Part 5 out of 10
sort of frozen canopy over the rivulet beneath, which was marked by
its darker colour, as it soaked its way obscurely through wreaths
of snow. In one place, where the glen was a little wider, leaving
a small piece of flat ground between the rivulet and the bank, were
situated the ruins of the hamlet in which Brown had been involved
on the preceding evening. The ruined gables, the insides of which
were japanned with turf-smoke, looked yet blacker, contrasted with
the patches of snow which had been driven against them by the wind,
and with the drifts which lay around them.
Upon this wintry and dismal scene, Brown could only at present cast
a very hasty glance; for his guide, after pausing an instant, as if
to permit him to indulge his curiosity, strode hastily before him
down the path which led into the glen. He observed, with some
feelings of suspicion, that she chose a track already marked by
several feet, which he could only suppose were those of the
depredators who had spent the night in the vault. A moment's
recollection, however, put his suspicions to rest. --It was not
to be thought that the woman, who might have delivered him up to
her gang when in a state totally defenceless, would have suspended
her supposed treachery until he was armed, and in the open air, and
had so many better chances of defence or escape. He therefore
followed his guide in confidence and silence. They crossed the
small brook at the same place where it previously had been passed
by those who had gone before. The footmarks then proceeded through
the ruined village, and from thence down the glen, which again
narrowed to a ravine, after the small opening in which they were
situated. But the gipsy no longer followed the same track: she
turned aside, and led the way by a very rugged and uneven path up
the bank which overhung the village. Although the snow in many
places bid the pathway, and Rendered the footing uncertain and
unsafe, Meg proceeded with a firm and determined step, which
indicated an intimate knowledge of the ground she traversed. At
length they gained the top of the bank, though by a passage so
steep and intricate, that Brown, though convinced it was the same
by which he had descended on the night before, was not a little
surprised how he had accomplished the task without breaking his
neck. Above, the country opened wide and unenclosed for about a
mile or two on the one hand, and on the other were thick
plantations of considerable extent.
Meg, however, still led the way along the bank of the ravine out of
which they had ascended, until she heard beneath the murmur of
voices. She then pointed to a deep plantation of trees at some
"The road to Kippletringan," she said, is on the other side of
these enclosures--Make the speed ye can; there's mair rests on your
life than other folk's. But you have lost all--stay." She
fumbled in an immense pocket, from which she produced a greasy
purse--"Many's the awmous your house has gi'en Meg and hers--and
she has lived to pay it back in a small degree;"--and she placed
the purse in his hand.
"The woman is insane," thought Brown; but it was no time to debate
the point, for the sounds he heard in the ravine below probably
proceeded from the banditti. "How shall I repay this money," he
said "or how acknowledge the kindness you have done me?"
"I hae twa boons to crave," answered the sibyl, speaking low and
hastily; one, that you will never speak of what you have seen this
night; the other, that you will not leave this country till you see
me again, and that you leave word at the Gordon Arms where you are
to be heard of; and when I next call for you, be it in church or
market, at wedding or at burial, Sunday or Saturday, meal-time or
fasting, that ye leave everything else and come with me."
"Why, that will do you little good, mother."
"But 'twill do yourself muckle, and that's what I'm thinking
o'.--I am not mad, although I have had eneugh to make me sae--I am
not mad, nor doating, nor drunken--I know what I am asking, and I
know it has been the will of God to preserve you in strange
dangers, and that I shall be the instrument to set you in your
father's seat again.--Sae give me your promise, and mind that you
owe your life to me this blessed night."
"There's wildness in her manner, certainly," thought Brown; "and
yet it is more like the wildness of energy than of madness."
"Well, mother, since you do ask so useless and trifling a favour,
you have my prornise. It will at least give me an opportunity to
repay your money with additions. You are an uncommon kind of
creditor, no doubt, but--"
"Away, away, then!" said she, waving her hand. "Think not about
the goud--it's a' your ain; but remember your promise, and do not
dare to follow me or look after me." So saying, she plunged again
into the dell, and descended it with great agility, the icicles and
snow-wreaths showering down after her as she disappeared.
Notwithstanding her prohibition, Brown endeavoured to gain some
point of the bank from which he might, unseen, gaze down into the
glen and with some difficulty (for it must be conceived that the
utmost caution was necessary), he succeeded. The spot which he
attained for this purpose was the point of a projecting rock, which
rose precipitously from among the trees. By kneeling down among
the snow, and stretching his head cautiously forward, he could
observe what was going on in the bottom of the dell. He saw, as he
expected, his companions of the last night, now joined by two or
three others. They had cleared away the snow from the foot of the
rock, and dug a deep pit, which was designed to serve the purpose
of a grave. Around this they now stood, and lowered into it
something wrapped in a naval cloak, which Brown instantly concluded
to be the dead body of the man he had seen expire. They then stood
silent for half a minute, as if under some touch of feeling for the
loss of their companion. But if they experienced such, they did
not long remain under its influence, for all hands went presently
to work to fill up the grave; and Brown, perceiving that the task
would be soon ended, thought it best to take the gipsy-woman's
hint, and walk as fast as possible until he should gain the shelter
of the plantation.
Having arrived under cover of the trees, his first thought was of
the gipsy's purse. He had accepted it without hesitation, though
with something like a feeling of degradation, arising from the
character of the person by whom he was thus accommodated. But it
relieved him from a serious though temporary' embarrassment. His
money, excepting a very few shillings, was in his portmanteau, and
that was in possession of Meg's friends. Some time was necessary
to write to his agent, or even to apply to his good host at
Charlies-hope, who would gladly have supplied him. In the
meantime, he resolved to avail himself of Meg's subsidy, confident
he should have a speedy opportunity of replacing it with a handsome
gratuity. "It can be but a trifling sum," he said to himself, "and
I dare say the good lady may have a share of my bank-notes to make
With these reflections he opened the leathem purse, expecting to
find at most three or four guineas. But how much was he surprised
to discover that it contained, besides a considerable quantity of
gold pieces, of different coinages and various countries, the joint
amount of which could not be short of a hundred pounds, several
valuable rings and ornaments set with jewels, and, as appeared from
the slight inspection he had time to give them, of very
Brown was equally astonished and embarrassed by the circumstances
in which he found himself, possesses, as he now appeared to be, of
property to a much greater amount than his own, but which had been
obtained in all probability by the same nefarious means through
which he had himself been plundered. His first thought was to
inquire after the nearest justice of peace, and to place in his
hands the treasure of which he had thus unexpectedly become the
depositary, telling, at the same time, his own remarkable story.
But a moment's consideration brought several objections to this
mode of procedure. In the first place, by observing this course,
he should break his promise of silence, and might probably by that
means involve the safety, perhaps the life, of this woman, who had
risked her own to preserve his, and who had voluntarily endowed him
with this treasure,--a generosity which might thus become the means
of her ruin. This was not to be thought of. Besides, he was a
stranger, and, for a time at least, unprovided with means of
establishing his own character and credit to the satisfaction of a
stupid or obstinate country magistrate.--"I will think over. .
,the matter more maturely," he said; "Perhaps there may be a
regiment quartered at the county town, in which 'case my knowledge
of the service, and acquaintance with many officers of the army,
cannot fail to establish my situation and character by evidence
which a civil judge could not sufficiently estimate.--And then I
shall have the commanding officer's assistance in; managing matters
so as to screen--this unhappy madwoman, whose mistake or prejudice
has been so fortunate for me. A civil magistrate might think
himself obliged to send out warrants for her at once, and the
consequence in case of her being taken is pretty evident. No, she
has been upon honour with me if she were the devil, and I will be
equally upon honour with her--she shall have the privilege of a
court-martial, where the point of honour can qualify strict law.
Besides I may see her at this place, Kipple-Couple--what did she
call it?--and then I can make restitution to her, and e'en let the
law claim its own when it can secure her. In the meanwhile,
however, I cut rather an awkward figure for one who has the honour
to bear his Majesty's commission, being little better than the
receiver of stolen goods."
With these reflections, Brown took from the gipsy's treasure three
or four guineas, for the purpose of his immediate expenses, and
tying up the rest in the purse which contained them, resolved not
again to open it, until he could either restore it to her by whom
it was given, or put it into the hands of some public functionary.
He next thought of the cutlass, and his first impulse was to leave
it in the plantation. But when he considered the risk of meeting
with these ruffians, he could not resolve on parting with his
arms. His walking-dress, though plain, had so much of a military
character as suited not amiss with his having such a weapon.
Besides, though the custom of wearing swords by persons out of
uniform had been gradually becoming antiquated, it was not yet so
totally forgotten as to occasion any particular remark towards
those who chose to adhere to it. Retaining, therefore, his weapon
of defence, and placing the purse of the gipsy in a private pocket,
our traveller strode gallantly on through the wood in search of the
promised high road.
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence,
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
Had been incorporate.
A Midsummer Nights Dream.
JULIA MANNERING TO MATILDA MARCHMONT.
How can you upbraid me, my dearest Matilda, with abatement in
friendship, or fluctuation in affection? Is it possible for me to
forget that you are the chosen of my heart, in whose faithful bosom
I have deposited every feeling which your poor Julia dares to
acknowledge to herself? And you do me equal injustice in upbraiding
me with exchanging your friendship for that of Lucy Bertram. I
assure you she has not the materials I must seek for in a bosom
confidante. She is a charming girl, to be sure, and I like her very
much, and I confess our forenoon and evening engagements have left
me less time for the exercise of my pen than our proposed
regularity of correspondence demands. But she is totally devoid of
elegant accomplishments, excepting the knowledge of French and
Italian, which she acquired from the most grotesque monster you
ever beheld, whom my father has engaged as a kind of librarian, and
whom he patronises, I believe, to show his defiance of the world's
opinion. Colonel Mannering seems to have formed a determination,
that nothing shall be considered as ridiculous, so long as it
appertains to or is connected with him. I remember in India he had
picked up somewhere a little mongrel cur, with bandy legs, a long
back, and huge flapping cars. Of this uncouth creature he chose to
make a favourite, in despite of all taste and opinion; and I
remember one instance which he alleged, of what he called Brown's
petulance, was, that he had criticised severely the crooked legs
and drooping ears of Bingo. On my word, Matilda, I believe he
nurses his high opinion of this most awkward of all pedants upon a
similar principle. He seats the creature at table, where he
pronounces a grace that sounds like the scream of the man in the
square that used to cry mackerel, flings his meat down his throat
by shovelfuls, like a dustman loading his cart, and apparently
without the most distant perception of what he is swallowing,--then
bleats forth another unnatural set of tones, by way of returning
thanks, stalks out of the room, and immerses himself among a parcel
of huge worm-eaten folios that are as uncouth as himself! I could
endure the creature well enough, had I anybody to laugh at him
along with me; but Lucy Bertram, if I but verge on the border of a
jest affecting this same Mr. Sampson (such is the horrid man's
horrid name), looks so piteous, that it deprives me of all spirit
to proceed, and my father knits his brow, flashes fire from his
eye, bites his lip, and says something that is extremely rude, and
uncomfortable to my feelings.
