Part 7 out of 10
the counsellor, who was fond of talking upon subjects of criminal
jurisprudence, especially when connected with his own experience,
went through the circumstances at full length. "And what is your
opinion upon the result of the whole?"
"Oh, that Kennedy was murdered: it's an old case which has occurred
on that coast before now--the case of Smuggler versus Exciseman."
"What then is your conjecture concerning the fate of the child?
"Oh, murdered too, doubtless," answered Pleydell. "He was old
enough to tell what he had seen, and these ruthless scoundrels
would not scruple committing a second Bethlehem massacre if they
thought their interest required it."
The Dominie groaned deeply, and ejaculated, "Enormous!"
"'Yet there was mention of gipsies in the business too,
counsellor," said Mannering, "and from what that vulgar-looking
fellow said after the funeral--"
"Mrs. Margaret Bertram's idea that the child was alive was founded
upon the report of a gipsy," said Pleydell, catching at the
half-spoken hint--"I envy you the concatenation, Colonel--it is a
shame to me not to have drawn the same conclusion. We'll follow
this business tip instantly--Here, hark ye, waiter, go down to
Luckie Wood's in the Cowgate; ye'll find my clerk Driver; he'll be
set down to High-jinks by this time (for we and our retainers,
Colonel, are exceedingly regular in our irregularities); tell him
to come here instantly, and I will pay his forfeits."
"He won't appear in character, will he?" said Mannering.
"Ah! no more of that, Hal, an thou lovest me," said Pleydell. "But
we must have some news from the land of Egypt, if possible. Oh, if
I had but hold of the slightest thread of this complicated skein,
you should see how I would unravel it!--I would work the truth out
of your Bohemian, as the French call them, better than a Monitoire,
or a Plainte de Tournelle; I know how to manage a refractory
While Mr. Pleydell was thus vaunting his knowledge of his
profession, the waiter re-entered with Mr. Driver, his mouth still
greasy with mutton pies, and the froth of the last draught of
twopenny yet unsubsided on his upper lip, with such speed had he
obeyed the commands of his principal.--"Driver, you must go
instantly and find out the woman who was old Mrs. Margaret
Bertram's maid. Inquire for her everywhere, but if you find it
necessary to have recourse to Protocol, Quid the tobacconist, or
any other of these folks, you will take care not to appear
yourself, but send some woman of your acquaintance--I dare say you
know enough that may be so condescending as to oblige you. When
you have found her out, engage her to come to my chambers to-morrow
at eight o'clock precisely."
"What shall I say to make her forthcoming?" asked the aide-de-camp.
"Anything you choose," replied the lawyer. "Is it my business to
make lies for you, do you think? But let her be in praesentia by
eight o'clock, as I have said before." The clerk grinned, made his
reverence, and exit.
"That's a useful fellow," said the counsellor "I don't believe his
match ever carried a process. He'll write to my dictating three
nights in the week without sleep, or, what's the same thing, he
writes as well and correctly when he's asleep as when he's awake.
Then he's such a steady fellow--some of them are always changing
their alehouses, so that they have twenty cadies sweating after
them, like the bare-headed captains traversing the taverns of
East-Cheap in search of Sir John Falstaff. But this is a complete
fixture-he has his winter seat by the fire, and his summer seat by
the window, in Luckie Wood's, betwixt which seats are his only
migrations; there he's to be found at all times when he is off
duty. It is my opinion he never puts off his clothes or goes to
sleep--sheer ale supports him under everything. It is meat, drink,
and clothing, bed, board, and washing."
"And is he always fit for duty upon a sudden turn-out? I should
distrust it, considering his quarters."
"Oh, s drink never disturbs him, Colonel; he can write for hours
after he cannot speak. I remember being called suddenly to draw an
appeal case. I had been dining, and it was Saturday night, and I
had ill will to begin to it--however, they got me down to
Clerihugh's, and there we sat birling till I had a fair tappit hen,
[*See Note VI. Tappit Hen. ] under my belt, and then they
persuaded me to draw the paper. Then we had to seek Driver, and it
was all that two men could do to bear him in, for, when found, he
was, as it happened, both motionless and speechless. But no sooner
was his pen put between his fingers, his paper stretched before
him, and he heard my voice, than he began to write like a
scrivener--and, excepting that we were obliged to have somebody to
dip his pen in the ink, for he could not see the standish, I never
saw a thing scrolled more handsomely."
"But how did your joint production look the next morning?" said the
"Wheugh! capital--not three words required to be altered; [* See
Note VII. Convivial Habits of the Scottish Bar. ] it was sent off
by that day's post. But you'll come and breakfast with me
to-morrow, and hear this woman's examination?"
"Why, your hour is rather early."
"Can't make it later. If I were not on the boards of the Outer
House precisely as the nine-hours bell rings, there would be a
report that I had got an apoplexy, and I should feel the effects of
it all the rest of the session."
"Well, I will make an exertion to wait upon you."
Here the company broke up for the evening.
In the morning Colonel Mannering appeared at the counsellor's
chambers, although cursing the raw air of a Scottish morning in
December. Mr. Pleydell had got Mrs. Rebecca installed on one side
of his fire, accommodated her with a cup of chocolate, and was
already deeply engaged in conversation with her. "Oh no, I assure
you, Mrs. Rebecca, there is no intention to challenge your
mistress's will; and I give you my word of honour that your legacy
is quite safe. You have deserved it by your conduct to your
mistress, and I wish it had been twice as much."
"Why, to be sure, sir, it's no right to mention what is said before
ane--ye heard how that dirty body Quid cast up to me the bits o'
compliments he gied me, and tell'd owre again ony loose cracks
[*Gossip ] I might hae had wi' him; now if ane was talking loosely
to your honour, there's nae saying what might come o't."
"I assure you, my good Rebecca, my character and your own age and
appearance are your security, if you should talk as loosely as an
"Aweel, if your honour thinks I am safe-the story is just this.--Ye
see, about a year ago, or no just sae lang, my leddy was advised to
go to Gilsland for a while for her spirits were distressing her
sair. Ellangowan's troubles began to be spoken o' publicly, and
sair vexed she was--or she was proud o' her family. For Ellangowan
himsell and her, they sometimes 'greed, and sometimes no--but at
last they didna 'gree at a' for twa or three year--for he was aye
wanting to borrow siller, and that was what she couldna bide at no
hand, and she was aye wanting it paid back again, and that the
Laird he liked as little. So, at last, they were clean aff
thegither. And then some of the company at Gilsland tells her that
the estate was to be sell'd; and ye wad hae thought she had taen an
ill will at Miss Lucy Bertram frae that moment, for mony a time she
cried to me, 'O Becky, O Becky, if that useless peenging thing o' a
lassie there, at Ellangowan, that canna keep her ne'er-do-weel
father within bounds--if she had been but a lad-bairn, they couldna
hae sell'd the auld inheritance for that fool-body's debt;'--and
she would rin on that way till I was just wearied and sick to hear
her ban the puir lassie, as if she wadna hae been a lad-bairn, and
keepit the land, if it had been in her will to change her sect. And
ae day at the spae-well below the craig at Gilsland, she was seeing
a very bonny family o' bairns--they belonged to ane MacCrosky--and
she broke out--'Is not it an odd like thing that ilka waf carlfe
[*Every insignificant churl] in the country has a son and heir, and
that the house of Ellangowan is without male succession?' There was
a gipsy wife stood ahint and heard her--a muckle sture [*Strong]
fearsome-looking wife she was as ever I set een on.--'Wha is it,'
says she, 'that dare say the house of Ellangowan will perish
without male succession?' My mistress just turned on her--she was a
high-spirited woman, and aye ready wi' an answer to a' body. 'It's
me that says it,' says she, 'that may say it with a sad heart.' Wi'
that the gipsy wife gripped till her hand; 'I ken you weel eneugh,'
said she, 'though ye kenna me--But as sure as that sun's in heaven,
and as sure as that water's rinning to the sea, and as sure as
there's an ee that sees, and an ear that hears us baith--Harry
Bertram, that was thought to perish at Warroch Point, never did die
there--he was to have a weary weird [*Cruel fate] o't till his
ane-an-twentieth year, that was aye said o' him--but if ye live and
I live, ye'll hear mair o' him this winter before the snaw lies twa
days on the Dun of Singleside--I want nane o' your siller,' she
said, 'to make ye think I am blearing [*Moistening ] your ee--fare
ye weel till after Martimas;'--and there she left us standing."
"Was she a very tall woman?" interrupted Mannering.
"Had she black hair, black eyes, and a cut above the brow?" added
"She was the tallest woman I ever saw, and her hair was as black as
midnight, unless where it was gray, and she had a scar abune the
brow, that ye might hae laid the lith [*joint ] of your finger
in. Naebody that's seen her will ever forget her; and I am morally
sure that it was on the ground o' what that gipsy-woman said that
my mistress made her will, having taen a dislike at the young leddy
o' Ellangowan, and she liked her far waur after she was obliged to
send her 20L--for she said, Miss Bertram, no content wi' letting
the Ellangowan property pass into strange hands, owing to her being
a lass and no a lad, was coming, by her poverty, to be a burden and
a disgrace to Singleside too.--But I hope my mistress's is a good
will for a' that, for it would be hard an me to lose the wee bit
legacy--I served for little fee and bountith, weel I wot."
The counsellor relieved her fears on this head, then inquired after
Jenny Gibson, and understood she had accepted Mr. Dinmont's offer;
"and I have done sae mysell too, since he was sae discreet as to
ask me," said Mrs. Rebecca; they are very decent folk the Dinmonts,
though my lady didna dow to hear muckle about the friends on that
side the house. But she liked the Charlies-hope hams, and the
cheeses, and the muir-fowl, that they were aye sending, and the
lamb's-wool hose and mittens--she liked them weel eneugh."
Mr. Pleydell now dismissed Mrs. Rebecca. When she was gone, "I
think I know the gipsy woman," said the lawyer.
"I was just going to say the same," replied Mannering.
"And her name--" said Pleydell.
"Is Meg Merrilies," answered the Colonel.
"Are you avised of that?" said the counsellor, looking at his
military friend with a comic expression of surprise.
Mannering answered that he had known such a woman when he was at
Ellangowan upwards of twenty years before; and then made his
learned friend acquainted with all the remarkable particulars of
his first visit there.
Mr. Pleydell listened with great attention, and then replied, "I
congratulated myself upon having made the acquaintance of a
profound theologian in your chaplain; but I really did not expect
to find a pupil of Albumazar or Messabala in his patron. I have a
notion, however, this gipsy could tell us some more of the matter
than she derives from astrology or second-sight--I had her through
hands once, and could then make little of her, but I must write to
Mac-Morlan to stir heaven and earth to find her out. I will gladly
come to--shire myself to assist at her examination--I am still
in the commission of the peace there, though I have ceased to be
Sheriff--I never had anything more at heart in my life than tracing
that murder, and the fate of the child. I must write to the
Sheriff of Roxburghshire too, and to an active justice of peace in
"I hope when you come to the country you will make Woodbourne your
"Certainly; I was afraid you were going to forbid me--but we must
go to breakfast now, or I shall be too late."
