Part 9 out of 10
* Note I. Elspeth's death.
Edie ran to support her, but hardly got her in his arms, before he said,
"It's a' ower--she has passed away even with that last word."
"Impossible," said Oldbuck, hastily advancing, as did his nephew. But
nothing was more certain. She had expired with the last hurried word that
left her lips; and all that remained before them were the mortal relics
of the creature who had so long struggled with an internal sense of
concealed guilt, joined to all the distresses of age and poverty.
"God grant that she be gane to a better place!" said Edie, as he looked
on the lifeless body; "but oh! there was something lying hard and heavy
at her heart. I have seen mony a ane dee, baith in the field o' battle,
and a fair-strae death at hame; but I wad rather see them a' ower again,
as sic a fearfu' flitting as hers!"
"We must call in the neighbours," said Oldbuck, when he had somewhat
recovered his horror and astonishment, "and give warning of this
additional calamity. I wish she could have been brought to a confession.
And, though of far less consequence, I could have wished to transcribe
that metrical fragment. But Heaven's will must be done!"
They left the hut accordingly, and gave the alarm in the hamlet, whose
matrons instantly assembled to compose the limbs and arrange the body of
her who might be considered as the mother of their settlement. Oldbuck
promised his assistance for the funeral.
"Your honour," said Alison Breck, who was next in age to the deceased,
"suld send doun something to us for keeping up our hearts at the
lykewake, for a' Saunders's gin, puir man, was drucken out at the burial
o' Steenie, and we'll no get mony to sit dry-lipped aside the corpse.
Elspeth was unco clever in her young days, as I can mind right weel, but
there was aye a word o' her no being that chancy. Ane suldna speak ill o'
the dead--mair by token, o' ane's cummer and neighbour--but there was
queer things said about a leddy and a bairn or she left the
Craigburnfoot. And sae, in gude troth, it will be a puir lykewake, unless
your honour sends us something to keep us cracking."
"You shall have some whisky," answered Oldbuck, "the rather that you have
preserved the proper word for that ancient custom of watching the dead.--
You observe, Hector, this is genuine Teutonic, from the Gothic
_Leichnam,_ a corpse. It is quite erroneously called _Late-wake,_ though
Brand favours that modern corruption and derivation."
"I believe," said Hector to himself, "my uncle would give away Monkbarns
to any one who would come to ask it in genuine Teutonic! Not a drop of
whisky would the old creatures have got, had their president asked it for
the use of the _Late-wake._"
While Oldbuck was giving some farther directions, and promising
assistance, a servant of Sir Arthur's came riding very hard along the
sands, and stopped his horse when he saw the Antiquary. "There had
something," he said, "very particular happened at the Castle"--(he could
not, or would not, explain what)--"and Miss Wardour had sent him off
express to Monkbarns, to beg that Mr. Oldbuck would come to them without
a moment's delay."
"I am afraid," said the Antiquary, "his course also is drawing to a
close. What can I do?"
"Do, sir?" exclaimed Hector, with his characteristic impatience,--"get on
the horse, and turn his head homeward--you will be at Knockwinnock Castle
in ten minutes."
"He is quite a free goer," said the servant, dismounting to adjust the
girths and stirrups,--"he only pulls a little if he feels a dead weight
"I should soon be a dead weight _off_ him, my friend," said the
Antiquary.--"What the devil, nephew, are you weary of me? or do you
suppose me weary of my life, that I should get on the back of such a
Bucephalus as that? No, no, my friend, if I am to be at Knockwinnock
to-day, it must be by walking quietly forward on my own feet, which I
will do with as little delay as possible. Captain M'Intyre may ride that
animal himself, if he pleases."
"I have little hope I could be of any use, uncle, but I cannot think of
their distress without wishing to show sympathy at least--so I will ride
on before, and announce to them that you are coming.--I'll trouble you
for your spurs, my friend."
"You will scarce need them, sir," said the man, taking them off at the
same time, and buckling them upon Captain Mlntyre's heels, "he's very
frank to the road."
Oldbuck stood astonished at this last act of temerity, "are you mad,
Hector?" he cried, "or have you forgotten what is said by Quintus
Curtius, with whom, as a soldier, you must needs be familiar,--_Nobilis
equus umbra quidem virgae regitur; ignavus ne calcari quidem excitari
potest;_ which plainly shows that spurs are useless in every case, and, I
may add, dangerous in most."
But Hector, who cared little for the opinion of either Quintus Curtius or
of the Antiquary, upon such a topic, only answered with a heedless "Never
fear--never fear, sir."
