Part 5 out of 11
desire of his heart, that there may be a faithful witness to
stand by thee in the hour of need, and to report how it shall
fare with thee.
'Nay, Rachel,' said the worthy man, 'thou art to blame in this,
that to quiet thy apprehensions on my account, thou shouldst
thrust into danger--if danger it shall prove to be--this youth,
our guest; for whom, doubtless, in case of mishap, as many hearts
will ache as may be afflicted on our account.'
'No, my good friend,' said I, taking Mr. Geddes's hand, 'I am not
so happy as you suppose me. Were my span to be concluded this
evening, few would so much as know that such a being had existed
for twenty years on the face of the earth; and of these few, only
one would sincerely regret me. Do not, therefore, refuse me the
privilege attending you; and of showing, by so trifling an act of
kindness, that if I have few friends, I am at least desirous to
'Thou hast a kind heart, I warrant thee,' said Joshua Geddes,
returning the pressure of my hand. 'Rachel, the young man shall
go with me. Why should he not face danger, in order to do
justice and preserve peace? There is that within me,' he added,
looking upwards, and with a passing enthusiasm which I had not
before observed and the absence of which perhaps rather belonged
to the sect than to his own personal character--'I say, I have
that within which assures me, that though the ungodly may rage
even like the storm of the ocean, they shall not have freedom to
prevail against us.'
Having spoken thus, Mr. Geddes appointed a pony to be saddled for
my use; and having taken a basket with some provisions, and a
servant to carry back the horses for which there was no
accommodation at the fishing station, we set off about nine
o'clock at night, and after three-quarters of an hour's riding,
arrived at our place of destination.
The station consists, or then consisted, of huts for four or five
fishermen, a cooperage and shed, and a better sort of cottage at
which the superintendent resided. We gave our horses to the
servant, to be carried back to Mount Sharon; my companion
expressing himself humanely anxious for their safety--and knocked
at the door of the house. At first we only heard a barking of
dogs; but these animals became quiet on snuffing beneath the
door, and acknowledging the presence of friends. A hoarse voice
then demanded, in rather unfriendly accents, who we were, and
what we wanted and it was not; until Joshua named himself, and
called upon his superintendent to open, that the latter appeared
at the door of the hut, attended by three large dogs of the
Newfoundland breed. He had a flambeau in his hand, and two large
heavy ship-pistols stuck into his belt. He was a stout elderly
man, who had been a sailor, as I learned, during the earlier part
of his life, and was now much confided in by the Fishing Company,
whose concerns he directed under the orders of Mr. Geddes.
'Thou didst not expect me to-night, friend Davies?' said my
friend to the old man, who was arranging seats for us by the
'No, Master Geddes,' answered he, 'I did not expect you, nor, to
speak the truth, did I wish for you either.'
'These are plain terms: John Davies,' answered Mr.Geddes.
'Aye, aye, sir, I know your worship loves no holiday speeches.'
'Thou dost guess, I suppose, what brings us here so late, John
Davies?' said Mr. Geddes.
'I do suppose, sir,' answered the superintendent, 'that it was
because those d--d smuggling wreckers on the coast are showing
their lights to gather their forces, as they did the night before
they broke down the dam-dyke and weirs up the country; but if
that same be the case, I wish once more you had stayed away, for
your worship carries no fighting tackle aboard, I think; and
there will be work for such ere morning, your worship.'
'Worship is due to Heaven only, John Davies,' said Geddes, 'I
have often desired thee to desist from using that phrase to me.'
'I won't, then,' said John; 'no offence meant: But how the devil
can a man stand picking his words, when he is just going to come
'I hope not, John Davies,' said Joshua Geddes. 'Call in the rest
of the men, that I may give them their instructions.'
'I may cry till doomsday Master Geddes, ere a soul answers--the
cowardly lubbers have all made sail--the cooper, and all the rest
of them, so soon as they heard the enemy were at sea. They have
all taken to the long-boat, and left the ship among the breakers,
except little Phil and myself--they have, by--!'
'Swear not at all, John Davies--thou art an honest man; and I
believe, without an oath, that thy comrades love their own bones
better than my goods and chattels. And so thou hast no
assistance but little Phil against a hundred men or two?'
'Why, there are the dogs, your honour knows, Neptune and Thetis
--and the puppy may do something; and then though your worship--I
beg pardon--though your honour be no great fighter, this young
gentleman may bear a hand.'
'Aye, and I see you are provided with arms,' said Mr. Geddes;
'let me see them.'
'Aye, aye, sir; here be a pair of buffers will bite as well as
bark--these will make sure of two rogues at least. It would be a
shame to strike without firing a shot. Take care, your honour,
they are double-shotted.'
'Aye, John Davies, I will take care of them, throwing the pistols
into a tub of water beside him; 'and I wish I could render the
whole generation of them useless at the same moment.'
A deep shade of displeasure passed over John Davies's
weatherbeaten countenance. 'Belike your honour is going to take
the command yourself, then?' he said, after a pause. 'Why, I
can be of little use now; and since your worship, or your honour,
or whatever you are, means to strike quietly, I believe you will
do it better without me than with me, for I am like enough to
make mischief, I admit; but I'll never leave my post without
'Then you have mine, John Davies, to go to Mount Sharon directly,
and take the boy Phil with you. Where is he?'
'He is on the outlook for these scums of the earth,' answered
Davies; 'but it is to no purpose to know when they come, if we
are not to stand to our weapons.'
'We will use none but those of sense and reason, John.'
'And you may just as well cast chaff against the wind, as speak
sense and reason to the like of them.'
'Well, well, be it so,' said Joshua; 'and now, John Davies, I
know thou art what the world calls a brave fellow, and I have
ever found thee an honest one. And now I command you to go to
Mount Sharon, and let Phil lie on the bank-side--see the poor boy
hath a sea-cloak, though--and watch what happens there, and let
him bring you the news; and if any violence shall be offered to
the property there, I trust to your fidelity to carry my sister
to Dumfries to the house of our friends the Corsacks, and inform
the civil authorities of what mischief hath befallen.'
The old seaman paused a moment. 'It is hard lines for me,' he
said, 'to leave your honour in tribulation; and yet, staying
here, I am only like to make bad worse; and your honour's sister,
Miss Rachel, must be looked to, that's certain; for if the rogues
once get their hand to mischief, they will come to Mount Sharon
after they have wasted and destroyed this here snug little
roadstead, where I thought to ride at anchor for life.'
'Right, right, John Davies,' said Joshua Geddes; 'and best call
the dogs with you.'
'Aye, aye, sir,' said the veteran, 'for they are something of my
mind, and would not keep quiet if they saw mischief doing; so
maybe they might come to mischief, poor dumb creatures. So God
bless your honour--I mean your worship--I cannot bring my mouth
to say fare you well. Here, Neptune, Thetis! come, dogs, come.'
So saying, and with a very crestfallen countenance, John Davies
left the hut.
'Now there goes one of the best and most faithful creatures that
ever was born,' said Mr. Geddes, as the superintendent shut the
door of the cottage. 'Nature made him with a heart that would
not have suffered him to harm a fly; but thou seest, friend
Latimer, that as men arm their bull-dogs with spiked collars, and
their game-cocks with steel spurs, to aid them in fight, so they
corrupt, by education, the best and mildest natures, until
fortitude and spirit become stubbornness and ferocity. Believe
me, friend Latimer, I would as soon expose my faithful household
dog to a vain combat with a herd of wolves, as yon trusty
creature to the violence of the enraged multitude. But I need
say little on this subject to thee, friend Latimer, who, I doubt
not, art trained to believe that courage is displayed and honour
attained, not by doing and suffering as becomes a man that which
fate calls us to suffer and justice commands us to do, but
because thou art ready to retort violence for violence, and
considerest the lightest insult as a sufficient cause for the
spilling of blood, nay, the taking of life. But, leaving these
points of controversy to a more fit season, let us see what our
basket of provision contains; for in truth, friend Latimer, I am
one of those whom neither fear nor anxiety deprives of their
We found the means of good cheer accordingly, which Mr. Geddes
seemed to enjoy as much as if it had been eaten in a situation of
perfect safety; nay, his conversation appeared to be rather more
gay than on ordinary occasions. After eating our supper, we left
the hut together, and walked for a few minutes on the banks of
the sea. It was high water, and the ebb had not yet commenced.
The moon shone broad and bright upon the placid face of the
Solway Firth, and showed a slight ripple upon the stakes, the
tops of which were just visible above the waves, and on the dark-
coloured buoys which marked the upper edge of the enclosure of
nets. At a much greater distance--for the estuary is here very
wide--the line of the English coast was seen on the verge of the
water, resembling one of those fog-banks on which mariners are
said to gaze, uncertain whether it be land or atmospherical
'We shall be undisturbed for some hours,' said Mr. Geddes; 'they
will not come down upon us: till the state of the tide permits
them to destroy the tide-nets. Is it not strange to think that
human passions will so soon transform such a tranquil scene as
this into one of devastation and confusion?'
It was indeed a scene of exquisite stillness; so much so, that
the restless waves of the Solway seemed, if not absolutely to
sleep, at least to slumber; on the shore no night-bird was heard
--the cock had not sung his first matins, and we ourselves walked
more lightly than by day, as if to suit the sounds of our own
paces to the serene tranquillity around us. At length, the
plaintive cry of a dog broke the silence, and on our return to
the cottage, we found that the younger of the three animals which
had gone along with John Davies, unaccustomed, perhaps, to
distant journeys, and the duty of following to heel, had strayed
from the party, and, unable to rejoin them, had wandered back to
the place of its birth.
'Another feeble addition to our feeble garrison,' said Mr.
Geddes, as he caressed the dog, and admitted it into the cottage.
'Poor thing! as thou art incapable of doing any mischief, I hope
thou wilt sustain none. At least thou mayst do us the good
service of a sentinel, and permit us to enjoy a quiet repose,
under the certainty that thou wilt alarm us when the enemy is at
There were two beds in the superintendent's room, upon which we
threw ourselves. Mr. Geddes, with his happy equanimity of
temper, was asleep in the first five minutes. I lay for some
time in doubtful and anxious thoughts, watching the fire, and the
motions of the restless dog, which, disturbed probably at the
absence of John Davies, wandered from the hearth to the door and
back again, then came to the bedside and licked my hands and
face, and at length, experiencing no repulse to its advances,
established itself at my feet, and went to sleep, an example
which I soon afterwards followed.