On the following day the new friends parted, And the Colonel
rejoined his family without any adventure worthy of being detailed
in these chapters.
Can no rest find me, no private place secure me, But still
my miseries like bloodhounds haunt me? Unfortunate young
man, which way now guides thee, Guides thee from death? The
country's laid around for thee.
Our narrative now recalls us for a moment to the period when young
Hazlewood received his wound. That accident had no sooner
happened, than the consequences to Miss Mannering and to himself
rushed upon Brown's mind. From the manner in which the muzzle of
the piece was pointed when it went off, he had no great fear that
the consequences would be fatal. But an arrest in a strange
country, and while he was unprovided with any means of establishing
his rank and character, was at least to be avoided. He therefore
resolved to escape for the present to the neighbouring coast of
England, and to remain concealed there, if possible, until he
should receive letters from his regimental, friends, and
remittances from his agent; and then to resume his own character,
and offer to young Hazlewood and his friends any explanation or
satisfaction they might desire. With this purpose he walked stoutly
forward, after leaving the spot where the accident had happened,
and reached without adventure the village which we have called
Portanferry (but which the reader will in vain seek for under that
name in the county map). A large open boat was just about to leave
the quay, bound for the little seaport of Allonby, in Cumberland.
In this vessel Brown embarked, and resolved to make that place his
temporary abode, until he should receive letters and money from
In the course of their short voyage he entered into some
conversation with the steersman, who was also owner of the boat, a
jolly old man, who had occasionally been engaged in the smuggling
trade, like most fishers on the coast. After talking about objects
of less interest, Brown endeavoured to turn the discourse toward
the Mannering family. The sailor had heard of the attack upon the
house at Woodbourne, but disapproved of the smugglers' proceedings.
"Hands off is fair play; zounds, they'll bring the whole country
down upon them--na, na! when I was in that way I played at
giff-gaff [*Give and take] with the officers--here a cargo
taen--vera weel, that was their luck;--there another carried
clean through, that was mine,--na, na! hawks shouldna pike out
"And this Colonel Mannering?" said Brown.
"Troth, he's nae wise man neither, to interfere--no that I blame
him for saving the gaugers' lives--that was very right; but it
wasna like a gentleman to be fighting about the poor folk's pocks
o' tea and brandy kegs--however, he's a grand man and an officer
man, and they do what they like wi' the like o' us."
"And his daughter," said Brown, with a throbbing heart, "is going
to be married into a great family too, as I have heard?"
"What, into the Hazlewoods'?" said the pilot. "Na, na, that's but
idle clashes-every Sabbath day, as regularly as it came round, did
the young man ride hame wi' the daughter of the late
Ellangowan--and my daughter Peggy's in the service up at
Woodbourne, and she says she's sure young Hazlewood thinks nae mair
of Miss Mannering than you do."
Bitterly censuring his own precipitate adoption of a contrary
belief, Brown yet heard with delight that the suspicions of Julia's
fidelity, upon which he had so rashly acted, were probably void of
foundation. How must he in the meantime be suffering in her
opinion? or what could she suppose of conduct, which must have made
him appear to her regardless alike of her peace of mind, and of the
interests of their affection? The old man's connection with the
family at Woodbourne seemed to offer a safe mode of communication,
of which he determined to avail himself.
"Your daughter is a maid-servant at Woodbourne?--I knew Miss
Mannering in India, and though I am at present in an inferior rank
of life, I have great reason to hope she would interest herself in
my favour. I had a quarrel unfortunately with her father, who was
my commanding officer, and I am sure the young lady would
endeavour to reconcile him to me. Perhaps your daughter could
deliver a letter to her upon she subject, without making mischief
between her father and her?"
The old man, a friend to smuggling of every kind, readily answered
for the letter's being faithfully and secretly delivered; and,
accordingly, as soon as they arrived at Allonby, Brown wrote to
Miss Mannering, stating the utmost contrition for what had
happened through his rashness, and conjuring her to let him have an
opportunity of pleading his own cause, and obtaining forgiveness
for his indiscretion. He did not judge it safe to go into any
detail concerning the circumstances by which he had been misled,
and upon the whole endeavoured to express himself with such
ambiguity, that if the letter should fall into wrong hands, it
would be difficult either to understand its real purport, or to
trace the writer. This letter the old man undertook faithfully to
deliver to his daughter at Woodbourne: and, as his trade would
speedily again bring him or his boat to Allonby, he promised
further to take charge of any answer with which the young lady
might entrust him.
And now our persecuted traveller landed at Allonby, and sought for
such. accommodations as might at once suit his temporary poverty,
and his desire of remaining as much unobserved as possible. With
this view he assumed the name and profession of his friend Dudley,
having command enough of the pencil to verify his pretended
character to his host of Allonby. His baggage he pretended to
expect front Wigton; and keeping himself as much within doors as
possible, awaited the return of the letters which he had sent to
his agent, to Delaserre, and to his Lieutenant-Colonel. From the
first he requested a supply of money; he conjured Delaserre, if
possible, to join him in Scotland; and from the Lieutenant-Colonel
he required such testimony of his rank and conduct in the regiment
as should place his character as a gentleman and officer beyond the
power of question. The inconvenience of being run short in his
finances struck him so strongly, that he wrote to Dinmont on that
subject, requesting a small temporary loan, having no doubt that,
being within sixty or seventy miles of his residence, he should
receive a speedy as well as favourable answer to his request of
pecuniary accommodation, which was owing, as he stated, to his
having been robbed after their parting. And then, with impatience
enough, though without any serious apprehension, he waited the
answers of these various letters.
It must be observed, in excuse of his correspondents, that the post
was then much more tardy than since Mr. Palmer's ingenious
invention has taken place; and with respect to honest Dinmont in
particular, as he rarely received above one letter a quarter
(unless during the time of his being engaged in a lawsuit, when he
regularly sent to the post-town), his correspondence usually
remained for a month or two sticking in the postmaster's window,
among pamphlets, gingerbread, rolls, or ballads, according to the
trade which the said postmaster exercised. Besides, there was then
a custom, not yet wholly obsolete, of causing a letter, from one
town to another, perhaps within the distance of thirty miles,
perform a circuit of two hundred miles before delivery; which had
the combined advantage of airing the epistle thoroughly, of adding
some pence to the revenue of the post-office, and of exercising the
patience of the correspondents. Owing to these circumstances,
Brown remained several days in Allonby without any answers
whatever, and his stock of money, though husbanded with the utmost
economy, began to wear very low, when he received, by the hands of
a young fisherman, the following letter--
"You have acted with the most cruel indiscretion, you have shown
how little I can trust to your declarations that my peace and
happiness are dear to you; and your rashness has nearly occasioned
the death of a young man of the highest worth and honour. Must I
say more?--must I add, that I have been myself ill in consequence
of your violence and its effects? And, alas! need I say still
further, that I have thought anxiously upon them as they are likely
to affect you, although you have given me such slight cause to do
so? The C. is gone from home for several days; Mr. H. is almost
quite recovered; and I have reason to think that the blame is laid
in a quarter different from that where it is deserved. Yet do not
think of venturing here. Our fate has been crossed by accidents of
a nature too violent and terrible to permit me to think of renewing
a correspondence which has so often threatened the most dreadful
catastrophe. Farewell, therefore, and believe that no one can wish
your happiness more sincerely than J. M."
This letter contained that species of advice, which is frequently
given for the precise purpose that it may lead to a directly
opposite conduct from that which it recommends. At least so thought
Brown, who immediately asked the young fisherman if he came from
"Ay," said the lad; "I am auld Willie Johnstone's son, and I got
that letter frae my sister Peggy, that's laundry-maid at
"My good friend, when do you sail?"
"With the tide this evening."
"I'll return with you; but as I do not desire to go to Portanferry,
I wish you could put me on shore somewhere on the coast."
"We can easily do that," said the lad.
Although the price of provisions, etc., was then very moderate, the
discharging his lodgings, and the expense of his living, together
with that of a change of dress, which safety as well as a proper
regard to his external appearance rendered necessary, brought
Brown's purse to a very low ebb. He left directions at the
post-office that his letters should be forwarded to Kippletringan,
whither he resolved to proceed, and reclaim the treasure which he
had deposited in the hands of Mrs. Mac-Candlish. He also felt it
would be his duty to assume his proper character as soon as he
should receive the necessary evidence for supporting it, and, as an
officer in the king's service, give and receive every explanation
which might be necessary with young Hazlewood. If he is not very
wrong-headed indeed, he thought, he must allow the manner in which
I acted to have been the necessary consequence of his own
And now we must suppose him once more embarked on the Solway
frith. The wind was adverse, attended by some rain, and they
struggled against it without much assistance from the tide. The
boat was heavily laden with goods (part of which were probably
contraband), and laboured deep in the sea. Brown, who had been bred
a sailor, and was indeed skilled in most athletic exercises, gave
his powerful and effectual assistance in rowing, or occasionally in
steering the boat, and his advice in the management, which became
the more delicate as the wind increased, and, being opposed to the
very rapid tides of that coast, made the voyage perilous. At
length, after spending the whole night upon the frith, they were at
morning within sight of a beautiful bay upon the Scottish coast.
The weather was now more mild. The snow, which had been for some
time waning, had given way entirely under the fresh gale of the
preceding night. The more distant hills, indeed, retained their
snowy mantle, but all the open country was cleared, unless where a
few white patches indicated that it had been drifted to an uncommon
depth. Even under its wintry appearance, the shore was highly
interesting. The line of sea-coast, with all its varied curves,
indentures, and embayments, swept away from the sight on either
hand, in that varied, intricate, yet graceful and easy line, which
the eye loves so well to pursue. And it was no less relieved and
varied in elevation than in outline by the different forms of the
shore; the beach in some places being edged by steep rocks, and in
others rising smoothly from the sands in easy and swelling slopes.
Buildings of different kinds caught and reflected the wintry
sunbeams of a December morning, and the woods, though now leafless,
gave relief and variety to the landscape. Brown felt that lively
and awakening interest which taste and sensibility always derive
from the beauties of nature, when opening suddenly to the eye,
after the dulness and gloom of a night voyage. Perhaps,--for who
can presume to analyse that inexplicable feeling which binds the
person born in a mountainous country to his native hills,--perhaps
some early associations, retaining their effect long after the
cause was forgotten, mingled in the feelings of pleasure with which
he regarded the scene before him.
"And what," said Brown to the boatman, "is the name of that fine
cape, that stretches into the sea with its sloping banks and
hillocks of wood, and forms the right side of the bay?"
"Warroch Point," answered the lad.
"And that old castle, my friend, with the modern house situated
just beneath it? It seems at this distance a very large building."