With that he gave his able horse the head,
And, bending forward, struck his armed heels
Against the panting sides of his poor jade,
Up to the rowel-head; and starting so,
He seemed in running to devour the way,
Staying no longer question.
"There they go, well matched," said Oldbuck, looking after them as they
started--"a mad horse and a wild boy, the two most unruly creatures in
Christendom! and all to get half an hour sooner to a place where nobody
wants him; for I doubt Sir Arthur's griefs are beyond the cure of our
light horseman. It must be the villany of Dousterswivel, for whom Sir
Arthur has done so much; for I cannot help observing, that, with some
natures, Tacitus's maxim holdeth good: _Beneficia eo usque laeta sunt dum
videntur exsolvi posse; ubi multum antevenere, pro gratia odium
redditur,_--from which a wise man might take a caution, not to oblige any
man beyond the degree in which he may expect to be requited, lest he
should make his debtor a bankrupt in gratitude."
Murmuring to himself such scraps of cynical philosophy, our Antiquary
paced the sands towards Knockwinnock; but it is necessary we should
outstrip him, for the purpose of explaining the reasons of his being so
anxiously summoned thither.
So, while the Goose, of whom the fable told,
Incumbent, brooded o'er her eggs of gold,
With hand outstretched, impatient to destroy,
Stole on her secret nest the cruel Boy,
Whose gripe rapacious changed her splendid dream,
--For wings vain fluttering, and for dying scream.
The Loves of the Sea-weeds.
From the time that Sir Arthur Wardour had become possessor of the
treasure found in Misticot's grave, he had been in a state of mind more
resembling ecstasy than sober sense. Indeed, at one time his daughter had
become seriously apprehensive for his intellect; for, as he had no doubt
that he had the secret of possessing himself of wealth to an unbounded
extent, his language and carriage were those of a man who had acquired
the philosopher's stone. He talked of buying contiguous estates, that
would have led him from one side of the island to the other, as if he
were determined to brook no neighbour save the sea. He corresponded with
an architect of eminence, upon a plan of renovating the castle of his
forefathers on a style of extended magnificence that might have rivalled
that of Windsor, and laying out the grounds on a suitable scale. Troops
of liveried menials were already, in fancy, marshalled in his halls, and
--for what may not unbounded wealth authorize its possessor to aspire
to?--the coronet of a marquis, perhaps of a duke, was glittering before
his imagination. His daughter--to what matches might she not look
forward? Even an alliance with the blood-royal was not beyond the sphere
of his hopes. His son was already a general--and he himself whatever
ambition could dream of in its wildest visions.
In this mood, if any one endeavoured to bring Sir Arthur down to the
regions of common life, his replies were in the vein of Ancient Pistol--
A fico for the world, and worldlings base
I speak of Africa and golden joys!
The reader may conceive the amazement of Miss Wardour, when, instead of
undergoing an investigation concerning the addresses of Lovel, as she had
expected from the long conference of her father with Mr. Oldbuck, upon
the morning of the fated day when the treasure was discovered, the
conversation of Sir Arthur announced an imagination heated with the hopes
of possessing the most unbounded wealth. But she was seriously alarmed
when Dousterswivel was sent for to the Castle, and was closeted with her
father--his mishap condoled with--his part taken, and his loss
compensated. All the suspicions which she had long entertained respecting
this man became strengthened, by observing his pains to keep up the
golden dreams of her father, and to secure for himself, under various
pretexts, as much as possible out of the windfall which had so strangely
fallen to Sir Arthur's share.
Other evil symptoms began to appear, following close on each other.
Letters arrived every post, which Sir Arthur, as soon as he had looked at
the directions, flung into the fire without taking the trouble to open
them. Miss Wardour could not help suspecting that these epistles, the
contents of which seemed to be known to her father by a sort of
intuition, came from pressing creditors. In the meanwhile, the temporary
aid which he had received from the treasure dwindled fast away. By far
the greater part had been swallowed up by the necessity of paying the
bill of six hundred pounds, which had threatened Sir Arthur with instant
distress. Of the rest, some part was given to the adept, some wasted upon
extravagances which seemed to the poor knight fully authorized by his
full-blown hopes,--and some went to stop for a time the mouths of such
claimants as, being weary of fair promises, had become of opinion with
Harpagon, that it was necessary to touch something substantial. At length
circumstances announced but too plainly, that it was all expended within
two or three days after its discovery; and there appeared no prospect of
a supply. Sir Arthur, naturally impatient, now taxed Dousterswivel anew
with breach of those promises through which he had hoped to convert all
his lead into gold. But that worthy gentleman's turn was now served; and
as he had grace enough to wish to avoid witnessing the fall of the house
which he had undermined, he was at the trouble of bestowing a few learned
terms of art upon Sir Arthur, that at least he might not be tormented
before his time. He took leave of him, with assurances that he would
return to Knockwinnock the next morning, with such information as would
not fail to relieve Sir Arthur from all his distresses.
