Part 7 out of 10
forth a strange quantity of miscellaneous and abstruse, though, generally
speaking, useless learning. The lawyer afterwards compared his mind to
the magazine of a pawnbroker, stowed with goods of every description, but
so cumbrously piled together, and in such total disorganisation, that the
owner can never lay his hands upon any one article at the moment he has
occasion for it.
As for the advocate himself, he afforded at least as much exercise to
Sampson as he extracted amusement from him. When the man of law began to
get into his altitudes, and his wit, naturally shrewd and dry, became
more lively and poignant, the Dominie looked upon him with that sort of
surprise with which we can conceive a tame bear might regard his future
associate, the monkey, on their being first introduced to each other. It
was Mr. Pleydell's delight to state in grave and serious argument some
position which he knew the Dominie would be inclined to dispute. He then
beheld with exquisite pleasure the internal labour with which the honest
man arranged his ideas for reply, and tasked his inert and sluggish
powers to bring up all the heavy artillery of his learning for
demolishing the schismatic or heretical opinion which had been stated,
when behold, before the ordnance could be discharged, the foe had quitted
the post and appeared in a new position of annoyance on the Dominie's
flank or rear. Often did he exclaim 'Prodigious!' when, marching up to
the enemy in full confidence of victory, he found the field evacuated,
and it may be supposed that it cost him no little labour to attempt a new
formation. 'He was like a native Indian army,' the Colonel said,
'formidable by numerical strength and size of ordnance, but liable to be
thrown into irreparable confusion by a movement to take them in flank.'
On the whole, however, the Dominie, though somewhat fatigued with these
mental exertions, made at unusual speed and upon the pressure of the
moment, reckoned this one of the white days of his life, and always
mentioned Mr. Pleydell as a very erudite and fa-ce-ti-ous person.
By degrees the rest of the party dropped off and left these three
gentlemen together. Their conversation turned to Mrs. Bertram's
settlements. 'Now what could drive it into the noddle of that old
harridan,' said Pleydell, 'to disinherit poor Lucy Bertram under pretence
of settling her property on a boy who has been so long dead and gone? I
ask your pardon, Mr. Sampson, I forgot what an affecting case this was
for you; I remember taking your examination upon it, and I never had so
much trouble to make any one speak three words consecutively. You may
talk of your Pythagoreans or your silent Brahmins, Colonel; go to, I tell
you this learned gentleman beats them all in taciturnity; but the words
of the wise are precious, and not to be thrown away lightly.'
'Of a surety,' said the Dominie, taking his blue-checqued handkerchief
from his eyes, 'that was a bitter day with me indeed; ay, and a day of
grief hard to be borne; but He giveth strength who layeth on the load.'
Colonel Mannering took this opportunity to request Mr. Pleydell to inform
him of the particulars attending the loss of the boy; and the Counsellor,
who was fond of talking upon subjects of criminal jurisprudence,
especially when connected with his own experience, went through the
circumstances at full length. 'And what is your opinion upon the result
of the whole?'
'O, that Kennedy was murdered: it's an old case which has occurred on
that coast before now, the case of Smuggler versus Exciseman.'
'What, then, is your conjecture concerning the fate of the child?'
'O, murdered too, doubtless,' answered Pleydell. 'He was old enough to
tell what he had seen, and these ruthless scoundrels would not scruple
committing a second Bethlehem massacre if they thought their interest
The Dominie groaned deeply, and ejaculated, 'Enormous!'
'Yet there was mention of gipsies in the business too, Counsellor,' said
Mannering, 'and from what that vulgar-looking fellow said after the
'Mrs. Margaret Bertram's idea that the child was alive was founded upon
the report of a gipsy?' said Pleydell, catching at the half-spoken hint.
'I envy you the concatenation, Colonel; it is a shame to me not to have
drawn the same conclusion. We'll follow this business up instantly. Here,
hark ye, waiter, go down to Luckie Wood's in the Cowgate; ye'll find my
clerk Driver; he'll be set down to high jinks by this time--for we and
our retainers, Colonel, are exceedingly regular in our
irregularities--tell him to come here instantly and I will pay his
'He won't appear in character, will he?' said Mannering.
'Ah! "no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me,"' said Pleydell. 'But we
must have some news from the land of Egypt, if possible. O, if I had but
hold of the slightest thread of this complicated skein, you should see
how I would unravel it! I would work the truth out of your Bohemian, as
the French call them, better than a monitoire or a plainte de Tournelle;
I know how to manage a refractory witness.'
While Mr. Pleydell was thus vaunting his knowledge of his profession, the
waiter reentered with Mr. Driver, his mouth still greasy with mutton
pies, and the froth of the last draught of twopenny yet unsubsided on his
upper lip, with such speed had he obeyed the commands of his principal.
'Driver, you must go instantly and find out the woman who was old Mrs.
Margaret Bertram's maid. Inquire for her everywhere, but if you find it
necessary to have recourse to Protocol, Quid the tobacconist, or any
other of these folks, you will take care not to appear yourself, but send
some woman of your acquaintance; I daresay you know enough that may be so
condescending as to oblige you. When you have found her out, engage her
to come to my chambers tomorrow at eight o'clock precisely.'
'What shall I say to make her forthcoming?' asked the aid-de-camp.
'Anything you choose,' replied the lawyer. 'Is it my business to make
lies for you, do you think? But let her be in praesentia by eight
o'clock, as I have said before.' The clerk grinned, made his reverence,
'That's a useful fellow,' said the Counsellor; 'I don't believe his match
ever carried a process. He'll write to my dictating three nights in the
week without sleep, or, what's the same thing, he writes as well and
correctly when he's asleep as when he's awake. Then he's such a steady
fellow; some of them are always changing their ale-houses, so that they
have twenty cadies sweating after them, like the bare-headed captains
traversing the taverns of Eastcheap in search of Sir John Falstaff. But
this is a complete fixture; he has his winter seat by the fire and his
summer seat by the window in Luckie Wood's, betwixt which seats are his
only migrations; there he's to be found at all times when he is off duty.
It is my opinion he never puts off his clothes or goes to sleep; sheer
ale supports him under everything. It is meat, drink, and cloth, bed,
board, and washing.'
'And is he always fit for duty upon a sudden turnout? I should distrust
it, considering his quarters.'
'O, drink, never disturbs him, Colonel; he can write for hours after he
cannot speak. I remember being called suddenly to draw an appeal case. I
had been dining, and it was Saturday night, and I had ill will to begin
to it; however, they got me down to Clerihugh's, and there we sat birling
till I had a fair tappit hen [Footnote: See Note 2.] under my belt, and
then they persuaded me to draw the paper. Then we had to seek Driver, and
it was all that two men could do to bear him in, for, when found, he was,
as it happened, both motionless and speechless. But no sooner was his pen
put between his fingers, his paper stretched before him, and he heard my
voice, than he began to write like a scrivener; and, excepting that we
were obliged to have somebody to dip his pen in the ink, for he could not
see the standish, I never saw a thing scrolled more handsomely.'
'But how did your joint production look the next morning?' said the
'Wheugh! capital! not three words required to be altered: [Footnote: See
Note 3. ] it was sent off by that day's post. But you'll come and
breakfast with me to-morrow, and hear this woman's examination?'
'Why, your hour is rather early.'
'Can't make it later. If I were not on the boards of the Outer House
precisely as the nine-hours' bell rings, there would be a report that I
had got an apoplexy, and I should feel the effects of it all the rest of
'Well, I will make an exertion to wait upon you.'
Here the company broke up for the evening.
In the morning Colonel Mannering appeared at the Counsellor's chambers,
although cursing the raw air of a Scottish morning in December. Mr.
Pleydell had got Mrs. Rebecca installed on one side of his fire,
accommodated her with a cup of chocolate, and was already deeply engaged
in conversation with her. 'O no, I assure you, Mrs. Rebecca, there is no
intention to challenge your mistress's will; and I give you my word of
honour that your legacy is quite safe. You have deserved it by your
conduct to your mistress, and I wish it had been twice as much.'
'Why, to be sure, sir, it's no right to mention what is said before ane;
ye heard how that dirty body Quid cast up to me the bits o' compliments
he gied me, and tell'd ower again ony loose cracks I might hae had wi'
him; now if ane was talking loosely to your honour, there's nae saying
what might come o't.'
'I assure you, my good Rebecca, my character and your own age and
appearance are your security, if you should talk as loosely as an amatory
'Aweel, if your honour thinks I am safe--the story is just this. Ye see,
about a year ago, or no just sae lang, my leddy was advised to go to
Gilsland for a while, for her spirits were distressing her sair.
Ellangowan's troubles began to be spoken o' publicly, and sair vexed she
was; for she was proud o' her family. For Ellangowan himsell and her,
they sometimes 'greed and some times no; but at last they didna 'gree at
a' for twa or three year, for he was aye wanting to borrow siller, and
that was what she couldna bide at no hand, and she was aye wanting it
paid back again, and that the Laird he liked as little. So at last they
were clean aff thegither. And then some of the company at Gilsland tells
her that the estate was to be sell'd; and ye wad hae thought she had taen
an ill will at Miss Lucy Bertram frae that moment, for mony a time she
cried to me, "O Becky, O Becky, if that useless peenging thing o' a
lassie there at Ellangowan, that canna keep her ne'er-do-weel father
within bounds--if she had been but a lad-bairn they couldna hae sell'd
the auld inheritance for that fool-body's debts"; and she would rin on
that way till I was just wearied and sick to hear her ban the puir
lassie, as if she wadna hae been a lad-bairn and keepit the land if it
had been in her will to change her sect. And ae day at the spaw-well
below the craig at Gilsland she was seeing a very bonny family o'
bairns--they belanged to ane Mac-Crosky--and she broke out--"Is not it an
odd like thing that ilka waf carle in the country has a son and heir, and
that the house of Ellangowan is without male succession?" There was a
gipsy wife stood ahint and heard her, a muckle sture fearsome-looking
wife she was as ever I set een on. "Wha is it," says she, "that dare say
the house of Ellangowan will perish without male succession?" My mistress
just turned on her; she was a high-spirited woman, and aye ready wi' an
answer to a' body. "It's me that says it," says she, "that may say it
with a sad heart." Wi' that the gipsy wife gripped till her hand--"I ken
you weel eneugh," says she, "though ye kenna me. But as sure as that
sun's in heaven, and as sure as that water's rinning to the sea, and as
sure as there's an ee that sees and an ear that hears us baith, Harry
Bertram, that was thought to perish at Warroch Point, never did die
there. He was to have a weary weird o't till his ane-and-twentieth year,
that was aye said o' him; but if ye live and I live, ye'll hear mair o'
him this winter before the snaw lies twa days on the Dun of Singleside. I
want nane o' your siller," she said, "to make ye think I am blearing your
ee; fare ye weel till after Martinmas." And there she left us standing.'
'Was she a very tall woman?' interrupted Mannering.
'Had she black hair, black eyes, and a cut above the brow?' added the
'She was the tallest woman I ever saw, and her hair was as black as
midnight, unless where it was grey, and she had a scar abune the brow
that ye might hae laid the lith of your finger in. Naebody that's seen
her will ever forget her; and I am morally sure that it was on the ground
o' what that gipsy-woman said that my mistress made her will, having taen
a dislike at the young leddy o' Ellangowan. And she liked her far waur
after she was obliged to send her L20; for she said Miss Bertram, no
content wi' letting the Ellangowan property pass into strange hands,
owing to her being a lass and no a lad, was coming, by her poverty, to be
a burden and a disgrace to Singleside too. But I hope my mistress's is a
good will for a' that, for it would be hard on me to lose the wee bit
legacy; I served for little fee and bountith, weel I wot.'