"It was not of this creature, however, that I meant to speak to
you--only that, being a good scholar in the modern, as well as the
ancient languages, he has contrived to make Lucy Bertram mistress
of the former, and she has only, I believe, to thank her own good
sense or obstinacy, that the Greek, Latin (and Hebrew, for aught I
know), were not added to her acquisitions. And thus she really has
a great fund of information, and I assure you I am daily surprised
at the power which she seems to possess of amusing herself by
recalling and arranging the subjects of her former reading. We read
together every morning, and I begin to like Italian much better
than when we were teased by that conceited animal Cicipici,--this
is the way to spell his name, and not Chichipichi--you see I grow a
'" But perhaps I like Miss Bertram more for the accomplishments
she wants, than for the knowledge she possesses. She knows nothing
of music whatever, and no more of dancing than is here common to
the meanest peasants, who, by the way, dance with great zeal and
spirit. So that I am instructor in my turn, and she takes with
great gratitude lessons from me upon the harpsichord, and I have
even taught her some of La Pique's steps, and you know he thought
me a promising scholar.
"In the evening papa often reads, and I assure you he is the best
reader of poetry you ever heard--not like that actor, who made a
kind of jumble between reading and acting, staring, and bending his
brow, and twisting his face, and gesticulating as if he were on the
stage, and dressed out in all his costume. My father's manner is
quite different--it is the reading of a gentleman, who produces
effect by feeling, taste, and inflection of voice, not by action or
mummery. Lucy Bertram rides remarkably well, and I can now
accompany her on horseback, having become emboldened by example. We
walk also a good deal in spite of the cold--So, upon the whole I
have not quite so much time for writing as I used to have.
"Besides, my love, I must really use the apology of all stupid
correspondents, that I have nothing to say. My hopes, my fears, my
anxieties about Brown are of a less interesting cast, since I know
that he is at liberty, and in health. Besides, I must own, I think
that by this time the gentleman might have given me some intimation
what he was doing. Our intercourse may, be an imprudent one, but
it is not very complimentary to me, that Mr. Vanbeest Brown should
be the first to discover that such is the case, and. to break off
in consequence. I can promise him that we might not differ much in
opinion should that happen to be his, for I have sometimes thought
I have behaved extremely foolishly in that matter. Yet I have so
good an opinion of poor Brown, that I cannot but think there is
something extraordinary in his silence.
"To return to Lucy Bertram--No, my dearest Matilda, she can never,
never rival you in my regard, so that all your affectionate
jealousy on that account is without foundation. She is, to be sure,
a very pretty, a very sensible, a very affectionate girl, and I
think there are few persons to whose consolatory friendship I could
have recourse more freely in what are called the real evils of
life. But then these so seldom come in one's way, and one wants a
friend who will sympathise with distresses of sentiment, as well as
with actual misfortune. Heaven knows, and you know, my dearest
Matilda, that these diseases of the heart require the balm of
sympathy and affection as much as the evils of a more obvious and
determinate character. Now Lucy Bertram has nothing of this kindly
sympathy--nothing at all, my dearest Matilda. Were I sick of a
fever, she would sit up night after night to nurse me with the most
unrepining patience; but with the fever of the heart, which my
Matilda has soothed so often, she has no more sympathy than her old
tutor. And yet, what provokes me is, that the demure monkey
actually has a lover of her own, and that their mutual affection
(for mutual I take it to be) has a great deal of complicated and
romantic interest. She was once, you must know, a great heiress,
but was ruined by the prodigality of her father, and the villainy
of a horrid man in whom he confided. And one of the handsomest
young gentlemen in the country is attached to her; but as he is
heir to a great estate, she discourages his addresses on account of
the disproportion of their fortune.
"But with all this moderation, and self-denial, and modesty, and so
forth, Lucy is a sly girl--I am sure she loves young Hazlewood, and
I am sure he has some guess of that, and would probably bring her
to acknowledge it too, if my father or she would allow him an
opportunity. But you must know the Colonel is always himself in
the way to pay Miss Bertram those attentions which afford the best
indirect opportunities for a young gentleman in Hazlewood's
situation. I would have my good papa take care that he does not
himself pay the usual penalty of meddling folks. I assure you, if
I were Hazlewood, I should look on his compliments, his bowings,
his cloakings, his shawlings, and his handings, with some little
suspicion; and truly I think Hazlewood does so too at some odd
times. Then imagine what a silly figure your poor Julia makes on
such occasions! Here is my father making the agreeable to my
friend; there is young Hazlewood watching every word of her lips,
and every motion of her eye; and I have not the poor satisfaction
of interesting a human being--not even the exotic monster of a
parson, for even he sits with his mouth open, and his huge round
goggling eyes fixed like those of a statue, admiring--Mess
"All this makes me sometimes a little nervous, and sometimes a
little mischievous. I was so provoked at my father and the lovers
the other day for turning me completely out of their thoughts and
society, that I began an attack on Hazlewood, from which it was
impossible for him, in common civility, to escape. He insensibly
became warm in his defence--I assure you, Matilda, he is a very
clever, as well as a very handsome young man, and I don't think I
ever remember having seen him to the same advantage--when, behold,
in the midst of our lively conversation, a very soft sigh from Miss
Lucy reached my not ungratified ears. I was greatly too generous
to prosecute my victory any further, even if I had not been afraid
of papa. Luckily for me, he had at that moment got into a long
description of the peculiar notions and manners of a certain tribe
of Indians, who live far up the country, and was illustrating them
by making drawings on Miss Bertram's work-patterns, three of which
he utterly damaged, by introducing among the intricacies of the
pattern his specimens of Oriental costume. But I believe she
thought as little of her own gown at the moment as of the India
turbans and cummerbands. However, it was quite as well for me that
he did not see all the merit of my little manoeuvre, for he is as
sharp-sighted as a hawk, and a sworn enemy to the slightest shade
"Well, Matilda, Hazlewood heard this same half-audible sigh, and
instantly repented his temporary attentions to such an unworthy
object as your Julia, and, with a very comical expression of
consciousness, drew near to Lucy's work-table. He made some
trifling observation, and her reply was one in which nothing but an
ear as acute as that of a lover, or a curious observer like myself,
could have distinguished anything more cold and dry than usual. But
it conveyed reproof to the self-accusing hero, and he stood abashed
accordingly. You will admit that I was called upon in generosity
to act as mediator. So I mingled in the conversation, in the quiet
tone of an unobserving and uninterested third party, led them into
their former habits of easy chat, and, after having served awhile
as the channel of communication through which they chose to address
each other, set them down to a pensive game at chess, and very
dutifully went to tease papa, who was still busied with his
drawings. The chess-players, you must observe, were placed near
the chimney, beside a little work-table, which held the board and
men, the Colonel, at some distance, with lights upon a library
table,--for it is a large old-fashioned room, with several
recesses, and hung with grim tapestry, representing what it might
have puzzled the artist himself to explain.
'Is chess a very interesting game, papa?'
'I am told so,' without honouring me with much of his notice. "'I
should think so, from the attention Mr. Hazlewood and Lucy are
bestowing on it.'
"He raised his head hastily, and held his pencil suspended for an
instant. Apparently he saw nothing that excited his suspicions,
for he was resuming the folds of a Mahratta's turban in
tranquility, when I interrupted him with--'How old is Miss Bertram,
'How should I know, Miss? about your own age, I suppose.'
"'Older, I should think, sir. You are always telling me how much
more decorously she goes through all the honours of the
tea-table--Lord, papa, what if you should give her a right to
preside once and for ever!'
'Julia, my, dear,' returned papa 'you are either a fool outright,
or you are more disposed to make mischief than I have yet believed
"'Oh, my dear. sir! put your best construction upon it--I would
not be thought. a. fool for all the world. '
'Then why do you talk like one?' said my father.
'Lord, sir, I am sure there is nothing so foolish in what I said
just now--everybody knows you are a very handsome man' (a smile
was just visible), 'that is, for your time of life' (the dawn was
over-cast), 'which is far from being advanced, and I am sure I
don't know why you should not please yourself, if you have a
mind. I am sensible I am but a thoughtless girl, and if a graver
companion could render you more happy--'
"There was a mixture of displeasure and grave affection in the
manner in which my father took my hand, that was a severe reproof
to me for trifling with his feelings. 'Julia,' he said, 'I bear
with much of your petulance, because I think I have in some degree
deserved it, by neglecting to superintend your education
sufficiently closely. Yet I would not have you give it the rein
upon a subject so delicate. If you do not respect the feelings of
your surviving parent towards the memory of her whom you have lost,
attend at least to the sacred claims of misfortune; and observe,
that the slightest hint of such a jest reaching Miss Bertram's ears
would at once induce her to renounce her present asylum, and go
forth, without a protector, into a world she has already felt so
'What could I say to this, Matilda?--I only cried heartily, begged
pardon, and promised to be a good girl in future. And so here am I
neutralised again, for I cannot, in honour, or common good-nature,
tease poor Lucy by interfering with Hazlewood, although she has so
little confidence in me; and neither can I, after this grave
appeal, venture again upon such delicate ground with papa. So I
burn little rolls of paper, and sketch Turks' heads upon visiting
cards with the blackened end--I assure you I succeeded in making a
superb Hyder-Ally last night--and I jingle on my unfortunate
harpsichord, and begin at the end of a grave book and read it
backward.--After all, I begin to be very much vexed about Brown's
silence. Had he been obliged to leave the country, I am sure he
would at least have written to me--Is it possible that my father
can have intercepted his letters? But no--that is contrary to all
his principles--I don't think he would open a letter addressed to
me to-night, to prevent my jumping out of window to-morrow--What an
expression I have suffered to escape my pen! I should he ashamed
of it, even to you, Matilda, and used in jest. But I need not take
much merit for acting as I ought to do; this same Mr. Vanbeest
Brown is by no means so very ardent a lover as to hurry the object
of his attachment into such inconsiderate steps. He gives one full
time to reflect, that must be admitted. However, I will not blame
him unheard, nor permit myself to doubt the manly firmness of a
character which I have so often extolled to you. Were he capable
of doubt, of fear, of the shadow of change, I should have little to
"And why, you will say, when I expect such steady and unalterable
constancy from a lover, why should I be anxious about what
Hazlewood does, or to whom he offers his attentions?--I ask myself
the questions a hundred times a day, and it only receives the very
silly answer, that one does not like to be neglected, though one
would not encourage a serious infidelity.
"I write all these trifles, because you say that they amuse
you,--and yet I wonder how they should. I remember, in our stolen
voyages to the world of fiction, you always admired the grand and
the romantic--tales of knights, dwarfs, giants, and distressed
damsels, soothsayers, visions, beckoning ghosts, and bloody
hands,--whereas I was partial to the involved intrigues of private
life, or at furthest, to so much only of the supernatural as is
conferred by the agency of an Eastern genie or a beneficent fairy.
