Part 7 out of 11
MISTER Redgauntlet! He was Sir Henry Redgauntlet, as his son, if
the child now lives, will be Sir Arthur--I called him Harry from
intimacy, and Redgauntlet, as the chief of his name--His proper
style was Sir Henry Redgauntlet.'
'His son, therefore, is dead?' said Alan Fairford. 'It is a
pity so brave a line should draw to a close.'
'He has left a brother,' said Summertrees, 'Edward Hugh
Redgauntlet, who has now the representation of the family. And
well it is; for though he be unfortunate in many respects, he
will keep up the honour of the house better than a boy bred up
amongst these bitter Whigs, the relations of his elder brother
Sir Henry's lady. Then they are on no good terms with the
Redgauntlet line--bitter Whigs they are in every sense. It was a
runaway match betwixt Sir Henry and his lady. Poor thing, they
would not allow her to see him when in confinement--they had even
the meanness to leave him without pecuniary assistance; and as
all his own property was seized upon and plundered, he would have
wanted common necessaries, but for the attachment of a fellow who
was a famous fiddler--a blind man--I have seen him with Sir Henry
myself, both before the affair broke out and while it was going
on. I have heard that he fiddled in the streets of Carlisle, and
carried what money he got to his master, while he was confined in
'I do not believe a word of it,' said Mrs. Crosbie, kindling with
indignation. 'A Redgauntlet would have died twenty times before
he had touched a fiddler's wages.'
'Hout fye--hout fye--all nonsense and pride,' said the Laird of
Summertrees. 'Scornful dogs will eat dirty puddings, cousin
Crosbie--ye little ken what some of your friends were obliged to
do yon time for a sowp of brose, or a bit of bannock. G--d, I
carried a cutler's wheel for several weeks, partly for need, and
partly for disguise--there I went bizz--bizz--whizz--zizz, at
every auld wife's door; and if ever you want your shears
sharpened, Mrs. Crosbie, I am the lad to do it for you, if my
wheel was but in order.'
'You, must ask my leave first,' said the provost; 'for I have
been told you had some queer fashions of taking a kiss instead of
a penny, if you liked your customer.'
'Come, come, provost,' said the lady; rising, 'if the maut gets
abune the meal with you, it is time for me to take myself away--
And you will come to my room, gentlemen, when you want a cup of
Alan Fairford was not sorry for the lady's departure. She seemed
too much alive to the honour of the house of Redgauntlet, though
only a fourth cousin, not to be alarmed by the inquiries which he
proposed to make after the whereabout of its present head.
Strange confused suspicions arose in his mind, from his imperfect
recollection of the tale of Wandering Willie, and the idea forced
itself upon him that his friend Darsie Latimer might be the son
of the unfortunate Sir Henry. But before indulging in such
speculations, the point was to discover what had actually become
of him. If he were in the hands of his uncle, might there not
exist some rivalry in fortune, or rank, which might induce so
stern a man as Redgauntlet to use unfair measures towards a youth
whom he would find himself unable to mould to his purpose? He
considered these points in silence, during several revolutions of
the glasses as they wheeled in galaxy round the bowl, waiting
until the provost, agreeably to his own proposal, should mention
the subject, for which he had expressly introduced him to Mr.
Maxwell of Summertrees.
Apparently the provost had forgot his promise, or at least was in
no great haste to fulfil it. He debated with great earnestness
upon the Stamp Act, which was then impending over the American
colonies, and upon other political subjects of the day, but said
not a word of Redgauntlet. Alan soon saw that the investigation
he meditated must advance, if at all, on his own special motion,
and determined to proceed accordingly.
Acting upon this resolution, he took the first opportunity
afforded by a pause in the discussion of colonial politics, to
say, 'I must remind you, Provost Crosbie, of your kind promise to
procure some intelligence upon the subject I am so anxious
'Gadso!' said the provost, after a moment's hesitation, 'it is
very true.--Mr. Maxwell, we wish to consult you on a piece of
important business. You must know indeed I think you must have
heard, that the fishermen at Brokenburn, and higher up the
Solway, have made a raid upon Quaker Geddes's stake-nets, and
levelled all with the sands.'
'In troth I heard it, provost, and I was glad to hear the
scoundrels had so much pluck left as to right themselves against
a fashion which would make the upper heritors a sort of clocking-
hens, to hatch the fish that folk below them were to catch and
'Well, sir,' said Alan, 'that is not the present point. But a
young friend of mine was with Mr. Geddes at the time this violent
procedure took place, and he has not since been heard of. Now,
our friend, the provost, thinks that you may be able to advise'--
Here he was interrupted by the provost and Summertrees speaking
out both at once, the first endeavouring to disclaim all interest
in the question, and the last to evade giving an answer.
'Me think!' said the provost; 'I never thought twice about it,
Mr. Fairford; it was neither fish, nor flesh, nor salt herring of
'And I "able to advise"!' said Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees; 'what
the devil can I advise you to do, excepting to send the bellman
through the town to cry your lost sheep, as they do spaniel dogs
or stray ponies?'
'With your pardon,' said Alan, calmly, but resolutely, 'I must
ask a more serious answer.'
'Why, Mr. Advocate,' answered Summertrees, 'I thought it was your
business to give advice to the lieges, and not to take it from
poor stupid country gentlemen.'
'If not exactly advice, it is sometimes our duty to ask
questions, Mr. Maxwell.'
'Aye, sir, when you have your bag-wig and your gown on, we must
allow you the usual privilege of both gown and petticoat, to ask
what questions you please. But when you are out of your
canonicals, the case is altered. How come you, sir, to suppose
that I have any business with this riotous proceeding, or should
know more than you do what happened there? the question proceeds
on an uncivil supposition.'
'I will explain,' said Alan, determined to give Mr. Maxwell no
opportunity of breaking off the conversation. 'You are an
intimate of Mr. Redgauntlet--he is accused of having been engaged
in this affray, and of having placed under forcible restraint the
person of my friend, Darsie Latimer, a young man of property and
consequence, whose fate I am here for the express purpose of
investigating. This is the plain state of the case; and all
parties concerned,--your friend, in particular,--will have reason
to be thankful for the temperate manner in which it is my purpose
to conduct the matter, if I am treated with proportionate
'You have misunderstood me,' said Maxwell, with a tone changed to
more composure; 'I told you I was the friend of the late Sir
Henry Redgauntlet, who was executed, in 1745, at Hairibie, near
Carlisle, but I know no one who at present bears the name of
'You know Mr. Herries of Birrenswork,' said Alan, smiling, 'to
whom the name of Redgauntlet belongs?'
Maxwell darted a keen reproachful look towards the provost, but
instantly smoothed his brow, and changed his tone to that of
confidence and candour.
'You must not be angry, Mr. Fairford, that the poor persecuted
nonjurors are a little upon the QUI VIVE when such clever young
men as you are making inquiries after us. I myself now, though I
am quite out of the scrape, and may cock my hat at the Cross as I
best like, sunshine or moonshine, have been yet so much
accustomed to walk with the lap of my cloak cast over my face,
that, faith, if a redcoat walk suddenly up to me, I wish for my
wheel and whetstone again for a moment. Now Redgauntlet, poor
fellow, is far worse off--he is, you may have heard, still under
the lash of the law,--the mark of the beast is still on his
forehead, poor gentleman,--and that makes us cautious--very
cautious, which I am sure there is no occasion to be towards you,
as no one of your appearance and manners would wish to trepan a
gentleman under misfortune.'
'On the contrary, sir,' said Fairford, 'I wish to afford Mr.
Redgauntlet's friends an opportunity to get him out of the
scrape, by procuring the instant liberation of my friend Darsie
Latimer. I will engage that if he has sustained no greater
bodily harm than a short confinement, the matter may be passed
over quietly, without inquiry; but to attain this end, so
desirable for the man who has committed a great and recent
infraction of the laws, which he had before grievously offended,
very speedy reparation of the wrong must be rendered.'
Maxwell seemed lost in reflection, and exchanged a glance or two,
not of the most comfortable or congratulatory kind, with his host
the provost. Fairford rose and walked about the room, to allow
them an opportunity of conversing together; for he was in hopes
that the impression he had visibly made upon Summertrees was
likely to ripen into something favourable to his purpose. They
took the opportunity, and engaged in whispers to each other,
eagerly and reproachfully on the part of the laird, while the
provost answered in an embarrassed and apologetical tone. Some
broken words of the conversation reached Fairford, whose presence
they seemed to forget, as he stood at the bottom of the room,
apparently intent upon examining the figures upon a fine Indian
screen, a present to the provost from his brother, captain of a
vessel in the Company's service. What he overheard made it
evident that his errand, and the obstinacy with which he pursued
it, occasioned altercation between the whisperers.
Maxwell at length let out the words, 'A good fright; and so send
him home with his tail scalded, like a dog that has come a-
privateering on strange premises.'
The provost's negative was strongly interposed--'Not to be
thought of'--'making bad worse'--'my situation'--'my utility'--
'you cannot conceive how obstinate--just like his father'.
They then whispered more closely, and at length the provost
raised his drooping crest, and spoke in a cheerful tone. 'Come,
sit down to your glass, Mr. Fairford; we have laid our heads
thegither, and you shall see it will not be our fault if you are
not quite pleased, and Mr. Darsie Latimer let loose to take his
fiddle under his neck again. But Summertrees thinks it will
require you to put yourself into some bodily risk, which maybe
you may not be so keen of.'
'Gentlemen,' said Fairford, 'I will not certainly shun any risk
by which my object may be accomplished; but I bind it on your
consciences--on yours, Mr. Maxwell, as a man of honour and a
gentleman; and on yours, provost, as a magistrate and a loyal
subject, that you do not mislead me in this matter.'
'Nay, as for me,' said Summertrees, 'I will tell you the truth at
once, and fairly own that I can certainly find you the means of
seeing Redgauntlet, poor man; and that I will do, if you require
it, and conjure him also to treat you as your errand requires;
but poor Redgauntlet is much changed--indeed, to say truth, his
temper never was the best in the world; however, I will warrant
you from any very great danger.'
'I will warrant myself from such,' said Fairford, 'by carrying a
proper force with me.'
'Indeed,' said Summertrees, 'you will, do no such thing; for, in
the first place, do you think that we will deliver up the poor
fellow into the hands of the Philistines, when, on the contrary,
my only reason for furnishing you with the clue I am to put into
your hands, is to settle the matter amicably on all sides? And
secondly, his intelligence is so good, that were you coming near
him with soldiers, or constables, or the like, I shall answer for
it, you will never lay salt on his tail.'
Fairford mused for a moment. He considered that to gain sight of
this man, and knowledge of his friend's condition, were
advantages to be purchased at every personal risk; and he saw
plainly, that were he to take the course most safe for himself,
and call in the assistance of the law, it was clear he would
either be deprived of the intelligence necessary to guide him, or
that Redgauntlet would be apprised of his danger, and might
probably leave the country, carrying his captive along with him.