"That's the Auld Place, sir; and that's the New Place below it.
We'll land you there if you like."
"I should like it of all things. I must visit that ruin before I
continue my journey."
"Ay, it's a queer auld bit," said the fisherman and that highest
tower is a gude landmark as far as Ramsay in Man, and the Point of
Ayr--there was muckle fighting about the place lang syne."
Brown would have inquired into further particulars, but a fisherman
is seldom an antiquary. His boatman's local knowledge was summed
up in the information already given, "that it was a grand landmark,
and that there had been muckle fighting about the bit lang syne."
"I shall learn more of it," said Brown to himself, "when I get
The boat continued its course close under the point upon which the
castle was situated, which frowned from the summit of its rocky
site upon the still agitated waves of the bay beneath. "I
believe," said the steersman, "ye'll get ashore here as dry as ony
gate. [*Any place] There's a place where their berlins and
galleys, as they ca'd them, used to lie in lang syne, but it's no
used now, because it's ill carrying gudes up the narrow stairs, or
ower the rocks. Whiles of a moon-light night I have landed
articles there, though."
While he thus spoke, they pulled round a point of rock, and found a
very small harbour, partly formed by nature, partly by the
indefatigable labour of the ancient inhabitants of the castle, who,
as the fisherman observed, had found it essential for the
protection of their boats and small craft, thou-h it could not
receive vessels of any burden. The two points of rock which formed
the access approached each other so nearly, that only one boat
could enter at a time-. On each side were still remaining two
immense iron rings, deeply morticed into the solid rock. Through
these, according to tradition, there was nightly drawn a huge
chain, secured by an immense padlock, for the protection of the
haven, and the armada which it contained. A ledge of rock had, by
the assistance of the chisel and pick-axe, been formed into a sort
of quay. The rock was of extremely hard consistence, and the task
so difficult, that, according to the fisherman, a labourer who
wrought at the work might in the evening have carried home in his
bonnet all the shivers which he had struck from the mass in the
course of the day. This little quay communicated with a rude
staircase, already repeatedly mentioned, which descended from the
old castle. There was also a communication between the beach and
the quay, by scrambling over the rocks.
"Ye had better land here," said the lad, "for the surfs running
high at the Shellicoat-stane, and there will no be a dry thread
amang us or we get the cargo out.--Na! na! (in answer to an offer
of money) ye have wrought for your passage, and wrought far better
than ony o' us. Gude day to ye. . I wuss ye weel."
So saying, he pushed off in order to land his cargo on the opposite
side of the bay; and Brown, with a small bundle in his hand,
containing the trifling stock of necessaries which he had been
obliged to purchase at Allonby, was left on the rocks beneath the
And thus, unconscious as the most absolute stranger, and in
circumstances which, if not destitute, were for the present highly
embarrassing; without the countenance of a friend within the circle
of several hundred miles; accused of a heavy crime, and, what was
as bad as all the rest, being nearly penniless, did the harassed
wanderer for the first time, after the interval of so many years,
approach the remains of the castle, where his ancestors had
exercised all but regal dominion.
--Yes, ye moss-green walls, Ye towers defenceless, I
revisit ye Shame-stricken! Where are all your trophies
now? Your thronged courts, the revelry, the tumult, That
spoke the grandeur of my house, the homage Of neighbouring
Entering the castle of Ellangowan by a postern door-way, which
showed symptoms of having been once secured with the most jealous
care, Brown (whom, since he has set font upon the property of his
fathers, we shall hereafter call by his father's name of Bertram)
wandered from one ruined apartment to another, surprised at the
massive strength of some parts of the building, the rude and
impressive magnificence of others, and the great extent of the
whole. In two of these rooms, close beside each other, he saw
signs of recent habitation. In one small apartment were empty
bottles, half-gnawed bones, and dried fragments of bread. In the
vault which adjoined, and which was defended by a strong door, then
left open, he observed a considerable quantity of straw, and in
both were the relies of recent fires. How little was it possible
for Bertram to conceive, that such trivial circumstances were
closely connected with incidents affecting his prosperity, his
honour, perhaps his life!
After satisfying his curiosity by a hasty glance through the
interior of the castle, Bertram now advanced through the great
gateway which opened to the land, and paused to look upon the noble
landscape which it commanded. Having in vain endeavoured to guess
the position of Woodbourne, and having nearly ascertained that of
Kippletringan, he turned to take a parting look at the stately
ruins which he had just traversed. He admired the massive and
picturesque effect of the huge round towers, which, flanking the
gateway, gave a double portion of depth and majesty to the high yet
gloomy arch under which it opened. The, carved stone escutcheon of
the ancient family, bearing for their arms three wolves' heads, was
hung diagonally beneath the helmet and crest, the latter being a
wolf couchant pierced with an arrow. On either side stood as
supporters, in full human size, or larger, a salvage man proper, to
use the language of heraldry, wreathed and cinctured, and holding
in his hand an oak-tree eradicated, that is, torn up by the roots.
"And the powerful barons who owned this blazonry," thought Bertram,
pursuing the usual train of ideas which flows upon the mind at such
scenes,--"do their posterity continue to possess the lands which
they had laboured to fortify so strongly? or are they wanderers,
ignorant perhaps even of the fame or power of their forefathers,
while their hereditary possessions are held by a race of strangers?
Why is it?" he thought, continuing to follow out the succession of
ideas which the scene prompted, "why is it that some scenes awaken
thoughts, which belong as it were to dreams of early and shadowy
recollection, such as my old Brahmin Moonshie would have ascribed
to a state of previous existence? Is it the visions of our sleep
that float confusedly in our memory, and are recalled by the
appearance of such real objects as in any respect correspond to the
phantoms they presented to our imagination? How often do we find
ourselves in society which we have never before met, and yet feel
impressed with a mysterious and ill-defined consciousness, that
neither the scene, the speakers, nor the subject are entirely new;
nay, feel as if we could anticipate that part of the conversation
which has not yet taken place! It is even so with me while I gaze
upon that ruin; nor can I divest myself of the idea, that these
massive towers, and that dark gateway, retiring through its
deep-vaulted and ribbed arches, and dimly lighted by the courtyard
beyond, are not entirely strange to me. Can it be that they have
been familiar to me in infancy, and that I am to seek in their
vicinity those friends of whom my childhood has still a tender
though faint remembrance, and whom I early exchanged for such
severe taskmasters? Yet Brown, who I think would not have deceived
me, always told me I was brought off from the eastern coast, after
a skirmish in which my father was killed; and I do remember enough
of a horrid scene of violence to strengthen his account."
It happened that the spot upon which young Bertram chanced to
station himself for the better viewing the castle, was nearly the
same on which his father had died. It was marked by a large old
oak-tree, the only one on the esplanade, and which, having been
used for executions by the barons of Ellangowan, was called the
justice Tree. It chanced, and the coincidence was remarkable, that
Glossin was this morning engaged with a person, whom he was in the
habit of consulting in such matters, concerning some projected
repairs, and a large addition to the house of Ellangowan, and that,
having no great pleasure in remains so intimately connected with
the grandeur of the former inhabitants, he had resolved to use the
stones of the ruinous castle in his new edifice. Accordingly he
came up the bank, followed by the land-surveyor mentioned on a
former occasion, who was also in the habit of acting as a sort of
architect in case of necessity. In drawing the plans, etc.,
Glossin was in the custom of relying upon his own skill. Bertram's
back was towards them as they came up the ascent, and he was quite
shrouded by the branches of the large tree, so that Glossin was not
aware of the presence of the stranger till he was close upon him.
"Yes, sir, as I have often said before to you, the Old Place is a
perfect quarry of hewn stone, and it would be better for the estate
if it were all down, since it is only a den for smugglers. "At
this instant Bertram turned short round upon Glossin at the
distance of two yards only, and said--"Would you destroy this
fine old castle, sir?"
His face, person, and voice, were so exactly those of his father in
his best days, that Glossin, hearing his exclamation, and seeing
such a sudden apparition in the shape of his patron, and on nearly
the very spot where he had expired, almost thought the grave had
given up its dead! --He staggered back two or three paces, as if
he had received a sudden and deadly wound. He instantly recovered,
however, his presence of mind, stimulated by the thrilling
reflection that it was no inhabitant of the other world which stood
before him, but an injured man, whom the slightest want of
dexterity on his part might lead to acquaintance with his rights,
and the means of asserting them to his utter destruction. Yet his
ideas were so much confused by the shock he had received, that his
first question partook of the alarm.
"In the name of God how came you here?" said Glossin.
"How came I here?" repeated Bertram, surprised at the solemnity of
the address. "I landed a quarter of an hour since in the little
harbour beneath the castle, and was employing a moment's leisure in
viewing these fine ruins. I trust there is no intrusion?"
"Intrusion, sir?--no, sir," said Glossin, in some degree recovering
his breath, and then whispered a few words into his companion's
ear, who immediately left him, and descended towards the house.
"Intrusion, sir?--no, sir,--you or any gentleman are welcome to
satisfy your curiosity."
"I thank you, sir," said Bertram. "'They call this the Old Place,
I am informed?"
"Yes, sir; in distinction to the New Place, my house there below."
Glossin, it must be remarked, was, during the following dialogue,
an the one hand eager to learn what local recollections young
Bertram had retained of the scenes of his infancy, and, on the
other, compelled to be extremely cautious in his replies, lest he
should awaken or assist, by some name, phrase, or anecdote, the
slumbering train of association. He suffered, indeed, during the
whole scene, the agonies which he so richly, deserved; yet his
pride and interest, like the fortitude of a North American Indian,
manned him to sustain the tortures inflicted at once by the
contending stings of a guilty conscience, of hatred, of fear, and
"I wish to ask the name, sir," said Bertram, "of the family to whom
this stately ruin belongs?"
It is my property, sir; my name is Glossin."
"Glossin--Glossin?" repeated Bertram, as if the answer were
somewhat different from what he expected : "I beg your pardon, Mr.
Glossin; I am apt to be very absent.--May I ask if the castle has
been long in your family?"
"It was built, I believe, long ago, by a family called
MacDingawaie," answered Glossin; suppressing for obvious reasons
the more familiar sound of Bertram, which might have awakened the
recollections which he was anxious to lull to rest, and slurring
with an evasive answer the question concerning the endurance of his
"And how do you read the half-defaced motto, sir," said Bertram,
"which is upon that scroll above the entablature with the arms?"
"I--I--I really do not exactly know," replied Glossin.
"I should be apt to make it out, 'Our Right makes our Might.' "
"I believe it is something of that kind," said Glossin.
"May I ask, sir," said the stranger, "if it is your family motto?"
"N-n-no--no--not ours. That is, I believe, the motto of the former
people--mine is--mine is--in fact I have had some correspondence
with Mr. Cumming of the Lyon Office in Edinburgh about mine. He
writes me the Glossins anciently bore for a motto, 'He who takes
it, makes it.' "
"If there be any uncertainty, sir, and the case were mine," said
Bertram, "I would assume the old motto, which seems to me the
better of the two."