You would have loved to shape your course of life over the broad
ocean, with its dead calms and howling tempests, its, tornadoes,
and its billows mountain-high,--whereas I should like to trim my
little pinnace to a brisk breeze in some inland lake or tranquil
bay where there was just difficulty of navigation sufficient to
give interest and to require skill, without any sensible degree of
danger. So that, upon the whole, Matilda, I think you should have
had my father, with his pride of arms and of ancestry, his
chivalrous point of honour, his high talents, and his abstruse and
mystic studies--You should have had Lucy Bertram too for your
friend, whose fathers, with names which alike defy memory and
orthography, ruled over this romantic country, and whose birth took
place, as I have been indistinctly informed, under circumstances of
deep and peculiar interest--You should have had, too, our Scottish
residence, surrounded by mountains, and our lonely walks to haunted
ruins--And I should have had, in exchange, the lawns and shrubs,
and greenhouses, and conservatories, of Pine Park, with your, good,
quiet, indulgent aunt, her chapel in the morning, her nap after
dinner, her hand at whist in the evening, not forgetting her fat
coach-horses and fatter coachman. Take notice, however, that Brown
is not included in this proposed barter of mine--his good-humour,
lively conversation, and open gallantry, suit my plan of life, as
well as his athletic form, handsome features, and high spirit,
would accord with a character of chivalry. So as we cannot change
altogether out and out, I think we must e'en abide as we are."
I renounce your defiance; if you parley so roughly I'll
barricado my gates against you.--Do you see yon bay
window? Storm,--I care not, serving the good Duke of
Merry Devil of Edmonton.
JULIA MANNERING TO MATILDA MARCHMC)NT.
"I rise from a sick-bed, my dearest Matlida, to communicate the
strange and frightful scenes which have just passed. Alas! how
little we ought to jest with futurity! I closed my letter to you
in high spirits, with some flippant remarks on your taste for the
romantic and extraordinary in fictitious narrative. How little I
expected to have had such events to record in the course of a few
days! and to witness scenes of terror, or to contemplate them in
description, is as different, my dearest Matilda, as to bend over
the brink, of a precipice holding by the frail tenure of a
half-rotted shrub, or to admire the same precipice as represented
in the landscape of Salvator. But I will not anticipate my
"The first part of my story is frightful enough, though it had
nothing to interest my feelings. You must know that this country
is particularly favourable to the commerce of a set of desperate
men from the Isle of Man, which is nearly opposite. These
smugglers are numerous, resolute, and formidable, and have at
different times become the dread of the neighbourhood when any one
has interfered with their contraband trade. The local magistrates,
from timidity or worse motives, have become shy of acting against
them, and impunity has rendered them equally daring and desperate.
With all this, my father, a stranger in the land, and invested with
no official authority, had, one would think, nothing to do. But it
must be owned, that, as he himself expresses it, he was born when
Mars was lord of his ascendant, and that strife and bloodshed find
him out in circumstances and situations the most retired and
"About eleven o'clock on last Tuesday morning, while Hazlewood and
my father were proposing to walk to a little lake about three
miles' distance, for the purpose of shooting wild ducks, and while
Lucy and I were busied with arranging our plan of work and study
for the day, we were alarmed by the sound of horses' feet,
advancing very fast up the avenue. The ground was hardened by a
severe frost, which made the clatter of the hoofs sound yet louder
and sharper. In a moment, two or three men, armed, mounted, and
each leading a spare horse loaded with packages, appeared on the
lawn, and, without keeping upon the road, which makes a small
sweep, pushed right across for the door of the house. Their
appearance was in the utmost degree hurried and disordered, and
they frequently looked back like men who apprehended a close and
deadly pursuit. My father and Hazlewood hurried to the front door
to demand who they were, and what was their business. They were
revenue officers, they stated, who had seized these horses, loaded
with contraband articles, at a place about three miles off. But
the smugglers had been reinforced, and were now pursuing them with
the avowed purpose of recovering the goods, and putting to death
the officers who had presumed to do their duty. The men said that
their horses being loaded, and the pursuers gaining ground upon
them, they had fled to Woodboume, conceiving, that as my father had
served the king, he would not refuse to protect the servants of
government, when threatened to be murdered in the discharge of
"My father, to whom, in his enthusiastic feelings of military
loyalty, even a dog would be of importance if he came in the king's
name, gave prompt orders for securing the goods in the hall, arming
the servants, and defending the house in case it should be
necessary. Hazlewood seconded him with great spirit, and even the
strange animal they call Sampson stalked out of his den, and seized
upon a fowling-piece, which my father had laid aside, to take what
they call a rifle-gun, with which they shoot tigers, etc., in the
east. The piece went off in the awkward hands of the poor parson,
and very nearly shot one' of the excisemen. At this unexpected and
involuntary explosion of his weapon, the Dominie (such is his
nickname) exclaimed, 'Prodigious!' which is his usual ejaculation
when astonished. But no power could force the man to part with his
discharged piece, so they were content to let him retain it, with
the precaution of trusting him with no ammunition. This (excepting
the alarm occasioned by the report) escaped my notice at the time,
you may easily believe; but in talking over the scene afterwards,
Hazlewood made us very merry with the Dominie's ignorant but
"When my father had got everything into proper order for defence,
and his people stationed at the windows with their firearms, he
wanted to order us out of danger--into the cellar, I believe--but
we could not be prevailed upon to stir. Though terrified to death,
I have so much of his own spirit that I would look upon the peril
which. threatens us rather than hear it rage around me without
knowing its nature or its progress. Lucy, looking as pale as a
marble statue, and keeping her eyes fixed on Hazlewood, seemed not
even to hear the prayers with which he conjured her to leave the
front of the house. But, in truth, unless the hall-door should be
forced, we were in little danger; the windows being almost blocked
up with cushion's and pillows, and, what the Dominie most lamented,
with folio volumes. , brought hastily from the library, leaving
only spaces through which the defenders might fire upon the
"My father had now made his dispositions, and we sat in breathless
expectation in the darkened apartment, the men remaining all silent
upon their posts, in anxious contemplation probably of the
approaching danger. My father, who was quite at home in such a
scene, walked from one to another, and reiterated his orders, that
no one should presume to fire until he gave the word. Hazlewood,
who seemed to catch courage from his eye, acted as his
aide-de-camp, and displayed the utmost alertness in bearing his
directions from one place to another, and seeing them properly
carried into execution. Our force, with the strangers included,
might amount to about twelve men.
"At length the silence of this awful period of expectation was
broken by a sound, which, at a distance, was like the rushing of a
stream of water, but, as it approached, we distinguished the
thick-beating clang of a number of horses advancing very fast. I
had arranged a loophole for myself, from which I could see the
approach of the enemy. The noise increased and came nearer, and at
length thirty horsemen and more rushed upon the lawn. You never
saw such horrid wretches! Notwithstanding the severity of the
season, they were most of them stripped to their shirts and
trousers, with silk handkerchiefs knotted about their heads, and
all well armed with carbines, pistols, and cutlasses. I, who am a
soldier's daughter, and accustomed to see war from my infancy, was
never so terrified in my life as by the savage appearance of these
ruffians, their horses reeking with the speed at which they had
ridden, and their furious exclamations of rage and disappointment,
when they saw themselves baulked of their prey. They paused,
however, when they saw the preparations made to receive them, and
appeared to hold a moment's consultation among themselves. At
length, one of the party, his face blackened with gunpowder by way
of disguise, came forward with a white handkerchief on the end of
his carbine, and asked to speak with Colonel Mannering. My father,
to my infinite terror, threw open a window near which he was
posted, and demanded what he wanted. 'We want our goods, which we
have been robbed of by these sharks,' said the fellow; 'and our
lieutenant bids me say, that if they are delivered, we'll go off
for this bout without clearing scores with the rascals who took
them; but if not, we'll burn the house, and have the heart's blood
every one in it.'--a threat which he. repeated more than once,
graced by a fresh variety of imprecations, and the most horrid
denunciations that cruelty could suggest.
"'And which is your lieutenant?' said my father in reply.
"'That gentleman on the gray horse,' said the miscreant, I with the
red handkerchief bound about his brow.'
"'Then be pleased to tell that gentleman, that it he, and the
scoundrels who are with him, do not ride off the lawn this instant,
I will fire upon them without ceremony." So saying, my father shut
the window, and broke short the conference.
"The fellow no sooner regained his troop, than with a loud hurra,
or rather a savage yell, they fired a volley against our garrison.
The glass of the windows was shattered in every direction, but the
precautions already noticed saved the party within from suffering.
Three such volleys were fired without a shot being returned from
within. My father then observed them getting hatchets and crows,
probably to assail the hall-door, and called aloud, 'Let none fire
but Hazlewood and me--Hazlewood, mark the ambassador.' He himself
aimed at the man on the gray horse, who fell on receiving his
shot. Hazlewood was equally successful. He shot the spokesman,
who had dismounted, and was advancing with an axe in his hand.
Their fall discouraged the rest, who began to turn round their
horses; and a few shots fired at them soon sent them off, bearing
along with them their slain or wounded companions. We could not
observe that they suffered any further loss. Shortly after their
retreat a party of soldiers made their appearance, to my infinite
relief. These men were quartered at a village some miles distant,
and had marched on the first rumour of the skirmish. A part of
them escorted the terrified revenue officers and their seizure to a
neighbouring seaport as a place of safety, and at my earnest
request two or three files remained with us for that and the
following day, for the security of the house from the vengeance of
"Such, dearest Matilda, was my first alarm. I must not forget to
add, that the ruffians left, at a cottage on the roadside, the man
whose face was blackened with powder, apparently because he was
unable to bear transportation. He died in about half an hour
after. On examining the corpse, it proved to be that of a
profligate boor in the neighbourhood, a person notorious as a
poacher and--smuggler. We I received many messages of
congratulation from the neighbouring families, and it was generally
allowed that a few such instances of spirited resistance would
greatly check the presumption of these lawless men. My father
distributed rewards among his servants, and praised Hazlewood's
courage and coolness to the skies. Lucy and I came in for a share
of his applause, because we had stood fire with firmness, and had
not disturbed him with screams or expostulations. As for the
Dominie, my father took an opportunity of begging to exchange
snuff-boxes with him. The honest gentleman was much flattered with
the proposal, and extolled the beauty, of his new snuff-box
excessively. 'It looked,' he said, 'as well as if it were real gold
from Ophir. '--lndeed it would be odd if it should not, being
formed in fact of that very metal: but, to do this honest creature
justice, I believe the knowledge of its real value would not
enhance his sense of my father's kindness supposing it, as he does,
to be pinchbeck gilded. He has had a hard task replacing the
folios which were used in the barricade, smoothing out the creases
And dog-ears, and repairing the other disasters they have sustained
during their service in the Fortification. He brought us some
pieces of lead and bullets which these ponderous tomes had
intercepted during the action, and which he had extracted with
great care; and, were I in spirits, I could give you a comic
account of his astonishment at the apathy with which we heard of
the wounds and mutilation suffered by Thomas Aquinas, or the
venerable Chrysostom. But I am not in spirits, and I have yet
another and a more interesting incident to communicate. I feel,
however, so much fatigued with my present exertion, that I cannot
resume the pen till to-morrow. I will detain this letter
notwithstanding, that you may not feel any anxiety upon account of
Here's a good world! -Knew you of this fair work?
