Part 10 out of 10
do--always on your duty--?"
"Umph," said honest Mac-Morlan, with little respect either to the
compliment or salutation. "Colonel Mannering (a low bow slightly
returned) and Mr. Pleydell (another low bow), I dared not have
hoped for your assistance to poor country gentlemen at this period
of the session."
Pleydell took snuff, and eyed him with a glance equally shrewd and
sarcastic--"I'll teach him," he said aside to Mannering, "the value
of the old admonition, No accesseris in consilium antequam
"But perhaps I intrude, gentlemen?" said Glossin, who could not
fail to observe the coldness of his reception.--"Is this an open
"For my part," said Mr. Pleydell, "so far from considering your
attendance as an intrusion, Mr. Glossin, I was never so pleased in
my life to meet with you; especially as I think we should, at any
rate, have had occasion to request the favour of your company in
the course of the day."
"Well, then, gentlemen," said Glossin, drawing his chair to the
table, and beginning to bustle about among the papers, "where are
we?--how far have we got? where are the declarations?"
"Clerk, give me all these papers," said Mr. Pleydell;--"I have an
odd way of arranging my documents, Mr. Glossin, another person
touching them puts me out-but I shall have occasion for your
assistance by and by."
Glossin, thus reduced to inactivity, stole one glance at Dirk
Hatteraick, but could read nothing in his dark scowl save malignity
and hatred to all around. "But, gentlemen," said Glossin, "is it
right to keep his poor man so heavily ironed, when he is taken up
merely for examination?"
This was hoisting a kind of friendly signal to the prisoner. "He
has escaped once before," said Mac-Morlan dryly, and Glossin was
Bertram was now introduced, and, to Glossin's confusion, was
greeted in the most friendly manner by all present, even by Sir
Robert Hazlewood himself. He told his recollections of, his
infancy with that candour and caution of expression which afforded
the best warrant for his good faith. "This seems to be rather a
civil, than a criminal question", said Glossin rising; "and as you
cannot be ignorant, gentlemen, of the effect which this young
person's pretended parentage may have on my patrimonial interest, I
would rather beg leave to retire."
"No, my good sir," said Mr. Pleydell. "we can by no means spare
you. But why do you call this young man's claims pretended?--I
don't mean to fish for your defences against them, if you have any,
"Mr. Pleydell," replied Glossin, "Iam always disposed to act
aboveboard, and I think I can explain the matter at once.--This
young fellow, whom I take to be a natural son of the late
Ellangowan, has gone about the country for some weeks under
different names, caballing with a wretched old madwoman, who, I
understand, was shot in a late scuffle, and with other tinkers,
gipsies, and persons of that description, and a great brute farmer
from Liddesdale, stirring up the tenants against their landlords,
which, as Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood knows--"
"Not to interrupt you, Mr. Glossin," said Pleydell, "I ask who you
say this young man is?"
"Why, I say," replied Glossin, "and I believe that gentleman
(looking at Hatteraick) knows, that the young man is the natural
son of the late Ellangowan, by a girl called Janet Lightoheel, who
was afterwards married to Hewit the shipwright, that lived in the
neighbourhood of Annan. His name is Godfrey Bertram Hewit, by
which name he was entered on board the Royal Caroline excise
"Ay said Pleydell, that is a very likely story--but, not to pause
upon some difference of eyes, complexion, and so forth--be pleased
to step forward, sir."--A young seafaring man came
forward.--"Here," proceeded the counsellor, "is the real Simon
Pure--here's Godfrey Bertram Hewit, arrived last night from Antigua
via Liverpool, mate of a West Indian, and in a fair way of doing
well in the world, although he came somewhat irregularly into it."
While some conversation passed between the other justices and this
young man, Pleydell lifted from among the papers on the table
Hatteraick's old pocket-book. A peculiar glance of the smuggler's
eye induced the shrewd lawyer to think there was something here of
interest. He therefore continued the examination of the papers,
laying the book on the table, but instantly perceived that the
prisoner's interest in the research had cooled.--"It must be in the
book still, whatever it is," thought Pleydell; and again applied
himself to the packet-book, until he discovered, on a narrow
scrutiny, a slit between the pasteboard and leather, out of which
he drew three small slips of paper. Pleydell now, turning to
Glossin, requested the favour that he would tell them if he had
assisted at the search for the body of Kennedy, and the child of
his patron, on the day when they disappeared.
"I did not--that is--I did," answered the conscience-struck
"It is remarkable though," said the advocate, that, connected as
you were with the Ellangowan family, I don't recollect your being
examined, or even appearing before me, while that investigation was
"I was called to London," answered Glossin, "on most important
business, the morning after that sad affair."
"Clerk," said Pleydell, "minute down that reply.--I presume the
business, Mr. Glossin, was to negotiate these three bills, drawn by
you on Messrs. Vanbeest and Vanbruggen, and accepted by one Dirk
Hatteraick in their name on the very day of the murder. I
congratulate you on their being regularly retired, as I perceive
they have been. I think the chances were against it." Glossin's
countenance fell. "This piece of real evidence," continued Mr.
Pleydell, "makes good the account given of your conduct on this
occasion by a man called Gabriel Faa, whom we have now in custody,
and who witnessed the whole transaction between you and that worthy
prisoner--Have you any explanation to give?"
"Mr. Pleydell," said Glossin, with great composure, presume, if you
were my counsel, you would not advise me to answer upon the spur of
the moment to a charge which the basest of mankind seem ready to
establish by perjury."
"My advice," said the counsellor, "would be regulated by my opinion
of your innocence or guilt. In your case, I believe you take the
wisest course; but you are aware you must stand committed?"
"Committed? for what, sir replied Glossin. "Upon a charge of
"No; only as art and part of kidnapping the child."
"That is a bailable offence."
"Pardon me," said Pleydell, "it is plagium, and plagium is felony."
"Forgive me, Mr. Pleydell; there is only one case upon record,
Torrence and Waldie. They were, you remember, resurrection-women,
who had promised to procure a child's body for some young
surgeons. Being upon honour to their employers, rather than
disappoint the evening lecture of the students, they stole a live
child, murdered it, and sold the body for three shillings and
sixpence. They were hanged, but for the murder, not for the
plagium. [*This is, in its circumstances and issue, actually a case
tried and reported] Your civil law has carried you a little too
"Well, sir; but, in the meantime, Mr. Mac-Morlan must commit you to
the county jail, in case this young man repeats the same
story.--Officers, remove Mr. Glossin and Hatteraick, and guard
them in different apartments."