Glossin, whose tongue by this time clove to the roof of his mouth,
only answered by a nod.
"It is odd enough," said Bertram, fixing his eye upon the
arms and gateway, and partly addressing Glossin, partly as
it were thinking aloud--"it is odd the tricks which our
memory plays us. The remnants of an old prophecy, or song,
or rhyme, of some kind or other, return to my recollection
on hearing that motto--stay--it is a strange jingle of
The dark shall be light,
And the wrong made right,
When Bertram's right and Bertram's might
Shall meet on--
I cannot remember the last line--on some particular height--
height is the rhyme, I am sure; but I cannot hit upon the preceding
"Confound your memory," muttered Glossin, "you remember by far too
much of it!"
"There are other rhymes connected with these early recollections,"
continued the young man : "Pray, sir, is there any song current in
this part of the world respecting a daughter of the King of the
Isle of Man eloping with a Scottish knight?"
"I am the worst person in the world to consult upon legendary
antiquities," answered Glossin.
"I could sing such a ballad," said Bertram, "from one end to
another, when I was a boy. You must know I left Scotland, which is
my native country, very young, and those who brought me up
discouraged all my attempts to preserve recollection of my native
land, on account, I believe, of a boyish wish which I had to escape
from their charge."
"Very natural," said Glossin, but speaking as if his utmost efforts
were unable to unseal his lips beyond the width of a quarter of an
inch, so that his whole utterance was a kind of compressed
muttering, very different from the round, bold, bullying voice with
which he usually spoke. Indeed his appearance and demeanour during
all this conversation seemed to diminish even his strength and
stature; so that he appeared to wither into the shadow of himself,
now advancing one foot, now the other, now stooping and wriggling
his shoulders, now fumbling with the buttons of his waistcoat, now
clasping his hands together,--in short, he was the picture of a
mean-spirited shuffling rascal in the very agonies of detection. To
these appearances Bertram was totally inattentive,--being dragged
on as it were by the current of his own associations. Indeed,
although he addressed Glossin, he was not so much thinking of him,
as arguing upon the embarrassing state of his own feelings and
recollection. "Yes," he said, "I preserved my language among the
sailors, most of whom spoke English, and when I could get into a
corner by myself, I used to sing all that song over from beginning
to end--I have forgot it all now--but I remember the tune well,
though I cannot guess what should at present so strongly recall it
to my memory."
He took his flageolet from his pocket, and played a simple melody.
Apparently the tune awoke the corresponding associations of a
damsel, who, close beside a fine spring about half-way down the
descent, and which had once supplied the castle with water, was
engaged in bleaching linen. She immediately took up the song:
"Are these the Links of Forth, she said, Or are they the crooks of
Dee. Or the hannie woods of Warroch Head That I so fain would
"By heaven," said Bertram, "it is the very ballad. I must learn
these words from the girl."
"Confusion!" thought Glossin; "if I cannot put a stop to this, all
will be out. Oh, the devil take all ballads, and ballad-makers,
and ballad-singers! and that d-d jade too, to set up her
pipe!--You will have time enough for this on some other occasion,"
he said aloud; "at present"--(for now he saw his emissary with two
or three men coming up the bank),--"at present we must have some
more serious conversation together."
"How do you mean, sir?" said Bertram, turning short upon him, and
not liking the tone which he made use of.
"Why, sir, as to that--I believe your name is Brown?" said Glossin.
"And what of that, sir?"
Glossin looked over his shoulder to see how near his party had
approached; they were coming fast on.
"Vanbeest Brown? if I mistake not."
"And what of that, sir?" said Bertram, with increasing astonishment
"Why, in that case," said Glossin, observing his friends had now
got upon the level space close beside them--"in that case you are
my prisoner in the king's name!"--At the same time he stretched his
hand towards Bertram's collar, while two of the men who had come up
seized upon his arms; he shook himself, however, free of their
grasp by a violent effort, in which he pitched the most
pertinacious down the bank, and, drawing his cutlass, stood on the
defensive, while those who had felt his strength recoiled from his
presence, and gazed at a safe distance. "Observe," he called out
at the same time, "that I have no purpose to resist legal
authority; satisfy me that you have a magistrates warrant, and are
authorised to make this arrest, and I will obey it quietly; but let
no man who loves his life venture to approach me, till I am
satisfied for what crime, and by whose authority, I am
Glossin then caused one of the officers show a warrant for the
apprehension of Vanbeest Brown, accused of the crime of wilfully
and maliciously shooting at Charles Hazlewood, younger of
Hazlewood, with an intent to kill, and also of other crimes and
misdemeanours, and which appointed him, having been so apprehended,
to be brought before the next magistrate for examination. The
warrant being formal, and the fact such as he could not deny,
Bertram threw down his weapon, and submitted himself to the
officers, who, flying on him with eagerness corresponding to their
former pusillanimity, were about to load him with irons, alleging
the strength and activity which he had displayed, as a
justification of this severity. But Glossin was ashamed or afraid
to permit this unnecessary insult, and directed the prisoner to be
treated with all the decency, and even respect, that was consistent
with safety. Afraid, however, to introduce him into his own house,
where still further subjects of recollection might have been
suggested, and anxious at the same time to cover his own
proceedings by the sanction of another's authority, he ordered his
carriage (for he had lately set up a carriage) to be got ready, and
in the meantime directed refreshments to be given to the prisoner
and the officers, who were consigned to one of the rooms in the old
castle, until the means of conveyance for examination before a
magistrate should be provided.
--Bring in the evidence--Thou robed man of justice,
take thy place, And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity, Bench
by his side--you are of the commission, Sit you too.
While the carriage was getting ready, Glossin had a letter to
compose, about which. he wasted no small time. It was to his
neighbour, as he was fond of calling him, Sir Robert Hazlewood of
Hazlewood, the head of an ancient and powerful interest in the
county, which had in the decadence of the Ellangowan family
gradually succeeded to much of their Authority and influence. The
present representative of the family was an elderly man, dotingly
fond of his own family, which was limited to an only son and
daughter, and stoically indifferent to the fate of all mankind
besides. For the rest, he was honourable in his general dealings,
because he was afraid to suffer the censure of the world, and just
from a better motive. He was presumptuously over-conceited on the
score of family pride and importance, a feeling considerably
enhanced by his late succession to the title of a Nova Scotia
Baronet; and he hated the memory of the Ellangowan family, though
now a memory only, because a certain baron of that house was
traditionally, reported to have caused the founder of the Hazlewood
family hold his stirrup until he mounted into his saddle. In his
general department he was pompous and important, affecting a
specious of florid elocution, which often became ridiculous from
his misarranging the triads and quaternions with which he loaded
To this personage Glossin was now to write in such a conciliatory
style as might be most acceptable to his vanity and family pride,
and the following was the form of his note.
"Mr. Gilbert Glossin" (he longed to add of Ellangowan, but prudence
prevailed, and he suppressed that territorial designation)--"Mr.
Gilbert Glossin has the honour to offer his most respectful
compliments to Sir Robert Hazlewood, and to inform him, that he has
this morning been fortunate enough to secure the person who wounded
Mr. C. Hazlewood. As Sir Robert Hazlewood may probably choose to
conduct the examination of this criminal himself, Mr. G. Glossin
will cause the mail to be carried to the inn at Kippletringan, or
to Hazlewood House, as Sir Robert Hazlewood may be pleased to
direct : And, with Sir Robert Hazlewood's permission, Mr. G.
Glossin will attend him at either of these places with the proofs
and declarations which he has been so fortunate as to collect
respecting this atrocious business."
"Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood, Bart. "Hazlewood House, &c.
This note he despatched by a servant on horseback, and having given
the man some time to get ahead, and desired him to ride fast, he
ordered two officers of justice to get into the carriage with
Bertram; and he himself, mounting his horse, accompanied them at a
slow pace to the point where the roads to Kippletringan and
Hazlewood House separated, and there awaited the return of his
messenger, in order that his farther route might be determined by
the answer he should receive from the Baronet. In about half an
hour his servant returned with the following answer, handsomely
folded, and scaled with the Hazlewood arms, having the Nova Scotia
badge depending from the shield.
"Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood returns Mr. G. Glossin's
compliments, and thanks him for the trouble he has taken in a
matter affecting the safety of Sir Robert's family. Sir R. H.
requests Mr. G. G. will have the goodness to bring the prisoner
to Hazlewood House for examination, with the other proofs or
declarations which he mentions. And after the business is over, in
case Mr. G. G. is not otherwise engaged, Sir R. and Lady
Hazlewood request his company to dinner."
"Mr. Gilbert Glossin, &c.
"Soh!" thought Mr. Glossin, "here is one finger in at least, and
that I will make the means of introducing my whole hand. But I must
first get clear of this wretched young fellow.--I think I can
manage Sir Robert. He is dull and pompous, and will be alike
disposed to listen to my suggestions upon the law of the case, and
to assume the credit of acting upon them as his own proper motion.
So I shall have the advantage of being the real magistrate, without
the odium of responsibility."
As he cherished these hopes and expectations the carriage
approached Hazlewood House, through a noble avenue of old oaks,
which shrouded the ancient abbey-resembling building so called. It
was a large edifice built at different periods, part having
actually been a priory, upon the suppression of which, in the time
of Queen Mary, the first of the family had obtained a gift of the
house and the surrounding lands from the crown. It was pleasantly
situated in a large deer-park, on the banks of the river we have
before mentioned. The scenery around was of a dark, solemn, and
somewhat melancholy cast, according well with the architecture of
the house. Everything appeared to be kept in the highest possible
order, and announced the opulence and rank of the proprietor.
As Mr. Glossin's carriage stopped at the door of the hall, Sir
Robert reconnoitred the new vehicle from the windows. According to
his aristocratic feelings, there was a degree of presumption in
this novus homo, this Mr. Gilbert Glossin, late writer in--,
presuming to set up such an accommodation at all; but his wrath was
mitigated when he observed that the mantle upon the panels only
bore a plain cypher of G. G. This apparent modesty was indeed
solely owing to the delay of Mr. Cumming of the Lyon Office, who,
being at that time engaged in discovering and matriculating the
arms of two commissaries from North America, three English-Irish
peers, and two great Jamaica traders, had been more slow than usual
in finding an escutcheon for the new Laird of Ellangowan. But his
delay told to the advantage of Glossin in the opinion of the proud
While the officers of justice detained their prisoner in a sort of
steward's room, Mr. Glossin was ushered into what was called the
great oak-parlour, a long room, panelled with well-varnished
wainscot, and adorned with the grim portraits of Sir Robert
Hazlewood's ancestry. The visitor, who had no internal
consciousness of worth to balance that of meanness of birth, felt
his inferiority, and by the depth of his bow and the obsequiousness
of his demeanour, showed that the Laird of Ellangowan was sunk for
the time in the old and submissive habits of the quondam retainer
of the law. He would have persuaded himself, indeed, that he was
only humouring the pride of the old Baronet, for the purpose of
turning it to his own advantage; but his feelings were of a mingled
nature, and he felt the influence of those very prejudices which he
pretended to flatter.