The Counsellor relieved her fears on this head, then inquired after Jenny
Gibson, and understood she had accepted Mr. Dinmont's offer. 'And I have
done sae mysell too, since he was sae discreet as to ask me,' said Mrs.
Rebecca; 'they are very decent folk the Dinmonts, though my lady didna
dow to hear muckle about the friends on that side the house. But she
liked the Charlie's Hope hams and the cheeses and the muir-fowl that they
were aye sending, and the lamb's-wool hose and mittens--she liked them
Mr. Pleydell now dismissed Mrs. Rebecca. When she was gone, 'I think I
know the gipsy-woman,' said the lawyer.
'I was just going to say the same,' replied Mannering.
'And her name,' said Pleydell--
'Is Meg Merrilies,' answered the Colonel.
'Are you avised of that?' said the Counsellor, looking at his military
friend with a comic expression of surprise.
Mannering answered that he had known such a woman when he was at
Ellangowan upwards of twenty years before; and then made his learned
friend acquainted with all the remarkable particulars of his first visit
Mr. Pleydell listened with great attention, and then replied, 'I
congratulated myself upon having made the acquaintance of a profound
theologian in your chaplain; but I really did not expect to find a pupil
of Albumazar or Messahala in his patron. I have a notion, however, this
gipsy could tell us some more of the matter than she derives from
astrology or second-sight. I had her through hands once, and could then
make little of her, but I must write to Mac-Morlan to stir heaven and
earth to find her out. I will gladly come to--shire myself to assist at
her examination; I am still in the commission of the peace there, though
I have ceased to be sheriff. I never had anything more at heart in my
life than tracing that murder and the fate of the child. I must write to
the sheriff of Roxburghshire too, and to an active justice of peace in
'I hope when you come to the country you will make Woodbourne your
'Certainly; I was afraid you were going to forbid me. But we must go to
breakfast now or I shall be too late.'
On the following day the new friends parted, and the Colonel rejoined his
family without any adventure worthy of being detailed in these chapters.
Can no rest find me, no private place secure me,
But still my miseries like bloodhounds haunt me?
Unfortunate young man, which way now guides thee,
Guides thee from death? The country's laid around for thee.
Our narrative now recalls us for a moment to the period when young
Hazlewood received his wound. That accident had no sooner happened than
the consequences to Miss Mannering and to himself rushed upon Brown's
mind. From the manner in which the muzzle of the piece was pointed when
it went off, he had no great fear that the consequences would be fatal.
But an arrest in a strange country, and while he was unprovided with any
means of establishing his rank and character, was at least to be avoided.
He therefore resolved to escape for the present to the neighbouring coast
of England, and to remain concealed there, if possible, until he should
receive letters from his regimental friends, and remittances from his
agent; and then to resume his own character, and offer to young Hazlewood
and his friends any explanation or satisfaction they might desire. With
this purpose he walked stoutly forward, after leaving the spot where the
accident had happened, and reached without adventure the village which we
have called Portanferry (but which the reader will in vain seek for under
that name in the county map). A large open boat was just about to leave
the quay, bound for the little seaport of Allonby, in Cumberland. In this
vessel Brown embarked, and resolved to make that place his temporary
abode, until he should receive letters and money from England.
In the course of their short voyage he entered into some conversation
with the steersman, who was also owner of the boat, a jolly old man, who
had occasionally been engaged in the smuggling trade, like most fishers
on the coast. After talking about objects of less interest, Brown
endeavoured to turn the discourse toward the Mannering family. The sailor
had heard of the attack upon the house at Woodbourne, but disapproved of
the smugglers' proceedings.
'Hands off is fair play; zounds, they'll bring the whole country down
upon them. Na, na! when I was in that way I played at giff-gaff with the
officers: here a cargo taen--vera weel, that was their luck; there
another carried clean through, that was mine; na, na! hawks shouldna pike
out hawks' een.'
'And this Colonel Mannering?' said Brown.
'Troth, he's nae wise man neither, to interfere; no that I blame him for
saving the gangers' lives, that was very right; but it wasna like a
gentleman to be righting about the poor folk's pocks o' tea and brandy
kegs. However, he's a grand man and an officer man, and they do what they
like wi' the like o' us.'
'And his daughter,' said Brown, with a throbbing heart, 'is going to be
married into a great family too, as I have heard?'
'What, into the Hazlewoods'?' said the pilot. 'Na, na, that's but idle
clashes; every Sabbath day, as regularly as it came round, did the young
man ride hame wi' the daughter of the late Ellangowan; and my daughter
Peggy's in the service up at Woodbourne, and she says she's sure young
Hazlewood thinks nae mair of Miss Mannering than you do.'
Bitterly censuring his own precipitate adoption of a contrary belief,
Brown yet heard with delight that the suspicions of Julia's fidelity,
upon which he had so rashly acted, were probably void of foundation. How
must he in the meantime be suffering in her opinion? or what could she
suppose of conduct which must have made him appear to her regardless
alike of her peace of mind and of the interests of their affection? The
old man's connexion with the family at Woodbourne seemed to offer a safe
mode of communication, of which he determined to avail himself.
'Your daughter is a maid-servant at Woodbourne? I knew Miss Mannering in
India, and, though I am at present in an inferior rank of life, I have
great reason to hope she would interest herself in my favour. I had a
quarrel unfortunately with her father, who was my commanding officer, and
I am sure the young lady would endeavour to reconcile him to me. Perhaps
your daughter could deliver a letter to her upon the subject, without
making mischief between her father and her?'
The old man, a friend to smuggling of every kind, readily answered for
the letter's being faithfully and secretly delivered; and, accordingly,
as soon as they arrived at Allonby Brown wrote to Miss Mannering, stating
the utmost contrition for what had happened through his rashness, and
conjuring her to let him have an opportunity of pleading his own cause,
and obtaining forgiveness for his indiscretion. He did not judge it safe
to go into any detail concerning the circumstances by which he had been
misled, and upon the whole endeavoured to express himself with such
ambiguity that, if the letter should fall into wrong hands, it would be
difficult either to understand its real purport or to trace the writer.
This letter the old man undertook faithfully to deliver to his daughter
at Woodbourne; and, as his trade would speedily again bring him or his
boat to Allonby, he promised farther to take charge of any answer with
which the young lady might entrust him.
And now our persecuted traveller landed at Allonby, and sought for such
accommodations as might at once suit his temporary poverty and his desire
of remaining as much unobserved as possible. With this view he assumed
the name and profession of his friend Dudley, having command enough of
the pencil to verify his pretended character to his host of Allonby. His
baggage he pretended to expect from Wigton; and keeping himself as much
within doors as possible, awaited the return of the letters which he had
sent to his agent, to Delaserre, and to his lieutenant-colonel. From the
first he requested a supply of money; he conjured Delaserre, if possible,
to join him in Scotland; and from the lieutenant-colonel he required such
testimony of his rank and conduct in the regiment as should place his
character as a gentleman and officer beyond the power of question. The
inconvenience of being run short in his finances struck him so strongly
that he wrote to Dinmont on that subject, requesting a small temporary
loan, having no doubt that, being within sixty or seventy miles of his
residence, he should receive a speedy as well as favourable answer to his
request of pecuniary accommodation, which was owing, as he stated, to his
having been robbed after their parting. And then, with impatience enough,
though without any serious apprehension, he waited the answers of these
It must be observed, in excuse of his correspondents, that the post was
then much more tardy than since Mr. Palmer's ingenious invention has
taken place; and with respect to honest Dinmont in particular, as he
rarely received above one letter a quarter (unless during the time of his
being engaged in a law-suit, when he regularly sent to the post-town),
his correspondence usually remained for a month or two sticking in the
postmaster's window among pamphlets, gingerbread, rolls, or ballads,
according to the trade which the said postmaster exercised. Besides,
there was then a custom, not yet wholly obsolete, of causing a letter
from one town to another, perhaps within the distance of thirty miles,
perform a circuit of two hundred miles before delivery; which had the
combined advantage of airing the epistle thoroughly, of adding some pence
to the revenue of the post-office, and of exercising the patience of the
correspondents. Owing to these circumstances Brown remained several days
in Allonby without any answers whatever, and his stock of money, though
husbanded with the utmost economy, began to wear very low, when he
received by the hands of a young fisherman the following letter:--
'You have acted with the most cruel indiscretion; you have shown how
little I can trust to your declarations that my peace and happiness are
dear to you; and your rashness has nearly occasioned the death of a young
man of the highest worth and honour. Must I say more? must I add that I
have been myself very ill in consequence of your violence and its
effects? And, alas! need I say still farther, that I have thought
anxiously upon them as they are likely to affect you, although you have
given me such slight cause to do so? The C. is gone from home for several
days, Mr. H. is almost quite recovered, and I have reason to think that
the blame is laid in a quarter different from that where it is deserved.
Yet do not think of venturing here. Our fate has been crossed by
accidents of a nature too violent and terrible to permit me to think of
renewing a correspondence which has so often threatened the most dreadful
catastrophe. Farewell, therefore, and believe that no one can wish your
happiness more sincerely than
This letter contained that species of advice which is frequently given
for the precise purpose that it may lead to a directly opposite conduct
from that which it recommends. At least so thought Brown, who immediately
asked the young fisherman if he came from Portanferry.
'Ay,' said the lad; 'I am auld Willie Johnstone's son, and I got that
letter frae my sister Peggy, that's laundry maid at Woodbourne.'
'My good friend, when do you sail?'
'With the tide this evening.'
'I'll return with you; but, as I do not desire to go to Portanferry, I
wish you could put me on shore somewhere on the coast.'
'We can easily do that,' said the lad.
Although the price of provisions, etc., was then very moderate, the
discharging his lodgings, and the expense of his living, together with
that of a change of dress, which safety as well as a proper regard to his
external appearance rendered necessary, brought Brown's purse to a very
low ebb. He left directions at the post-office that his letters should be
forwarded to Kippletringan, whither he resolved to proceed and reclaim
the treasure which he had deposited in the hands of Mrs. MacCandlish. He
also felt it would be his duty to assume his proper character as soon as
he should receive the necessary evidence for supporting it, and, as an
officer in the king's service, give and receive every explanation which
might be necessary with young Hazlewood. 'If he is not very wrong-headed
indeed,' he thought, 'he must allow the manner in which I acted to have
been the necessary consequence of his own overbearing conduct.'
And now we must suppose him once more embarked on the Solway Firth. The
wind was adverse, attended by some rain, and they struggled against it
without much assistance from the tide. The boat was heavily laden with
goods (part of which were probably contraband), and laboured deep in the
sea. Brown, who had been bred a sailor, and was indeed skilled in most
athletic exercises, gave his powerful and effectual assistance in rowing,
or occasionally in steering the boat, and his advice in the management,
which became the more delicate as the wind increased, and, being opposed
to the very rapid tides of that coast, made the voyage perilous. At
length, after spending the whole night upon the firth, they were at
morning within sight of a beautiful bay upon the Scottish coast. The
weather was now more mild. The snow, which had been for some time waning,
had given way entirely under the fresh gale of the preceding night. The
more distant hills, indeed, retained their snowy mantle, but all the open
country was cleared, unless where a few white patches indicated that it
had been drifted to an uncommon depth. Even under its wintry appearance
the shore was highly interesting. The line of sea-coast, with all its
varied curves, indentures, and embayments, swept away from the sight on
either hand, in that varied, intricate, yet graceful and easy line which
the eye loves so well to pursue. And it was no less relieved and varied
in elevation than in outline by the different forms of the shore, the
beach in some places being edged by steep rocks, and in others rising
smoothly from the sands in easy and swelling slopes. Buildings of
different kinds caught and reflected the wintry sunbeams of a December
morning, and the woods, though now leafless, gave relief and variety to
the landscape. Brown felt that lively and awakening interest which taste
and sensibility always derive from the beauties of nature when opening
suddenly to the eye after the dulness and gloom of a night voyage.