He therefore repeated, 'I put myself on your honour, Mr. Maxwell;
and I will go alone to visit your friend. I have little; doubt I
shall find him amenable to reason; and that I shall receive from
him a satisfactory account of Mr. Latimer.'
'I have little doubt that you will,' said Mr. Maxwell of
Summertrees; 'but still I think it will be only in the long run,
and after having sustained some delay and inconvenience. My
warrandice goes no further.'
'I will take it as it is given,' said Alan Fairford. 'But let me
ask, would it not be better, since you value your friend's safety
so highly and surely would not willingly compromise mine, that
the provost or you should go with me to this man, if he is within
any reasonable distance, and try to make him hear reason?'
'Me!--I will not go my foot's length,' said the provost; and
that, Mr. Alan, you may be well assured of. Mr. Redgauntlet is
my wife's fourth cousin, that is undeniable; but were he the last
of her kin and mine both, it would ill befit my office to be
communing with rebels.'
'Aye, or drinking with nonjurors,' said Maxwell, filling his
glass. 'I would as soon expect; to have met Claverhouse at a
field-preaching. And as for myself, Mr. Fairford, I cannot go,
for just the opposite reason. It would be INFRA DIG. in the
provost of this most flourishing and loyal town to associate with
Redgauntlet; and for me it would be NOSCITUR A SOCIO. There
would be post to London, with the tidings that two such Jacobites
as Redgauntlet and I had met on a braeside--the Habeas Corpus
would be suspended--Fame would sound a charge from Carlisle to
the Land's End--and who knows but the very wind of the rumour
might blow my estate from between my fingers, and my body over
Errickstane-brae again? No, no; bide a gliff--I will go into the
provost's closet, and write a letter to Redgauntlet, and direct
you how to deliver it.'
'There is pen and ink in the office,' said the provost, pointing
to the door of an inner apartment, in which he had his walnut-
tree desk and east-country cabinet.
'A pen that can write, I hope?' said the old laird.
'It can write and spell baith in right hands,' answered the
provost, as the laird retired and shut the door behind him.
NARRATIVE OF ALAN FAIRFORD, CONTINUED
The room was no sooner deprived of Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees's
presence, than the provost looked very warily above, beneath, and
around the apartment, hitched his chair towards that of his
remaining guest, and began to speak In a whisper which could not
have startled 'the smallest mouse that creeps on floor.'
'Mr. Fairford,' said he, 'you are a good lad; and, what is more,
you are my auld friend your father's son. Your father has been
agent for this burgh for years, and has a good deal to say with
the council; so there have been a sort of obligations between him
and me; it may have been now on this side and now on that; but
obligations there have been. I am but a plain man, Mr. Fairford;
but I hope you understand me?'
'I believe you mean me well, provost; and I am sure,' replied
Fairford, 'you can never better show your kindness than on this
'That's it--that's the very point I would be at, Mr. Alan,'
replied the provost; 'besides, I am, as becomes well my
situation, a stanch friend to kirk and king, meaning this present
establishment in church and state; and so, as I was saying, you
may command my best--advice.'
'I hope for your assistance and co-operation also,' said the
'Certainly, certainly,' said the wary magistrate. 'Well, now,
you see one may love the kirk, and yet not ride on the rigging of
it; and one may love the king, and yet not be cramming him
eternally down the throat of the unhappy folk that may chance to
like another king better. I have friends and connexions among
them, Mr. Fairford, as your father may have clients--they are
flesh and blood like ourselves, these poor Jacobite bodies--sons
of Adam and Eve, after all; and therefore--I hope you understand
me?--I am a plain-spoken man.'
'I am afraid I do not quite understand you,' said Fairford; 'and
if you have anything to say to me in private, my dear provost,
you had better come quickly out with it, for the Laird of
Summertrees must finish his letter in a minute or two.'
'Not a bit, man--Pate is a lang-headed fellow, but his pen does
not clear the paper as his greyhound does the Tinwald-furs. I
gave him a wipe about that, if you noticed; I can say anything to
Pate-in-Peril--Indeed, he is my wife's near kinsman.'
'But your advice, provost,' said Alan, who perceived that, like a
shy horse, the worthy magistrate always started off from his own
purpose just when he seemed approaching to it.
'Weel, you shall have it in plain terms, for I am a plain man.
Ye see, we will suppose that any friend like yourself were in the
deepest hole of the Nith, sand making a sprattle for your life.
Now, you see, such being the case, I have little chance of
helping you, being a fat, short-armed man, and no swimmer, and
what would be the use of my jumping in after you?'
'I understand you, I think,' said Alan Fairford. 'You think that
Darsie Latimer is in danger of his life?'
'Me!--I think nothing about it, Mr. Alan; but if he were, as I
trust he is not, he is nae drap's blood akin to you, Mr. Alan.'
'But here your friend, Summertrees,' said the young lawyer,
'offers me a letter to this Redgauntlet of yours--What say you to
'Me!' ejaculated the provost, 'me, Mr. Alan? I say neither buff
nor stye to it--But ye dinna ken what it is to look a Redgauntlet
in the face;--better try my wife, who is but a fourth cousin,
before ye venture on the laird himself--just say something about
the Revolution, and see what a look she can gie you.'
I shall leave you to stand all the shots from that battery,
provost.' replied Fairford. 'But speak out like a man--Do you
think Summertrees means fairly by me?'
'Fairly--he is just coming--fairly? I am a plain man, Mr.
Fairford--but ye said FAIRLY?'
'I do so,' replied Alan, 'and it is of importance to me to know,
and to you to tell me if such is the case; for if you do not, you
may be an accomplice to murder before the fact, and that under
circumstances which may bring it near to murder under trust.'
'Murder!--who spoke of murder?' said the provost; no danger of
that, Mr. Alan--only, if I were you--to speak my plain mind'--
Here he approached his mouth to the ear of the young lawyer, and,
after another acute pang of travail, was safely delivered of his
advice in the following abrupt words:--'Take a keek into Pate's
letter before ye deliver it.'
Fairford started, looked the provost hard in the face, and was
silent; while Mr. Crosbie, with the self-approbation of one who
has at length brought himself to the discharge of a great duty,
at the expense of a considerable sacrifice, nodded and winked to
Alan, as if enforcing his advice; and then swallowing a large
glass of punch, concluded, with the sigh of a man released from a
heavy burden, 'I am a plain man, Mr. Fairford.'
'A plain man?' said Maxwell, who entered the room at that
moment, with the letter in his hand,--'Provost, I never heard you
make use of the word but when you had some sly turn of your own
to work out.'
The provost looked silly enough, and the Laird of Summertrees
directed a keen and suspicious glance upon Alan Fairford, who
sustained it with professional intrepidity.--There was a moment's
'I was trying,' said the provost, 'to dissuade our young friend
from his wildgoose expedition.'
'And I,' said Fairford, 'am determined to go through with it.
Trusting myself to you, Mr. Maxwell, I conceive that I rely, as I
before said, on the word of a gentleman.'
'I will warrant you,' said Maxwell, 'from all serious
consequences--some inconveniences you must look to suffer.'
'To these I shall be resigned,' said Fairford, 'and stand
prepared to run my risk.'
'Well then,' said Summertrees, 'you must go'--
'I will leave you to yourselves, gentlemen,' said the provost,
rising; 'when you have done with your crack, you will find me at
my wife's tea-table.'
'And a more accomplished old woman never drank catlap,' said
Maxwell, as he shut the door; 'the last word has him, speak it
who will--and yet because he is a whillywhaw body, and has a
plausible tongue of his own, and is well enough connected, and
especially because nobody could ever find out whether he is Whig
or Tory, this is the third time they have made him provost!--But
to the matter in hand. This letter, Mr. Fairford,' putting a
sealed one into his hand, 'is addressed, you observe, to Mr. H--
of B--, and contains your credentials for that gentlemen, who is
also known by his family name of Redgauntlet, but less frequently
addressed by it, because it is mentioned something invidiously in
a certain Act of Parliament. I have little doubt he will assure
you of your friend's safety, and in a short time place him at
freedom--that is, supposing him under present restraint. But the
point is, to discover where he is--and, before you are made
acquainted with this necessary part of the business, you must
give me your assurance of honour that you will acquaint no one,
either by word or letter, with the expedition which you now
propose to yourself.'
'How, sir?' answered Alan; 'can you expect that I will not take
the precaution of informing some person of the route I am about
to take, that in case of accident it may be known where I am, and
with what purpose I have gone thither?'
'And can you expect,' answered Maxwell, in the same tone, 'that I
am to place my friend's safety, not merely in your hands, but in
those of any person you may choose to confide in, and who may use
the knowledge to his destruction? Na--na--I have pledged my word
for your safety, and you must give me yours to be private in the
matter--giff-gaff, you know.'
Alan Fairford could not help thinking that this obligation to
secrecy gave a new and suspicious colouring to the whole
transaction; but, considering that his friend's release might
depend upon his accepting the condition, he gave it in the terms
proposed, and with the purpose of abiding by it.
'And now, sir,' he said, 'whither am I to proceed with this
letter? Is Mr. Herries at Brokenburn?'
'He is not; I do not think he will come thither again until the
business of the stake-nets be hushed up, nor would I advise him
to do so--the Quakers, with all their demureness, can bear malice
as long as other folk; and though I have not the prudence of Mr.
Provost, who refuses to ken where his friends are concealed
during adversity, lest, perchance, he should be asked to
contribute to their relief, yet I do not think it necessary or
prudent to inquire into Redgauntlet's wanderings, poor man, but
wish to remain at perfect freedom to answer, if asked at, that I
ken nothing of the matter. You must, then, go to old Tom
Trumbull's at Annan,--Tam Turnpenny, as they call him,--and he is
sure either to know where Redgauntlet is himself, or to find some
one who can give a shrewd guess. But you must attend that old
Turnpenny will answer no question on such a subject without you
give him the passport, which at present you must do, by asking
him the age of the moon; if he answers, "Not light enough to land
a cargo," you are to answer, "Then plague on Aberdeen Almanacks,"
and upon that he will hold free intercourse with you. And now, I
would advise you to lose no time, for the parole is often
changed--and take care of yourself among these moonlight lads,
for laws and lawyers do not stand very high in their favour.'
'I will set out this instant,' said the young barrister; 'I will
but bid the provost and Mrs. Crosbie farewell, and then get on
horseback so soon as the ostler of the George Inn can saddle
him;--as for the smugglers, I am neither gauger nor supervisor,
and, like the man who met the devil, if they have nothing to say
to me, I have nothing to say to them.'
'You are a mettled young man,' said Summertrees, evidently with
increasing goodwill, on observing an alertness and contempt of
danger, which perhaps he did not expect from Alan's appearance
and profession,--'a very mettled young fellow indeed! and it is
almost a pity'--Here he stopped abort.
'What is a pity?' said Fairford.
'It is almost a pity that I cannot go with you myself, or at
least send a trusty guide.'
They walked together to the bedchamber of Mrs. Crosbie, for it
was in that asylum that the ladies of the period dispensed their
tea, when the parlour was occupied by the punch-bowl.
'You have been good bairns to-night, gentlemen,' said Mrs.