The Baronet received his visitor with that condescending parade
which was meant at once to assert his own vast superiority, and to
show the generosity and courtesy with which he could waive it, and
descend to the level of ordinary conversation with ordinary men. He
thanked Glossin for his attention to a matter in which "young
Hazlewood" was so intimately concerned, and, pointing to his family
pictures, observed, with a gracious smile, "Indeed these venerable
gentlemen, Mr. Glossin, are as much obliged as I am in this case,
for the labour, pains, care, and trouble which you have taken in
their behalf; and I have no doubt, were they capable of expressing
themselves, would join me, sir, in thanking you for the favour you
have conferred upon the house of Hazlewood, by taking care, and
trouble, sir, and interest, in behalf of the young, gentleman who
is to continue their name and family."
Thrice bowed Glossin, and each time more profoundly than before;
once in honour of the knight who stood upright before him, once in
respect to the quiet personages who patiently hung upon the
wainscot, and a third time in deference to the young gentleman who
was to carry on the name and family. Roturier as he was, Sir
Robert was gratified by the homage which he rendered, and proceeded
in a tone of gracious familiarity: "And now, Mr Glossin, my
exceeding good friend, you must allow me to avail myself of your
knowledge of law in our proceedings in this matter. I am not much
in the habit of acting as a justice of the peace; it suits better
with other gentlemen, whose domestic and family affairs require
less constant superintendence, attention, and management than
Of course, whatever small assistance Mr. Glossin could render was
entirely at Sir Robert Hazlewood's service; but, as Sir Robert
Hazlewood's name stood high in the list of the faculty, the said
Mr. Glossin could not presume to hope it could be either necessary
"Why, my good sir, you will understand me only to mean, that I am
something deficient in the practical knowledge of the ordinary
details of justice-business. I was indeed educated to the bar, and
might boast perhaps at one time, that I had made some progress in
the speculative, and abstract, and abstruse doctrines of our
municipal code; but there is in the present day so little
opportunity of a man of family and fortune rising to that eminence
at the bar, which is attained by adventurers who are as willing to
plead for John a Nokes as for the first noble of the land, that I
was really early disgusted with practice. The first case, indeed,
which was laid on my table, quite sickened me; it respected a
bargain, sir, of tallow, between a butcher and. a candle-maker; and
I found it was expected that I should grease my mouth, not only
with their vulgar names, but with all the technical terms and
phrases, and peculiar language, of their dirty arts. Upon my
honour, my good sir, I have never been able to bear the smell of a
Pitying, as seemed to be expected, the mean use to which the
Baronet's faculties had been degraded on the melancholy occasion,
Mr, Glossin offered to officiate as clerk or assessor, or in any
way in which he could be most useful. "And with a view to
possessing you of the whole business, and in the first place, there
will, I believe, be no difficulty in proving the main fact, that
this was the person who fired the unhappy piece. Should he deny
it, it can be proved by Mr. Hazlewood, I presume."
"Young Hazlewood is not at home to-day, Mr. Glossin."
"But we can have the oath of the servant who attended him," said
the ready Mr. Glossin; "indeed I hardly think the fact will be
disputed. I am more apprehensive, that, from the too favourable
and indulgent manner in which I have understood that Mr. Hazlewood
has been pleased to represent the business, the assault may be
considered as accidental, and the injury as unintentional, so that
the fellow may be immediately set at liberty, to do more mischief."
"I have not the honour to know the gentleman who now holds the
office of king's advocate," replied Sir Robert gravely; "but I
presume, sir--nay, I am confident, that he will consider the mere
fact of having wounded young Hazlewood of Hazlewood, even by
inadvertency, to take the matter in its mildest and gentlest, and
in its most favourable and improbable light, as a crime which will
be too easily atoned by imprisonment, and as more deserving of
"Indeed, Sir Robert," said his assenting brother in justice, "I am
entirely of your opinion; but, I don't know how it is, I have
observed the Edinburgh gentlemen of the bar, and even the officers
of the crown, pique themselves upon an indifferent administration
of justice, without respect to rank and family; and I should
"How, sir, without respect to rank and family? Will you tell me
that doctrine can be held by men of birth and legal education? No,
sir; if a trifle stolen in the street is termed mere pickery, but
is elevated into sacrilege if the crime be committed in a church,
so, according to the just gradations of society, the guilt of an
injury is enhanced by the rank of the person to whom it is offered,
done, or perpetrated, sir."
Glossin bowed low to this declaration ex cathedra, but observed,
that in case of the very worst, and of such unnatural doctrines
being actually held as he had already hinted, "the law had another
hold on Mr. Vanbeest Brown."
"Vanbeest Brown! is that the fellow's name? Good God! that young
Hazlewood of Hazlewood should have had his life endangered, the
clavicle of his right shoulder considerably lacerated and
dislodged, several large drops or slugs deposited in the acromion
process, as the account of the family surgeon expressly bears, and
all by an obscure wretch named Vanbeest Brown!"
"Why, really, Sir Robert, it is a thing which one can hardly bear
to think of; but, begging ten thousand pardons for resuming what I
was about to say, a person of the same name is, as appears from
these papers (producing Dirk Hatteraick's pocket-book), mate to the
smuggling vessel who offered such violence at Woodbourne, and I
have no doubt that this is the same individual; which, however,
your acute discrimination will easily be able to ascertain."
"The same, my good sir, he must assuredly be--it would be injustice
even to the meanest of the people, to suppose there could be found
among them two persons doomed to bear a name so shocking to one's
ears as this of Vanbeest Brown."
"True, Sir Robert; most unquestionably; there cannot be a shadow of
doubt of it. But you see further, that this circumstance accounts
for the man's desperate conduct. You, Sir Robert, will discover
the motive for his crime--you, I say, will discover it without
difficulty, on your giving your mind to the examination; for my
part, I cannot help suspecting the moving spring to have been
revenge for the gallantry with which Mr. Hazlewood, with all the
spirit of his renowned forefathers, defended the house at
Woodbourne against this villain and his lawless companions."
"I will inquire into it, my good sir," said the learned Baronet.
"Yet even now I venture to conjecture that I shall adopt the
solution or explanation of this riddle, enigma, or mystery, which
you have in some degree thus started. Yes! revenge it must
be--and, good Heaven! entertained by and against
whom?--entertained, fostered, cherished, against young Hazlewood of
Hazlewood, and in part carried into effect, executed, and
implemented, by the hand of Vanbeest Brown! These are dreadful days
indeed, my worthy neighbour (this epithet indicated a rapid advance
in the Baronet's good graces)--days when the bulwarks of society
are shaken to their mighty base, and that rank, which forms, as it
were, its highest grace and ornament, is mingled and confused with
the viler parts of the architecture. Oh, my good Mr. Gilbert
Glossin, in my time, sir, the use of swords and pistols, and such
honourable arms, were reserved by the nobility and gentry to
themselves, and the disputes of the vulgar were decided by the
weapons which nature had given them, or by cudgels cut, broken, or
hemmed out of the next wood. But now, sir, the clouted [*Patched ]
shoe of the peasant galls the kibe of the courtier. The lower
ranks have their quarrels, sir, and their points of honour, and
their revenges, which they must bring, forsooth, to fatal
arbitrament. But well, well! it will last my time--let us have in
this fellow, this Vanbeest Brown, and make an end of him at least
for the present."
--'Twas he ye Gave heat unto the injury, which returned,
Like a petard ill lighted, into the bosom Of him gave fire
to't. Yet I hope his hurt Is not so dangerous but he may
recover. Fair Maid of the Inn.
The prisoner was now presented before the two worshipful
magistrates. Glossin, partly from some compunctious visitings, and
partly out of his cautious resolution to suffer Sir Robert
Hazlewood to be the ostensible manager of the whole examination,
looked down upon the table, and busied himself with reading and,
arranging the papers respecting the business, only now and then
throwing in a skilful catchword as prompter, when he saw the
principal, and apparently most active magistrate, stand in need of
a hint. As for Sir Robert Hazlewood, he assumed on his part a
happy mixture of the austerity of the justice, combined with the
display of personal dignity appertaining to the baronet of ancient
"There, constables, let him stand there at the bottom of the
table.--Be so good as look me in the face, sir, and raise your
voice as you answer the questions which I am going to put to you."
"May I beg, in the first place, to know, sir, who it is that takes
the trouble to interrogate me?" said the prisoner; "for the honest
gentlemen who have brought me here have not been pleased to furnish
any information upon that point."
"And pray, sir," answered Sir Robert, "what has my name and quality
to do with the questions I am about to ask you?"
"Nothing, perhaps, sir," replied Bertram but it may considerably
influence my disposition to answer them."
"Why, then, sir, you will please to be informed that you are in
presence of Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood, and another justice
of peace for this county--that's all."
As this intimation produced a less stunning effect upon the
prisoner than he had anticipated, Sir Robert proceeded in his
investigation with an increasing dislike to the object of it.
"Is your name Vanbeest Brown, sir?"
"It is," answered the prisoner.
"So far well;--and how are we to design you further, sir?"
demanded the justice.
"Captain in his Majesty's regiment of horse," answered Bertram.
The Baronet's ears received this intimation with astonishment; but
he was refreshed in courage by an incredulous look from Glossin,
and by hearing him gently utter a sort of interjectional whistle,
in a note of surprise and contempt. "I believe, my friend," said
Sir Robert, "we shall find for you, before we part, a more humble
"If you do, sir," replied his prisoner, "I shall willingly submit
to any punishment which such an imposture shall be thought to
"Well, sir, we shall see," continued Sir Robert. "Do you know
young Hazlewood of Hazlewood?"
"I never saw the gentleman who I am informed bears that name
excepting once, and I regret that it was under very unpleasant
"You mean to acknowledge, then," said the Baronet, "that you
inflicted upon young Hazlewood of Hazlewood that wound which
endangered his life, considerably lacerated the clavicle of his
right shoulder, and deposited, as the family surgeon declares,
several large drops. or slugs in the acromion process?"
"Why, sir," replied Bertram, "I can only say I am equally ignorant
of and sorry for the extent of the damage which the young gentleman
has sustained. I met him in a narrow path, walking with two ladies
and a servant, and before I could either pass them or address them,
this young Hazlewood took his gun from his servant, presented it
against my body, and commanded me in the most haughty tone to stand
back. I was neither inclined to submit to his authority, nor to
leave him in possession of the means to injure me, which he seemed
disposed to use with such rashness. I therefore closed with him
for the purpose of disarming him; and just as I had nearly effected
my purpose, the piece went off accidentally, and, to my regret then
and since, inflicted upon the young gentleman a severer
chastisement than I desired, though I am glad to understand it is
like to prove no more than his unprovoked folly deserved."