Perhaps--for who can presume to analyse that inexplicable feeling which
binds the person born in a mountainous country to, his native
hills--perhaps some early associations, retaining their effect long after
the cause was forgotten, mingled in the feelings of pleasure with which
he regarded the scene before him.
'And what,' said Brown to the boatman, 'is the name of that fine cape
that stretches into the sea with its sloping banks and hillocks of wood,
and forms the right side of the bay?'
'Warroch Point,' answered the lad.
'And that old castle, my friend, with the modern house situated just
beneath it? It seems at this distance a very large building.'
'That's the Auld Place, sir; and that's the New Place below it. We'll
land you there if you like.'
'I should like it of all things. I must visit that ruin before I continue
'Ay, it's a queer auld bit,' said the fisherman; 'and that highest tower
is a gude landmark as far as Ramsay in Man and the Point of Ayr; there
was muckle fighting about the place lang syne.'
Brown would have inquired into farther particulars, but a fisherman is
seldom an antiquary. His boatman's local knowledge was summed up in the
information already given, 'that it was a grand landmark, and that there
had been muckle fighting about the bit lang syne.'
'I shall learn more of it,' said Brown to himself, 'when I get ashore.'
The boat continued its course close under the point upon which the castle
was situated, which frowned from the summit of its rocky site upon the
still agitated waves of the bay beneath. 'I believe,' said the steersman,
'ye'll get ashore here as dry as ony gate. There's a place where their
berlins and galleys, as they ca'd them, used to lie in lang syne, but
it's no used now, because it's ill carrying gudes up the narrow stairs or
ower the rocks. Whiles of a moonlight night I have landed articles there,
While he thus spoke they pulled round a point of rock, and found a very
small harbour, partly formed by nature, partly by the indefatigable
labour of the ancient inhabitants of the castle, who, as the fisherman
observed, had found it essential for the protection of their boats and
small craft, though it could not receive vessels of any burden. The two
points of rock which formed the access approached each other so nearly
that only one boat could enter at a time. On each side were still
remaining two immense iron rings, deeply morticed into the solid rock.
Through these, according to tradition, there was nightly drawn a huge
chain, secured by an immense padlock, for the protection of the haven and
the armada which it contained. A ledge of rock had, by the assistance of
the chisel and pickaxe, been formed into a sort of quay. The rock was of
extremely hard consistence, and the task so difficult that, according to
the fisherman, a labourer who wrought at the work might in the evening
have carried home in his bonnet all the shivers which he had struck from
the mass in the course of the day. This little quay communicated with a
rude staircase, already repeatedly mentioned, which descended from the
old castle. There was also a communication between the beach and the
quay, by scrambling over the rocks.
'Ye had better land here,' said the lad, 'for the surf's running high at
the Shellicoat Stane, and there will no be a dry thread amang us or we
get the cargo out. Na! na! (in answer to an offer of money) ye have
wrought for your passage, and wrought far better than ony o' us. Gude day
to ye; I wuss ye weel.'
So saying, he pushed oil in order to land his cargo on the opposite side
of the bay; and Brown, with a small bundle in his hand, containing the
trifling stock of necessaries which he had been obliged to purchase at
Allonby, was left on the rocks beneath the ruin.
And thus, unconscious as the most absolute stranger, and in circumstances
which, if not destitute, were for the present highly embarrassing,
without the countenance of a friend within the circle of several hundred
miles, accused of a heavy crime, and, what was as bad as all the rest,
being nearly penniless, did the harassed wanderer for the first time
after the interval of so many years approach the remains of the castle
where his ancestors had exercised all but regal dominion.
Yes ye moss-green walls,
Ye towers defenceless, I revisit ye
Shame-stricken! Where are all your trophies now?
Your thronged courts, the revelry, the tumult,
That spoke the grandeur of my house, the homage
Of neighbouring barons?
Entering the castle of Ellangowan by a postern doorway which showed
symptoms of having been once secured with the most jealous care, Brown
(whom, since he has set foot upon the property of his fathers, we shall
hereafter call by his father's name of Bertram) wandered from one ruined
apartment to another, surprised at the massive strength of some parts of
the building, the rude and impressive magnificence of others, and the
great extent of the whole. In two of these rooms, close beside each
other, he saw signs of recent habitation. In one small apartment were
empty bottles, half-gnawed bones, and dried fragments of bread. In the
vault which adjoined, and which was defended by a strong door, then left
open, he observed a considerable quantity of straw, and in both were the
relics of recent fires. How little was it possible for Bertram to
conceive that such trivial circumstances were closely connected with
incidents affecting his prosperity, his honour, perhaps his life!
After satisfying his curiosity by a hasty glance through the interior of
the castle, Bertram now advanced through the great gateway which opened
to the land, and paused to look upon the noble landscape which it
commanded. Having in vain endeavoured to guess the position of
Woodbourne, and having nearly ascertained that of Kippletringan, he
turned to take a parting look at the stately ruins which he had just
traversed. He admired the massive and picturesque effect of the huge
round towers, which, flanking the gateway, gave a double portion of depth
and majesty to the high yet gloomy arch under which it opened. The carved
stone escutcheon of the ancient family, bearing for their arms three
wolves' heads, was hung diagonally beneath the helmet and crest, the
latter being a wolf couchant pierced with an arrow. On either side stood
as supporters, in full human size or larger, a salvage man PROPER, to use
the language of heraldry, WREATHED AND CINCTURED, and holding in his hand
an oak tree ERADICATED, that is, torn up by the roots.
'And the powerful barons who owned this blazonry,' thought Bertram,
pursuing the usual train of ideas which flows upon the mind at such
scenes--'do their posterity continue to possess the lands which they had
laboured to fortify so strongly? or are they wanderers, ignorant perhaps
even of the fame or power of their fore-fathers, while their hereditary
possessions are held by a race of strangers? Why is it,' he thought,
continuing to follow out the succession of ideas which the scene
prompted--'why is it that some scenes awaken thoughts which belong as it
were to dreams of early and shadowy recollection, such as my old Brahmin
moonshie would have ascribed to a state of previous existence? Is it the
visions of our sleep that float confusedly in our memory, and are
recalled by the appearance of such real objects as in any respect
correspond to the phantoms they presented to our imagination? How often
do we find ourselves in society which we have never before met, and yet
feel impressed with a mysterious and ill-defined consciousness that
neither the scene, the speakers, nor the subject are entirely new; nay,
feel as if we could anticipate that part of the conversation which has
not yet taken place! It is even so with me while I gaze upon that ruin;
nor can I divest myself of the idea that these massive towers and that
dark gateway, retiring through its deep-vaulted and ribbed arches, and
dimly lighted by the courtyard beyond, are not entirely strange to me.
Can it be that they have been familiar to me in infancy, and that I am to
seek in their vicinity those friends of whom my childhood has still a
tender though faint remembrance, and whom I early exchanged for such
severe task-masters? Yet Brown, who, I think, would not have deceived me,
always told me I was brought off from the eastern coast, after a skirmish
in which my father was killed; and I do remember enough of a horrid scene
of violence to strengthen his account.'
It happened that the spot upon which young Bertram chanced to station
himself for the better viewing the castle was nearly the same on which
his father had died. It was marked by a large old oak-tree, the only one
on the esplanade, and which, having been used for executions by the
barons of Ellangowan, was called the Justice Tree. It chanced, and the
coincidence was remarkable, that Glossin was this morning engaged with a
person whom he was in the habit of consulting in such matters concerning
some projected repairs and a large addition to the house of Ellangowan,
and that, having no great pleasure in remains so intimately connected
with the grandeur of the former inhabitants, he had resolved to use the
stones of the ruinous castle in his new edifice. Accordingly he came up
the bank, followed by the land-surveyor mentioned on a former occasion,
who was also in the habit of acting as a sort of architect in case of
necessity. In drawing the plans, etc., Glossin was in the custom of
relying upon his own skill. Bertram's back was towards them as they came
up the ascent, and he was quite shrouded by the branches of the large
tree, so that Glossin was not aware of the presence of the stranger till
he was close upon him.
'Yes, sir, as I have often said before to you, the Old Place is a perfect
quarry of hewn stone, and it would be better for the estate if it were
all down, since it is only a den for smugglers.' At this instant Bertram
turned short round upon Glossin at the distance of two yards only, and
said--'Would you destroy this fine old castle, sir?'
His face, person, and voice were so exactly those of his father in his
best days, that Glossin, hearing his exclamation, and seeing such a
sudden apparition in the shape of his patron, and on nearly the very spot
where he had expired, almost thought the grave had given up its dead! He
staggered back two or three paces, as if he had received a sudden and
deadly wound. He instantly recovered, however, his presence of mind,
stimulated by the thrilling reflection that it was no inhabitant of the
other world which stood before him, but an injured man whom the slightest
want of dexterity on his part might lead to acquaintance with his rights,
and the means of asserting them to his utter destruction. Yet his ideas
were so much confused by the shock he had received that his first
question partook of the alarm.
'In the name of God, how came you here?' said Glossin.
'How came I here?' repeated Bertram, surprised at the solemnity of the
address; 'I landed a quarter of an hour since in the little harbour
beneath the castle, and was employing a moment's leisure in viewing these
fine ruins. I trust there is no intrusion?'
'Intrusion, sir? No, sir,' said Glossin, in some degree recovering his
breath, and then whispered a few words into his companion's ear, who
immediately left him and descended towards the house. 'Intrusion, sir?
no, sir; you or any gentleman are welcome to satisfy your curiosity.'
'I thank you, sir,' said Bertram. 'They call this the Old Place, I am
'Yes, sir; in distinction to the New Place, my house there below.'
Glossin, it must be remarked, was, during the following dialogue, on the
one hand eager to learn what local recollections young Bertram had
retained of the scenes of his infancy, and on the other compelled to be
extremely cautious in his replies, lest he should awaken or assist, by
some name, phrase, or anecdote, the slumbering train of association. He
suffered, indeed, during the whole scene the agonies which he so richly
deserved; yet his pride and interest, like the fortitude of a North
American Indian, manned him to sustain the tortures inflicted at once by
the contending stings of a guilty conscience, of hatred, of fear, and of
'I wish to ask the name, sir,' said Bertram, 'of the family to whom this
stately ruin belongs.'
'It is my property, sir; my name is Glossin.'
'Glossin--Glossin?' repeated Bertram, as if the answer were somewhat
different from what he expected. 'I beg your pardon, Mr. Glossin; I am
apt to be very absent. May I ask if the castle has been long in your
'It was built, I believe, long ago by a family called Mac-Dingawaie,'
answered Glossin, suppressing for obvious reasons the more familiar sound
of Bertram, which might have awakened the recollections which he was
anxious to lull to rest, and slurring with an evasive answer the question
concerning the endurance of his own possession.
'And how do you read the half-defaced motto, sir,' said Bertram, 'which
is upon that scroll above the entablature with the arms?'
'I--I--I really do not exactly know,' replied Glossin.
'I should be apt to make it out, OUR RIGHT MAKES OUR MIGHT.'
'I believe it is something of that kind,' said Glossin.
'May I ask, sir,' said the stranger, 'if it is your family motto?'