Gabriel, the gipsy, was then introduced, and gave a distinct
account of his deserting from Captain Pritchard's vessel and
joining the smugglers in the action, detailed how Dirk Hatteraick
set fire to his ship when he found her disabled, and under cover of
the smoke escaped with his crew, and as much goods as they could
save, into the cavern, where they proposed to lie till nightfall.
Hatteraick himself, his mate Vanbeest Brown, and three others, of
whom the declarant was 'one, went into the adjacent woods to
communicate with some of their friends in the neighbourhood. They
fell in with Kennedy unexpectedly, and Hatteraick and Brown, aware
that he was the occasion of their disasters, resolved to murder
him. He stated, that he had seen them lay violent hands on the
officer, and drag him through the woods, but had not partaken in
the assault, nor witnessed its termination. That he returned to
the cavern, by a different route, where he again met Hatteraick and
his accomplices; and the captain was in the act of giving an
account how he and Brown had pushed a huge crag over, as Kennedy
lay groaning on the beach, when Glossin suddenly appeared among
them. To the whole transaction by which Hatteraick purchased his
secrecy he was witness. Respecting young Bertram. he could give a
distinct account till he went to India, after which he had lost
sight of him until he unexpectedly met with him in Liddesdale.
Gabriel Faa further stated, that he instantly sent notice to his
aunt, Meg Merrilies, as well as to Hatteraick, who he knew was then
upon the coast; but that he had incurred his aunt's displeasure
upon the latter account. He concluded, that his aunt had
immediately declared that she would do all that lay in her power to
help young Ellangowan to his right, even if it should be by
informing against Dirk Hatteraick; and that many of her people
assisted her besides himself, from a belief that she was gifted
with supernatural inspirations. With the same purpose, he
understood, his aunt had given to Bertram the treasure of the
tribe, of which she had the custody. Three or four gipsies, by the
express command of Meg Merrilies, mingled in the crowd when the
Custom-house was attacked, for the purpose of liberating Bertram,
which he had himself effected. He said, that in obeying Meg's
dictates they did not pretend to estimate their propriety or
rationality, the respect in which she was held by her tribe
precluding all such subjects of speculation. Upon further
interrogation, the witness added, that his aunt had always said
that Harry Bertram carried that round his neck which would
ascertain his birth. It was a spell, she said that an Oxford
scholar had made for him, and she possessed the smugglers with an
opinion, that to deprive him of it would occasion the loss of the
Bertram here produced a small velvet bag, which he said he had worn
round his neck from his earliest infancy, and which he had
preserved, first from superstitious reverence, and, latterly, from
the hope that it might serve one day to aid in the discovery of his
birth. The bag, being opened, was found to contain a blue silk
case, front which was drawn a scheme of nativity. Upon inspecting
this paper, Colonel Mannering instantly admitted it was his own
composition; and afforded the strongest and most satisfactory
evidence, that the possessor of it must necessarily be the young
heir of Ellangowan, by avowing his having first appeared in that
country in the character of an astrologer.
"And now," said Pleydell, "make out warrants of commitment for
Hatteraick and Glossin until liberated in due course of law. Yet,"
he said, "I am sorry for Glossin."
"Now, I think," said Mannering, "he's incomparably the least
deserving of pity of the two. The other's a bold fellow, though as
hard as flint."
"Very natural, Colonel," said the advocate, "that you should be
interested in the ruffian, and I in the knave--that's all
professional taste--but I can tell you Glossin would have been a
pretty lawyer, had he not had such a turn for the roguish part of
"Scandal would say," observed Mannering, "he might not be the worse
lawyer for that."
"Scandal would tell a lie, then," replied Pleydell, "'as she
usually does. Law's like laudanum; it's much more easy to use it
as a quack does, than to learn to apply it like a physician."
Unfit to live or die--O marble heart!
After him, fellows, drag him to the block.
Measure for Measure
The jail at the county town of the shire of--was one of those
old-fashioned dungeons which disgraced Scotland until of late
years. When the prisoners and their guard arrived there,
Hatteraick, whose violence and strength were well known, was
secured in what was called the condemned ward. This was a large
apartment near the top of the prison. A round bar of iron, about
the thickness of a man's arm above the elbow, crossed the apartment
horizontally at the height of about six inches from the floor; and
its extremities were strongly built into the wall at either end.
Hatteraick's ankles were secured within shackles, which were
connected by a chain at the distance of about four feet, with a
large iron ring, which travelled upon the bar we have described.
Thus a prisoner might shuffle along the length of the bar from one
side of the room to another, but could not retreat farther from it
in any other direction than the brief length of the chain
admitted. [*This mode of securing prisoners was universally
practised in Scotland after condemnation. When a man received
sentence of death, he was put upon the Gad, as it was called, that
is, secured to the bar of iron in the manner mentioned in the
text. The practice subsisted in Edinburgh till the old jail was
taken down some years since, and perhaps may be still in use.] When
his feet had been thus secured, the keeper removed his handcuffs,
and left his person at liberty in other respects. A pallet-bed
was placed close to the bar of iron, so that the shackled prisoner
might lie down at pleasure, still fastened to the iron bar in the
Hatteraick had not been long in this place of confinement before
Glossin arrived at the same prison-house. In respect to his
comparative rank and education, he was not ironed, but placed in a
decent apartment, under the inspection of MacGuffog, who, since the
destruction of the Bridewell of Portanferry by the mob, had acted
here as an under-turnkey. When Glossin was enclosed within this
room, and had solitude and leisure to calculate all the chances
against him and in his favour, he could not prevail upon himself to
consider the game as desperate.
"The estate is lost," he said, "that must go; and, between Pleydell
and Mac-Morlan, they'll cut down my claim on it to a trifle. My
character--but if I get off with life and liberty, I'll win money
yet, and varnish that over again. I knew not the gauger's job
until the rascal had done the deed, and though I had some
advantage by the contraband, that is no felony. But the kidnapping
of the boy-there they touch me closer. Let me see.--This Bertram
was a child at the time-his evidence must be imperfect--the other
fellow is a deserter, a gipsy, and an outlaw--Meg Merrilies, d-n
her, is dead. These infernal bills! Hatteraick brought them with
him, I suppose, to have the means of threatening me, or extorting
money from me. I must endeavour to see the rascal;--must get him
to stand steady; must persuade him to put some other colour upon
His mind teeming with schemes of future deceit to cover former
villainy, he spent the time in arranging and combining them until
the hour of supper. Mac-Guffog attended as turnkey on this
occasion. He. was, as we know, the old and special acquaintance
of the prisoner who was now under his charge. After giving the
turnkey a glass of brandy, and sounding him with one or two
cajoling speeches, Glossin made it his request that he would help
him, to an interview with Dirk Hatteraick. "Impossible! utterly
impossible! it's contrary to the express orders of Mr. Mac-Morlan,
and the captain" (as the head jailor of a county jail is called in
Scotland)" would never forgie me."
