Part 9 out of 10
court.--We have a clever party to contend with; we must lose no
time in gathering our information--for anything I know, there may
be something to be done before daybreak."
"I will order a horse to be saddled, if you please," said the
"No, no, time enough--time enough--but come, Dominie, I have
allowed you a competent space to express your feelings. I must
circumduce the term--you must let me proceed in my examination."
The Dominie was habitually obedient to any one who chose to impose
commands upon him; he sunk back into his chair, spread his checked
handkerchief over his face, to serve, as I suppose, for the Grecian
painter's veil, and, from the action of his folded hands, appeared
for a time engaged in the act of mental thanksgiving. He then
raised his eyes over the screen, as if to be assured that the
pleasing apparition had not melted into air--then again sunk them
to resume his internal act of devotion, until he felt himself
compelled to give attention to the counsellor, from the interest
which his questions excited.
"And now," said Mr. Pleydell, after several minute inquiries
concerning his recollection of early events--"And now, Mr.
Bertram, for I think we ought in future to call you by your own
proper name, will you have the goodness to let us know every
particular which you can recollect concerning the mode of your
"Indeed, sir, to say the truth, though the terrible outlines of
that day are strongly impressed upon my memory, yet somehow the
very terror which fixed them there has in a great measure
confounded and confused the details. I recollect, however, that I
was walking somewhere or other--in a wood, I think--"
"Oh yes, it was in Warroch Wood, my dear," said the Dominie.
"Hush, Mr. Sampson," said the lawyer.
"Yes, it was in a wood," continued Bertram, as long past and
confused ideas arranged themselves in his reviving recollection
"and some one was with me--this worthy and affectionate gentleman,
"Oh, ay, ay, Harry, Lord bless thee--it was even I myself."
"Be silent, Dominie, and don't interrupt the evidence," said
Pleydell.--"and so, sir?" to Bertram.
"And so, sir," continued Bertram, "like one of the changes of a
dream, I thought I was on horseback before my guide."
"No, no," exclaimed Sampson, "never did I put my own limbs, not to
say thine, into such peril.
"On my word this is intolerable!--Look ye, Dominie, if you speak
another word till I give you leave, I will read three sentences out
of the Black Acts, whisk my cane round my head three times, undo
all the magic of this night's work, and conjure Harry Bertram back
again into Vanbeest Brown."
"Honoured and worthy sir," groaned out the Dominie, "I humbly crave
pardon--it was verbum volens."
"Well, nolens volens, you must hold your tongue," said Pleydell.
"Pray, be silent, Mr. Sampson," said the Colonel; "it is--of
great consequence to your recovered friend, that you permit Mr.
Pleydell to proceed in his inquiries."
"I am mute," said the rebuked Dominie.
"On a sudden," continued Bertram, "two or three men sprung out upon
us, and we were pulled from horseback. I have little recollection
of anything else, but that I tried to escape in the midst of a
desperate scuffle, and fell into the arms of a very tall woman who
started from the bushes, and protected me for some time--the rest
is all confusion and dread--a dim recollection of a sea-beach, and
a cave, and of some strong potion which lulled me to sleep for a
length of time. In short, it is all a blank in my memory, until I
recollect myself first an ill-used and half-starved cabin-boy
aboard a sloop, and then a school-boy--in Holland under the
protection of an old merchant, who had taken some fancy for me."
"And what account," said Mr. Pleydell, "did your guardian give of
"A very brief one," answered' Bertram, "and a charge to inquire no
further. I was given to understand, that my father was concerned
in the smuggling trade carried on on the eastern coast of Scotland,
and was killed in a skirmish with the revenue officers; that his
correspondents in Holland had a vessel on the coast at the time,
part of the crew of which were engaged in the affair, and that they
brought me off after it was over, from a motive of compassion, as I
was left destitute by my father's death. As I grew older there was
much of this story seemed inconsistent with my own recollections,
but what could I do? I had no means of ascertaining my doubts, nor
a single friend with whom I could communicate or canvass them. The
rest of my story is known to Colonel Mannering: I went cut to India
to be a clerk in a Dutch house; their affairs fell into
confusion--I betook myself to the military profession, and, I
trust, as yet I have not disgraced it."
"Thou art a fine young fellow, I'll be bound for thee," said
Pleydell, "and since you have wanted a father so long, I wish from
my heart I could claim the paternity myself. But this affair of
"Was merely accidental," said Bertram. "I was travelling in
Scotland for pleasure, and after a week's residence with my friend,
Mr. Dinmont, with whom I had the good fortune to form an accidental
"It was my gude fortune that," said Dinmont "odd, my brains wad
hae been knockit out by twa blackguards, if it hadna been for his
"Shortly after we parted at the town of--, I lost my baggage by
thieves, and it was while residing at Kippletringan I accidentally
met the young gentleman. As I was approaching to pay my respects
to Miss Mannering, whom I had known in India, Mr. Hazlewood,
conceiving my appearance none of the most respectable, commanded me
rather haughtily to stand back, and so gave occasion to the fray in
which I had the misfortune to be the accidental means of wounding
him.--And now, sir, that I have answered all your questions-"
"No, no, not quite all," said Pleydell, winking sagaciously; "there
are some interrogatories which I shall delay till to-morrow, for it
is time, I believe, to close the sederunt for this night, or rather
"Well, then, sir," said the young man, "to vary the phrase, since I
have answered all the questions which you have chosen to ask
to-night, will you be so good as to tell me who you are that take
such interest in my affairs, and whom you take me to be, since my
arrival has occasioned such commotion?"
"Why, sir, for myself," replied the counsellor, "I am Paulus
Pleydell, an advocate at the Scottish bar; and for you, it is not
easy to say distinctly who you are at present; but I trust in a
short time to hail you by the title of Henry Bertram, Esq.,
representative of one of the oldest families in Scotland, and heir
of tailzie and provision to the estate of Ellangowan--Ay,"
continued be, shutting his eyes and speaking to himself, "we must
pass over his father, and serve him heir to his grandfather Lewis,
the entailer--the only wise man of his family that I ever heard
They had now risen to retire to their apartments for the night,
when Colonel Mannering walked up to Bertram, as he stood astonished
at the counsellor's words. "I give you joy," he said, "of the
prospects which fate has opened before you. I was an early friend
of your father, and chanced to be in the house of Ellangowan as
unexpectedly as you are now in mine, upon the very night in which
you were born. I little knew this circumstance when--but I trust
unkindness will be forgotten between us. Believe me, your
appearance here, as Mr. Brown, alive and well, has relieved me from
most painful sensations; and your right to the name of an old
friend renders your presence, as Mr. Bertram, doubly welcome."
"And my parents?" said Bertram.
"Are both no more--and the family property has been sold, but I
trust may be recovered. Whatever is wanted to make your right
effectual, I shall be most happy to supply."
"Nay, you may leave all that to me," said the counsellor;" 'tis my
vocation. Hal. I shall make money of it."
"I'm sure it's no for the like o' me," observed Dinmont, "to speak
to you gentlefolks; but if siller would help on the Captain's plea,
and they say nae plea gangs an weel without it--"
"Except on Saturday night," said Pleydell.
"Ay, but when your honour wadna take your fee Ye wadna hae the
cause neither, sae I'll ne'er fash you on a Saturday at e'en
again--but I was saying, there's some siller in the spleuchan [*A
spleuchan is a tobacco pouch, occasionally used as a purse.] that's
like the Captain's ain, for we've aye counted it such, baith Ailie
"No, no, Liddesdale--no occasion, no occasion whatever--keep thy
cash to stock thy farm."
"To stack my farm? Mr. Pleydell, your honour kens mony things, but
ye dinna ken the farm o' Charlies-hope--it's sae weel stockit
already, that we sell maybe sax hundred pounds off it ilka year,
flesh and fell thegither--na, na."
"Can't you take another then?"
"I dinna ken--the Deuke's no that fond o' led farms, and he canna
bide to put away the auld tenantry; and then I wadna like, mysell,
to gang about whistling and raising the rent on my neighbours."
[*Whistling, among the tenantry of a large estate, is, when an
individual gives such information to the proprietor, or his
managers, as to occasion the rent of his neighbour's farms being
raised, which, for obvious reasons, is held a very unpopular
"What, not upon thy neighbour at Dawston--Devilstone--how d'ye
call the place?"
"What, on Jock o' Dawston? hout na--he's a camsteary [*Obstinate
and unruly.] chield, and fasheous [*Troublesome] about marches,
and we've had some bits o' splores thegither; but deil o' me if I
wad wrang Jock o' Dawston neither."
"Thou'rt an honest fellow," said the lawyer; "get thee to bed. Thou
wilt sleep sounder, I warrant thee, than many a man that throws off
an embroidered coat, and puts on a laced nightcap.--Colonel, I see
you are busy with our Enfant trouve. But Barnes must give me a
summons of wakening at seven to-morrow morning, for my servant's a
sleepy-headed fellow; and I dare say my clerk, Driver, has had
Clarence's fate, and is drowned by this time in a butt of your ale;
for Mrs. Allan promised to make him comfortable, and she'll soon
discover what he expects from that engagement. Good-night,
Colonel--good-night, Dominie Sampson--good-night, Dinmont the
downright--good-night, last of all, to the new-found representative
of the Bertrams, and the Mac-Dingawaies, the Knarths, the Arths,
the Godfreys, the Dennises, and the Rolands, and, last and dearest
title, heir of tailzie and provision of the lands and barony of
Ellangowan, under the settlement of Lewis Bertram, Esq., whose
representative you are."
And so-saying, the old gentleman took his candle and left the room;
and the company dispersed, after the Dominie had once more hugged
and embraced his "little Harry Bertram," as he continued to call
the young soldier of six feet high.
--My imagination Carries no favour in it but Bertram's; I
am undone; there is no living, none, If Bertram be away.--
All's well that Ends Well.
At the hour which he had appointed the preceding evening, the
indefatigable lawyer was seated by a good fire, and a pair of wax
candles, with a velvet cap on his head, and a quilted silk
night-gown on his person, busy arranging his memoranda of proofs
and indications concerning the murder of Frank Kennedy. An express
had also been despatched to Mr. Mac-Morlan, requesting his
attendance at Woodbourne as soon as possible, on business of
importance. Dinmont, fatigued with the events of the evening
before, and finding the accommodations of Woodbourne much
preferable to those of Mac-Guffog, was in no hurry to rise. The
impatience of Bertram might have put him earlier in motion, but
Colonel Mannering had intimated an intention to visit him in his
apartment in the morning, and he did not choose to leave it. Before
this interview he had dressed himself, Barnes having, by his
master's orders, supplied him with every accommodation of linen,
etc., and now anxiously waited the promised visit of his landlord.
