Part 8 out of 10
concern in that Captain Brown that was staying wi' you, d'ye no?'
"Troth do I, Gabriel,' says I; 'and what about him, lad?'
"Says he, 'There's mair tak an interest in him than you, and some
that I am bound to obey; and it's no just on my ain will that I'm
here to tell you something about him that will no please you.'
"'Faith, naething will please me,' quo' I, 'that's no pleasing to
"'And then,' quo' he, 'ye'll be ill-sorted to hear that he's like
to be in the prison at Portanferrv, if he disna tak a' the better
care o' himself, for there's been warrants out to tak him as soon
as he comes ower the water frae Allonby. And now, gudeman, an ever
ye wish him weel, ye maun ride down to Portanferry, and let nae
grass grow at the nag's heels; and if ye find him in confinement,
ye maun stay beside him night and day, for a day or twa, for he'll
want friends that hae baith heart and hand; and if ye neglect this
ye'll never rue but ance, for it will be for a' your life.,
"'But, safe us, man,' quo' I, 'how did ye learn a' this? it's an
unco way between this and Portanferry.'
"'Never ye mind that,' quo' he, 'them that brought us the news rade
night and day, and ye maun be aff instantly if ye wad do ony
gude--and sae I have naething mair to tell ye.'--Sae he sat
himself doun and hirselled [*Creeping sideways in a sitting
posture by means of the hands.] doun into the glen, where it wad
hae been ill following him wi' the beast, and I cam back to
Charlies-hope to tell the gudewife, for I was uncertain what to
do. It wad look unco-like, I thought, just to be sent out on a
hunt-the-gowk errand wi' a land-louper [*Vagrant] like that. But,
Lord! as the gudewife set up her throat about it, and said what a
shame it wad be if ye was to come to ony wrang, an I could help ye;
and then in cam your letter that confirmed it. So I took to the
kist, and out wi' the, pickle [*A supply.] notes in case they
should be needed, and a' the bairns ran to saddle Dumple. By great
luck I had taen the other beast to Edinbro', sae Dumple was as
fresh as a rose Sae aff I set, and Wasp wi' me, for ye wad really
hae thought he kenn'd where I was gaun, puir beast; and here I am
after a trot o' sixty mile, or near by. But Wasp rade thirty of
them afore me on the saddle, and the puir doggie balanced itself as
ane o' the weans wad hae dune, whether I trotted or cantered."
In this strange story Bertram obviously saw, supposing the warning
to be true, some intimation of danger more violent and imminent
than could be likely to arise from a few days' imprisonment. At
the same time it was equally evident that some unknown friend was
working in his behalf. "Did you not say," he asked Dinmont, "that
this man Gabriel was of gipsy blood?"
"It was e'en judged sae," said Dinmont, "and I think this maks it
likely; for they aye ken where the gangs o' ilk ither I are to be
found, and they can gar news flee like a footba' through the
country an they like. An' I forgat to tell ye, there's been an
unco inquiry after the auld wife that we saw in Bewcastle; the
Sheriffs had folk ower the Limestane Edge after her, and down the
Hermitage and Liddel, and a' gates, and a reward offered for her to
appear, o' fifty pound sterling, nae less; and justice Forster,
he's had out warrants, as I am tell'd, in Cumberland, and an unco
ranging and riping [*A Searching.] they have had a' gates seeking
for her; but she'll no be taen wi' them unless she likes, for a'
"And how comes that?" said Bertram.
"Ou, I dinna ken; I daur say it's nonsense, but they say she has
gathered the fern-seed, and can gang ony gate she likes, like
Jock-the-Giant-killer in the ballant, wi' his coat o'darkness and
his shoon o' swiftness. Ony way she's a kind o' queen amang the
gipsies; she is mair than a hundred year auld, folk say, and minds
the coming in o' the moss-troopers in the troublesome times when
the Stuarts were put awa. Sae, if she canna hide herself, she kens
them that can hide her weel eneugh, ye needna doubt that. Odd, an
I had kenn'd it had been Meg Merrilies yon night at Tibb Mumps's, I
wad taen care how I crossed her."
Bertram listened with great attention to this account, which
tallied so well in many points with what he had himself seen of
this gipsy sibyl. After a moment's consideration, he concluded it
would be no breach of faith to mention what he had seen at
Derncleugh to a person who held Meg in such reverence as Dinmont
obviously did. He told his story accordingly, often interrupted by
ejaculations such as, "Weel, the like o' that now!" or, "Na, deil
an that's no something now!"
When our Liddesdale friend had heard the whole to an end, he shook
his great black head--"Weel, I'll uphaud there's baith gude and ill
amang the gipsies, and if they deal wi' the Enemy, it's a' their
ain business and no ours.--I ken what the streeking the corpse wad
be, weel eneugh. Thae smuggler deevils, when ony o' them's killed
in a fray, they'll send for a wife like Meg far eneugh to dress the
corpse; odd, it's a' the burial they ever think o'! and then to be
put into the ground without ony decency, just like dogs. But they
stick to it, that they" be streekit, and hae an auld wife when
they're dying to rhyme ower prayers, and ballants, and charms, as
they ca' them, rather than they'll hae a minister to come and pray
wi' them--that's an auld threep o' theirs; and I am thinking the
man that died will hae been ane o' the folk that was shot when they
"But, my good friend, Woodbourne is not burnt," said Bertram.
"Weel, the better for them that bides in't," answered the
store-farmer. "Odd, we had it up the water wi' us, that there
wasna a stane on the tap o' anither. But there was fighting, ony
way; I daur to say, it would he fine fun! And, as I said, Ye may
take it on trust, that that's been ane o' the men killed there, and
that it's been the gipsies that took your pockmanky when they fand
the chaise stickin' in the snaw--they wadna pass the like a'
that--it wad just come to their hand like the bowl o' a pint
stoup." [*The handle of a stoup of liquor; than which, our proverb
seems to infer, there is nothing comes more readily to the grasp.]
"But if this woman is a sovereign among them, why was she not able
to afford me open protection, and to get me back my property?"
"Ou, wha kens? she has muckle to say wi' them, but whiles they'll
tak their ain way for a' that, when they're under temptation. And
then there's the smugglers that they're aye leagued wi', she maybe
couldna manage them sae weel-they're aye banded thegither--l've
heard that the gipsies ken when the smugglers will come aff, and
where they're to land, better than the very merchants that deal wi'
them. And then, to the boot o' that, she's whiles crack-brained,
and has a bee in her head; they say that whether her spaeings and
fortune-tellings be true or no, for certain she believes in them a'
hersell, and is aye guiding herself by some queer prophecy or
anither. So she disna aye gang the straight road to the well.--But
deil o' sic a story as yours, wi' glamour and dead folk and losing
ane's gate, I ever heard out o' the tale-books!--But whisht, I hear
the keeper coming."
Mac-Guffog accordingly interrupted their discourse by the harsh
harmony of the bolts and bars, and showed his bloated visage at the
opening door. "Come, Mr. Dinmont, we have put off locking up for
an hour to oblige ye; ye must go to your quarters."
"Quarters, man? I intend to sleep here the night. There's a spare
bed in the Captain's room."
"It's impossible!" answered the keeper.
"But I say it is possible, and that I winna stir--and there's a
Mac-Guffog drank off the spirits, and resumed his objection. "But
it's against rule, sir; ye have committed nae malefaction."
"I'll break your head," said the sturdy Liddesdale man, "if ye say
ony mair about it, and that will be malefaction eneugh to entitle
me to ae night's lodging wi' you ony way."
"But I tell ye, Mr. Dinmont," reiterated the keeper, it's against
rule, and I behoved to lose my post."
"Weel, Mac-Guffog," said Dandie, "I hae just twa things to say. Ye
ken wha I am weel eneugh, and that I wadna loose a prisoners"
"And how do I ken that?" answered the jailor.
"Weel, if ye dinna ken that," said the resolute farmer, "ye ken
this;--ye ken ye're whiles obliged to be up our water in the way o'
your business; now, if ye let me stay quietly here the night wi'
the Captain, I'se pay ye double fees for the room; and if ye say
no, ye shall hae the best sark-fu' o' sair banes that ever ye had
in your life, the first time ye set a foot by Liddel-moat!"
"Aweel, aweel, gudeman," said Mac-Guffog, "a wilfu' man maun hae
his way; but if I am challenged for it by the justices, I ken wha
sail bear the wyte;"--and having scaled this observation with a
deep oath or two, he retired to bed, after carefully securing all
the doors of the Bridewell. The bell from the town steeple toiled
nine just as the ceremony was concluded.
"Although it's but early hours," said the farmer, who had observed
that his friend looked somewhat pale and fatigued, "I think we had
better lie down, Captain, if ye're no agreeable to another
cheerer. But troth, ye're nae glass-breaker; and neither am I,
unless it be a screed wi' the neighbours, or when I'm on a ramble."
Bertram readily assented to the motion of his faithful friend, but,
on looking at the bed, felt repugnance to trust himself undressed
to Mrs. Mac-Guffog's clean sheets.
"I'm muckle o' your opinion, Captain," said Dandie. "Odd, this bed
looks as if a' the colliers in Sanquhar had been in't thegither.
But it'll no win through my muckle coat. "So saying, he flung
himself upon the frail bed with a force that made all its timbers
crack, and in a few moments gave audible signal that he was fast
asleep. Bertram slipped off his coat and boots, and, occupied the
other dormitory. The strangeness of his destiny, and the mysteries
which appeared to thicken around him, while he seemed alike to be
persecuted and protected by secret enemies and friends, arising out
of a class of people with whom he had no previous connection, for
some time occupied his thoughts. Fatigue, however, gradually
composed his mind, and in a short time he was as fast asleep as his
companion. And in this comfortable state of oblivion we must leave
them, until we acquaint the reader with some other circumstances
which occurred about the same period.
--Say from whence You owe this strange intelligence? or
why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way With such
prophetic greeting?--Speak, I charge you.
Upon the evening of the day when Bertram's examination had taken
place, Colonel Mannering arrived at Woodbourne from Edinburgh. He
found his family n their usual state, which probably, so far as
Julia vas concerned, would not have been the case had she learned
the news of Bertram's arrest. But as, during the Colonel's
absence, the two young ladies lived much retired, this circumstance
fortunately had not reached Woodbourne. A letter had already made
Miss Bertram acquainted with the downfall of the expectations which
had been formed upon the bequest of her kinswoman. Whatever hopes
that news night have dispelled, the disappointment did not prevent
her from joining her friend in affording a cheerful reception to
the Colonel, to whom she thus endeavoured to express the deep sense
she entertained of his paternal kindness. She touched on her
regret, that at such a season of the year he should have made, upon
her account, a journey so fruitless.
"That it was fruitless to you, my dear," said the Colonel, "I do
most deeply lament; but for, my own share, I have made some
valuable acquaintances, and have spent the time I have been absent
in Edinburgh with peculiar satisfaction; so that, on that score,
there is nothing to be regretted. Even our friend the Dominie is
returned thrice the man he was, from having sharpened his wits in
controversy with the geniuses of the northern metropolis."