"But why should he know of it?" said Glossin, slipping a couple of
guineas into Mac-Guffog's hand.
The turnkey weighed the gold, and looked sharp at Glossin. "Ay, ay,
Mr. Glossin, ye ken the ways o' this place.--Lookee, at lock-up
hour, I'll return and bring ye upstairs to him--But ye must stay a'
night in his cell, for I am under necessity to carry the keys to
the captain for the night, and I cannot let you out again until
morning--then I'll visit the wards half an hour earlier than usual,
and ye may get out, and be snug in your ain berth when the captain
gangs his rounds."
When the hour of ten had pealed from the neighbouring steeple,
Mac-Guffog came prepared with a small dark lantern. He said softly
to Glossin, "Slip your shoes off, and follow me." When Glossin was
out of the door, Mac-Guffog, as if in the execution of his ordinary
duty, and speaking to a prisoner within, called aloud, "Good-night
to you, sir," and locked the door, clattering the bolts with much
ostentatious noise. He then guided Glossin up a steep and narrow
stair, at the top of which was the door of the condemned ward; he
unbarred and unlocked it, and, giving Glossin the lantern, made a
sign to him to enter, and locked the door behind him with the same
In the large dark cell into which he was thus introduced, Glossin's
feeble light for some time enabled him to discover nothing. At
length he could dimly distinguish the pallet-bed stretched on the
floor beside the great iron bar which traversed the room, and on
that pallet reposed the figure of a man. Glossin approached him.
"Donner and hagel! it is his voice," said the prisoner, sitting up,
and clashing his fetters as he rose; "then my dream is
true!--Begone, and leave me to myself--it will be your best."
"What! my good friend," said Glossin, "will you allow the prospect
of a few weeks' confinement to depress your spirit?"
"Yes," answered the ruffian sullenly--"when I am only to be
released by a halter!--Let me alone--go about your business, and
turn the lamp from my face!"
"Psha! my dear Dirk, don't be afraid," said Glossin--"I have a
glorious plan to make all right."
"To the bottomless pit with your plans!" replied his accomplice.
"You have planned me out of ship, cargo, and life; and I dreamt
this moment that Meg Merrilies dragged you here by the hair, and
gave me the long clasped knife she used to wear--you don't know
what she said. Sturm wetter! it will be your wisdom not to tempt
"But, Hatteraick, my good friend, do but rise and speak to me,"
"I will not!" answered the savage doggedly--"you have caused all
the mischief; you would not let Meg keep the boy; she would have
returned him after he had forgot all."
"Why, Hatteraick, you are turned driveller!"
"Wetter! will you deny that all that cursed attempt at Portanferry,
which lost both sloop and crew, was your device for your own job?"
"But the goods, you know--"
"Curse the goods!" said the smuggler,--"we could have got plenty
more; but, der deyvil! to lose the ship and the fine follows, and
my own life, for a cursed coward villain, that always works his own
mischief with other people's hands! Speak to me no more--I'm
"But, Dirk--but, Hatteraick, hear me only a few words."
"Only one sentence."
"At least get up for an obstinate Dutch brute!" said Glossin,
losing his temper, and pushing Hatteraick with his foot.
"Donner and blitzen!" said Hatteraick, springing up and grappling
with him; "you will have it then?"
Glossin struggled and resisted; but, owing to his surprise at the
fury of the assault, so ineffectually, that he fell: under
Hatteraick, the back part of his neck coming full upon the iron bar
with stunning violence. The death-grapple continued. The room
immediately below the condemned ward, being that of Glossin, was,
of course, empty; but the inmates of the second apartment beneath
felt the shock of Glossin's heavy fall, and heard a noise as of
struggling and of groans. But all sounds of horror were too
congenial to this place to excite much curiosity or interest.
In the morning, faithful to his promise, Mac-Guffog came--"Mr.
Glossin," said be, in, a whispering voice.
"Call louder," answered Dirk Hatteraick.
"Mr. Glossin, for God's sake come away!"
"He'll hardly do that without help," said Hatteraick.
"What are you chattering there for, Mac-Guffog?" called out the
captain from below.
"Come away, for God's sake. Mr. Glossin!" repeated the. turnkey.
At this moment the jailor made his appearance with a light. Great
was his surprise, and even horror, to observe Glossin's body lying
doubled across the iron bar, in a posture that excluded all idea of
his being alive. Hatteraick was quietly stretched upon his pallet
within a yard of his victim. On lifting Glossin, it was found he
had been dead for some hours. His body bore uncommon marks of
violence. The spine where it joins the skull had received severe
injury by his first fall. There were distinct marks of
strangulation about the throat, which corresponded with the
blackened state of his face. The head was turned backward over the
shoulder, as if the neck had been wrung round with desperate
violence. So that it would seem that his inveterate antagonist had
fixed a fatal gripe upon the wretch's throat, and never quitted it
while life lasted. The lantern, crushed and broken to pieces, lay
beneath the body.
Mac-Morlan was in the town, and came instantly to examine the
corpse. "What brought Glossin here?" he said to Hatteraick.
"The devil!" answered the ruffian.
"And what did you do to him?"
"Sent him to hell before me!" replied the miscreant.
"Wretch," said Mac-Morlan, "you have crowned a life spent without a
single virtue, with the murder of your own miserable accomplice!"
"Virtue?" exclaimed the prisoner; "donner! I was always faithful to
my shipowners--always accounted for cargo to the last stiver. Hark
ye! let me have pen and ink, and I'll write an account of the whole
to our house; and leave me alone a couple of hours, will ye--and
let them take away that piece of carrion, donner wetter!"
Mac-Morlan deemed it the best way to humour the savage; he was
furnished with writing materials and left alone. When they again
opened the door, it was found that this determined villain had
anticipated justice. He had adjusted a cord taken from the
truckle-bed, and attached it to a bone, the relic of his
yesterday's dinner, which he had contrived to drive into a crevice
between two stones in the wall at a height as great as he could
reach, standing upon the bar. Having fastened the noose, he had
the resolution to drop his body as if to fall on his knees, and to
retain that posture until resolution was no longer necessary. The
letter he had written to his owners, though chiefly upon the
business of their trade, contained many allusions to the younker of
Ellangowan, as he called him, and afforded absolute confirmation of
all Meg Merrilies and her nephew had told.