Crosbie; 'I am afraid, Summertrees, that the provost has given
you a bad browst; you are not used to quit the lee-side of the
punch-bowl in such a hurry. I say nothing to you, Mr. Fairford,
for you are too young a man yet for stoup and bicker; but I hope
you will not tell the Edinburgh fine folk that the provost has
scrimped you of your cogie, as the sang says?'
'I am much obliged for the provost's kindness, and yours, madam,'
replied Alan; 'but the truth is, I have still a long ride before
me this evening and the sooner I am on horse-back the better.'
'This evening?' said the provost, anxiously; 'had you not better
take daylight with you to-morrow morning?'
'Mr. Fairford will ride as well in the cool of the evening,' said
Summertrees, taking the word out of Alan's mouth.
The provost said no more, nor did his wife ask any questions, nor
testify any surprise at the suddenness of their guest's
Having drunk tea, Alan Fairford took leave with the usual
ceremony. The Laird of Summertrees seemed studious to prevent
any further communication between him and the provost, and
remained lounging on the landing-place of the stair while they
made their adieus--heard the provost ask if Alan proposed a
speedy return, and the latter reply that his stay was uncertain,
and witnessed the parting shake of the hand, which, with a
pressure more warm than usual, and a tremulous, 'God bless and
prosper you!' Mr. Crosbie bestowed on his young friend. Maxwell
even strolled with Fairford as far as the George, although
resisting all his attempts at further inquiry into the affairs of
Redgauntlet, and referring him to Tom Trumbull, alias Turnpenny,
for the particulars which he might find it necessary to inquire
At length Alan's hack was produced--an animal long in neck, and
high in bone, accoutred with a pair of saddle-bags containing the
rider's travelling wardrobe. Proudly surmounting his small stock
of necessaries, and no way ashamed of a mode of travelling which
a modern Mr. Silvertongue would consider as the last of
degradations, Alan Fairford took leave of the old Jacobite, Pate-
in-Peril, and set forward on the road to the loyal burgh of
Annan. His reflections during his ride were none of the most
pleasant. He could not disguise from himself that he was
venturing rather too rashly into the power of outlawed and
desperate persons; for with such only, a man in the situation of
Redgauntlet could be supposed to associate. There were other
grounds for apprehension, Several marks of intelligence betwixt
Mrs. Crosbie and the Laird of Summertrees had not escaped Alan's
acute observation; and it was plain that the provost's
inclinations towards him, which he believed to be sincere and
good, were not firm enough to withstand the influence of this
league between his wife and friend. The provost's adieus, like
Macbeth's amen, had stuck in his throat, and seemed to intimate
that he apprehended more than he dared give utterance to.
Laying all these matters together, Alan thought, with no little
anxiety on the celebrated lines of Shakespeare,
-- A drop,
That in the ocean seeks another drop, &c.
But pertinacity was a strong feature in the young lawyer's
character. He was, and always had been, totally unlike the
'horse hot at hand,' who tires before noon through his own over
eager exertions in the beginning of the day. On the contrary,
his first efforts seemed frequently inadequate to accomplishing
his purpose, whatever that for the time might be; and it was only
as the difficulties of the task increased, that his mind seemed
to acquire the energy necessary to combat and subdue them. If,
therefore, he went anxiously forward upon his uncertain and
perilous expedition, the reader must acquit him of all idea, even
in a passing thought, of the possibility of abandoning his
search, and resigning Darsie Latimer to his destiny.
A couple of hours' riding brought him to the little town of
Annan, situated on the shores of the Solway, between eight and
nine o'clock. The sun had set, but the day was not yet ended;
and when he had alighted and seen his horse properly cared for at
the principal inn of the place, he was readily directed to Mr.
Maxwell's friend, old Tom Trumbull, with whom everybody seemed
well acquainted. He endeavoured to fish out from the lad that
acted as a guide, something of this man's situation and
profession; but the general expressions of 'a very decent man'--
'a very honest body'--'weel to pass in the world,' and such like,
were all that could be extracted from him; and while Fairford was
following up the investigation with closer interrogatories, the
lad put an end to them by knocking at the door of Mr. Trumbull,
whose decent dwelling was a little distance from the town, and
considerably nearer to the sea. It was one of a little row of
houses running down to the waterside, and having gardens and
other accommodations behind. There was heard within the
uplifting of a Scottish psalm; and the boy saying, 'They are at
exercise, sir,' gave intimation they might not be admitted till
prayers were over.
When, however, Fairford repeated the summons with the end of his
whip, the singing ceased, and Mr. Trumbull himself, with his
psalm-book in his hand, kept open by the insertion of his
forefinger between the leaves, came to demand the meaning of this
Nothing could be more different than his whole appearance seemed
to be from the confidant of a desperate man, and the associate of
outlaws in their unlawful enterprises. He was a tall, thin, bony
figure, with white hair combed straight down on each side of his
face, and an iron-grey hue of complexion; where the lines, or
rather, as Quin said of Macklin, the cordage, of his countenance
were so sternly adapted to a devotional and even ascetic
expression, that they left no room for any indication of reckless
daring or sly dissimulation. In short, Trumbull appeared a
perfect specimen of the rigid old Covenanter, who said only what
he thought right, acted on no other principle but that of duty,
and, if he committed errors, did so under the full impression
that he was serving God rather than man.
'Do you want me, sir?' he said to Fairford, whose guide had
slunk to the rear, as if to escape the rebuke of the severe old
man,--'We were engaged, and it is the Saturday night.'
Alan Fairford's preconceptions were so much deranged by this
man's appearance and manner, that he stood for a moment
bewildered, and would as soon have thought of giving a cant
password to a clergyman descending from the pulpit, as to the
respectable father of a family just interrupted in his prayers
for and with the objects of his care. Hastily concluding Mr.
Maxwell had passed some idle jest on him, or rather that he had
mistaken the person to whom he was directed, he asked if he spoke
to Mr. Trumbull.
'To Thomas Trumbull,' answered the old man--'What may be your
business, sir?' And he glanced his eye to the book he held in
his hand, with a sigh like that of a saint desirous of
'Do you know Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees?' said Fairford.
'I have heard of such a gentleman in the country-side, but have
no acquaintance with him,' answered Mr. Trumbull; 'he is, as I
have heard, a Papist; for the whore that sitteth on the seven
hills ceaseth not yet to pour forth the cup of her abomination on
'Yet he directed me hither, my good friend,' said Alan. 'Is
there another of your name in this town of Annan?'
'None,' replied Mr. Trumbull, 'since my worthy father was
removed; he was indeed a shining light.--I wish you good even,
'Stay one single instant,' said Fairford; 'this is a matter of
life and death.'
'Not more than the casting the burden of our sins where they
should be laid,' said Thomas Trumbull, about to shut the door in
the inquirer's face.
'Do you know,' said Alan Fairford, 'the Laird of Redgauntlet?'
'Now Heaven defend me from treason and rebellion!' exclaimed
Trumbull. 'Young gentleman, you are importunate. I live here
among my own people, and do not consort with Jacobites and mass-
He seemed about to shut the door, but did NOT shut it, a
circumstance which did not escape Alan's notice.
'Mr. Redgauntlet is sometimes,' he said, 'called Herries of
Birrenswork; perhaps you may know him under that name.'
'Friend, you are uncivil,' answered Mr. Trumbull; 'honest men
have enough to do to keep one name undefiled. I ken nothing
about those who have two. Good even to you, friend.'
He was now about to slam the door in his visitor's face without
further ceremony, when Alan, who had observed symptoms that the
name of Redgauntlet did not seem altogether so indifferent to him
as he pretended, arrested his purpose by saying, in a low voice,
'At least you can tell me what age the moon is?'
The old man started, as if from a trance, and before answering,
surveyed the querist with a keen penetrating glance, which seemed
to say, 'Are you really in possession of this key to my
confidence, or do you speak from mere accident?'
To this keen look of scrutiny, Fairford replied by a smile of
The iron muscles of the old man's face did not, however, relax,
as he dropped, in a careless manner, the countersign, 'Not light
enough to land a cargo.'
'Then plague of all Aberdeen Almanacks!'
'And plague of all fools that waste time,' said Thomas Trumbull,
'Could you not have said as much at first? And standing wasting
time, and encouraging; lookers-on, in the open street too? Come
in by--in by.'
He drew his visitor into the dark entrance of the house, and shut
the door carefully; then putting his head into an apartment which
the murmurs within announced to be filled with the family, he
said aloud, 'A work of necessity and mercy--Malachi, take the
book--You will sing six double verses of the hundred and
nineteen-and you may lecture out of the Lamentations. And,
Malachi,'--this he said in an undertone,--'see you give them a a
creed of doctrine that will last them till I come back; or else
these inconsiderate lads will be out of the house, and away to
the publics, wasting their precious time, and, it may be, putting
themselves in the way of missing the morning tide.'
An inarticulate answer from within intimated Malachi's
acquiescence in the commands imposed; and, Mr. Trumbull, shutting
the door, muttered something about fast bind, fast find, turned
the key, and put it into his pocket; and then bidding his visitor
have a care of his steps, and make no noise, he led him through
the house, and out at a back-door, into a little garden. Here a
plaited alley conducted them, without the possibility of their
being seen by any neighbour, to a door in the garden-wall, which
being opened, proved to be a private entrance into a three-
stalled stable; in one of which was a horse, that whinnied on
their entrance. 'Hush, hush!' cried the old man, and presently
seconded his exhortations to silence by throwing a handful of
corn into the manger, and the horse soon converted his
acknowledgement of their presence into the usual sound of
munching and grinding his provender.
As the light was now failing fast, the old man, with much more
alertness than might have been expected from the rigidity of his
figure, closed the window-shutters in an instant, produced
phosphorus and matches, and lighted a stable-lantern, which he
placed on the corn-bin, and then addressed Fairford. 'We are
private here, young man; and as some time has been wasted
already, you will be so kind as to tell me what is your errand.
Is it about the way of business, or the other job?'
'My business with you, Mr. Trumbull, is to request you will find
me the means of delivering this letter, from Mr. Maxwell of
Summertrees to the Laird of Redgauntlet.'
'Humph--fashious job! Pate Maxwell will still be the auld man--
always Pate-in-Peril--Craig-in-Peril, for what I know. Let me
see the letter from him.'
He examined it with much care, turning it up and down, and
looking at the seal very attentively. 'All's right, I see; it
has the private mark for haste and speed. I bless my Maker that
I am no great man, or great man's fellow; and so I think no more
of these passages than just to help them forward in the way of
business. You are an utter stranger in these parts, I warrant?'
Fairford answered in the affirmative.
'Aye--I never saw them make a wiser choice--I must call some one
to direct you what to do--Stay, we must go to him, I believe.
You are well recommended to me, friend, and doubtless trusty;
otherwise you may see more than I would like to show, or am in
the use of showing in the common line of business.'
