not, had
hitherto been slapping his boots with his switch-whip, and looking like a
spoiled child that has lost its supper. His murmurs, however, were all
vented inwardly, or at most in a soliloquy such as this--'I am sorry, by
G-d, I ever plagued myself about her. I came here, by G-d, one night to
drink tea, and I left King and the Duke's rider Will Hack. They were
toasting a round of running horses; by G-d, I might have got leave to
wear the jacket as well as other folk if I had carried it on with them;
and she has not so much as left me that hundred!'
'We'll make the payment of the note quite agreeable,' said Mr. Protocol,
who had no wish to increase at that moment the odium attached to his
office. 'And now, gentlemen, I fancy we have no more to wait for here,
and I shall put the settlement of my excellent and worthy friend on
record to-morrow, that every gentleman may examine the contents, and have
free access to take an extract; and'--he proceeded to lock up the
repositories of the deceased with more speed than he had opened
them--'Mrs. Rebecca, ye'll be so kind as to keep all right here until we
can let the house; I had an offer from a tenant this morning, if such a
thing should be, and if I was to have any management.'
Our friend Dinmont, having had his hopes as well as another, had hitherto
sate sulky enough in the armchair formerly appropriated to the deceased,
and in which she would have been not a little scandalised to have seen
this colossal specimen of the masculine gender lolling at length. His
employment had been rolling up into the form of a coiled snake the long
lash of his horse-whip, and then by a jerk causing it to unroll itself
into the middle of the floor. The first words he said when he had
digested the shock contained a magnanimous declaration, which he probably
was not conscious of having uttered aloud--'Weel, blude's thicker than
water; she's welcome to the cheeses and the hams just the same.' But when
the trustee had made the above-mentioned motion for the mourners to
depart, and talked of the house being immediately let, honest Dinmont got
upon his feet and stunned the company with this blunt question, 'And
what's to come o' this poor lassie then, Jenny Gibson? Sae mony o'us as
thought oursells sib to the family when the gear was parting, we may do
something for her amang us surely.'
This proposal seemed to dispose most of the assembly instantly to
evacuate the premises, although upon Mr. Protocol's motion they had
lingered as if around the grave of their disappointed hopes. Drumquag
said, or rather muttered, something of having a family of his own, and
took precedence, in virtue of his gentle blood, to depart as fast as
possible. The tobacconist sturdily stood forward and scouted the
motion--'A little huzzie like that was weel eneugh provided for already;
and Mr. Protocol at ony rate was the proper person to take direction of
her, as he had charge of her legacy'; and after uttering such his opinion
in a steady and decisive tone of voice, he also left the place. The buck
made a stupid and brutal attempt at a jest upon Mrs. Bertram's
recommendation that the poor girl should be taught some honest trade; but
encountered a scowl from Colonel Mannering's darkening eye (to whom, in
his ignorance of the tone of good society, he had looked for applause)
that made him ache to the very backbone. He shuffled downstairs,
therefore, as fast as possible.
Protocol, who was really a good sort of man, next expressed his intention
to take a temporary charge of the young lady, under protest always that
his so doing should be considered as merely eleemosynary; when Dinmont at
length got up, and, having shaken his huge dreadnought great-coat, as a
Newfoundland dog does his shaggy hide when he comes out of the water,
ejaculated, 'Weel, deil hae me then, if ye hae ony fash wi' her, Mr.
Protocol, if she likes to gang hame wi' me, that is. Ye see, Ailie and me
we're weel to pass, and we would like the lassies to hae a wee bit mair
lair than oursells, and to be neighbour-like, that wad we. And ye see
Jenny canna miss but to ken manners, and the like o' reading books, and
sewing seams, having lived sae lang wi' a grand lady like Lady
Singleside; or, if she disna ken ony thing about it, I'm jealous that our
bairns will like her a' the better. And I'll take care o' the bits o'
claes, and what spending siller she maun hae, so the hundred pound may
rin on in your hands, Mr. Protocol, and I'll be adding something till't,
till she'll maybe get a Liddesdale joe that wants something to help to
buy the hirsel. What d'ye say to that, hinny? I'll take out a ticket for
ye in the fly to Jethart; od, but ye maun take a powny after that o'er
the Limestane Rig, deil a wheeled carriage ever gaed into Liddesdale.
[Footnote: See Note I.] And I'll be very glad if Mrs. Rebecca comes wi'
you, hinny, and stays a month or twa while ye're stranger like.'
While Mrs. Rebecca was curtsying, and endeavouring to make the poor
orphan girl curtsy instead of crying, and while Dandie, in his rough way,
was encouraging them both, old Pleydell had recourse to his snuff-box.
'It's meat and drink to me now, Colonel,' he said, as he recovered
himself, 'to see a clown like this. I must gratify him in his own way,
must assist him to ruin himself; there's no help for it. Here, you
Liddesdale--Dandie--Charlie's Hope--what do they call you?'