"Of a surety," said the Dominie, with great complacency, "I did
wrestle, and was not overcome, though my adversary was cunning in
"I presume," said Miss Mannering, "the conquest was somewhat
fatiguing, Mr. Sampson?"
"Very much, young lady--howbeit I girded up my loins and strove
"I can bear witness," said the Colonel; "I never saw an affair
better contested. The enemy was like the Mahratta cavalry; he
assailed on all sides, and presented no fair mark for artillery;
but Mr. Sampson stood to his guns, notwithstanding, and fired away,
now upon the enemy, and now upon the dust which he had raised. But
we must not fight our battles over again to-night--to-morrow we
shall have the whole at breakfast."
The next morning at breakfast, however, the Dominie did not make
his appearance. He had walked out, a servant said, early in the
morning. It was so common for him to forget his meals, that his
absence never deranged the family. The housekeeper, a decent
old-fashioned Presbyterian matron, having, as such, the highest
respect for Sampson's theological acquisitions, had it in charge on
these occasions to take care that he was no sufferer by his absence
of mind, and therefore usually, waylaid him on his return, to
remind him of his sublunary wants, and to minister to their
relief. It seldom, however, happened that he was absent from two
meals together, as was the case in the present instance. We must
explain the cause of this unusual occurrence.
The conversation which Mr. Pleydell had held with Mr. Mannering on
the subject of the loss of Harry Bertram, had awakened all the
painful sensations which that event had inflicted upon Sampson. The
affectionate heart of the poor Dominie had always reproached him,
that his negligence in leaving the child in the care of Frank
Kennedy had been the proximate cause of the murder of the one, the
loss of the other, the death of Mrs. Bertram, and the ruin of the
family of his patron. It was a subject which he never conversed
upon,--if indeed his mode of speech could be called conversation at
any time,--but it was often present to his imagination. The sort
of hope so strongly affirmed and asserted in Mrs. Bertram's last
settlement, had excited a corresponding feeling in the Dominie's
bosom, which was exasperated into a sort of sickening anxiety, by
the discredit with which Pleydell had treated it.--"Assuredly,"
thought Sampson to himself, "he is a man of erudition, and well
skilled in the weighty matters of the law; but he is also a man of
humorous levity and inconsistency of speech; and wherefore should
he pronounce ex cathedra, as it were, on the hope expressed by
worthy Madam Margaret Bertram of Singleside?"
All this, I say, the Dominie thought to himself for had he uttered
half the sentence, his jaws would have ached for a month under the
unusual fatigue of such a continued exertion. The result of these
cogitations was a resolution to go and visit the scene of the
tragedy at Warroch Point, where he had not been for many
years--not, indeed, since the fatal accident had happened. The
walk was a long one, for the Point of Warroch lay on the farther
side of the Ellangowan property, which was interposed between it
and Woodbourne. Besides, the Dominie went astray more than once,
and met with brooks swollen into torrents by the melting of the
snow, where he, honest man, had only the summer-recollection of
little trickling rills.
At length, however, he reached the woods which he had made the
object of his excursion, and traversed them with care, muddling
his disturbed brains with vague efforts to recall every
circumstance of the catastrophe. It will readily be supposed that
the influence of local situation and association was inadequate to
produce conclusions different from those which he had formed under
the immediate pressure of the occurrences themselves. "With many a
weary sigh, therefore, and many a groan," the poor Dominie returned
from his hopeless pilgrimage, and weariedly plodded his way towards
Woodbourne, debating at times in his altered mind a question which
was forced upon him by the cravings of an appetite rather of the
keenest, namely, whether he had breakfasted that morning or no?--It
was in this twilight humour, now thinking of the loss of the child,
then involuntarily compelled to meditate upon the somewhat
incongruous subject of hung-beef, rolls, and butter, that his
route, which was different from that which he had taken in the
morning, conducted him past the small ruined--tower, or rather
vestige of a tower, called by the country people the Kaim of
The reader may recollect the description of this ruin in the
twenty-seventh chapter of this narrative, as the vault in which
young Bertram, under the auspices of Meg Merrilies, witnessed the
death of Hatteraick's lieutenant. The tradition of the country
added ghostly terrors to the natural awe inspired by the situation
of this place, which terrors the gipsies, who so long inhabited the
vicinity, had probably invented, or at least propagated, for their
own advantage. It was said that, during the times of the Galwegian
independence, one Hanlon MacDingawaie, brother to the reigning
chief, Knarth MacDingawaie, murdered his brother and sovereign, in
order to usurp the principality from his infant nephew, and that
being pursued for vengeance by the faithful allies and retainers of
the house, who espoused the cause of the lawful heir, he was
compelled to retreat, with a few followers whom he had involved in
his crime, to his impregnable tower called the Kaim of Derncleugh,
where he defended himself until nearly reduced by famine, when,
setting fire to the place, he and the small remaining garrison
desperately perished by their own swords, rather than fall into the
hands of their exasperated enemies. This tragedy, which,
considering the wild times wherein it was placed, might have some
foundation in truth, was larded with many legends of superstition
and diablerie, so that most of the peasants of the neighbourhood,
if benighted, would rather have chosen to make a considerable
circuit, than pass these haunted walls. The lights, often seen
around the tower when used as the rendezvous of the lawless
characters by whom it was occasionally frequented, were accounted
for, under authority of these tales of witchery, in a manner at
once convenient for the private parties concerned, and satisfactory
to the public.
Now, it must be confessed, that our friend Sampson, although a
profound scholar and mathematician, had not travelled so far in
philosophy as to doubt the reality of witchcraft or apparitions.
Born indeed at a time when a doubt in the existence of witches was
interpreted as equivalent to a justification of their infernal
practices, a belief of such legends had been impressed upon the
Dominie as an article indivisible from his religious faith, and
perhaps it would have been equally difficult to have induced him to
doubt the one as the other. With these feelings, and in a thick
misty day, which was already drawing to its close, Dominie Sampson
did not pass the Kaim of Derncleugh without some feelings of tacit
What then was his astonishment, when, on passing the door--that
door which was supposed to have been placed there by one of the
latter Lairds of Ellangowan to prevent presumptuous strangers from
incurring the dangers of the haunted vault--that door, supposed to
be always locked, and the key of which was popularly said to be
deposited with the presbytery--that door, that very door, opened
suddenly, and the figure of Meg Merrilies, well known, though not
seen for many a revolving year, was placed at once before the eyes
of the startled Dominie! She stood immediately before him in the
footpath, confronting him so absolutely, that he could not avoid
her except by fairly turning back, which his manhood prevented him
from thinking of.
"I kenn'd ye wad be here," she said with her harsh and hollow
voice "I ken wha ye seek; but ye maun do my bidding."
"Get thee behind me!" said the alarmed Dominie--"Avoid ye!--
Conjuro te, scelestissima--nequissima--spurcissima--iniquissima--
atque miserrim--conjuro te!!!"--Meg stood her ground against this
tremendous volley of superlatives, which Sampson hawked up from the
pit of his stomach, and hurled at her in thunder. "Is the carl
daft," she said, "wi' his glamour?"
"Conjuro," continued the Dominie, "abjuro contestor, atque
viriliter impero tibi!"--
"What, in the name of Sathan, are ye feared for, wi' your French
gibberish, that would make a dog sick? Listen, ye stickit stibbler,
[*A broken-down clerical probationer.] to what I tell ye, or ye
sall rue it while there's a limb o' ye hings to anither!--Tell
Colonel Mannering that I ken he's seeking me. He kens, and I ken,
that the blood will be wiped out, and the lost will be found,
"And Bertram's right and Bertram's mlght Shall meet on Ellangowan
Hae, there's a letter to him, I was gaun to send it in another
way.--I canna write mysell; but I hae them that will baith write
and read, and ride and rin for me. Tell him the time's coming now,
and the weird's dreed [*The destiny is fulfilled.] and the wheel's
turning. Bid him look at the stars as he has looked at them
before.--Will ye mind a' this?"
"Assuredly," said the Dominie, "I am dubious--for, woman, I am
perturbed at thy words, and my flesh quakes to hear thee."
"'They'll do you nae ill though, and maybe muckle gude."
"Avoid ye! I desire no good that comes by unlawful means."
"Fule-body that thou art," said Meg, stepping up to him with a
frown of indignation that made her dark eyes flash like lamps from
under her bent brows,--"Fule-body! if I meant ye wrang, couldna I
clod [*Hurl.] ye ower that craig [*Steep rock.], and wad man ken
how ye cam by your end mair than Frank Kennedy? Hear ye that, ye
"In the name of all that is good," said the Dominie, recoiling, and
pointing his long pewter-headed walking-cane like a javelin at the
supposed sorceress,--"in the name of all that is good, bide off
hands! I will not be handled woman, stand off, upon thine own
proper peril!--desist, I say--I am strong--lo, I will
resist!"--Here his speech was cut short; for Meg, armed with
supernatural strength, (as the Dominie asserted), broke in upon his
guard, put by a thrust which he made at her with his cane, and
lifted him into the vault, "as easily," said he, "as I could sway a
"Sit down there," she said, pushing the half-throttled preacher
with some violence against a broken chair,--"sit down there, and
gather your wind and your senses, ye black barrow-tram [*Limb.] o'
the kirk that ye are--Are ye fou or fasting?"
"Fasting--from all but sin," answered the Dominie, who, recovering
his voice, and finding his exorcisms only served to exasperate the
intractable sorceress, thought it best to affect complaisance and
submission, inwardly conning over, however, the wholesome
conjurations which he durst no longer utter aloud. But as the
Dominie's brain was by no means equal to carry on two trains of
ideas at the same time, a word or two of his mental exercise
sometimes escaped, and mingled with his uttered speech in a manner
ludicrous enough, especially as the poor man shrunk himself
together after every escape of the kind, from terror of the effect
it might produce upon the irritable feelings of the witch.
Meg, in the meanwhile, went to a great black cauldron that was
boiling on a fire on the floor, and, lifting the lid, an odour was
diffused through the vault, which, if the vapours of a witch's
cauldron could in aught be trusted, promised better things than the
hell-broth which such vessels are usually supposed to contain. It
was in fact the savour of a goodly stew, composed of fowls, hares,
partridges, and moorgame, boiled, in a large mess with potatoes,
onions, and leeks, and from the size of the cauldron, appeared to
be prepared for half a dozen people at least. "So ye hae eat
naething a' day?" said Meg, heaping a large portion of this mess
into a brown dish, and strewing it savourily with salt and pepper.
[*We must again have recourse to the contribution to Blackwood's
Magazine, April 1817 :--
"To the admirers of good eating, Gipsy cookery seems to have little
to recommend it. I can assure you, however, that the cook of a
nobleman of high distinction, a person who never reads even a novel
without an eye to the enlargement of the culinary science, has
added to the Almanach des Gourmands, a certain Potage a la Meg
Merrilies de Dernclough, consisting of game and poultry of all
kinds, stewed with vegetables into a soup, which rivals in savour
and richness the gallant messes of Comacho's wedding; and which the
Baron of Bradwardine would certainly have reckoned among the
[The artist alluded to in this passage in Mons. Florence, cook to
Henry and Charles, late Dukes of Buccleuch, and of high distinction
in his profession.]