Saying this, he placed his lantern on the ground, beside the post
of one of the empty stalls, drew up a small spring bolt which
secured it to the floor, and then forcing the post to one side,
discovered a small trap-door. 'Follow me,' he said, and dived
into the subterranean descent to which this secret aperture gave
Fairford plunged after him, not without apprehensions of more
kinds than one, but still resolved to prosecute the adventure.
The descent, which was not above six feet, led to a very narrow
passage, which seemed to have been constructed for the precise
purpose of excluding every one who chanced to be an inch more in
girth than was his conductor. A small vaulted room, of about
eight feet square, received them at the end of this lane. Here
Mr. Trumbull left Fairford alone, and returned for an instant, as
he said, to shut his concealed trap-door.
Fairford liked not his departure, as it left him in utter
darkness; besides that his breathing was much affected by a
strong and stifling smell of spirits, and other articles of a
savour more powerful than agreeable to the lungs. He was very
glad, therefore, when he heard the returning steps of Mr.
Trumbull, who, when once more by his side, opened a strong though
narrow door in the wall, and conveyed Fairford into an immense
magazine of spirit-casks, and other articles of contraband trade.
There was a small, light at the end of this range of well-stocked
subterranean vaults, which, upon a low whistle, began to flicker
and move towards them. An undefined figure, holding a dark
lantern, with the light averted, approached them, whom Mr.
Trumbull thus addressed:--'Why were you not at worship, Job; and
this Saturday at e'en?'
'Swanston was loading the JENNY, sir; and I stayed to serve out
'True--a work of necessity, and in the way of business. Does
the JUMPING JENNY sail this tide?'
'Aye, aye, sir; she sails for'--
'I did not ask you WHERE she sailed for, Job,' said the old
gentleman, interrupting him. 'I thank my Maker, I know nothing
of their incomings or outgoings. I sell my article fairly and in
the ordinary way of business; and I wash my hands of everything
else. But what I wished to know is, whether the gentleman called
the Laird of the Solway Lakes is on the other side of the Border
'Aye, aye,' said Job, 'the laird is something in my own line, you
know--a little contraband or so, There is a statute for him--But
no matter; he took the sands after the splore at the Quaker's
fish-traps yonder; for he has a leal heart, the laird, and is
always true to the country-side. But avast--is all snug here?'
So saying, he suddenly turned on Alan Fairford the light side of
the lantern he carried, who, by the transient gleam which it
threw in passing on the man who bore it, saw a huge figure,
upwards of six feet high, with a rough hairy cap on his head, and
a set of features corresponding to his bulky frame. He thought
also he observed pistols at his belt.
'I will answer for this gentleman,' said Mr. Trumbull; 'he must
be brought to speech of the laird.'
'That will be kittle steering,' said the subordinate personage;
'for I understood that the laird and his folk were no sooner on
the other side than the land-sharks were on them, and some
mounted lobsters from Carlisle; and so they were obliged to split
and squander. There are new brooms out to sweep the country of
them, they say; for the brush was a hard one; and they say there
was a lad drowned;--he was not one of the laird's gang, so there
was the less matter.'
'Peace! prithee, peace, Job Rutledge,' said honest, pacific Mr.
Trumbull. 'I wish thou couldst remember, man, that I desire to
know nothing of your roars and splores, your brooms and brushes.
I dwell here among my own people; and I sell my commodity to him
who comes in the way of business; and so wash my hands of all
consequences, as becomes a quiet subject and an honest man. I
never take payment, save in ready money.'
'Aye, aye,' muttered he with the lantern, 'your worship, Mr.
Trumbull, understands that in the way of business.'
'Well, I hope you will one day know, Job,' answered Mr.
Trumbull,--'the comfort of a conscience void of offence, and that
fears neither gauger nor collector, neither excise nor customs.
The business is to pass this gentleman to Cumberland upon earnest
business, and to procure him speech with the Laird of the Solway
Lakes--I suppose that can be done? Now I think Nanty Ewart, if
he sails with the brig this morning tide, is the man to set him
'Aye, aye, truly is he,' said Job; 'never man knew the Border,
dale and fell, pasture and ploughland, better than Nanty; and he
can always bring him to the laird, too, if you are sure the
gentleman's right. But indeed that's his own look-out; for were
he the best man in Scotland, and the chairman of the d--d Board
to boot, and had fifty men at his back, he were as well not visit
the laird for anything but good. As for Nanty, he is word and
blow, a d--d deal fiercer than Cristie Nixon that they keep such
a din about. I have seen them both tried, by'--
Fairford now found himself called upon to say something; yet his
feelings, upon finding himself thus completely in the power of a
canting hypocrite, and of his retainer, who had so much the air
of a determined ruffian, joined to the strong and abominable fume
which they snuffed up with indifference, while it almost deprived
him of respiration, combined to render utterance difficult. He
stated, however, that he had no evil intentions towards the
laird, as they called him, but was only the bearer of a letter to
him on particular business, from Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees.
'Aye, aye,' said Job, 'that may be well enough; and if Mr.
Trumbull is satisfied that the service is right, why, we will
give you a cast in the JUMPING JENNY this tide, and Nanty Ewart
will put you on a way of finding the laird, I warrant you.'
'I may for the present return, I presume, to the inn where I left
my horse?' said Fairford.
'With pardon,' replied Mr. Trumbull, 'you have been ower far ben
with us for that; but Job will take you to a place where you may
sleep rough till he calls you. I will bring you what little
baggage you can need--for those who go on such errands must not
be dainty. I will myself see after your horse, for a merciful
man is merciful to his beast--a matter too often forgotten in our
way of business.'
'Why, Master Trumbull,' replied Job, 'you know that when we are
chased, it's no time to shorten sail, and so the boys do ride
whip and spur.' He stopped in his speech, observing the old man
had vanished through the door by which he had entered--'That's
always the way with old Turnpenny,' he said to Fairford; 'he
cares for nothing of the trade but the profit--now, d--me, if I
don't think the fun of it is better worth while. But come along,
my fine chap; I must stow you away in safety until it is time to
NARRATIVE OF ALAN FAIRFORD, CONTINUED
Fairford followed his gruff guide among a labyrinth of barrels
and puncheons, on which he had more than once like to have broken
his nose, and from thence into what, by the glimpse of the
passing lantern upon a desk and writing materials, seemed to be a
small office for the dispatch of business. Here there appeared
no exit; but the smuggler, or smuggler's ally, availing himself
of a ladder, removed an old picture, which showed a door about
seven feet from the ground, and Fairford, still following Job,
was involved in another tortuous and dark passage, which
involuntarily reminded him of Peter Peebles's lawsuit. At the
end of this labyrinth, when he had little guess where he had been
conducted, and was, according to the French phrase, totally
DESORIENTE, Job suddenly set down the lantern, and availing
himself of the flame to light two candles which stood on the
table, asked if Alan would choose anything to eat, recommending,
at all events, a slug of brandy to keep out the night air.
Fairford declined both, but inquired after his baggage.
'The old master will take care of that himself,' said Job
Rutledge; and drawing back in the direction in which he had
entered, he vanished from the farther end of the apartment, by a
mode which the candles, still shedding an imperfect light, gave
Alan no means of ascertaining. Thus the adventurous young lawyer
was left alone in the apartment to which he had been conducted by
so singular a passage.
In this condition, it was Alan's first employment to survey, with
some accuracy, the place where he was; and accordingly, having
trimmed the lights, he walked slowly round the apartment,
examining its appearance and dimensions. It seemed to be such a
small dining-parlour as is usually found in the house of the
better class of artisans, shopkeepers, and such persons, having a
recess at the upper end, and the usual furniture of an ordinary
description. He found a door, which he endeavoured to open, but
it was locked on the outside. A corresponding door on the same
side of the apartment admitted him into a closet, upon the front
shelves of which were punch-bowls, glasses, tea-cups, and the
like, while on one side was hung a horseman's greatcoat of the
coarsest materials, with two great horse-pistols peeping out of
the pocket, and on the floor stood a pair of well-spattered jack-
boots, the usual equipment of the time, at least for long
Not greatly liking the contents of the closet, Alan Fairford shut
the door, and resumed his scrutiny round the walls of the
apartment, in order to discover the mode of Job Rutledge's
retreat. The secret passage was, however, too artificially
concealed, and the young lawyer had nothing better to do than to
meditate on the singularity of his present situation. He had
long known that the excise laws had occasioned an active
contraband trade betwixt Scotland and England, which then, as
now, existed, and will continue to exist until the utter
abolition of the wretched system which establishes an inequality
of duties betwixt the different parts of the same kingdom; a
system, be it said in passing, mightily resembling the conduct of
a pugilist, who should tie up one arm that he might fight the
better with the other. But Fairford was unprepared for the
expensive and regular establishments by which the illicit traffic
was carried on, and could not have conceived that the capital
employed in it should have been adequate to the erection of these
extensive buildings, with all their contrivances for secrecy of
communication. He was musing on these circumstances, not without
some anxiety for the progress of his own journey, when suddenly,
as he lifted his eyes, he discovered old Mr. Trumbull at the
upper end of the apartment, bearing in one hand a small bundle,
in the other his dark lantern, the light of which, as he
advanced, he directed full upon Fairford's countenance.
Though such an apparition was exactly what he expected, yet he
did not see the grim, stern old man present himself thus suddenly
without emotion; especially when he recollected, what to a youth
of his pious education was peculiarly shocking, that the grizzled
hypocrite was probably that instant arisen from his knees to
Heaven, for the purpose of engaging in the mysterious
transactions of a desperate and illegal trade.
The old man, accustomed to judge with ready sharpness of the
physiognomy of those with whom he had business, did not fail to
remark something like agitation in Fairford's demeanour. 'Have
ye taken the rue?' said he. 'Will ye take the sheaf from the
mare, and give up the venture?'
'Never!' said Fairford, firmly, stimulated at once by his
natural spirit, and the recollection of his friend; 'never, while
I have life and strength to follow it out!'
'I have brought you,' said Trumbull, 'a clean shirt, and some
stockings, which is all the baggage you can conveniently carry,
and I will cause one of the lads lend you a horseman's coat, for
it is ill sailing or riding without one; and, touching your
valise, it will be as safe in my poor house, were it full of the
gold of Ophir, as if it were in the depth of the mine.' 'I have
no doubt of it,' said Fairford.
'And now,' said Trumbull, again, 'I pray you to tell me by what
name I am to name you to Nanty (which is Antony) Ewart?'
'By the name of Alan Fairford,' answered the young lawyer.
'But that,' said Mr. Trumbull, in reply, 'is your own proper name
'And what other should I give?' said the young man; 'do you
think I have any occasion for an alias? And, besides, Mr.
Trumbull,' added Alan, thinking a little raillery might intimate
confidence of spirit, 'you blessed yourself, but a little while
since, that you had no acquaintance with those who defiled their
names so far as to be obliged to change them.'