"For, since I have consulted in such matters, I ave never," said Mr.
Herman Dousterswivel, "approached so near de _arcanum,_ what you call de
great mystery,--de Panchresta--de Polychresta--I do know as much of it as
Pelaso de Taranta, or Basilius--and either I will bring you in two and
tree days de No. III. of Mr. Mishdigoat, or you shall call me one knave
myself, and never look me in de face again no more at all."
The adept departed with this assurance, in the firm resolution of making
good the latter part of the proposition, and never again appearing before
his injured patron. Sir Arthur remained in a doubtful and anxious state
of mind. The positive assurances of the philosopher, with the hard words
Panchresta, Basilius, and so forth, produced some effect on his mind. But
he had been too often deluded by such jargon, to be absolutely relieved
of his doubt, and he retired for the evening into his library, in the
fearful state of one who, hanging over a precipice, and without the means
of retreat, perceives the stone on which he rests gradually parting from
the rest of the crag, and about to give way with him.
The visions of hope decayed, and there increased in proportion that
feverish agony of anticipation with which a man, educated in a sense of
consequence, and possessed of opulence,--the supporter of an ancient
name, and the father of two promising children,--foresaw the hour
approaching which should deprive him of all the splendour which time had
made familiarly necessary to him, and send him forth into the world to
struggle with poverty, with rapacity, and with scorn. Under these dire
forebodings, his temper, exhausted by the sickness of delayed hope,
became peevish and fretful, and his words and actions sometimes expressed
a reckless desperation, which alarmed Miss Wardour extremely. We have
seen, on a former occasion, that Sir Arthur was a man of passions lively
and quick, in proportion to the weakness of his character in other
respects; he was unused to contradiction, and if he had been hitherto, in
general, good-humoured and cheerful, it was probably because the course
of his life had afforded no such frequent provocation as to render his
On the third morning after Dousterswivel's departure, the servant, as
usual, laid on the breakfast table the newspaper and letters of the day.
Miss Wardour took up the former to avoid the continued ill-humour of her
father, who had wrought himself into a violent passion, because the toast
"I perceive how it is," was his concluding speech on this interesting
subject,--"my servants, who have had their share of my fortune, begin to
think there is little to be made of me in future. But while I _am_ the
scoundrel's master I will be so, and permit no neglect--no, nor endure a
hair's-breadth diminution of the respect I am entitled to exact from
"I am ready to leave your honour's service this instant," said the
domestic upon whom the fault had been charged, "as soon as you order
payment of my wages."
Sir Arthur, as if stung by a serpent, thrust his hand into his pocket,
and instantly drew out the money which it contained, but which was short
of the man's claim. "What money have you got, Miss Wardour?" he said, in
a tone of affected calmness, but which concealed violent agitation.
Miss Wardour gave him her purse; he attempted to count the bank notes
which it contained, but could not reckon them. After twice miscounting
the sum, he threw the whole to his daughter, and saying, in a stern
voice, "Pay the rascal, and let him leave the house instantly!" he strode
out of the room.
The mistress and servant stood alike astonished at the agitation and
vehemence of his manner.
"I am sure, ma'am, if I had thought I was particularly wrang, I wadna hae
made ony answer when Sir Arthur challenged me. I hae been lang in his
service, and he has been a kind master, and you a kind mistress, and I
wad like ill ye should think I wad start for a hasty word. I am sure it
was very wrang o' me to speak about wages to his honour, when maybe he
has something to vex him. I had nae thoughts o' leaving the family in
"Go down stair, Robert," said his mistress--"something has happened to
fret my father--go down stairs, and let Alick answer the bell."
When the man left the room, Sir Arthur re-entered, as if he had been
watching his departure. "What's the meaning of this?" he said hastily, as
he observed the notes lying still on the table--"Is he not gone? Am I
neither to be obeyed as a master or a father?"
"He is gone to give up his charge to the housekeeper, sir,--I thought
there was not such instant haste."
"There _is_ haste, Miss Wardour," answered her father, interrupting her;
--"What I do henceforth in the house of my forefathers, must be done
speedily, or never."