The rage of narration, my dear Alan--for I will never relinquish
the hope that what I am writing may one day reach your hands--has
not forsaken me, even in my confinement, and the extensive though
unimportant details into which I have been hurried, renders it
necessary that I commence another sheet. Fortunately, my pygmy
characters comprehend a great many words within a small space of
DARSIE LATIMER'S JOURNAL, IN CONTINUATION
The morning was dawning, and Mr. Geddes and I myself were still
sleeping soundly, when the alarm was given by my canine
bedfellow, who first growled deeply at intervals, and at length
bore more decided testimony to the approach of some enemy. I
opened the door of the cottage, and perceived, at the distance of
about two hundred yards, a small but close column of men, which I
would have taken for a dark hedge, but that I could perceive it
was advancing rapidly and in silence.
The dog flew towards them, but instantly ran howling back to me,
having probably been chastised by a stick or a stone. Uncertain
as to the plan of tactics or of treaty which Mr. Geddes might
think proper to adopt, I was about to retire into the cottage,
when he suddenly joined me at the door, and, slipping his arm
through mine, said, 'Let us go to meet them manfully; we have
done nothing to be ashamed of.--Friends,' he said, raising his
voice as we approached them, 'who and what are you, and with what
purpose are you here on my property?'
A loud cheer was the answer returned, and a brace of fiddlers who
occupied the front of the march immediately struck up the
insulting air, the words of which begin--
Merrily danced the Quaker's wife,
And merrily danced the Quaker.
Even at that moment of alarm, I think I recognized the tones of
the blind fiddler, Will, known by the name of Wandering Willie,
from his itinerant habits. They continued to advance swiftly and
in great order, in their front
The fiery fiddlers playing martial airs;
when, coming close up, they surrounded us by a single movement,
and there was a universal cry, 'Whoop, Quaker--whoop, Quaker!
Here have we them both, the wet Quaker and the dry one.'
'Hang up the wet Quaker to dry, and wet the dry one with a
ducking,' answered another voice.
'Where is the sea-otter, John Davies, that destroyed more fish
than any sealch upon Ailsa Craig?' exclaimed a third voice. 'I
have an old crow to pluck with him, and a pock to put the
We stood perfectly passive; for, to have attempted resistance
against more than a hundred men, armed with guns, fish-spears,
iron-crows, spades, and bludgeons, would have been an act of
utter insanity. Mr. Geddes, with his strong sonorous voice,
answered the question about the superintendent in a manner the
manly indifference of which compelled them to attend to him.
'John Davies,' he said, 'will, I trust, soon be at Dumfries'--
'To fetch down redcoats and dragoons against us, you canting old
A blow was, at the same time, levelled at my friend, which I
parried by interposing the stick I had in my hand. I was
instantly struck down, and have a faint recollection of hearing
some crying, 'Kill the young spy!' and others, as I thought,
interposing on my behalf. But a second blow on the head,
received in the scuffle, soon deprived me of sense and
consciousness, and threw me into it state of insensibility, from
which I did not recover immediately. When I did come to myself,
I was lying on the bed from which I had just risen before the
fray, and my poor companion, the Newfoundland puppy, its courage
entirely cowed by the tumult of the riot, had crept as close to
me as it could, and lay trembling and whining, as if under the
most dreadful terror. I doubted at first whether I had not
dreamed of the tumult, until, as I attempted to rise, a feeling
of pain and dizziness assured me that the injury I had sustained
was but too real. I gathered together my senses listened--and
heard at a distance the shouts of the rioters, busy, doubtless,
in their work of devastation. I made a second effort to rise, or
at least to turn myself, for I lay with my face to the wall of
the cottage, but I found that my limbs were secured, and my
motions effectually prevented--not indeed by cords, but by linen
or cloth bandages swathed around my ankles, and securing my arms
to my sides. Aware of my utterly captive condition, I groaned
betwixt bodily pain and mental distress,
A voice by my bedside whispered, in a whining tone, 'Whisht a-ye,
hinnie--Whisht a-ye; haud your tongue, like a gude bairn--ye have
cost us dear aneugh already. My hinnie's clean gane now.'
Knowing, as I thought, the phraseology of the wife of the
itinerant musician, I asked her where her husband was, and
whether he had been hurt.
'Broken,' answered the dame, 'all broken to pieces; fit for
naught but to be made spunks of--the best blood that was in
'Broken?--blood?--is your husband wounded; has there been
bloodshed broken limbs?'
'Broken limbs I wish,' answered the beldam, 'that my hinnie had
broken the best bane in his body, before he had broken his
fiddle, that was the best blood in Scotland--it was a Cremony,
for aught that I ken.'
'Pshaw--only his fiddle?' said I.
'I dinna ken what waur your honour could have wished him to do,
unless he had broken his neck; and this is muckle the same to my
hinnie Willie and me. Chaw, indeed! It is easy to say chaw, but
wha is to gie us ony thing to chaw?--the bread-winner's gane, and
we may e'en sit down and starve.'
'No, no,' I said, 'I will pay you for twenty such fiddles.'
'Twenty such! is that a' ye ken about it? the country hadna the
like o't. But if your honour were to pay us, as nae doubt wad be
to your credit here and hereafter, where are ye to get the
'I have enough of money,' said I, attempting to reach my hand
towards my side-pocket; 'unloose these bandages, and I will pay
you on the spot.'
This hint appeared to move her, and she was approaching the
bedside, as I hoped, to liberate me from my bonds, when a nearer
and more desperate shout was heard, as if the rioters were close
by the hut.
'I daurna I daurna,' said the poor woman, 'they would murder me
and my hinnie Willie baith, and they have misguided us aneugh
already;--but if there is anything worldly I could do for your
honour, leave out loosing ye?'
What she said recalled me to my bodily suffering. Agitation, and
the effects of the usage I had received, had produced a burning
thirst. I asked for a drink of water.
'Heaven Almighty forbid that Epps Ainslie should gie ony sick
gentleman cauld well-water, and him in a fever. Na, na, hinnie,
let me alane, I'll do better for ye than the like of that.'
'Give me what you will,' I replied; 'let it but be liquid and
The woman gave me a large horn accordingly, filled with spirits
and water, which, without minute inquiry concerning the nature of
its contents, I drained at a draught. Either the spirits taken
in such a manner acted more suddenly than usual on my brain, or
else there was some drug mixed with the beverage. I remember
little after drinking it off, only that the appearance of things
around me became indistinct; that the woman's form seemed to
multiply itself, and to flit in various figures around me,
bearing the same lineaments as she herself did. I remember also
that the discordant noises and cries of those without the cottage
seemed to die away in a hum like that with which a nurse hushes
her babe. At length I fell into a deep sound sleep, or rather, a
state of absolute insensibility.
I have reason to think this species of trance lasted for many
hours; indeed, for the whole subsequent day and part of the
night. It was not uniformly so profound, for my recollection of
it is chequered with many dreams, all of a painful nature, but
too faint and too indistinct to be remembered. At length the
moment of waking came, and my sensations were horrible.
A deep sound, which, in the confusion of my senses, I identified
with the cries of the rioters, was the first thing of which I was
sensible; next, I became conscious that I was carried violently
forward in some conveyance, with an unequal motion, which gave me
much pain. My position was horizontal, and when I attempted to
stretch my hands in order to find some mode of securing myself
against this species of suffering, I found I was bound as before,
and the horrible reality rushed on my mind that I was in the
hands of those who had lately committed a great outrage on
property, and were now about to kidnap, if not to murder me. I
opened my eyes, it was to no purpose--all around me was dark, for
a day had passed over during my captivity. A dispiriting
sickness oppressed my head--my heart seemed on fire, while my
feet and hands were chilled and benumbed with want of
circulation. It was with the utmost difficulty that I at length,
and gradually, recovered in a sufficient degree the power of
observing external sounds and circumstances; and when I did so,
they presented nothing consolatory.
Groping with my hands, as far as the bandages would permit, and
receiving the assistance of some occasional glances of the
moonlight, I became aware that the carriage in which I was
transported was one of the light carts of the country, called
TUMBLERS, and that a little attention had been paid to my
accommodation, as I was laid upon some sacks covered with
matting, and filled with straw. Without these, my condition
would have been still more intolerable, for the vehicle, sinking
now on one side, and now on the other, sometimes sticking
absolutely fast and requiring the utmost exertions of the animal
which drew it to put it once more in motion, was subjected to
jolts in all directions, which were very severe. At other times
it rolled silently and smoothly over what seemed to be wet sand;
and, as I heard the distant roar of the tide, I had little doubt
that we were engaged in passing the formidable estuary which
divides the two kingdoms.
There seemed to be at least five or six people about the cart,
some on foot, others on horseback; the former lent assistance
whenever it was in danger of upsetting, or sticking fast in the
quicksand; the others rode before and acted as guides, often
changing the direction of the vehicle as the precarious state of
the passage required.
I addressed myself to the men around the cart, and endeavoured to
move their compassion. I had harmed, I said, no one, and for no
action in my life had deserved such cruel treatment, I had no
concern whatever in the fishing station which had incurred their
displeasure, and my acquaintance with Mr. Geddes was of a very
late date. Lastly, and as my strongest argument, I endeavoured
to excite their fears, by informing them that my rank in life
would not permit me to be either murdered or secreted with
impunity; and to interest their avarice, by the promises I made
them of reward, if they would effect my deliverance. I only
received a scornful laugh in reply to my threats; my promises
might have done more, for the fellows were whispering together as
if in hesitation, and I began to reiterate and increase my
offers, when the voice of one of the horsemen, who had suddenly
come up, enjoined silence to the men on foot, and, approaching
the side of the cart, said to me, with a strong and determined
voice, 'Young man, there is no personal harm designed to you. If
you remain silent and quiet, you may reckon on good treatment;
but if you endeavour to tamper with these men in the execution of
their duty, I will take such measures for silencing you, as you
shall remember the longest day you have to live.'
I thought I knew the voice which uttered these threats; but, in
such a situation, my perceptions could not be supposed to be
perfectly accurate. I was contented to reply, 'Whoever you are
that speak to me, I entreat the benefit of the meanest prisoner,
who is not to be subjected, legally to greater hardship than is
necessary for the restraint of his person. I entreat that these
bonds, which hurt me so cruelly, may be slackened at least, if
not removed altogether.'
'I will slacken the belts,' said the former speaker; 'nay, I will
altogether remove them, and allow you to pursue your journey in a
more convenient manner, provided you will give me your word of
honour that you will not attempt an escape?'