To dismiss the catastrophe of these two wretched men, I shall only
add, that Mac-Guffog was turned out of office, notwithstanding his
declaration (which he offered to attest by oath), that he had
locked Glossin safely in his own room upon the night preceding his
being found dead in Dirk Hatteraick's cell. His story, however,
found faith with the worthy Mr. Skreigh, and other lovers of, the
marvellous, who still hold that the Enemy of Mankind brought these
two wretches together upon that night, by supernatural
interference, that they might fill up the cup of their guilt and
receive its meed, by murder and suicide.
To sum the whole-the close of all.
As Glossin died without heirs, and without payment of the price,
the estate of Ellangowan was again thrown upon the hands of Mr.
Godfrey Bertram's creditors, the right of most of whom was however
defensible, in case Henry Bertram should establish his character of
heir of entail. This young gentleman put his affairs into the
hands of Mr. Pleydell and Mr. Mac-Morlan, with one single proviso,
that though he himself should be obliged again to go to India,
every debt, justly and honourably due by his father, should be made
good to the claimant. Mannering, who heard this declaration,
grasped him kindly by the hand, and from that moment might be dated
a thorough understanding between them.
The hoards of Miss Margaret Bertram, and the liberal assistance of
the Colonel, easily enabled the heir to make provision for payment
of the just creditors of his father, while the ingenuity and
research of his law friends detected, especially in the accounts of
Glossin, so many overcharges as greatly diminished the total
amount. In these circumstances the creditors did not hesitate to
recognise Bertram's right, and to surrender to him the house and
property of his ancestors. All the party repaired from Woodbourne
to take possession, amid the shouts of the tenantry and the
neighbourhood; and so eager was Colonel Mannering to superintend
certain improvements which he had recommended to Bertram, that he
removed with his family from Woodbourne to Ellangowan, although at
present containing much less and much inferior accommodation.
The poor Dominie's brain was almost turned with joy on returning to
his old habitation. He posted upstairs, taking three steps at
once, to a little shabby attic, his cell and dormitory in former
days, and which the possession of his much superior apartment at
Woodbourne had never banished from his memory. Here one sad
thought suddenly struck the honest man--the books!--no three rooms
in Ellangowan were capable to contain them. While this qualifying
reflection was passing through his mind, he was suddenly summoned
by Mannering to assist in calculating some proportions relating to
a large and splendid house, which was to be built on the site of
the New Place of Ellangowan, in a style corresponding to the
magnificence of the ruins in its vicinity. Among the various rooms
in the plan, the Dominie observed, that one of the largest . vas
entitled THE LIBRARY; and close beside was a snug well-proportioned
chamber, entitled, MR. SAMPSON'S APARTMENT.--"Prodigious,
prodigious, pro-di-gi-ous!" shouted the enraptured Dominie.
Mr. Pleydell had left the party for some time; but he returned,
according to promise, during the Christmas recess of the courts.
He drove up to Ellangowan when all the family were abroad but the
Colonel, who was busy with plans of buildings and pleasure-grounds,
in which he was well skilled, and took great delight.
"Ah ha!" said the counsellor, "so here you are! Where are the
ladies? where is the fair Julia?"
"Walking out with young Haziewood, Bertram, and Captain Delaserre,
a friend of his, who is with us just now. They are gone to plan
out a cottage at Derncleugh. Well, have you carried through your
"With a wet finger," answered the lawyer; "got our youngster's
special service retoured into Chancery. We had him served heir
before the macers."
"Macers? who are they?"
"Why, it is a kind of judicial Saturnalia. You must know, that one
of the requisites to be a macer, or officer in attendance upon our
supreme court, is, that they shall be men of no knowledge."
"Now, our Scottish legislature, for the joke's sake I suppose, have
constituted those men of no knowledge into a peculiar court for
trying questions of relationship and descent, such as this business
of Bertram, which often involve the most nice and complicated
questions of evidence."
"The devil they have? I should think that rather inconvenient,"
"Oh, we have a practical remedy for the theoretical absurdity. One
or two of the judges act upon such occasions as prompters and
assessors to their own doorkeepers. But you know what Cujacius
says, 'Multa sunt in moribus dissentanea, multa sine ratione.'
[*The singular inconsistency hinted at is now, in a great degree,
removed] However, this Saturnalian court has done our business; and
a glorious batch of claret we had afterwards at Walker's.
Mac-Morlan will stare when he sees the bill."
"Never fear," said the Colonel, "we'll face the shock, and
entertain the county at my friend Mrs. Mac-Candlish's to boot."
"And choose Jock Jabos for your master of horse?" replied the
"Perhaps I may."
"And where is Dandie, the redoubted Lord of Liddesdale?" demanded
"Returned to his mountains; but he has promised Julia to make a
descent in summer, with the good wife, as he calls her, and I don't
know how many children."
"Oh, the curly-headed varlets! I must come to play at Blind Harry
and Hy Spy with them.--But what is all this?" added Pleydell,
taking up the plans;--"tower in the centre to be an imitation of
the Eagle Tower at Caernarvon--corps de logis--the
devil!--wings--wings? why, the house will take the estate of
Ellangowan on its back, and fly away with it!"
"Why then, we must ballast it with a few bags of Sicca rupees,"
replied the Colonel.
"Aha! sits the wind there? Then I suppose the young dog carries off
my mistress Julia?"
"Even so, counsellor."
"These rascals, the post-nati, get the better of us of the old
school at every turn," said Mr. Pleydell. "But she must convey
and make over her interest in me to Lucy."
"To tell you the truth, I am afraid your flank will be turned there
too," replied the Colonel.
"Here has been Sir Robert Hazlewood," said Mannering, "upon a visit
to Bertram, thinking, and deeming, and opining--"
"O Lord I pray spare me the worthy Baronet's triads!"
"Well, sir," continued Mannering to make short, he conceived that
as the property of Singleside lay like a wedge between two farms of
his, and was four or five miles separated from Ellangowan,
something like a sale, or exchange, or arrangement might take
place. to the mutual convenience of both parties."