JULIA MANNERING TO MATILDA MARCHMONT.
"I must take tip the thread of my story, my dearest Matilda, where
I broke off yesterday.
"For two or three days we talked of nothing but our siege and its
probable consequences, and dinned into my father's unwilling ears
a proposal to go to Edinburgh, or at least to Dumfries, where
there is remarkably good society, until the resentment of these
outlaws should blow over. He answered with great composure, that
he had no mind to have his landlord's house and his own property
at Woodbourne destroyed; that, with our good leave, he had usually
been esteemed competent to taking measures for the safety or
protection of his family; that if he remained quick at home, he
conceived the welcome the villains had received was not of a nature
to invite a second visit, but should he show any signs of alarm, it
would be the sure way to incur the very risk which we were afraid
of. Heartened by his arguments, and by the extreme indifference
with which he treated the supposed danger, we began to grow a
little bolder, and to walk about as usual Only the gentlemen were
sometimes invited to take their guns when they attended us, and I
observed that my father for several nights paid particular
attention to having the house properly secured and required his
domestics to keep their arms in readiness in case of necessity.
"But three days ago chanced an occurrence, of a nature which
alarmed me more by far than. the attack of the smugglers.
"I told you there was a small lake at some distance from
Woodbourne, where the gentlemen sometimes go to shoot wild-fowl. I
happened at breakfast to say I should like to see this place in its
present frozen state, occupied by skaters and curlers, as they call
those who play a particular sort of game upon the ice. There is
snow on the ground, but frozen so hard that I thought Lucy and I
might venture to that distance, as the footpath leading there was
well beaten by the repair of those who frequented it for pastime.
Hazlewood instantly offered to attend us, and we stipulated that he
should take his fowling-piece. He laughed a good deal at the idea
of going a-shooting in the snow; but, to relieve our tremors,
desired that a groom, who acts as gamekeeper occasionally, should
follow us with his gun. As for Colonel Mannering, he does not like
crowds or sights of any kind where human figures make up the show,
unless indeed it were a military review--so he declined the party.
"We set out unusually early, on a fine frosty, exhilarating
morning, and we felt our minds, as well as our nerves, braced by
the elasticity of the pure air. Our walk to the lake was
delightful, or at least the difficulties were only such as diverted
us, a slippery descent for instance, or a frozen ditch to cross,
which made Hazlewood's assistance absolutely necessary. I don't
think Lucy liked her walk the less for these occasional
"The scene upon the lake was beautiful. One side of it is bordered
by a steep crag, from which hung a thousand enormous icicles all
glittering in the sun; on the other side was a little wood, now
exhibiting that fantastic appearance which the pine-trees present
when their branches are loaded with snow. On the frozen bosom of
the lake itself were a multitude of moving figures, some flitting
along with the velocity of swallows, some sweeping in the most
graceful circles, and others deeply interested in a less active
pastime, crowding round the spot where the inhabitants of two rival
parishes contended for the prize at curling,--an honour of no small
importance, if we were to judge from the anxiety expressed both by
the players and bystanders. We walked round the little lake,
supported by Hazlewood, who lent us each an arm. He spoke, poor
fellow, with great kindness, to old and. young, and seemed
deservedly popular among the assembled crowd. At length we thought
"Why do I mention these trivial occurrences?"--not, Heaven knows,
from the interest I can now attach to them--but because, like a
drowning man who catches at a brittle twig, I seize every apology
for delaying the subsequent and dreadful part of my narrative. But,
it must be communicated--I must have the sympathy of at least one
friend under this heart-rending calamity.
"We were returning home by a footpath, which led through a
plantation of firs. Lucy had quitted Hazlewood's arm--it is only
the plea of absolute necessity which reconciles her to accept his
assistance. I still leaned upon his other arm. Lucy followed us
close, and the servant was two or three paces behind us. Such was
our position, when at once, and as if he had started out of the
earth, Brown stood before us at a short turn of the road! He was
very plainly, I might say coarsely, dressed, and his whole
appearance had in it something wild and agitated. I screamed
between surprise and terror--Hazlewood mistook the nature of my
alarm, and, when Brown advanced towards me as if to speak,
commanded him haughtily to stand back, and not to alarm the lady.
Brown replied, with equal asperity, he had no occasion to take
lessons from him how to behave to that or any other lady. I rather
believe that Hazlewood, impressed with the idea that he belonged to
the band of smugglers, and had some bad purpose in view, heard and
understood him imperfectly. He snatched the gun from the servant,
who had come up on a line with us, and, pointing the muzzle at
Brown, commanded him to stand off at his peril. My screams, for my
terror prevented my finding articulate language, only hastened the
catastrophe. Brown, thus menaced, sprung upon Hazlewood, grappled
with him, and had nearly succeeded in wrenching the fowling-piece
from his grasp, when the gun went off in the struggle, and the
contents were lodged in Hazlewood's shoulder, who instantly fell. I
saw no more, for the whole scene reeled before my eyes, and I
fainted away; but, by Lucy's report, the unhappy perpetrator of
this action gazed a moment on the scene before him, until her
screams began to alarm the people upon the lake, several of whom
now came in sight. He then bounded over a hedge, which divided the
footpath from the plantation, and has not since been heard of. The
servant made no attempt to stop or secure him, and the report he
made of the matter to those who came up to us, induced them rather
to exercise their humanity in recalling me to life, than show their
courage by pursuing a desperado, described by the groom as a man of
tremendous personal strength, and completely armed.
"Hazlewood was conveyed home, that is, to Woodbourne, in safety--I
trust his wound will prove in no respect dangerous, though he
suffers much. But to Brown the consequences must be most
disastrous. He is already the object of my father's resentment,
and he has now incurred danger from the law of the country, as well
as from the clamorous vengeance of the father of Hazlewood, who
threatens to move heaven and earth against the author of his son's
wound. How will he be able to shroud himself from the vindictive
activity of the pursuit? how to defend himself, if taken, against
the severity of laws which I am told may even affect his life? and
how can I find means to warn him of his danger? Then poor Lucy's
ill-concealed grief, occasioned by her lover's wound, is another
source of distress to me, and everything round me appears to bear
witness against that indiscretion which has occasioned this
"For two days I was very ill indeed. The news that Hazlewood was
recovering, and that the person who bad shot him was nowhere to be
traced, only that for certain he was one of the leaders of the gang
of smugglers, gave me some comfort. The suspicion and pursuit
being directed towards those people, must naturally facilitate
Brown's escape, and, I trust, has, ere this, ensured it. But
patrols of horse and foot traverse the country in all directions,
and I am tortured by a thousand confused and unauthenticated
rumours of arrests and discoveries.
"Meanwhile, my greatest source of comfort is the generous candour
of Hazlewood, who persists in declaring, that with whatever
intentions the person by whom he was wounded approached our party,
he is convinced the gun went off in the struggle by accident, and
that the injury he received was undesigned. The groom, on the
other hand, maintains that the piece was wrenched out of
Hazlewood's hands, and deliberately pointed at his body, and Lucy
inclines to the same opinion--I do not suspect them of wilful
exaggeration, yet such is the fallacy of human testimony, for the
unhappy shot was most unquestionably discharged unintentionally.
Perhaps it would be the best way to confide the whole secret to
Hazlewood--but he is very young, and I feel the utmost repugnance
to communicate to him my folly. I once thought of disclosing the
mystery to Lucy, and began by asking what she recollected of the
person and features of the man whom we had so unfortunately met--
but she ran out into such a horrid description of a hedge-ruffian,
that I was deprived of all courage and disposition to own my
attachment to one of such appearance as she attributed to him. I
must say Miss Bertram is strangely biased by her prepossessions,
for there are few handsomer men than poor Brown. I had not seen
him for a long time, and even in his strange and sudden apparition
on this unhappy occasion, and under every disadvantage, his form
seems to me, on reflection, improved in grace, and his features in
expressive dignity.--Shall we ever meet again? Who can answer that
question?--Write to me, kindly, my dearest Matilda--but when did
you otherwise?--yet, again, write to me soon, and write to me,
kindly. I am not in a situation to profit by advice or reproof,
nor have I my usual spirits to parry them by raillery. I feel the
terrors of a child, who has, in heedless sport, put in motion some
powerful piece of machinery; and, while he beholds wheels
revolving, chains clashing, cylinders rolling around him, is
equally astonished at the tremendous powers which his weak agency
has called into action, and terrified for the consequences which he
is compelled to await, without the possibility of averting them.
"I must not omit to say that my father is very kind and
affectionate. The alarm which I have received forms a sufficient
apology for my nervous complaints. My hopes are, that Brown has
made his escape into the sister kingdom of England, or perhaps to
Ireland, or the Isle of Man. In either case he may wait the issue
of Hazlewood's wound with safety and with patience, for the
communication of these countries with Scotland, for the purpose of
justice, is not (thank Heaven) of an intimate nature. The
consequences of his being apprehended would be terrible at this
moment. I endeavour to strengthen my mind by arguing against the
possibility of such a calamity. Alas! how soon have sorrows and
friars, real as well as severe, followed the uniform and tranquil
state of existence at which so lately I was disposed to repine! But
I will not oppress you any longer with my complaints. Adieu, my
A man may see how this world goes with no eyes.--Look with
thine ears: See how yon justice rails upon yon simple thief.
Hark in thine ear--change places; and, handy-dandy, which
is the justice, which is the thief? King Lear.