'True, very true,' said Mr. Trumbull; 'nevertheless, young man,
my grey hairs stand unreproved in this matter; for, in my line of
business, when I sit under my vine and my fig-tree, exchanging
the strong waters of the north for the gold which is the price
thereof, I have, I thank Heaven, no disguises to keep with any
man, and wear my own name of Thomas Trumbull, without any chance
that the same may be polluted. Whereas, thou, who art to journey
in miry ways, and amongst a strange people, mayst do well to have
two names, as thou hast two shirts, the one to keep the other
Here he emitted a chuckling grunt, which lasted for two
vibrations of the pendulum exactly, and was the only approach
towards laughter in which old Turnpenny, as he was nicknamed, was
ever known to indulge.
'You are witty, Mr. Trumbull,' said Fairford; 'but jests are no
arguments--I shall keep my own name.'
'At your own pleasure,' said the merchant; 'there is but one name
which,' &c. &c, &c.
We will not follow the hypocrite through the impious cant which
he added, in order to close the subject.
Alan followed him, in silent abhorrence, to the recess in which
the beaufet was placed, and which was so artificially made as to
conceal another of those traps with which the whole building
abounded. This concealment admitted them to the same winding
passage by which the young lawyer had been brought thither. The
path which they now took amid these mazes, differed from the
direction in which he had been guided by Rutledge. It led
upwards, and terminated beneath a garret window. Trumbull opened
it, and with more agility than his age promised, clambered out
upon the leads. If Fairford's journey had been hitherto in a
stifled and subterranean atmosphere, it was now open, lofty, and
airy enough; for he had to follow his guide over leads and
slates, which the old smuggler traversed with the dexterity of a
cat. It is true, his course was facilitated by knowing exactly
where certain stepping-places and holdfasts were placed, of which
Fairford could not so readily avail himself; but, after a
difficult and somewhat perilous progress along the roofs of two
or three houses, they at length descended by a skylight into a
garret room, and from thence by the stairs into a public-house;
for such it appeared, by the ringing of bells, whistling for
waiters and attendance, bawling of 'House, house, here!' chorus
of sea songs, and the like noises.
Having descended to the second story, and entered a room there in
which there was a light, old Mr. Trumbull rang the bell of the
apartment thrice, with an interval betwixt each, during which he
told deliberately the number twenty. Immediately after the third
ringing the landlord appeared, with stealthy step, and an
appearance of mystery on his buxom visage. He greeted Mr.
Trumbull, who was his landlord as it proved, with great respect,
and expressed some surprise at seeing him so late, as he termed
it, 'on Saturday e'en.'
'And I, Robin Hastie,' said the landlord to the tenant, am more
surprised than pleased, to hear sae muckle din in your house,
Robie, so near the honourable Sabbath; and I must mind you that
it is contravening the terms of your tack, whilk stipulates that
you should shut your public on Saturday at nine o'clock, at
'Yes, sir,' said Robin Hastie, no way alarmed at the gravity of
the rebuke, 'but you must take tent that I have admitted naebody
but you, Mr. Trumbull (who by the way admitted yoursell), since
nine o'clock for the most of the folk have been here for several
hours about the lading, and so on, of the brig. It is not full
tide yet, and I cannot put the men out into the street. If I
did, they would go to some other public, and their souls would be
nane the better, and my purse muckle the waur; for how am I to
pay the rent if I do not sell the liquor?'
'Nay, then,' said Thomas Trumbull, 'if it is a work of necessity,
and in the honest independent way of business, no doubt there is
balm in Gilead. But prithee, Robin, wilt thou see if Nanty Ewart
be, as is most likely, amongst these unhappy topers; and if so,
let him step this way cannily, and speak to me and this young
gentleman. And it's dry talking, Robin--you must minister to us
a bowl of punch--ye ken my gage,'
'From a mutchkin to a gallon, I ken your honour's taste, Mr.
Thomas Trumbull,' said mine host; 'and ye shall hang me over the
signpost if there be a drap mair lemon or a curn less sugar than
just suits you. There are three of you--you will be for the auld
Scots peremptory pint-stoup for the success of the voyage?' [The
Scottish pint of liquid measure comprehends four English measures
of the same denomination. The jest is well known of my poor
countryman, who, driven to extremity by the raillery of the
Southern, on the small denomination of the Scottish coin, at
length answered, 'Aye, aye! But the deil tak them that has the
'Better pray for it than drink for it, Robin,' said Mr. Trumbull.
'Yours is a dangerous trade, Robin; it hurts mony a ane--baith
host and guest. But ye will get the blue bowl, Robin--the blue
bowl--that will sloken all their drouth, and prevent the sinful
repetition of whipping for an eke of a Saturday at e'en. Aye,
Robin, it is a pity of Nanty Ewart--Nanty likes the turning up of
his little finger unco weel, and we maunna stint him, Robin, so
as we leave him sense to steer by.'
'Nanty Ewart could steer through the Pentland Firth though he
were as drunk as the Baltic Ocean,' said Robin Hastie; and
instantly tripping downstairs, he speedily returned with the
materials for what he called his BROWST, which consisted of two
English quarts of spirits, in a huge blue bowl, with all the
ingredients for punch in the same formidable proportion. At the
same time he introduced Mr. Antony or Nanty Ewart, whose person,
although he was a good deal flustered with liquor, was different
from what Fairford expected. His dress was what is emphatically
termed the shabby genteel--a frock with tarnished lace--a small
cocked hat, ornamented in a similar way--a scarlet waistcoat,
with faded embroidery, breeches of the same, with silver knee-
bands, and he wore a smart hanger and a pair of pistols in a
'Here I come, patron,' he said, shaking hands with Mr. Trumbull.
'Well, I see you have got some grog aboard.'
'It is not my custom, Mr. Ewart,' said the old gentleman, 'as you
well know, to become a chamberer or carouser thus late on
Saturday at e'en; but I wanted to recommend to your attention a
young friend of ours, that is going upon a something particular
journey, with a letter to our friend the Laird from Pate-in-
Peril, as they call him.'
'Aye--indeed?--he must be in high trust for so young a gentleman.
I wish you joy, sir,' bowing to Fairford. 'By'r lady, as
Shakespeare says, you are bringing up a neck for a fair end.
Come, patron, we will drink to Mr. What-shall-call-um. What is
his name? Did you tell me? And have I forgot it already.'
'Mr. Alan Fairford,' said Trumbull.
'Aye, Mr. Alan Fairford--a good name for a fair trader--Mr. Alan
Fairford; and may he be long withheld from the topmost round of
ambition, which I take to be the highest round of a certain
While he spoke, he seized the punch-ladle, and began to fill the
glasses. But Mr. Trumbull arrested his hand, until he had, as he
expressed himself, sanctified the liquor by a long grace; during
the pronunciation of which he shut indeed his eyes, but his
nostrils became dilated, as if he were snuffing up the fragrant
beverage with peculiar complacency.
When the grace was at length over, the three friends sat down to
their beverage, and invited Alan Fairford to partake. Anxious
about his situation, and disgusted as he was with his company, he
craved, and with difficulty obtained permission, under the
allegation of being fatigued, heated, and the like, to stretch
himself on a couch which was in the apartment, and attempted at
least to procure some rest before high-water, when the vessel was
He was at length permitted to use his freedom, and stretched
himself on the couch, having his eyes for some time fixed on the
jovial party he had left, and straining his ears to catch if
possible a little of their conversation. This he soon found was
to no purpose for what did actually reach his ears was disguised
so completely by the use of cant words and the thieves-latin
called slang, that even when he caught the words, he found
himself as far as ever from the sense of their conversation. At
length he fell asleep.
It was after Alan had slumbered for three or four hours, that he
was wakened by voices bidding him rise up and prepare to be
jogging. He started up accordingly, and found himself in
presence of the same party of boon companions; who had just
dispatched their huge bowl of punch. To Alan's surprise, the
liquor had made but little innovation on the brains of men who
were accustomed to drink at all hours, and in the most inordinate
quantities. The landlord indeed spoke a little thick, and the
texts of Mr. Thomas Trumbull stumbled on his tongue; but Nanty
was one of those topers, who, becoming early what bon vivants
term flustered, remain whole nights and days at the same point of
intoxication; and, in fact, as they are seldom entirely sober,
can be as rarely seen absolutely drunk. Indeed, Fairford, had he
not known how Ewart had been engaged whilst he himself was
asleep, would almost have sworn when he awoke, that the man was
more sober than when he first entered the room.
He was confirmed in this opinion when they descended below, where
two or three sailors and ruffian-looking fellows awaited their
commands. Ewart took the whole direction upon himself, gave his
orders with briefness and precision, and looked to their being
executed with the silence and celerity which that peculiar crisis
required. All were now dismissed for the brig, which lay, as
Fairford was given to understand, a little farther down the
river, which is navigable for vessels of light burden till almost
within a mile of the town.
When they issued from the inn, the landlord bid them goodbye.
Old Trumbull walked a little way with them, but the air had
probably considerable effect on the state of his brain; for after
reminding Alan Fairford that the next day was the honourable
Sabbath, he became extremely excursive in an attempt to exhort
him to keep it holy. At length, being perhaps sensible that he
was becoming unintelligible, he thrust a volume into Fairford's
hand--hiccuping at the same time--'Good book--good book--fine
hymn-book--fit for the honourable Sabbath, whilk awaits us to-
morrow morning.' Here the iron tongue of time told five from the
town steeple of Annan, to the further confusion of Mr. Trumbull's
already disordered ideas. 'Aye? Is Sunday come and gone
already? Heaven be praised! Only it is a marvel the afternoon
is sae dark for the time of the year--Sabbath has slipped ower
quietly, but we have reason to bless oursells it has not been
altogether misemployed. I heard little of the preaching--a cauld
moralist, I doubt, served that out--but, eh--the prayer--I mind
it as if I had said the words mysell.' Here he repeated one or
two petitions, which were probably a part of his family
devotions, before he was summoned forth to what he called the way
of business. 'I never remember a Sabbath pass so cannily off in
my life.' Then he recollected himself a little, and said to
Alan, 'You may read that book, Mr. Fairford, to-morrow, all the
same, though it be Monday; for, you see, it was Saturday when we
were thegither, and now it's Sunday and it's dark night--so the
Sabbath has slipped clean away through our fingers like water
through a sieve, which abideth not; and we have to begin again
to-morrow morning, in the weariful, base, mean, earthly
employments, whilk are unworthy of an immortal spirit--always
excepting the way of business.'
Three of the fellows were now returning to the town, and, at
Ewart's command, they cut short the patriarch's exhortation, by
leading him back to his own residence. The rest of the party
then proceeded to the brig, which only waited their arrival to
get under weigh and drop down the river. Nanty Ewart betook
himself to steering the brig, and the very touch of the helm
seemed to dispel the remaining influence of the liquor which he
had drunk, since, through a troublesome and intricate channel, he
was able to direct the course of his little vessel with the most
perfect accuracy and safety.
Alan Fairford, for some time, availed himself of the clearness of
the summer morning to gaze on the dimly seen shores betwixt which
they glided, becoming less and less distinct as they receded from
each other, until at length, having adjusted his little bundle by
way of pillow, and wrapped around him the greatcoat with which
old Trumbull had equipped him, he stretched himself on the deck,
to try to recover the slumber out of which he had been awakened.