He then sate down, and took up with a trembling hand the basin of tea
prepared for him, protracting the swallowing of it, as if to delay the
necessity of opening the post-letters which lay on the table, and which
he eyed from time to time, as if they had been a nest of adders ready to
start into life and spring upon him.
"You will be happy to hear," said Miss Wardour, willing to withdraw her
father's mind from the gloomy reflections in which he appeared to be
plunged, "you will be happy to hear, sir, that Lieutenant Taffril's
gun-brig has got safe into Leith Roads--I observe there had been
apprehensions for his safety--I am glad we did not hear them till they
"And what is Taffril and his gun-brig to me?"
"Sir!" said Miss Wardour in astonishment; for Sir Arthur, in his ordinary
state of mind, took a fidgety sort of interest in all the gossip of the
day and country.
"I say," he repeated in a higher and still more impatient key, "what do I
care who is saved or lost? It's nothing to me, I suppose?"
"I did not know you were busy, Sir Arthur; and thought, as Mr. Taffril is
a brave man, and from our own country, you would be happy to hear"--
"Oh, I am happy--as happy as possible--and, to make you happy too, you
shall have some of my good news in return." And he caught up a letter.
"It does not signify which I open first--they are all to the same tune."
He broke the seal hastily, ran the letter over, and then threw it to his
daughter. "Ay--I could not have lighted more happily!--this places the
Miss Wardour, in silent terror, took up the letter. "Read it--read it
aloud!" said her father; "it cannot be read too often; it will serve to
break you in for other good news of the same kind."
She began to read with a faltering voice, "Dear Sir."
"He _dears_ me too, you see, this impudent drudge of a writer's office,
who, a twelvemonth since, was not fit company for my second table--I
suppose I shall be dear Knight' with him by and by."
"Dear Sir," resumed Miss Wardour; but, interrupting herself, "I see the
contents are unpleasant, sir--it will only vex you my reading them
"If you will allow me to know my own pleasure, Miss Wardour, I entreat
you to go on--I presume, if it were unnecessary, I should not ask you to
take the trouble."
"Having been of late taken into copartnery," continued Miss Wardour,
reading the letter, "by Mr. Gilbert Greenhorn, son of your late
correspondent and man of business, Girnigo Greenhorn, Esq., writer to the
signet, whose business I conducted as parliament-house clerk for many
years, which business will in future be carried on under the firm of
Greenhorn and Grinderson (which I memorandum for the sake of accuracy in
addressing your future letters), and having had of late favours of yours,
directed to my aforesaid partner, Gilbert Greenhorn, in consequence of
his absence at the Lamberton races, have the honour to reply to your said
"You see my friend is methodical, and commences by explaining the causes
which have procured me so modest and elegant a correspondent. Go on--I
can bear it."
And he laughed that bitter laugh which is perhaps the most fearful
expression of mental misery. Trembling to proceed, and yet afraid to
disobey, Miss Wardour continued to read--"I am for myself and partner,
sorry we cannot oblige you by looking out for the sums you mention, or
applying for a suspension in the case of Goldiebirds' bond, which would
be more inconsistent, as we have been employed to act as the said
Goldiebirds' procurators and attorneys, in which capacity we have taken
out a charge of horning against you, as you must be aware by the schedule
left by the messenger, for the sum of four thousand seven hundred and
fifty-six pounds five shillings and sixpence one-fourth of a penny
sterling, which, with annual-rent and expenses effeiring, we presume will
be settled during the currency of the charge, to prevent further trouble.
Same time, I am under the necessity to observe our own account, amounting
to seven hundred and sixty-nine pounds ten shillings and sixpence, is
also due, and settlement would be agreeable; but as we hold your rights,
title-deeds, and documents in hypothec, shall have no objection to give
reasonable time--say till the next money term. I am, for myself and
partner, concerned to add, that Messrs. Goldiebirds' instructions to us
are to proceed _peremptorie_ and _sine mora,_ of which I have the
pleasure to advise you, to prevent future mistakes, reserving to
ourselves otherwise to age' as accords. I am, for self and partner, dear
sir, your obliged humble servant, Gabriel Grinderson, for Greenhorn and
"Ungrateful villain!" said Miss Wardour.
"Why, no--it's in the usual rule, I suppose; the blow could not have been
perfect if dealt by another hand--it's all just as it should be,"
answered the poor Baronet, his affected composure sorely belied by his
quivering lip and rolling eye--"But here's a postscript I did not notice
--come, finish the epistle."