Among those who took the most lively interest in endeavouring to
discover the person by whom young Charles Hazlewood had been
waylaid and wounded, was Gilbert Glossin, Esquire, late writer in
--, now Laird of Ellangowan, and one of the worshipful commission
of justices of the peace for the county of--. His motives for
exertion on this occasion were manifold; but we presume that our
readers, from what they already know of this gentleman, will acquit
him of being actuated by any zealous or intemperate love of
The truth was, that this respectable personage felt himself less at
case than he had expected, after his machinations put him in
possession of his benefactor's estate. His reflections within
doors, where so much occurred to remind him of former times, were
not always the self-congratulations of successful stratagem. And
when he looked abroad, he could not but be sensible that he was
excluded from the society of the gentry of the county, to whose
rank he conceived he had raised himself. He was not admitted to
their clubs, and at meetings of a public nature, from which he
could not be altogether excluded, he found himself thwarted and
looked upon with coldness and contempt. Both principle and
prejudice co-operated in creating this dislike; for the gentlemen
of the county despised him for the lowness of his birth, while they
hated him for the means by which he had raised his fortune. With
the common people his reputation stood still worse. They would
neither yield him the territorial appellation of Ellangowan, nor
the usual compliment of Mr. Glossin;--with them he was bare
Glossin, and so incredibly was his vanity interested by this
trifling circumstance, that he was known to give half a crown to a
beggar, because he had thrice called him Ellangowan, in beseeching
him for a penny. He therefore felt acutely the general want of
respect, and particularly when he contrasted his own character and
reception in society with those of Mr. MacMorlan, who, in far
inferior worldly circumstances, was beloved and respected both by
rich and poor, and was slowly but securely laying the foundation of
a moderate fortune, with the general goodwill and esteem of all who
Glossin, while he repined internally at what he would fain have
called the prejudices and prepossessions of the country, was too
wise to make any open complaint, He was sensible his elevation was
too recent to be immediately forgotten, and the means by which he
had attained it too odious to be soon forgiven. But time, thought
he, diminishes wonder and palliates misconduct. With the
dexterity, therefore, of one who made his fortune by studying the
weak points of human nature, he determined to lie by for
opportunities to make himself useful even to those who most
disliked him; trusting that his own abilities, the disposition of
country gentlemen to get into quarrels, when a lawyer's advice
becomes precious, and a thousand other contingencies, of which,
with patience and address, he doubted not to be able to avail
himself, would soon place him in a more important and respectable
light to his neighbours, and perhaps raise him to the eminence
sometimes attained by a shrewd, worldly, bustling man of business,
when, settled among a generation of country gentlemen, he becomes,
in Burns's language, The tongue of the trump to them a'. [*The
tongue of the trump is the wire of the Jew's harp, that which gives
sound to the whole instrument.] The attack on Colonel Mannering's
house, followed by the accident of Hazlewood's wound, appeared to
Glossin a proper opportunity to impress upon the country at large
the service which could he rendered by an active magistrate (for he
had been in the commission for some time), well acquainted with the
law, and no less so with the haunts and habits of the illicit
traders. He had acquired the latter kind of experience by a former
close alliance with some of the most desperate smugglers, in
consequence of which he had occasionally acted, sometimes as
partner, sometimes as legal adviser, with these persons. But the
connection had been dropped many years; nor, considering how short
the race of eminent characters of this description, and the
frequent circumstances which occur to make them retire from
particular scenes of action, had he the least reason to think that
his present researches could possibly compromise any old friend who
might possess means of retaliation. The having been concerned in
these practices abstractedly, was a circumstance which, according
to his opinion, ought in no respect to interfere with his now using
his experience in behalf of the public, or rather to further his
own private views. To acquire the good opinion and countenance of
Colonel Mannering would be no small object to a gentleman who was
much disposed to escape from Coventry; and to gain the favour of
old Hazlewood, who was a leading man in the county, was of more
importance still. Lastly, if he should succeed in discovering,
apprehending, and convicting the culprits, he would have the
satisfaction of mortifying, and in some degree disparaging,
Mac-Morlan, to whom, as Sheriff-substitute of the county, this sort
of investigation properly belonged, and who would certainly suffer
in public opinion should the voluntary exertions of Glossin be more
successful than his own.
Actuated by motives so stimulating, and well acquainted with the
lower retainers of the law, Glossin set every spring in motion to
detect and apprehend, if possible, some of the gang who had
attacked Woodbourne, and more particularly the individual who had
wounded Charles Hazlewood. He promised high rewards, he suggested
various schemes, and used his personal interest among his old
acquaintances who favoured the trade, urging that they had better
make sacrifice of an understrapper or two than incur the odium of
having favoured such atrocious proceedings. But for some time all
these exertions were in vain. The common people of the country
either favoured or feared the smugglers too much to afford any
evidence against them. At length, this busy magistrate obtained
information, that a man, having the dress and appearance of the
person who had wounded Hazlewood, had lodged on the evening before
the rencontre at the Gordon Arms in Kippletringan. Thither Mr.
Glossin immediately went, for the purpose of interrogating our old
acquaintance, Mrs. Mac-Candlish.
The reader may remember that Mr. Glossin did not, according to this
good woman's phrase, stand high in her books. She therefore
attended his summons to the parlour slowly and reluctantly, and, on
entering the room, paid her respects in the coldest possible
manner. The dialogue then proceeded as follows:-
"A fine frosty morning, Mrs. Mac-Candlish."
"Ay, sir; the morning's weel eneugh," answered the landlady
"Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I wish to know if the justices are to dine
here as usual after the business of the court on Tuesday?"
"I believe--fancy sae, sir--as usual"--(about to leave the room).
"Stay a moment, Mrs. Mac-Candlish--why, you are in a prodigious
hurry, my good friend!--I have been thinking a club dining here
once a month would be a very pleasant thing."
"Certainly, sir; a club of respectable gentlemen."
"True, true," said Glossin, "I mean landed proprietors and
gentlemen of weight in the county; and I should like to set such a
The short dry cough with which Mrs. Mac-Candlish received this
proposal, by no means indicated any dislike to the overture
abstractedly considered, but inferred much doubt how far it would
succeed under the auspices of the gentleman by whom it was
proposed. It was not a cough negative, but a cough dubious, and as
such Glossin felt it; but it was not his cue to take offence.
"Have there been brisk doings on the road, Mrs. Mac-Candlish?
plenty of company, I suppose?"
"Pretty weel, sir,--but I believe I am wanted at the bar."
"No, no,--stop one moment, cannot you, to oblige an old
customer?--Pray, do you remember a remarkably tall young man, who
lodged one night in your House last week?"
"Troth, sir, I canna weel say--I never take heed whether my company
be lang or short, if they make a lang bill."
"And if they do not, you can do that for them, eh, Mrs.
Mac-Candlish?--ha, ha, ha!--But this young man that I inquire after
was upwards of six feet high, had a dark frock, with metal buttons,
light-brown hair unpowdered, blue eyes, and a straight nose,
travelled on foot, had no servant or baggage.--you surely can
remember having seen such a traveller?"
"Indeed, sir," answered Mrs. Mac-Candlish, bent on baffling his
inquiries, "I canna charge my memory about the matter--there's
mair to do in a house like this, I trow, than to look after
passengers' hair, or their een, or noses either."
"Then, Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I must tell you in plain terms, that
this person suspected of having been guilty of a crime; and it is
in consequence of these suspicions that I, as a magistrate, require
this information from you,--and if you refuse to answer my
questions, I must put you upon your oath."
"Troth, sir, I am no free to swear [*Some of the strict dissenters
decline taking an oath before a civil magistrate]--we aye gaed to
the Antiburgher meeting--it's very true, in Bailie Mac-Candlish's
time (honest man), we keepit the kirk, whilk was most seemly in his
station, as having office--, but after his being called to a
better place than Kippletringan, I hae gaen back to worthy Maister
MacGrainer. And so ye see, sir, I am no clear to swear without
speaking to the minister--especially against ony sackless puir
young thing that's gaun through the country, stranger and
"I shall relieve your scruples, perhaps, without troubling Mr.
Mac-Grainer, when I tell you that this fellow whom I Inquire after
is the man who shot your young friend Charles Hazlewood."
"Gudeness! wha could hae thought the like o' that o' him?--
na, if it had been for debt, or e'en for a bit tuilzie
[*Scuffle] wi' the gauger, the deil o' Nelly Mac-Candlish's
tongue should ever hae wranged him. But if he really shot
young Hazlewood--But I canna think it, Mr. Glossin; this
will be same o' your skits [*Tricks] now--I canna think
it o' sae douce a lad;--na, na, this is just some a' your
auld s 'kits.--Ye'll he for having a horning or a caption
"I see you have no confidence in me, Mrs. Mac-Candlish;--
but look at these declarations, signed by the persons who
saw the crime committed, and judge yourself if the
description of the ruffian be not that of your guest."
He put the papers into her hand, which she perused very
carefully, often taking off her spectacles to cast her eyes
up to Heaven, or perhaps to wipe a tear from them, for young
Hazlewood was an especial favourite with the good dame.
"Aweel, aweel," she said, when she had concluded her
examination, "since it's e'en sae, I gie him up, the villain
--But oh, we are erring mortals!--I never saw a face I
liked better, or a lad that was mair douce and canny--I
thought he had been some gentleman under trouble.--But I
gie him up, the villain!--to shoot Charles Hazlewood--
and before the young ladies, poor innocent things!--I gie
"So you admit, then, that such a person lodged here the
night before this vile business?"
"Troth did he, sir, and a' the house were taen wi' him, he
was sic a frank, pleasant young man, It wasna for his
spending, I'm sure, for he just had a mutton-chop, and a mug
of ale, and maybe a glass or twa o' wine-and I asked him to
drink tea wi' myself, and didna put that into the bill; and
he took nae supper, for he said he was defeat [*Exhausted]
wi' travel a' the night afore--I dare say now it had been
on some hellicat errand or other."
"Did you by any chance learn his name?"
"I wot weel did I," said the landlady, now as eager to communicate
her evidence as formerly desirous to suppress it. "He tell'd me
his name was Brown, and he said it was likely that an auld woman
like a gipsy wife might be asking for him--Ay, ay! tell me your
company, and I'll tell you wha ye are! Oh, the villain!--Aweel,
sir, when he gaed away in the morning, he paid his bill very
honestly, and gae something to the chamber-maid, nae doubt, for
Grizy has naething frae me, by twa pair o' new shoon ilka year, and
maybe a bit compliment at Hansel Monanday--"Here Glossin found it
necessary to interfere, and bring the good woman back to the point.
"Ou than, he just said, if there comes such a person to inquire
after Mr. Brown, you will say I am gone to look at the skaters on
Loch Creeran, as you call it, and I will be back here to
dinner--But he never came back--though I expected him sae
faithfully, that I gae a look to making the friar's chicken mysell,
and to the crappit-heads [*Haddock-heads stuffed] too, and that's
what I dinna do for ordinary, Mr. Glossin--But little did I think
what skating wark he was gaun about--to shoot Mr. Charles, the
Mr. Glossin, having, like a prudent examinator, suffered. his
witness, to give. vent to all her surprise and indignation, now
began to inquire whether the suspected person had left any property
or papers about the inn.
"Troth, he put a parcel--a sma' parcel, under my charge, and he
gave me some siller, and desired me to get him half a dozen ruffled
sarks, and Peg Pasley's in bands wi' them e'en now--they may serve
him to gang up the Lawnmarket I in, the scoundrel!" [*The
procession of the criminals to the gallows of old took that
direction, moving, as the schoolboy rhyme had it, Up the
Lawnmarket, Down the West Bow, Up the lang ladder, And down the
little tow.] Mr. Glossin then demanded to see the packet, but here
mine hostess demurred.
"She didna ken--she wad not say but justice should take its course
but when a thing, was trusted to ane in her way, doubtless they
were responsible--but she suld cry in Deacon Bearcliff, and if Mr.
Glossin liked to tak an inventar o' the property, and gie her a
receipt before the Deacon--or, what she wad like muckle better, an
it could, be scaled up and left in Deacon Bearclift's hands, it wad
mak her mind easy--She was for naething but justice on a' sides."