'N--n--no--no--not ours. That is, I believe, the motto of the former
people; mine is--mine is--in fact, I have had some correspondence with
Mr. Cumming of the Lyon Office in Edinburgh about mine. He writes me the
Glossins anciently bore for a motto, "He who takes it, makes it."'
'If there be any uncertainty, sir, and the case were mine,' said Bertram,
'I would assume the old motto, which seems to me the better of the two.'
Glossin, whose tongue by this time clove to the roof of his mouth, only
answered by a nod.
'It is odd enough,' said Bertram, fixing his eye upon the arms and
gateway, and partly addressing Glossin, partly as it were thinking
aloud--'it is odd the tricks which our memory plays us. The remnants of
an old prophecy, or song, or rhyme of some kind or other, return to my
recollection on hearing that motto; stay--it is a strange jingle of
The dark shall be light, And the wrong made right, When Bertram's right
and Bertram's might Shall meet on---
I cannot remember the last line--on some particular height; HEIGHT is the
rhyme, I am sure; but I cannot hit upon the preceding word.'
'Confound your memory,' muttered Glossin, 'you remember by far too much
'There are other rhymes connected with these early recollections,'
continued the young man. 'Pray, sir, is there any song current in this
part of the world respecting a daughter of the King of the Isle of Man
eloping with a Scottish knight?'
'I am the worst person in the world to consult upon legendary
antiquities,' answered Glossin.
'I could sing such a ballad,' said Bertram, 'from one end to another when
I was a boy. You must know I left Scotland, which is my native country,
very young, and those who brought me up discouraged all my attempts to
preserve recollection of my native land, on account, I believe, of a
boyish wish which I had to escape from their charge.'
'Very natural,' said Glossin, but speaking as if his utmost efforts were
unable to unseal his lips beyond the width of a quarter of an inch, so
that his whole utterance was a kind of compressed muttering, very
different from the round, bold, bullying voice with which he usually
spoke. Indeed, his appearance and demeanour during all this conversation
seemed to diminish even his strength and stature; so that he appeared to
wither into the shadow of himself, now advancing one foot, now the other,
now stooping and wriggling his shoulders, now fumbling with the buttons
of his waistcoat, now clasping his hands together; in short, he was the
picture of a mean-spirited, shuffling rascal in the very agonies of
detection. To these appearances Bertram was totally inattentive, being
dragged on as it were by the current of his own associations. Indeed,
although he addressed Glossin, he was not so much thinking of him as
arguing upon the embarrassing state of his own feelings and recollection.
'Yes,' he said, 'I preserved my language among the sailors, most of whom
spoke English, and when I could get into a corner by myself I used to
sing all that song over from beginning to end; I have forgot it all now,
but I remember the tune well, though I cannot guess what should at
present so strongly recall it to my memory.'
He took his flageolet from his pocket and played a simple melody.
Apparently the tune awoke the corresponding associations of a damsel who,
close beside a fine spring about halfway down the descent, and which had
once supplied the castle with water, was engaged in bleaching linen. She
immediately took up the song:--
'Are these the Links of Forth, she said,
Or are they the crooks of Dee,
Or the bonnie woods of Warroch Head
That I so fain would see?'
'By heaven,' said Bertram, 'it is the very ballad! I must learn these
words from the girl.'
'Confusion!' thought Glossin; 'if I cannot put a stop to this all will be
out. O the devil take all ballads and ballad-makers and ballad-singers!
and that d--d jade too, to set up her pipe!'--'You will have time enough
for this on some other occasion,' he said aloud; 'at present' (for now he
saw his emissary with two or three men coming up the bank)--'at present
we must have some more serious conversation together.'
'How do you mean, sir?' said Bertram, turning short upon him, and not
liking the tone which he made use of.
'Why, sir, as to that--I believe your name is Brown?' said Glossin. 'And
what of that, sir?'
Glossin looked over his shoulder to see how near his party had
approached; they were coming fast on. 'Vanbeest Brown? if I mistake not.'
'And what of that, sir?' said Bertram, with increasing astonishment and
'Why, in that case,' said Glossin, observing his friends had now got upon
the level space close beside them--'in that case you are my prisoner in
the king's name!' At the same time he stretched his hand towards
Bertram's collar, while two of the men who had come up seized upon his
arms; he shook himself, however, free of their grasp by a violent effort,
in which he pitched the most pertinacious down the bank, and, drawing his
cutlass, stood on the defensive, while those who had felt his strength
recoiled from his presence and gazed at a safe distance. 'Observe,' he
called out at the same time, 'that I have no purpose to resist legal
authority; satisfy me that you have a magistrate's warrant, and are
authorised to make this arrest, and I will obey it quietly; but let no
man who loves his life venture to approach me till I am satisfied for
what crime, and by whose authority, I am apprehended.'
Glossin then caused one of the officers show a warrant for the
apprehension of Vanbeest Brown, accused of the crime of wilfully and
maliciously shooting at Charles Hazlewood, younger of Hazlewood, with an
intent to kill, and also of other crimes and misdemeanours, and which
appointed him, having been so apprehended, to be brought before the next
magistrate for examination. The warrant being formal, and the fact such
as he could not deny, Bertram threw down his weapon and submitted himself
to the officers, who, flying on him with eagerness corresponding to their
former pusillanimity, were about to load him with irons, alleging the
strength and activity which he had displayed as a justification of this
severity. But Glossin was ashamed or afraid to permit this unnecessary
insult, and directed the prisoner to be treated with all the decency, and
even respect, that was consistent with safety. Afraid, however, to
introduce him into his own house, where still further subjects of
recollection might have been suggested, and anxious at the same time to
cover his own proceedings by the sanction of another's authority, he
ordered his carriage (for he had lately set up a carriage) to be got
ready, and in the meantime directed refreshments to be given to the
prisoner and the officers, who were consigned to one of the rooms in the
old castle, until the means of conveyance for examination before a
magistrate should be provided.
Bring in the evidence.
Thou robed man of justice, take thy place,
And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity,
Bench by his side; you are of the commission,
Sit you too.
While the carriage was getting ready, Glossin had a letter to compose,
about which he wasted no small time. It was to his neighbour, as he was
fond of calling him, Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood, the head of an
ancient and powerful interest in the county, which had in the decadence
of the Ellangowan family gradually succeeded to much of their authority
and influence. The present representative of the family was an elderly
man, dotingly fond of his own family, which was limited to an only son
and daughter, and stoically indifferent to the fate of all mankind
besides. For the rest, he was honourable in his general dealings because
he was afraid to suffer the censure of the world, and just from a better
motive. He was presumptuously over-conceited on the score of family pride
and importance, a feeling considerably enhanced by his late succession to
the title of a Nova Scotia baronet; and he hated the memory of the
Ellangowan family, though now a memory only, because a certain baron of
that house was traditionally reported to have caused the founder of the
Hazlewood family hold his stirrup until he mounted into his saddle. In
his general deportment he was pompous and important, affecting a species
of florid elocution, which often became ridiculous from his misarranging
the triads and quaternions with which he loaded his sentences.
To this personage Glossin was now to write in such a conciliatory style
as might be most acceptable to his vanity and family pride, and the
following was the form of his note:--
'Mr. Gilbert Glossin' (he longed to add of Ellangowan, but prudence
prevailed, and he suppressed that territorial designation)--'Mr. Gilbert
Glossin has the honour to offer his most respectful compliments to Sir
Robert Hazlewood, and to inform him that he has this morning been
fortunate enough to secure the person who wounded Mr. C. Hazlewood. As
Sir Robert Hazlewood may probably choose to conduct the examination of
this criminal himself, Mr. G. Glossin will cause the man to be carried to
the inn at Kippletringan or to Hazlewood House, as Sir Robert Hazlewood
may be pleased to direct. And, with Sir Robert Hazlewood's permission,
Mr. G. Glossin will attend him at either of these places with the proofs
and declarations which he has been so fortunate as to collect respecting
this atrocious business.'
'Sir ROBERT HAZLEWOOD of Hazlewood, Bart. 'Hazlewood House, etc. etc.
This note he despatched by a servant on horseback, and having given the
man some time to get ahead, and desired him to ride fast, he ordered two
officers of justice to get into the carriage with Bertram; and he
himself, mounting his horse, accompanied them at a slow pace to the point
where the roads to Kippletringan and Hazlewood House separated, and there
awaited the return of his messenger, in order that his farther route
might be determined by the answer he should receive from the Baronet. In
about half an hour, his servant returned with the following answer,
handsomely folded, and sealed with the Hazlewood arms, having the Nova
Scotia badge depending from the shield:--
'Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood returns Mr. G. Glossin's compliments,
and thanks him for the trouble he has taken in a matter affecting the
safety of Sir Robert's family. Sir R.H. requests Mr, G.G. will have the
goodness to bring the prisoner to Hazlewood House for examination, with
the other proofs or declarations which he mentions. And after the
business is over, in case Mr. G.G. is not otherwise engaged, Sir R. and
Lady Hazlewood request his company to dinner.'
'Mr. GILBERT GLOSSIN, etc. 'HAZLEWOOD HOUSE, Tuesday.'
'Soh!' thought Mr. Glossin, 'here is one finger in at least, and that I
will make the means of introducing my whole hand. But I must first get
clear of this wretched young fellow. I think I can manage Sir Robert. He
is dull and pompous, and will be alike disposed to listen to my
suggestions upon the law of the case and to assume the credit of acting
upon them as his own proper motion. So I shall have the advantage of
being the real magistrate, without the odium of responsibility.'
As he cherished these hopes and expectations, the carriage approached
Hazlewood House through a noble avenue of old oaks, which shrouded the
ancient abbey-resembling building so called. It was a large edifice,
built at different periods, part having actually been a priory, upon the
suppression of which, in the time of Queen Mary, the first of the family
had obtained a gift of the house and surrounding lands from the crown. It
was pleasantly situated in a large deer-park, on the banks of the river
we have before mentioned. The scenery around was of a dark, solemn, and
somewhat melancholy cast, according well with the architecture of the
house. Everything appeared to be kept in the highest possible order, and
announced the opulence and rank of the proprietor.
As Mr. Glossin's carriage stopped at the door of the hall, Sir Robert
reconnoitred the new vehicle from the windows. According to his
aristocratic feelings, there was a degree of presumption in this novus
homo, this Mr. Gilbert Glossin, late writer in---, presuming to set up
such an accommodation at all; but his wrath was mitigated when he
observed that the mantle upon the panels only bore a plain cipher of G.G.
This apparent modesty was indeed solely owing to the delay of Mr. Gumming
of the Lyon Office, who, being at that time engaged in discovering and
matriculating the arms of two commissaries from North America, three
English-Irish peers, and two great Jamaica traders, had been more slow
than usual in finding an escutcheon for the new Laird of Ellangowan. But
his delay told to the advantage of Glossin in the opinion of the proud
While the officers of justice detained their prisoner in a sort of
steward's room, Mr. Glossin was ushered into what was called the great
oak-parlour, a long room, panelled with well-varnished wainscot, and
adorned with the grim portraits of Sir Robert Hazlewood's ancestry. The
visitor, who had no internal consciousness of worth to balance that of
meanness of birth, felt his inferiority, and by the depth of his bow and
the obsequiousness of his demeanour showed that the Laird of Ellangowan
was sunk for the time in the old and submissive habits of the quondam
retainer of the law. He would have persuaded himself, indeed, that he was
only humouring the pride of the old Baronet for the purpose of turning it
to his own advantage, but his feelings were of a mingled nature, and he
felt the influence of those very prejudices which he pretended to
The Baronet received his visitor with that condescending parade which was
meant at once to assert his own vast superiority, and to show the
generosity and courtesy with which he could waive it, and descend to the
level of ordinary conversation with ordinary men. He thanked Glossin for
his attention to a matter in which 'young Hazlewood' was so intimately
concerned, and, pointing to his family pictures, observed, with a
gracious smile, 'Indeed, these venerable gentlemen, Mr. Glossin, are as
much obliged as I am in this case for the labour, pains, care, and
trouble which you have taken in their behalf; and I have no doubt, were
they capable of expressing themselves, would join me, sir, in thanking
you for the favour you have conferred upon the house of Hazlewood by
taking care, and trouble, sir, and interest in behalf of the young
gentleman who is to continue their name and family.'