Sleep had scarce begun to settle on his eyes, ere he found
something stirring about his person. With ready presence of mind
he recollected his situation, and resolved to show no alarm until
the purpose of this became obvious; but he was soon relieved from
his anxiety, by finding it was only the result of Nanty's
attention to his comfort, who was wrapping around him, as softly
as he could, a great boatcloak, in order to defend him from the
'Thou art but a cockerel,' he muttered, 'but 'twere pity thou
wert knocked off the perch before seeing a little more of the
sweet and sour of this world--though, faith, if thou hast the
usual luck of it, the best way were to leave thee to the chance
of a seasoning fever.'
These words, and the awkward courtesy with which the skipper of
the little brig tucked the sea-coat round Fairford, gave him a
confidence of safety which he had not yet thoroughly possessed.
He stretched himself in more security on the hard planks, and was
speedily asleep, though his slumbers were feverish and
It has been elsewhere intimated that Alan Fairford inherited from
his mother a delicate constitution, with a tendency to
consumption; and, being an only child, with such a cause for
apprehension, care, to the verge of effeminacy, was taken to
preserve him from damp beds, wet feet, and those various
emergencies to which the Caledonian boys of much higher birth,
but more active habits, are generally accustomed. In man, the
spirit sustains the constitutional weakness, as in the winged
tribes the feathers bear aloft the body. But there is a bound to
these supporting qualities; and as the pinions of the bird must
at length grow weary, so the VIS ANIMI of the human struggler
becomes broken down by continued fatigue.
When the voyager was awakened by the light of the sun now riding
high in heaven, he found himself under the influence of an almost
intolerable headache, with heat, thirst, shooting across the back
and loins, and other symptoms intimating violent cold,
accompanied with fever. The manner in which he had passed the
preceding day and night, though perhaps it might have been of
little consequence to most young men, was to him, delicate in
constitution and nurture, attended with bad and even perilous
consequences. He felt this was the case, yet would fain have
combated the symptoms of indisposition, which, indeed, he imputed
chiefly to sea-sickness. He sat up on deck, and looked on the
scene around, as the little vessel, having borne down the Solway
Firth, was beginning, with a favourable northerly breeze, to bear
away to the southward, crossing the entrance of the Wampool
river, and preparing to double the most northerly point of
But Fairford felt annoyed with deadly sickness, as well as by
pain of a distressing and oppressive character; and neither
Criffel, rising in majesty on the one hand, nor the distant yet
more picturesque outline of Skiddaw and Glaramara upon the other,
could attract his attention in the manner in which it was usually
fixed by beautiful scenery, and especially that which had in it
something new as well as striking. Yet it was not in Alan
Fairford's nature to give way to despondence, even when seconded
by pain. He had recourse, in the first place, to his pocket; but
instead of the little Sallust he had brought with him, that the
perusal of a classical author might help to pass away a heavy
hour, he pulled out the supposed hymn-book with which he had been
presented a few hours before, by that temperate and scrupulous
person, Mr. Thomas Trumbull, ALIAS Turnpenny. The volume was
bound in sable, and its exterior might have become a psalter.
But what was Alan's astonishment to read on the title page the
following words:--'Merry Thoughts for Merry Men; or Mother
Midnight's Miscellany for the Small Hours;' and turning over the
leaves, he was disgusted with profligate tales, and more
profligate songs, ornamented with figures corresponding in infamy
with the letterpress.
'Good God!' he thought, 'and did this hoary reprobate summon his
family together, and, with such a disgraceful pledge of infamy in
his bosom, venture to approach the throne of his Creator? It
must be so; the book is bound after the manner of those dedicated
to devotional subjects, and doubtless the wretch, in his
intoxication, confounded the books he carried with him, as he did
the days of the week.' Seized with the disgust with which the
young and generous usually regard the vices of advanced life,
Alan, having turned the leaves of the book over in hasty disdain,
flung it from him, as far as he could, into the sea. He then had
recourse to the Sallust, which he had at first sought for in
vain. As he opened the book, Nanty Ewart, who had been looking
over his shoulder, made his own opinion heard.
'I think now, brother, if you are so much scandalized at a little
piece of sculduddery, which, after all, does nobody any harm, you
had better have given it to me than have flung it into the
'I hope, sir,' answered Fairford, civilly, 'you are in the habit
of reading better books.'
'Faith,' answered Nanty, 'with help of a little Geneva text, I
could read my Sallust as well as you can;' and snatching the book
from Alan's hand, he began to read, in the Scottish accent:--
"'IGITUR EX DIVITIIS JUVENTUTEM LUXURIA ATQUE AVARITIA CUM
SUPERBILI INVASERE: RAPERE, CONSUMERE; SUA PARVI PENDERE, ALIENA
CUPERE; PUDOREM, AMICITIAM, PUDICITIAM, DIVINA ATQUE HUMANA
PROMISCUA, NIHIL PENSI NEQUE MODERATI HABERE." [The translation
of the passage is thus given by Sir Henry Steuart of Allanton:--
'The youth, taught to look up to riches as the sovereign good,
became apt pupils in the school of Luxury. Rapacity and
profusion went hand in hand. Careless of their own fortunes, and
eager to possess those of others, shame and remorse, modesty and
moderation, every principle gave way.'--WORKS OF SALLUST, WITH
ORIGINAL ESSAYS, vol. ii. p.17.]--There is a slap in the face
now, for an honest fellow that has been buccaneering! Never
could keep a groat of what he got, or hold his fingers from what
belonged to another, said you? Fie, fie, friend Crispus, thy
morals are as crabbed and austere as thy style--the one has as
little mercy as the other has grace. By my soul, it is
unhandsome to make personal reflections on an old acquaintance,
who seeks a little civil intercourse with you after nigh twenty
years' separation. On my soul, Master Sallust deserves to float
on the Solway better than Mother Midnight herself.'
'Perhaps, in some respects, he may merit better usage at our
hands,' said Alan; 'for if he has described vice plainly, it
seems to have been for the purpose of rendering it generally
'Well,' said the seaman, 'I have heard of the Sortes Virgilianae,
and I dare say the Sortes Sallustianae are as true every tittle.
I have consulted honest Crispus on my own account, and have had a
cuff for my pains. But now see, I open the book on your behalf,
and behold what occurs first to my eye!--Lo you there--"CATILINA
. . . OMNIUM FLAGITIOSORUM ATQUE FACINOROSORUM CIRCUM SE
HABEBAT." And then again--"ETIAM SI QUIS A CULPA VACUUS IN
AMICITIAM EJUS INCIDIDERAT QUOTIDIANO USU PAR SIMILISQUE CAETERIS
EFFICIEBATUR." [After enumerating the evil qualities of
Catiline's associates, the author adds, 'If it happened that any
as yet uncontaminated by vice were fatally drawn into his
friendship, the effects of intercourse and snares artfully
spread, subdued every scruple, and early assimilated them to
their conductors.'--Ibidem, p. 19.] That is what I call plain
speaking on the part of the old Roman, Mr. Fairford. By the way,
that is a capital name for a lawyer.
'Lawyer as I am,' said Fairford, 'I do not understand your
'Nay, then,' said Ewart, 'I can try it another way, as well as
the hypocritical old rascal Turnpenny himself could do. I would
have you to know that I am well acquainted with my Bible-book, as
well as with my friend Sallust.' He then, in a snuffling and
canting tone, began to repeat the Scriptural text--'"DAVID
THEREFORE DEPARTED THENCE, AND WENT TO THE CAVE OF ADULLAM. AND
EVERY ONE THAT WAS IN DISTRESS, AND EVERY ONE THAT WAS IN DEBT,
AND EVERY ONE THAT WAS DISCONTENTED, GATHERED THEMSELVES TOGETHER
UNTO HIM, AND HE BECAME A CAPTAIN OVER THEM." What think you of
that?' he said, suddenly changing his manner. 'Have I touched
you now, sir?'
'You are as far off as ever,' replied Fairford.
'What the devil! and you a repeating frigate between Summertrees
and the laird! Tell that to the marines--the sailors won't
believe it. But you are right to be cautious, since you can't
say who are right, who not. But you look ill; it's but the cold
morning air. Will you have a can of flip, or a jorum of hot
rumbo? or will you splice the mainbrace' (showing a spirit-
flask). 'Will you have a quid--or a pipe--or a cigar?--a pinch
of snuff, at least, to clear your brains and sharpen your
Fairford rejected all these friendly propositions.
'Why, then,' continued Ewart, 'if you will do nothing for the
free trade, I must patronize it myself.'
So saying, he took a large glass of brandy.
'A hair of the dog that bit me,' he continued,--'of the dog that
will worry me one day soon; and yet, and be d--d to me for an
idiot, I must always have hint at my throat. But, says the old
catch'--Here he sang, and sang well--
'Let's drink--let's drink--while life we have;
We'll find but cold drinking, cold drinking in the grave.
All this,' he continued, 'is no charm against the headache. I
wish I had anything that could do you good. Faith, and we have
tea and coffee aboard! I'll open a chest or a bag, and let you
have some in an instant. You are at the age to like such catlap
better than better stuff.'
Fairford thanked him, and accepted his offer of tea.
Nanty Ewart was soon heard calling about, 'Break open yon chest--
take out your capful, you bastard of a powder-monkey; we may want
it again. No sugar? all used up for grog, say you? knock
another loaf to pieces, can't ye? and get the kettle boiling, ye
hell's baby, in no time at all!'
By dint of these energetic proceedings he was in a short time
able to return to the place where his passenger lay sick and
exhausted, with a cup, or rather a canful, of tea; for everything
was on a large scale on board of the JUMPING JENNY. Alan drank
it eagerly, and with so much appearance of being refreshed that
Nanty Ewart swore he would have some too, and only laced it, as
his phrase went, with a single glass of brandy. [See Note 8.]
NARRATIVE OF ALAN FAIRFORD, CONTINUED
We left Alan Fairford on the deck of the little smuggling brig,
in that disconsolate situation, when sickness and nausea, attack
a heated and fevered frame, and an anxious mind. His share of
sea-sickness, however, was not so great as to engross his
sensations entirely, or altogether to divert his attention from
what was passing around. If he could not delight in the
swiftness and agility with which the 'little frigate' walked the
waves, or amuse himself by noticing the beauty of the sea-views
around him, where the distant Skiddaw raised his brow, as if in
defiance of the clouded eminence of Criffel, which lorded it over
the Scottish side of the estuary, he had spirits and composure
enough to pay particular attention to the master of the vessel,
on whose character his own safety in all probability was
Nanty Ewart had now given the helm to one of his people, a
bald-pated, grizzled old fellow, whose whole life had been spent
in evading the revenue laws, with now and then the relaxation of
a few months' imprisonment, for deforcing officers, resisting
seizures, and the like offences.
Nanty himself sat down by Fairford, helped him to his tea, with
such other refreshments as he could think of, and seemed in his
way sincerely desirous to make his situation as comfortable as
things admitted. Fairford had thus an opportunity to study his
countenance and manners more closely.