Mrs. Mac-Candlish's natural sagacity and acquired suspicion being
inflexible, Glossin sent for Deacon Bearcliff, to speak "anent the
villain that had shot Mr. Charles Hazlewood." The Deacon
accordingly made his appearance, with his wig awry, owing to the
hurry with which, at this summons of the Justice, he had exchanged
it for the Kilmarnock cap with which he usually attended his
customers. Mrs. MacCandlish then produced the parcel deposited with
her by Brown, in which was found the gipsy's purse. On perceiving
the value of the miscellaneous contents, Mrs. Mac-Candlish
internally congratulated herself upon the precautions she had taken
before delivering them up to Glossin, while he, with an appearance
of disinterested candour, was the first to propose they should be
properly inventoried, and deposited with Deacon Bearcliff, until
they should be sent to the Crown Office. "He did not" he observed,
"like to be personally responsible for articles which seemed of
considerable value, and had doubtless been acquired by the most
He then examined the paper in which the purse had been wrapt up. It
was the back of a letter addressed to V. Brown, Esquire, but the
rest of the address was torn away. The landlady,--now as eager to
throw light upon the criminal's escape as she had formerly been
desirous of withholding it, for the miscellaneous contents of the
purse argued strongly to her mind that all was not right,--Mrs.
Mac-Candlish, I say, now gave Glossin to understand, that her
postilion and hostler had both seen the stranger upon the ice that
day when young Hazlewood was wounded.
Our reader's old acquaintance, Jock Jabos, was first summoned, and
admitted frankly that he had seen and conversed upon the ice that
morning with a stranger, who, he understood, had lodged at the
Gordon Arms the night before.
"What turn did your conversation take?" said Glossin.
"Turn?--ou, we turned nae gate at a', but just keepit straight
forward upon the ice like."
"Well, but what did ye speak about?"
"Ou, he just asked questions like ony ither stranger," answered.
the postilion, possessed, as it seemed, with the refractory and
uncommunicative spirit which had left his mistress.
"But about what?" said Glossin.
"Ou, just about the folk that was playing at the curling, and about
auld Jock Stevenson that was at the cock, and about the leddies,
and sic like."
"What ladies? and what did he ask about them, Jock?" said the
"What leddies? ou, it was Miss Jowlia Mannering and Miss Lucy
Bertram, that ye ken fu' weel yourself, Mr. Glossin--they were
walking wi' the young Laird of Hazlewood upon the ice."
""And what did you tell him about them?" demanded Glossin.
"Tut, we just said that was Miss Lucy Bertram of Ellangowan, that
should ance have had a great estate in the country--and that was
Miss Jowlia Mannering, that was to be married to young
Hazlewood--See as she was hinging on his arm--we just spoke about
our country clashes like--he was a very frank man."
"Well, and what did he say in answer?"
"Ou, he just stared at the young leddies very keen like, and asked
if it was for certain that the marriage was to be between Miss
Mannering and young Hazlewood--and I answered him that it was for
positive and absolute certain, as I had an undoubted right to say
sae--for my third cousin Jean Clavers (she's a relation o' your
ain, Mr. Glossin, ye wad ken Jean lang syne?), she's sib
[*Related] to the housekeeper at Woodbourne, and she's tell'd me
mair than ance that there was naething could be mair likely."
"And what did the stranger say when you told him all this?" said
"Say?" echoed the postilion, "he said naething at a'--he just
stared at them as they walked round the loch upon the ice, as if he
could have eaten them, and he never took his ee aff them, or said
another word, or gave another glance at the Bonspiel, [*playing
match] though there was the finest fun amang the curlers ever was
seen--and he turned round and gaed aff the loch by the kirk-stile
through Woodbourne fir-plantings, and we saw nae mair o' him."
"Only think," said Mrs. Mac-Candlish, "what a hard heart he maun
hae had, to think o' hurting the poor young gentleman in the very
presence of the leddy he was to be married to!"
"Oh, Mrs. Mac-Candlish,' said Glossin, "there's been many cases
such as that on the record--,doubtless he was seeking revenge where
it would be deepest and sweetest."
"God pity us!" said Deacon Bearcliff, "we're puir frail creatures
when left to oursells!--ay, he forgot wha said, 'Vengeance is mine,
and I will repay it."'
"Weel, aweel, sirs," said Jabos, whose hard-headed and uncultivated
shrewdness seemed sometimes to start the game when others beat the
bush--"Weel, weel, ye may be a' mista'en yet--I'll never believe
that a man would lay a plan to shoot another wi' his ain gun. Lord
help me, I was the keeper's assistant down at the Isle mysell, and
I'll uphaud it, the biggest man in Scotland shouldna take a gun
frae me or I had weized the slugs through him, though I'm but sic a
little feckless [*Spiritless] body, fit for naething but the
outside o' a saddle and the fore-end o' a poschay--na, na, nae
living man wad venture on that. I'll wad ma best buckskins, and
they were new coft [*Bought] at Kirkcudbright fair, it's been a
chance job after a'. But if ye hae naething mair to say to me, I
am thinking I maun gang and see my beasts fed." And he departed
The hostler, who had accompanied him, gave evidence to the same
purpose. He and Mrs. MacCandlish were then re-interrogated,
whether Brown had no arms with him on that unhappy morning. "None,"
they said, "but an ordinary bit cutlass or hanger by his side."
"Now," said the Deacon, taking Glossin by the button (for, in
considering this intricate subject, he had forgot Glossin's new
accession of rank)--"this is but doubtfu' after a', Maister
Gilbert--for it was not Sae dooms [*Absolutely] likely that he
would go down into battle wi' sic sma' means."
Glossin extricated himself from the Deacon's grasp, and from the
discussion, though not with rudeness; for it was his present
interest to buy golden opinions from all sorts of people. He
inquired the price of tea and sugar, and spoke of providing himself
for the year; he gave Mrs. Mac-Candlish directions to have a
handsome entertainment in readiness for a party of five friends,
whom he intended to invite to dine with him at the Gordon Arms next
Saturday week; and, lastly, he gave a half-crown to Jock Jabos,
whom the hostler had deputed to hold his steed.
"Weel," said the Deacon to Mrs. Mac-Candlish, as he accepted her
offer of a glass of bitters at the bar, "the deil's no sae ill as
he's ca'd. It's pleasant to see a gentleman pay the regard to the
business o' the county that Mr. Glossin does."
"Ay, 'deed is't, Deacon," answered the landlady and yet I wonder
our gentry leave their ain wark to the like o' him. --But as lang
as silver's current, Deacon, folk maunna look ower nicely at what
king's head's on't."
"I doubt Glossin will prove but shand [*Cant expression for base
coin] after a', mistress," said Jabos, as he passed through the
little lobby beside the bar; "but this is a gude half-crown ony
A man that apprehends death to be no more dreadful but as a
drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless of what's
past, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and
Measure for Measure.
Glossin had made careful minutes of the information derived from
these examinations. They threw little light upon the story, so far
as he understood its purport; but the better informed reader has
received, through means of this investigation, an account of
Brown's proceedings, between the moment when we left him upon his
walk to Kippletringan, the time when, stung, by jealousy, he so
rashly and unhappily presented himself before Julia Mannering,
and well-nigh brought to a fatal termination the quarrel which his
Glossin rode slowly back to Ellangowan, pondering on what he had
heard, and more and more convinced that the active and successful
prosecution of this mysterious business was an opportunity of
ingratiating himself with Hazlewood and Mannering to be on no
account neglected. Perhaps, also, he felt his professional
acuteness interested in bringing it to a successful close. It was,
therefore, with great pleasure that, on his return to his house
from Kippletringan, he heard his servants announce hastily, "that
Mac-Guffog, the thief-taker, and twa or three concurrents, had a
man in hands in the kitchen waiting for his honour."
He instantly jumped from horseback, and hastened into the house.
"Send my clerk here directly; ye'll find him copying the survey of
the estate in the little green parlour. Set things to rights in my
study, and wheel the great leathem chair up to the
writing-table--set a stool for Mr. Scrow. --Scrow (to the clerk,
as he entered the presence-chamber), hand down Sir George Mackenzie
on Crimes; open it at the section Vis Publica et Privata, and fold
down a leaf at the passage 'anent the bearing of unlawful weapons.'
Now lend me a hand off with my muckle-coat, and hang it up in the
lobby, and bid them bring up the prisoner--I trow I'll sort him--
but stay, first send up Mac-Guffog.--Now, Mac-Guffog, where did ye
find this chield?"
Mac-Guffog, a stout bandy-legged fellow, with a neck like a bull, a
face like a--firebrand, and a most portentous squint of the left
eye, began, after various contortions by way of courtesy to the
justice, to tell his story, eking it out by sundry sly nods and
knowing winks, which appeared to bespeak an intimate correspondence
of ideas between the narrator and his principal auditor. "Your
honour sees I went down to yon place that your honour spoke o',
that's kept by her that your honour kens o', by the sea-side.--
So, says she, what are you wanting here? Ye'll be come wi' a broom
in your pocket frae Ellangowan?--So, says I, deil a broom will come
frae there awa, for ye ken, says I, his honour Ellangowan himself
in former times--"
"Well, well," said Glossin, "no occasion to be particular, tell the
"Weel, so we sat niffering [*Bargaining] about some brandy that I
said I wanted, till he came in."
"He!" pointing with his thumb inverted to the kitchen, where the
prisoner was in custody. "So he had his griego wrapped close round
him, and I judged he was not dry-handed [*Unarmed]--so I thought it
was best to speak proper, and so he believed I was a Manks man, and
I kept aye between him and her, for fear she had whistled. [*Given
information to the party concerned] And then we began to drink
about, and then I betted he would not drink out a quartern of
Hollands without drawing breath--and then he tried it--and just
then Slounging Jock and Dick Spur'em came in, and we clinked the
darbies [*Handcuffs] on him, took him as quiet as a lamb--and now
he's had his bit sleep out, and is as fresh as a May gowan, to
answer what your honour likes to speer." [*Inquire] This
narrative, delivered with a wonderful quantity of gesture and
grimace, received at the conclusion the thanks and praises which
the narrator expected.
"Had he no arms?" asked the Justice.
"Ay, ay, they are never without barkers and slashers."
"This bundle," delivering a dirty pocket-book. "Go downstairs,
then, Mac-Guffog,. and be in waiting." The officer left the room.
The clink of irons was immediately afterwards heard upon the stair,
and in two or three minutes a man was introduced, handcuffed and
fettered. He was thick, brawny, and muscular, and although his
shagged and grizzled hair marked an age somewhat advanced, and his
stature was rather low, he appeared, nevertheless, a person whom
few would have chosen to cope with in personal conflict. His
coarse and savage features were still flushed, and his eye still
reeled under the influence of the strong potation which had proved
the immediate cause of his seizure. But the sleep, though short,
which MacGuffog had allowed him, and still more a sense of the
peril of his situation, had restored to him the full use of his
faculties. The worthy judge, and the no less estimable captive,
looked at each other steadily for a long time without speaking.
Glossin apparently recognised his prisoner, but seemed at a loss
how to proceed with his investigation. At length he broke silence.