'NEVER!' I answered, with an energy of which despair alone could
have rendered me capable--'I will never submit to loss of freedom
a moment longer than I am subjected to it by force.'
'Enough,' he replied; 'the sentiment is natural; but do not on
your side complain that I, who am carrying on an important
undertaking, use the only means in my power for ensuring its
I entreated to know what it was designed to do with me; but my
conductor, in a voice of menacing authority, desired me to be
silent on my peril; and my strength and spirits were too much
exhausted to permit my continuing a dialogue so singular, even if
I could have promised myself any good result by doing so.
It is proper here to add, that, from my recollections at the
time, and from what has since taken place, I have the strongest
possible belief that the man with whom I held this expostulation
was the singular person residing at Brokenburn, in Dumfriesshire,
and called by the fishers of that hamlet, the Laird of the Solway
Lochs. The cause for his inveterate persecution I cannot pretend
even to guess at.
In the meantime, the cart was dragged heavily and wearily on,
until the nearer roar of the advancing tide excited the
apprehension of another danger. I could not mistake the sound,
which I had heard upon another occasion, when it was only the
speed of a fleet horse which saved me from perishing in the
quicksands. Thou, my dear Alan, canst not but remember the
former circumstances; and now, wonderful contrast! the very man,
to the best of my belief, who then saved me from peril, was the
leader of the lawless band who had deprived me of my liberty. I
conjectured that the danger grew imminent; for I heard some words
and circumstances which made me aware that a rider hastily
fastened his own horse to the shafts of the cart in order to
assist the exhausted animal which drew it, and the vehicle was
now pulled forward at a faster pace, which the horses were urged
to maintain by blows and curses. The men, however, were
inhabitants of the neighbourhood; and I had strong personal
reason to believe that one of them, at least, was intimately
acquainted with all the depths and shallows of the perilous paths
in which we were engaged. But they were in imminent danger
themselves; and if so, as from the whispering and exertions to
push on with the cart was much to be apprehended, there was
little doubt that I should be left behind as a useless
encumbrance, and that, while I was in a condition which rendered
every chance of escape impracticable. These were awful
apprehensions; but it pleased Providence to increase them to a
point which my brain was scarcely able to endure.
As we approached very near to a black line, which, dimly visible
as it was, I could make out to be the shore, we heard two or
three sounds, which appeared to be the report of fire-arms.
Immediately all was bustle among our party to get forward.
Presently a fellow galloped up to us, crying out, 'Ware hawk!
ware hawk! the land-sharks are out from Burgh, and Allonby Tom
will lose his cargo if you do not bear a hand.'
Most of my company seemed to make hastily for the shore on
receiving this intelligence. A driver was left with the cart;
but at length, when, after repeated and hairbreadth escapes, it
actually stuck fast in a slough or quicksand, the fellow, with an
oath, cut the harness, and, as I presume, departed with the
horses, whose feet I heard splashing over the wet sand and
through the shallows, as he galloped off.
The dropping sound of fire-arms was still continued, but lost
almost entirely in the thunder of the advancing surge. By a
desperate effort I raised myself in the cart, and attained a
sitting posture, which served only to show me the extent of my
danger. There lay my native land--my own England--the land where
I was born, and to which my wishes, since my earliest age, had
turned with all the prejudices of national feeling--there it lay,
within a furlong of the place where I yet was; that furlong,
which an infant would have raced over in a minute, was yet a
barrier effectual to divide me for ever from England and from
life. I soon not only heard the roar of this dreadful torrent,
but saw, by the fitful moonlight, the foamy crests of the
devouring waves, as they advanced with the speed and fury of a
pack of hungry wolves.
The consciousness that the slightest ray of hope, or power of
struggling, was not left me, quite overcame the constancy which I
had hitherto maintained. My eyes began to swim--my head grew
giddy and mad with fear--I chattered and howled to the howling
and roaring sea. One or two great waves already reached the
cart, when the conductor of the party whom I have mentioned so
often, was, as if by magic, at my side. He sprang from his horse
into the vehicle, cut the ligatures which restrained me, and bade
me get up and mount in the fiend's name.
Seeing I was incapable of obeying, he seized me as if I had been
a child of six months old, threw me across the horse, sprang on
behind, supporting with one hand, while he directed the animal
with the other. In my helpless and painful posture, I was
unconscious of the degree of danger which we incurred; but I
believe at one time the horse was swimming, or nearly so; and
that it was with difficulty that my stern and powerful assistant
kept my head above water. I remember particularly the shock
which I felt when the animal, endeavouring to gain the bank,
reared, and very nearly fell back on his burden. The time during
which I continued in this dreadful condition did not probably
exceed two or three minutes, yet so strongly were they marked
with horror and agony, that they seem to my recollection a much
more considerable space of time.
When I had been thus snatched from destruction, I had only power
to say to my protector,--or oppressor,--for he merited either
name at my hand, 'You do not, then, design to murder me?'
He laughed as he replied, but it was a sort of laughter which I
scarce desire to hear again,--'Else you think I had let the waves
do the work? But remember, the shepherd saves his sheep from the
torrent--is it to preserve its life?--Be silent, however, with
questions or entreaties. What I mean to do, thou canst no more
discover or prevent, than a man, with his bare palm, can scoop
dry the Solway.'
I was too much exhausted to continue the argument; and, still
numbed and torpid in all my limbs, permitted myself without
reluctance to be placed on a horse brought for the purpose. My
formidable conductor rode on the one side, and another person on
the other, keeping me upright in the saddle. In this manner we
travelled forward at a considerable rate, and by by-roads, with
which my attendant seemed as familiar as with the perilous
passages of the Solway.
At length, after stumbling through a labyrinth of dark and deep
lanes, and crossing more than one rough and barren heath, we
found ourselves on the edge of a highroad, where a chaise and
four awaited, as it appeared, our arrival. To my great relief,
we now changed our mode of conveyance; for my dizziness and
headache had returned in so strong a degree, that I should
otherwise have been totally unable to keep my seat on horseback,
even with the support which I received.
My doubted and dangerous companion signed to me to enter the
carriage--the man who had ridden on the left side of my horse
stepped in after me, and drawing up the blinds of the vehicle,
gave the signal for instant departure.
I had obtained a glimpse of the countenance of my new companion,
as by the aid of a dark lantern the drivers opened the carriage
door, and I was wellnigh persuaded that I recognized in him the
domestic of the leader of this party, whom I had seen at his
house in Brokenburn on a former occasion. To ascertain the truth
of my suspicion, I asked him whether his name was not Cristal
'What is other folk's names to you,' he replied, gruffly, 'who
cannot tell your own father and mother?'
'You know them, perhaps!' I exclaimed eagerly. 'You know them!
and with that secret is connected the treatment which I am now
receiving? It must be so, for in my life have I never injured
any one. Tell me the cause of my misfortunes, or rather, help me
to my liberty, and I will reward you richly.'
'Aye, aye,' replied my keeper; 'but what use to give you liberty,
who know nothing how to use it like a gentleman, but spend your
time with Quakers and fiddlers, and such like raff! If I was
your--hem, hem, hem!'
Here Cristal stopped short, just on the point, as it appeared,
when some information was likely to escape him. I urged him once
more to be my friend, and promised him all the stock of money
which I had about me, and it was not inconsiderable, if he would
assist in my escape.
He listened, as if to a proposition which had some interest, and
replied, but in a voice rather softer than before, 'Aye, but men
do not catch old birds with chaff, my master. Where have you got
the rhino you are so flush of?'
'I will give you earnest directly, and that in banknotes,' said
I; but thrusting my hand into my side-pocket, I found my pocket-
book was gone. I would have persuaded myself that it was only
the numbness of my hands which prevented my finding it; but
Cristal Nixon, who bears in his countenance that cynicism which
is especially entertained with human misery, no longer suppressed
'Oh, ho! my young master,' he said; 'we have taken good enough
care you have not kept the means of bribing poor folk's fidelity.
What, man, they have souls as well as other people, and to make
them break trust is a deadly sin. And as for me, young
gentleman, if you would fill Saint Mary's Kirk with gold, Cristal
Nixon would mind it no more than so many chucky-stones.'
I would have persisted, were it but in hopes of his letting drop
that which it concerned me to know, but he cut off further
communication, by desiring me to lean back in the corner and go
'Thou art cock-brained enough already,' he added, 'and we shall
have thy young pate addled entirely, if you do not take some
I did indeed require repose, if not slumber; the draught which I
had taken continued to operate, and, satisfied in my own mind
that no attempt on my life was designed, the fear of instant
death no longer combated the torpor which crept over me--I slept,
and slept soundly, but still without refreshment.
When I awoke, I found myself extremely indisposed; images of the
past, and anticipations of the future, floated confusedly through
my brain. I perceived, however, that my situation was changed,
greatly for the better. I was in a good bed, with the curtains
drawn round it; I heard the lowered voice and cautious step of
attendants, who seemed to respect my repose; it appeared as if I
was in the hands either of friends, or of such as meant me no
I can give but an indistinct account of two or three broken and
feverish days which succeeded, but if they were chequered with
dreams and visions of terror, other and more agreeable objects
were also sometimes presented. Alan Fairford will understand me
when I say, I am convinced I saw G.M. during this interval of
oblivion. I had medical attendance, and was bled more than once.
I also remember a painful operation performed on my head, where I
had received a severe blow on the night of the riot. My hair was
cut short, and the bone of the skull examined, to discover if the
cranium had received any injury.
On seeing the physician, it would have been natural to have
appealed to him on the subject of my confinement, and I remember
more than once attempting to do so. But the fever lay like a
spell upon my tongue, and when I would have implored the doctor's
assistance, I rambled from the subject, and spoke I know not what
nonsense. Some power, which I was unable to resist, seemed to
impel me into a different course of conversation from what I
intended, and though conscious, in some degree, of the failure, I
could not mend it; and resolved, therefore, to be patient, until
my capacity of steady thought and expression was restored to me
with my ordinary health, which had sustained a severe shock from
the vicissitudes to which I had been exposed. [See Note 6.]
DARSIE LATIMER'S JOURNAL, IN CONTINUATION
Two or three days, perhaps more, perhaps less, had been spent in
bed, where I was carefully attended, and treated, I believe, with
as much judgement as the case required, and I was at length
allowed to quit my bed, though not the chamber. I was now more
able to make some observation on the place of my confinement.