"Nothing," answered the Dominie--"scelestissima!--that
"Hae then," said she, placing the dish before him, "there's what
will warm your heart."
"I do not hunger--malefica--that is to say--Mrs. Merrilies!" for
he said unto himself, ,the savour is sweet, but it bath been cooked
by a Canidia or an Ericthoe."
"If ye dinna eat instantly, and put some saul in ye, by the bread
and the salt, I'll put it down your throat wi' the cutty [*Short.]
spoon, scaulding as it is, and whether ye will or no. Gape,
sinner, and swallow!"
Sampson, afraid of eye of newt, and toe of frog, tigers' chaudrons,
and so forth, had determined not to venture; but the smell of the
stew was fast melting his obstinacy, which flowed from his chops as
it were in streams of water, and the witch's threats decided him to
feed. Hunger and fear are excellent casuists.
"Saul," said Hunger, "feasted with the witch of Endor."--"And,"
quoth Fear, "the salt which she sprinkled upon the food showeth
plainly it is not a necromantic banquet, in which that seasoning
never occurs."--"And, besides," says Hunger, after the first
spoonful, "it is savoury and refreshing viands."
"So ye like the meat?" said the hostess. "Yea," answered the
Dominie, "and I give thee thanks-sceleratissima!--which
"Aweel, eat your fill; but an ye kenn'd how it was gotten, ye'
maybe wadna like it sae weel. "Sampson's spoon dropped, in the act
of conveying its load to his mouth. There's been mony a moon-light
watch to bring a' that trade thegither," continued Meg,--"the folk
that are to eat that dinner thought little o' your game-laws."
"Is that all?" thought Sampson, resuming his spoon, and shovelling
away manfully; "I will not lack my food upon that argument."
"Now, ye maun tak a dram?"
"I will," quoth Sampson--"conjuro te--that is, I thank you
heartily," for he thought to himself, in for a penny, in for a
pound; and he fairly drank the witch's health, in a cupful of
brandy. When he had put this cope-stone upon Meg's good cheer, he
felt, as he said, "mightily elevated, and afraid of no evil which
could befall unto him."
"Will ye remember my errand now?" said Meg Merrilies; "I ken by the
cast o' your ee that ye're anither man than when you cam in."
"I will, Mrs. Margaret," repeated Sampson stoutly "I will deliver
unto him the sealed yepistle, and will add what you please to send
by word of mouth."
"Then I'll make it short," says Meg. "Tell him to look at the
stars without fail this night, and to do what I desire him in that
letter, as he would wish
"That Bertram's right and Bertram's might
Should meet on Ellangowan height.
I have seen him twice when he saw na me; I ken when he was in this
country first, and I ken what's brought him back again. Up, an' to
the gate! ye're ower lang here-follow me."
Sampson followed the sibyl accordingly, who guided him about a
quarter of a mile through the woods, by a shorter cut than he could
have found for himself; they then entered upon the common, Meg
still marching before him at a great pace, until she gained the top
of a small hillock which overhung the road.
"Here," she said, "stand still here. Look how the setting sun
breaks through yon cloud that's been darkening the lift a' day. See
where the first stream o' light fa's--it's upon Donagild's round
tower--the auldest tower in the Castle o' Ellangowan--that's no for
naething!--See as it's glooming to seaward abune yon sloop in the
bay--that's no for naething neither.--Here I stood on this very
spot," said she, drawing herself up so as not to lose one
hair-breadth of her uncommon height, and stretching out her long
sinewy arm and clenched hand, "Here I stood, when I tauld the last
Laird o' Ellangowan what was coming on his house--and did that fa'
to the ground?--na--it bit even ower sair!--And here, where I brake
the wand of peace ower him--here I stand again--to bid God bless
and prosper the just heir of Ellangowan that will sune be brought
to his ain; and the best laird he shall be that Ellangowan has seen
for three hundred years.--I'll no live to see it, maybe; but there
will be mony a blithe ee see it though mine be closed. And now,
Abel Sampson, as ever ye lo'ed the house of Ellangowan, away wi' my
message, to the English Colonel, as if life and death were upon
So saying, she turned suddenly from the amazed Dominie, and
regained with swift and long strides the shelter of the wood from
which she had issued, at the point where it most encroached upon
the common. Sampson gazed after her for a moment in utter
astonishment, and then obeyed her directions,--hurrying to
Woodbourne at a pace very unusual for him, exclaiming three times,
"Prodigious! prodigious! prodi-gi-ous! "
--It is not madness That I have utter'd; bring me to the
test, And I the matter will re-word; which madness Would
As Mr. Sampson crossed the hall with a bewildered look, Mrs.
Allan, the good housekeeper, who, with the reverent attention which
is usually rendered to the clergy in Scotland, was on the watch for
his return, sallied forth to meet him--" What's this o't now, Mr.
Sampson, this is waur than ever!--Ye'll really do yourself some
injury wi' these lang fasts--naething's sae hurtful to the stamach,
Mr. Sampson;--if ye would but put some peppermint draps in your
pocket, or let Barnes cut ye a sandwich."
"Avoid thee!" quoth the Dominie, his mind running still upon his
interview with Meg Merrilies, and making for the dining-parlour.
"Na, ye needna gang in there, the cloth's been removed an hour
syne, and the Colonel's at his wine; but just step into my room, I
have a nice steak that the cook will do in a moment."
"Exorciso te!" said Sampson,--"that is, I have dined."
"Dined! it's impossible--wha can ye hae dined wi', you that gangs
out nae gate?"
"With Beelzebub, I believe," said the minister.
"Na, then he's bewitched for certain," said the housekeeper,
letting go her hold; "he's bewitched, or he's daft, and ony way the
Colonel maun just guide him his ain gate--Wae's me! Hech, sirs!
It's a sair thing to see learning bring folk to this!" And with
this compassionate ejaculation, she retreated into her own
The object of her commiseration had by this time entered the
dining-parlour, where his appearance gave great surprise. He was
mud up to the' shoulders, and the natural paleness of his hue was
twice as cadaverous as usual, through terror, fatigue, and
perturbation of mind. "What on earth is the meaning of this, Mr.
Sampson?" said Mannering, who observed Miss Bertram looking much
alarmed for her simple but attached friend.
"Exorciso,"--said the Dominie.
"How, sir?" replied the astonished Colonel.
"I crave pardon, honourable sir! but my wits--"
"Are gone a wool-gathering, I think--pray, Mr. Sampson, collect
yourself, and let me know the meaning of all this."
Sampson was about to reply, but finding his Latin formula of
exorcism still came most readily to his tongue, he prudently
desisted from the attempt, and put the scrap of paper which he had
received from the gipsy into Mannering's hand, who broke the seal
and read it with surprise. "This seems to be some jest," he said,
"and a very dull one."
"It came from no jesting person," said Mr. Sampson.
"From whom then did it come?" demanded Mannering.
The Dominie, who often displayed some delicacy of recollection in
cases where Miss Bertram had an interest, remembered the painful
circumstances connected with Meg Merrilies, looked at the young
ladies, and remained silent. "We will join you at the tea-table in
an instant, Julia," said the Colonel; "I see that Mr. Sampson
wishes to speak to me alone.--And now they are gone, what, in
heaven's name, Mr. Sampson, is the meaning of all this?"
"It may be a message from Heaven," said the Dominie, "but it came
by Beelzebub's postmistress. It was that witch, Meg Merrilies, who
should have been burned with a tar-barrel twenty years since, for a
harlot, thief, witch, and gipsy."
"Are you sure it was she?" said the Colonel with great interest.
"Sure, honoured sir?--Of a truth she is one not to be
forgotten--the like o' Meg Merrilies is not to be seen in any
The Colonel paced the room rapidly, cogitating with himself. "To
send out to apprehend her--but it is too distant to send to
Mac-Morlan, and Sir Robert Hazlewood is a pompous coxcomb; besides
the chance of not finding her upon the spot, or that the humour of
silence that seized her, before may again return;--no, I will not,
to save being thought a fool, neglect the course she points out.
Many of her class set out by being impostors, and end by becoming
enthusiasts, or hold a kind of darkling conduct between both lines,
unconscious almost when they are cheating themselves, or when
imposing on others.--Well, my course is a plain one at any rate;
and if my efforts are fruitless, it shall not be owing to
over-jealousy of my own character for wisdom."
With this he rang the bell, and ordering Barnes into his private
sitting-room, gave him some orders, with the result of which the
reader may be made hereafter acquainted. We must now take up
another adventure, which is also to be woven into the story of this
Charles Hazlewood had not ventured to make a visit at Woodbourne
during the absence of the Colonel. Indeed Mannering's whole
behaviour had impressed upon him an opinion that this would be
disagreeable; and such was the ascendency which the successful
soldier and accomplished gentleman had attained over the young
man's conduct, that in no respect would he have ventured to offend
him. He saw, or thought he saw, in Colonel Mannering's general
conduct, an approbation of his attachment to Miss Bertram. But
then he saw still more plainly the impropriety of any attempt at a
private correspondence, of which his parents could not be supposed
to approve, and he respected this barrier interposed betwixt them,
both on Mannering's account, and as he was the liberal and zealous
protector of Miss Bertram. "No," said he to himself, "I will not
endanger the comfort of my Lucy's present retreat, until I can
offer her a home of her own."
With this valorous resolution, which he maintained, although his
horse, from constant habit, turned his head down the avenue of
Woodbourne, and although he himself passed the lodge twice every
day, Charles Hazlewood withstood a strong inclination to ride down,
just to ask how the young ladies were, and whether he could be of
any service to them during Colonel Mannering's absence. But on the
second occasion he felt the temptation so severe, that he resolved
not to expose himself to it a third time; and, contenting himself
with sending hopes and inquiries, and so forth, to Woodbourne, he
resolved to make a visit long promised to a family at some
distance, and to return in such time as to be one of the earliest
among Mannering's visitors, who should congratulate his safe
arrival from his distant and hazardous expedition to Edinburgh.
Accordingly, he made out his visit, and having arranged matters so
as to be informed within a few hours after Colonel Mannering
reached home, he finally resolved to take leave of the friends with
whom he had spent the intervening time, with the intention of
dining at Woodbourne, where he was in a great measure domesticated;
and this (for he thought much more deeply on the subject than was
necessary) would, he flattered himself, appear a simple, natural,
and easy mode of conducting himself.