"And so, sir," said the Baronet, every feature swollen with
offended dignity,--"You, sir, admit, sir, that it was your purpose,
sir, and your intention, sir, and the real jet and object of your
assault, sir, to disarm young Hazlewood of Hazlewood of his gun,
sir, or his fowling-piece, or his fuzee, or whatever you please to
call it, sir, upon the king's highway, sir?--I think this will do,
my worthy neighbour! I think he should stand committed?"
"You are by far the best judge, Sir Robert," said Glossin, in his
most insinuating tone; "but if I might presume to hint, there was
something about these smugglers."
"Very true, good sir.--And besides, sir, you, Vanbeest Brown, who
call yourself a captain in his Majesty's service, are no better or
worse than a rascally mate of a smuggler!"
"Really, sir," said Bertram, "you are an old gentleman, and acting
under some strange delusion, otherwise I should be very angry with
"Old gentleman, sir! strange delusion, sir!" said Sir Robert,
colouring with indignation. "I protest and declare--Why, sir,
have you any papers or letters that can establish your pretended
rank, and estate, and commission?"
"None at present, sir," answered Bertram; "but in the return of a
post or two--"
"And how do you, sir," continued the Baronet, "if you are a captain
in his Majesty's service, how do you chance to be travelling in
Scotland without letters of introduction, credentials, baggage, or
anything belonging to your pretended rank, estate, and condition,
as I said before?"
"Sir," replied the prisoner, "I had the misfortune to be robbed of
my clothes and baggage."
"Oho! then you are the gentleman who took a post-chaise from--to
Kippletringan, gave the boy the slip on the road, and sent two of
your accomplices to beat the boy and bring away the baggage?"
"I was, sir, in a carriage as you describe, was obliged to alight
in the snow, and lost my way endeavouring to find the road to
Kippletringan. The landlady of the inn will inform you that on my
arrival there the next day, my first inquiries were after the boy."
"Then give me leave to ask where you spent the night--not in the
snow, I presume? you do not suppose that will pass, or be taken,
credited, and received?"
"I beg leave," said Bertram, his recollection turning to the gipsy
female, and to the promise he had given her, "I beg leave to
decline answering that question."
"I thought as much," said Sir Robert.--"Were you not during that
night in the ruins of Derncleugh?--in the ruins of Derncleugh,
"I have told you that I do not intend answering that question,"
"Well, sir, then you will stand committed, sir." said Sir Robert,
"and be sent to prison, sir, that's all, sir.--Have the goodness
to look at these papers; are you the Vanbeest Brown who is there
It must be remarked that Glossin had shuffled among the papers some
writings which really did belong to Bertram, and which had been
found by the officers in the old vault where his portmanteau was
"Some of these papers," said Bertram, looking over them, "are mine,
and were in my portfolio when it was stolen from the post-chaise.
They are memoranda of little value, and, I see, have been carefully
selected as affording no evidence of my rank or character, which
many of the other papers would have established fully. They are
mingled with ship-accounts and other papers, belonging apparently
to a person of the same name."
"And wilt thou attempt to persuade me, friend," demanded Sir
Robert, "that there are two persons in this country, at the same
time, of thy very uncommon and awkwardly sounding name?"
"I really do not see, sir, as there is an old Hazlewood and a young
Hazlewood, why there should not be an old and a young Vanbeest
Brown. And, to speak seriously, I was educated in Holland, and I
know that this name, however uncouth it may sound in British
Glossin, conscious that the prisoner was now about to enter upon
dangerous ground, interfered, though the interruption was
unnecessary, for the purpose of diverting the attention of Sir
Robert Hazlewood, who was speechless and motionless with
indignation at the presumptuous comparison implied in Bertram's
last speech. In fact, the veins of his throat and of his temples
swelled almost to bursting, and he sat with the indignant and
disconcerted air of one who has received a mortal insult from a
quarter to which he holds it unmeet and indecorous to make any
reply. While with a bent brow and an angry eye he was drawing in
his breath slowly and majestically, and puffing it forth again with
deep and solemn exertion, Glossin stepped in to his assistance. "I
should think now, Sir Robert, with great submission, that this
matter may be closed. One of the constables, besides the pregnant
proof already produced, offers to make oath, that the sword of
which the prisoner was this morning deprived (while using it, by
the way, in resistance to a legal warrant) was a cutlass taken from
him in a fray between the officers and smugglers, just previous to
their attack upon Woodbourne. And yet," he added, "I would not
have you form any rash construction upon that subject; perhaps the
young man can explain how he came by that weapon."
"That question, sir," said Bertram, "I shall also leave
"There is yet another circumstance to be inquired into, always
under Sir Robert's leave," insinuated Glossin. "This prisoner put
into the hands of Mrs. Mac-Candlish of Kippletringan a parcel
containing a variety of gold coins and valuable articles of
different kinds. Perhaps, Sir Robert, you might think it right to
ask, how he came by property of a description which seldom occurs?"
"You, sir, Mr, Vanbeest Brown, sir, you hear the question, sir,
which the gentleman asks you?"
"I have particular reasons for declining to answer that question,"
"Then I am afraid, sir," said Glossin, who had brought matters to
the point he desired to reach, "our duty must lay us under the
necessity to sign a warrant of committal."
"As you please, sir," answered Bertram; "take care, however, what
you do. Observe that I inform you that I am a captain in his
Majesty's--regiment, and that I am just returned from India, and
therefore cannot possibly be connected with any of those contraband
traders you talk of; that my Lieutenant-Colonel is now at
Nottingham, the Major, with the officers of my corps, at
Kingston-upon-Thames. I offer before you both to submit to any
degree of ignominy, if, within the return of the Kingston and
Nottingham posts, I am not able to establish these points. Or you
may write to the agent for the regiment, if you please, and--"
"This is all very well," said Glossin, beginning to fear lest the
firm expostulation of Bertram should make some impression on Sir
Robert, who would almost have died of shame at committing such a
solecism as sending a captain of horse to jail--"This is all very
well, sir; but is there no person nearer whom you could refer to?"
"There are only two persons in this country who know anything of
me," replied the prisoner. "One is a plain Liddesdale
sheep-farmer, called Dinmont of Charlies-hope; but he knows nothing
more of me than what I told him, and what I now tell you."
"Why, this is well enough, Sir Robert!" said Glossin, "I suppose he
would bring forward this thick-skulled fellow to give his oath of
credulity, Sir Robert, ha, ha, ha!"
"And what is your other witness, friend?" said the Baronet.
"A gentleman whom I have some reluctance to mention, because of
certain private reasons; but under whose command I served some time
in India, and who is too much a man of honour to refuse his
testimony to my character as a soldier and gentleman."
"And who is this doughty witness, pray, sir?" said Sir
Robert,--"some half-pay quarter-master or sergeant, I suppose?"
"Colonel Guy Mannering, late of tile--regiment, in which, as I told
you, I have a troop."
"Colonel Guy Mannering!" thought Glossin,--"who the devil could
have guessed this?"
"Colonel Guy Mannering!" echoed the Baronet, considerably shaken in
his opinion,--"My good sir,"--apart to Glossin, "the young man with
a dreadfully plebeian name, and a good deal of modest assurance,
has nevertheless something of the tone, and manners, and feeling of
a gentleman, of one at least who has lived in good society--they do
give commissions very loosely, and carelessly, and inaccurately, in
India--I think we had better pause till Colonel Mannering shall
return; he is now, I believe, at Edinburgh."
"You are in every respect the best judge, Sir Robert," answered
Glossin, "in every possible respect. I would only submit to you,
that we are certainly hardly entitled to dismiss this man upon an
assertion which cannot be satisfied by proof, and that we shall
incur a heavy responsibility by detaining him in private custody,
without committing him to a public jail. Undoubtedly, however, you
are the best judge, Sir Robert;--and I would only say, for my own
part, that I very lately incurred severe censure by detaining a
person in a place which I thought perfectly secure, and under the
custody of the proper officers. The man made his escape, and I
have no doubt my own character for attention and circumspection as
a magistrate has in some degree suffered--I only hint this--I will
join in any step you, Sir Robert, think most advisable." But Mr.
Glossin was well aware that such a hint was of power sufficient to
decide the motions of his self-important, but not self-relying
colleague. So that Sir Robert Hazlewood summed up the business in
the following speech, which proceeded partly upon the supposition
of the prisoner being really a gentleman, and partly upon the
opposite belief that he was a villain and an assassin.
"Sir, Mr. Vanbeest Brown--I would call you Captain Brown if there
was the least reason, or cause, or grounds to suppose that you are
a captain, or had a troop in the very respectable corps you
mention, or indeed in any other corps in his Majesty's service, as
to which circumstance I beg to be understood to give no positive,
settled, or unalterable judgment, declaration, or opinion. I say
therefore, sir, Mr. Brown, we have determined, considering the
unpleasant predicament in which you now stand, having been robbed,
as you say, an assertion as to which I suspend my opinion, and
being possessed of much and valuable treasure, and of a
brass-handled cutlass besides, as to your obtaining which you will
favour us with no explanation--I say, sir, we have determined and
resolved, and made up our minds, to commit you to jail, or rather
to assign you an apartment therein, in order that you may be
forthcoming upon Colonel Mannering's return from Edinburgh."
"With humble submission, Sir Robert," said Glossin, "may I inquire
if it is your purpose to send this young gentleman to the county
jail?--for if that were not your settled intention, I would take
the liberty to hint, that there would be less hardship in sending
him to the Bridewell at Portanferry, where he can be secured
without public exposure; a circumstance which, on the mere chance
of his story being really true, is much to be avoided."
"Why, there is a guard of soldiers at Portanferry, to be sure, for
protection of the goods in the Custom-house; and upon the whole,
considering everything, and that the place is comfortable for such
a place, I say all things considered, we will commit this person, I
would rather say authorise him to be detained, in the workhouse at
The warrant was made out accordingly, and Bertram was informed he
was next morning to be removed to his place of confinement, as Sir
Robert had determined he should not be taken there under cloud of
night, for fear of rescue. He was, during the interval, to be
detained at Hazlewood House.
"It cannot be so hard as my imprisonment by the Looties in India,"
he thought; "nor can it last so long. But the deuce take the old
formal dunderhead, and his more sly associate, who speaks always
under his breath,--they cannot understand a plain man's story when
it is told them."
In the meanwhile Glossin took leave of the Baronet, with a thousand
respectful bows and cringing apologies for not accepting his
invitation to dinner, and venturing to hope he might be pardoned in
paying his respects to him, Lady Hazlewood, and young Mr.
Hazlewood, on some future occasion.
"Certainly, sir," said the Baronet, very graciously. I hope our
family was never at any time deficient in civility to our
neighbours; and when I ride that way, good Mr. Glossin, I will
convince you of this by calling at your house as familiarly as is
consistent--that is, as can be hoped or expected."