"I have to add (not for self but partner) that Mr. Greenhorn will
accommodate you by taking your service of plate, or the bay horses, if
sound in wind and limb, at a fair appreciation, in part payment of your
"G--d confound him!" said Sir Arthur, losing all command of himself at
this condescending proposal: "his grandfather shod my father's horses,
and this descendant of a scoundrelly blacksmith proposes to swindle me
out of mine! But I will write him a proper answer."
And he sate down and began to write with great vehemence, then stopped
and read aloud:--"Mr. Gilbert Greenhorn,--in answer to two letters of a
late date, I received a letter from a person calling himself Grinderson,
and designing himself as your partner. When I address any one, I do not
usually expect to be answered by deputy--I think I have been useful to
your father, and friendly and civil to yourself, and therefore am now
surprised--And yet," said he, stopping short, "why should I be surprised
at that or anything else? or why should I take up my time in writing to
such a scoundrel?--I shan't be always kept in prison, I suppose; and to
break that puppy's bones when I get out, shall be my first employment."
"In prison, sir?" said Miss Wardour, faintly.
"Ay, in prison to be sure. Do you make any question about that? Why, Mr.
what's his name's fine letter for self and partner seems to be thrown
away on you, or else you have got four thousand so many hundred pounds,
with the due proportion of shillings, pence, and half-pence, to pay that
aforesaid demand, as he calls it."
"I, sir? O if I had the means!--But where's my brother?--why does he not
come, and so long in Scotland? He might do something to assist us."
"Who, Reginald?--I suppose he's gone with Mr. Gilbert Greenhorn, or some
such respectable person, to the Lamberton races--I have expected him this
week past; but I cannot wonder that my children should neglect me as well
as every other person. But I should beg your pardon, my love, who never
either neglected or offended me in your life."
And kissing her cheek as she threw her arms round his neck, he
experienced that consolation which a parent feels, even in the most
distressed state, in the assurance that he possesses the affection of a
Miss Wardour took the advantage of this revulsion of feeling, to
endeavour to soothe her father's mind to composure. She reminded him that
he had many friends.
"I had many once," said Sir Arthur; "but of some I have exhausted their
kindness with my frantic projects; others are unable to assist me--others
are unwilling. It is all over with me. I only hope Reginald will take
example by my folly."
"Should I not send to Monkbarns, sir?" said his daughter.
"To what purpose? He cannot lend me such a sum, and would not if he
could, for he knows I am otherwise drowned in debt; and he would only
give me scraps of misanthropy and quaint ends of Latin."
"But he is shrewd and sensible, and was bred to business, and, I am sure,
always loved this family."
"Yes, I believe he did. It is a fine pass we are come to, when the
affection of an Oldbuck is of consequence to a Wardour! But when matters
come to extremity, as I suppose they presently will--it may be as well to
send for him. And now go take your walk, my dear--my mind is more
composed than when I had this cursed disclosure to make. You know the
worst, and may daily or hourly expect it. Go take your walk--I would
willingly be alone for a little while."
When Miss Wardour left the apartment, her first occupation was to avail
herself of the half permission granted by her father, by despatching to
Monkbarns the messenger, who, as we have already seen, met the Antiquary
and his nephew on the sea-beach.
Little recking, and indeed scarce knowing, where she was wandering,
chance directed her into the walk beneath the Briery Bank, as it was
called. A brook, which in former days had supplied the castle-moat with
water, here descended through a narrow dell, up which Miss Wardour's
taste had directed a natural path, which was rendered neat and easy of
ascent, without the air of being formally made and preserved. It suited
well the character of the little glen, which was overhung with thickets
and underwood, chiefly of larch and hazel, intermixed with the usual
varieties of the thorn and brier. In this walk had passed that scene of
explanation between Miss Wardour and Lovel which was overheard by old
Edie Ochiltree. With a heart softened by the distress which approached
her family, Miss Wardour now recalled every word and argument which Lovel
had urged in support of his suit, and could not help confessing to
herself, it was no small subject of pride to have inspired a young man of
his talents with a passion so strong and disinterested. That he should
have left the pursuit of a profession in which he was said to be rapidly
rising, to bury himself in a disagreeable place like Fairport, and brood
over an unrequited passion, might be ridiculed by others as romantic, but
was naturally forgiven as an excess of affection by the person who was
the object of his attachment. Had he possessed an independence, however
moderate, or ascertained a clear and undisputed claim to the rank in
society he was well qualified to adorn, she might now have had it in her
power to offer her father, during his misfortunes, an asylum in an
establishment of her own. These thoughts, so favourable to the absent
lover, crowded in, one after the other, with such a minute recapitulation
of his words, looks, and actions, as plainly intimated that his former
repulse had been dictated rather by duty than inclination. Isabella was
musing alternately upon this subject, and upon that of her father's
misfortunes, when, as the path winded round a little hillock covered with
brushwood, the old Blue-Gown suddenly met her.