"Soh, Captain, this is you?--you have been a stranger on this coast
for some years."
"Stranger?" replied the other; "strange enough, I think--for hold
me der deyvil, if I been ever here before."
"That won't pass, Mr. Captain."
"That must pass, Mr. Justice--sapperment!"
"And who will you be pleased to call yourself, then, for the
present," said Glossin, "just until I shall bring some other folks
to refresh your memory, concerning who you are, or at least who you
"What bin I?--donner and blitzen! I bin Jans Janson, from
Cuxhaven--what sall lch bin?"
Glossin took from a case which was in the apartment a pair of small
pocket pistols, which he loaded with ostentatious care. "You may
retire, "said he to his clerk," and carry the people with You,
Scrow--but wait in the lobby within call."
The clerk would have offered some remonstrances to his patron on
the danger of remaining alone with such a desperate character,
although ironed beyond the possibility of active exertion, but
Glossin waved him off impatiently. When he had left the room, the
justice took two short turns through the apartment, then drew his
chair opposite to the prisoner, so as to confront him fully, placed
the pistols before him in readiness, and said in a steady voice,
"You are Dirk Hatteraick of Flushing, are you not?"
The prisoner turned his eye instinctively to the door, as if he
apprehended some one was listening. Glossin rose, opened the door,
so that from the chair in which his prisoner sat he might satisfy
himself there was no eavesdropper within hearing, then shut it,
resumed his seat, and repeated his question, "You are Dirk
Hatteraick, formerly of the Yungfrauw Haagenslaapen are you not?"
"Tousand deyvils!--and if you know that, why ask me?" said the
"Because I am surprised to see you in the very last place where you
ought to be, if you regard your safety," observed Glossin coolly.
"Der deyvil!--no man regards his own safety that speaks so to me!"
"What? unarmed, and in irons!--well said, Captain!" replied
Glossin ironically. "But, Captain, bullying won't do--you'll
hardly get out of this country without accounting for a little
accident that happened at Warroch Point a few years ago."
Hatteraick's looks grew black as midnight.
"For my part," continued Glossin, "I have no particular wish to be
hard upon an old acquaintance--but I must do my duty--I shall
send you off to Edinburgh in a post-chaise and four this very day."
"Poz donner! you would not do that?" said Hatteraick,--in a lower
and more humbled tone; "why, you had the matter of half a cargo in
bills on Vanbeest and Vanbruggen."
"It is so long since, Captain Hatteraick," answered Glossin
superciliously, "that I really forget how I was recompensed for my
"Your trouble? your silence, you mean."
"It was an affair in the course of business," said Glossin, "and I
have retired from business for some time."
"Ay, but I have a notion that I could make you go steady about, and
try the old course again," answered Dirk Hatteraick. "Why, man,
hold me der deyvil, but I meant to visit you, and tell you
something that concerns you."
"Of the boy?" said Glossin eagerly.
"Yaw, Mynheer," replied the Captain coolly.
"He does not live, does he?"
"As lifelich as you or I," said Hatteraick.
"Good God!--But in India?" exclaimed Glossin.
"No, tousand deyvils, here on this dirty coast of yours," rejoined
"But, Hatteraick, this,--that is, if it be true, which I do not
believe,--this will ruin us both, for he cannot but remember your
neat job; and for me--it will be productive of the worst
consequences. It will ruin us both, I tell you."
"I tell you," said the seaman, "it will ruin none but you--for I
am done up already, and if I must strap for it, all shall out."
"Zounds!" said the justice impatiently, "what brought you back to
this coast like a madman?"
"Why, all the gelt was gone, and the house was shaking, and I
thought the job was clayed over and forgotten," answered the worthy
"Stay--what can be done?" said Glossin anxiously. I dare not
discharge you--but might you not be rescued in the way--ay
sure--a word to Lieutenant Brown,--and I would send the people with
you by the coast-road."
"No, no! that won't do--Brown's dead-shot--laid in the locker,
man--the devil has the picking of him."
"Dead?--shot?--at Woodbourne, I suppose?" replied Glossin.
Glossin paused--the sweat broke upon his brow with the agony of his
feelings, while the hard-featured miscreant who sat opposite,
coolly rolled his tobacco in his cheek, and squirted the juice into
the fire-grate. "It would be ruin," said Glossin to himself,
"absolute ruin, if the heir should reappear--and then what might be
the consequence of conniving with these men?--yet there is so
little time to take measures--Hark you, Hatteraick; I can't set you
at liberty--but I can put you where you may set yourself at
liberty--I always like to assist an old friend. I shall confine
you in the old castle for tonight, and give these people double
allowance of grog. Mac-Guffog will fall in the trap in which he
caught you. The stanchions on the window of the strong room, as
they call it, are wasted to pieces, and it is not above twelve feet
from the level of the ground without, and the snow lies thick."
"But the darbies," said Hatteraick, looking upon his fetters.
"Hark ye," said Glossin, going to a tool-chest, and taking out a
small file, "there's a friend for you, and you know the road to the
sea by the stairs." Hatteraick shook his chains in ecstasy, as if
he were already at liberty, and strove to extend his lettered hand
towards his protector. Glossin laid his finger upon his lips with a
cautious glance at the door, and then proceeded in his
instructions. "When you escape, you had better go to the Kaim of
"Donner! that howff is blown."
"The devil!--well, then, you may steal my skiff that lies on the
beach there, and away. But you must remain snug at the Point of
Warroch till I come to see you."
"The Point of Warroch?" said Hatteraick, his countenance again
falling; "what, in the cave, I suppose?--I would rather it were
anywhere else;--es spuckt da!--they say for certain that he
walks--But, donner and blitzen! I never shunned him alive, and I
won't shun him dead--Strafe mich helle! it shall never be said Dirk
Hatteraick feared either dog or devil!--So I am to wait there till
I see you?"
"Ay, ay," answered Glossin, "and now I must call in the men." He
did so, accordingly.
"I can make nothing of Captain Janson, as he calls himself,
Mac-Guffog, and it's now too late to bundle him off to the county
jail. Is there not a strong room up yonder in the old castle?"
"Ay is there, sir; my uncle the constable ance kept a man there for
three days in auld Ellangowan's time. But there was an unco dust
about it--it was tried in the Inner House afore the Feifteen."
"I know all that, but this person will not stay there very
long--it's only a makeshift for a night, a mere lock-up house till
further examination. There is a small room through which it opens,
you may light a fire for yourselves there, and I'll send you plenty
of stuff to make you comfortable. But be sure you lock the door
upon the prisoner; and, hark ye, let him have a fire in the
strongroom too, the season requires it. Perhaps he'll make a clean
With these instructions, and with a large allowance of food and
liquor, the justice dismissed his party to keep guard for the night
in the old castle, under the full hope and belief that they would
neither spend the night in watching, nor prayer.
There was little fear that Glossin himself should that night sleep
over-sound. His situation was perilous in the extreme, for the
schemes of a life of villainy seemed at once to be crumbling around
and above him. He laid himself to rest, and tossed upon his pillow
for a long time in vain. At length he fell asleep, but it was only
to dream of his patron,--now, as he had last seen him, with the
paleness of death upon his features, then again transformed into
all the vigour and comeliness of youth, approaching to expel him
from the mansion-house of his fathers. Then he dreamed, that after
wandering long over a wild heath, he came at length to an inn, from
which sounded the voice of revelry; and that when he entered, the
first person he met was Frank Kennedy, all smashed and gory, as he
had lain on the beach at Warroch Point, but with a reeking
punch-bowl in his hand. Then the scene changed to a dungeon, where
he heard Dirk Hatteraick, whom he imagined to be under sentence of
death, confessing his crimes to a clergyman.--"After the bloody
deed was done," said the penitent, "we retreated into a cave close
beside, the secret of which was known but to one man in the
country; we were debating what to do with the child, and we thought
of--giving it up to the gipsies, when we heard the cries of the
pursuers hallooing to each other. One man alone came straight to
our cave, and it was that man who knew the secret--but we made him
our friend at the expense of half the value of the goods saved. By
his, advice we carried off the child to Holland in our consort,
which came the following night to take us from the coast. That man
"No, I deny it!--it was not I!" said Glossin, in half-uttered
accents; and, struggling in his agony to express his denial more
distinctly, he awoke.
It was, however, conscience chat had, prepared this mental
phantasmagoria. The truth was, that, knowing much better than any
other person the haunts of the smugglers, he had, while the others
were searching in different directions, gone straight to the cave,
even before he had learned the murder of Kennedy, whom he expected
to find their prisoner. He came upon them with some idea of
mediation, but found them in the midst of their guilty terrors,
while the rage, which had hurried them on to murder, began, with
all but Hatteraick, to sink into remorse and fear. Glossin was
then indigent and greatly in debt, but he was already possessed of
Mr. Bertram's ear, and, aware of the facility of his disposition,
he saw no difficulty in enriching himself at his expense, provided
the heir-male were removed, in which case the estate became the
unlimited property of the weak and prodigal father. Stimulated by
present gain and the prospect of contingent advantage, he accepted
the bribe which the smugglers offered in their terror, and connived
at, or rather encouraged, their intention of carrying away the
child of his benefactor, who, if left behind, was old enough to
have described the scene of blood which he had witnessed. The only
palliative which the ingenuity of Glossin could offer to his
conscience was, that the temptation was great, and came suddenly
upon him, embracing as it were the very advantages on which his
mind had so long rested, and promising to relieve him from
distresses which must have otherwise speedily overwhelmed him.
Besides, he endeavoured to think that self-preservation rendered
his conduct necessary. He was, in some degree, in the power of the
robbers, and pleaded hard with his conscience, that, had he
declined their offers, the assistance which he could have called
for, though not distant, might not have arrived in time to save him
from men, who, on less provocation, had just committed murder.
Galled with the anxious forebodings of a guilty conscience, Glossin
now arose, and looked out upon the night. The scene which we have
already described in the third chapter of this story, was now
covered with snow, and the brilliant, though waste, whiteness of
the land, gave to the sea by contrast a dark and livid tinge. A
landscape covered with snow, though abstractedly it may be called
beautiful, has, both from the association of cold and barrenness,
and from its comparative infrequency, a wild, strange, and desolate
appearance. Objects, well known to us in their common state, have
either disappeared, or are so strangely varied and disguised, that
we seem gazing on an unknown world. But it was not with such
reflections that the mind of this bad man was occupied. His eye was
upon the gigantic and gloomy outlines of the old castle, where, in
a flanking tower of enormous size and thickness, glimmered two
lights, one from the window of the strong room, where Hatteraick
was confined, the other from that of the adjacent apartment
occupied by his keepers. "Has he made his escape, or will he be
able to do so?--Have these men watched, who never watched
before, in order to complete my ruin?--If morning finds him there,
he must be committed to prison; Mac-Morlan or some other person
will take the matter up--he will be detected--convicted--and will
tell all in revenge!--"
While these racking thoughts glided rapidly through Glossin's mind,
he observed one of the lights obscured, as by an opaque body placed
at the window. What a moment of interest!--"He has got clear of
his irons!--he is working at the stanchions of the window--they are
surely quite decayed, they must give way--O God! they have fallen
outward; I heard them clink among the stones!--the noise cannot
fail to wake them--furies seize his Dutch awkwardness!--The light
burns free again--they have torn him from the window, and are
binding him in the room!--No! he had only retired an instant on
the alarm of the falling bars--he is at the window again--and the
light is quite obscured now--he is getting out!--"
A heavy sound, as of a body dropped from a height among the snow,
announced that Hatteraick had completed his escape, and shortly
after Glossin beheld a dark figure, like a shadow, steal along the
whitened beach, and reach the spot where the skiff lay. New cause
for fear! "His single strength will be unable to float her," said
Glossin to himself; "I must go to the rascal's assistance. But no!
he has got her off, and now, thank God, her sail is spreading
itself against the moon--ay, he has got the breeze now--would to
Heaven it were a tempest, to sink him to the bottom!"