"And now," said Glossin to himself, "to find Dirk Hatteraick and
his people,--to get the guard sent off from the Custom-house,--and
then for the grand cast of the dice. Everything must depend upon
speed. How lucky that Mannering has betaken himself to Edinburgh!
His knowledge of this young fellow is a most perilous addition to
my dangers,"--here he suffered his horse to slacken his
pace--"What if I should try to compound with the heir?--It's likely
he might be brought to pay a round sum for restitution, and I could
give up Hatteraick--But no, no, no! there were too many eyes on me,
Hatteraick himself, and the gipsy sailor, and that old hag--No, no!
I must stick to my original plan. "And with that he struck his
spurs against his horse's flanks, and rode forward at a hard trot
to put his machines in motion.
A prison is a house of care, A place where none can thrive,
A touchstone true to try a friend, A grave for one alive.
Sometimes a place of right, Sometimes a place of wrong,
Sometimes a place of rogues and thieves, And honest men
among. Inscription on Edinburgh Tollbooth.
Early on the following morning, the carriage which had brought
Bertram to Hazlewood House, was, with his two silent and surly
attendants, appointed to convey him to his place of confinement at
Portanferry. This building adjoined to the Custom-house
established at that little seaport, and both were situated so close
to the sea-beach that it was necessary to defend the back part with
a large and strong rampart or bulwark of huge stones, disposed in a
slope towards the surf, which often reached and broke upon them.
The front was surrounded by a high wall, enclosing a small
courtyard, within which the miserable inmates of the mansion were
occasionally permitted to take exercise and air. The prison was
used as a House of Correction, and sometimes as a chapel of case
to the county jail, which was old, and far from being conveniently
situated with reference to the Kippletringan district of the
county. Mac-Guffog, the officer by whom Bertram had at first been
apprehended, and who was now in attendance upon him, was keeper of
this palace of little-ease. He caused the carriage to be drawn
close up to the outer gate, and got out himself to summon the
warders. The noise of his rap alarmed some twenty or thirty ragged
boys, who left off sailing their mimic sloops and frigates in the
little pools of salt water left by the receding tide, and hastily
crowded round the vehicle to see what luckless being was to be
delivered to the prison-house out of "Glossin's braw new
carriage." The door of the courtyard, after the heavy clanking of
many chains and bars, was opened by Mrs. MacGuffog, an awful
spectacle, being a woman for strength and resolution capable of
maintaining order among her riotous inmates, and of administering
the discipline of the house, as it was called, during the absence
of her husband, or when he chanced to have taken an overdose of the
creature. The growling voice of this Amazon, which rivalled in
harshness the crashing music of her own bolts and bars, soon
dispersed in every direction the little varlets who had thronged
around her threshold, and she next addressed her amiable
"Be sharp, man, and get out the swell, canst thou not?"
"Hold your tongue and be d-d, you--," answered her loving husband,
with two additional epithets of great energy, but which we beg to
be excused from repeating. Then, addressing Bertram:
"Come, will you get out, my handy lad, or must we lend you a lift?"
Bertram came out of the carriage, and, collared by the constable as
he put his foot on the ground, was dragged, though he offered no
resistance, across the threshold, amid the continued shouts of the
little sans-culottes, who looked on at such distance as their fear
of Mrs. Mac-Guffog permitted. The instant his foot had crossed the
fatal porch, the portress again dropped her chains, drew her bolts,
and turning with both hands an immense key, took it from the lock,
and thrust it into a huge side-pocket of red cloth.
Bertram was now in the small court already mentioned. Two or three
prisoners were sauntering along the pavement, and deriving as it
were a feeling of refreshment from the monetary glimpse with which
the opening door had extended their prospect to the other side of a
dirty street. Nor can this he thought surprising, when it is
considered, that, unless on such occasions, their view was confined
to the grated front of their prison, the high and sable walls of
the courtyard, the heaven above them, and the pavement beneath
their feet; a sameness of landscape, which, to use the poet's
expression, "lay like a load on the wearied eye," and had fostered
in some a callous and dull misanthropy, in others that sickness of
the heart which induces him who is immured already in a living
grave, to wish for a sepulchre yet more calm and sequestered.
Mac-Guffog, when they entered the courtyard, suffered Bertram to
pause for a minute, and look upon his companions in affliction.
When he had cast his eye around, on faces on which guilt, and
despondence, and low excess, had fixed their stigma; upon the
spendthrift, and the swindler, and the thief, the bankrupt debtor,
the "moping idiot, and the madman gay," whom a paltry spirit of
economy congregated to share this dismal habitation, he felt his
heart recoil with inexpressible loathing from enduring the
contamination of their society even for a moment.
"I hope, sir," he said to the keeper "you intend to assign me a
place of confinement apart?
"And what should I be the better of that?"
"Why, sir I can but be detained here a day or two, and it would be
very disagreeable to me to mix in the sort of company this place
"And what do I care for that?"
"Why, then, sir, to speak to your feelings," said Bertram, "I shall
be willing to make you a handsome compliment for this indulgence."
"Ay, but when, Captain? when and how? that's the question, or
rather, the twa questions," said the jailor.
"When I am delivered, and get my remittances from England,"
answered the prisoner.
Mac-Guffog shook his head incredulously. "Why, friend, you do not
pretend to believe that I am really a malefactor?" said Bertram.
"Why, I no ken," said the fellow; "but if you are on the account,
ye're nae sharp ane, that's the daylight o't."
"And why do you say I am no sharp one?"
"Why, wha but a crack-brained greenhorn wad hae let them keep up
the siller that ye left at the Gordon Arms?" said the constable.
"Deil fetch me, but I wad have held it out o' their wames [*Bellies
] Ye had nae right to be strippit o' your money and sent to jail
without a mark to pay your fees--; they might have keepit the rest
o' the articles for evidence. But why, for a blind bottle-head,
did not ye ask the guineas? and I kept winking and nodding a' the
time, and the donnert [*Stupid] deevil wad never ance look my
"Well, sir," replied Bertram, "if I have a title to have that
property delivered up to me, I shall apply for it; and there is a
good deal more than enough to pay any demand you can set up."
"I dinna ken a bit about that," said Mac-Guffog; "ye may be here
lang eneugh. And then the giving credit maun be considered in the
fees. But, however, as ye do seem to be a chap by common, though
my wife says I lose by my good-nature, if ye gie me an order for
my fees upon that money--I dare say Glossin will make it
forthcoming--l ken something about an escape from Ellangowan--ay,
ay, he'll be glad to carry me through, and be neighbour-like."
"Well, sir," replied Bertram," if I am not furnished in a day or
two otherwise, you shall have such--an order."
"Weel, weel, then ye shall be put up like a prince," said
Mac-Guffog. "But mark ye me, friend, that we may have nae
colly-shangie [*Quarrel] afterhend, these are the fees I always
charge a swell that must have his libken to himsell--Thirty
shillings a week for lodgings, and a guinea for garnish;
half-a-guinea a week for a single bed,--and I dinna get the whole
of it, for I must gie half-a-crown out of it to Donald Laider
that's in for sheep-stealing, that should sleep with you by rule,
and he'll expect clean strae, and maybe some whisky beside. So I
make little upon that."
"Well, sir, go on."
"Then for meat and liquor, ye may have the best, and I never charge
abune twenty per cent. ower tavern price for pleasing a gentleman
that way--and that's little eneugh for sending in and sending out,
and wearing the lassie's shoon out. And then if ye're dowie, I
will sit wi' you a gliff [*Twinkling] in the evening mysell, man,
and help ye out wi' your bottle.--I have drunk mony a glass wi'
Glossin, man, that did you up, though he's a justice now. And then
I'se warrant ye'll be for fire thir cauld nights, or if ye want
candle, that's an expensive article, for it's against the rules.
And now I've tell'd ye the head articles of the charge, and I dinna
think there's muckle mair, though there will aye be some odd
expenses ower and abune."
"Well, sir, I must trust to your conscience, if ever you happened
to hear of such a thing--I cannot help myself."
"Na, na, sir," answered the cautious jailor, "I'll no permit you to
be saying that--I'm forcing naething upon ye;--an ye dinna like the
price ye needna take the article--I force no man; I was only
explaining what civility was; but if ye like to take the common run
of the house, it's a' one to me--I'll be saved trouble, that's a'."
"Nay, my friend, I have, as I suppose you may easily guess, no
inclination to dispute your terms upon such a penalty," answered
Bertram. "Come, show me where I am to be, for I would fain be
alone for a little while."
"Ay, ay, come along then, Captain," said the fellow, with a
contortion of visage which he intended to be a smile; "and I'll
tell you now,--to show you that I have a conscience, as ye ca't,
d-n me if I charge ye abune sixpence a day for the freedom o' the
court, and ye may walk in't very near three hours a day, and play
at pitch-and-toss and handba', and what not."
With this gracious promise, he ushered Bertram into the house, and
showed him up a steep and narrow stone staircase, at the top of
which was a strong door, clenched with iron and studded with
nails. Beyond this door was a narrow passage or gallery, having
three cells on each side, wretched ,vaults, with iron bed-frames
and straw mattresses. But at the farther end was a small apartment,
of rather a more decent appearance, that is, having less the air of
a place of confinement, since, unless for the large lock and chain
upon the door, and the crossed and ponderous stanchions upon the
window, it rather resembled the "worst inn's worst room." It was
designed as a sort of infirmary for prisoners whose state of health
required some indulgence; and, in fact, Donald Laider, Bertram's
destined chum, had been just dragged out of one of the two beds
which it contained, to try whether clean straw and whisky might not
have a better chance to cure his intermitting fever. This process
of ejection had been carried into force by Mrs. Mac-Guffog while
her husband parleyed with Bertram in the courtyard, that good lady
having a distinct presentiment of the manner in which the treaty
must necessarily terminate. Apparently the expulsion had not taken
place without some application of the strong hand, for one of the
bed-posts of a sort of tent-bed was broken down, so that the tester
and curtains hung forward into the middle of the narrow chamber,
like the banner of a chieftain, half-sinking amid the confusion of
"Never mind that being out o' sorts, Captain," said Mrs.
Mac-Guffog, who now followed them into the room; then, turning her
back to the prisoner, with as much delicacy as the action admitted,
she whipped from her knee her ferret garter, and applied it to
splicing and fastening the broken bed-post--then used more pins
than her apparel could well spare to fasten up the bed-curtains in
festoons--then shook the bed-clothes into something like form--then
flung over all a tattered patchwork quilt, and pronounced that
things were now "something purpose-like."
"And there's your bed, Captain," pointing to a massy four-posted
bulk, which, owing to the inequality of the floor that had sunk
considerably (the house, though new, having been built by
contract), stood on three legs, and held the fourth aloft as if
pawing the air, and in the attitude of advancing like an elephant
passant upon the panel of a coach--"There's your bed and the
blankets; but if ye want sheets, or bowster, or pillow, or ony sort
o' nappery for the table, or for your hands, ye'll hae to speak to
me about it, for that's out o' the gudeman's line (Mac-Guffog had
by this time left the room, to avoid, probably, any appeal which
might he made to him upon this new exaction), and he never engages
for onything like that."