The room, in appearance and furniture, resembled the best
apartment in a farmer's house; and the window, two stories high,
looked into a backyard, or court, filled with domestic poultry.
There were the usual domestic offices about this yard. I could
distinguish the brewhouse and the barn, and I heard, from a more
remote building, the lowing of the cattle, and other rural
sounds, announcing a large and well-stocked farm. These were
sights and sounds qualified to dispel any apprehension of
immediate violence. Yet the building seemed ancient and strong,
a part of the roof was battlemented,and the walls were of great
thickness; lastly, I observed, with some unpleasant sensations,
that the windows of my chamber had been lately secured with iron
stanchions, and that the servants who brought me victuals, or
visited my apartment to render other menial offices, always
locked the door when they retired.
The comfort and cleanliness of my chamber were of true English
growth, and such as I had rarely seen on the other side of the
Tweed; the very old wainscot, which composed the floor and the
panelling of the room, was scrubbed with a degree of labour which
the Scottish housewife rarely bestows on her most costly
The whole apartments appropriated to my use consisted of the
bedroom, a small parlour adjacent, within which was a still
smaller closet having a narrow window which seemed anciently to
have been used as a shot-hole, admitting, indeed, a very moderate
portion of light and air, but without its being possible to see
anything from it except the blue sky, and that only by mounting
on a chair. There were appearances of a separate entrance into
this cabinet, besides that which communicated with the parlour,
but it had been recently built up, as I discovered by removing a
piece of tapestry which covered the fresh mason-work. I found
some of my clothes here, with linen and other articles, as well
as my writing-case, containing pen, ink, and paper, which enables
me, at my leisure (which, God knows, is undisturbed enough) to
make this record of my confinement. It may be well believed,
however, that I do not trust to the security of the bureau, but
carry the written sheets about my person, so that I can only be
deprived of them by actual violence. I also am cautious to write
in the little cabinet only, so that I can hear any person
approach me through the other apartments, and have time enough to
put aside my journal before they come upon me.
The servants, a stout country fellow and a very pretty milkmaid-
looking lass, by whom I am attended, seem of the true Joan and
Hedge school, thinking of little and desiring nothing beyond the
very limited sphere of their own duties or enjoyments, and having
no curiosity whatever about the affairs of others. Their
behaviour to me in particular, is, at the same time, very kind
and very provoking. My table is abundantly supplied, and they
seem anxious to comply with my taste in that department. But
whenever I make inquiries beyond 'what's for dinner', the brute
of a lad baffles me by his ANAN, and his DUNNA KNAW, and if hard
pressed, turns his back on me composedly, and leaves the room.
The girl, too, pretends to be as simple as he; but an arch grin,
which she cannot always suppress, seems to acknowledge that she
understands perfectly well the game which she is playing, and is
determined to keep me in ignorance. Both of them, and the wench
in particular, treat me as they would do a spoiled child, and
never directly refuse me anything which I ask, taking care, at
the same time, not to make their words good by effectually
granting my request. Thus, if I desire to go out, I am promised
by Dorcas that I shall walk in the park at night, and see the
cows milked, just as she would propose such an amusement to a
child. But she takes care never to keep her word, if it is in
her power to do so.
In the meantime, there has stolen on me insensibly an
indifference to my freedom--a carelessness about my situation,
for which I am unable to account, unless it be the consequence of
weakness and loss of blood. I have read of men who, immured as I
am, have surprised the world by the address with which they have
successfully overcome the most formidable obstacles to their
escape; and when I have heard such anecdotes, I have said to
myself, that no one who is possessed only of a fragment of
freestone, or a rusty nail to grind down rivets and to pick
locks, having his full leisure to employ in the task, need
continue the inhabitant of a prison. Here, however, I sit, day
after day, without a single effort to effect my liberation.
Yet my inactivity is not the result of despondency, but arises,
in part at least, from feelings of a very different cast. My
story, long a mysterious one, seems now upon the verge of some
strange development; and I feel a solemn impression that I ought
to wait the course of events, to struggle against which is
opposing my feeble efforts to the high will of fate. Thou, my
Alan, wilt treat as timidity this passive acquiescence, which has
sunk down on me like a benumbing torpor; but if thou hast
remembered by what visions my couch was haunted, and dost but
think of the probability that I am in the vicinity, perhaps under
the same roof with G.M., thou wilt acknowledge that other
feelings than pusillanimity have tended in some degree to
reconcile me to my fate.
Still I own it is unmanly to submit with patience to this
oppressive confinement. My heart rises against it, especially
when I sit down to record my sufferings in this journal, and I am
determined, as the first step to my deliverance, to have my
letters sent to the post-house.
I am disappointed. When the girl Dorcas, upon whom I had fixed
for a messenger, heard me talk of sending a letter, she willingly
offered her services, and received the crown which I gave her
(for my purse had not taken flight with the more valuable
contents of my pocket-book) with a smile which showed her whole
set of white teeth.
But when, with the purpose of gaining some intelligence
respecting my present place of abode, I asked to which post-town
she was to send or carry the letter, a stolid 'ANAN' showed me
she was either ignorant of the nature of a post-office, or that,
for the present, she chose to seem so.--'Simpleton!' I said,
with some sharpness.
'O Lord, sir!' answered the girl, turning pale, which they
always do when I show any sparks of anger, 'Don't put yourself in
a passion--I'll put the letter in the post.
'What! and not know the name of the post-town?' said I, out of
patience. 'How on earth do you propose to manage that?'
'La you there, good master. What need you frighten a poor girl
that is no schollard, bating what she learned at the Charity
School of Saint Bees?'
'Is Saint Bees far from this place, Dorcas? Do you send your
letters there?' said I, in a manner as insinuating, and yet
careless, as I could assume.
'Saint Bees! La, who but a madman--begging your honour's pardon
--it's a matter of twenty years since fader lived at Saint Bees,
which is twenty, or forty, or I dunna know not how many miles
from this part, to the West, on the coast side; and I would not
have left Saint Bees, but that fader'--
'Oh, the devil take your father!' replied I.
To which she answered, 'Nay, but thof your honour be a little
how-come-so, you shouldn't damn folk's faders; and I won't stand
to it, for one.'
'Oh, I beg you a thousand pardons--I wish your father no ill in
the world--he was a very honest man in his way.'
'WAS an honest man!' she exclaimed; for the Cumbrians are, it
would seem, like their neighbours the Scotch, ticklish on the
point of ancestry,--'He IS a very honest man as ever led nag with
halter on head to Staneshaw Bank Fair. Honest! He is a horse-
'Right, right,' I replied; 'I know it--I have heard of your
father-as honest as any horse-couper of them all. Why, Dorcas, I
mean to buy a horse of him.'
'Ah, your honour,' sighed Dorcas, 'he is the man to serve your
honour well--if ever you should get round again--or thof you were
a bit off the hooks, he would no more cheat you than'--
'Well, well, we will deal, my girl, you may depend on't. But
tell me now, were I to give you a letter, what would you do to
get it forward?'
'Why, put it into Squire's own bag that hangs in hall,' answered
poor Dorcas. 'What else could I do? He sends it to Brampton, or
to Carloisle, or where it pleases him, once a week, and that
'Ah!' said I; 'and I suppose your sweetheart John carries it?'
'Noa--disn't now--and Jan is no sweetheart of mine, ever since he
danced at his mother's feast with Kitty Rutlege, and let me sit
still; that a did.'
'It was most abominable in Jan, and what I could never have
thought of him,' I replied.
'Oh, but a did though--a let me sit still on my seat, a did.'
'Well, well, my pretty May, you will get a handsomer fellow than
Jan--Jan's not the fellow for you, I see that.'
'Noa, noa,' answered the damsel; 'but he is weel aneugh for a'
that, mon. But I carena a button for him; for there is the
miller's son, that suitored me last Appleby Fair, when I went wi'
oncle, is a gway canny lad as you will see in the sunshine.'
'Aye, a fine stout fellow. Do you think he would carry my letter
'To Carloisle! 'Twould be all his life is worth; he maun wait on
clap and hopper, as they say. Odd, his father would brain him if
he went to Carloisle, bating to wrestling for the belt, or sic
loike. But I ha' more bachelors than him; there is the
schoolmaster, can write almaist as weel as tou canst, mon.'
'Then he is the very man to take charge of a letter; he knows the
trouble of writing one.'
'Aye, marry does he, an tou comest to that, mon; only it takes
him four hours to write as mony lines. Tan, it is a great round
hand loike, that one can read easily, and not loike your
honour's, that are like midge's taes. But for ganging to
Carloisle, he's dead foundered, man, as cripple as Eckie's mear.'
'In the name of God,' said I, 'how is it that you propose to get
my letter to the post?'
'Why, just to put it into Squire's bag loike,' reiterated Dorcas;
'he sends it by Cristal Nixon to post, as you call it, when such
is his pleasure.'
Here I was, then, not much edified by having obtained a list of
Dorcas's bachelors; and by finding myself, with respect to any
information which I desired, just exactly at the point where I
set out. It was of consequence to me, however, to accustom, the
girl to converse with me familiarly. If she did so, she could
not always be on her guard, and something, I thought, might drop
from her which I could turn to advantage.
'Does not the Squire usually look into his letter-bag, Dorcas?'
said I, with as much indifference as I could assume.
'That a does,' said Dorcas; 'and a threw out a letter of mine to
Raff Miller, because a said'--
'Well, well, I won't trouble him with mine,' said I, 'Dorcas;
but, instead, I will write to himself, Dorcas. But how shall I
'Anan?' was again Dorcas's resource.
'I mean how is he called? What is his name?'
'Sure you honour should know best,' said Dorcas.
'I know? The devil! You drive me beyond patience.'
'Noa, noa! donna your honour go beyond patience--donna ye now,'
implored the wench. 'And for his neame, they say he has mair nor
ane in Westmoreland and on the Scottish side. But he is but
seldom wi' us, excepting in the cocking season; and then we just
call him Squoire loike; and so do my measter and dame.'
'And is he here at present?' said I.
'Not he, not he; he is a buck-hoonting, as they tell me,
somewhere up the Patterdale way; but he comes and gangs like a
flap of a whirlwind, or sic loike.'
I broke off the conversation, after forcing on Dorcas a little
silver to buy ribbons, with which she was so much delighted that
she exclaimed, 'God! Cristal Nixon may say his worst on thee;
but thou art a civil gentleman for all him; and a quoit man wi'
woman folk loike.'