In a short time a gentle tap announced the Colonel, with whom
Bertram held a long and satisfactory conversation. Each, however,
concealed from the other one circumstance. Mannering could not
bring himself to acknowledge the astrological prediction; and
Bertram was, from motives which may be easily conceived, silent
respecting his love for Julia. In other respects, their
intercourse was frank and grateful to both, and had latterly, upon
the Colonel's part, even an approach to cordiality. Bertram
carefully measured his own conduct by that of his host, and seemed
rather to receive his offered kindness with gratitude and pleasure,
than to press for it with solicitation.
Miss Bertram was in the breakfast-parlour when Sampson shuffled in,
his face all radiant with smiles, a circumstance so uncommon, that
Lucy's first idea was, that somebody had been bantering him with an
imposition, which had thrown him into this ecstasy. Having sat for
some time, rolling his eyes and gaping with his mouth like the
great wooden head at Merlin's exhibition, he at length began--
"And what do you think of him, Miss Lucy?"
"Think of whom, Mr. Sampson?" asked the young lady.
"Of Har--no--of him that you know about?" again demanded the
"That I know about?" replied Lucy, totally at a loss to comprehend
"Yes, the stranger, you know, that came last evening in the post
vehicle--he who shot young Hazlewood--ha, ha, ho!" burst forth the
Dominie, with a laugh that sounded like neighing.
"Indeed, Mr. Sampson," said his pupil, "you have chosen a strange
subject for mirth--I think nothing about the man, only I hope the
outrage was accidental, and that we need not fear a repetition of
"Accidental! ho, ho, ha!" again whinnied Sampson.
"Really, Mr. Sampson," said Lucy, somewhat piqued," you are
unusually gay this morning."
"Yes, of a surety I am I ha, ha, ho! face-ti-ous--ho, ho, ha!"
"So unusually facetious, my dear sir," pursued the young lady,
"that I would wish rather to know the meaning of your mirth, than
to be amused with its effects only."
"You shall know it, Miss Lucy," replied poor Abel Do you remember
"Good God! how can you ask me?--no one knows better than you, he
was lost the very day I was born."
"Very true, very true," answered the Dominie, saddening at the
recollection; "I was strangely oblivious--ay, ay--too true. But
you remember your worthy father?"
"How should you doubt it, Mr. Sampson? it is not so many weeks
"True, true--ay, too true," replied the Dominie, his Houyhnhnm
laugh sinking into a hysterical giggle,--"I will be facetious no
more under these remembrances--but look at that young man!"
Bertram at this instant entered the room. "Yes, look at him
well--he is your father's living image; and as God has deprived you
of your dear parents--O my children, love one another!"
"It is indeed my father's face and form," said Lucy, turning very
pale; Bertram ran to support her--the Dominie to fetch water to
throw upon her face (which in his haste he took from the boiling
tea-urn)--when fortunately her colour returning rapidly, saved her
from the application of this ill-judged remedy. "I conjure you yet
to tell me, Mr. Sampson," she said, in an interrupted, solemn
voice, is this my brother?"
"It is--it is!--Miss Lucy, it is little Harry Bertram, as sure as
God's sun is in that heaven!"
"And this is my sister?" said Bertram, giving way to all that
family affection, which had so long slumbered in his bosom for want
of an object to expand itself upon.
"lt is!--it is Miss Lucy Bertram," ejaculated Sampson, "whom by my
poor aid you will find perfect in the tongues of France, and Italy,
and even of Spain--in reading and writing her vernacular tongue,
and in arithmetic and bookkeeping by double and single entry--I say
nothing of her talents of shaping, and hemming, and governing a
household, which, to give every one their due, she acquired not
from me, but from the housekeeper--nor do I take merit for her
performance upon stringed instruments, whereunto the instructions
of an honourable young lady of virtue and modesty, and very
facetious withal--Miss Julia Mannering--hath not meanly
contributed--Suum cuique tribuilo."
"You, then," said Bertram to his sister, "are all that remains to
me!--Last night, but more fully this morning, Colonel Mannering
gave me an account of our family misfortunes, though without saying
I should find my sister here."
"That," said Lucy, "he left to this gentleman to tell you, one of
the kindest and most faithful of friends, who soothed my father's
long sickness, witnessed his dying moments, and amid the heaviest
clouds of fortune would not desert his orphan."
"God bless him for it!" said Bertram, shaking the Dominie's hand;"
he deserves the love with which I have always regarded even that
dim and imperfect shadow of his memory which my childhood
"And God bless you both, my dear children," said Sampson; "if it
had not been for your sake, I would have been contented (had
Heaven's pleasure so been) to lay my head upon the turf beside my
"But, I trust," said Bertram, "I am encouraged to hope we shall all
see better days. All our wrongs shall be redressed, since Heaven
has sent me means and friends to assert my right."
"Friends indeed!" echoed the Dominie, "and sent, as you truly say,
by Him, to whom I early taught you to look up as the source of all
that is good. There is the great Colonel Mannering from the
Eastern Indies, a man of war from his birth up-wards, but who is
not the less a man of great erudition, considering his imperfect
opportunities; and there is, moreover, the great advocate Mr.
Pleydell, who is also a man of great erudition, but who descendeth
to trifles unbeseeming thereof; and there is Mr. Andrew Dinmont,
whom I do not understand to have possession of much erudition, but
who, like the patriarchs of old, is cunning in that which belongeth
to flocks and herds--Lastly, there is even I myself, whose
opportunities of collecting erudition, as they have been greater
than those of the aforesaid valuable persons, have not, if it
becomes me to speak, been pretermitted by me, in so far as my poor
faculties have enabled me to profit by them. Of a surety, little
Harry, we must speedily resume our studies. I will begin from the
foundation--yes, I will reform your education upward from the true
knowledge of English grammar, even to that of the Hebrew or
The reader may observe, that, upon this occasion, Sampson was
infinitely more profuse of words than he had hitherto exhibited
himself. The reason was, that in recovering his pupil his mind
went instantly back to their original connection, and he had in his
confusion of ideas, the strongest desire in the world to resume
spelling lessons and half-text with young Bertram. This was the
more ridiculous, as towards Lucy he assumed no snob powers of
tuition. But she had grown up under his eye, and had been
gradually emancipated from his government by increase in years and
knowledge, and a latent sense of his own inferior tact in manners,
whereas his first ideas went to take up Harry pretty nearly where
he had left him. From the same feelings of reviving authority, he
indulged himself in what was to him a profusion of language; and as
people seldom speak more than usual without exposing themselves, he
gave those whom he addressed plainly to understand, that while he
deferred implicitly to the opinions and commands, if they chose to
impose them, of almost every one whom he met with, it was under an
internal conviction, that in the article of Erudition, as he
usually pronounced the word, he was infinitely superior to them all
put together. At present, however, this intimation fell upon
heedless cars, for the brother and sister were too deeply engaged
in asking and receiving intelligence concerning their former
fortunes to attend much to the worthy Dominie.
When Colonel Mannering left Bertram, he went to Julia's
dressing-room, and dismissed her attendant. "My dear sir," she
said as he entered, "you have forgot our vigils last night, and
have hardly allowed me time to comb my hair, although you must be
sensible how it stood on end at the various wonders which took
"It is with the inside of your head that I have some business at
present, Julia; I will return the outside to the care of your Mrs.
Mincing in a few minutes."
"Lord, papa," replied Miss Mannering, "think how entangled all my
ideas are, and you to propose to comb them out in a few minutes! If
Mrs. Mincing were to do so in her department, she would tear half
the hair out of my head."
"Well then, tell me," said the Colonel, "where the entanglement
lies, which I will try to extricate with due gentleness!"
"Oh, everywhere," said the young lady--"the whole is a wild dream."
"Well then, I will try to unriddle it." He gave a brief sketch of
the fate and prospects of Bertram, to which Julia listened with an
interest which she in vain endeavoured to disguise--"Well,"
concluded her father, "are your ideas on the subject more
"More confused than ever, my dear sir," said Julia. "Here is this
young man come from India, after he had been supposed dead, like
Aboulfouaris the great voyager to his sister Canzade and his
provident brother Hour. I am wrong id the story, I
believe--Canzade was his wife--but Lucy may represent the one, and
the Dominie the other. And then this lively crack-brained Scotch
lawyer appears like a pantomime at the end of a tragedy.--And then
how delightful it will be if Lucy gets back her fortune!"
"Now I think," said the Colonel, "that the most mysterious part of
the business is, that Miss Julia Mannering, who must have known her
father's anxiety about the fate of this young man Brown, or
Bertram, as we must now call him, should have met him when
Hazlewood's accident took place, and never once mentioned to her
father a word of the matter, but suffered the search to proceed
against this young gentleman as a suspicious character and
Julia, much of whose courage had been hastily assumed to meet the
interview with her father, was now unable to rally herself; she
hung down her head in silence, after in vain attempting to utter a
denial that she recollected Brown when she met him.
"No answer--well, Julia," continued her father, gravely but kindly,
"allow me to ask you, Is this the only time you have seen Brown
since his return from India?--still no answer. I must then
naturally suppose that it is not the first time--Still no reply.
Julia Mannering, will you have the kindness to answer me? Was it
this young man who came under your window and conversed with you
during your residence at Mervyn Hall? Julia--I command I entreat
you to be candid."
Miss Mannering raised her head. "I have been, sir--I believe I am
still very foolish--and it is perhaps more hard upon me that I must
meet this gentleman, who has been, though not the cause entirely,
yet the accomplice of my folly, in your presence."--Here she made a
"I am to understand, then," said Mannering, "that this was the
author of the serenade at Mervyn Hall?"
There was something in this allusive change of epithet, that gave
Julia a little more courage--"He was indeed, sir; and if I am very
wrong, as I have often thought, I have some apology."
"And what is that?" answered the Colonel, speaking quick, and with
something of harshness.
"I will not venture to name it, sir--but"--She opened a small
cabinet, and put some letters into his hands; "I will give you
these, that you may see how this intimacy began, and by whom it was
Mannering took the packet to the window--his pride forbade a more
distant retreat--he glanced at some passages of the letters with an
unsteady eye and an agitated mind--his stoicism, however, came in
time to his aid; that philosophy, which, rooted in pride, yet
frequently bears the fruits of virtue. He returned towards his
daughter with as firm an air as his feelings permitted him to
"There is great apology for you, Julia, as far as I can judge from
a glance at these letters--you have obeyed at least one parent. Let
us adopt a Scotch proverb the Dominie quoted the other day--'Let
bygones be bygones, and fair play for the future.'--I will never
upbraid you with your past want of confidence--do you judge of my
future intentions by my actions, of which hitherto you have surely
had no reason to complain. Keep these letters--they were never
intended for my eye, and I would not willingly read more of them
than I have done, at your desire and for your exculpation. And
now, are we friends? Or rather, do you understand me?"