"Well, and Bertram--"
"Why, Bertram replied, that he considered the original settlement
of Mrs. Margaret Bertram as the arrangement most proper in the
circumstances of the family, and that therefore the estate of
Singleside was the property of his sister."
"The rascal!" said Pleydell, wiping his spectacles, "he'll steal my
heart as well as my mistress--Et puis?"
"And then, Sir Robert retired after many gracious speeches; but
last week he again took the field in force, with his coach and six
horses, his laced scarlet waistcoat, and best bob-wig--all very
grand, as the good-boy books say."
"Ay! and what was his overture?" Why, he talked with great form of
an attachment on the part of Charles Hazlewood to Miss Bertram."
"Ay, ay; he respected the little god Cupid when he saw him perched
on the Dun of Singleside. And is poor Lucy to keep house with that
old fool and his wife, who is just the knight himself in
"No--we parried that. Singieside House is to be repaired for the
young people, and to be called hereafter Mount Hazlewood."
"And do you yourself, Colonel, propose to continue at Woodbourne?"
"Only till we carry these plans into effect. See, here's the plan
of my Bungalow, with all convenience for being separate and sulky
when I please."
"And, being situated, as I see, next door to the old castle, you
may repair Donagild's tower for the nocturnal contemplation of the
celestial bodies? Bravo, Colonel!"
"No, no, my dear counsellor! here ends THE ASTROLOGER."
Note, 1.--MUMPS'S HA'.
IT is fitting to explain to the reader the locality described in
this chapter. There is, or rather I should say there was, a little
inn, called Mumps's Hall, that is, being interpreted, Beggar's
Hotel, near to Gilsland, which had not then attained its present
fame as a Spa. It was a hedge alehouse, where the Bolder farmers
of either country often stopped to refresh themselves and their
nags, in their way to and from the fairs and trysts in Cumberland,
and especially those who came from or went to Scotland, through a
barren and lonely district, without either road or pathway,
emphatically called the Waste of Bewcastle. At the period when the
adventures described in the novel are supposed to have taken place,
there were many instances of attacks by freebooters on those who
travelled through this wild, district, and Mumps's Ha' had a bad
reputation for harbouring the banditti who committed such
An old and sturdy yeoman belonging to the Scottish side, by surname
an Armstrong or Elliot, but known by his soubriquet of Fighting
Charlie of Liddesdale, and still remembered for the courage he
displayed in the frequent frays which took place on the Border
fifty or sixty years since, had the following adventure in the
Waste, which suggested the idea of the scene in the text .
Charlie had been at Stagshaw-bank fair, had sold his sheep or
cattle, or whatever he had brought to market, and was on his return
to Liddesdale. There were then no country banks where cash could
be deposited, and bills received instead, which greatly encouraged
robbery in that wild country, as the objects of plunder were
usually fraught with gold. The robbers had spies in the fair, by
means of whom they generally knew whose purse was best stocked, and
who took a lonely and desolate road homeward,--those, in short, who
were best worth robbing, and likely to be most easily robbed.
All this Charlie knew full well; but he had a pair of excellent
pistols, and a dauntless heart. He stopped at Mumps's Ha',
notwithstanding the evil character of the place. His horse was
accommodated where it might have the necessary rest and feed of
corn; and Charlie himself, a dashing fellow, grew gracious with the
landlady, a buxom quean, who used all the influence in her power to
induce him to stop all night. The landlord was from home, she
said, and it was ill passing the Waste, as twilight must needs
descend on him before he gained the Scottish side, which was
reckoned the safest. But Fighting Charlie, though he suffered
himself to be detained later than was prudent, did not account
Mumps's Ha' a safe place to quarter in during the night. He tore
himself away, therefore, from Meg's good fare and kind words, and
mounted his nag, having first examined his pistols, and tried by
the ramrod whether the charge remained in them.
He proceeded a mile or two, at a round trot, When, as the Waste
stretched black before him apprehensions began to awaken in his
mind, partly arising out of Meg's unusual kindness, which he could
not help thinking had rather a suspicious appearance. He,
therefore, resolved to reload his pistols, lest the powder had
become damp; but what was his surprise, when he drew the charge, to
find neither powder nor ball, while each barrel had been carefully
filled with bore, up to the space which the loading had occupied!
and, the priming of the weapons being left untouched, nothing but
actually drawing and examining the charge could have discovered the
inefficiency of his arms till the fatal minute arrived when their
services were required. Charlie bestowed a hearty Liddesdale curse
on his landlady, and reloaded--his pistols with care and accuracy,
having now no doubt that he was to be waylaid and assaulted. He
was not far engaged in the Waste, which was then, and is now,
traversed only by such routes as are described in the text, when
two or three fellows, disguised and variously armed, started from a
moss-hag, while, by a glance behind him for, marching, as the
Spaniard says, with his beard on his shoulder, he reconnoitred in
every direction, Charlie instantly saw retreat was impossible, as
other two stout men appeared behind him at some distance. The
Borderer lost not a moment in taking his resolution, and boldly
trotted against his enemies in front, who called loudly on him to
stand and deliver; Charlie spurred on, and presented his pistol.
"D-n your pistol," cried the foremost robber; whom Charlie to his
dying day protested he believed to have been the landlord of
Mumps's Ha'. "D-n your pistol--care not a curse for it."--"Ay,
lad," said the deep voice of Fighting Charlie, "but the tow's out
now." He had no occasion to utter another word; the rogues,
surprised at finding a man of redoubted courage well armed, instead
of being defenceless, took to the moss in every direction, and he
passed on his way without further molestation.
The author has heard this story told by persons who received it
from Fighting Charlie himself; he has also heard that Mumps's Ha'
was afterwards the scene of some other atrocious villainy, for
which the people of the house suffered. But these are all tales of
at least half a century old, and the Waste has been for many years
as safe as any place in the kingdom.
Note II.--DANDIE DINMONT.
The author may here remark, that the character of Dandie Dinmont
was drawn from no individual. A dozen, at least, of stout
Liddesdale yeomen with whom he has been acquainted, and whose
hospitality he has shared in his rambles through that wild country,
at a time when it was totally inaccessible save in the manner
described in the text, might lay claim to be the prototype of the
rough, but faithful. hospitable, and generous farmer. But one
circumstance occasioned the name to be fixed upon a most
respectable individual of this class, now no more. Mr. James
Davidson of Hindlee, a tenant of Lord Douglas, besides the points
of blunt honesty, personal strength, and hardihood, designed to he
expressed in the character of Dandie Dinmont, had the humour of
naming a celebrated race of terriers which he, possessed, by the
generic names of Mustard and Pepper (according as their colour was
yellow, or grayish-black), without any other individual
distinction, except as according to the nomenclature in the text.