There is no sense in being too quiet with women folk, so I added
a kiss with my crown piece; and I cannot help thinking that I
have secured a partisan in Dorcas. At least, she blushed, and
pocketed her little compliment with one hand, while, with the
other, she adjusted her cherry-coloured ribbons, a little
disordered by the struggle it cost me to attain the honour of a
As she unlocked the door to leave the apartment, she turned back,
and looking on me with a strong expression of compassion, added
the remarkable words, 'La--be'st mad or no, thou'se a mettled
lad, after all.'
There was something very ominous in the sound of these farewell
words, which seemed to afford me a clue to the pretext under
which I was detained in confinement, My demeanour was probably
insane enough, while I was agitated at once by the frenzy
incident to the fever, and the anxiety arising from my
extraordinary situation. But is it possible they can now
establish any cause for confining me arising out of the state of
If this be really the pretext under which I am restrained from my
liberty, nothing but the sedate correctness of my conduct can
remove the prejudices which these circumstances may have excited
in the minds of all who have approached me during my illness. I
have heard--dreadful thought!--of men who, for various reasons,
have been trepanned into the custody of the keepers of private
madhouses, and whose brain, after years of misery, became at
length unsettled, through irresistible sympathy with the wretched
beings among whom they were classed. This shall not be my case,
if, by strong internal resolution, it is in human nature to avoid
the action of exterior and contagious sympathies.
Meantime I sat down to compose and arrange my thoughts, for my
purposed appeal to my jailer--so I must call him--whom I
addressed in the following manner; having at length, and after
making several copies, found language to qualify the sense of
resentment which burned in the first, drafts of my letter, and
endeavoured to assume a tone more conciliating. I mentioned the
two occasions on which he had certainly saved my life, when at
the utmost peril; and I added, that whatever was the purpose of
the restraint, now practised on me, as I was given to understand,
by his authority, it could not certainly be with any view to
ultimately injuring me. He might, I said, have mistaken me for
some other person; and I gave him what account I could of my
situation and education, to correct such an error. I supposed it
next possible, that he might think me too weak for travelling,
and not capable of taking care of myself; and I begged to assure
him, that I was restored to perfect health, and quite able to
endure the fatigue of a journey. Lastly, I reminded him, in firm
though measured terms, that the restraint which I sustained was
an illegal one, and highly punishable by the laws which protect
the liberties of the subject. I ended by demanding that he would
take me before a magistrate; or, at least, that he would favour
me with a personal interview and explain his meaning with regard
Perhaps this letter was expressed in a tone too humble for the
situation of an injured man, and I am inclined to think so when I
again recapitulate its tenor. But what could I do? I was in the
power of one whose passions seem as violent as his means of
gratifying them appear unbounded. I had reason, too, to believe
(this to thee, Alan) that all his family did not approve of the
violence of his conduct towards me; my object, in fine, was
freedom, and who would not sacrifice much to attain it?
I had no means of addressing my letter excepting 'For the
Squire's own hand.' He could be at no great distance, for in the
course of twenty-four hours I received an answer. It was
addressed to Darsie Latimer, and contained these words: 'You
have demanded an interview with me. You have required to be
carried before a magistrate. Your first wish shall be granted--
perhaps the second also. Meanwhile, be assured that you are a
prisoner for the time, by competent authority, and that such
authority is supported by adequate power. Beware, therefore, of
struggling with a force sufficient to crush you, but abandon
yourself to that train of events by which we are both swept
along, and which it is impossible that either of us can resist.'
These mysterious words were without signature of any kind, and
left me nothing more important to do than to prepare myself for
the meeting which they promised. For that purpose I must now
break off, and make sure of the manuscript--so far as I can, in
my present condition, be sure of anything--by concealing it
within the lining of my coat, so as not to be found without
LATIMER'S JOURNAL, IN CONTINUATION
The important interview expected at the conclusion of my last
took place sooner than I had calculated; for the very day I
received the letter, and just when my dinner was finished, the
squire, or whatever he is called, entered the room so suddenly
that I almost thought I beheld an apparition. The figure of this
man is peculiarly noble and stately, and his voice has that deep
fullness of accent which implies unresisted authority. I had
risen involuntarily as he entered; we gazed on each other for a
moment in silence, which was at length broken by my visitor.
'You have desired to see me,' he said. 'I am here; if you have
aught to say let me hear it; my time is too brief to be consumed
in childish dumb-show.'
'I would ask of you,' said I, 'by what authority I am detained in
this place of confinement, and for what purpose?'
'I have told you already,' said he, 'that my authority is
sufficient, and my power equal to it; this is all which it is
necessary for you at present to know.'
'Every British subject has a right to know why he suffers
restraint,' I replied; 'nor can he be deprived of liberty without
a legal warrant. Show me that by which you confine me thus.'
'You shall see more,' he said; 'you shall see the magistrate by
whom it is granted, and that without a moment's delay.'
This sudden proposal fluttered and alarmed me; I felt,
nevertheless, that I had the right cause, and resolved to plead
it boldly, although I could well have desired a little further
time for preparation. He turned, however, threw open the door of
the apartment, and commanded me to follow him. I felt some
inclination, when I crossed the threshold of my prison-chamber,
to have turned and run for it; but I knew not where to find the
stairs--had reason to think the outer doors would be secured and,
to conclude, so soon as I had quitted the room to follow the
proud step of my conductor, I observed that I was dogged by
Cristal Nixon, who suddenly appeared within two paces of me, and
with whose great personal strength, independent of the assistance
he might have received from his master, I saw no chance of
contending. I therefore followed, unresistingly and in silence;
along one or two passages of much greater length than consisted
with the ideas I had previously entertained of the size of the
house. At length a door was flung open, and we entered a large,
old-fashioned parlour, having coloured glass in the windows,
oaken panelling on the wall, a huge grate, in which a large
faggot or two smoked under an arched chimney-piece of stone which
bore some armorial device, whilst the walls were adorned with the
usual number of heroes in armour, with large wigs instead of
helmets, and ladies in sacques, smelling to nosegays.
Behind a long table, on which were several books, sat a smart
underbred-looking man, wearing his own hair tied in a club, and
who, from the quire of paper laid before him, and the pen which
he handled at my entrance, seemed prepared to officiate as clerk.
As I wish to describe these persons as accurately as possible, I
may add, he wore a dark-coloured coat, corduroy breeches, and
spatterdashes. At the upper end of the same table, in an ample
easy-chair covered with black leather, reposed a fat personage,
about fifty years old, who either was actually a country justice,
or was well selected to represent such a character. His leathern
breeches were faultless in make, his jockey boots spotless in the
varnish, and a handsome and flourishing pair of boot-garters, as
they are called, united the one part of his garments to the
other; in fine, a richly-laced scarlet waistcoat and a purple
coat set off the neat though corpulent figure of the little man,
and threw an additional bloom upon his plethoric aspect. I
suppose he had dined, for it was two hours past noon, and he was
amusing himself, and aiding digestion, with a pipe of tobacco.
There was an air of importance in his manner which corresponded
to the rural dignity of his exterior, and a habit which he had of
throwing out a number of interjectional sounds, uttered with a
strange variety of intonation running from bass up to treble in a
very extraordinary manner, or breaking off his sentences with a
whiff of his pipe, seemed adopted to give an air of thought and
mature deliberation to his opinions and decisions.
Notwithstanding all this, Alan, it might be DOOTED, as our old
Professor used to say, whether the Justice was anything more then
an ass. Certainly, besides a great deference for the legal
opinion of his clerk, which might be quite according to the order
of things, he seemed to be wonderfully under the command of his
brother squire, if squire either of them were, and indeed much
more than was consistent with so much assumed consequence of his
'Ho--ha--aye--so--so--hum--humph--this is the young man, I
suppose--hum--aye--seems sickly. Young gentleman, you may sit
I used the permission given, for I had been much more reduced by
my illness than I was aware of, and felt myself really fatigued,
even by the few paces I had walked, joined to the agitation I
'And your name, young man, is--humph--aye--ha--what is it?'
'Right--aye--humph--very right. Darsie Latimer is the very
thing--ha--aye--where do you come from?'
'From Scotland, sir,' I replied.
'A native of Scotland--a--humph--eh--how is it?'
'I am an Englishman by birth, sir.'
'Right--aye--yes, you are so. But pray, Mr. Darsie Latimer, have
you always been called by that name, or have you any other?--
Nick, write down his answers, Nick.'
'As far as I remember, I never bore any other,' was my answer.
'How, no? well, I should not have thought so, Hey, neighbour,
Here he looked towards the other squire, who had thrown himself
into a chair; and, with his legs stretched out before him, and
his arms folded on his bosom, seemed carelessly attending to what
was going forward. He answered the appeal of the Justice by
saying, that perhaps the young man's memory did not go back to a
very early period.
'Ah--eh--ha--you hear the gentleman. Pray, how far may your
memory be pleased to run back to?--umph?'
'Perhaps, sir, to the age of three years, or a little further.'
'And will you presume to say, sir,' said the squire, drawing
himself suddenly erect in his seat, and exerting the strength of
his powerful voice, 'that you then bore your present name?'
I was startled at the confidence with which this question was
put, and in vain rummaged my memory for the means of replying.
'At least,' I said, 'I always remember being called Darsie;
children, at that early age, seldom get more than their Christian
'Oh, I thought so,' he replied, and again stretched himself on his
seat, in the same lounging posture as before.
'So you were called Darsie in your infancy,' said the Justice;
'and--hum--aye--when did you first take the name of Latimer?'
'I did not take it, sir; it was given to me.'
'I ask you,' said the lord of the mansion, but with less severity
in his voice than formerly, 'whether you can remember that you
were ever called Latimer, until you had that name given you in
'I will be candid: I cannot recollect an instance that I was so
called when in England, but neither can I recollect when the name
was first given me; and if anything is to be founded on these
queries and my answers, I desire my early childhood may be taken
'Hum--aye--yes,' said the Justice; 'all that requires
consideration shall be duly considered. Young man--eh--I beg to
know the name of your father and mother?'
This was galling a wound that has festered for years, and I did
not endure the question so patiently as those which preceded it;
but replied, 'I demand, in my turn, to know if I am before an
English Justice of the Peace?'
'His worship, Squire Foxley, of Foxley Hall, has been of the
quorum these twenty years,' said Master Nicholas.
