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Guy Mannering by Sir Walter Scott

Part 2 out of 10

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adieu to his hospitable landlord, and to his clerical attendant,
repeated his good wishes for the prosperity of the family, and
then, turning his horse's head towards England, disappeared from
the sight of the inmates of Ellangowan. He must also disappear
from that of our readers, for it is to another and later period of
his life that the present narrative relates.


--Next, the justice, In fair round belly, with good capon
lined, With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, Full of
wise saws, and modern instances: And so he plays his part.
--As You Like It.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Come, princes of the ragged regiment, You of the blood!
Prigg, my most upright lord, And these, what name or title
e'er they bear, Jarkman, or Patrico, Cranke or
Clapper-dudgeon, Frater or Abram-man--I speak of all.--

Beggar's Bush.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

On these occasions he was generally brought back by Meg Merrilies,
who, though she could not be prevailed upon to enter the Place of
Ellangowan after her nephew had been given up to the pressgang, did
not apparently extend her resentment to the child. On the
contrary, she often contrived to waylay him in his walks, sing him
a gipsy song, give him a ride upon her jackass, and thrust into his
pocket a piece of gingerbread or red-cheeked apple. This woman's
ancient attachment to the family, repelled and checked in every
other direction, seemed to rejoice in having some object on which
it could yet repose and expand itself. She prophesied a hundred
times, "that young Mr. Harry would be the pride o' the family, and
there hadna been sic a sprout frae the auld aik since the death of
Arthur Mac-Dingawaie, that was killed in the battle o' the Bloody
Bay; as for the present stick, it was good for naething but
firewood." On one occasion, when the child was ill, she lay all
night below the window, chanting a rhyme which she believed
sovereign as a febrifuge, and could neither be prevailed upon to
enter the house, nor to leave the station she had chosen, till she
was informed that the crisis was over.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"That sounds like nonsense, my dear."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"That," said John, with a broad grin, "was Grizzel chasing the
humble-cow [A cow without horns] out of the close."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"No, sir; but--"

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

"Oh, but ye maun come hame, sir! ye maun come hame!-We have sent
for the Sheriff, and we'll set a watch here a' night, in case the
gipsies return; but you--ye maun come hame, sir,--for my lady's in
the dead-thraw." [*Death-agony.]

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

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

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


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

Henry IV. Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Enter Time, as Chorus.

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

Winter's Tale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A loud rapping was heard at the door. "That's no them. I dinna
hear the wheels.--Grizzel, ye limmer, gang to the door."

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

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

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

His appearance, voice, and manner, produced an instantaneous effect
in his favour. He was a handsome, tall, thin figure, dressed in
black, as appeared when he laid aside his riding-coat; his age
might be between forty and fifty; his cast of features grave and
interesting, and his air somewhat military. Every point of his
appearance and address bespoke the gentleman. Long habit had given
Mrs. Mac-Candlish an acute tact in ascertaining the quality of her
visitors, and proportioning her reception accordingly To every
guest the appropriate speech was made, And every duty with
distinction paid; Respectful, easy, pleasant, or polite--"Your
honour's servant!--Mister Smith, good-night."

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

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

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

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

The sound of wheels was now heard, and the landlady hurried to the
door to receive her expected guests; but returned in an instant,
followed by the postilion--

"No, they canna come at no rate, the Laird's sae ill."

"But God help them," said the landlady, "the morn's the term--the
very last day they can bide in the house--a' thing's to be
roupit." [*Sold by auction]

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

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

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

"I have been abroad for many years--is his health so much

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Whisht, Jock," said the landlady.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And what was the end of all this?" said the stranger, with some

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Not a feather, sir,--thank ye--your very good health, sir."

"And wha may your master be, friend?"

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And where will the sale take place?"

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

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

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

"And this gentleman's name is--"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You will say, my military career in India, when I followed my
regiment there, should have given me some satisfaction; and so it
assuredly has. You will remind me also, that if I disappointed the
hopes of my guardians, I did not incur their displeaslure--that the
bishop, at his death, bequeathed me his blessing, his manuscript
sermons, and a curious portfolio, containing the heads of eminent
divines of the Church of England; and that my uncle, Sir Paul
Mannering, left me sole heir and executor to his large fortune.

"Yet this availeth me nothing--I told you I had that upon my mind
which I should carry to my grave with me, a perpetual aloes in the
draught of existence. I will tell you the cause more in detail
than I had the heart to do while under your hospitable roof. You
will often hear it mentioned, and perhaps with different and
unfounded circumstances. I will, therefore, speak it out; and then
let the event itself, and the sentiments of melancholy with which
it has impressed me, never again be subject of discussion between

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

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