"O my dear, generous father," said Julia, throwing herself into his
arms, "why have I ever for an instant misunderstood you?"
"No more of that, Julia," said the Colonel; "we have both been to
blame. He that is too proud to vindicate the affection and
confidence which he conceives should be given without solicitation,
must meet much, and perhaps deserved disappointment. It is enough
that one dearest and most regretted member of my family has gone to
the grave without knowing me; let me not lose the confidence of a
child, who ought to love me if she really loves herself."
"Oh! no danger--no fear!" answered Julia; "let me but have your
approbation and my own, and there is no role you can prescribe so
severe that I will not follow."
"Well, my love," kissing her forehead, "Itrust we shall not call
upon you for anything too heroic. With respect to this young
gentleman's addresses, I expect in the first place that all
clandestine correspondence--which no young woman can entertain for
a moment without lessening herself in her own eyes, and in those of
her lover--I request, I say, that clandestine correspondence of
every kind may be given up, and that you will refer Mr. Bertram to
me for the reason. You will naturally wish to know what is to be
the issue of such a reference. In the first place, I desire to
observe this young gentleman's character more closely than
circumstances, and perhaps my own prejudices, have permitted
formerly--I should also be glad to see his birth established. Not
that I am anxious about his getting the estate of Ellangowan,
though such a subject is held in absolute indifference nowhere
except in a novel; but certainly Henry Bertram, Heir of Ellangowan,
whether possessed of the property of his ancestors or not, is a
very different person from Vanbeest Brown, the son of nobody at
all. His fathers, Mr. Pleydell tells me, are distinguished in
history as following the banners of their native princes, while our
own fought at Cressy and Poictiers. In short, I neither give nor
withhold my approbation, but I expect you will redeem past errors;
and as you can now unfortunately only have recourse to one parent,
that you will show the duty of a child, by reposing that confidence
in me, which I will say my inclination to make you happy renders a
filial debt upon your part."
The first part of this speech affected Julia a good deal; the
comparative merit of the ancestors of the Bertrams and Mannerings
excited a secret smile, but the conclusion was such as to soften a
heart peculiarly open to the feelings of generosity. "No, my dear
sir," she said, extending her hand, "receive my faith, that from
this moment you shall be the first person consulted respecting what
shall pass in future between Brown--I mean Bertram, and me; and
that no engagement shall be undertaken by me, excepting what you
shall immediately know and approve of. May I ask--if Mr. Bertram
is to continue a guest at Woodbourne?"
"Certainly," said the Colonel, "while his affairs render it
"Then, sir, you must be sensible, considering what is already past,
that he will expect some reason for my withdrawing--I believe I
must say the encouragement, which he may think I have given."
"I expect, Julia," answered Mannering, "that he will respect my
roof, and entertain some sense perhaps of the services I am
desirous to render him, and so will not insist upon any course of
conduct of which I might have reason to complain; and I expect of
you, that you will make him sensible of what is due to both."
"Then, sir, I understand you, and you shall be implicitly obeyed."
"Thank you, my love; my anxiety (kissing her) is on your
account.--Now wipe these witnesses from your eyes, and so to
And, Sheriff, I will engage my word to you, That I will by
to-morrow dinner time, Send him to answer thee, or any man,
For anything he shall he charged withal.
Henry IV. Part I
When the several by-plays, as they may be termed, had taken place
among the individuals of the Woodbourne family, as we have
intimated in the preceding chapter, the breakfast party at length
assembled, Dandie excepted, who had consulted his taste in viands,
and perhaps in society, by partaking of a cup of tea with Mrs.
Allan, just laced with two teaspoonfuls of Cogniac, and reinforced
with various slices from a huge round of beef. He had a kind of
feeling that he could eat twice as much, and speak twice as much,
with this good dame and Barnes, as with the grand folk in the
parlour. Indeed, the meal of this less distinguished party was
much more mirthful than that in the higher circle, where there was
an obvious air of constraint on the greater part of the
assistants. Julia dared not raise her voice in asking Bertram if
he chose another cup of tea. Bertram felt embarrassed while eating
his toast-and-butter under the eye of Mannering. Lucy, while she
indulged to the uttermost her affection for her recovered brother,
began to think of the quarrel betwixt him and Hazlewood. The
Colonel felt the painful anxiety natural to a proud mind, when it
deems its slightest action subject for a moment to the watchful
construction of others. The lawyer, while sedulously buttering his
roll, had an aspect of unwonted gravity, arising, perhaps, from the
severity of his morning studies. As for the Dominie, his state of
mind was ecstatic!--He looked at Bertram--he looked at Lucy--he
whimpered--he sniggled--he grinned--he committed all manner of
solecisms in point of form--poured the whole cream (no unlucky
mistake) upon the plate of porridge, which was his own usual
breakfast--threw the slops of what he called his "crowning dish of
tea" into the sugar-dish instead of the slop-basin, and concluded
with spilling the scalding liquor upon old Plato, the Colonel's
favourite spaniel, who received the libation with a howl that did
little honour to his philosophy.
The Colonel's equanimity was rather shaken by this last blunder.
"Upon my word, my good friend, Mr. Sampson, you forget the
difference between Plato and Zenocrates."
"The former was chief of the Academics, the latter of the Stoics,"
said the Dominie, with some scorn of the supposition.
"Yes, my dear sir, but it was Zenocrates, not Plato, who denied
that pain was an evil."
"I should have thought," said Pleydell, "that very respectable
quadruped, which is just now limping out of the room upon three of
his four legs, was rather of the Cynic school."
"Very well hit off--But here comes an answer from Mac-Morlan."
It was unfavourable. Mrs. Mac-Morlan sent her respectful
compliments, and her husband had been, and was, detained, by some
alarming disturbances which had taken place the preceding night at
Portanferry, and the necessary investigation which they had
"What's to be done now, counsellor?" said the Colonel to Pleydell.
"Why, I wish we could have seen Mac-Morlan," said the counsellor,
"who is a sensible fellow himself, and would besides have acted
under my advice. But there is little harm. Our friend here must
be made sui juris--he is at present an escaped prisoner; the law
has an awkward claim upon him; he must be placed rectus in curia,
that is the first object. For which purpose, Colonel, I will
accompany you in your carriage down to Hazlewood House. The
distance is not great; we will offer our bail; and I am confident I
can easily show Mr.--I beg his pardon--Sir Robert Hazlewood, the
necessity of receiving it."
"With all my heart," said the Colonel and, ringing the bell, gave
the necessary orders. "And what is next to be done?"
"We must get hold of Mac-Morlan, and look out for more proof."
"Proof!" said the Colonel, "the thing is as clear as daylight; here
are Mr. Sampson and Miss Bertram, and you yourself, at once
recognise the young gentleman as his father's image; and he himself
recollects all the very peculiar circumstances preceding his
leaving this country--What else is necessary to conviction?"
"To moral conviction nothing more, perhaps," said the experienced
lawyer, "but for legal proof a great deal. Mr. Bertram's
recollections are his own recollections merely, and therefore are
not evidence in his own favour; Miss Bertram, the learned Mr.
Sampson, and I, can only say, what every one who knew the late
Ellangowan will readily agree in, that this gentleman is his very
picture--But that will not make him Ellangowan's son, and give him
"And what will do so?" said the Colonel.
"Why, we must have a distinct probation. There are these
gipsies,--but then, alas! they are almost infamous in the eye of
law--scarce capable of bearing evidence, and Meg Merrilies utterly
so, by the various accounts which she formerly gave of the matter,
and her impudent denial of all knowledge of the fact when I myself
examined her respecting it."
"What must be done then?" asked Mannering.
"We must try," answered the legal sage, "what proof can be got at
in Holland, among the persons by whom our young friend was
educated.--But then the fear of being called in question for the
murder of the gauger may make them silent; or if they speak, they
are either foreigners, or outlawed smugglers. In short, I see
"Under favour, most learned and honoured sir," said the Dominie,
"I trust HE, who hath restored little Harry Bertram to his friends,
will not leave His own work imperfect."
"I trust so too, Mr. Sampson," said Pleydell; "but we must use the
means; and I am afraid we shall have more difficulty in procuring
them than I at first thought.--But a faint heart never won a fair
lady--and, by the way (apart to Miss Mannering, while Bertram was
engaged with his sister), there's a vindication of Holland for you!
what smart fellows do you think Leyden and Utrecht must send forth,
when such a very genteel and handsome young man comes from the
paltry schools of Middleburgh?"
"Of a verity," said the Dominie, jealous of the reputation of the
Dutch seminary,--"of a verity, Mr. Pleydell, but I make it known to
you that I myself laid the foundation of his education."
"True, my dear Dominie," answered the advocate, "that accounts for
his proficiency in the graces, without question--but here comes
your carriage, Colonel. Adieu, young folks: Miss Julia, keep your
heart till I come back again--let there be nothing done to
prejudice my right, whilst I am non volens agere."
Their reception at Hazlewood House was more cold and formal than
usual; for in general the Baronet expressed great respect for
Colonel Mannering, and Mr. Pleydell, besides being a man of good
family and of high general estimation, was Sir Robert's old
friend. But now he seemed dry and embarrassed in his manner. "He
would willingly," he said, "receive bail, notwithstanding that the
offence had been directly perpetrated, committed, and done, against
young Hazlewood of Hazlewood; but the young man had given himself a
fictitious description, and was altogether that sort of person, who
should not be liberated, discharged, or let loose upon society; and
"I hope, Sir Robert Hazlewood," said the Colonel, you do not mean
to doubt my word, when I assure you that he served under me as a
cadet in India?"
"By no means or account whatsoever. But you call him a cadet; now
he says, avers, and upholds, that he was a captain, or held a
troop in your regiment."
"He was promoted since I gave up the command."
"But you must have heard of it?"
"No. I returned on account of family circumstances from India, and
have not since been solicitous to hear particular news from the
regiment; the name of Brown, too, is so common, that I might have
seen his promotion in the Gazette without noticing it. But a day
or two will bring letters from his commanding officer."
"But I am told and informed, Mr. Pleydell," answered Sir Robert,
still hesitating, "that he does not mean to abide by this name of
Brown, but is to set up a claim to the estate of Ellangowan, under
the name of Bertram."
"Ay, who says that?" said the counsellor.
"Or," demanded the soldier, "whoever says so, does that give a
right to keep him in prison?"
"Hush, Colonel," said the lawyer; "I am sure you would not, any
more than I, countenance him, if he prove an impostor. --And,
among friends, who informed you of this, Sir Robert?"