It was plain, Ewart, though a good seaman, had not been bred upon
that element. He was a reasonably good scholar, and seemed fond
of showing it by recurring to the subject of Sallust and Juvenal;
while, on the other hand, sea-phrases seldom chequered his
conversation. He had been in person what is called a smart
little man; but the tropical sun had burnt his originally fair
complexion to a dusty red; and the bile which was diffused
through his system, had stained it with a yellowish black--what
ought to have been the white part of his eyes, in particular, had
a hue as deep as the topaz. He was very thin, or rather
emaciated, and his countenance, though still indicating alertness
and activity, showed a constitution exhausted with excessive use
of his favourite stimulus.
'I see you look at me hard,' said he to Fairford. 'Had you been
an officer of the d--d customs, my terriers' backs would have been
up. He opened his breast, and showed Alan a pair of pistols
disposed between his waistcoat and jacket, placing his finger at
the same time upon the cock of one of them. 'But come, you are
an honest fellow, though you're a close one. I dare say you
think me a queer customer; but I can tell you, they that see the
ship leave harbour know little of the seas she is to sail
through. My father, honest old gentleman, never would have
thought to see me master of the JUMPING JENNY.'
Fairford said, it seemed very clear indeed that Mr. Ewart's
education was far superior to the line he at present occupied.
'Oh, Criffel to Solway Moss!' said the other. Why, man, I
should have been an expounder of the word, with a wig like a
snow-wreath, and a stipend like--like--like a hundred pounds a
year, I suppose. I can spend thrice as much as that, though,
being such as I am. Here he sang a scrap of an old Northumbrian
ditty, mimicking the burr of the natives of that county:--
'Willy Foster's gone to sea,
Siller buckles at his knee,
He'll come back and marry me--
Canny Willy Foster.'
'I have no doubt,' said Fairford, 'your present occupation is
more lucrative; 'but I should have thought the Church might have
He stopped, recollecting that it was not his business to say
'More respectable, you mean, I suppose?' said Ewart, with a
sneer, and squirting the tobacco-juice through his front teeth;
then was silent for a moment, and proceeded in a tone of candour
which some internal touch of conscience dictated. 'And so it
would, Mr. Fairford--and happier, too, by a thousand degrees--
though I have had my pleasures too. But there was my father (God
bless the old man!) a true chip of the old Presbyterian block,
walked his parish like a captain on the quarterdeck, and was
always ready to do good to rich and poor--Off went the laird's
hat to the minister, as fast as the poor man's bonnet. When the
eye saw him--Pshaw! what have I to do with that now?--Yes, he
was, as Virgil hath it, "VIR SAPIENTIA ET PIETATE GRAVIS." But he
might have been the wiser man, had he kept me at home, when he
sent me at nineteen to study Divinity at the head of the highest
stair in the Covenant Close. It was a cursed mistake in the old
gentleman. What though Mrs. Cantrips of Kittlebasket (for she
wrote herself no less) was our cousin five times removed, and
took me on that account to board and lodging at six shillings
instead of seven shillings a week? it was a d--d bad saving, as
the case proved. Yet her very dignity might have kept me in
order; for she never read a chapter excepting out of a Cambridge
Bible, printed by Daniel, and bound in embroidered velvet. I
think I see it at this moment! And on Sundays, when we had a
quart of twopenny ale, instead of butter-milk, to our porridge,
it was always served up in a silver posset-dish. Also she used
silver-mounted spectacles, whereas even my father's were cased in
mere horn. These things had their impression at first, but we
get used to grandeur by degrees. Well, sir!--Gad, I can scarce
get on with my story--it sticks in my throat--must take a trifle
to wash it down. Well, this dame had a daughter--Jess Cantrips,
a black-eyed, bouncing wench--and, as the devil would have it,
there was the d--d five-story stair--her foot was never from it,
whether I went out or came home from the Divinity Hall. I would
have eschewed her, sir--I would, on my soul; for I was as
innocent a lad as ever came from Lammermuir; but there was no
possibility of escape, retreat, or flight, unless I could have
got a pair of wings, or made use of a ladder seven stories high,
to scale the window of my attic. It signifies little talking--
you may suppose how all this was to end--I would have married the
girl, and taken my chance--I would, by Heaven! for she was a
pretty girl, and a good girl, till she and I met; but you know
the old song, "Kirk would not let us be." A gentleman, in my
case, would have settled the matter with the kirk-treasurer for a
small sum of money; but the poor stibbler, the penniless dominie,
having married his cousin of Kittlebasket, must next have
proclaimed her frailty to the whole parish, by mounting the
throne of Presbyterian penance, and proving, as Othello says,
"his love a whore," in face of the whole congregation.
'In this extremity I dared not stay where I was, and so thought
to go home to my father. But first I got Jack Radaway, a lad
from the same parish, and who lived in the same infernal stair,
to make some inquiries how the old gentleman had taken the
matter. I soon, by way of answer, learned, to the great increase
of my comfortable reflections, that the good old man made as much
clamour as if such a thing as a man's eating his wedding dinner
without saying grace had never happened since Adam's time. He
did nothing for six days but cry out, "Ichabod, Ichabod, the
glory is departed from my house!" and on the seventh he preached
a sermon, in which he enlarged on this incident as illustrative
of one of the great occasions for humiliation, and causes of
national defection. I hope the course he took comforted himself
--I am sure it made me ashamed to show my nose at home. So I
went down to Leith, and, exchanging my hoddin grey coat of my
mother's spinning for such a jacket as this, I entered my name at
the rendezvous as an able-bodied landsman, and sailed with the
tender round to Plymouth, where they were fitting out a squadron
for the West Indies. There I was put aboard the FEARNOUGHT,
Captain Daredevil--among whose crew I soon learned to fear Satan
(the terror of my early youth) as little as the toughest Jack on
board. I had some qualms at first, but I took the remedy'
(tapping the case-bottle) 'which I recommend to you, being as
good for sickness of the soul as for sickness of the stomach--
What, you won't?--very well, I must, then--here is to ye.'
'You would, I am afraid, find your education of little use in
your new condition?' said Fairford.
'Pardon me, sir,' resumed the captain of the JUMPING JENNY; 'my
handful of Latin, and small pinch of Greek, were as useless as
old junk, to be sure; but my reading, writing and accompting,
stood me in good stead, and brought me forward; I might have been
schoolmaster--aye, and master, in time; but that valiant liquor,
rum, made a conquest of me rather too often, and so, make what
sail I could, I always went to leeward. We were four years
broiling in that blasted climate, and I came back at last with a
little prize-money. I always had thoughts of putting things to
rights in the Covenant Close, and reconciling myself to my
father. I found out Jack Hadaway, who was TUPTOWING away with a
dozen of wretched boys, and a fine string of stories he had ready
to regale my ears withal. My father had lectured on what he
called "my falling away," for seven Sabbaths, when, just as his
parishioners began to hope that the course was at an end, he was
found dead in his bed on the eighth Sunday morning. Jack Hadaway
assured me, that if I wished to atone for my errors, by
undergoing the fate of the first martyr, I had only to go to my
native village, where the very stones of the street would rise up
against me as my father's murderer. Here was a pretty item--
well, my tongue clove to my mouth for an hour, and was only able
at last to utter the name of Mrs. Cantrips. Oh, this was a new
theme for my Job's comforter. My sudden departure--my father's
no less sudden death--had prevented the payment of the arrears of
my board and lodging--the landlord was a haberdasher, with a
heart as rotten as the muslin wares he dealt in. Without respect
to her age or gentle kin, my Lady Kittlebasket was ejected from
her airy habitation--her porridge-pot, silver posset-dish,
silver-mounted spectacles, and Daniel's Cambridge Bible, sold, at
the Cross of Edinburgh, to the caddie who would bid highest for
them, and she herself driven to the workhouse, where she got in
with difficulty, but was easily enough lifted out, at the end of
the month, as dead as her friends could desire. Merry tidings
this to me, who had been the d--d' (he paused a moment) 'ORIGO
MALI--Gad, I think my confession would sound better in Latin than
'But the best jest was behind--I had just power to stammer out
something about Jess--by my faith he HAD an answer! I had taught
Jess one trade, and, like a prudent girl, she had found out
another for herself; unluckily, they were both contraband, and
Jess Cantrips, daughter of the Lady Kittlebasket, had the honour
to be transported to the plantations, for street-walking and
pocket-picking, about six months before I touched shore.'
He changed the bitter tone of affected pleasantry into an attempt
to laugh, then drew his swarthy hand across his swarthy eyes, and
said in a more natural accent, 'Poor Jess!'
There was a pause--until Fairford, pitying the poor man's state
of mind, and believing he saw something in him that, but for
early error and subsequent profligacy, might have been excellent
and noble, helped on the conversation by asking, in a tone of
commiseration, how he had been able to endure such a load of
'Why, very well,' answered the seaman; 'exceedingly well--like a
tight ship in a brisk gale. Let me recollect. I remember
thanking Jack, very composedly, for the interesting and agreeable
communication; I then pulled out my canvas pouch, with my hoard
of moidores, and taking out two pieces, I bid Jack keep the rest
till I came back, as I was for a cruise about Auld Reekie. The
poor devil looked anxiously, but I shook him by the hand, and ran
downstairs, in such confusion of mind, that notwithstanding what
I had heard, I expected to meet Jess at every turning.
It was market-day, and the usual number of rogues and fools were
assembled at the Cross. I observed everybody looked strange on
me, and I thought some laughed. I fancy I had been making queer
faces enough, and perhaps talking to myself, When I saw myself
used in this manner, I held out my clenched fists straight before
me, stooped my head, and, like a ram when be makes his race,
darted off right down the street, scattering groups of
weatherbeaten lairds and periwigged burgesses, and bearing down
all before me. I heard the cry of "Seize the madman!" echoed, in
Celtic sounds, from the City Guard, with "Ceaze ta matman!"--but
pursuit and opposition were in vain. I pursued my career; the
smell of the sea, I suppose, led me to Leith, where, soon after,
I found myself walking very quietly on the shore, admiring the
tough round and sound cordage of the vessels, and thinking how a
loop, with a man at the end of one of them, would look, by way of
'I was opposite to the rendezvous, formerly my place of refuge--
in I bolted--found one or two old acquaintances, made half a
dozen new ones--drank for two days--was put aboard the tender--
off to Portsmouth--then landed at the Haslar hospital in a fine
hissing-hot fever. Never mind--I got better--nothing can kill
me--the West Indies were my lot again, for since I did not go
where I deserved in the next world, I had something as like such
quarters as can be had in this--black devils for inhabitants--
flames and earthquakes, and so forth, for your element. Well,
brother, something or other I did or said--I can't tell what--How
the devil should I, when I was as drunk as David's sow, you know?
But I was punished, my lad--made to kiss the wench that never
speaks but when she scolds, and that's the gunner's daughter,
comrade. Yes, the minister's son of no matter where--has the
cat's scratch on his back! This roused me, and when we were
ashore with the boat, I gave three inches of the dirk, after a
stout tussle, to the fellow I blamed most, and took the bush for
it. There were plenty of wild lads then along shore--and, I
don't care who knows--I went on the account, look you--sailed
under the black flag and marrow-bones--was a good friend to the
sea, and an enemy to all that sailed on it.'