Fate, however, of which lovers make so many complaints, was, in
this case, unfavourable to Charles Hazlewood. His horse's shoes
required an alteration, in consequence of the fresh weather having
decidedly commenced. The lady of the house, where he was a
visitor, chose to indulge in her own room till a very late
breakfast hour. His friend also insisted on showing him a litter
of puppies, which his favourite pointer bitch had produced that
morning. The colours had occasioned some doubts about the
paternity, a weighty question of legitimacy, to the decision of
which Hazlewood's opinion was called in as arbiter between his
friend and his groom, and which inferred in its consequences, which
of the litter should be drowned, which saved. Besides, the Laird
himself delayed our young lover's departure for a considerable
time, endeavouring, with long and superfluous rhetoric, to
insinuate to Sir Robert Hazlewood, through the medium of his son,
his own particular ideas respecting the line of a meditated
turnpike road. It is greatly to the shame of our young lover's
apprehension, that after the tenth reiterated account of the
matter, he could not see the advantage to be obtained by the
proposed road passing over the Lang-hirst, Windyknowe, the
Goodhouse-park, Hailziecroft, and then crossing the river at
Simon's Pool, and so by the road to Kippletringan; and the less
eligible line pointed out by the English surveyor, which would go
clear through the main enclosures at Hazlewood, and cut within a
mile, or nearly so, of the house itself, destroying the privacy and
pleasure, as his informer contended, of the grounds.
In short, the adviser (whose actual interest was to have the bridge
built as near as possible to a farm of his own) failed in every
effort to attract young Hazlewood's attention, until he mentioned
by chance that the proposed line was favoured by "that fellow
Glossin," who pretended to take a lead in the county. On a sudden
young Hazlewood became attentive and interested; and having
satisfied himself which was the line that Glossin patronised,
assured his friend it should not be his fault if his father did not
countenance any other instead of that. But these various
interruptions consumed the morning. Hazlewood got on horseback at
least three hours later than he intended, and, cursing fine ladies,
pointers, puppies, and turnpike acts of parliament, saw himself
detained beyond the time when he could, with propriety, intrude
upon the family at Woodbourne.
He had passed, therefore, the turn of the road which led to that
mansion, only edified by the distant appearance of the blue smoke,
curling against the pale sky of the winter evening, when he thought
he beheld the Dominie taking a footpath for the house through the
woods. He called after him, but in vain; for that honest
gentleman, never the most susceptible of extraneous impressions,
had just that moment parted from Meg Merrilies, and was too deeply
wrapt up in pondering upon her vaticinations, to make any answer to
Hazlewood's call. He was, therefore, obliged to let him proceed
without inquiry after the health of the young ladies, or, any other
fishing question, to which he might, by good chance, have had an
answer returned wherein Miss Bertram's name might have been
mentioned. All cause for haste was now over, and, slackening the
reins--upon his horse's neck, he permitted the animal to ascend at
his own leisure the steep sandy track between two high banks,
which, rising to a considerable height, commanded, at length, an
extensive view of the neighbouring country.
Hazlewood was, however, so far from eagerly looking. forward to
this prospect, though it had the recommendation that great part of
the land was his father's, and must necessarily be his own, that
his head still turned backward towards the chimneys of Woodbourne,
although at every step his horse made the difficulty of employing
his eyes in that direction become greater. From the reverie in
which he was sunk, be was suddenly roused by a voice too harsh to
be called female, yet too shrill for a man :-" What's kept you on
the road sae lang?--maun ither folk do your wark?"
He looked up; the spokeswoman was very tall, had a voluminous
handkerchief rolled round her head, grizzled hair flowing in
elf-locks from beneath it, a long red cloak, and a staff in her
band, headed with a sort of spear-point--it was, in short, Meg
Merrilies. Hazlewood had never seen this remarkable figure before;
he drew up his reins in astonishment at her appearance, and made a
full stop. "I think," continued she, "they that hae taen interest
in the house of Ellangowan suld sleep nane this night; three men
hae been seeking ye, and you are gaun hame to sleep in your
bed--d'ye think if the lad-bairn fa's, the sister will do weel?
"I don't understand you, good woman," said Hazlewood . "If you
speak of Miss--I mean of any of the late Ellangowan family, tell me
what I can do for them."
"Of the late Ellangowan family?" she answered with great vehemence;
"of the late Ellangowan family! and when was there ever, or when
will there ever be, a family of Ellangowan, but bearing the gallant
name of the bauld Bertram?"
"But what do you mean, good woman?"
"I am nae good woman--a' the country kens I am bad eneugh, and
baith they and I may be sorry eneugh that I am nae better. But I
can do what good women canna, and daurna do. I can do what would
freeze the blood o' them that is bred in biggit wa's
[*Built-walls] for naething but to bind bairns' heads, and to hap
them in the cradle. Hear me--the guard's drawn off at the
Custom-house at Portanferry, and it's brought up to Hazlewood House
by your father's orders, because he thinks his house is to be
attacked this night by the smugglers;--there's naebody means to
touch his house; he has gude blood and gentle blood--I say little
o' him for himself, but there's naebody thinks him worth meddling
wi'. Send the horsemen back to their post, cannily [*Cautiously]
and quietly--see an they winna hae wark the night--ay will
they--the guns will flash and the swords will glitter in the braw
"Good God! what do you mean?" said Hazlewood; "your words and
manner would persuade me you are mad, and yet there is a strange
combination in what you say."
"I am not mad!" exclaimed the gipsy, "I have been imprisoned for
mad--scourged for mad--banished for mad--but mad I am not. Hear
ye, Charles Hazlewood of Hazlewood : d'ye bear malice against him
that wounded you?"
"No, dame, God forbid; my arm is quite well, and I have always said
the shot was discharged by accident. I should be glad to tell the
young man so himself."
"Then do what I bid ye," answered Meg Merrilies, "and ye'll do him
mair gude than ever he did you ill; for if he was left to his
ill-wishers he would be a bloody corpse ere morn, or a banished
man--but there's ane abune [*Above] a'.--Do as I bid you; send
back the soldiers to Portanferry. There's nae mair fear o'
Hazlewood House than there's o' Cruffelfell." And she vanished with
her usual celerity of pace.
It would seem that the appearance of this female, and the mixture
of frenzy and enthusiasm in her manner, seldom failed to produce
the strongest impression upon those whom she addressed. Her words,
though wild, were too plain and intelligible for actual madness,
and yet too vehement and extravagant for sober-minded
communication. She seemed acting under the influence of an
imagination rather strongly excited than deranged; and it is
wonderful how palpably the difference, in such cases, is impressed
upon the mind of the auditor. This may account for the attention
with which her strange and mysterious hints were heard and acted
upon. It is certain, at least, that young Hazlewood was strongly
impressed by her sudden appearance and imperative tone. He rode to
Hazlewood at a brisk pace. It had been dark fort some time before
he reached the house, and on his arrival there, he saw a
confirmation of what the sibyl had hinted.
Thirty dragoon horses stood under a shed near the offices, with
their bridles linked together. Three or four soldiers attended as
a guard, while others stamped up and down with their long
broadswords and heavy boots in front of the house. Hazlewood asked
a non-commissioned officer from whence they came?
"Had they left any guard there?"
"No; they had been drawn off by order of Sir Robert Hazlewood for
defence of his house, against an attack--which was threatened by
Charles Hazlewood instantly went in quest of his father, and,
having paid his respects to him upon his return, requested to know
upon what account he had thought it necessary to send for a
military escort. Sir Robert assured his son in reply, that from
the information, intelligence, and tidings, which had been
communicated to, and laid before him, he had the deepest reason to
believe, credit, and be convinced, that a riotous assault would
that night be attempted and perpetrated against Hazlewood House, by
a set of smugglers, gipsies, and other desperadoes.
"And what, my dear sir," said his son, "should direct the fury of
such persons against ours rather than any other house in the
"I should rather think, suppose, and be of opinion, sir," answered
Sir Robert, "with deference to your wisdom and experience, that on
these occasions and times, the vengeance of such persons is
directed or levelled against the most important and distinguished
in point of rank, talent, birth, and situation, who have checked,
interfered with, and discountenanced their unlawful and illegal and
criminal actions or deeds."
Young Hazlewood, who knew his father's foible answered, that the
cause of his surprise did not lie where Sir Robert apprehended, but
that he only wondered they should think of attacking a house where
there were so many servants, and 'where a signal to the
neighbouring tenants could call in such strong assistance; and
added that he doubted much whether the reputation of the family
would not in some degree suffer from calling soldiers from their
duty at the Custom-house, to protect them, as if they were not
sufficiently strong to defend themselves upon any ordinary
occasion. He even hinted, that in case their house's enemies
should observe that this precaution had been taken unnecessarily,
there would be no end of their sarcasms.
Sir Robert Hazlewood was rather puzzled at this intimation, for,
like most dull men, he heartily hated and feared ridicule. He
gathered himself up, and looked with a sort of pompous
embarrassment, as if he wished to be thought to despise the opinion
of the public, which in reality he dreaded.
"I really should have thought," he said, "that the injury which had
already been aimed at my house in your person, being the next heir
and representative of the Hazlewood family, failing me--I should
have thought and believed, I say, that this would have justified me
sufficiently in the eyes of the most respectable and the greater
part of the people, for taking such precautions as are calculated
to prevent and impede a repetition of outrage.--"
"Really, sir," said Charles, "I must remind you of what I have
often said before, that I am positive the discharge of the piece
"Sir, it was not accidental," said his father angrily but you will
be wiser than your elders."
"Really, sir," replied Hazlewood, "in what so intimately concerns
"Sir, it does not concern you but in a very secondary degree--
that is, it does not concern you, as a giddy young fellow, who
takes pleasure in contradicting his father; but it concerns the
country, sir; and the county, sir; and the public, sir; and the
kingdom of Scotland, in so far as the interest of the Hazlewood
family, sir, is committed, and interested, and put in peril, in,
by, and through you, sir. And the fellow is in safe custody, and
Mr. Glossin thinks--"
"Mr. Glossin, sir?"
"Yes, sir, the gentleman who has purchased Ellangowan--you know who
I mean, I suppose?"
"Yes, sir," answered the young man, "but I should hardly have
expected to hear you quote such authority. Why, this fellow--all
the world knows him to be sordid, mean, tricking; and I suspect him
to be worse. And you yourself, my dear sir, when did you call such
a person a gentleman in your life before?"
"Why, Charles, I did not mean gentleman in the precise sense and
meaning, and restricted and proper use, to which, no doubt, the
phrase ought legitimately to be confined; but I meant to use it
relatively, as marking something of that state to which he has
elevated and raised himself--as designing, in short, a decent and
wealthy and estimable sort of a person."
"Allow me to ask, sir," said Charles, "if it was by this man's
orders that the guard was drawn from Portanferry?"
"Sir," replied the Baronet, "I do apprehend that Mr. Glossin would
not presume to give orders, or even an opinion, unless asked, in a
matter in which Hazlewood House and the house of Hazlewood--meaning
by the one this mansion-house of my family, and by the other,
typically, metaphorically, and parabolically, the family itself--I
say then where the house of Hazlewood, or Hazlewood House, was so
"I presume, however, sir," said the son, "this Glossin approved of
"Sir," replied his father, "I thought it decent and right and
proper to consult him as the nearest magistrate, as soon as report
of the intended outrage reached my ears; and although he declined,
out of deference and respect, as became our relative situations, to
concur in the order, yet he did entirely approve of my
At this moment a horse's feet were heard coming very fast up the
avenue. In a few minutes the door opened, and Mr. Mac-Morlan
presented himself. "I am under great concern to intrude, Sir
"Give me leave, Mr. Mac-Morlan," said Sir Robert, with a gracious
flourish of welcome; "this is no intrusion, sir; for your situation
as Sheriff-substitute calling upon you to attend to the peace of
the county (and you, doubtless, feeling yourself particularly
called upon to protect Hazlewood House), you have an acknowledged,
and admitted, and undeniable right, sir, to enter the house of the
first gentleman in Scotland, uninvited--always presuming you to be
called there by the duty of your office."