"Why, a person, Mr. Pleydell," answered the Baronet, "who is
peculiarly interested in investigating, sifting, and clearing out
this business to the bottom--you will excuse my being more
"Oh, certainly," replied Pleydell--"well, and he says--"
"He says that it is whispered about among tinkers, gipsies, and
other idle persons, that there is such a plan as I mentioned to
you, and that this young man, who is a bastard or natural son of
the late Ellangowan, is pitched upon as the impostor, from his
strong family likeness."
"And was there such a natural son, Sir Robert?" demanded the
"Oh, certainly, to my own positive knowledge. Ellangowan had him
placed as cabin-boy or powder-monkey on board an armed sloop or
yacht belonging to the revenue, through the interest of the late
Commissioner Bertram, a kinsman of his own."
"Well, Sir Robert," said the lawyer, taking the word out of the
mouth of the impatient soldier--"you have told me news, I shall
investigate them, and it I find them true, certainly Colonel
Mannering and I will not countenance this young man. In the
meanwhile, as we are all willing to make him forthcoming, to answer
all complaints against him, I do assure you, you will act most
illegally, and incur heavy responsibility, if you refuse our bail."
"Why, Mr. Pleydell," said Sir Robert, who knew the high authority
of the counsellor's opinion, "as you must know best, and as you
promise to give up this young man--"
"If he proves an impostor," replied the lawyer, with some emphasis.
"Ay, certainly--under that condition I will take your bail; though
I must say, an obliging, well-disposed, and civil neighbour of
mine, who was himself bred to the law, gave me a hint or caution
this morning against doing so. It was from him I learned that this
youth was liberated and had come abroad, or rather had broken
prison.--But where shall we find one to draw the bail-bond?"
"Here," said the counsellor, applying himself to the bell, "send up
my clerk, Mr. Driver--it will not do my character harm if I dictate
the needful myself." It was written accordingly and signed, and,
the justice having subscribed a regular warrant for Bertram alias
Brown's discharge, the visitors took their leave.
Each threw himself into his own corner of the post-chariot, and
said nothing for some time. The Colonel first broke silence : "So
you intend to give up this poor young fellow at the first brush?"
"Who, I?" replied the counsellor "I will not give up one hair of
his head, though I should follow them to the court of last resort
in his behalf--but what signified mooting points and showing one's
hand to that old ass? Much better he should report to his prompter,
Glossin, that we are indifferent or lukewarm in the matter.
Besides, I wished to have a peep at the enemies' game."
"Indeed!" said the soldier. "Then I see there are stratagems in
law as well as war. Well, and how do you like their line of
"Ingenious!" said Mr. Pleydell, "but I think desperate--they are
finessing too much; a common fault on such occasions."
During this discourse the carriage rolled rapidly towards
Woodbourne without anything occurring worthy of the reader's
notice, excepting their meeting with young Hazlewood, to whom the
Colonel told the extraordinary history of Bertram's reappearance,
which he heard with high delight, and then rode on before to pay
Miss Bertram his compliments on an event so happy and so
We return to the party at Woodbourne. After the departure of
Mannering, the conversation related chiefly to the fortunes of the
Ellangowan family, their domains, and their former power. "It was,
then, under the towers of my fathers," said Bertram, "that I landed
some days since, in circumstances much resembling those of a
vagabond? Its mouldering turrets and darksome arches even then
awakened thoughts of the deepest interest, and recollections which
I was unable to decipher. I will now visit them again with other
feelings, and, I trust, other and better hopes."
"Do not go there now," said his sister. "The house of our
ancestors is at present the habitation of a wretch as insidious as
dangerous, whose arts and villainy accomplished the ruin and broke
the heart of our unhappy father."
"You increase my anxiety," replied her brother, "to confront this
miscreant, even in the den he has constructed for himself--I think
I have seen him."
"But you must consider," said Julia, "that you are now left under
Lucy's guard and mine, and are responsible to us for all your
motions--consider I have not been a lawyer's mistress twelve hours
for nothing, and I assure you it would be madness to attempt to go
to Ellangowan just now.--The utmost to which I can consent is, that
we shall walk in a body to the head of the Woodbourne avenue, and
from that perhaps we may indulge you with our company as far as a
rising ground in the common, whence your eyes may be blessed with a
distant prospect of those gloomy towers, which struck so strongly
your sympathetic imagination."
The party was speedily agreed upon; and the ladies, having taken
their cloaks, followed the route proposed, under the escort of
Captain Bertram. It was a pleasant winter morning, and the cool
breeze served only to freshen, not to chill, the fair walkers. A
secret though unacknowledged bond of kindness combined the two
ladies, and Bertram, now hearing the interesting accounts of his
own family, now communicating his adventures in Europe and in
India, repaid the pleasure which he received. Lucy felt proud of
her brother, as well from the bold and manly turn of his
sentiments, as from the dangers he had encountered, and the spirit
with which he had surmounted them. And Julia, while she pondered
on her father's words, could not help entertaining hopes, that the
independent spirit which had seemed to her father presumption in
the humble and plebeian Brown, would have the grace of courage,
noble bearing, and high blood, in the far-descended heir of
They reached at length the little eminence or knoll upon the
highest part of the common, called Gibbie's-knowe--a spot
repeatedly mentioned in this history, as being on the skirts of the
Ellangowan estate. It commanded a fair variety of hill and dale,
bordered with natural woods, whose naked boughs at this season
relieved the general colour of the landscape with a dark purple
hue; while in other places the prospect was more formally
intersected by lines of plantation, where the Scotch firs displayed
their variety of dusky green. At the distance of two or three
miles lay the bay of Ellangowan, its waves rippling under the
influence of the western breeze. The towers of the ruined castle,
seen high over every object in the neighbourhood, received--a
brighter colouring from the wintry sun.
"There," said Lucy Bertram, pointing them out in the distance,
"there is the seat of our ancestors. God knows, my dear brother,
I do not covet in your behalf the extensive power which the lords
of these ruins are said to have possessed so long, and sometimes to
have used so ill. But, oh that I might see you in possession of
such relics of their fortune as should give you an honourable
independence, and enable you to stretch your hand for the
protection of the old and destitute dependants of our family, whom
our poor father's death--"
"True, my dearest Lucy," answered the young heir of Ellangowan;
"and I trust, with the assistance of Heaven, which has so far
guided us, and with that of these good friends, whom their own
generous hearts have interested in my behalf, such a consummation
of my hard adventures is now not unlikely.--But as a soldier, I
must look with some interest upon that worm-eaten hold of ragged
stone; and if this undermining scoundrel, who is now in possession,
dare to displace a pebble of it--"
He was here interrupted by Dinmont, who came hastily after them up
the road, unseen till he was near the party :--"Captain, Captain!
ye're wanted--Ye're wanted by her ye ken o'."
And immediately Meg Merrilies, as if emerging out of the earth,
ascended from the hollow way, and stood before them. "I sought ye
at the house," she said, "and found but him (pointing to Dinmont),
but ye are right, and I was wrang. It is here we should meet, on
this very spot, where my eyes last saw your father. Remember your
promise, and follow me."
To hail the king in seemly sort The ladie was full fain;
But King Arthur, all sore amazed, No answer made again.
'What wight art thou," the ladie said "That will not speak to me?
Sir, I may chance to ease thy pain, Though I be foul to see."
The Marriage of Sir Gawaine.
The fairy bride of Sir Gawaine, while under the influence of the
spell of her wicked stepmother, was more decrepit probably, and
what is commonly called more ugly, than Meg Merrilies; but I doubt
if she possessed that wild sublimity which an excited imagination
communicated to features, marked and expressive in their own
peculiar character, and to the gestures of a form, which, her sex
considered, might be termed gigantic. Accordingly, the Knights of
the Round Table did not recoil with more terror from the apparition
of the loathly lady placed between "an oak and a green holly," than
Lucy Bertram and Julia Mannering did from the appearance of this
Galwegian sibyl upon the common of Ellangowan.
"For God's sake," said Julia, pulling out her purse, give that
dreadful woman something, and bid her go away."
"I cannot," said Bertram "I must not offend her."
"What keeps you here?" said Meg, exalting the harsh and rough tones
of her hollow voice; "why do you not follow?--Must your hour call
you twice?--Do you remember your oath? --were it at kirk or
market, wedding or burial,"--and she held high her skinny
forefinger in a menacing attitude.
Bertram turned round to his terrified companions. "Excuse me for a
moment; I am engaged by a promise to follow this woman."
"Good heavens! engaged to a madwoman?" said Julia.--
"Or to a gipsy, who has her band in the wood ready to murder you!"
"That was not spoken like a bairn of Ellangowan," said Meg,
frowning upon Miss Bertram. "It is the ill-doers are
"In short, I must go," said Bertram, "it is absolutely necessary.
wait for me five minutes on this spot."
"Five minutes?" said the gipsy; "five hours may not bring you
"Do you hear that? said Julia for Heaven's sake do not go!"
"I must, I must--Mr. Dinmont will protect you back to the house."
"No," said Meg, "he must come with you; it is for that he is here.
He maun take part wi' hand and heart; and weel his part it is, for
redding his quarrel might have cost you dear,"
"Troth, Luckie, it's very true," said the steady farmer; "and ere I
turn back frae the Captain's side, I'll show that I haena
"Oh yes!" exclaimed both the ladies at once, "let Mr. Dinmont go
with you, if go you must, on this strange summons."
"Indeed I must," answered Bertram, "but you see I am safely
guarded--Adieu for a short time; go home as fast as you can."
He pressed his sister's hand, and took a yet more affectionate
farewell of Julia with his eyes. Almost stupefied with surprise
and fear, the young ladies watched with anxious looks the course of
Bertram, his companion, and their extraordinary guide. Her tall
figure moved across the wintry heath with steps so swift, so long,
and so steady, that she appeared rather to glide than to walk.
Bertram and Dinmont, both tall men, apparently scarce equalled her
in height, owing to her longer dress and high head-gear. She
proceeded straight across the common, without turning aside to the
winding path, by which passengers avoided the inequalities and
little rills that traversed it in different directions. Thus the
diminishing figures often disappeared from the eye, as they dived
into such broken ground, and again ascended to sight when they were
past the hollow. There was something frightful and unearthly, as it
were, in the rapid and undeviating course which she pursued,
undeterred by any of the impediments which usually incline a
traveller from the direct path. Her way was as straight, and
nearly as swift, as that of a bird through the air. At length they
reached those thickets of natural wood which extended from the
skirts of the common towards the glades and brook of Derncleugh,
and were there lost to the view.
"This is very extraordinary," said Lucy after a pause, and turning
round to her companion--"What can he have to do with that old hag?"