Thrice bowed Glossin, and each time more profoundly than before; once in
honour of the knight who stood upright before him, once in respect to the
quiet personages who patiently hung upon the wainscot, and a third time
in deference to the young gentleman who was to carry on the name and
family. Roturier as he was, Sir Robert was gratified by the homage which
he rendered, and proceeded in a tone of gracious familiarity: 'And now,
Mr. Glossin, my exceeding good friend, you must allow me to avail myself
of your knowledge of law in our proceedings in this matter. I am not much
in the habit of acting as a justice of the peace; it suits better with
other gentlemen, whose domestic and family affairs require less constant
superintendence, attention, and management than mine.'
Of course, whatever small assistance Mr. Glossin could render was
entirely at Sir Robert Hazlewood's service; but, as Sir Robert
Hazlewood's name stood high in the list of the faculty, the said Mr.
Glossin could not presume to hope it could be either necessary or useful.
'Why, my good sir, you will understand me only to mean that I am
something deficient in the practical knowledge of the ordinary details of
justice business. I was indeed educated to the bar, and might boast
perhaps at one time that I had made some progress in the speculative and
abstract and abstruse doctrines of our municipal code; but there is in
the present day so little opportunity of a man of family and fortune
rising to that eminence at the bar which is attained by adventurers who
are as willing to plead for John a' Nokes as for the first noble of the
land, that I was really early disgusted with practice. The first case,
indeed, which was laid on my table quite sickened me: it respected a
bargain, sir, of tallow between a butcher and a candlemaker; and I found
it was expected that I should grease my mouth not only with their vulgar
names, but with all the technical terms and phrases and peculiar language
of their dirty arts. Upon my honour, my good sir, I have never been able
to bear the smell of a tallow-candle since.'
Pitying, as seemed to be expected, the mean use to which the Baronet's
faculties had been degraded on this melancholy occasion, Mr. Glossin
offered to officiate as clerk or assessor, or in any way in which he
could be most useful. 'And with a view to possessing you of the whole
business, and in the first place, there will, I believe, be no difficulty
in proving the main fact, that this was the person who fired the unhappy
piece. Should he deny it, it can be proved by Mr. Hazlewood, I presume?'
'Young Hazlewood is not at home to-day, Mr. Glossin.'
'But we can have the oath of the servant who attended him,' said the
ready Mr. Glossin; 'indeed, I hardly think the fact will be disputed. I
am more apprehensive that, from the too favourable and indulgent manner
in which I have understood that Mr. Hazlewood has been pleased to
represent the business, the assault may be considered as accidental, and
the injury as unintentional, so that the fellow may be immediately set at
liberty to do more mischief.'
'I have not the honour to know the gentleman who now holds the office of
king's advocate,' replied Sir Robert, gravely; 'but I presume, sir--nay,
I am confident, that he will consider the mere fact of having wounded
young Hazlewood of Hazlewood, even by inadvertency, to take the matter in
its mildest and gentlest, and in its most favourable and improbable,
light, as a crime which will be too easily atoned by imprisonment, and as
more deserving of deportation.'
'Indeed, Sir Robert,' said his assenting brother in justice, 'I am
entirely of your opinion; but, I don't know how it is, I have observed
the Edinburgh gentlemen of the bar, and even the officers of the crown,
pique themselves upon an indifferent administration of justice, without
respect to rank and family; and I should fear--'
'How, sir, without respect to rank and family? Will you tell me THAT
doctrine can be held by men of birth and legal education? No, sir; if a
trifle stolen in the street is termed mere pickery, but is elevated into
sacrilege if the crime be committed in a church, so, according to the
just gradations of society, the guilt of an injury is enhanced by the
rank of the person to whom it is offered, done, or perpetrated, sir.'
Glossin bowed low to this declaration ex cathedra, but observed, that in
the case of the very worst, and of such unnatural doctrines being
actually held as he had already hinted, 'the law had another hold on Mr.
'Vanbeest Brown! is that the fellow's name? Good God! that young
Hazlewood of Hazlewood should have had his life endangered, the clavicle
of his right shoulder considerably lacerated and dislodged, several large
drops or slugs deposited in the acromion process, as the account of the
family surgeon expressly bears, and all by an obscure wretch named
'Why, really, Sir Robert, it is a thing which one can hardly bear to
think of; but, begging ten thousand pardons for resuming what I was about
to say, a person of the same name is, as appears from these papers
(producing Dirk Hatteraick's pocket-book), mate to the smuggling vessel
who offered such violence at Woodbourne, and I have no doubt that this is
the same individual; which, however, your acute discrimination will
easily be able to ascertain.'
'The same, my good sir, he must assuredly be; it would be injustice even
to the meanest of the people to suppose there could be found among them
TWO persons doomed to bear a name so shocking to one's ears as this of
Vanbeest Brown.' 'True, Sir Robert; most unquestionably; there cannot be
a shadow of doubt of it. But you see farther, that this circumstance
accounts for the man's desperate conduct. You, Sir Robert, will discover
the motive for his crime--you, I say, will discover it without difficulty
on your giving your mind to the examination; for my part, I cannot help
suspecting the moving spring to have been revenge for the gallantry with
which Mr. Hazlewood, with all the spirit of his renowned forefathers,
defended the house at Woodbourne against this villain and his lawless
'I will inquire into it, my good sir,' said the learned Baronet. 'Yet
even now I venture to conjecture that I shall adopt the solution or
explanation of this riddle, enigma, or mystery which you have in some
degree thus started. Yes! revenge it must be; and, good Heaven!
entertained by and against whom? entertained, fostered, cherished against
young Hazlewood of Hazlewood, and in part carried into effect, executed,
and implemented by the hand of Vanbeest Brown! These are dreadful days
indeed, my worthy neighbour (this epithet indicated a rapid advance in
the Baronet's good graces)--days when the bulwarks of society are shaken
to their mighty base, and that rank which forms, as it were, its highest
grace and ornament is mingled and confused with the viler parts of the
architecture. O, my good Mr. Gilbert Glossin, in my time, sir, the use of
swords and pistols, and such honourable arms, was reserved by the
nobility and gentry to themselves, and the disputes of the vulgar were
decided by the weapons which nature had given them, or by cudgels cut,
broken, or hewed out of the next wood. But now, sir, the clouted shoe of
the peasant galls the kibe of the courtier. The lower ranks have their
quarrels, sir, and their points of honour, and their revenges, which they
must bring, forsooth, to fatal arbitrament. But well, well! it will last
my time. Let us have in this fellow, this Vanbeest Brown, and make an end
of him, at least for the present.'
Gave heat unto the injury, which returned,
Like a petard ill lighted, into the bosom
Of him gave fire to't. Yet I hope his hurt
Is not so dangerous but he may recover
Fair Maid of the Inn.
The prisoner was now presented before the two worshipful magistrates.
Glossin, partly from some compunctious visitings, and partly out of his
cautious resolution to suffer Sir Robert Hazlewood to be the ostensible
manager of the whole examination, looked down upon the table, and busied
himself with reading and arranging the papers respecting the business,
only now and then throwing in a skilful catchword as prompter, when he
saw the principal, and apparently most active, magistrate stand in need
of a hint. As for Sir Robert Hazlewood, he assumed on his part a happy
mixture of the austerity of the justice combined with the display of
personal dignity appertaining to the baronet of ancient family.
'There, constables, let him stand there at the bottom of the table. Be so
good as look me in the face, sir, and raise your voice as you answer the
questions which I am going to put to you.'
'May I beg, in the first place, to know, sir, who it is that takes the
trouble to interrogate me?' said the prisoner; 'for the honest gentlemen
who have brought me here have not been pleased to furnish any information
upon that point.'
'And pray, sir,' answered Sir Robert, 'what has my name and quality to do
with the questions I am about to ask you?'
'Nothing, perhaps, sir,' replied Bertram; 'but it may considerably
influence my disposition to answer them.'
'Why, then, sir, you will please to be informed that you are in presence
of Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood, and another justice of peace for
this county--that's all.'
As this intimation produced a less stunning effect upon the prisoner than
he had anticipated, Sir Robert proceeded in his investigation with an
increasing dislike to the object of it.
'Is your name Vanbeest Brown, sir?'
'It is,' answered the prisoner.
'So far well; and how are we to design you farther, sir?' demanded the
'Captain in his Majesty's---regiment of horse,' answered Bertram.
The Baronet's ears received this intimation with astonishment; but he was
refreshed in courage by an incredulous look from Glossin, and by hearing
him gently utter a sort of interjectional whistle, in a note of surprise
and contempt. 'I believe, my friend,' said Sir Robert, 'we shall find for
you, before we part, a more humble title.'
'If you do, sir,' replied his prisoner, 'I shall willingly submit to any
punishment which such an imposture shall be thought to deserve.'
'Well, sir, we shall see,' continued Sir Robert. 'Do you know young
Hazlewood of Hazlewood?'
'I never saw the gentleman who I am informed bears that name excepting
once, and I regret that it was under very unpleasant circumstances.'
'You mean to acknowledge, then,' said the Baronet, 'that you inflicted
upon young Hazlewood of Hazlewood that wound which endangered his life,
considerably lacerated the clavicle of his right shoulder, and deposited,
as the family surgeon declares, several large drops or slugs in the
'Why, sir,' replied Bertram, 'I can only say I am equally ignorant of and
sorry for the extent of the damage which the young gentleman has
sustained. I met him in a narrow path, walking with two ladies and a
servant, and before I could either pass them or address them, this young
Hazlewood took his gun from his servant, presented it against my body,
and commanded me in the most haughty tone to stand back. I was neither
inclined to submit to his authority nor to leave him in possession of the
means to injure me, which he seemed disposed to use with such rashness. I
therefore closed with him for the purpose of disarming him; and, just as
I had nearly effected my purpose, the piece went off accidentally, and,
to my regret then and since, inflicted upon the young gentleman a severer
chastisement than I desired, though I am glad to understand it is like to
prove no more than his unprovoked folly deserved.'
'And so, sir,' said the Baronet, every feature swoln with offended
dignity, 'you, sir, admit, sir, that it was your purpose, sir, and your
intention, sir, and the real jet and object of your assault, sir, to
disarm young Hazlewood of Hazlewood of his gun, sir, or his
fowling-piece, or his fuzee, or whatever you please to call it, sir, upon
the king's highway, sir? I think this will do, my worthy neighbour! I
think he should stand committed?'
'You are by far the best judge, Sir Robert,' said Glossin, in his most
insinuating tone; 'but if I might presume to hint, there was something
about these smugglers.'
'Very true, good sir. And besides, sir, you, Vanbeest Brown, who call
yourself a captain in his Majesty's service, are no better or worse than
a rascally mate of a smuggler!'
'Really, sir,' said Bertram, 'you are an old gentleman, and acting under
some strange delusion, otherwise I should be very angry with you.'