'Then he ought to know, or you, sir, as his clerk, should inform
him,' said I, 'that I am the complainer in this case, and that my
complaint ought to be heard before I am subjected to cross-
'Humph--hoy--what, aye--there is something in that, neighbour,'
said the poor Justice, who, blown about by every wind of
doctrine, seemed desirous to attain the sanction of his brother
'I wonder at you, Foxley,' said his firm-minded acquaintance;
'how can you render the young man justice unless you know who he
'Ha--yes--egad, that's true,' said Mr. Justice Foxley; 'and now--
looking into the matter more closely--there is, eh, upon the
whole--nothing at all in what he says--so, sir, you must tell
your father's name, and surname.'
'It is out of my power, sir; they are not known to me, since you
must needs know so much of my private affairs.'
The Justice collected a great AFFLATUS in his cheeks, which
puffed them up like those of a Dutch cherub, while his eyes
seemed flying out of his head, from the effort with which he
retained his breath. He then blew it forth with,--'Whew!--Hoom--
poof--ha!--not know your parents, youngster?--Then I must commit
you for a vagrant, I warrant you. OMNE IGNOTUM PRO TERRIBILI, as
we used to say at Appleby school; that is, every one that is not
known to the Justice; is a rogue and a vagabond. Ha!--aye, you
may sneer, sir; but I question if you would have known the
meaning of that Latin, unless I had told you.'
I acknowledged myself obliged for a new edition of the adage, and
an interpretation which I could never have reached alone and
unassisted. I then proceeded to state my case with greater
confidence. The Justice was an ass, that was clear; but if was
scarcely possible he could be so utterly ignorant as not to know
what was necessary in so plain a case as mine. I therefore
informed him of the riot which had been committed on the Scottish
side of the Solway Firth, explained how I came to be placed in my
present situation, and requested of his worship to set me at
liberty. I pleaded my cause with as much earnestness as I could,
casting an eye from time to time upon the opposite party, who
seemed entirely indifferent to all the animation with which I
As for the Justice, when at length I had ceased, as really not
knowing what more to say in a case so very plain, he replied,
'Ho--aye--aye--yes--wonderful! and so this is all the gratitude
you show to this good gentleman for the great charge and trouble
he hath had with respect to and concerning of you?'
'He saved my life, sir, I acknowledge, on one occasion certainly,
and most probably on two; but his having done so gives him no
right over my person. I am not, however, asking for any
punishment or revenge; on the contrary, I am content to part
friends with the gentleman, whose motives I am unwilling to
suppose are bad, though his actions have been, towards me,
unauthorized and violent.'
This moderation, Alan, thou wilt comprehend, was not entirely
dictated by my feelings towards the individual of whom I
complained; there were other reasons, in which regard for him had
little share. It seemed, however, as if the mildness with which
I pleaded my cause had more effect upon him than anything I had
yet said. We was moved to the point of being almost out of
countenance; and took snuff repeatedly, as if to gain time to
stifle some degree of emotion.
But on Justice Foxley, on whom my eloquence was particularly
designed to make impression, the result was much less favourable.
He consulted in a whisper with Mr. Nicholas, his clerk--pshawed,
hemmed, and elevated his eyebrows, as if in scorn of my
supplication. At length, having apparently made up his mind, he
leaned back in his chair, and smoked his pipe with great energy,
with a look of defiance, designed to make me aware that all my
reasoning was lost on him.
At length, when I stopped, more from lack of breath than want of
argument, he opened his oracular jaws, and made the following
reply, interrupted by his usual interjectional ejaculations, and
by long volumes of smoke:--'Hem--aye--eh--poof. And, youngster,
do you think Matthew Foxley, who has been one of the quorum for
these twenty years, is to be come over with such trash as would
hardly cheat an apple-woman? Poof--poof--eh! Why, man--eh--
dost thou not know the charge is not a bailable matter--and that
--hum--aye--the greatest man--poof--the Baron of Graystock
himself, must stand committed? and yet you pretend to have been
kidnapped by this gentleman, and robbed of property, and what
not; and--eh--poof--you would persuade me all you want is to get
away from him? I do believe--eh--that it IS all you want.
Therefore, as you are a sort of a slip-string gentleman, and--aye
--hum--a kind of idle apprentice, and something cock-brained
withal, as the honest folks of the house tell me--why, you must
e'en remain under custody of your guardian, till your coming of
age, or my Lord Chancellor's warrant, shall give you the
management of your own affairs, which, if you can gather your
brains again, you will even then not be--aye--hem--poof--in
particular haste to assume.'
The time occupied by his worship's hums, and haws, and puffs of
tobacco smoke, together with the slow and pompous manner in which
he spoke, gave me a minute's space to collect my ideas, dispersed
as they were by the extraordinary purport of this annunciation.
'I cannot conceive, sir,' I replied, 'by what singular tenure
this person claims my obedience as a guardian; it is a barefaced
imposture. I never in my life saw him, until I came unhappily to
this country, about four weeks since.'
'Aye, sir--we--eh--know, and are aware--that--poof--you do not
like to hear some folk's names; and that--eh--you understand me--
there are things, and sounds, and matters, conversation about
names, and suchlike, which put you off the hooks--which I have no
humour to witness. Nevertheless, Mr. Darsie--or--poof--Mr.
Darsie Latimer--or--poof, poof--eh--aye, Mr. Darsie without the
Latimer--you have acknowledged as much to-day as assures me you
will best be disposed of under the honourable care of my friend
here--all your confessions--besides that--poof--eh--I know him to
be a most responsible person--a--hay--aye--most responsible and
honourable person--Can you deny this?'
'I know nothing of him,' I repeated; 'not even his name; and I
have not, as I told you, seen him in the course of my whole life,
till a few weeks since.'
'Will you swear to that?' said the singular man, who seemed to
await the result of this debate, secure as a rattle-snake is of
the prey which has once felt its fascination. And while he said
these words in deep undertone, he withdrew his chair a little
behind that of the Justice, so as to be unseen by him or his
clerk, who sat upon the same side; while he bent on me a frown so
portentous, that no one who has witnessed the look can forget it
during the whole of his life. The furrows of the brow above the
eyes became livid and almost black, and were bent into a
semicircular, or rather elliptical form, above the junction of
the eyebrows. I had heard such a look described in an old tale
of DIABLERIE, which it was my chance to be entertained with not
long since; when this deep and gloomy contortion of the frontal
muscles was not unaptly described as forming the representation
of a small horseshoe.
The tale, when told, awaked a dreadful vision of infancy, which
the withering and blighting look now fixed on me again forced on
my recollection, but with much more vivacity. Indeed, I was so
much surprised, and, I must add, terrified, at the vague ideas
which were awakened in my mind by this fearful sign, that I kept
my eyes fixed on the face in which it was exhibited, as on a
frightful vision; until, passing his handkerchief a moment across
his countenance, this mysterious man relaxed at once the look
which had for me something so appalling. 'The young man will no
longer deny that he has seen me before,' said he to the Justice,
in a tone of complacency; 'and I trust he will now be reconciled
to my temporary guardianship, which may end better for him than
'Whatever I expect,' I replied, summoning my scattered
recollections together, 'I see I am neither to expect justice nor
protection from this gentleman, whose office it is to render both
to the lieges. For you, sir, how strangely you have wrought
yourself into the fate of an unhappy young man or what interest
you can pretend in me, you yourself only can explain. That I
have seen you before is certain; for none can forget the look
with which you seem to have the power of blighting those upon
whom you cast it.'
The Justice seemed not very easy under this hint,'Ha!--aye,' he
said; 'it is time to be going, neighbour. I have a many miles to
ride, and I care not to ride darkling in these parts. You and I,
Mr. Nicholas, must be jogging.'
The Justice fumbled with his gloves, in endeavouring to draw them
on hastily, and Mr. Nicholas bustled to get his greatcoat and
whip. Their landlord endeavoured to detain them, and spoke of
supper and beds. Both, pouring forth many thanks for his
invitation, seemed as if they would much rather not, and Mr.
Justice Foxley was making a score of apologies, with at least a
hundred cautionary hems and eh-ehs, when the girl Dorcas burst
into the room, and announced a gentleman on justice business.
'What gentleman?--and whom does he want?'
'He is cuome post on his ten toes,' said the wench; 'and on
justice business to his worship loike. I'se uphald him a
gentleman, for he speaks as good Latin as the schule-measter;
but, lack-a-day! he has gotten a queer mop of a wig.'
The gentleman, thus announced and described, bounced into the
room. But I have already written as much as fills a sheet of my
paper, and my singular embarrassments press so hard on me that I
have matter to fill another from what followed the intrusion of--
my dear Alan--your crazy client--Poor Peter Peebles!
LATIMER'S JOURNAL, IN CONTINUATION
I have rarely in my life, till the last alarming days, known what
it was to sustain a moment's real sorrow. What I called such,
was, I am now well convinced, only the weariness of mind which,
having nothing actually present to complain of, turns upon itself
and becomes anxious about the past and the future; those periods
with which human life has so little connexion, that Scripture
itself hath said, 'Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.'
If, therefore, I have sometimes abused prosperity, by murmuring
at my unknown birth and uncertain rank in society, I will make
amends by bearing my present real adversity with patience and
courage, and, if I can, even with gaiety. What can they--dare
they-do to me? Foxley, I am persuaded, is a real Justice of
Peace, and country gentleman of estate, though (wonderful to
tell!) he is an ass notwithstanding; and his functionary in the
drab coat must have a shrewd guess at the consequences of being
accessory to an act of murder or kidnapping. Men invite not such
witnesses to deeds of darkness. I have also--Alan, I have hopes,
arising out of the family of the oppressor himself. I am
encouraged to believe that G.M. is likely again to enter on the
field. More I dare not here say; nor must I drop a hint which
another eye than thine might be able to construe. Enough, my
feelings are lighter than they have been; and, though fear and
wonder are still around me, they are unable entirely to overcloud
Even when I saw the spectral form of the old scarecrow of the
Parliament House rush into the apartment where I had undergone so
singular an examination, I thought of thy connexion with him, and
could almost have parodied Lear--
Death!--nothing could have thus subdued nature
To such a lowness, but his 'learned lawyers.'
He was e'en as we have seen him of yore, Alan, when, rather to
keep thee company than to follow my own bent, I formerly
frequented the halls of justice. The only addition to his dress,
in the capacity of a traveller, was a pair of boots, that seemed
as if they might have seen the field of Sheriffmoor; so large and
heavy that, tied as they were to the creature's wearied hams with
large bunches of worsted tape of various colours, they looked as
if he had been dragging them along, either for a wager or by way
Regardless of the surprised looks of the party on whom he thus
intruded himself, Peter blundered into the middle of the
apartment, with his head charged like a ram's in the act of
butting, and saluted them thus:--
'Gude day to ye, gude day to your honours. Is't here they sell
the fugie warrants?'