"It is indeed the duty of my office," said Mac-Morlan, who waited
with impatience an opportunity to speak, "that makes me an
"No intrusion!" reiterated the Baronet, gracefully waving his
"But permit me to say, Sir Robert," said the Sheriff-substitute, "I
do not come with the purpose of remaining here, but to recall these
soldiers to Portanferry, and to assure you that I will answer for
the safety of your house."
"To withdraw the guard from Hazlewood House!" exclaimed the
proprietor in mingled displeasure and surprise; "and you will be
answerable for it! And, pray, who are you, sir, that I should take
your security, and caution, and pledge, official or personal, for
the safety of Hazlewood House?--I think, sir, and believe, sir,
and am of opinion, sir, that if any one of these family pictures
were deranged, or destroyed, or injured, it would be difficult for
me to make up the loss upon the guarantee which you so obligingly
"In that case I shall be sorry for it, Sir Robert," answered the
downright Mac-Morlan; "but I presume I may escape the pain of
feeling my conduct the cause of such irreparable loss, as I can
assure you there will be no attempt upon Hazlewood House whatever,
and I have received information which induces me to suspect that
the rumour was put afloat merely in order to occasion the removal
of the soldiers from Portanferry. And under this strong belief and
conviction, I must exert my authority as sheriff and chief
magistrate of police, to order the whole, or greater part of them,
back again. I regret much, that by my accidental absence, a good
deal of delay has already taken place, and we shall not now reach
Portanferry until it is late."
As Mr. Mac-Morlan was the superior magistrate, and expressed
himself peremptory in the purpose of acting as such, the Baronet,
though highly offended, could only say, "Very well, sir, it is very
well. Nay, sir, take them all with you--I am far from desiring any
to be left here, sir. We, sir, can protect ourselves, sir. But
you will have the goodness to observe, sir, that you are acting on
your own proper risk, sir, and peril, sir, and responsibility, sir,
if anything shall happen or befall to Hazlewood House, sir, or the
inhabitants, sir, or to the furniture and paintings, sir."
"I am acting to the best of my judgment and information, Sir
Robert," said Mac-Morlan, "and I must pray of you to believe so,
and to pardon me accordingly. I beg you to observe it is no time
for ceremony--it is already very late."
But Sir Robert, without deigning to listen to his apologies,
immediately employed himself with much parade in arming and
arraying his domestics. Charles Hazlewood longed to accompany the
military, which were about to depart for Portanferry, and which
were now drawn up and mounted by direction and under the guidance
of Mr. Mac-Morlan, as the civil magistrate. But it would have
given just pain and offence to his father to have left him at a
moment when he conceived himself and his mansion-house in danger.
Young Hazlewood therefore gazed from a window with suppressed
regret and displeasure, until he heard the officer give the word of
command--"From the right to the front, by files, m-a-rch. Leading
file, to the right wheel--Trot."--The whole party of soldiers then
getting into a sharp and uniform pace, were soon lost among the
trees, and the noise of the hoofs died speedily away in the
W!' coulters [*The fore-iron of a plough.] and wi'
forehammers We garr'd [*Made] the bars bang merrily, Until
we came to the inner prison where Willie O, Kinmont he did
lie. Old Border Ballad.
We return to Portanferry, and to Bertram and his honest-hearted
friend, whom we left most innocent inhabitants of a place built for
the guilty. The slumbers of the farmer were as sound as it was
But Bertram's first heavy sleep passed away long before midnight,
nor could he again recover that state of oblivion. Added to the
uncertain and uncomfortable state of his mind, his body felt
feverish and oppressed. This was chiefly owing to the close and
confined air of the small apartment in which they slept. After
enduring for some time the broiling and suffocating feeling
attendant upon such an atmosphere, he rose to endeavour to open the
window of the apartment, and thus to procure a change of air. Alas!
the first trial reminded him that he was in jail, and that the
building being contrived for security, not comfort, the means of
procuring fresh air were not left at the disposal of the wretched
Disappointed in this attempt, he stood by the unmanageable window
for some time. Little Wasp, though oppressed with the fatigue of
his journey on the preceding day, crept out of bed after his
master, and stood by him rubbing his shaggy coat against his legs,
and expressing, by a murmuring sound, the delight which he felt at
being restored to him. Thus accompanied, and waiting until the
feverish feeling which at present agitated his blood should
subside, into a desire for warmth and slumber, Bertram remained for
some time looking out upon the sea.
The tide was now nearly full, and dashed hoarse and near below the
base of the building. Now and then a large wave reached even the
barrier or bulwark which defended the foundation of the house, and
was flung upon it with greater force and noise than those which
only broke upon the sand. Far in the distance, under the indistinct
light of a hazy and often overclouded moon, the ocean rolled its
multitudinous complication of waves, crossing, bursting, and
mingling with each other.
"A wild and dim spectacle," said Bertram to himself, "like those
crossing tides of fate which have tossed me about the world from my
infancy upwards. When will this uncertainty cease, and how soon
shall I be permitted to look out for a tranquil home, where I may
cultivate in quiet, and without dread and perplexity, those arts of
peace from which my cares have been hitherto so forcibly diverted?
The ear of Fancy, it is said, can discover the voice of sea-nymphs
and tritons amid the bursting murmurs of the ocean; would that I
could do so, and that some siren or Proteus would arise from these
billows, to unriddle for me the strange maze of fate in which I am
so deeply entangled!--Happy friend!" he said, looking at the bed
where Dinmont had deposited his bulky person, "thy cares are
confined to the narrow round of a healthy and thriving occupation!
Thou canst lay them aside at pleasure, and enjoy the deep repose of
body and mind which wholesome labour has prepared for thee!"
At this moment his rejections were broken by little Wasp, who,
attempting to spring up against the window,--began to yelp and bark
most furiously. The sound reached Dinmont's ears, but without
dissipating the illusion which had transported him from this
wretched apartment to the free air of his own green hills. "Hoy,
Yarrow, man!--far yaud--far yaud!" he muttered between his teeth,
imagining, doubtless, that he was calling to his sheep-dog, and
hounding him in shepherds' phrase, against some intruders on the
grazing. The continued barking of the terrier within was answered
by the angry challenge of the mastiff in the courtyard, which had
for a long time been silent, excepting only an occasional short and
deep note, uttered when the moon shone suddenly from among the
clouds. Now, his clamour was continued and furious, and seemed to
he excited by some disturbance distinct from the barking of Wasp,
which had first given him the alarm, and which, with much trouble,
his master had contrived to still into an angry note of low
At last Bertram, whose attention was now fully awakened, conceived
that he saw a boat upon the sea, and heard in good earnest the
sound of oars and of human voices, mingling with the dash of the
billows. Some benighted fishermen, he thought, or perhaps some of
the desperate traders from the Isle of Man. They are very hardy,
however, to approach so near to the Custom-house, where there must
be sentinels. It is a large boat, like a longboat, and full of
people; perhaps it belongs to the revenue service.--Bertram was
confirmed in this last opinion, by observing that the boat made for
a little quay which ran into the sea behind the Custom-house, and
'jumping ashore one after another, the crew, to the number of
twenty hands, glided secretly up a small lane which divided the
Custom-house from the Bridewell, and disappeared from his sight,
leaving only two persons to take care of the boat.
The dash of these men's oars at first, and latterly the suppressed
sounds of their voices, had excited the wrath of the wakeful
sentinel in the courtyard, who now exalted his deep voice into such
a horrid and continuous din, that it awakened his brute master, as
savage a ban-dog as himself. His cry from a window, of "How now,
Tearum, what's the matter, sir?--down, d-n ye, down!" produced no
abatement of Tearum's vociferation, which in part prevented his
master from bearing the sounds of alarm which his ferocious
vigilance was in the act of challenging. But the mate of the
two-legged Cerberus was gifted with sharper ears than her husband.
She also was now at the window; "B-t ye, gae down and let loose the
dog," she said, "they're sporting the door of the Custom-house, and
the auld sap at Hazlewood House has ordered off the guard. But ye
hae nae mair heart, than a cat." And down the Amazon sallied to
perform the task herself, while her helpmate, more jealous of
insurrection within doors, than of storm from without, went from
cell to cell to see that the inhabitants of each were carefully
These latter sounds, with which we have made the reader acquainted,
had their origin in front of the house, and were consequently
imperfectly heard by Bertram, whose apartment, as we have already
noticed, looked from the back part of the building upon the sea. He
heard, however, a stir and tumult in the house, which did not seem
to accord with the stern seclusion of a prison at the hour of
midnight, and, connecting them with the arrival of an armed boat at
that dead hour, could not but suppose that something extraordinary
was about to take place. In this belief he shook Dinmont by the
shoulder--"Eh!--Ay!--Oh!--Ailie, woman, it's no time to get up
yet," growled the sleeping man of the mountains. More roughly
shaken, however, he gathered himself up, shook his ears, and asked,
"In the name of Providence, what's the matter?"
"That I can't tell you," replied Bertram; "but either the place is
on fire, or some extraordinary thing is about to happen. Are you
not sensible of a smell of fire? Do you not hear what a noise there
is of clashing doors within the house, and of hoarse voices,
murmurs, and distant shouts on the outside? Upon my word, I believe
something very extraordinary has taken place--Get up, for the love
of Heaven, and let us be on our guard."
Dinmont rose at the idea of danger, as intrepid and undismayed as
any of his ancestors when the beaconlight was kindled. "Odd,
Captain, this is a queer place! they winna let ye out in the day,
and they winna let ye sleep in the night. Deil, but it wad break
my heart in a fortnight. But, Lordsake, what a racket they're
making now! Odd, I wish we had some light. Wasp-Wasp, whisht,
hinny--whisht, my bonnie man, and let's hear what they're
doing.--Deil's in ye, will ye whisht?"
They sought in vain among the embers the means of lighting their
candle, and the noise without still continued. Dinmont in his turn
had recourse to the window, "Lordsake, Captain! come here.--Odd,
they hae broken the Custom-house!"
Bertram hastened to the window, and plainly saw a miscellaneous
crowd of smugglers, and blackguards of different descriptions, some
carrying lighted torches, others bearing packages and barrels down
the lane to the boat that was lying at the quay, to which two or
three other fisher-boats were now brought round. They were loading
each of these in their turn, and one or two had already put off to
seaward. "This speaks for itself," said Bertram; "but I fear
something worse has happened. Do you perceive a strong smell of
smoke, or is it my fancy?"