"It is very frightful," answered Julia, "and almost reminds me of
the tales of sorceresses, witches,' and evil genii, which I have
heard in India. They believe there in a fascination of the eye, by
which those who possess it control the will and dictate the motions
of their victims. What can your brother have in common with that
fearful woman, that he should leave us, obviously against his will,
to attend to her commands?"
"At least," said Lucy, "we may hold him safe from harm; for she
would never have summoned that faithful creature Dinmont, of whose
strength, courage, and steadiness Henry said so much, to attend
upon an expedition where she projected evil to the person of his
friend. And now let us go back to the house till the Colonel
returns--perhaps Bertram may be back first; at any rate, the
Colonel will judge what is to be done."
Leaning then upon each other's arm, but yet occasionally stumbling,
between fear and the disorder of their nerves, they at length
reached the head of the avenue, when they heard the tread of a
horse behind. They started, for their ears were awake to every
sound, and beheld to their great pleasure young Hazlewood. "The
Colonel will be here immediately," he said; "I galloped on before
to pay my respects to Miss Bertram, with the sincerest
congratulations upon the joyful event which has taken place in her
family. I long to be introduced to Captain Bertram, and to thank
him for the well. deserved lesson he gave to my rashness and
"He has left us just now," said Lucy, "and in a manner that has
frightened us very much."
Just at that moment the Colonel's carriage drove up, and, on
observing the ladies, stopped, while Mannering and his learned
counsel alighted and joined them. They instantly communicated the
new cause of alarm.
"Meg Merrilies again!" said the Colonel; she certainly is a most
mysterious and unaccountable personage; but I think she must have
something to impart to Bertram, to which she does not mean we
should be privy."
"The devil take the bedlamite old woman," said the counsellor;
"will she not let things take their course, prout de lege, but must
always be putting in her oar in her own way?--Then, I fear from the
direction they took they are going upon the Ellangowan estate--that
rascal Glossin has shown us what ruffians he has at his disposal. I
wish honest Liddesdale may be guard sufficient."
"If you please," said Hazlewood, "Ishould be most happy to ride in
the direction which they have taken. I am so well known in the
country, that I scarce think any outrage will be offered in my
presence, and I shall keep at such a cautious distance as not to
appear to watch Meg, or interrupt any communication which she may
"Upon my word," said Pleydell (aside), "to be a sprig, whom I
remember with a whey face and a satchel not so very many years ago,
I think young Hazlewood grows a fine fellow. I am more afraid of a
new attempt at legal oppression than at open violence, and from
that this young man's presence would deter both Glossin and his
understrappers.--Hie away, then, my boy--peer out--peer out--you'll
find them somewhere about Derncleugh, or very probably in Warroch
Hazlewood turned his horse. "Come back to us to dinner,
Hazlewood," cried the Colonel. He bowed, spurred his horse, and
We now return to Bertram and Dinmont, who continued to follow their
mysterious guide through the woods and dingles, between the open
common and the ruined hamlet of Derncleugh. As she led the way, she
never looked back upon her followers, unless to chide them for
loitering, though the sweat, in spite of the season, poured from
their brows. At other times she spoke to herself in such broken
expressions as these--"It is to rebuild the auld house--it is to
lay the corner-stone--and did I not warn him?--I tell'd him I was
born to do it, if my father's head had been the stepping-stane, let
alane his. I was doomed--still I kept my purpose in the cage and
in the stocks;--I was banished--I kept it in an unco land;--I was
scourged--I was branded--My resolution lay deeper than scourge or
red iron could reach-and now the hour is come."
"Captain," said Dinmont, in a half whisper, "I wish she binna
uncanny! [*Mad] her words dinna seem to come in God's name, or
like other folk's. Odd, they threep [*Declare] in our country
that there are sic things."
"Don't be afraid, my friend," whispered Bertram in return.
"Fear'd! fient a haet [*Not a whit.] care I," said the dauntless
farmer, "be she witch or deevil; it's a' ane to Dandie Dinmont."
"Haud your peace, gudeman," said Meg, looking sternly over her
shoulder; "is this a time or place for you to speak, think ye?"
"But, my good friend," said Bertram, "as I have no doubt in your
good faith, or kindness, which I have experienced; you should in
return have some confidence in me--I wish to know where you are
"There's but ae answer to that, Henry Bertram," said the
sibyl.--"Iswore my tongue should never tell, but I never said my
finger should never show. Go on and meet your fortune, or turn
back and lose it--that's a' I hae to say."
"Go on then," answered Bertram "I will ask no more questions."
They descended into the glen about the same place where Meg had
formerly parted from Bertram., She paused an instant beneath the
tall rock where he had witnessed the burial of a dead body, and
stamped upon the ground, which, notwithstanding all the care that
had been taken, showed vestiges of having been recently moved.
"Here rests ane," she said, "he'll maybe hae neibors sune."
She then moved up the brook until she came to the ruined hamlet,
where, pausing with a look of peculiar and softened interest before
one of the gables which was still standing, she said in a tone less
abrupt, though as solemn as before, "Do you see that blackit and
broken end of a shealing? [*Hut]--there my kettle boiled for forty
years--there I bore twelve buirdly sons and daughters--where are
they now?--where are the leaves that were on that auld ash-tree at
Martinmas!--the west wind has made it bare--and I'm stripped
too.--Do you see that saugh-tree?--it's but a blackened rotten
stump now--I've sat under it mony a bonnie summer afternoon, when
it hung its gay garlands ower the poppling water.--I've sat there,
and," elevating her voice, "I've held you on my knee, Henry
Bertram, and sung ye sangs of the auld barons and their bloody
wars--it will ne'er be green again, and Meg Merrilies will never
sing sangs mair, be they blithe or sad. But ye'll no forget her,
and ye'll gar big up [*Cause to be built up.] the auld wa's for
her sake?--and let somebody live there that's, ower gude to fear
them of another warld--For if ever the dead came back amang the
living. I'll be seen in this glen mony a night after these crazed
banes are in the mould."
The mixture of insanity and wild pathos with which she spoke these
last words, with her right arm, bare and extended, her left bent
and shrouded beneath the dark red drapery of her mantle, might have
been a study worthy of our Siddons herself. "And now," she said,
resuming at once the short, stern, and hasty tone which was most
ordinary to her--"let us to the wark--let us to the wark."
She then led the way to the promontory on which the Kaim of
Derncleugh was situated, produced a large key from her pocket, and
unlocked the door. The interior of this place was in better order
than formerly. "Ihave made things decent," she said; "I may be
streekit, [*Stretched out] here or night.--There will be few, few
at Meg's lykewake, [*Watching over a corpse by night.] for mony of
our folk will blame what I hae done, and am to do!"
She then pointed to a table, upon which was some cold meat,
arranged with more attention to neatness than could have been
expected from Meg's habits. "Eat," she said, "eat; ye'll need it
this night yet."
Bertram, in complaisance, ate a morsel or two and Dinmont, whose
appetite was unabated either by wonder, apprehension, or the meal
of the morning, made his usual figure as a trencherman. She then
offered each a single glass of spirits, which Bertram drank
diluted, and his companion plain.
"Will ye taste naething yourself, Luckie?" said Dinmont.
"I shall not need it," replied their mysterious hostess. "And now,"
she said, "ye maun hae arms--ye maunna gang on dry-handed--but use
them not rashly--take captive, but save life--let the law hae its
ain--he maun speak ere he die."
"Who is to be taken?--who is to speak?" said Bertram in
astonishment, receiving a pair of pistols which she offered him,
and which, upon examining, he found loaded and locked.
"The flints are gude," she said, "and the powder dry--I ken this
Then, without answering his questions, she armed Dinmont also with
a large pistol, and desired them to choose sticks for themselves
out of a parcel of very suspicious-looking bludgeons, which she
brought from a corner. Bertram took a stout sapling, and Dandie
selected a club which might have served Hercules himself. They
then left the hut together, and, in doing so, Bertram took an
opportunity to whisper to Dinmont, "There's something inexplicable
in all this--But we need not use these arms unless we see necessity
and lawful occasion--take care to do as you see me do."
Dinmont gave a sagacious nod; and they continued to follow, over
wet and over dry, through bog and through fallow, the footsteps of
their conductress. She guided them to the wood of Warroch by the
same track which the late Ellangowan had used when riding to
Derncleugh in quest of his child, on the miserable evening of
When Meg Merrilies had attained these groves, through which the
wintry sea-wind was now whistling hoarse and shrill, she seemed to
pause a moment as if to recollect the way. "We maun go the precise
track," she said, and continued to go forward, but rather in a
zigzag and involved course than according to her former steady and
direct line of motion. At length she guided them through the mazes
of the wood to a little open glade of about a quarter of an acre,
surrounded by trees and bushes, which made a wild and irregular
boundary. Even in winter it was a sheltered and snugly sequestered
spot; but when arrayed in the verdure of spring, the earth sending
forth all its wild flowers, the shrubs spreading their waste of
blossom around it, and the weeping birches, which towered over the
underwood, drooping their long and leafy fibres to intercept the
sun, it must have seemed a place for a youthful poet to study his
earliest sonnet, or a pair of lovers to exchange their first mutual
avowal of affection. Apparently it now awakened very different
recollections. Bertram's brow, when he had looked round the spot,
became gloomy and embarrassed. Meg, after uttering to herself,
"This is the very spot!" looked at him with a ghastly
side-glance,--"D'ye mind it?"
"Yes answered Bertram, "imperfectly I do."
"Ay!" pursued his guide, "on this very spot the man fell from his
horse--I was behind that bourtree-bush at the very moment. Sair,
sair he strove, and sair he cried for mercy--but he was in the
hands of them that never kenn'd the word!--Now will I show you the
further track--the last time ye travelled it was in these arms."
She led them accordingly by a long and winding passage almost
overgrown with brushwood, until, without any very perceptible
descent, they suddenly found themselves by the seaside. Meg then
walked very fast on between the surf and the rocks, until she came
to a remarkable fragment of rock detached from the rest. "Here,"
she said in a low and scarcely audible whisper, "here the corpse
"And the cave," said Bertram, in the some tone, is close beside
it--are you guiding us there?"
"Yes," said the gipsy in a decided tone. "Bend up both your
hearts--follow me as I creep in--I have placed the firewood so as
to screen you. Bide behind it for a gliff [*Little] till I say,
The hour and the man are baith come; then rin in on him, take his
arms, and bind him till the blood burst frae his finger nails."
"I will, by my soul," said Henry--"if he is the man I
"Ay, Jansen, Hatteraick, and twenty mair names are his."
"Dinmont, you must stand by me now," said Bertram, "for this fellow
is a devil."