With an air as if he had something important and mysterious to
communicate, he doffed his bonnet, and assumed the cautious step and
voice of one who would not willingly be overheard. "I hae been wishing
muckle to meet wi' your leddyship--for ye ken I darena come to the house
"I heard indeed," said Miss Wardour, dropping an alms into the bonnet--"I
heard that you had done a very foolish, if not a very bad thing, Edie--
and I was sorry to hear it."
"Hout, my bonny leddy--fulish? A' the world's fules--and how should auld
Edie Ochiltree be aye wise?--And for the evil--let them wha deal wi'
Dousterswivel tell whether he gat a grain mair than his deserts."
"That may be true, Edie, and yet," said Miss Wardour, "you may have been
"Weel, weel, we'se no dispute that e'ennow--it's about yoursell I'm gaun
to speak. Div ye ken what's hanging ower the house of Knockwinnock?"
"Great distress, I fear, Edie," answered Miss Wardour; "but I am
surprised it is already so public."
"Public!--Sweepclean, the messenger, will be there the day wi' a' his
tackle. I ken it frae ane o' his concurrents, as they ca' them, that's
warned to meet him; and they'll be about their wark belyve; whare they
clip, there needs nae kame--they shear close eneugh."
"Are you sure this bad hour, Edie, is so very near?--come, I know, it
"It's e'en as I tell you, leddy. But dinna be cast down--there's a heaven
ower your head here, as weel as in that fearful night atween the
Ballyburghness and the Halket-head. D'ye think He, wha rebuked the
waters, canna protect you against the wrath of men, though they be armed
with human authority?"
"It is indeed all we have to trust to."
"Ye dinna ken--ye dinna ken: when the night's darkest, the dawn's
nearest. If I had a gude horse, or could ride him when I had him, I
reckon there wad be help yet. I trusted to hae gotten a cast wi' the
Royal Charlotte, but she's coupit yonder, it's like, at Kittlebrig. There
was a young gentleman on the box, and he behuved to drive; and Tam Sang,
that suld hae mair sense, he behuved to let him, and the daft callant
couldna tak the turn at the corner o' the brig; and od! he took the
curbstane, and he's whomled her as I wad whomle a toom bicker--it was a
luck I hadna gotten on the tap o' her. Sae I came down atween hope and
despair, to see if ye wad send me on."
"And, Edie--where would ye go?" said the young lady.
"To Tannonburgh, my leddy" (which was the first stage from Fairport, but
a good deal nearer to Knockwinnock), "and that without delay--it's a' on
your ain business."
"Our business, Edie? Alas! I give you all credit for your good meaning;
"There's nae _buts_ about it, my leddy, for gang I maun," said the
"But what is it that you would do at Tannonburgh?--or how can your going
there benefit my father's affairs?"
"Indeed, my sweet leddy," said the gaberlunzie, "ye maun just trust that
bit secret to auld Edie's grey pow, and ask nae questions about it.
Certainly if I wad hae wared my life for you yon night, I can hae nae
reason to play an ill pliskie t'ye in the day o' your distress."
"Well, Edie, follow me then," said Miss Wardour, "and I will try to get
you sent to Tannonburgh."
"Mak haste then, my bonny leddy--mak haste, for the love o' goodness!"--
and he continued to exhort her to expedition until they reached the
Let those go see who will--I like it not--
For, say he was a slave to rank and pomp,
And all the nothings he is now divorced from
By the hard doom of stern necessity:
Yet it is sad to mark his altered brow,
Where Vanity adjusts her flimsy veil
O'er the deep wrinkles of repentant anguish.
When Miss Wardour arrived in the court of the Castle, she was apprized by
the first glance that the visit of the officers of the law had already
taken place. There was confusion, and gloom and sorrow, and curiosity
among the domestics, while the retainers of the law went from place to
place, making an inventory of the goods and chattels falling under their
warrant of distress, or poinding, as it is called in the law of Scotland.
Captain M'Intyre flew to her, as, struck dumb with the melancholy
conviction of her father's ruin, she paused upon the threshold of the
"Dear Miss Wardour," he said, "do not make yourself uneasy; my uncle is
coming immediately, and I am sure he will find some way to clear the
house of these rascals."
"Alas! Captain M'Intyre, I fear it will be too late."