"Fancy?" answered Dinmont, "there's a reek like a killogie. [*A
lime-kiln.] Odd, if they burn the Custom-house, it will catch
here, and we'll lunt [*Burn] like a tar-barrel a' thegither.--Eh!
it wad be fearsome to be burnt alive for naething, like as if ane
had been a warlock! [*witch]--Mac-Guffog, hear ye!"--roaring at
the top of his voice; "an ye wad ever hae a haill bane in your
skin, let's out, man! let's out!"
The fire began now to rise high, and thick clouds of smoke rolled
past the window, at which Bertram and Dinmont were stationed.
Sometimes, as the wind pleased, the dim shroud of vapour hid
everything from their sight; sometimes a red glare illuminated both
land and sea, and shone full on the stern and fierce figures, who,
wild with ferocious activity, were engaged in loading the boats.
The fire was at length triumphant, and spouted in jets of flame out
at each window of the burning building, while huge flakes of
flaming materials came driving on the wind against the adjoining
prison, and rolling a dark canopy of smoke over all the
neighbourhood. The shouts of a furious mob resounded far and wide;
for the smugglers, in their triumph, were joined by all the rabble
of the little town and . neighbourhood, now aroused, and in
complete agitation, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour; some
from interest in the free trade, and most from the general love of
mischief and tumult, natural to a vulgar populace.
Bertram began to be seriously anxious for their fate. There was no
stir in the house; it seemed as if the jailor had deserted his
charge, and left the prison with its wretched inhabitants to the
mercy of the conflagration which was spreading towards them. In
the meantime a new and fierce attack was heard upon the outer gate
of the Correction-house, which, battered with sledge-hammers and
crows, was soon forced. The keeper, as great a coward as a bully,
with his more ferocious wife, had fled; their servants readily
surrendered the keys. The liberated prisoners, celebrating their
deliverance with the wildest yells of joy, mingled among the mob
which had given them freedom.
In the midst of the confusion that ensued, three or four of the
principal smugglers hurried to the apartment of Bertram with
lighted torches, and armed with cutlasses and pistols. --"Der
deyvil," said the leader, "here's our mark!" and two of them seized
on Bertram, but one whispered in his ear, "Make no resistance till
you are in the street." The same individual found an instant to
say to Dinmont--"Follow our friend, an help when you see the time
In the hurry of the moment, Dinmont obeyed and followed close. The
two smugglers dragged Bertram along the passage, downstairs,
through the courtyard, now illuminated by the glare of fire, and
into the narrow street to which the gate opened, where, in the
confusion, the gang were necessarily in some degree separated from
each other. A rapid noise, as of a body of horse advancing, seemed
to add to the disturbance. "Hagel and wetter, what is that?" said
the leader; "keep together, kinder, look to the prisoner."--but
in spite of his charge, the two who held Bertram were the last of
The sounds and signs of violence were heard in front. The press
became curiously agitated, while some endeavoured to defend
themselves, others to escape; shots were fired, and the glittering
broadswords of the dragoons began to appear, flashing above the
beads of the rioters. "Now," said the warning whisper of the man
who held Bertram's left arm, the same who had spoken before, "shake
off that fellow, and follow me."
Bertram, exerting his strength suddenly and effectually, easily
burst from the grasp of the man who held his collar on the right
side. The fellow attempted to draw a pistol, but was prostrated by
a blow of Dinmont's fist, which an ox could hardly have received
without the same humiliation. "Follow me quick," said the friendly
partisan, and dived through a very narrow and dirty lane which led
from the main street.
No pursuit took place. The attention of the smugglers had been
otherwise and very disagreeably engaged by the sudden appearance of
Mac-Morlan and the party of horse. The loud manly voice of the
provincial magistrate was heard proclaiming the Riot Act, and
charging "all those unlawfully assembled to disperse at their own
proper peril." This interruption would indeed have happened in time
sufficient to have prevented the attempt, had not the magistrate
received upon the road some false information, which led him to
think that the smugglers were to land at the Bay of Ellangowan.
Nearly two hours were lost in consequence of this false
intelligence, which it may be no lack of charity to suppose that
Glossin, so deeply interested in the issue of that night's daring
attempt, had contrived to throw in Mac-Morlan's way, availing
himself of the knowledge that the soldiers had left Hazlewood
House, which would soon reach an ear so anxious as his.
In the meantime, Bertram followed his guide, and was in his turn
followed by Dinmont. The shouts of the mob, the trampling of the
horses, the dropping pistol-shots, sunk more and more faintly upon
their ears; when at the end of the dark lane they found a
post-chaise with four horses. "Are you here, in God's name?" said
the guide to the postilion who drove the leaders.
"Ay, troth am I," answered Jack Jabos, "and I wish I were any gate
"Open the carriage, then--You, gentlemen, get into it--in a short
time you'll be in a place of safety--and (to Bertram) remember your
promise to the gipsy wife!"
Bertram, resolving to be passive in the hands of a person who had
just rendered him such a distinguished piece of service, got into
the chaise as directed. Dinmont followed; Wasp, who had kept close
by them, sprung in at the same time, and the carriage drove off
very fast. "Have a care a' me," said Dinmont, "but this is the
queerest thing yet!--Odd, I trust they'll no coup [*Upset.]
us--and then what's to come o' Dumple?--I would rather be on his
back than in the Deuke's coach, God bless him."
Bertram observed, that they could not go at that rapid rate to any
great distance without changing horses, and that they might insist
upon remaining till daylight at the first inn they stopped at, or
at least upon being made acquainted with the purpose and
termination of their journey, and Mr. Dinmont might there give
directions about his faithful horse, which would probably be safe
at the stables where he had left him.--"Aweel, aweel, e'en sae be
it for Dandie. --Odd, if we were ance out o' this trindling kist
[*Rolling chest.] o' a thing, I am thinking they wad find it hard
wark to gar us gang ony gate but where we liked oursells."
While he thus spoke, the carriage making a sudden turn, showed
them, through the left window, the village at some distance, still
widely beaconed by the fire, which, having reached a storehouse
wherein spirits were deposited, now rose high into the air, a
wavering column of brilliant light. They had not long time to
admire this spectacle, for another turn of the road carried them
into a close lane between plantations, through which the chaise
proceeded in nearly total darkness, but with unabated speed.
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter,
And aye the ale was growing better.
Tam o' Shanter
We must now return to Woodbourne, which, it may be remembered, we
left just after the Colonel had given some directions to his
confidential servant. When he returned, his absence of mind, and
an unusual expression of thought and anxiety upon his features,
struck the ladies whom he joined in the drawing-room. Mannering
was not, however, a man to be questioned, even by those whom he
most loved, upon the cause of the mental agitation which these
signs expressed. The hour of tea arrived, and the party were
partaking of that refreshment in silence, when a carriage drove up
to the door, and the bell announced the arrival of a visitor.
"Surely," said Mannering, "it is too soon by some hours."
There was a short pause, when Barnes, opening the door of the
saloon. announced Mr. Pleydell. In marched the lawyer, whose
well-brushed black coat, and well-powdered wig, together with his
point ruffles, brown silk stockings, highly varnished shoes, and
gold buckles, exhibited the pains which the old gentleman had taken
to prepare his person for the ladies' society. He was welcomed by
Mannering with a hearty shake by the hand. "The very man I wished
to see at this moment!"
"Yes," said the counsellor, "I told you I would take the first
opportunity; so I have ventured to leave the Court for a week in
session time--no common sacrifice--but I had a notion I could be
useful, and I was to attend a proof here about the same time. But
will you not introduce me to the young ladies?--Ah! there is one I
should have known at once, from her family likeness! Miss Lucy
Bertram, my love, I am most happy to see you."--and he folded her
in his arms, and gave her a hearty kiss on each side of the face,
to which Lucy submitted in blushing resignation.
"On n'arrete pas dans un si beau chemin," continued the gay old
gentleman, and, as the Colonel presented him to Julia, took the
same liberty with that fair lady's cheek. Julia laughed, coloured,
and disengaged herself. "I beg a thousand pardons," said the
lawyer, with a bow which was not at all professionally awkward;
"age and old fashions give privileges, and I can hardly say whether
I am most sorry just now at being too well entitled to claim them
at all, or happy in having such an opportunity to exercise them so
"Upon my word, sir," said Miss Mannering, laughing, "If you make
such flattering apologies, we shall begin to doubt whether we can
admit you to shelter yourself under your alleged qualifications."
"I can assure you, Julia," said the Colonel, "you are perfectly
right; my friend the counsellor is a dangerous person; the last
time I had the pleasure of seeing him, he was closeted with a fair
lady, who, had granted him a tete-a-tete at eight in the morning."
"Ay, but, Colonel," said the counsellor, "you should add, I was
more indebted to my chocolate than my charms for so distinguished a
favour, from a person of such propriety, of demeanour as Mrs.
"And that should remind me, Mr. Pleydell," said Julia, "to offer
you tea--that is, supposing you have dined."
"Anything, Miss Mannering, from your hands," answered the gallant
jurisconsult; "yes, I have dined-that is to say, as people dine at
a Scotch inn."
"And that is indifferently enough," said the Colonel, with his hand
upon the bell-handle "give me leave to order something."
"Why, to say truth," replied Mr. Pleydell, "I had rather not; I
have been inquiring into that matter, for you must know I stopped
an instant below to pull off my boot-hose, "a world too wide for my
shrunk shanks,"' glancing down with some complacency upon limbs
which looked very well for his time of life, "and I had some
conversation with your Barnes, and a very intelligent person whom I
presume to be the housekeeper; and it was settled among us--tota re
perspecta--I beg Miss Mannering's pardon for my Latin--that the
old lady should add to your light family-supper the more
substantial refreshment of a brace of wild-ducks. I told her
(always under deep submission) my poor thoughts about the sauce,
which concurred exactly with her own; and, if you please, I would
rather wait till they are ready before eating anything solid."
"And we will anticipate our usual hour of supper," said the
"With all my heart," said Pleydell, "providing I do not lose the
ladies' company a moment the sooner. I am of counsel with my old
friend Burnet; [*See Note VIII. Lord Monboddo.] I love the caena,
the supper of the ancients, the pleasant meal and social glass that
wash out of one's mind the cobwebs that business or gloom have been
spinning in our brains all day.' "
Mr. Pleydell's look and manner, and the quietness with which he
made himself at home on the subject of his little Epicurean
comforts, amused the ladies, but particularly Miss Mannering, who
immediately gave the counsellor a great deal of flattering
attention; and more pretty things were said on both sides during
the service of the tea-table than we have leisure to repeat.
As soon as this was over, Mannering led the counsellor by the arm
into a small study which opened from the saloon, and where,
according to the custom of the family, there were always lights and
a good fire in the evening.