"Ye needna doubt that," said the stout yeoman--"but I wish I could
mind a bit prayer or I creep after the witch into that hole that
she's opening--It wad be a sair thing to leave the blessed sun, and
the free air, and gang and, be killed, like a tod that's run to
earth, in a dungeon like that. But, my sooth, they will be
hard-bitten terriers will worry Dandie; so, as I said, deil hae me
if I baulk you." This was uttered in the lowest tone of voice
possible. The entrance was now open. Meg crept in upon her hands
and knees, Bertram followed and Dinmont, after giving a rueful
glance toward the daylight, whose blessings he was abandoning,
brought up the rear.
--Die, prophet! in thy speech; For this, among the rest,
was I ordained.
Henry VI. Part III.
The progress of the Borderer, who, as we have said,--was the last
of the party, was fearfully arrested by a hand, which caught hold
of his leg as he dragged his long limbs after him in silence and
perturbation through the low and narrow entrance of the
subterranean passage. The steel heart of the bold yeoman had
well-nigh given way, and he suppressed with difficulty a shout,
which, in the defenceless posture and situation which they then
occupied, might have cost all their lives. He contented himself,
however, with extricating his foot from the grasp of the
unexpected follower. Be still," said a voice behind him, releasing
him I am a friend--Charles Hazlewood."
These words were uttered in a very low voice, but they produced
sound enough to startle Meg Merrilies, who led the van, and who,
having already gained the place where the cavern expanded, had
risen upon her feet. She began, as if to confound any listening
ear, to growl, to mutter, and to sing aloud, and at the same time
to make a bustle among some brushwood which was now heaped in the
"Here--beldam--Deyvil's kind," growled the harsh voice of Dirk
Hatteraick from the inside of his den, what makest thou there?"
"Laying the roughies [*Withered boughs.] to keep the cauld wind
frae a--you, ye desperate do-nae-good--Ye're e'en ower weel off,
and wots na; it will be otherwise soon."
"Have you brought me the brandy, and any news of my people?" said
"Here's the flask for ye. Your people-dispersed--broken--
gone--or cut to ribbands by the red-coats."
"Der Deyvil!--this coast is fatal to me."
"Ye may hae mair reason to say sae."
While this dialogue went forward, Bertram and Dinmont had both
gained the interior of the cave, and assumed an erect position. The
only light which illuminated its rugged and sable precincts was a
quantity of wood burnt to charcoal in an iron grate, such as they
use in spearing salmon by night. On these red embers Hatteraick
from time to time threw a handful of twigs or splintered wood; but
these, even when they blazed up, afforded a light much
disproportioned to the extent of the cavern; and, as its principal
inhabitant lay upon the side of the grate most remote from the
entrance, it was not easy for him to discover distinctly objects
which lay in that direction. The intruders, therefore, whose
number was now augmented unexpectedly to three, stood behind the
loosely-piled branches with little risk of discovery. Dinmont had
the sense' to keep back Hazlewood with one hand till he whispered
to Bertram, "A friend--young Hazlewood."
It was no time for following up the introduction, and they all
stood as still as the rocks around them, obscured behind the pile
of brushwood, which had been probably placed there to break the
cold wind from the sea, without totally intercepting the supply of
air. The branches. were laid so loosely above each otter, that,
looking through them towards the light of the fire-grate, they
could easily discover what passed in its vicinity, although a much
stronger degree of illumination than it afforded, would not have
enabled the persons placed near the bottom of the cave to have
descried them in the position which they occupied.
The scene, independent of the peculiar moral interest and personal
danger which attended it, had, from the effect of the light and
shade on the uncommon objects which it exhibited, an appearance
emphatically dismal. The light in the fire-grate was the dark-red
glare of charcoal in a state of ignition, relieved from time to
time by a transient flame of a more vivid or duskier light, as the
fuel with which Dirk Hatteraick fed his fire was better or worse
fitted for his purpose. Now a dark cloud of stifling smoke rose up
to the roof of the cavern, and then lighted into a reluctant and
sullen blaze, which flashed wavering up the pillar of smoke, and
was suddenly rendered brighter and more lively by some drier fuel,
or perhaps some splintered fir-timber, which at once converted the
smoke into flame. By such fitful irradiation, they could see, more
or less distinctly, the form of Hatteraick, whose savage and rugged
cast of features, now rendered yet more ferocious by the
circumstances of his situation, and the deep gloom of his mind,
assorted well with the rugged and broken vault, which rose in a
rude arch over and around him. The form of Meg Merrilies, which
stalked about him, sometimes in the light, sometimes partially
obscured in the smoke or darkness, contrasted strongly with the
sitting figure of Hatteraick as he bent over the flame, and from
his stationary posture was constantly visible to the spectator,
while that of the female flitted around, appearing or disappearing
like a spectre.
Bertram felt his blood boil at the sight of Hatteraick. He
remembered him well under the name of Jansen, which the smuggler
had adopted after the death of Kennedy; and he remembered also,
that this Jansen, and his mate Brown, the same who was shot at
Woodbourne, had been the brutal tyrants of his infancy. Bertram
knew further, from piercing his own imperfect recollections with
the narratives of Mannering and Pleydell, that this man was the
prime agent in the act of violence which tore him from his family
and country, and had exposed him to so many distresses and
dangers. A thousand exasperating reflections rose within his
bosom; and he could hardly refrain from rushing upon Hatteraick and
blowing his brains out.
At the same time this would have been no safe adventure. The flame,
as it rose and fell, while it displayed the strong, muscular, and
broad-chested frame of the ruffian, glanced also upon two brace of
pistols in his belt, and upon the hilt of his cutlass: it was not
to be doubted that his desperation was commensurate with his
personal strength and means of resistance. Both, indeed, were
inadequate to encounter the combined power of two such men as
Bertram himself and his friend Dinmont, without reckoning their
unexpected assistant Hazlewood, who was unarmed, and of a lighter
make; but Bertram felt, on a moment's reflection, that there would
be neither sense nor valour in anticipating the hangman's office,
and he considered the importance of making Hatteraick prisoner
alive. He therefore repressed his indignation, and awaited that
should pass between the ruffian and his gipsy guide.
"And how are ye now?" said the harsh and discordant tones of his
female attendant "Said I not it would come upon you--ay, and in
this very cave, where ye harboured after the deed."
"Wetter and sturm, ye hag!" replied Hatteraick, "keep your deyvil's
matins till they're wanted. Have you seen Glossin?"
"No," replied Meg Merrilies. "you've missed your blow, ye
blood-spiller! and ye have nothing to expect from the tempter."
"Hagel!" exclaimed the ruffian, "if I had him but by the
throat!-and what am I to do then?"
"Do?" answered the gipsy; "die like a man, or be hanged like a
"Hanged, ye hag of Satan!-the hemp's not sown that shall hang me."
"lt's sown, and it's grown, and it's heckled, and it's twisted. Did
I not tell ye, when ye wad take away the boy Harry Bertram, in
spite of my prayers,--did I not say he would come back when he had
dree'd his weird in foreign land till his twenty-first year?--Did I
not say the auld fire would burn down to a spark, but wad kindle
"Well, mother, you did say so," said Hatteraick in a tone that had
something of despair in its accents; "and, donner and blitzen! I
believe you spoke the truth--that younker of Ellangowan has been a
rock ahead to me all my life! and now, with Glossin's cursed
contrivance, my crew have been cut off, my boats destroyed, and I
dare say the lugger's taken--there were not men enough left on
board to work her, far less to fight her--a dredge-boat might have
taken her. And what will the owners say?--Hagel and sturm! I shall
never dare go back again to Flushing."
"You'll never need," said the gipsy.
"What are you doing there," said her companion, "and what makes you
During this dialogue, Meg was heaping some flax loosely together.
Before answer to this question, she dropped a firebrand upon the
flax, which had been previously steeped in some spirituous liquor,
for it instantly caught fire, and rose in a vivid pyramid of the
most brilliant light up to the very top of the vault. As it
ascended, Meg answered the ruffian's question in a firm and steady
voice:-"Because the Hour's come, and the Man."
At the appointed signal, Bertram and Dinmont sprung over the
brushwood, and rushed upon Hatteraick. Hazlewood, unacquainted
with their plan of assault, was a moment later. The ruffian, who
instantly saw he was betrayed, turned his first vengeance on Meg
Merrilies, at whom he discharged a pistol. She fell, with a
piercing and dreadful cry, between the shriek of pain and the sound
of laughter, when at its highest and most suffocating height.
"I kenn'd it would be this way," she said.
Bertram, in his haste, slipped his foot upon the uneven rock which
floored the cave; a fortunate stumble, for Hatteraick's second
bullet whistled over him with so true and steady an aim, that had
he been standing upright, it must have lodged in his brain. Ere
the smuggler could draw another pistol, Dinmont closed with him,
and endeavoured by main force to pinion down his arms. Such,
however, was the wretch's personal strength, joined to the efforts
of his despair, that, in spite of the gigantic force with which the
Borderer grappled him, he dragged Dinmont through the blazing flax,
and had almost succeeded in drawing a third pistol, which might
have proved fatal to the honest farmer, had not Bertram, as well as
Hazlewood, come to his assistance, when, by main force, and no
ordinary exertion of it, they threw Hatteraick on the ground,
disarmed him, and bound him. This scuffle, though it takes up some
time in the narrative, passed in less than a single minute. When
he was fairly mastered, after one or two desperate and almost
convulsionary struggles, the ruffian lay perfectly still and
silent. "He's gaun to die game ony how," said Dinmont; "weel, I
like him na the waur for that."
This observation honest Dandie made while he was shaking the
blazing flax from his rough coat and shaggy black hair, some of
which had been singed in the scuffle. "He is quiet now," said
Bertram; "stay by him, and do not permit him to stir till I see
whether the poor woman be alive or dead." With Hazlewood's
assistance he raised Meg Merrilies.
"I kenn'd it would be this way," she muttered, and it's e'en this
way that it should be."
"The ball had penetrated the breast below the throat. It did not
bleed much externally; but Bertrarn, accustomed to see gun-shot.
wounds, thought it the more alarming. "Good God! what shall we do
for this poor woman?" said he to Hazlewood, the circumstances
superseding the necessity of previous explanation or introduction
to each other.
"My horse stands tied above in the wood," said Hazlewood. "I have
been watching you these two hours--I will ride off for some
assistants that may be trusted. Meanwhile, you had better defend
the mouth of the cavern against every one till I return." He
hastened away. Bertram, after binding Meg Merrilies's wound as
well as he could, took station near the mouth of the cave with a
cocked pistol in his hand; Dinmont continued to watch Hatteraick,
keeping a grasp, like that of Hercules, on his breast. There was a
dead silence in the cavern, only interrupted by the low and
suppressed moaning of the wounded female, and by the hard breathing
of the prisoner.