'Old gentleman, sir! strange delusion, sir!' said Sir Robert, colouring
with indignation. 'I protest and declare--Why, sir, have you any papers
or letters that can establish your pretended rank and estate and
'None at present, sir,' answered Bertram; 'but in the return of a post or
'And how do you, sir,' continued the Baronet, 'if you are a captain in
his Majesty's service--how do you chance to be travelling in Scotland
without letters of introduction, credentials, baggage, or anything
belonging to your pretended rank, estate, and condition, as I said
'Sir,' replied the prisoner, 'I had the misfortune to be robbed of my
clothes and baggage.'
'Oho! then you are the gentleman who took a post-chaise from---to
Kippletringan, gave the boy the slip on the road, and sent two of your
accomplices to beat the boy and bring away the baggage?'
'I was, sir, in a carriage, as you describe, was obliged to alight in the
snow, and lost my way endeavouring to find the road to Kippletringan. The
landlady of the inn will inform you that on my arrival there the next
day, my first inquiries were after the boy.'
'Then give me leave to ask where you spent the night, not in the snow, I
presume? You do not suppose that will pass, or be taken, credited, and
'I beg leave,' said Bertram, his recollection turning to the gipsy female
and to the promise he had given her--'I beg leave to decline answering
'I thought as much,' said Sir Robert. 'Were you not during that night in
the ruins of Derncleugh?--in the ruins of Derncleugh, sir?'
'I have told you that I do not intend answering that question,' replied
'Well, sir, then you will stand committed, sir,' said Sir Robert, 'and be
sent to prison, sir, that's all, sir. Have the goodness to look at these
papers; are you the Vanbeest Brown who is there mentioned?'
It must be remarked that Glossin had shuffled among the papers some
writings which really did belong to Bertram, and which had been found by
the officers in the old vault where his portmanteau was ransacked.
'Some of these papers,' said Bertram, looking over them, 'are mine, and
were in my portfolio when it was stolen from the post-chaise. They are
memoranda of little value, and, I see, have been carefully selected as
affording no evidence of my rank or character, which many of the other
papers would have established fully. They are mingled with ship-accounts
and other papers, belonging apparently to a person of the same name.'
'And wilt thou attempt to persuade me, friend,' demanded Sir Robert,
'that there are TWO persons in this country at the same time of thy very
uncommon and awkwardly sounding name?'
'I really do not see, sir, as there is an old Hazlewood and a young
Hazlewood, why there should not be an old and a young Vanbeest Brown.
And, to speak seriously, I was educated in Holland, and I know that this
name, however uncouth it may sound in British ears---'
Glossin, conscious that the prisoner was now about to enter upon
dangerous ground, interfered, though the interruption was unnecessary,
for the purpose of diverting the attention of Sir Robert Hazlewood, who
was speechless and motionless with indignation at the presumptuous
comparison implied in Bertram's last speech. In fact, the veins of his
throat and of his temples swelled almost to bursting, and he sat with the
indignant and disconcerted air of one who has received a mortal insult
from a quarter to which he holds it unmeet and indecorous to make any
reply. While, with a bent brow and an angry eye, he was drawing in his
breath slowly and majestically, and puffing it forth again with deep and
solemn exertion, Glossin stepped in to his assistance. 'I should think
now, Sir Robert, with great submission, that this matter may be closed.
One of the constables, besides the pregnant proof already produced,
offers to make oath that the sword of which the prisoner was this morning
deprived (while using it, by the way, in resistance to a legal warrant)
was a cutlass taken from him in a fray between the officers and smugglers
just previous to their attack upon Woodbourne. And yet,' he added, 'I
would not have you form any rash construction upon that subject; perhaps
the young man can explain how he came by that weapon.'
'That question, sir,' said Bertram, 'I shall also leave unanswered.'
'There is yet another circumstance to be inquired into, always under Sir
Robert's leave,' insinuated Glossin. 'This prisoner put into the hands of
Mrs. MacCandlish of Kippletringan a parcel containing a variety of gold
coins and valuable articles of different kinds. Perhaps, Sir Robert, you
might think it right to ask how he came by property of a description
which seldom occurs?'
'You, sir, Mr. Vanbeest Brown, sir, you hear the question, sir, which the
gentleman asks you?'
'I have particular reasons for declining to answer that question,'
'Then I am afraid, sir,' said Glossin, who had brought matters to the
point he desired to reach, 'our duty must lay us under the necessity to
sign a warrant of committal.'
'As you please, sir,' answered Bertram; 'take care, however, what you do.
Observe that I inform you that I am a captain in his
Majesty's---regiment, and that I am just returned from India, and
therefore cannot possibly be connected with any of those contraband
traders you talk of; that my lieutenant-colonel is now at Nottingham, the
major, with the officers of my corps, at Kingston-upon-Thames. I offer
before you both to submit to any degree of ignominy if, within the return
of the Kingston and Nottingham posts, I am not able to establish these
points. Or you may write to the agent for the regiment if you please,
'This is all very well, sir,' said Glossin, beginning to fear lest the
firm expostulation of Bertram should make some impression on Sir Robert,
who would almost have died of shame at committing such a solecism as
sending a captain of horse to jail--'this is all very well, sir; but is
there no person nearer whom you could refer to?'
'There are only two persons in this country who know anything of me,'
replied the prisoner. 'One is a plain Liddesdale sheep-farmer, called
Dinmont of Charlie's Hope; but he knows nothing more of me than what I
told him, and what I now tell you.'
'Why, this is well enough, Sir Robert!' said Glossin. 'I suppose he would
bring forward this thick-skulled fellow to give his oath of credulity,
Sir Robert, ha, ha, ha!'
'And what is your other witness, friend?' said the Baronet.
'A gentleman whom I have some reluctance to mention because of certain
private reasons, but under whose command I served some time in India, and
who is too much a man of honour to refuse his testimony to my character
as a soldier and gentleman.'
'And who is this doughty witness, pray, sir?' said Sir Robert,' some
half-pay quartermaster or sergeant, I suppose?'
'Colonel Guy Mannering, late of the---regiment, in which, as I told you,
I have a troop.'
'Colonel Guy Mannering!' thought Glossin, 'who the devil could have
'Colonel Guy Mannering?' echoed the Baronet, considerably shaken in his
opinion. 'My good sir,' apart to Glossin, 'the young man with a
dreadfully plebeian name and a good deal of modest assurance has
nevertheless something of the tone and manners and feeling of a
gentleman, of one at least who has lived in good society; they do give
commissions very loosely and carelessly and inaccurately in India. I
think we had better pause till Colonel Mannering shall return; he is now,
I believe, at Edinburgh.'
'You are in every respect the best judge, Sir Robert,' answered
Glossin--'in every possible respect. I would only submit to you that we
are certainly hardly entitled to dismiss this man upon an assertion which
cannot be satisfied by proof, and that we shall incur a heavy
responsibility by detaining him in private custody, without committing
him to a public jail. Undoubtedly, however, you are the best judge, Sir
Robert; and I would only say, for my own part, that I very lately
incurred severe censure by detaining a person in a place which I thought
perfectly secure, and under the custody of the proper officers. The man
made his escape, and I have no doubt my own character for attention and
circumspection as a magistrate has in some degree suffered. I only hint
this: I will join in any step you, Sir Robert, think most advisable.' But
Mr. Glossin was well aware that such a hint was of power sufficient to
decide the motions of his self-important but not self-relying colleague.
So that Sir Robert Hazlewood summed up the business in the following
speech, which proceeded partly upon the supposition of the prisoner being
really a gentleman, and partly upon the opposite belief that he was a
villain and an assassin:--
'Sir, Mr. Vanbeest Brown--I would call you Captain Brown if there was the
least reason or cause or grounds to suppose that you are a captain, or
had a troop in the very respectable corps you mention, or indeed in any
other corps in his Majesty's service, as to which circumstance I beg to
be understood to give no positive, settled, or unalterable judgment,
declaration, or opinion,--I say, therefore, sir, Mr. Brown, we have
determined, considering the unpleasant predicament in which you now
stand, having been robbed, as you say, an assertion as to which I suspend
my opinion, and being possessed of much and valuable treasure, and of a
brass-handled cutlass besides, as to your obtaining which you will favour
us with no explanation,--I say, sir, we have determined and resolved and
made up our minds to commit you to jail, or rather to assign you an
apartment therein, in order that you may be forthcoming upon Colonel
Mannering's return from Edinburgh.'
'With humble submission, Sir Robert,' said Glossin, 'may I inquire if it
is your purpose to send this young gentleman to the county jail? For if
that were not your settled intention, I would take the liberty to hint
that there would be less hardship in sending him to the bridewell at
Portanferry, where he can be secured without public exposure, a
circumstance which, on the mere chance of his story being really true, is
much to be avoided.'
'Why, there is a guard of soldiers at Portanferry, to be sure, for
protection of the goods in the custom-house; and upon the whole,
considering everything, and that the place is comfortable for such a
place, I say, all things considered, we will commit this person, I would
rather say authorise him to be detained, in the workhouse at
The warrant was made out accordingly, and Bertram was informed he was
next morning to be removed to his place of confinement, as Sir Robert had
determined he should not be taken there under cloud of night, for fear of
rescue. He was during the interval to be detained at Hazlewood House.
'It cannot be so hard as my imprisonment by the looties in India,' he
thought; 'nor can it last so long. But the deuce take the old formal
dunderhead, and his more sly associate, who speaks always under his
breath; they cannot understand a plain man's story when it is told them.'
In the meanwhile Glossin took leave of the Baronet with a thousand
respectful bows and cringing apologies for not accepting his invitation
to dinner, and venturing to hope he might be pardoned in paying his
respects to him, Lady Hazlewood, and young Mr. Hazlewood on some future
'Certainly, sir,' said the Baronet, very graciously. 'I hope our family
was never at any time deficient in civility to our neighbours; and when I
ride that way, good Mr. Glossin, I will convince you of this by calling
at your house as familiarly as is consistent--that is, as can be hoped or
'And now,' said Glossin to himself, 'to find Dirk Hatteraick and his
people, to get the guard sent off from the custom-house; and then for the
grand cast of the dice. Everything must depend upon speed. How lucky that
Mannering has betaken himself to Edinburgh! His knowledge of this young
fellow is a most perilous addition to my dangers.' Here he suffered his
horse to slacken his pace. 'What if I should try to compound with the
heir? It's likely he might be brought to pay a round sum for restitution,
and I could give up Hatteraick. But no, no, no! there were too many eyes
on me--Hatteraick himself, and the gipsy sailor, and that old hag. No,
no! I must stick to my original plan.' And with that he struck his spurs
against his horse's flanks, and rode forward at a hard trot to put his
machines in motion.