Mr. Davidson resided at Hindlee, a wild farm, on the very edge of
the Teviotdale mountains, and bordering close an Liddesdale, where
the rivers and brooks divide as they take their course to the
Eastern and Western seas. His passion for the chase, in all its
forms, but especially for fox-hunting, as followed in the fashion
described in the next chapter, in conducting which he was skilful
beyond most men in the South Highlands, was the distinguishing
point in his character.
When the tale on which these comments are written became rather
popular, the name of Dandie Dinmont was generally given to him,
which Mr. Davidson received with great good humour, only saying,
while he distinguished the author by the name applied to him in the
country, where his own is so common--"that the Sheriff had not
written about him mair than about other folk, but only about his
dogs." An English lady of high rank and fashion being desirous to
possess a brace of the celebrated Mustard and Pepper terriers,
expressed her wishes in a letter, which was literally addressed to
Dandie Dinmont, under which very general direction it reached Mr.
Davidson, who was justly proud of the application, and failed not
to comply with a request which did him and his favourite attend
ants so much honour.
"I trust I shall not he considered as offending the memory of a
kind and worthy man, if I mention a little trait of character which
occurred in Mr. Davidson's last illness. I use the words of the
excellent clergyman who attended him, who gave the account to a
reverend gentleman of the same persuasion :--
"I read to Mr. Davidson the very suitable and interesting truths
you addressed to him. He listened to them with great seriousness,
and has uniformly displayed a deep concern about his soul's
salvation. He died on the first Sabbath of the year (1820); an
apoplectic stroke deprived him in an instant of all sensation, but
happily his brother was at his bed-side, for he had detained him
from the meeting-house that day to be near him, although he felt
himself not much worse than usual.--So you have got the last little
Mustard that the hand of Dandie Dinmont bestowed.
"His ruling passion was strong even on the eve of death. Mr.
Baillie's fox-bounds had started a fox opposite to his window a few
weeks ago, and as soon as he heard the sound of the dogs, his eyes
glistened; he insisted on getting out of bed, and with much
difficulty got to the window, and there enjoyed the fun, as he
called it. When I came down to ask for him, he said, 'he had seen
Reynard, but had not seen his death. If it had been the will of
Providence,' he added, 'I would have liked to have been after him;
but I am glad that I got to the window, and am thankful for what I
saw, for it has done me a great deal of good.' Notwithstanding
these eccentricities (adds the sensible and liberal clergyman), I
sincerely hope and believe he has gone to a better world, and
better company and enjoyments."
If some part of this little narrative may excite a smile, it is one
which is consistent with the most perfect respect for the
simple-minded invalid, and his kind and judicious religious
instructor, who, we hope, will not he displeased with our giving we
trust, a correct edition of an anecdote which has been pretty
generally circulated. The race of Pepper and Mustard are in the
highest estimation at this day, not only for vermin-killing, but
for intelligence and fidelity. Those who, like the author, possess
a brace of them, consider them as very desirable companions.
Note III.--Lum Cleeks.
The cleek here intimated is the iron book, or hooks, depending from
the chimney of a Scottish cottage, on which the pot is suspended
when boiling. The same appendage is often called the crook. The
salmon is usually dried by hanging it up, after being split and
rubbed with salt, in the smoke of the turf fire above the cleeks,
where it is said to reist, that preparation being so termed. The
salmon thus preserved is eaten as a delicacy, under the name of
kipper, a luxury to which Dr. Redgill has given his sanction as an
ingredient of the Scottish breakfast.--See the excellent novel
Note IV.--CLAN SURNAMES.
The distinction of individuals by nicknames when they possess no
property, is still common on the Border, and indeed necessary, from
the number of persons having the same name. In the small village
of Lustruther, in Roxhurghshire, there dwelt, in the memory of man,
four inhabitants, called Andrew, or Dandie Oliver. They were
distinguished as Dandie Eassil-gate, Dandie Wassil-gate, Dandie
Thumbie, and Dandie Dumbie. The two first had their names from
living eastward and westward in the street of the village; the
third for something peculiar in the conformation of his thumb; the
fourth from his taciturn habits.
It is told as a well-known jest, that a beggar woman, repulsed from
door to door as she solicited quarters through a village of
Annandale, asked, in her despair, if there were no Christians in
the place. To which the hearers, concluding that she inquired for
some persons so surnamed, answered, "Na, na, there are nae
Christians here; we are a' Johnston and Jardines."
Note V.--GIPSY SUPERSTITIONS.
The mysterious rites in which Meg Merrilies is described as
engaging, belong to her character as a queen of her race. All know
that gipsies in every country claim acquaintance with the gift of
fortune-telling; but, as is often the case, they are liable to the
superstitions of which they avail themselves in others. The
correspondent of Blackwood, quoted in the: Introduction to this
tale, gives us some information on the subject of their credulity.
"I have ever understood," he says, speaking of the Yetholm gipsies,
"that they are extremely superstitious--carefully noticing the
formation of the clouds, the flight of particular birds, and the
soughing of the winds, before attempting any enterprise. They have
been known for several successive days to turn back with their
loaded carts, asses, and children, on meeting with persons whom
they considered of unlucky aspect; nor do they ever proceed on
their summer peregrinations without some propitious omen of their
"They also burn the clothes of their dead, not so much from any
apprehension of infection being communicated by them, as the
conviction that the very circumstance of wearing them would shorten
the days of their living. They likewise carefully watch the corpse
by night and day till the time of interment, and conceive that 'the
deil tinkles at the lykewake' of those who felt in their dead-thraw
the agonies and terrors of remorse."
These notions are not peculiar to the gipsies; but having been once
generally entertained among the Scottish common people, are now
only found among those who are the most rude in their habits, and
most devoid of instruction. The popular idea, that the protracted
struggle between life and death is painfully prolonged by keeping
the door of the apartment shut, was received as certain by the
superstitious eld of Scotland. But neither was it to be thrown
wide open. To leave the door ajar, was the plan adopted by the old
crones who understood the mysteries of deathbeds and lykewakes. In
that case, there was room for the imprisoned spirit to escape; and
yet an obstacle, we have been assured, was offered to the entrance
of any frightful form which might otherwise intrude itself. The
threshold of a habitation was in some sort a sacred limit, and the
subject of much superstition. A bride, even to this day, is always
lifted over it, a rule derived apparently from the Romans.