For though, seduced and led astray, Thou'st travell'd far
and wander'd long, Thy God hath seen thee all the way, And
all the turns that led thee wrong.
The Hall of Justice.
After the space of about three-quarters of an hour, which the
uncertainty and danger of their situation made seem almost thrice
as long, the voice of young Hazlewood was heard without. "Here I
am," he cried, "with a sufficient party."
"Come in then," answered Bertram, not a little pleased to find his
guard relieved. Hazlewood then entered, followed by two or three
countrymen, one of whom acted as a peace-officer. They lifted
Hatteraick up, and carried him in their arms as far as the entrance
of the vault was high enough to permit them; then laid him on his
back, and dragged him along as well as they could, for no
persuasion would induce him to assist the transportation by any
exertion of his own. He lay as silent and inactive in their hands
as a dead corpse, incapable of opposing, but in no way aiding,
their operations. When he was dragged into daylight, and placed
erect upon his feet among three or four assistants, who had
remained without the cave, he seemed stupefied and dazzled by the
sudden change from the darkness of his cavern. While others were
superintending the removal of Meg Merrilies, those who remained
with Hatteraick attempted to make him sit down upon a fragment of
rock which lay close upon the high-water mark. A strong shuddering
convulsed his iron frame for an instant, as he resisted their
purpose. "Not there--Hagel!--you would not make me sit There?"
These were the only words he spoke; but their import, and the deep
tone of horror in which they were uttered, served to show what was
passing in his mind.
When Meg Merrilies had also been removed from the cavern, with all
the care for her safety that circumstances admitted, they
consulted where she should be carried. Hazlewood had sent for a
surgeon, and proposed that she should be lifted in the meantime to
the nearest cottage. But the patient exclaimed with great
earnestness, "Na, na, na! To the Kaim o' Derncleugh--the Kaim o'
Derncleugh--the spirit will not free itself o' the flesh but
"You must indulge her, I believe," said Bertram "her troubled
imagination will otherwise aggravate the fever of the wound."
They bore her accordingly to the vault. On the way her mind seemed
to run more upon the scene which had just passed, than on her own
approaching death. "There were three of them set upon him--I
brought the twasome--but wha was the third?--lt would be himself,
returned to work his airs vengeance!" '
It was evident that the unexpected appearance of Hazlewood, whose
person the outrage of Hatteraick left her no time to recognise, had
produced a strong effect on her imagination. She often recurred to
it. Hazlewood accounted for his unexpected arrival to Bertram, by
saying, that he had kept them in view for some time by the
direction of Mannering; that, observing them disappear into the
cave, he had crept after them, meaning to announce himself and his
errand, when his hand in the darkness encountering the leg of
Dinmont, had nearly produced a catastrophe, which, indeed, nothing
but the presence of mind and fortitude of the bold yeoman could
When the gipsy arrived at the hut, she produced the key; and when
they entered, and were about to deposit her upon the bed, she said,
in an anxious tone, "Na, na! not that way, the feet to the east;"
and appeared gratified when they reversed her posture accordingly,
and placed her in that appropriate to dead body.
"Is there no clergyman near," said Bertram, "to assist this unhappy
A gentleman, the minister of the parish, who had been Charles
Hazlewood's tutor, had, with many others, caught the alarm, that
the murderer of Kennedy was taken on the spot where the deed had
been done so many years before, and that a woman was mortally
wounded. From curiosity, or rather from the feeling that his duty
called him to scenes of distress, this gentleman had come to the
Kaim of Derncleugh, and now presented himself. The surgeon arrived
at the same time, and was about to probe the wound; but Meg
resisted the assistance of either. "It's no what man can do, that
will heal my body, or save my spirit. Let me speak what I have to
say, and then ye may work your will; I'se be nae hinderance.--But
where's Henry Bertram?"--the assistants, to whom this same had been
long a stranger, gazed upon each other.--"Yes!" she said, in a
stronger and harsher tone, "Isaid Henry Bertram of Ellangowan.
Stand from the light and let me see him."
All eyes--were turned towards Bertram, who approached the wretched
couch. The wounded woman took hold of his hand. "Look at him," she
said, "all that ever saw his father or his grandfather, and bear
witness if he is not their living image?" A murmur went through the
crowd--the resemblance was too striking to be denied. "And now
hear me--and let that man," pointing to Hatteraick, who was seated
with his keepers on a sea-chest at some distance-" let him deny
what I say, if he can. That is Henry Bertram, son to Godfrey
Bertram, umquhile of Ellangowan; that young man is the very
lad-bairn that Dirk Hatteraick carried off from Warroch Wood the
day that he murdered the gauger. I was there like a wandering
spirit--for I longed to see that wood or we left the country. I
saved the bairn's life, and sair, sair I prigged [*Begged] and
prayed they would leave him wi' me--But they bore him away, and
he's been lang ower the sea, and now he's come for his ain, and
what should withstand him?--I swore to keep the secret till he was
ane-an'-twenty--I kenn'd he believed to dree his weird [*Fulfil his
destiny] till that day cam--I keepit that oath which I took to
them--but I made another vow to mysell, that if I lived to see the
day of his return, I would set him in his father's seat, if every
step was on a dead man. I have keepit that oath too, I will be ae
step mysell--He (pointing to Hatteraick) will soon be another, and
there will be ane mair yet."
The clergyman, now interposing, remarked it was a pity this
deposition was not regularly taken and written down, and the
surgeon urged the necessity of examining the wound, previously to
exhausting her by questions. When she saw them remove Hatteraick,
in order to clear the room and leave the surgeon to his operations,
she called out aloud, raising herself at the same time upon the
couch, "Dirk Hatteraick, You and I will never meet again until we
are before the judgment-seat-Will ye own to what I have said, or
will you dare deny it?" He turned his hardened brow upon her, with
a look of dumb and inflexible defiance. "Dirk Hatteraick, dare ye
deny, with my blood upon your hands, one word of what my dying
breath is uttering?"--He looked at her with the same expression of
hardihood and dogged stubbornness, and moved his lips, but uttered
no sound. "Then fareweel!" she said, "and God forgive you! Your
hand has sealed my evidence.--When I was in life, I was the mad
randy gipsy, that had been scourged, and banished, and
branded--that had begged from door to door, and been hounded like a
stray tike [*Dog.] from parish to parish--wha would hae minded her
tale?--But now I am a dying woman, and my words will not fall to
the ground, any more than the earth will cover my blood!"
She here paused, and all left the hut except the surgeon and two or
three women. After a very short examination, he shook his head,
and resigned his post by the dying woman's side to the clergyman.
A chaise returning empty to Kippletringan had been stopped on the
high-road by a constable, who foresaw it would be necessary to
convey Hatteraick to jail. The driver, understanding what was
going on at Derncleugh, left his horses to the care of a
black-guard boy, confiding, it is to be supposed, rather in the
years and discretion of the cattle, than in those of their keeper,
and set off full speed to see, as he expressed himself, "whaten a
sort o' fun was gaun on." He arrived just as the group of tenants
and peasants, whose numbers increased every moment, satiated with
gazing upon the rugged features of Hatteraick, had turned their
attention towards Bertram. Almost all of them, especially the aged
men who had seen Ellangowan in his better days, felt and
acknowledged the justice of Meg Merrilies's appeal. But the Scotch
are a cautious people; they remembered there was another in
possession of the estate, and they as yet only expressed their
feelings in low whispers to each other. Our friend Jock Jabos, the
postilion, forced his way into the middle of the circle; but no
sooner cast his eyes upon Bertram, than he started back in
amazement, with a solemn exclamation, "As sure as there's breath in
man, it's auld Ellangowan arisen from the dead!"
This public declaration of an unprejudiced witness was just the
spark wanted to give fire to the popular feeling, which burst forth
in three distinct shouts:--"Bertram forever!"--"Long life to the
heir of Ellangowan!"--"God send him his ain, and to live among us
as his forebears did of yore!"
"I hae been seventy years an the land," said one person.
"I and mine hae been seventy and seventy to that said another; "I
have a right to ken the glance of a Bertram."
"I and mine hae been three hundred years here," said another old
man, "and I sall sell my last cow, but I'll see the young laird
placed in his right."
The women, ever delighted with the marvellous, and not less so when
a handsome young man is the subject of the tale, added their shrill
acclamations to the general all-hail. "Blessings on him--he's the
very picture o' his father!--the Bertrams were aye the wale o'
"Eh! that his puir mother, that died in grief and in doubt about
him, had but--lived to see this day!" exclaimed some female
"But we'll help him to his ain, kimmers," cried others; "and before
Glossin sall keep the Place of Ellangowan, we'll howk him out o't
wi' our nails!"
Others crowded around Dinmont, who was nothing loth to tell what he
knew of his friend, and to boast the honour which he had in
contributing to the discovery. As he was known to several of the
principal farmers present, his testimony afforded an additional
motive to the general enthusiasm. In short, it was one of those
moments of intense feeling, when the frost of the Scottish people
melts like a snow-wreath, and the dissolving torrent carries dam
and dyke before it.
The sudden shouts interrupted the devotions of the
clergyman; and Meg, who was in one of those dozing fits of
stupefaction that precede the close of existence, suddenly
started-" Dinna ye bear?-dinna ye hear?--he's owned!-he's
owned!--I lived but for this. I am a sinful woman; but if
my curse brought it down, my blessing has taen it off! And
now I wad hae liked to hae said mair. But it canna be.
Stay"--she continued, stretching her head towards the
gleam of light that shot through the narrow slit which
served for a window, "Is he not there?--stand out o' the
light, and let me look upon him ance mair. But the darkness
is in my ain een," she said, sinking back, after an earnest
gaze upon vacuity--"it's a' ended now,
And, sinking back upon her couch of' straw, she expired without a
groan. The clergyman and the surgeon carefully noted down all that
she had said, now deeply regretting they had not examined her more
minutely, but both remaining morally convinced of the truth of her
Hazlewood was the first to compliment Bertram upon the near
prospect of his being restored to his name and rank in society. The
people around, who now learned from Jabos that Bertram was the
person who had wounded him, were struck with his generosity, and
added his name to Bertram's in their exulting acclamations.
Some, however, demanded of the postilion how he had not recognised
Bertram when he saw him some time before at Kippletringan? to which
he gave the very natural answer,--"Hout, what was I thinking
about Ellangowan then?--It was the cry that was rising e'en now
that the young laird was found, that put tire on finding out the
likeness--There was nae missing it ance ane was set to look for't."