"In God's name," said Bertram, "let me have what is decent, and
make any charge you please."
"Aweel, aweel, that's sune settled; we'll no excise you neither,
Though we live sae near the Custom-house. And I maun see to get
you some fire and some dinner too, I'se warrant; but your dinner
will be but a puir ane the day, no expecting company that would be
nice and fashious."--So saying, and in all haste, Mrs. Mac-Guffog
fetched a scuttle of live coals, and having replenished "the rusty
grate, unconscious of a fire" for months before, she proceeded with
unwashed hands to arrange the stipulated bed-linen (alas, how
different from Ailie Dinmont's!), and muttering to herself as she
discharged her task, seemed, in inveterate spleen of temper, to
grudge even those accommodations for which she was to receive
payment. At length, however, she departed, grumbling between her
teeth, that "she wad rather lock up a haill ward than be fiking
about thae niff-naffy [*Fastidious] gentles that gae sae muckle
fash [*Trouble] wi' their fancies."
When she was gone, Bertram found himself reduced to the alternative
of pacing his little apartment for exercise, or gazing out upon the
sea in such proportions as could be seen from the narrow panes of
his window, obscured by dirt and by close iron-bars, or reading
over the records of brutal wit and black-guardism which despair had
scrawled upon the half-whitened walls. The sounds were as
uncomfortable as the objects of sight; the sullen dash of the tide,
which was now retreating, and the occasional opening and shutting
of a door, with all its accompaniments of jarring bolts and
creaking hinges, mingling occasionally with the dull monotony of
the retiring ocean. Sometimes, too, he could hear the hoarse growl
of the keeper, or the shriller strain of his helpmate, almost
always in the tone of discontent, anger, or insolence. At other
times the large mastiff, chained in the court-yard, answered with
furious bark the insults of the idle loiterers who made a sport of
At length the tedium of this weary space was broken by the entrance
of a dirty-looking serving wench, who made some preparations for
dinner by laying a half-dirty cloth upon a whole-dirty deal table.
A knife and fork, which had not been worn out by over-cleaning,
flanked a cracked delf plate; a nearly empty mustard-pot, placed on
one side of the table, balanced a salt-cellar, containing an
article of a grayish, or rather a blackish mixture, upon the other,
both of stone-ware, and bearing too obvious marks of recent
service. Shortly after, the same Hebe brought up a plate of
beef-collops, done in the frying-pan, with a huge allowance of
grease floating in an ocean of lukewarm water; and having added a
coarse loaf to these savoury viands, she requested to know what
liquors the gentleman chose to order. The appearance of this fare
was not very inviting; but Bertram endeavoured to mend his commons
by ordering wine, which he found tolerably good, and, with the
assistance of some indifferent cheese, made his dinner chiefly off
the brown loaf. When his meal was over, the girl presented her
master's compliments, and, if agreeable to the gentleman, he would
help him to spend the evening. Bertram desired to be excused, and
begged, instead of this gracious society, that he might be
furnished with paper, pen, ink, and candles. The light appeared in
the shape of one long broken tallow-candle, inclining over a tin
candlestick coated with grease; as for the writing materials, the
prisoner was informed that he might have them the next day if he
chose to send out to buy them. Bertram next desired the maid to
procure him a book, and enforced his request with a shilling; in
consequence of which, after long absence, she reappeared with two
odd volumes of the Newgate Calendar, which she had borrowed from
Sam Silverquill, an idle apprentice, who was imprisoned under a
charge of forgery. Having laid the books on the table she retired,
and left Bertram to studies which were not ill adapted to his
present melancholy situation.
But if thou shouldst he dragg'd in scorn
To yonder ignominious tree,
Thou shalt not want one faithful friend
To share the cruel fates' decree.
Plunged in the gloomy reflections which were naturally excited by
his dismal reading, and disconsolate situation, Bertram, for the
first time in his life, felt himself affected with a disposition to
low spirits. "I have been in worse situations than this too," he
said;--"more dangerous, for here is no danger; more dismal in
prospect, for my present confinement must necessarily be short;
more intolerable for the time, for here, at least, I have fire,
food, and shelter. Yet, with reading these bloody tales of crime
and misery, in a place so corresponding to the ideas which they
excite, and in listening to these sad sounds, I feel a stronger
disposition to melancholy than in my life I ever experienced. But
I will not give way to it.--Begone, thou record of guilt and
infamy!" he said, flinging the book upon the spare bed; "a Scottish
jail shall not break, on the very first day, the spirits which have
resisted climate, and want, and penury, and disease, and
imprisonment, in a foreign land. I have fought many a hard battle
with dame Fortune, and she shall not beat me now if I can help it."
Then bending his mind to a strong effort, he endeavoured to view
his situation in the most favourable light. Delaserre must soon be
in Scotland; the certificates from his commanding officer must soon
arrive; nay, if Mannering were first applied to, who could say but
the effect might be a reconciliation between them? He had often
observed, and now remembered, that when his former colonel took the
part of any one, it was never by halves, and that he seemed to love
those persons most who had lain under obligation to him. In the
present case, a favour, which could be asked with honour and
granted with readiness, might be the means of reconciling them to
each other. From this his feelings naturally turned towards Julia;
and, without very nicely measuring the distance between a soldier
of fortune, who expected that her father's attestation would
deliver him from confinement, and the heiress of that father's
wealth and expectations, he was building the gayest castle in the
clouds, and varnishing it with all the tints of a summer-evening
sky, when his labour was interrupted by a loud knocking at the
outer gate, answered by the barking of the gaunt half-starved
mastiff, which was quartered in the courtyard as an addition to the
garrison. After much scrupulous precaution the gate was opened,
and some person admitted. The house-door was next unbarred,
unlocked, and unchained, a dog's feet pattered upstairs in great
haste, and the animal was heard scratching and whining at the door
of the room. Next a heavy step was heard lumbering up, and
Mac-Guffog's voice in the character of pilot--"This way, this way;
take care of the step;--that's the room."--Bertram's door was
then unbolted, and, to his great surprise and joy, his terrier,
Wasp, rushed into the apartment, and almost devoured him with
caresses, followed by the massy form of his friend from
"Eh whow! Eh whow!" ejaculated the honest farmer, as he looked
round upon his friend's miserable apartment and wretched
accommodation--"What's this o't! what's this o't!"
"Just a trick of fortune, my good friend," said Bertram, rising and
shaking him heartily by the hand, "that's all."
"But what will be done about it?--or what can be done about it?"
said honest Dandie--"is't for debt, or what is't for?"
"Why, it is not for debt," answered Bertram; and if you have time
to sit down, I'll tell you all I know of the matter myself."
"If I hae time?" said Dandie, with an accent on the word that
sounded like a howl of derision--"Ou, what the deevil am I come
here for, man, but just ance errand to see about it? But ye'll no
be the waur o' something to eat, I trow;--it's getting late at
e'en--I tell'd the folk at the Change, where I put up Dumple, to
send ower my supper here, and the chield Mac-Guffog is agreeable to
let it in--I hae settled a' that.--And now let's hear your
story--Whisht, Wasp, man! wow but he's glad to see you, poor
Bertram's story, being confined to the accident of Hazlewood, and
the confusion made between his own ,identity and that of one of the
smugglers, who had been active in the assault of Woodbourne, and
chanced to bear the same name, was soon told. Dinmont listened
very attentively. "Aweel," he said, "this suld be nae sic
dooms-desperate business surely--the lad's doing weel again that
was hurt, and what signifies twa or three lead draps in his
shouther? if ye had putten out his ee it would hae been another
case. But eh, as I wuss auld Sherra Pleydell was to the fore
here!--odd, he was the man for sorting them, and the queerest
rough-spoken deevil too that ever ye heard!"
"But now tell me, my excellent friend, how did you find out I was
"Odd, lad, queerly eneugh," said Dandie; "but I'll tell ye that
after ye are done wi' our supper, for it will maybe no be sae weel
to speak about it while that lang-lugged limmer o' a lass is gaun
flisking in and out o' the room."
Bertram's curiosity was in some degree put to rest by the
appearance of the supper which his friend had ordered, which,
although homely enough, had the appetising cleanliness in which
Mrs. Mac-Guffog's cookery was so eminently deficient. Dinmont
also, premising he had ridden the whole day since breakfast-time,
without tasting anything "to speak of," which qualifying phrase
related to about three pounds of cold roast mutton which he had
discussed at his midday stage,--Dinmont, I say, fell stoutly upon
the good cheer, and, like one of Homer's heroes, said little,
either good or bad, till the rage of thirst and hunger was
appeased. At length, after a draught of home-brewed ale, he began
by observing, "Aweel, aweel, that hen," looking upon the lamentable
relics of what had been once a large fowl, "wasna a bad ane to be
bred at a town end, though it's no like our barn-door chuckles at
Charlies-hope--and I am glad to see that this vexing job hasna taen
awa your appetite, Captain."
"Why, really, my dinner was not so excellent, Mr. Dinmont, as to
spoil my supper."
"I dare say no, I dare say no," said Dandie:--"But now, hinny, that
ye hae brought us the brandy, and the mug wi' the het water, and
the sugar, and a' right, ye may steak [*Fasten] the door, ye see,
for we wad hae some o' our ain cracks." [*Conversation] The
damsel accordingly retired, and shut the door of the apartment, to
which she added the precaution of drawing a large bolt on the
As soon as she was gone, Dandie reconnoitred the premises, listened
at the keyhole as if he had been listening for the blowing of an
otter, and having satisfied himself that there were no
eavesdroppers, returned to the table; and making himself what he
called a gey stiff cheerer, poked the fire, and began his story in
an undertone of gravity and importance not very usual with him.
"Ye see, Captain, I had been in Edinbro' for twa or three days,
looking after the burial of a friend that we hae lost, and maybe I
suld hae had something for my ride; but there's disappointments in
a' things, and wha can help the like o' that? And I had a wee bit
law business besides, but that's neither here nor there. In short,
I had got my matters settled, and hame I cam; and the morn awa to
the muirs to see what the herds had been about, and I thought I
might as weel gie a look to the Tout-hope head, where Jock o'
Dawston and me has the outcast about a march.--Weel, just as I was
coming upon the bit I saw a man afore me that I kenn'd was nane o'
our herds, and it's a wild bit to meet ony other body, so when I
cam up to him, it was Tod Gabriel the fox-hunter. So I says to
him, rather surprised like, 'What are ye doing up amang the craws
here, without your hounds, man? are ye seeking the fox without the
dogs?' So he said, 'Na, gudeman, but I wanted to see yourself.'
"'Ay,' said I, 'and ye'll be wanting eilding now, or something to
pit ower the winter?'
"'Na, na,' quo' he, I it's no that I'm seeking; but ye tak an unco