Note VI.--TAPPIT HEN.
The Tappit Hen contained three quarts of claret--
Weel she loed a Hawick gill, And leugh to see a Tappit Hen.
I have seen one of these formidable stoups at Provost Haswell's, at
Jedburgh, in the days of yore. It was a pewter measure, the claret
being in ancient days served from the tap, and had the figure of a
hen upon the lid. In later times, the name was given to a glass
bottle of the same dimensions. These are rare apparitions among
the degenerate topers of modern days.
Note VII.--CONVIVIAL HABITS OF THE SCOTTISH BAR.
The account given by Mr. Pleydell, of his sitting down in the midst
of a revel to draw an appeal case, was taken from a story told me
by an aged gentleman, of the elder President Dundas of Arniston
(father of the younger President, and of Lord Melville). It had
been thought very desirable, while that distinguished lawyer was
King's counsel, that his assistance should be obtained in drawing
an appeal case, which, as occasion for such writings then rarely
occurred, was held to be matter of great nicety. The solicitor
employed for the appellant, attended by my informant acting as his
clerk, went to the Lord Advocate's chambers in the Fishmarket
Close, as I think. It was Saturday at noon, the Court was just
dismissed, the Lord Advocate had changed his dress and booted
himself, and his servant and horses were at the foot of the close
to carry him to Arniston. It was scarcely possible to get him to
listen to a word respecting business. The wily agent, however, on
pretence of asking one or two questions, which would not detain him
half an hour, drew his Lordship, who was no less an eminent bon
vivant than a lawyer of unequalled talent, to take a whet at a
celebrated tavern, when the learned counsel became gradually
'Involved in a spirited discussion of the law points of the case.
At length it occurred to him, that he might as well ride to
Arniston in the cool of the evening. The horses were directed to he
put in the stable, but not to be unsaddled. Dinner was ordered,
the law was laid aside for a time, and the bottle circulated very
freely. At nine o'clock at night, after he bad been honouring
Bacchus for so many hours, the Lord Advocate ordered his horses to
be unsaddled,--paper, pen, and ink were brought--he began to
dictate the appeal case--and continued at his task till four
o'clock the next morning. By next day's post, the solicitor sent
the case to London, a chef-d'oeuvre of its kind; and in which, my
informant assured me, it was not necessary on revisal to correct
five words. I am not, therefore, conscious of having overstepped
accuracy in describing the manner in which Scottish lawyers of the
old time occasionally united the worship of Bacchus with that of
Themis. My informant was Alexander Keith, Esq., grandfather to my
friend, the present Sir Alexander Keith of Ravelstone, and
apprentice at the time to the writer who conducted the cause.
Note VIII.--LORD MONBODDO,
The Burnet, whose taste for the evening meal of the ancients is
quoted by Mr. Pleydell, was the celebrated metaphysician and
excellent man, Lord Monboddo, whose coenae will not be soon
forgotten by those who have shared his classic hospitality. As a
Scottish judge, he took the designation of his family estate. His
philosophy, as is well known, was of a fanciful and somewhat
fantastic character; but his learning was deep, and he was
possessed of a singular power of eloquence, which reminded the
hearer of the os rotundum of the Grove ,or Academe.
Enthusiastically partial to classical habits, his entertainments
were always given in the evening, when there was a circulation of
excellent Bordeaux, in flasks garlanded with roses, which were also
strewed on the table after the manner of Horace. The, best
society, whether in respect of rank or literary distinction, was
always to be found in St. John's Street, Canongate. The
conversation of the excellent old man, his high, gentleman-like,
chivalrous spirit, the learning and wit with which he defended his
fanciful paradoxes, the kind and liberal spirit of his hospitality,
must render these noctes coenaeque dear to all who, like the author
(though then young), had the honour of sitting at his board.
Note IX.--LAWYERS' SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.
It is probably true, as observed by Counsellor Pleydell, that a
lawyer's anxiety about his case, supposing him to have been some
time in practice, will seldom disturb his rest or digestion.
Clients will, however, sometimes fondly entertain a different
opinion. I was told by an excellent judge, now no more, of a
country gentleman, who, addressing his leading counsel, my
informer, then an advocate in great practice, on the morning of the
day on which the case was to be pleaded, said, with singular
bonhomie, "Weel, my lord (the counsel was Lord Advocate), "the
awful day is come at last. I have nae been able to sleep a wink
for thinking of it--nor, I dare say your Lordship either."
GALWEGIAN LOCALITIES AND PERSONAGES WHICH HAVE BEEN SUPPOSED TO BE
ALLUDED TO IN THE NOVEL.
An old English proverb says, that more know Torn Fool than Tom Fool
knows; and the influence of the adage seems to extend to works
composed under the influence of an idle or foolish planet. Many
corresponding circumstances are detected by readers, of which the
author did not suspect the existence. He must, however, regard it
as a great compliment, that in detailing incidents purely
imaginary, he has been so fortunate in approximating reality, as to
remind his readers of actual occurrences. It is therefore with
pleasure he notices some pieces of local history and tradition,
which have been supposed to coincide with the fictitious persons.
incidents, and scenery of Guy Mannering.
The prototype of Dirk Hatteraick is considered as having been a
Dutch skipper called Yawkins. This man was well known on the coast
of Galloway and Dumfriesshire, as sole proprietor and master of a
Buckkar, or smuggling lugger, called the Black Prince. Being
distinguished by his nautical skill and intrepidity, his vessel was
frequently freighted, and his own services employed, by French,
Dutch, Manx, and Scottish smuggling companies.
A person well known by the name of Buckkar-tea, from having been a
noted smuggler of that article, and also by that of Bogle-Bush, the
place of his residence, assured my kind informant, Mr. Train, that
he had frequently seen upwards of two hundred Lingtow-men assemble
at one time, and go off into the interior of the country, fully
laden with contraband goods.
In those halcyon days of the free trade, the fixed price for
carrying a box of tea, or bale of tobacco, from the coast of
Galloway to Edinburgh, was fifteen shillings, and a man with horses
carried four such packages. The trade was entirely destroyed by
Mr. Pitt's celebrated commutation law, which, by reducing the
duties upon excisable articles, enabled lawful dealer to compete
with the smuggler. The statute was called in Galloway and
Dumfriesshire, by those who had thriven upon the contraband trade,
"the burning and starving act."