The obduracy of Hatteraick, during the latter part of this scene,
was in some slight degree shaken. He was observed to twinkle with
his eyelids--to attempt to raise his bound hands for the purpose of
pulling his hat over his brow--to look angrily and impatiently to
the road, as if anxious for the vehicle which was to remove him
from the spot. At length Mr. Hazlewood, apprehensive that the
popular ferment might take a direction towards the prisoner,
directed he should be taken to the post-chaise, and so removed to
the town of Kippletringan to be at Mr. MacMorlan's disposal; at the
same time he sent an express to warn that gentleman of what had
happened. "And now," he said to Bertram, "Ishould be happy if you
would accompany me to Hazlewood House; but as that. might not be
so agreeable just now as I trust it will be in a day or two, you
must allow me to return with you to Woodbourne. But you are on
foot."--"Or if the young laird would take my horse!"--"Or
mine"--"Or mine," said half a dozen voices--"Or mine; he can trot
ten mile an hour without whip or spur, and he's the young--.
laird's frae this moment, if he likes to take him for a herezeld,
[*This hard word is placed in the mouth of one of the aged
tenants. In the old feudal tenures, the herezeld constituted the
best horse or other animal in the vassal's lands, became the right
of the superior. The only remnant of this custom is what is called
the sasine, or a fee of certain estimated value, paid to the
sheriff of the county, who gives possession to the vassals Of the
Crown. ] as they ca'd it lang syne."--Bertram readily accepted the
horse as a loan, and poured forth his thanks to the assembled crowd
for their good wishes, which they repaid with shouts and vows of
While the happy owner was directing one lad to "gae doun for the
new saddle"; another, "just to rin the beast ower wi' a dry wisp o'
strae"; a third, "to hie doun and borrow Dan Dunkieson's plated
stirrups," and expressing his regret, "that there was nae time to
gie the nag a feed, that the young laird might ken his mettle,"
Bertram, taking the clergyman by the arm, walked into the vault,
and shut the door immediately after them. He gazed in silence for
some minutes upon the body of Meg Merrilies, as it lay before him,
with the features sharpened by death, yet still retaining the stern
and energetic character, which had maintained in life her
superiority as the wild chieftainess of the lawless people amongst
whom she was born. The young soldier dried the tears which
involuntarily rose on viewing this wreck of one, who might be said
to have died a victim to her fidelity to his person and family. He
then took the clergyman's hand, and asked solemnly, if she appeared
able to give that attention to his devotions which befitted a
"My dear sir," said the good minister, "I trust this poor woman had
remaining sense to feel and join in the import of my prayers. But
let us humbly hope we are judged of by our opportunities of
religious and moral instruction. In some degree she might be
considered as an uninstructed heathen, even in the bosom of a
Christian country; and let us remember, that the errors and vices
of an ignorant life were balanced by instances of disinterested
attachment, amounting almost to heroism. To Him, who can alone
weigh our crimes and errors against our efforts towards virtue, we
consign her with awe, but not without hope."
"May I request," said Bertram, "that you will see every decent
solemnity attended to in behalf of this poor woman? I have some
property belonging to her in my hands-at all events I will be
answerable for the expense--you will hear of me at Woodbourne."
Dinmont, who had been furnished with a horse by one of his
acquaintance, now loudly called out that all was ready for their
return; and Bertram and Hazlewood, after a strict exhortation to
the crowd, which was now increased to several hundreds, to preserve
good order in their rejoicing, as the least ungoverned zeal might
be turned to the disadvantage of the young Laird, as they termed
him, took their leave amid the shouts of the multitude.
As they rode past the ruined cottages at Derncleugh, Dinmont said,
"I'm sure when ye come to your ain, Captain, ye'll no forget to
big [*Build] a bit cot-house there? Deil be in me but I wad dot
mysell, an it werena in better hands.--I wadna like to live in't
though, after what she said. Odd, I wad put in auld Elspeth, the
bedral's [*Beadle's] widow--the like o' them's used wi' graves and
ghaists, and thae things."
A short but brisk ride brought them to Woodbourne. The news of
their exploit had already flown far and wide, and the whole
inhabitants of the vicinity met them on the lawn with shouts of
congratulation. "That you have seen, me alive," said Bertram to
Lucy, who first ran up to him, though Julia's eyes even anticipated
hers, "you must thank these kind friends."
With a blush expressing at once pleasure, gratitude, and
bashfulness, Lucy curtsied to Hazlewood, but to Dinmont she frankly
extended her hand. The honest farmer, in the extravagance of his
joy, carried his freedom farther than the hint warranted, for he
imprinted his thanks on the lady's lips, and was instantly shocked
at the rudeness of his own conduct. "Lord-sake, madam, I ask your
pardon," he. said; "I forgot but ye had been a bairn o' my ain--the
Captain's sae hamely, he gars ane forget himsell."
Old Pleydell now advanced. "Nay, if fees like these are going--" he
"Stop, stop, Mr. Pleydell," said Julia, "you had your fees
beforehand--remember last night."
"Why, I do confess a retainer," said the barrister; but if I don't
deserve double fees from both Miss Bertram and you when I conclude
my examination of Dirk Hatteraick tomorrow--Gad, I will so supple
him!--You shall see, Colonel, and you, my saucy misses, though you
may not see, shall hear."
"Ay, that's if we choose to listen, counsellor," replied Julia.
"And you think," said Pleydell, "it's two to one you won't choose
that?--But you have curiosity that teaches you the use of your ears
now and then."
"I declare, counsellor," answered the lively damsel, "that such
saucy bachelors, as you would teach us the use of our fingers now
"Reserve them for the harpsichord, my love," said the counsellor.
"Better for all parties."
While this idle chat ran on, Colonel Mannering introduced to
Bertram a plain good-looking man, in a gray coat and waistcoat,
buckskin breeches, and boots. "This, my dear sir, is Mr.
"To whom," said Bertram, embracing him cordially, "my sister was
indebted for a home, when deserted by all her natural friends and
The Dominie then pressed forward, grinned, chuckled, made a
diabolical sound in attempting to whistle, and finally, unable to
stifle his emotions, ran away to empty the feelings of his heart at
We shall not attempt to describe the expansion of heart and glee of
this happy evening.
--How like a hateful ape, Detected grinning 'midst his
pilfer'd hoard, A cunning man appears, whose secret frauds
Are open'd to the day! Count
There was a great movement at Woodbourne early on the following
morning, to attend the examination at Kippletringan. Mr. Pleydell,
from the investigation which he had formerly bestowed on the dark
affair of Kennedy's death, as well as from the general deference
due to his professional abilities, was requested by Mr. Mac-Morlan
and Sir Robert Hazlewood, and another justice of peace who
attended, to take the situation of chairman, and the lead in the
examination. Colonel Mannering was invited to sit down with them.
The examination, being previous to trial, was private in other
The counsellor resumed and re-interrogated former evidence. He then
examined the clergyman and surgeon respecting the dying declaration
of Meg Merrilies. They stated, that she distinctly, positively,
and repeatedly, declared herself an eye-witness of Kennedy's
"death by the hands of Hatteraick" and two or three of his crew;
that her presence was accidental; that she believed their
resentment at meeting him, when they mere in the act of losing
their vessel through 'the means of his information, led to the
commission of the crime; that she said there was one witness of the
murder, but who refused to participate in it, still alive,--her
nephew, Gabrie Faa; and she had hinted at another person, who was
an accessory after not before, the fact; but her strength there
failed her. They did not forget to mention her declaration, that
she had saved the child, and that he was torn from her by the
smugglers, for the purpose of carrying him to Holland.--All these
particulars were carefully reduced to writing.
Dirk Hatteraick was then brought in, heavily ironed; for he had
been strictly secured and guarded, owing to his former escape. He
was asked his name; he made no answer--His profession; he was
silent :--Several other questions were put, to none of which he
returned any reply. Pleydell wiped the glasses of his spectacles,
and considered the prisoner very attentively. "A very
truculent-looking fellow," he whispered to Mannering; "but, as
Dogberry says, I'll go cunningly to work with him.--Here, call in
Soles--Soles the shoemaker.--Soles, do you remember measuring
some footsteps imprinted on the mud at the wood of Warroch,
on--November 17--, by my orders?" Soles remembered the
circumstance perfectly. "Look at that paper--is that your note of
the measurement?"--Soles verified the memorandum--"Now, there
stands a pair of shoes on that table; measure them, and see if they
correspond with any of the marks you have noted there." The
shoemaker obeyed, and declared, "that they answered exactly to the
largest of the footprints."
"We shall prove," said the counsellor, aside to Mannering, "that
these shoes, which were found in the ruins of Derncleugh, belonged
to Brown, the fellow whom you shot on the lawn at Woodbourne.--Now,
Soles, measure that prisoner's feet very accurately."
Mannering observed Hatteraick strictly, and could notice a visible
tremor. "Do these measurements correspond with any of the
The man looked at the note, then at his foot-rule and measure--then
verified his former measurement by a second. "They correspond," he
said, "within a hair-breadth, to a foot-mark broader and shorter
than the former."
Hatteraick's genius here deserted him--"Der deyvil!" he broke out,
"how could there be a foot-mark on the ground, when it was a frost
as hard as the heart of a Memel log?"
"In the evening, I grant you, Captain Hatteraick," said Pleydell,
"but not in the forenoon--will you favour me with information where
you were upon the day you remember so exactly?"
Hatteraick saw his blunder, and again screwed up his hard
features for obstinate silence--"Put down his observation,
however," said Pleydell to the clerk.
At this moment the door opened, and, much to the surprise of most
present, Mr. Gilbert Glossin made his appearance. That worthy
gentleman had, by dint of watching and eavesdropping, ascertained
that he was not mentioned by name in Meg Merrilies's dying
declaration, a circumstance, certainly not owing to any favourable
disposition towards him, but to the delay of taking her regular
examination, and to the rapid approach of death. He therefore
supposed himself safe from all evidence but such as might arise
from Hatteraick's confession; to prevent which he resolved to push
a bold face, and join his brethren of the bench during his
examination.--"I shall be able," he thought, "to make the rascal
sensible his safety lies in keeping his own counsel and mine; and
my presence, besides, will be a proof of confidence and innocence.
If I must lose the estate, I must--but I trust better things."
He entered with a profound salutation to Sir Robert Hazlewood. Sir
Robert, who had rather begun to suspect that his plebeian neighbour
had made a cat's-paw of him, inclined his head stiffly, took snuff,
and looked another way.
"Mr. Corsand," said Glossin to the other yoke-fellow of justice,
"your most humble servant."
"Your humble servant, Mr. Glossin," answered Mr. Corsand dryly,
composing his countenance regis ad exemplar, that is to say, after
the fashion of the Baronet.
"Mac-Morlan, my worthy friend," continued Glossin, how d'ye