I observed that on his entrance, my friend--or enemy--drew
himself back, and placed himself as if he would rather avoid
attracting the observation of the new-comer. I did the same
myself, as far as I was able; for I thought it likely that Mr.
Peebles might recognize me, as indeed I was too frequently among
the group of young juridical aspirants who used to amuse
themselves by putting cases for Peter's solution, and playing him
worse tricks; yet I was uncertain whether I had better avail
myself of our acquaintance to have the advantage, such as it
might be, of his evidence before the magistrate, or whether to
make him, if possible, bearer of a letter which might procure me
more effectual assistance. I resolved, therefore, to be guided
by circumstances, and to watch carefully that nothing might
escape me. I drew back as far as I could, and even reconnoitred
the door and passage, to consider whether absolute escape might
not be practicable. But there paraded Cristal Nixon, whose
little black eyes, sharp as those of a basilisk, seemed, the
instant when they encountered mine, to penetrate my purpose.
I sat down, as much out of sight of all parties as I could, and
listened to the dialogue which followed--a dialogue how much more
interesting to me than any I could have conceived, in which Peter
Peebles was to be one of the dramatis personae!
'Is it here where ye sell the warrants--the fugies, ye ken?'
'Hey--eh--what!' said Justice Foxley; 'what the devil does the
fellow mean?--What would you have a warrant for?'
'It is to apprehend a young lawyer that is IN MEDITATIONE FUGAE;
for he has ta'en my memorial and pleaded my cause, and a good fee
I gave him, and as muckle brandy as he could drink that day at
his father's house--he loes the brandy ower weel for sae youthful
'And what has this drunken young dog of a lawyer done to you,
that you are come to me--eh--ha? Has he robbed you? Not
unlikely if he be a lawyer--eh--Nick--ha?' said Justice Foxley.
'He has robbed me of himself, sir,' answered Peter; 'of his help,
comfort, aid, maintenance, and assistance, whilk, as a counsel to
a client, he is bound to yield me RATIONE OFFICII--that is it, ye
see. He has pouched my fee, and drucken a mutchkin of brandy,
and now he's ower the march, and left my cause, half won half
lost--as dead a heat as e'er was run ower the back-sands. Now, I
was advised by some cunning laddies that are used to crack a bit
law wi' me in the House, that the best thing I could do was to
take heart o' grace and set out after him; so I have taken post
on my ain shanks, forby a cast in a cart, or the like. I got
wind of him in Dumfries, and now I have run him ower to the
English side, and I want a fugie warrant against him.'
How did my heart throb at this information, dearest Alan! Thou
art near me then, and I well know with what kind purpose; thou
hast abandoned all to fly to my assistance; and no wonder that,
knowing thy friendship and faith, thy sound sagacity and
persevering disposition, 'my bosom's lord should now sit lightly
on his throne'; that gaiety should almost involuntarily hover on
my pen; and that my heart should beat like that of a general,
responsive to the drums of his advancing ally, without whose help
the battle must have been lost.
I did not suffer myself to be startled by this joyous surprise,
but continued to bend my strictest attention to what followed
among this singular party. That Poor Peter Peebles had been put
on this wildgoose chase by some of his juvenile advisers in the
Parliament House, he himself had intimated; but he spoke with
much confidence, and the Justice, who seemed to have some secret
apprehension of being put to trouble in the matter, and, as
sometimes occurs on the English frontier, a jealousy lest the
superior acuteness of their northern neighbours might overreach
their own simplicity, turned to his clerk with a perplexed
'Eh--oh--Nick--d--n thee--Hast thou got nothing to say? This is
more Scots law, I take it, and more Scotsmen.' (Here he cast a
side-glance at the owner of the mansion, and winked to his
clerk.) 'I would Solway were as deep as it is wide, and we had
then some chance of keeping of them out.'
Nicholas conversed an instant aside with the supplicant, and then
'The man wants a border-warrant, I think; but they are only
granted for debt--now he wants one to catch a lawyer.'
'And what for no?' answered Peter Peebles, doggedly; 'what for
no, I would be glad to ken? If a day's labourer refuse to work,
ye'll grant a warrant to gar him do out his daurg--if a wench
quean rin away from her hairst, ye'll send her back to her heuck
again--if sae mickle as a collier or a salter make a moonlight
flitting, ye will cleek him by the back-spaul in a minute of
time--and yet the damage canna amount to mair than a creelfu' of
coals, and a forpit or twa of saut; and here is a chield taks leg
from his engagement, and damages me to the tune of sax thousand
punds sterling; that is, three thousand that I should win, and
three thousand mair that I am like to lose; and you that ca'
yourself a justice canna help a poor man to catch the rinaway? A
bonny like justice I am like to get amang ye!'
'The fellow must be drunk,' said the clerk.
'Black fasting from all but sin,' replied the supplicant; 'I
havena had mair than a mouthful of cauld water since I passed the
Border, and deil a ane of ye is like to say to me, "Dog, will ye
The Justice seemed moved by this appeal. 'Hem---tush, man,'
replied he; 'thou speak'st to us as if thou wert in presence of
one of thine own beggarly justices--get downstairs--get something
to eat, man (with permission of my friend to make so free in his
house), and a mouthful to drink, and I warrant we get ye such
justice as will please ye.'
'I winna refuse your neighbourly offer,' said Poor Peter Peebles,
making his bow; 'muckle grace be wi' your honour, and wisdom to
guide you in this extraordinary cause.'
When I saw Peter Peebles about to retire from the room, I could
not forbear an effort to obtain from him such evidence as might
give me some credit with the Justice. I stepped forward,
therefore, and, saluting him, asked him if he remembered me?
After a stare or two, and a long pinch of snuff, recollection
seemed suddenly to dawn on Peter Peebles. 'Recollect ye!' he
said; 'by my troth do I.---Haud him a grip, gentlemen!--
constables, keep him fast! where that ill-deedie hempy is, ye
are sure that Alan Fairford is not far off. Haud him fast,
Master Constable; I charge ye wi' him, for I am mista'en if he is
not at the bottom of this rinaway business. He was aye getting
the silly callant Alan awa wi' gigs, and horse, and the like of
that, to Roslin, and Prestonpans, and a' the idle gates he could
think of. He's a rinaway apprentice, that ane.'
'Mr. Peebles,' I said, 'do not do me wrong. I am sure you can
say no harm of me justly, but can satisfy these gentlemen, if you
will, that I am a student of law in Edinburgh--Darsie Latimer by
'Me satisfy! how can I satisfy the gentlemen,' answered Peter,
'that am sae far from being satisfied mysell? I ken naething
about your name, and can only testify, NIHIL NOVIT IN CAUSA.'
'A pretty witness you have brought forward in your favour,' said
Mr. Foxley. 'But--ha--aye---I'll ask him a question or two.
Pray, friend, will you take your oath to this youth being a
'Sir,' said Peter, 'I will make oath to onything in reason; when
a case comes to my oath it's a won cause: But I am in some
haste to prie your worship's good cheer;' for Peter had become
much more respectful in his demeanour towards the Justice since
he had heard some intimation of dinner.
'You shall have--eh--hum--aye--a bellyful, if it be possible to
fill it. First let me know if this young man be really what he
pretends. Nick, make his affidavit.'
'Ow, he is just a wud harum-scarum creature, that wad never take
to his studies; daft, sir, clean daft.'
'Deft!' said the Justice; 'what d'ye mean by deft--eh?'
'Just Fifish,' replied Peter; 'wowf--a wee bit by the East Nook
or sae; it's a common case--the ae half of the warld thinks the
tither daft. I have met with folk in my day that thought I was
daft mysell; and, for my part, I think our Court of Session clean
daft, that have had the great cause of Peebles against
Plainstanes before them for this score of years, and have never
been able to ding the bottom out of it yet.'
'I cannot make out a word of his cursed brogue,' said the
Cumbrian justice; 'can you, neighbour--eh? What can he mean by
'He means MAD,' said the party appealed to, thrown off his guard
by impatience of this protracted discussion.
'Ye have it--ye have it,' said Peter; 'that is, not clean skivie,
Here he stopped, and fixed his eye on the person he addressed
with an air of joyful recognition.--'Aye, aye, Mr. Herries of
Birrenswork, is this your ainsell in blood and bane? I thought
ye had been hanged at Kennington Common, or Hairiebie, or some of
these places, after the bonny ploy ye made in the Forty-five.'
'I believe you are mistaken, friend,' said Herries, sternly, with
whose name and designation I was thus made unexpectedly
'The deil a bit,' answered the undaunted Peter Peebles; I mind ye
weel, for ye lodged in my house the great year of Forty-five, for
a great year it was; the Grand Rebellion broke out, and my cause
--the great cause--Peebles against Plainstanes, ET PER CONTRA
--was called in the beginning of the winter session, and would
have been heard, but that there was a surcease of justice, with
your plaids, and your piping, and your nonsense.'
'I tell you, fellow,' said Herries, yet more fiercely, 'you have
confused me with some of the other furniture of your crazy pate.'
'Speak like a gentleman, sir,' answered Peebles; 'these are not
legal phrases, Mr. Herries of Birrenswork. Speak in form of law,
or I sall bid ye gude day, sir. I have nae pleasure in speaking
to proud folk, though I am willing to answer onything in a legal
way; so if you are for a crack about auld langsyne, and the
splores that you and Captain Redgimlet used to breed in my house,
and the girded cask of brandy that ye drank and ne'er thought of
paying for it (not that I minded it muckle in thae days, though I
have felt a lack of it sin syne), why I will waste an hour on ye
at ony time.--and where is Captain Redgimlet now? he was a wild
chap, like yoursell, though they arena sae keen after you poor
bodies for these some years bygane; the heading and hanging is
weel ower now--awful job--awful job--will ye try my sneeshing?'
He concluded his desultory speech by thrusting out his large bony
paw, filled with a Scottish mull of huge dimensions, which
Herries, who had been standing like one petrified by the
assurance of this unexpected address, rejected with a
contemptuous motion of his hand, which spilled some of the
contents of the box.