"No," answered Edie, impatiently--"could I but get to Tannonburgh. In the
name of Heaven, Captain, contrive some way to get me on, and ye'll do
this poor ruined family the best day's doing that has been done them
since Redhand's days--for as sure as e'er an auld saw came true,
Knockwinnock house and land will be lost and won this day."
"Why, what good can you do, old man?" said Hector.
But Robert, the domestic with whom Sir Arthur had been so much displeased
in the morning, as if he had been watching for an opportunity to display
his zeal, stepped hastily forward and said to his mistress, "If you
please, ma'am, this auld man, Ochiltree, is very skeely and auld-farrant
about mony things, as the diseases of cows and horse, and sic like, and I
am sure be disna want to be at Tannonburgh the day for naething, since he
insists on't this gate; and, if your leddyship pleases, I'll drive him
there in the taxed-cart in an hour's time. I wad fain be of some use--I
could bite my very tongue out when I think on this morning."
"I am obliged to you, Robert," said Miss Wardour; "and if you really
think it has the least chance of being useful"---
"In the name of God," said the old man, "yoke the cart, Robie, and if I
am no o' some use, less or mair, I'll gie ye leave to fling me ower
Kittlebrig as ye come back again. But, O man, haste ye, for time's
precious this day."
Robert looked at his mistress as she retired into the house, and seeing
he was not prohibited, flew to the stable-yard, which was adjacent to the
court, in order to yoke the, carriage; for, though an old beggar was the
personage least likely to render effectual assistance in a case of
pecuniary distress, yet there was among the common people of Edie's
circle, a general idea of his prudence and sagacity, which authorized
Robert's conclusion that he would not so earnestly have urged the
necessity of this expedition had he not been convinced of its utility.
But so soon as the servant took hold of a horse to harness him for the
taxed-cart, an officer touched him on the shoulder--"My friend, you must
let that beast alone--he's down in the schedule."
"What!" said Robert, "am I not to take my master's horse to go my young
"You must remove nothing here," said the man of office, "or you will be
liable for all consequences."
"What the devil, sir," said Hector, who having followed to examine
Ochiltree more closely on the nature of his hopes and expectations,
already began to bristle like one of the terriers of his own native
mountains, and sought but a decent pretext for venting his displeasure,
"have you the impudence to prevent the young lady's servant from obeying
There was something in the air and tone of the young soldier, which
seemed to argue that his interference was not likely to be confined to
mere expostulation; and which, if it promised finally the advantages of a
process of battery and deforcement, would certainly commence with the
unpleasant circumstances necessary for founding such a complaint. The
legal officer, confronted with him of the military, grasped with one
doubtful hand the greasy bludgeon which was to enforce his authority, and
with the other produced his short official baton, tipped with silver, and
having a movable ring upon it--"Captain M'Intyre,--Sir, I have no quarrel
with you,--but if you interrupt me in my duty, I will break the wand of
peace, and declare myself deforced."
"And who the devil cares," said Hector, totally ignorant of the words of
judicial action, "whether you declare yourself divorced or married? And
as to breaking your wand, or breaking the peace, or whatever you call it,
all I know is, that I will break your bones if you prevent the lad from
harnessing the horses to obey his mistress's orders."
"I take all who stand here to witness," said the messenger, "that I
showed him my blazon, and explained my character. He that will to Cupar
maun to Cupar,"--and he slid his enigmatical ring from one end of the
baton to the other, being the appropriate symbol of his having been
forcibly interrupted in the discharge of his duty.
Honest Hector, better accustomed to the artillery of the field than to
that of the law, saw this mystical ceremony with great indifference; and
with like unconcern beheld the messenger sit down to write out an
execution of deforcement. But at this moment, to prevent the well-meaning
hot-headed Highlander from running the risk of a severe penalty, the
Antiquary arrived puffing and blowing, with his handkerchief crammed
under his hat, and his wig upon the end of his stick.
"What the deuce is the matter here?" he exclaimed, hastily adjusting his
head-gear; "I have been following you in fear of finding your idle
loggerhead knocked against one rock or other, and here I find you parted
with your Bucephalus, and quarrelling with Sweepclean. A messenger,
Hector, is a worse foe than a _phoca,_ whether it be the _phoca barbata,_
or the _phoca vitulina_ of your late conflict."