Sure of such active assistance on shore, Yawkins demeaned himself
so boldly, that his mere name was a terror to the officers of the
revenue. He availed himself of the fears which presence inspired
on one particular night, when, happening to be ashore with a
considerable quantity of goods in his sole custody, a strong party
of excisemen came down on him. Far from shunning the attack,
Yawkins sprung forward, shouting, "Come on, my lads; Yawkins is
before you." The revenue officers were intimidated, and
relinquished their prize, though defended only by the courage and
address of a single man. On his proper element, Yawkins was
equally successful. one occasion, he was landing his cargo at the
Manxman's lake, near Kirkcudbright, when two revenue cutters (the
Pigmy and the Dwarf) hove in sight at once on different tacks, the
coming round by the Isles of Fleet, the other between the point of
Rueberry and the Muckle Ron. The dauntless free-trader instantly
weighed anchor, and bore down right between the luggers, so close
that he tossed his hat on the deck of the one and his wig on that
of the other, hoisted a cask to his maintop, to show his
occupation, and bore away under an extraordinary pressure of
canvas, without receiving injury. To account for these and other
hair-breadth escapes, popular superstition alleged that Yawkins
insured his celebrated Buckkar by compounding with the devil for
one-tenth of his crew every voyage. How they arranged the
separation of the stock and tithes, is left to our conjecture. The
Buckkar was perhaps called the Black Prince in honour of the
The Black Prince used to discharge her cargo at Luce, Balcarry, and
elsewhere on the coast; but her owner's favourite landing-places
were at the entrance to the Dee and the Cree, near the old Castle
of Rueberry, about six miles below Kirkcudbriglit. There is a cave
of large dimensions in the vicinity of Rueberry, which, from its
being frequently used by Yawkins, and his supposed connection with
the smugglers on the shore, is now called Dirk Hatteraick's cave.
Strangers who visit this place, the scenery of which is highly
romantic, are also shown, under the name of the Gauger's Loup, a
tremendous precipice, being the same, it is asserted, from which
Kennedy was precipitated.
Meg Merrilies is in Galloway considered as having had her origin in
the traditions concerning the celebrated Flora Marshal, one of the
royal consorts of Willie Marshal, more commonly called the Caird of
Barullion, King of the Gipsies of the Western Lowlands. That
potentate was himself deserving of notice, from the following
peculiarities. He was born in the parish of Kirkmichael, about the
year 1671; and as he died at Kirkcudbright, 23rd November, 1792,
he must then have been in the one hundred and twentieth year of his
age. It cannot he said that this unusually long lease of existence
was noted by any peculiar excellence of conduct or habits of life.
Willie had been pressed or enlisted in the army seven times; and
had deserted as often; besides three times running away from the
naval service. He had been seventeen times lawfully married; and
besides such a reason ably large share of matrimonial comforts,
was, after his hundredth year, the avowed father of four children,
by less legitimate affections. He subsisted in his extreme old age
by a pension from the present Earl of Selkirk's grandfather. Will
Marshal is buried in Kirkcudbright Church, where his monument is
still shown, decorated with a scutcheon, suitably blazoned with two
tups' horns and two cutty spoons.
In his youth he occasionally took an evening walk on the highway,
with the purpose of assisting travellers by relieving them of the
weight of their purses. On one occasion, the Caird of Barullion
robbed the Laird of Bargally, at a place between Carsphairn and
Dalmellington. His purpose was not achieved without a severe
struggle, in which the Gipsy lost his bonnet, and was obliged to
escape, leaving it on the road. A respectable farmer happened to
be the next passenger, and seeing the bonnet, alighted, took it up,
and rather imprudently put it on his own head. At this instant,
Bargally came up with some assistants, and recognising the bonnet,
charged the farmer of Bantoberick with having robbed him, and took
him into custody. There being some likeness between the parties,
Bargally persisted in his charge, and though the respectability of
the farmer's character was proved or admitted, his trial before the
Circuit Court came on accordingly. The fatal bonnet lay on the
table of the court; Bargally swore that it was the identical
article worn by the man who robbed him; and he and others likewise
deponed that they had found the accused on the spot where the crime
was committed, with the bonnet on his head. The case looked
gloomily for the prisoner, and the opinion of the judge seemed
unfavourable. But there was a person in the court who knew well
both who did, and who did not, commit, the crime. This was the
Caird of Barullion, who, thrusting. himself up to the bar, near the
place where Bargally was standing, suddenly seized on the bonnet,
put it on his head, and looking the Laird full in the face, asked
him, with a voice which attracted the attention of the Court and
crowded audience--"Look at me, sir, and tell me, by the oath you
have sworn--Am not I the man who robbed you between Carsphairn and
Dalmellington?" Bargally replied, in great astonishment, "By
Heaven I you are the very man."--"You, see what sort of memory
this gentleman has," said the volunteer pleader: "he swears to the
bonnet, whatever features are under it. If you yourself, my Lord,
will put it on your head, he will be willing to swear that your
Lordship was the party who robbed him between Carsphairn and
Dalmellington." The tenant of Bantoberick was unanimously
acquitted, and thus Willie Marshal ingeniously contrived to save an
innocent man from danger, without incurring any himself, since
Bargally's evidence must have seemed to every one too fluctuating
to be relied upon.
While the King of the Gipsies was thus laudably occupied, his royal
consort, Flora, contrived, it is said, to steal the hood front the
Judge's gown; for which offence, combined with her presumptive
guilt as a gipsy, she was banished to New England, whence she never
Now, I cannot grant that the idea of Meg Merrilies was, in the
first concoction of the character, derived from Flora Marshal,
seeing I have already said she was identified with Jean Gordon, and
as I have not the Laird of Bargally's apology for charging the same
fact on two several individuals. Yet I am quite content that Meg
should he considered as a representative of her sect and class in
general--Flora, as well as others.
The other instances in which my Gallovidian readers have
obliged me, by assigning to
A local habitation and a name,
shall also be sanctioned so far as the Author may be entitled to do
so. I think the facetious Joe Miller records a case pretty much in
point; where the keeper of a Museum, while showing, as he said, the
very sword with which Balaam was about to kill his ass, was
interrupted by one of the visitors, who reminded him that Balaam
was not possessed of a sword, but only wished for one. "True,
sir," replied the ready-witted Cicerone; "but this is the very sword
he wished for." The Author, in application of this story, has only
to add, that though ignorant of the coincidence between the
fictions of the tale and some real circumstances, he is contented
to believe he must unconsciously have thought or dreamed of the
last, while engaged in the composition of Guy Mannering.