'Aweel, aweel,' said Peter Peebles, totally unabashed by the
repulse, 'e'en as ye like, a wilful man maun hae his way; but,'
he added, stooping down and endeavouring to gather the spilled
snuff from the polished floor, 'I canna afford to lose my
sneeshing for a' that ye are gumple-foisted wi' me.'
My attention had been keenly awakened, during this extraordinary
and unexpected scene. I watched, with as much attention as my
own agitation permitted me to command, the effect produced on the
parties concerned. It was evident that our friend, Peter
Peebles, had unwarily let out something which altered the
sentiments of Justice Foxley and his clerk towards Mr. Herries,
with whom, until he was known and acknowledged under that name,
they had appeared to be so intimate. They talked with each other
aside, looked at a paper or two which the clerk selected from the
contents of a huge black pocket-book, and seemed, under the
influence of fear and uncertainty, totally at a loss what line of
conduct to adopt.
Herries made a different, and far more interesting figure.
However little Peter Peebles might resemble the angel Ithuriel,
the appearance of Herries, his high and scornful demeanour, vexed
at what seemed detection yet fearless of the consequences, and
regarding the whispering magistrate and his clerk with looks in
which contempt predominated over anger or anxiety, bore, in my
opinion, no slight resemblance to
the regal port
And faded splendour wan
with which the poet has invested the detected King of the powers
of the air.
As he glanced round, with a look which he had endeavoured to
compose to haughty indifference, his eye encountered mine, and, I
thought, at the first glance sank beneath it. But he instantly
rallied his natural spirit, and returned me one of those
extraordinary looks, by which he could contort so strangely the
wrinkles on his forehead. I started; but, angry at myself for my
pusillanimity, I answered him by a look of the same kind, and
catching the reflection of my countenance in a large antique
mirror which stood before me, I started again at the real or
imaginary resemblance which my countenance, at that moment, bore
to that of Herries. Surely my fate is somehow strangely
interwoven with that of this mysterious individual. I had no
time at present to speculate upon the subject, for the subsequent
conversation demanded all my attention.
The Justice addressed Herries, after a pause of about five
minutes, in which, all parties seemed at some loss how to
proceed. He spoke with embarrassment, and his faltering voice,
and the long intervals which divided his sentences, seemed to
indicate fear of him whom he addressed.
'Neighbour,' he said, 'I could not have thought this; or, if
I--eh--DID think--in a corner of my own mind as it were--that
you, I say--that you might have unluckily engaged in--eh--the
matter of the Forty-five--there was still time to have forgot all
'And is it so singular that a man should have been out in the
Forty-five?' said Herries, with contemptuous composure;--'your
father, I think, Mr. Foxley, was out with Derwentwater in the
'And lost half of his estate,' answered Foxley, with more
rapidity than usual; 'and was very near--hem--being hanged into
the boot. But this is--another guess job--for--eh--Fifteen is
not Forty-five; and my father had a remission, and you, I take
it, have none.'
'Perhaps I have,' said Herries indifferently; 'or if I have not,
I am but in the case of half a dozen others whom government do
not think worth looking after at this time of day, so they give
no offence or disturbance.'
'But you have given both, sir,' said Nicholas Faggot, the clerk,
who, having some petty provincial situation, as I have since
understood, deemed himself bound to be zealous for government,
'Mr. Justice Foxley cannot be answerable for letting you pass
free, now your name and surname have been spoken plainly out.
There are warrants out against you from the Secretary of State's
'A proper allegation, Mr. Attorney! that, at the distance of so
many years, the Secretary of State should trouble himself about
the unfortunate relics of a ruined cause,' answered Mr. Herries.
'But if it be so,' said the clerk, who seemed to assume more
confidence upon the composure of Herries's demeanour; 'and if
cause has been given by the conduct of a gentleman himself, who
hath been, it is alleged, raking up old matters, and mixing them
with new subjects of disaffection--I say, if it be so, I should
advise the party, in his wisdom, to surrender himself quietly
into the lawful custody of the next Justice of Peace--Mr. Foxley,
suppose--where, and by whom, the matter should be regularly
inquired into. I am only putting a case,' he added, watching
with apprehension the effect which his words were likely to
produce upon the party to whom they were addressed.
'And were I to receive such advice,' said Herries, with the same
composure as before--'putting the case, as you say, Mr. Faggot--I
should request to see the warrant which countenanced such a
Mr. Nicholas, by way of answer, placed in his hand a paper, and
seemed anxiously to expect the consequences which were to ensue.
Mr. Herries looked it over with the same equanimity as before,
and then continued, 'And were such a scrawl as this presented to
me in my own house, I would throw it into the chimney, and Mr.
Faggot upon the top of it.'
Accordingly, seconding the word with the action, he flung the
warrant into the fire with one hand, and fixed the other, with a
stern and irresistible grip, on the breast of the attorney, who,
totally unable to contend with him, in either personal strength
or mental energy, trembled like a chicken in the raven's clutch.
He got off, however, for the fright; for Herries, having probably
made him fully sensible of the strength of his grasp, released
him, with a scornful laugh.
'Deforcement--spulzie-stouthrief--masterful rescue!' exclaimed
Peter Peebles, scandalized at the resistance offered to the law
in the person of Nicholas Faggot. But his shrill exclamations
were drowned in the thundering voice of Herries, who, calling
upon Cristal Nixon, ordered him to take the bawling fool
downstairs, fill his belly, and then give him a guinea, and
thrust him out of doors. Under such injunctions, Peter easily
suffered himself to be withdrawn from the scene.
Herries then turned to the Justice, whose visage, wholly
abandoned by the rubicund hue which so lately beamed upon it,
hung out the same pale livery as that of his dismayed clerk.
'Old friend and acquaintance,' he said, 'you came here at my
request on a friendly errand, to convince this silly young man of
the right which I have over his person for the present. I trust
you do not intend to make your visit the pretext of disquieting
me about other matters? All the world knows that I have been
living at large, in these northern counties, for some months, not
to say years, and might have been apprehended at any time, had
the necessities of the state required, or my own behaviour
deserved it. But no English magistrate has been ungenerous
enough to trouble a gentleman under misfortune, on account of
political opinions and disputes which have been long ended by the
success of the reigning powers. I trust, my good friend, you
will not endanger yourself by taking any other view of the
subject than you have done ever since we were acquainted?'
The Justice answered with more readiness, as well as more spirit
than usual, 'Neighbour Ingoldsby--what you say--is--eh--in some
sort true; and when you were coming and going at markets, horse-
races, and cock-fights, fairs, hunts, and such-like--it was--eh
--neither my business nor my wish to dispel--I say--to inquire
into and dispel the mysteries which hung about you; for while you
were a good companion in the field, and over a bottle now and
then--I did not--eh--think it necessary to ask--into your private
affairs. And if I thought you were--ahem--somewhat unfortunate
in former undertakings, and enterprises, and connexions, which
might cause you to live unsettledly and more private, I could
have--eh--very little pleasure--to aggravate your case by
interfering, or requiring explanations, which are often more
easily asked than given. But when there are warrants and
witnesses to names--and those names, christian and surname,
belong to--eh--an attainted person--charged--I trust falsely--
with--ahem-taking advantage of modern broils and heart-burnings
to renew our civil disturbances, the case is altered; and I must
--ahem--do my duty.'
The Justice, got on his feet as he concluded this speech, and
looked as bold as he could. I drew close beside him and his
clerk, Mr. Faggot, thinking the moment favourable for my own
liberation, and intimated to Mr. Foxley my determination to stand
by him. But Mr. Herries only laughed at the menacing posture
which we assumed. 'My good neighbour,' said he, 'you talk of a
witness. Is yon crazy beggar a fit witness in an affair of this
'But you do not deny that you are Mr. Herries of Birrenswork,
mentioned in the Secretary of State's warrant?' said Mr. Foxley.
'How can I deny or own anything about it?' said Herries, with a
sneer. 'There is no such warrant in existence now; its ashes,
like the poor traitor whose doom it threatened, have been
dispersed to the four winds of heaven. There is now no warrant
in the world.'
'But you will not deny,' said the Justice, 'that you were the
person named in it; and that--eh--your own act destroyed it?'
'I will neither deny my name nor my actions, Justice,' replied
Mr. Herries, 'when called upon by competent authority to avow or
defend them. But I will resist all impertinent attempts either
to intrude into my private motives, or to control my person. I
am quite well prepared to do so; and I trust that you, my good
neighbour and brother sportsman, in your expostulation, and my
friend Mr. Nicholas Faggot here, in his humble advice and
petition that I should surrender myself, will consider yourselves
as having amply discharged your duty to King George and
The cold and ironical tone in which he made this declaration; the
look and attitude, so nobly expressive of absolute confidence in
his own superior strength and energy, seemed to complete the
indecision which had already shown itself on the side of those
whom he addressed.
The Justice looked to the clerk--the clerk to the Justice; the
former HA'D, EH'D, without bringing forth an articulate syllable;
the latter only said, 'As the warrant is destroyed, Mr. Justice,
I presume you do not mean to proceed with the arrest?'
'Hum--aye--why, no--Nicholas--it would not be quite advisable--
and as the Forty-five was an old affair--and--hem--as my friend
here will, I hope, see his error--that is, if he has not seen it
already--and renounce the Pope, the Devil, and the Pretender--I
mean no harm, neighbour--I think we--as we have no POSSE, or
constables, or the like--should order our horses--and, in one
word, look the matter over.'
'Judiciously resolved,' said the person whom this decision
affected; 'but before you go, I trust you will drink and be
'Why,' said the Justice, rubbing his brow, 'our business has
been--hem--rather a thirsty one.'
'Cristal Nixon,' said Mr. Herries, 'let us have a cool tankard
instantly, large enough to quench the thirst of the whole
While Cristal was absent on this genial errand, there was a
pause, of which I endeavoured to avail myself by bringing back
the discourse to my own concerns. 'Sir,' I said to Justice
Foxley, 'I have no direct business with your late discussion with
Mr. Herries, only just thus far--You leave me, a loyal subject of
King George, an unwilling prisoner in the hands of a person whom
you have reason to believe unfriendly to the king's cause. I
humbly submit that this is contrary to your duty as a magistrate,
and that you ought to make Mr. Herries aware of the illegality of
his proceedings, and take steps for my rescue, either upon the
spot, or, at least, as soon as possible after you have left this
'Young man,' said Mr. Justice Foxley, 'I would have you remember
you are under the power, the lawful power--ahem--of your
'He calls himself so, indeed,' I replied; 'but he has shown no