"I see," said Mr. Pleydell, "you have got something to tell me
about the Ellangowan business--Is it terrestrial or celestial? What
says my military Albumazar? Have you calculated the course of
futurity? have you consulted your Ephemerides, your Almochoden,
"No, truly, counsellor," replied Mannering, "you are the only
Ptolemy I intend to resort to upon the present occasion--a second
Prospero, I have broken my staff, and drowned my book far beyond
plummet depth. But I have great news notwithstanding. Meg
Merrilies, our Egyptian sibyl, has appeared to the Dominie this
very day, and, as I conjecture, has frightened the honest man not a
"Ay, and she has done me the honour to open a correspondence with
me, supposing me to be as deep in astrological mysteries as when we
first met. Here is her scroll, delivered to me by the Dominie."
Pleydell put on his spectacles. "A vile greasy scrawl,
indeed--and the letters are uncial or semi-uncial, as somebody
calls your large text hand, and in size and perpendicularity
resemble the ribs of a roasted pig--I can hardly make it out."
"I will try," answered the lawyer. "' You are a good seeker, but a
bad finder; you set yourself to prop a falling house, but had a gey
guess it would rise again. Lend your hand to the wark that's near,
as you lent your ee to the weird [*Destiny] that was far. Have a
carriage This night by ten o'clock, at the end of the Crooked Dykes
at Portanferry, and let it bring the folk to Woodbourne that shall
ask them, if they be there IN GOD'S NAME.'-Stay, here follows some
poetry- Dark shall be light, And wrong done to right, When
Bertram's right and Bertram's might Shall meet on Ellangowan's
height.' A most mystic epistle truly, and closes in a vein of
poetry worthy of the Cumaean sibyl--and what have you done?"
"Why," said Mannering, rather reluctantly, "I was loth to risk any
opportunity of throwing light on this business. The woman is
perhaps crazed, and these effusions may arise only from visions of
her imagination;--but you were of opinion that she knew more of
that strange story than she ever told. "
"And so," said Pleydell, "you sent a carriage to the place named?"
"You will laugh at me if I own I did," replied the Colonel.
"Who, I?" replied the advocate. "No, truly, I think it was the
wisest thing you could do."
"Yes," answered Mannering, well pleased to have escaped the
ridicule he apprehended; "you know the worst is paying the
chaise-hire--I sent a post-chaise and four from Kippletringan, with
instructions corresponding to the letter--the horses will have a
long and cold station on the outposts to-night if our intelligence
"Ay, but I think it will prove otherwise," said the lawyer. "This
woman has played a part till she believes it; or, if she be a
thorough-paced impostor, without a single grain of self-delusion to
qualify her knavery, still she may think herself bound to act in
character-this I know, that I could get nothing out of her by the
common modes of interrogation, and the wisest thing we can do is to
give her an opportunity of making the discovery her own way. And
now have you more to say, or shall we go to the ladies?"
"Why, my mind is uncommonly agitated," answered the Colonel,
"and--but I really have no more to say--only I shall count the
minutes till the carriage returns; but you cannot be expected to be
"Why, no--use is all in all," said the more experienced lawyer,--"I
am much interested certainly, but I think I shall be able to
survive the interval, if the ladies will afford us some music."
"And with the assistance of the wild-ducks, by and by?" suggested
"True, Colonel; a lawyer's anxiety about the fate of the most
interesting cause has seldom spoiled either his sleep or
digestion. [*Note IX Lawyers' Sleepless Nights.] And yet I
shall be very eager to hear the rattle of these wheels on their
So saying, he rose and led the way into the next room, where Miss
Mannering, at his request, took her seat at the harpsichord. Lucy
Bertram, who sung her native melodies very sweetly, was accompanied
by her friend upon the instrument, and Julia afterwards performed
some of Scarlatti's sonatas with great brilliancy. The old lawyer,
scraping a little upon the violoncello, and being a member of the
gentlemen's concert in Edinburgh, was so greatly delighted with
this mode of spending the evening, that I doubt if he once thought
of the wild-ducks until Barnes informed the company that supper was
"Tell Mrs. Allan to have something in readiness," said the
Colonel--"I expect--that is, I hope--perhaps some company may be
here to-night; and let the men sit up, and do not lock the upper
gate on the lawn until I desire you."
"Lord, sir," said Julia, "whom can you possibly expect
"Why, some persons, strangers to me, talked of calling in
the evening on business," answered her father, not without
embarrassment, for he would have little brooked a
disappointment which might have thrown ridicule on his
judgment; "it is quite uncertain."
"Well, we shall not pardon them for disturbing our party,"
said Julia, "unless they bring as much good-humour, and as
susceptible hearts, as my friend and admirer, for so he has
dubbed himself, Mr. Pleydell."
"Ah, Miss Julia," said Pleydell, offering his arm with an
air of gallantry to conduct her into the eating-room, "the
time has been--when I returned from Utrecht in the year
"Pray don't talk of it," answered the young lady,--"we
like you much better as you are--Utrecht, in heaven's
name!--I dare say you have spent all the intervening years
in getting rid so completely of the effects of your Dutch
"Oh, forgive me, Miss Mannering," said the lawyer; "the
Dutch are a much more accomplished people in point or
gallantry than their volatile neighbours are willing to
admit. They are constant as clock-work in their
"I should tire of that," said Julia.
"Imperturbable in their good temper," continued Pleydell.
"Worse and worse," said the young lady.
"And then," said the old beau garcon, "although for six times three
hundred and sixty-five days, your swain has placed the capuchin
round your neck, and the stove under your feet, and driven your
little sledge upon the ice in winter, and your cabriole through the
dust in summer, you may dismiss him at once, without reason or
apology, upon the two thousand one hundred and ninetieth day,
which, according to my hasty calculation, and without reckoning
leap-years, will complete the cycle of the supposed adoration, and
that without your amiable feelings having the slightest occasion to
be alarmed for the consequences to those of Mynheer."
"Well," replied Julia, "that last is truly a Dutch recommendation,
Mr. Pleydell--crystal--and hearts would lose all their merit in the
world, if it were not: for their fragility."
"Why, upon that point of the argument, Miss Mannering, it is as
difficult to find a heart that will break, as a glass that will
not; and for that reason I would press the value of mine own--were
it not that I see Mr. Sampson's eyes have been closed, and his
hands clasped--for some time, attending the end of our conference
to begin the grace.--And, to say the truth, the appearance of the
wild-ducks is very appetising." So saying, the worthy counsellor
sat himself to table, and laid aside his gallantry for awhile, to
do honour to the good things placed before him. Nothing further is
recorded of him for some time, excepting an observation that the
ducks were roasted to a single turn, and that Mrs. Allan's sauce of
claret, lemon, and cayenne, was beyond praise.
"I see," said Miss Mannering, "I have a formidable rival in Mr.
Pleydell's favour, even on the very first night of his avowed
"Pardon me, my fair lady," answered the counsellor, "your avowed
rigour alone has induced me to commit the solecism of eating a good
supper in your presence; how shall I support your frowns without
reinforcing my strength? Upon the same principle, and no other, I
will ask permission to drink wine with you."
"This is the fashion of Utrecht also, I suppose, Mr. Pleydell?"
"Forgive me, madam," answered the counsellor; "the French
themselves, the patterns of all that is gallant, term their
tavern-keepers restaurateurs, alluding, doubtless, to the relief
they afford the disconsolate lover, when bowed down to the earth by
his mistress's severity. My own case requires so much relief, that
I must trouble you for that other wing, Mr. Sampson, without
prejudice to my afterwards applying to Miss Bertram for a tart;--be
pleased to tear the wing, sir, instead of cutting it off--Mr.
Barnes will assist you, Mr. Sampson,--thank you, sir--and, Mr.
Barnes, a glass of ale, if you please."
While the old gentleman, pleased with Miss Mannering's liveliness
and attention, rattled away for her amusement and his own, the
impatience of Colonel Mannering began to exceed all bounds. He
declined sitting down at table, under pretence that he never ate
supper; and traversed the parlour, in which they were, with hasty
and impatient steps, now throwing tip the window to gaze upon the
dark lawn, now listening for the remote sound of the carriage
advancing up the avenue. At length, in a feeling of uncontrollable
impatience, he left the room, took his hat and cloak, and pursued
his walk up the avenue, as if his so doing would hasten the
approach of those whom he desired to see. "I really wish," said
Miss Bertram, "Colonel Mannering would not venture out after
nightfall. You must have heard, Mr. Pleydell, what a cruel fright
"Oh, with the smugglers?" replied the advocate--"they are old
friends of mine. I was the means of bringing some of them to
justice a long time since, when Sheriff of this county."
"And then the alarm we had immediately afterwards," added Miss
Bertram, from the vengeance of one of these wretches."
"When young Hazlewood was hurt--I heard of that too."
"Imagine, my dear Mr. Pleydell," continued Lucy, "how much Miss
Mannering and I were alarmed, when a ruffian, equally dreadful for
his great strength, and the sternness of his features, rushed out
"You must know, Mr. Pleydell," said Julia, unable to suppress her
resentment at this undesigned aspersion of her admirer, "that young
Hazlewood is so handsome in the eyes of the Young ladies of this
country, that they think every person shocking who comes near him."
"Oho!" thought Pleydell, who was by profession an observer of tones
and gestures, "there's something wrong here between my young
friends.--Well, Miss Mannering, I have not seen young Hazlewood
since he was a boy, so the ladies may be perfectly right; but I can
assure you, in spite of your scorn, that if you want to see
handsome men you must go to Holland; the prettiest fellow I ever
saw was a Dutchman, in spite of his being called Vanbost, or
Vanbuster, or some such barbarous name. He will not be quite so
handsome now, to be sure."
It was now Julia's turn to look a little out of countenance at the
chance hit of her learned admirer, but that instant the Colonel
entered the room. "I can hear nothing of them yet," he said
"still, however, we will not separate--Where is Dominie Sampson?"
"Here, honoured sir."
"What is that book you hold in your hand, Mr. Sampson?"
"It's even the learned De Lyra, sir--I would crave his honour Mr.
Pleydell's judgment, always with his best leisure, to expound a
"I am not in the vein, Mr. Sampson," answered Pleydell; "here's
metal more attractive--I do not despair to engage these two young
ladies in a glee or a catch, wherein I, even I myself, will
adventure myself for the bass part--Hang De Lyra, man; keep him for
a fitter season."
The disappointed Dominie shut his ponderous tome, much marvelling
in his mind how a person, possessed of the lawyer's erudition,
could give his mind to these frivolous toys. But the counsellor,
indifferent to the high character for learning which he was
trifling away, filled himself a large glass of Burgundy, and after
preluding a little with a voice somewhat the worse for wear, gave
the ladies a courageous invitation to join in "We be three poor
Mariners," and accomplished his own part therein with great eclat.
"Are you not withering your roses with sitting up so late, my young
ladies?" said the Colonel.
"Not a bit, sir," answered Julia; "your friend, Mr. Pleydell,
threatens to become a pupil of Mr. Sampson's to-morrow, so we must
make the most of our conquest to-night."
This led to another musical trial of skill, and that to lively
conversation. At length, when the solitary sound of one o'clock
had long since resounded on the ebon ear of night, and the next
signal of the advance of time was close approaching, Mannering,
whose impatience had long subsided into disappointment and despair,
looked at his watch, and said, "We must now give them up"--when at
that instant--But what then befell will require a separate
Justice. This does indeed confirm each circumstance The
gipsy told!--No orphan, nor without a friend art thou--
I am thy father, here's thy mother, there Thy uncle--This
thy first cousin, and these Are all thy near relations!
