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