Fairford, though uneasy in his mind at finding himself, a lawyer,
so close to a character so lawless, thought it best,
nevertheless, to put a good face on the matter, and asked Mr.
Ewart, with as much unconcern as he could assume, 'whether he was
fortunate as a rover?'
'No, no--d--n it, no,' replied Nanty; 'the devil a crumb of
butter was ever churned that would stick upon my bread. There
was no order among us--he that was captain to-day, was swabber
to-morrow; and as for plunder--they say old Avery, and one or two
close hunks, made money; but in my time, all went as it came; and
reason good, for if a fellow had saved five dollars, his throat
would have been cut in his hammock. And then it was a cruel,
bloody work.--Pah,--we'll say no more about it. I broke with
them at last, for what they did on board of a bit of a snow--no
matter what it was bad enough, since it frightened me--I took
French leave, and came in upon the proclamation, so I am free of
all that business. And here I sit, the skipper of the JUMPING
JENNY--a nutshell of a thing, but goes through the water like a
dolphin. If it were not for yon hypocritical scoundrel at Annan,
who has the best end of the profit, and takes none of the risk, I
should be well enough--as well as I want to be. Here is no lack
of my best friend,'--touching his case-bottle;--'but, to tell you
a secret, he and I have got so used to each other, I begin to
think he is like a professed joker, that makes your sides sore
with laughing if you see him but now and then; but if you take up
house with him, he can only make your head stupid. But I warrant
the old fellow is doing the best he can for me, after all.'
'And what may that be?' said Fairford.
'He is KILLING me,' replied Nanty Ewart; 'and I am only sorry he
is so long about it.'
So saying he jumped on his feet, and, tripping up and down the
deck, gave his orders with his usual clearness and decision,
notwithstanding the considerable quantity of spirits which he had
contrived to swallow while recounting his history.
Although far from feeling well, Fairford endeavoured to rouse
himself and walk to the head of the brig, to enjoy the beautiful
prospect, as well as to take some note of the course which the
vessel held. To his great surprise, instead of standing across
to the opposite shore from which she had departed, the brig was
going down the Firth, and apparently steering into the Irish Sea.
He called to Nanty Ewart, and expressed his surprise at the
course they were pursuing, and asked why they did not stand
straight across the Firth for some port in Cumberland.
'Why, this is what I call a reasonable question, now,' answered
Nanty; 'as if a ship could go as straight to its port as a horse
to the stable, or a free-trader could sail the Solway as securely
as a King's cutter! Why, I'll tell ye, brother--if I do not see
a smoke on Bowness, that is the village upon the headland yonder,
I must stand out to sea for twenty-four hours at least, for we
must keep the weather-gage if there are hawks abroad.'
'And if you do see the signal of safety, Master Ewart, what is to
be done then?'
'Why then, and in that case, I must keep off till night, and then
run you, with the kegs and the rest of the lumber, ashore at
'And then I am to meet with this same laird whom I have the letter
for?' continued Fairford.
'That,' said Ewart, 'is thereafter as it may be; the ship has its
course--the fair trader has his port--but it is not easy to say
where the laird may be found. But he will be within twenty miles
of us, off or on--and it will be my business to guide you to
Fairford could not withstand the passing impulse of terror which
crossed him, when thus reminded that he was so absolutely in the
power of a man, who, by his own account, had been a pirate, and
who was at present, in all probability, an outlaw as well as a
contraband trader. Nanty Ewart guessed the cause of his
'What the devil should I gain,' he said, 'by passing so poor a
card as you are? Have I not had ace of trumps in my hand, and
did I not play it fairly? Aye, I say the JUMPING JENNY can run
in other ware as well as kegs. Put SIGMA and TAU to Ewart, and
see how that will spell--D'ye take me now?'
'No indeed,' said Fairford; 'I am utterly ignorant of what you
'Now, by Jove!' said Nanty Ewart, 'thou art either the deepest
or the shallowest fellow I ever met with--or you are not right
after all. I wonder where Summertrees could pick up such a
tender along-shore. Will you let me see his letter?'
Fairford did not hesitate to gratify his wish, which, he was
aware, he could not easily resist. The master of the JUMPING
JENNY looked at the direction very attentively, then turned the
letter to and fro, and examined each flourish of the pen, as if
he were judging of a piece of ornamented manuscript; then handled
it back to Fairford, without a single word of remark.
'Am I right now?' said the young lawyer.
'Why, for that matter,' answered Nanty, 'the letter is right,
sure enough; but whether you are right or not, is your own
business rather than mine.' And, striking upon a flint with the
back of a knife, he kindled a cigar as thick as his finger, and
began to smoke away with great perseverance.
Alan Fairford continued to regard him with a melancholy feeling,
divided betwixt the interest he took in the unhappy man, and a
not unnatural apprehension for the issue of his own adventure.
Ewart, notwithstanding the stupefying nature of his pastime,
seemed to guess what was working in his passenger's mind; for,
after they had remained some time engaged in silently observing
each other, he suddenly dashed his cigar on the deck, and said to
him, 'Well then, if you are sorry for me, I am sorry for you.
D--n me, if I have cared a button for man or mother's son, since
two years since when I had another peep of Jack Hadaway. 'The
fellow was got as fat as a Norway whale--married to a great
Dutch-built quean that had brought him six children. I believe
he did not know me, and thought I was come to rob his house;
however, I made up a poor face, and told him who I was. Poor
Jack would have given me shelter and clothes, and began to tell
me of the moidores that were in bank, when I wanted them. Egad,
he changed his note when I told him what my life had been, and
only wanted to pay me my cash and get rid of me. I never saw so
terrified a visage. I burst out a-laughing in his face, told him
it was all a humbug, and that the moidores were all his own,
henceforth and for ever, and so ran off. I caused one of our
people send him a bag of tea and a keg of brandy, before I left--
poor Jack! I think you are the second person these ten years,
that has cared a tobacco-stopper for Nanty Ewart.'
'Perhaps, Mr. Ewart,' said Fairford, 'you live chiefly with men
too deeply interested for their own immediate safety, to think
much upon the distress of others?'
'And with whom do you yourself consort, I pray?' replied Nanty,
smartly. 'Why, with plotters, that can make no plot to better
purpose than their own hanging; and incendiaries, that are
snapping the flint upon wet tinder. You'll as soon raise the
dead as raise the Highlands--you'll as soon get a grunt from a
dead sow as any comfort from Wales or Cheshire. You think
because the pot is boiling, that no scum but yours can come
uppermost--I know better, by --. All these rackets and riots
that you think are trending your way have no relation at all to
your interest; and the best way to make the whole kingdom friends
again at once, would be the alarm of such an undertaking as these
mad old fellows are trying to launch into.
'I really am not in such secrets as you seem to allude to,' said
Fairford; and, determined at the same time to avail himself as
far as possible of Nanty's communicative disposition, he added,
with a smile,' And if I were, I should not hold it prudent to
make them much the subject of conversation. But I am sure, so
sensible a man as Summertrees and the laird may correspond
together without offence to the state.'
'I take you, friend--I take you,' said Nanty Ewart, upon whom, at
length, the liquor and tobacco-smoke began to make considerable
innovation. 'As to what gentlemen may or may not correspond
about, why we may pretermit the question, as the old professor
used to say at the Hall; and as to Summertrees, I will say
nothing, knowing him to be an old fox. But I say that this
fellow the laird is a firebrand in the country ; that he is
stirring up all the honest fellows who should be drinking their
brandy quietly, by telling them stories about their ancestors and
the Forty-five ; and that he is trying to turn all waters into
his own mill-dam, and to set his sails to all winds. And because
the London people are roaring about for some pinches of their
own, he thinks to win them to his turn with a wet finger. And he
gets encouragement from some, because they want a spell of money
from him; and from others, because they fought for the cause once
and are ashamed to go back; and others, because they have nothing
to lose; and others, because they are discontented fools. But if
he has brought you, or any one, I say not whom, into this scrape,
with the hope of doing any good, he's a d--d decoy-duck, and
that's all I can say for him; and you are geese, which is worse
than being decoy-ducks, or lame-ducks either. And so here is to
the prosperity of King George the Third, and the true
Presbyterian religion, and confusion to the Pope, the Devil, and
the Pretender! I'll tell you what, Mr. Fairbairn, I am but tenth
owner of this bit of a craft, the JUMPING JENNY--but tenth owner
and must sail her by my owners' directions. But if I were whole
owner, I would not have the brig be made a ferry-boat for your
Jacobitical, old-fashioned Popish riff-raff, Mr. Fairport--I
would not, by my soul; they should walk the plank, by the gods,
as I have seen better men do when I sailed under the What-d'ye-
callum colours. But being contraband goods, and on board my
vessel, and I with my sailing orders in my hand, why, I am to
forward them as directed--I say, John Roberts, keep her up a bit
with the helm.--and so, Mr. Fairweather, what I do is--as the
d--d villain Turnpenny says--all in the way of business.'
He had been speaking with difficulty for the last five minutes,
and now at length dropped on the deck, fairly silenced by the
quantity of spirits which he had swallowed, but without having
showed any glimpse of the gaiety, or even of the extravagance, of
The old sailor stepped forward and flung a sea-cloak over the
slumberer's shoulders, and added, looking at Fairford, 'Pity of
him he should have this fault; for without it, he would have been
as clever a fellow as ever trod a plank with ox leather.'
'And what are we to do now?' said Fairford.
'Stand off and on, to be sure, till we see the signal, and then
So saying, the old man turned to his duty, and left the passenger
to amuse himself with his own meditations. Presently afterward a
light column of smoke was seen rising from the little headland.
'I can tell you what we are to do now, master,' said the sailor.
'We'll stand out to sea, and then run in again with the evening
tide, and make Skinburness; or, if there's not light, we can run
into the Wampool river, and put you ashore about Kirkbride or
Leaths, with the long-boat.'
Fairford, unwell before, felt this destination condemned him to
an agony of many hours, which his disordered stomach and aching
head were ill able to endure. There was no remedy, however, but
patience, and the recollection that he was suffering in the cause
of friendship. As the sun rose high, he became worse; his sense
of smell appeared to acquire a morbid degree of acuteness, for
the mere purpose of inhaling and distinguishing all the various
odours with which he was surrounded, from that of pitch to all
the complicated smells of the hold. His heart, too, throbbed
under the heat, and he felt as if in full progress towards a high
The seamen, who were civil and attentive considering their
calling, observed his distress, and one contrived to make an
awning out of an old sail, while another compounded some
lemonade, the only liquor which their passenger could be
prevailed upon to touch. After drinking it off, he obtained, but
could not be said to enjoy, a few hours of troubled slumber.
NARRATIVE OF ALAN FAIRFORD, CONTINUED
Alan Fairford's spirit was more ready to encounter labour than
his frame was adequate to support it. In spite of his exertions,
when he awoke, after five or six hours' slumber, he found that he