As Mannering replaced his watch, he heard a distant and hollow
sound--"It is a carriage for certain--no, it is but the sound of
the wind among the leafless trees. Do come to the window, Mr.
Pleydell. "The counsellor, who, with his large silk handkerchief
in his hand, was expatiating away to Julia upon some subject which
he thought was interesting, obeyed, however, the summons, first,
wrapping the handkerchief round his neck by way of precaution
against the cold air. The sound of wheels became now very
perceptible, and Pleydell, as if he had reserved all his curiosity
till that moment, ran out to the hall. The Colonel rung for Barnes
to desire that the persons who came in the carriage might be shown
into a separate room, being altogether uncertain whom it might
contain. It, stopped, however, at the door, before his purpose
could he fully explained. A moment after, Mr. Pleydell called out,
"Here's our Liddesdale friend, I protest, with a strapping young
fellow of the same calibre. "His voice arrested Dinmont, who
recognised him with equal surprise And pleasure. "Odd, if it's
your honour, we'll a' be as right and tight as thack and rape can
make us." [*When a farmer's crop is got safety into the
barn-yard, it is said to be made fast with thack and rape--Anglic,
straw and rope.]
But while the farmer stopped to make his bow, Bertram, dizzied with
the sudden glare of light, and bewildered with the circumstances of
his situation, almost unconsciously entered the open door of the
parlour, and confronted the Colonel, who was just advancing towards
it. The strong light of the apartment left no doubt of his
identity, and he himself was as much confounded with the appearance
of those to whom he so unexpectedly presented himself, as they were
by the sight of so utterly unlooked-for an object. It must be
remembered that each individual present had their own peculiar
reasons for looking with terror upon what seemed at first sight a
spectral apparition. Mannering saw before him the man whom he
supposed he had killed in India; Julia beheld her lover in a most
peculiar and hazardous situation; and Lucy Bertram at once knew the
person who had fired upon young Hazlewood. Bertram, who
interpreted the fixed and motionless astonishment of the Colonel
into displeasure at his intrusion, hastened to say that it was
involuntary, since he had been hurried hither without even knowing
whither he was to be transported.
"Mr. Brown, I believe!" said Colonel Mannering.
"Yes, sir," replied the young man modestly, but with firmness, "the
same you knew in India; and who ventures to hope, that what you did
then know of him is not such as should prevent his requesting you
would favour him with your attestation to his character, as a
gentleman and man of honour."
"Mr. Brown--I have been seldom--never--so much
surprised--certainly, sir, in whatever passed between us, you have
a right to command my favourable testimony."
At this critical moment entered the counsellor and Dinmont. The
former beheld, to his astonishment, the Colonel but just recovering
from his first surprise, Lucy Bertram ready to faint with terror,
and Miss Mannering in an agony of doubt and apprehension, which she
in vain endeavoured to disguise or suppress. "What is the meaning
of all this?" said he; "has this young fellow brought the Gorgon's
head in his hand?-let me look at him.--By Heaven!" he muttered to
himself, "the very image of old Ellangowan!--Yes, the same manly
form and handsome features, but with a world of more intelligence
in the face--Yes!--the witch has kept her word." Then instantly
passing to Lucy, "Look at that man, Miss Bertram, my dear; have you
never seen any one like him?"
Lucy had only ventured one glance at this object of terror, by
which, however, from his remarkable height and appearance, she at
once recognised the supposed assassin of young Hazlewood; a
conviction which excluded, of course, the more favourable
association of ideas which might have occurred on a closer
view.--"Don't ask me about him, sir," said she, turning away her
eyes; "send him away, for Heaven's sake! we shall all be murdered!"
"Murdered! where's the poker?" said the advocate in some alarm;
"but nonsense! we are three men besides the servants, and there is
honest Liddesdale worth half a dozen to boot--we have the major vis
upon our side--however, here, my friend Dandie--Davie--what do they
call You?--keep between that fellow and us for the protection of
"Lord! Mr. Pleydell," said the astonished farmer, "that's Captain
Brown; d'ye no ken the Captain?"
"Nay, if he's a friend of yours, we may be safe enough," answered
Pleydell; "but keep near him."
All this passed with such rapidity, that it was over before the
Dominie had recovered himself from a fit of absence, shut the book
which he had been studying in a corner, and advancing to obtain a
sight of the strangers, exclaimed at once, upon beholding Bertram,
"If the grave can give up the dead, that is my dear and honoured
"We're right after all, by Heaven! I was sure I was right," said
the lawyer; "he is the very image of his father.--Come, Colonel,
what do you think of, that you do not bid your guest welcome? I
think--I believe--I trust we're right--never saw such a
likeness!--But patience--Dominie, say not a word.--Sit down,
"I beg pardon, sir; if I am, as I understand, in Colonel
Mannering's house, I should wish first to know if my accidental
appearance here gives offence, or if I am welcome?"
Mannering instantly made an effort. "Welcome? most certainly,
especially if you can point out how I can serve you. I believe I
may have some wrongs to repair towards you--I have often
suspected so; but your sudden and unexpected appearance, connected
with painful recollections, prevented my saying at first, as I now
say, that whatever has procured me the honour of this visit, it is
an acceptable one."
Bertram bowed with an air of distant, yet civil acknowledgment, to
the grave courtesy of Mannering.
"Julia, my love, you had better retire. Mr. Brown, you will excuse
my daughter; there are circumstances which I perceive rush upon her
Miss Mannering rose and retired accordingly; yet, as--she passed
Bertram, could not suppress the words, "Infatuated! a second time!"
but so pronounced as to be heard by him alone. Miss Bertram
accompanied her friend, much surprised, but without venturing
second glance at the object of her terror. Some mistake she saw
there was, and was unwilling to increase it by denouncing the
stranger as an assassin. He was known, she saw, to the Colonel,
and received as a gentleman; certainly he either was not the person
she suspected, or Hazlewood was right in supposing the shot
The remaining part of the company would have formed no bad group
for a skilful painter. Each was too much embarrassed with his own
sensations to observe those of the others. Bertram most
unexpectedly found himself in the house of one, whom he was
alternately disposed to dislike as his personal enemy, and to
respect as the father of Julia; Mannering was struggling between
his high sense of courtesy and hospitality, his joy at finding
himself relieved from the guilt of having shed life in a private
quarrel, and the former feelings of dislike and prejudice, which
revived in his haughty mind at the sight of the object against whom
he had entertained them; Sampson, supporting his shaking limbs by
leaning on the back of a chair, fixed his eyes upon Bertram, with a
staring expression of nervous anxiety which convulsed his whole
visage; Dinmont, enveloped in his loose shaggy greatcoat, and
resembling a huge bear erect upon his hinder legs, stared on the
whole scene with great round eyes that witnessed his amazement.
The counsellor alone was in his element, shrewd, prompt, and
active; he already calculated the prospect of brilliant success in
a strange, eventful, and mysterious lawsuit, and no young monarch,
flushed with hopes, and at the head of a gallant army, could
experience more glee when taking the field on his first campaign.
He bustled about with great energy, and took the arrangement of the
whole explanation upon himself.
"Come, come, gentlemen, sit down; this is all in my province: you
must let me arrange it for you. Sit down, my dear Colonel, and let
me manage; sit down, Mr. Brown, aut quocunque alio nomine
vocaris--Dominie, take your seat--draw in your chair, honest
"I dinna ken, Mr. Pleydell," said Dinmont, looking at his
dreadnought-coat, then at the handsome furniture of the room, "I
had maybe better gang some gate else, [*Somewhere else.] and leave
ye till your cracks--I'm no just that weel put on."
The Colonel, who by this time recognised Dandie, immediately went
up and bid him heartily welcome; assuring him, that from what he
had seen of him in Edinburgh, he was sure his rough coat and
thick--soled boots would honour a royal drawing-room.
"Na, na, Colonel, we're just plain up-the-country folk; but nae
doubt I would fain hear o' ony pleasure that was gaun to happen the
Captain, and I'm sure a' will gae right if Mr. Pleydell will take
his bit job in hand."
"You're right, Dandie--spoke like a Hieland oracle [*It may not he
unnecessary to tell southern readers, that the mountainous country
in the south-western borders of Scotland, is called Hieland, though
totally different from the much more mountainous and more extensive
districts of the north, usually accented Hielands.]--and now be
silent. --Well, you are all seated at last; take a glass of wine
till I begin my catechism methodically. And now," turning to
Bertram, "my dear boy, do you know who or what you are?"
In spite of his perplexity, the catechumen could not help laughing
at this commencement, and answered, "Indeed, sir, I formerly
thought I did; but I own late circumstances have made me somewhat
"Then tell us what you formerly thought yourself."
"Why, I was in the habit of thinking and calling myself Vanbeest
Brown, who served as a cadet or volunteer under Colonel Mannering,
when he commanded the--regiment, in which capacity I was not
unknown to him."
"There," said the Colonel, "I can assure Mr. Brown of his identity;
and add, what his modesty may have forgotten, that he was
distinguished as a young man of talent and spirit."
"So much the better, my dear sir," said Mr. Pleydell; "but that is
to general character--Mr. Brown must tell us where he was born."
"In Scotland, I believe, but the place uncertain."
"In Holland, certainly."
"Do you remember nothing of your early life before you left
"Very imperfectly; yet I have a strong idea, perhaps more deeply
impressed upon me by subsequent hard usage, that I was during my
childhood the object of much solicitude and affection. I have an
indistinct remembrance of a good-looking man whom I used to call
papa, and of a lady who was infirm in health, and who, I think,
must have been my mother but it is an imperfect and confused
recollection. I remember too a tall thin kind tempered man in
black, who used to teach me my letters and walk out with me;--and I
think the very last time--"
Here the Dominie could contain no longer. While every succeeding
word served to prove that the child of his benefactor stood before
him, he had struggled with the utmost difficulty to suppress his
emotions; but, when the juvenile recollections of Bertram turned
towards his tutor and his precepts, he was compelled to give way to
his feelings. He rose hastily from his chair, and with clasped
bands, trembling limbs, and streaming eyes, called out aloud,
"Harry Bertram!--look at me--was I not the man?"
"Yes!" said Bertram, starting from his seat as if a sudden light
had burst in upon his mind,--"Yes--that was my name!--and that is
the voice and the figure of my kind old master!"
The Dominie threw himself into his arms, pressed him a thousand
times to his bosom in convulsions of transport, which shook his
whole frame, sobbed hysterically, and, at length, in the emphatic
language of Scripture, lifted up his voice and wept aloud. Colonel
Mannering had recourse to his handkerchief; Pleydell made wry
faces, and wiped the glasses of his spectacles; and honest Dinmont,
after two loud blubbering explosions, exclaimed, "Deil's in the
man! he's garr'd me do that I haena done since my auld mither
"Come, come," said the counsellor at last, "silence in the