A prison is a house of care,
A place where none can thrive,
A touchstone true to try a friend,
A grave for one alive
Sometimes a place of right,
Sometimes a place of wrong,
Sometimes a place of rogues and thieves,
And honest men among
Inscription on Edinburgh Tolbooth
Early on the following morning the carriage which had brought Bertram to
Hazlewood House was, with his two silent and surly attendants, appointed
to convey him to his place of confinement at Portanferry. This building
adjoined to the custom-house established at that little seaport, and both
were situated so close to the sea-beach that it was necessary to defend
the back part with a large and strong rampart or bulwark of huge stones,
disposed in a slope towards the surf, which often reached and broke upon
them. The front was surrounded by a high wall, enclosing a small
courtyard, within which the miserable inmates of the mansion were
occasionally permitted to take exercise and air. The prison was used as a
house of correction, and sometimes as a chapel of ease to the county
jail, which was old, and far from being conveniently situated with
reference to the Kippletringan district of the county. Mac-Guffog, the
officer by whom Bertram had at first been apprehended, and who was now in
attendance upon him, was keeper of this palace of little-ease. He caused
the carriage to be drawn close up to the outer gate, and got out himself
to summon the warders. The noise of his rap alarmed some twenty or thirty
ragged boys, who left off sailing their mimic sloops and frigates in the
little pools of salt water left by the receding tide, and hastily crowded
round the vehicle to see what luckless being was to be delivered to the
prison-house out of 'Glossin's braw new carriage.' The door of the
courtyard, after the heavy clanking of many chains and bars, was opened
by Mrs. Mac-Guffog--an awful spectacle, being a woman for strength and
resolution capable of maintaining order among her riotous inmates, and of
administering the discipline of the house, as it was called, during the
absence of her husband, or when he chanced to have taken an overdose of
the creature. The growling voice of this Amazon, which rivalled in
harshness the crashing music of her own bolts and bars, soon dispersed in
every direction the little varlets who had thronged around her threshold,
and she next addressed her amiable helpmate:--
'Be sharp, man, and get out the swell, canst thou not?'
'Hold your tongue and be d-d, you--,' answered her loving husband, with
two additional epithets of great energy, but which we beg to be excused
from repeating. Then addressing Bertram--'Come, will you get out, my
handy lad, or must we lend you a lift?'
Bertram came out of the carriage, and, collared by the constable as he
put his foot on the ground, was dragged, though he offered no resistance,
across the threshold, amid the continued shouts of the little
sansculottes, who looked on at such distance as their fear of Mrs.
Mac-Guffog permitted. The instant his foot had crossed the fatal porch,
the portress again dropped her chains, drew her bolts, and, turning with
both hands an immense key, took it from the lock and thrust it into a
huge side-pocket of red cloth.
Bertram was now in the small court already mentioned. Two or three
prisoners were sauntering along the pavement, and deriving as it were a
feeling of refreshment from the momentary glimpse with which the opening
door had extended their prospect to the other side of a dirty street. Nor
can this be thought surprising, when it is considered that, unless on
such occasions, their view was confined to the grated front of their
prison, the high and sable walls of the courtyard, the heaven above them,
and the pavement beneath their feet--a sameness of landscape which, to
use the poet's expression, 'lay like a load on the wearied eye,' and had
fostered in some a callous and dull misanthropy, in others that sickness
of the heart which induces him who is immured already in a living grave
to wish for a sepulchre yet more calm and sequestered.
Mac-Guffog, when they entered the courtyard, suffered Bertram to pause
for a minute and look upon his companions in affliction. When he had cast
his eye around on faces on which guilt and despondence and low excess had
fixed their stigma--upon the spendthrift, and the swindler, and the
thief, the bankrupt debtor, the 'moping idiot, and the madman gay,' whom
a paltry spirit of economy congregated to share this dismal habitation,
he felt his heart recoil with inexpressible loathing from enduring the
contamination of their society even for a moment.
'I hope, sir,' he said to the keeper, 'you intend to assign me a place of
'And what should I be the better of that?'
'Why, sir, I can but be detained here a day or two, and it would be very
disagreeable to me to mix in the sort of company this place affords.'
'And what do I care for that?'
'Why then, sir, to speak to your feelings,' said Bertram, 'I shall be
willing to make you a handsome compliment for this indulgence.'
'Ay, but when, Captain? when and how? that's the question, or rather the
twa questions,' said the jailor.
'When I am delivered, and get my remittances from England,' answered the
Mac-Guffog shook his head incredulously.
'Why, friend, you do not pretend to believe that I am really a
malefactor?' said Bertram.
'Why, I no ken,' said the fellow; 'but if you ARE on the account, ye're
nae sharp ane, that's the daylight o't.'
'And why do you say I am no sharp one?'
'Why, wha but a crack-brained greenhorn wad hae let them keep up the
siller that ye left at the Gordon Arms?' said the constable. 'Deil fetch
me, but I wad have had it out o' their wames! Ye had nae right to be
strippit o' your money and sent to jail without a mark to pay your fees;
they might have keepit the rest o' the articles for evidence. But why,
for a blind bottle-head, did not ye ask the guineas? and I kept winking
and nodding a' the time, and the donnert deevil wad never ance look my
'Well, sir,' replied Bertram, 'if I have a title to have that property
delivered up to me, I shall apply for it; and there is a good deal more
than enough to pay any demand you can set up.'
'I dinna ken a bit about that,' said Mac-Guffog; 'ye may be here lang
eneugh. And then the gieing credit maun be considered in the fees. But,
however, as ye DO seem to be a chap by common, though my wife says I lose
by my good-nature, if ye gie me an order for my fees upon that money I
daresay Glossin will make it forthcoming; I ken something about an escape
from Ellangowan. Ay, ay, he'll be glad to carry me through, and be
'Well, sir,' replied Bertram, 'if I am not furnished in a day or two
otherwise, you shall have such an order.'
'Weel, weel, then ye shall be put up like a prince,' said Mac-Guffog.
'But mark ye me, friend, that we may have nae colly-shangie afterhend,
these are the fees that I always charge a swell that must have his
lib-ken to himsell:--Thirty shillings a week for lodgings, and a guinea
for garnish; half a guinea a week for a single bed; and I dinna get the
whole of it, for I must gie half a crown out of it to Donald Laider
that's in for sheep-stealing, that should sleep with you by rule, and
he'll expect clean strae, and maybe some whisky beside. So I make little
'Well, sir, go on.'
'Then for meat and liquor, ye may have the best, and I never charge abune
twenty per cent ower tavern price for pleasing a gentleman that way; and
that's little eneugh for sending in and sending out, and wearing the
lassie's shoon out. And then if ye're dowie I will sit wi' you a gliff in
the evening mysell, man, and help ye out wi' your bottle. I have drank
mony a glass wi' Glossin, man, that did you up, though he's a justice
now. And then I'se warrant ye'll be for fire thir cauld nights, or if ye
want candle, that's an expensive article, for it's against the rules. And
now I've tell'd ye the head articles of the charge, and I dinna think
there's muckle mair, though there will aye be some odd expenses ower and
'Well, sir, I must trust to your conscience, if ever you happened to hear
of such a thing; I cannot help myself.'
'Na, na, sir,' answered the cautious jailor, 'I'll no permit you to be
saying that. I'm forcing naething upon ye; an ye dinna like the price, ye
needna take the article. I force no man; I was only explaining what
civility was. But if ye like to take the common run of the house, it's a'
ane to me; I'll be saved trouble, that's a'.'
'Nay, my friend, I have, as I suppose you may easily guess, no
inclination to dispute your terms upon such a penalty,' answered Bertram.
'Come, show me where I am to be, for I would fain be alone for a little
'Ay, ay, come along then, Captain,' said the fellow, with a contortion of
visage which he intended to be a smile; 'and I'll tell you now--to show
you that I HAVE a conscience, as ye ca't--d--n me if I charge ye abune
six-pence a day for the freedom o' the court, and ye may walk in't very
near three hours a day, and play at pitch-and-toss and hand ba' and what
With this gracious promise he ushered Bertram into the house, and showed
him up a steep and narrow stone staircase, at the top of which was a
strong door, clenched with iron and studded with nails. Beyond this door
was a narrow passage or gallery, having three cells on each side,
wretched vaults, with iron bed-frames and straw mattresses. But at the
farther end was a small apartment of rather a more decent appearance,
that is, having less the air of a place of confinement, since, unless for
the large lock and chain upon the door, and the crossed and ponderous
stanchions upon the window, it rather resembled the 'worst inn's worst
room.' It was designed as a sort of infirmary for prisoners whose state
of health required some indulgence; and, in fact, Donald Laider,
Bertram's destined chum, had been just dragged out of one of the two beds
which it contained, to try whether clean straw and whisky might not have
a better chance to cure his intermitting fever. This process of ejection
had been carried into force by Mrs. Mac-Guffog while her husband parleyed
with Bertram in the courtyard, that good lady having a distinct
presentiment of the manner in which the treaty must necessarily
terminate. Apparently the expulsion had not taken place without some
application of the strong hand, for one of the bed-posts of a sort of
tent-bed was broken down, so that the tester and curtains hung forward
into the middle of the narrow chamber, like the banner of a chieftain
half-sinking amid the confusion of a combat.
'Never mind that being out o' sorts, Captain,' said Mrs. Mac-Guffog, who
now followed them into the room; then, turning her back to the prisoner,
with as much delicacy as the action admitted, she whipped from her knee
her ferret garter, and applied it to splicing and fastening the broken
bed-post; then used more pins than her apparel could well spare to fasten
up the bed-curtains in festoons; then shook the bed-clothes into
something like form; then flung over all a tattered patch-work quilt, and
pronounced that things were now 'something purpose-like.' 'And there's
your bed, Captain,' pointing to a massy four-posted hulk, which, owing to
the inequality of the floor, that had sunk considerably (the house,
though new, having been built by contract), stood on three legs, and held
the fourth aloft as if pawing the air, and in the attitude of advancing
like an elephant passant upon the panel of a coach,--'there's your bed
and the blankets; but if ye want sheets, or bowster, or pillow, or ony
sort o' nappery for the table, or for your hands, ye 'll hae to speak to
me about it, for that's out o' the gudeman's line (Mac-Guffog had by this
time left the room, to avoid, probably, any appeal which might be made to
him upon this new exaction), and he never engages for ony thing like
'In God's name,' said Bertram, 'let me have what is decent, and make any
charge you please.'
'Aweel, aweel, that's sune settled; we'll no excise you neither, though
we live sae near the custom-house. And I maun see to get you some fire
and some dinner too, I'se warrant; but your dinner will be but a puir ane
the day, no expecting company that would be nice and fashious.' So
saying, and in all haste, Mrs. Mac-Guffog fetched a scuttle of live
coals, and having replenished 'the rusty grate, unconscious of a fire'
for months before, she proceeded with unwashed hands to arrange the
stipulated bed-linen (alas, how different from Ailie Dinmont's!), and,
muttering to herself as she discharged her task, seemed, in inveterate
spleen of temper, to grudge even those accommodations for which she was
to receive payment. At length, however, she departed, grumbling between
her teeth, that 'she wad rather lock up a haill ward than be fiking about
thae niff-naffy gentles that gae sae muckle fash wi' their fancies.'
When she was gone Bertram found himself reduced to the alternative of
pacing his little apartment for exercise, or gazing out upon the sea in
such proportions as could be seen from the narrow panes of his window,
obscured by dirt and by close iron bars, or reading over the records of
brutal wit and blackguardism which despair had scrawled upon the
half-whitened walls. The sounds were as uncomfortable as the objects of
sight; the sullen dash of the tide, which was now retreating, and the
occasional opening and shutting of a door, with all its accompaniments of
jarring bolts and creaking hinges, mingling occasionally with the dull
monotony of the retiring ocean. Sometimes, too, he could hear the hoarse
growl of the keeper, or the shriller strain of his helpmate, almost
always in the tone of discontent, anger, or insolence. At other times the
large mastiff chained in the courtyard answered with furious bark the
insults of the idle loiterers who made a sport of incensing him.