After this last cordial wish, he continued watching the progress of
the boat as it stood away towards the Point of Warroch, until he
could no longer distinguish the dusky sail from the gloomy waves
over which it glided. Satisfied then that the immediate danger was
averted, he retired with somewhat more composure to his guilty
Why dost not comfort me, and help me out
From this unhallowed and blood-stained hole?
On the next morning, great was the alarm and confusion of the
officers, when they discovered the escape of their prisoner.
Mac-Guffog appeared before Glossin with a head perturbed with
brandy and fear, and incurred a most severe reprimand for neglect
of duty--The resentment of the justice appeared only to be
suspended by his anxiety to recover possession of the prisoner, and
the thief-takers, glad to escape from his awful and incensed
presence, were sent off in every direction (except the right one)
to recover their prisoner, if possible. Glossin particularly
recommended a careful search at the Kaim of Dernecleugh, which was
occasionally occupied under night by vagrants of different
descriptions. Having thus dispersed his myrmidons in various
directions, he himself hastened by devious paths through the Wood
of Warroch, to his appointed interview with Hatteraick, from whom
he hoped to learn at more leisure than last night's conference
admitted, the circumstances attending the return of the heir of
Ellangowan to his native country.
With manoeuvres like those of a fox when he doubles to avoid the
pack, Glossin strove to approach the place of appointment in a
manner which should leave no distinct track of his course. "Would
to Heaven it would snow," he said, looking upward, "and hide these
footprints. Should one of the officers light upon them, he would
run the scent up, like a bloodhound, and surprise us.--I must get
down upon the sea-beach, and contrive to creep along beneath the
And accordingly, he descended from the cliffs with some difficulty,
and scrambled along between the rocks and the advancing tide; now
looking up to see if his motions were watched from the rocks above
him, now casting a jealous glance to mark if any boat appeared upon
the sea, from which his course might be discovered.
But even the feelings of selfish apprehension were for a time
superseded, as Glossin passed the spot where Kennedy's body had
been found. It was marked by the fragment of rock which had been
precipitated from the cliff above, either with the body or after
it. The mass was now encrusted with small shell-fish, and
tasselled with tangle and seaweed; but still its shape and
substance were different from those of the other rocks which lay
scattered around. His voluntary walks, it will readily be
believed, had never led to this spot; so that finding himself now
there for the first time after the terrible catastrophe, the scene
at once recurred to his mind with all its accompaniments of
horror. He remembered how, like a guilty thing, gliding from the
neighbouring place of concealment, he had mingled with eagerness,
yet with caution, among the terrified group who surrounded the
corpse, dreading lest any one should ask from whence he came. He
remembered, too, with what conscious fear he had avoided gazing
upon that ghastly spectacle. The wild scream of his patron, "My
bairn! my bairn!" again rang in his ears. "Good God!" he
exclaimed, "land is all I have gained worth the agony of that
moment, and the thousand anxious fears and horrors which have since
embittered my life!--Oh how I wish that I lay where that wretched
man lies, and that he stood here in life and health!--But these
regrets are all too late."
Stifling, therefore, his feelings, he crept forward to the cave,
which was so near the spot where the body was found, that the
smugglers might have heard from their hiding-place the various
conjectures of the bystanders concerning the fate of their victim.
But nothing could be more completely concealed than the entrance to
their asylum. The opening, not larger than that of a fox-earth,
lay in the face of the cliff directly behind a large black rock, or
rather upright stone, which served at once to conceal it from
strangers, and as a mark to point out its situation to those who
used it as a place of retreat. The space between the stone and the
cliff was exceedingly narrow, and being heaped with sand and other
rubbish, the most minute search would not have discovered the mouth
of the cavern, without removing those substances which the tide had
drifted before it. For the purpose of further concealment, it was
usual with the contraband traders who frequented this haunt, after
they had entered, to stuff the mouth with withered seaweed loosely
piled together as if carried there by the waves. Dirk Hatteraick
had not forgotten this precaution.
Glossin, though a bold and hardy man, felt his heart throb, and his
knees knock together, when he prepared to enter this den of secret
iniquity, in order to hold conference with a felon, whom he justly
accounted one of the most desperate and depraved of men. "But he
has no interest to injure me," was his consolatory reflection. He
examined his pocket-pistols, however, before removing the weeds and
entering the cavern, which he did upon hands and knees. The
passage, which at first was low and narrow, just admitting entrance
to a man in a creeping posture, expanded after a few yards into a
high arched vault of considerable width. The bottom, ascending
gradually, was covered with the purest sand. Ere Glossin had got
upon his feet, the hoarse yet suppressed voice of Hatteraick
growled through the recesses of the cave.
"Hagel and donner!--be'st du?"
"Are you in the dark?"
"Dark? der deyvil! ay," said Dirk Hatteraick; "where should I have
"I have brought light;" and Glossin accordingly produced a
tinder-box, and lighted a small lantern.
"You must kindle some fire too, for hold mich der deyvil, lch bin
"It is a cold place to be sure," said Glossin, gathering together
some decayed staves of barrels and pieces of wood, which had
perhaps lain in the cavern since Hatteraick was there last.
"Cold? Snow-wasser and hagel! it's perdition--I could only keep
myself alive by rambling up and down this d-d vault, and thinking
about the merry rouses we have had in it."
The flame then began to blaze brightly, and Hatteraick hung his
bronzed visage, and expanded his hard and sinewy hands over it,
with an avidity resembling that of a famished wretch to whom food
is exposed. The light showed his savage and stern features, and
the smoke, which in his agony of cold he seemed to endure almost to
suffocation, after circling round his head, rose to the dim and
rugged roof of the cave, through which it escaped by some secret
rents or clefts in the rock; the same doubtless that afforded air
to the cavern when the tide was in, at which time the aperture to
the sea was filled with water.
"And now I have brought you some breakfast," said Glossin,
producing some cold meat and a flask of spirits. The latter
Hatteraick eagerly seized upon, and applied to his mouth; and,
after a hearty draught, he exclaimed with great rapture, "Das
schmeckt! That is good--that warms the liver!"--Then broke into the
fragment of a High-Dutch song,
"Saufen Bier, und Brante-wein, Schmeissens alle die Fenstern
ein; lch ben liederlich, Du bist liederlich; Sind wir nicht
liederlich Leute a!"
"Well said, my hearty Captain!" cried Glossin, endeavouring
to catch the tone of revelry--
"Gin by pailfuls, wine in rivers,
Dash the window-glass to shivers!
For three wild lads were we, brave boys,
And three wild lads were we;
Thou on the land, and I on the sand,
And jack on the gallows-tree!"
That's it, my bully-boy! Why, you're alive again now!--And now let
us talk about our business."
"Your business, if you please," said Hatteraick; hagel and
donner!--mine was done when I got out of the bilboes."
"Have patience, my good friend;--I'll convince you our interests
are just the same."
Hatteraick gave a short dry cough, and Glossin, after a pause,
proceeded. "How came you to let the boy escape?"
"Why, fluch and blitzen! he was no charge of mine. Lieutenant Brown
gave him to his cousin that's in the Middleburgh house of Vanbeest
and Vanbruggen, and told him some goose's gazette about his being
taken in a skirmish with the land-sharks--he gave him for a
foot-boy. Me let him escape!--the bastard kinchin should have
walked the plank ere I troubled myself about him."
"Well, and was he bred a foot-boy then?"
"Nein, nein; the kinchin got about the old man's heart, and he gave
him his own name, and bred him up in the office, and then sent him
to India--I believe he would have packed him back here, but his
nephew told him it would do up the free trade for many a day, if
the youngster got back to Scotland."
"Do you think the younker knows much of his own origin now?"
"Deyvil!" replied Hatteraick, "how should I tell what he knows now?
But he remembered something of it long. When he was but ten years
old, he persuaded another Satan's limb of an English bastard like
himself to steal my lugger's khan--boat--what do you call it--to
return to his country, as he called it--fire him! Before we could
overtake them, they had the skiff out of channel as far as the
Deurloo--the boat might have been lost."
"I wish to Heaven she had--with him in her" ejaculated Glossin.
"Why, I was so angry myself, that, sapperment! I did give him a tip
over the side--but split him--the comical little devil swam like a
duck; so I made him swim astern for a mile to teach him manners,
and then took him in when he was sinking.--By the knocking
Nicholas! he'll plague you, now he's come over the herring-pond!
When he was so high, he had the spirit of thunder and lightning."
"How did he get back from India?"
"Why, how should I know?--the house there was done up, and that
gave us a shake at Middleburgh, I think--so they sent me again to
see what could be done among my old acquaintances here--for we held
old stories were done away and forgotten. So I had got a pretty
trade on foot within the last two trips; but that stupid houndsfoot
schelm, Brown, has knocked it on the head again, I suppose, with
getting himself shot by the colonel-man.
"Why were you not with them?"
"Why, you see--sapperment! I fear nothing--but it was too far
within land, and I might have been scented."
"True. But to return to this youngster--"
"Ay, ay, donner and blitzen! he's your affair," said the Captain.
"--How do you really know that he is in this country?"
"Why, Gabriel saw him up among the hills."
"Gabriel! who is he?"
A fellow from the gipsies, that, about eighteen years since, was
pressed on board that d-d fellow Pritchard's sloop-of-war. It was
he came off and gave us warning that the Shark was coming round
upon us the day Kennedy was done; and he told us how Kennedy had
given the information. The gipsies and Kennedy had some quarrel
besides. This Gab went to the East Indies in the same ship with
your younker, and, sapperment! knew him well, though the other did
not remember him. Gab kept out of his eye though, as he had served
the States against England, and was a deserter to boot; and he sent
us word directly, that we might know of his being here--though it
does not concern us a rope's end."
"So, then, really, and in sober earnest, he is actually in this
country, Hatteraick, between friend and friend?" asked Glossin
"Wetter and donner, yawl What do you take me for?"
"For a bloodthirsty, fearless miscreant!" thought Glossin
internally; but said aloud, "And which of your people was it that
shot young Hazlewood?"