The farmer turned, infinitely gratified even by this sort of notice; for
in his heart, next to his own landlord, he honoured a lawyer in high
'So you will not be advised against trying that question about your
'No, no, sir; naebody likes to lose their right, and to be laughed at
down the haill water. But since your honour's no agreeable, and is maybe
a friend to the other side like, we maun try some other advocate.'
'There, I told you so, Colonel Mannering! Well, sir, if you must needs be
a fool, the business is to give you the luxury of a lawsuit at the least
possible expense, and to bring you off conqueror if possible. Let Mr.
Protocol send me your papers, and I will advise him how to conduct your
cause. I don't see, after all, why you should not have your lawsuits too,
and your feuds in the Court of Session, as well as your forefathers had
their manslaughters and fire-raisings.'
'Very natural, to be sure, sir. We wad just take the auld gate as
readily, if it werena for the law. And as the law binds us, the law
should loose us. Besides, a man's aye the better thought o' in our
country for having been afore the Feifteen.'
'Excellently argued, my friend! Away with you, and send your papers to
me. Come, Colonel, we have no more to do here.'
'God, we'll ding Jock o' Dawston Cleugh now after a'!' said Dinmont,
slapping his thigh in great exultation.
I am going to the parliament;
You understand this bag. If you have any business
Depending there be short, and let me hear it,
And pay your fees.
Little French Lawyer
'Shall you be able to carry this honest fellow's cause for him?' said
'Why, I don't know; the battle is not to the strong, but he shall come
off triumphant over Jock of Dawston if we can make it out. I owe him
something. It is the pest of our profession that we seldom see the best
side of human nature. People come to us with every selfish feeling newly
pointed and grinded; they turn down the very caulkers of their
animosities and prejudices, as smiths do with horses' shoes in a white
frost. Many a man has come to my garret yonder that I have at first
longed to pitch out at the window, and yet at length have discovered that
he was only doing as I might have done in his case, being very angry, and
of course very unreasonable. I have now satisfied myself that, if our
profession sees more of human folly and human roguery than others, it is
because we witness them acting in that channel in which they can most
freely vent themselves. In civilised society law is the chimney through
which all that smoke discharges itself that used to circulate through the
whole house, and put every one's eyes out; no wonder, therefore, that the
vent itself should sometimes get a little sooty. But we will take care
our Liddesdale man's cause is well conducted and well argued, so all
unnecessary expense will be saved: he shall have his pine-apple at
'Will you do me the pleasure,' said Mannering, as they parted, 'to dine
with me at my lodgings? My landlord says he has a bit of red-deer venison
and some excellent wine.'
'Venison, eh?' answered the Counsellor alertly, but presently added--'But
no! it's impossible; and I can't ask you home neither. Monday's a sacred
day; so's Tuesday; and Wednesday we are to be heard in the great teind
case in presence, but stay--it's frosty weather, and if you don't leave
town, and that venison would keep till Thursday--'
'You will dine with me that day?'
'Well, then, I will indulge a thought I had of spending a week here; and
if the venison will not keep, why we will see what else our landlord can
do for us.'
'O, the venison will keep,' said Pleydell; 'and now good-bye. Look at
these two or three notes, and deliver them if you like the addresses. I
wrote them for you this morning. Farewell, my clerk has been waiting this
hour to begin a d-d information.' And away walked Mr. Pleydell with great
activity, diving through closes and ascending covered stairs in order to
attain the High Street by an access which, compared to the common route,
was what the Straits of Magellan are to the more open but circuitous
passage round Cape Horn.
On looking at the notes of introduction which Pleydell had thrust into
his hand, Mannering was gratified with seeing that they were addressed to
some of the first literary characters of Scotland. 'To David Hume, Esq.'
To John Home, Esq.' 'To Dr. Ferguson.' 'To Dr. Black.' 'To Lord Kaimes.'
'To Mr. Button.' 'To John Clerk, Esq., of Eldin.' 'To Adam Smith, Esq.'
'To Dr. Robertson.'
'Upon my word, my legal friend has a good selection of acquaintances;
these are names pretty widely blown indeed. An East-Indian must rub up
his facultiesa little, and put his mind in order, before he enters this
sort of society.'
Mannering gladly availed himself of these introductions; and we regret
deeply it is not in our power to give the reader an account of the
pleasure and information which he received in admission to a circle never
closed against strangers of sense and information, and which has perhaps
at no period been equalled, considering the depth and variety of talent
which it embraced and concentrated.
Upon the Thursday appointed Mr. Pleydell made his appearance at the inn
where Colonel Mannering lodged. The venison proved in high order, the
claret excellent, and the learned counsel, a professed amateur in the
affairs of the table, did distinguished honour to both. I am uncertain,
however, if even the good cheer gave him more satisfaction than the
presence of Dominie Sampson, from whom, in his own juridical style of
wit, he contrived to extract great amusement both for himself and one or
two friends whom the Colonel regaled on the same occasion. The grave and
laconic simplicity of Sampson's answers to the insidious questions of the
barrister placed the bonhomie of his character in a more luminous point
of view than Mannering had yet seen it. Upon the same occasion he drew