At length the tedium of this weary space was broken by the entrance of a
dirty-looking serving-wench, who made some preparations for dinner by
laying a half-dirty cloth upon a whole-dirty deal table. A knife and
fork, which had not been worn out by overcleaning, flanked a cracked delf
plate; a nearly empty mustard-pot, placed on one side of the table,
balanced a salt-cellar, containing an article of a greyish, or rather a
blackish, mixture, upon the other, both of stoneware, and bearing too
obvious marks of recent service. Shortly after, the same Hebe brought up
a plate of beef-collops, done in the frying-pan, with a huge allowance of
grease floating in an ocean of lukewarm water; and, having added a coarse
loaf to these savoury viands, she requested to know what liquors the
gentleman chose to order. The appearance of this fare was not very
inviting; but Bertram endeavoured to mend his commons by ordering wine,
which he found tolerably good, and, with the assistance of some
indifferent cheese, made his dinner chiefly off the brown loaf. When his
meal was over the girl presented her master's compliments, and, if
agreeable to the gentleman, he would help him to spend the evening.
Bertram desired to be excused, and begged, instead of this gracious
society, that he might be furnished with paper, pen, ink, and candles.
The light appeared in the shape of one long broken tallow-candle,
inclining over a tin candlestick coated with grease; as for the writing
materials, the prisoner was informed that he might have them the next day
if he chose to send out to buy them. Bertram next desired the maid to
procure him a book, and enforced his request with a shilling; in
consequence of which, after long absence, she reappeared with two odd
volumes of the 'Newgate Calendar,' which she had borrowed from Sam
Silverquill, an idle apprentice, who was imprisoned under a charge of
forgery. Having laid the books on the table she retired, and left Bertram
to studies which were not ill adapted to his present melancholy
But if thou shouldst be dragg'd in scorn
To yonder ignominious tree,
Thou shall not want one faithful friend
To share the cruel fates' decree.
Plunged in the gloomy reflections which were naturally excited by his
dismal reading and disconsolate situation, Bertram for the first time in
his life felt himself affected with a disposition to low spirits. 'I have
been in worse situations than this too,' he said; 'more dangerous, for
here is no danger; more dismal in prospect, for my present confinement
must necessarily be short; more intolerable for the time, for here, at
least, I have fire, food, and shelter. Yet, with reading these bloody
tales of crime and misery in a place so corresponding to the ideas which
they excite, and in listening to these sad sounds, I feel a stronger
disposition to melancholy than in my life I ever experienced. But I will
not give way to it. Begone, thou record of guilt and infamy!' he said,
flinging the book upon the spare bed; 'a Scottish jail shall not break,
on the very first day, the spirits which have resisted climate, and want,
and penury, and disease, and imprisonment in a foreign land. I have
fought many a hard battle with Dame Fortune, and she shall not beat me
now if I can help it.'
Then bending his mind to a strong effort, he endeavoured to view his
situation in the most favourable light. Delaserre must soon be in
Scotland; the certificates from his commanding officer must soon arrive;
nay, if Mannering were first applied to, who could say but the effect
might be a reconciliation between them? He had often observed, and now
remembered, that when his former colonel took the part of any one, it was
never by halves, and that he seemed to love those persons most who had
lain under obligation to him. In the present case a favour, which could
be asked with honour and granted with readiness, might be the means of
reconciling them to each other. From this his feelings naturally turned
towards Julia; and, without very nicely measuring the distance between a
soldier of fortune, who expected that her father's attestation would
deliver him from confinement, and the heiress of that father's wealth and
expectations, he was building the gayest castle in the clouds, and
varnishing it with all the tints of a summer-evening sky, when his labour
was interrupted by a loud knocking at the outer gate, answered by the
barking of the gaunt half-starved mastiff which was quartered in the
courtyard as an addition to the garrison. After much scrupulous
precaution the gate was opened and some person admitted. The house-door
was next unbarred, unlocked, and unchained, a dog's feet pattered
upstairs in great haste, and the animal was heard scratching and whining
at the door of the room. Next a heavy step was heard lumbering up, and
Mac-Guffog's voice in the character of pilot--'This way, this way; take
care of the step; that's the room.' Bertram's door was then unbolted, and
to his great surprise and joy his terrier, Wasp, rushed into the
apartment and almost devoured him with caresses, followed by the massy
form of his friend from Charlie's Hope.
'Eh whow! Eh whow!' ejaculated the honest farmer, as he looked round upon
his friend's miserable apartment and wretched accommodation--'What's this
o't! what's this o't!'
'Just a trick of fortune, my good friend,' said Bertram, rising and
shaking him heartily by the hand, 'that's all.'
'But what will be done about it? or what CAN be done about it?' said
honest Dandie. 'Is't for debt, or what is't for?'
'Why, it is not for debt,' answered Bertram; 'and if you have time to sit
down, I'll tell you all I know of the matter myself.'
'If I hae time?' said Dandie, with an accent on the word that sounded
like a howl of derision. 'Ou, what the deevil am I come here for, man,
but just ance errand to see about it? But ye'll no be the waur o'
something to eat, I trow; it's getting late at e'en. I tell'd the folk at
the Change, where I put up Dumple, to send ower my supper here, and the
chield Mac-Guffog is agreeable to let it in; I hae settled a' that. And
now let's hear your story. Whisht, Wasp, man! wow, but he's glad to see
you, poor thing!'
Bertram's story, being confined to the accident of Hazlewood, and the
confusion made between his own identity and that of one of the smugglers
who had been active in the assault of Woodbourne, and chanced to bear the
same name, was soon told. Dinmont listened very attentively. 'Aweel,' he
said, 'this suld be nae sic dooms desperate business surely; the lad's
doing weel again that was hurt, and what signifies twa or three lead
draps in his shouther? if ye had putten out his ee it would hae been
another case. But eh, as I wuss auld Sherra Pleydell was to the fore
here! Od, he was the man for sorting them, and the queerest rough-spoken
deevil too that ever ye heard!'
'But now tell me, my excellent friend, how did you find out I was here?'
'Od, lad, queerly eneugh,' said Dandie; 'but I'll tell ye that after we
are done wi' our supper, for it will maybe no be sae weel to speak about
it while that lang-lugged limmer o' a lass is gaun flisking in and out o'
Bertram's curiosity was in some degree put to rest by the appearance of
the supper which his friend had ordered, which, although homely enough,
had the appetising cleanliness in which Mrs. Mac-Guffog's cookery was so
eminently deficient. Dinmont also, premising he had ridden the whole day
since breakfast-time without tasting anything 'to speak of,' which
qualifying phrase related to about three pounds of cold roast mutton
which he had discussed at his mid-day stage--Dinmont, I say, fell stoutly
upon the good cheer, and, like one of Homer's heroes, said little, either
good or bad, till the rage of thirst and hunger was appeased. At length,
after a draught of home-brewed ale, he began by observing, 'Aweel, aweel,
that hen,' looking upon the lamentable relics of what had been once a
large fowl, 'wasna a bad ane to be bred at a town end, though it's no
like our barn-door chuckies at Charlie's Hope; and I am glad to see that
this vexing job hasna taen awa your appetite, Captain.'
'Why, really, my dinner was not so excellent, Mr. Dinmont, as to spoil my
'I daresay no, I daresay no,' said Dandie. 'But now, hinny, that ye hae
brought us the brandy, and the mug wi' the het water, and the sugar, and
a' right, ye may steek the door, ye see, for we wad hae some o' our ain
cracks.' The damsel accordingly retired and shut the door of the
apartment, to which she added the precaution of drawing a large bolt on
As soon as she was gone Dandie reconnoitred the premises, listened at the
key-hole as if he had been listening for the blowing of an otter, and,
having satisfied himself that there were no eavesdroppers, returned to
the table; and, making himself what he called a gey stiff cheerer, poked
the fire, and began his story in an undertone of gravity and importance
not very usual with him.
'Ye see, Captain, I had been in Edinbro' for twa or three days, looking
after the burial of a friend that we hae lost, and maybe I suld hae had
something for my ride; but there's disappointments in a' things, and wha
can help the like o' that? And I had a wee bit law business besides, but
that's neither here nor there. In short, I had got my matters settled,
and hame I cam; and the morn awa to the muirs to see what the herds had
been about, and I thought I might as weel gie a look to the Touthope
Head, where Jock o' Dawston and me has the outcast about a march. Weel,
just as I was coming upon the bit, I saw a man afore me that I kenn'd was
nane o' our herds, and it's a wild bit to meet ony other body, so when I
cam up to him it was Tod Gabriel, the fox-hunter. So I says to him,
rather surprised like, "What are ye doing up amang the craws here,
without your hounds, man? are ye seeking the fox without the dogs?" So he
said, "Na, gudeman, but I wanted to see yoursell."
'"Ay," said I, "and ye'll be wanting eilding now, or something to pit
ower the winter?"
'"Na, na," quo' he, "it's no that I'm seeking; but ye tak an unco concern
in that Captain Brown that was staying wi' you, d'ye no?"
'"Troth do I, Gabriel," says I; "and what about him, lad?"
'Says he, "There's mair tak an interest in him than you, and some that I
am bound to obey; and it's no just on my ain will that I'm here to tell
you something about him that will no please you."
'"Faith, naething will please me," quo' I, "that's no pleasing to him."
'"And then," quo' he, "ye'll be ill-sorted to hear that he's like to be
in the prison at Portanferry, if he disna tak a' the better care o'
himsell, for there's been warrants out to tak him as soon as he comes
ower the water frae Allonby. And now, gudeman, an ever ye wish him weel,
ye maun ride down to Portanferry, and let nae grass grow at the nag's
heels; and if ye find him in confinement, ye maun stay beside him night
and day for a day or twa, for he'll want friends that hae baith heart and
hand; and if ye neglect this ye'll never rue but ance, for it will be for
a' your life."
'"But, safe us, man," quo' I, "how did ye learn a' this? it's an unco way
between this and Portanferry."
'"Never ye mind that," quo' he, "them that brought us the news rade night
and day, and ye maun be aff instantly if ye wad do ony gude; and sae I
have naething mair to tell ye." Sae he sat himsell doun and hirselled
doun into the glen, where it wad hae been ill following him wi' the
beast, and I cam back to Charlie's Hope to tell the gudewife, for I was
uncertain what to do. It wad look unco-like, I thought, just to be sent
out on a hunt-the-gowk errand wi' a landlouper like that. But, Lord! as
the gudewife set up her throat about it, and said what a shame it wad be
if ye was to come to ony wrang, an I could help ye; and then in cam your
letter that confirmed it. So I took to the kist, and out wi' the pickle
notes in case they should be needed, and a' the bairns ran to saddle
Dumple. By great luck I had taen the other beast to Edinbro', sae Dumple
was as fresh as a rose. Sae aff I set, and Wasp wi' me, for ye wad really
hae thought he kenn'd where I was gaun, puir beast; and here I am after a
trot o' sixty mile or near by. But Wasp rade thirty o' them afore me on
the saddle, and the puir doggie balanced itsell as ane of the weans wad
hae dune, whether I trotted or cantered.'
In this strange story Bertram obviously saw, supposing the warning to be
true, some intimation of danger more violent and imminent than could be
likely to arise from a few days' imprisonment. At the same time it was
equally evident that some unknown friend was working in his behalf. 'Did
you not say,' he asked Dinmont, 'that this man Gabriel was of gipsy
'It was e'en judged sae,' said Dinmont, 'and I think this maks it likely;
for they aye ken where the gangs o' ilk ither are to be found, and they
can gar news flee like a footba' through the country an they like. An' I
forgat to tell ye, there's been an unco inquiry after the auld wife that
we saw in Bewcastle; the Sheriff's had folk ower the Limestane Edge after
her, and down the Hermitage and Liddel, and a' gates, and a reward
offered for her to appear o' fifty pound sterling, nae less; and Justice
Forster, he's had out warrants, as I am tell'd, in Cumberland; and an
unco ranging and ripeing they have had a' gates seeking for her; but