"D--n the _phoca,_ sir," said Hector, "whether it be the one or the
other--I say d--n them both particularly! I think you would not have me
stand quietly by and see a scoundrel like this, because he calls himself
a king's messenger, forsooth--(I hope the king has many better for his
meanest errands)--insult a young lady of family and fashion like Miss
"Rightly argued, Hector," said the Antiquary; "but the king, like other
people, has now and then shabby errands, and, in your ear, must have
shabby fellows to do them. But even supposing you unacquainted with the
statutes of William the Lion, in which _capite quarto versu quinto,_ this
crime of deforcement is termed _despectus Domini Regis_--a contempt, to
wit, of the king himself, in whose name all legal diligence issues,--
could you not have inferred, from the information I took so much pains to
give you to-day, that those who interrupt officers who come to execute
letters of caption, are _tanquam participes criminis rebellionis?_ seeing
that he who aids a rebel, is himself, _quodammodo,_ an accessory to
rebellion--But I'll bring you out of this scrape."
He then spoke to the messenger, who, upon his arrival, had laid aside all
thoughts of making a good by-job out of the deforcement, and accepted Mr.
Oldbuck's assurances that the horse and taxed-cart should be safely
returned in the course of two or three hours.
"Very well, sir," said the Antiquary, "since you are disposed to be so
civil, you shall have another job in your own best way--a little cast of
state politics--a crime punishable _per Legem Juliam,_ Mr. Sweepclean--
Hark thee hither."
And after a whisper of five minutes, he gave him a slip of paper, on
receiving which, the messenger mounted his horse, and, with one of his
assistants, rode away pretty sharply. The fellow who remained seemed to
delay his operations purposely, proceeded in the rest of his duty very
slowly, and with the caution and precision of one who feels himself
overlooked by a skilful and severe inspector.
In the meantime, Oldbuck, taking his nephew by the arm, led him into the
house, and they were ushered into the presence of Sir Arthur Wardour,
who, in a flutter between wounded pride, agonized apprehension, and vain
attempts to disguise both under a show of indifference, exhibited a
spectacle of painful interest.
"Happy to see you, Mr. Oldbuck--always happy to see my friends in fair
weather or foul," said the poor Baronet, struggling not for composure,
but for gaiety--an affectation which was strongly contrasted by the
nervous and protracted grasp of his hand, and the agitation of his whole
demeanour--"I am happy to see you. You are riding, I see--I hope in this
confusion your horses are taken good care of--I always like to have my
friend's horses looked after--Egad! they will have all my care now, for
you see they are like to leave me none of my own--he! he! he! eh, Mr.
This attempt at a jest was attended by a hysterical giggle, which poor
Sir Arthur intended should sound as an indifferent laugh.
"You know I never ride, Sir Arthur," said the Antiquary.
"I beg your pardon; but sure I saw your nephew arrive on horseback a
short time since. We must look after officers' horses, and his was as
handsome a grey charger as I have seen."
Sir Arthur was about to ring the bell, when Mr. Oldbuck said, "My nephew
came on your own grey horse, Sir Arthur."
"Mine!" said the poor Baronet; "mine was it? then the sun had been in my
eyes. Well, I'm not worthy having a horse any longer, since I don't know
my own when I see him."
"Good Heaven!" thought Oldbuck, "how is this man altered from the formal
stolidity of his usual manner!--he grows wanton under adversity--_Sed
pereunti mille figurae._"--He then proceeded aloud--"Sir Arthur, we must
necessarily speak a little on business."
"To be sure," said Sir Arthur; "but it was so good that I should not know
the horse I have ridden these five years--ha! ha! ha!"
"Sir Arthur," said the Antiquary, "don't let us waste time which is
precious; we shall have, I hope, many better seasons for jesting--
_desipere in loco_ is the maxim of Horace. I more than suspect this has
been brought on by the villany of Dousterswivel."
"Don't mention his name, sir!" said Sir Arthur; and his manner entirely
changed from a fluttered affectation of gaiety to all the agitation of
fury; his eyes sparkled, his mouth foamed, his hands were clenched--
"don't mention his name, sir," he vociferated, "unless you would see me
go mad in your presence! That I should have been such a miserable dolt--
such an infatuated idiot--such a beast endowed with thrice a beast's
stupidity, to be led and driven and spur-galled by such a rascal, and
under such ridiculous pretences!--Mr. Oldbuck, I could tear myself when I
think of it."
"I only meant to say," answered the Antiquary, "that this fellow is like
to meet his reward; and I cannot but think we shall frighten something
out of him that may be of service to you. He has certainly had some
unlawful correspondence on the other side of the water."
"Has he?--has he?--has he indeed?--then d--n the house-hold goods,
horses, and so forth--I will go to prison a happy man, Mr. Oldbuck. I
hope in heaven there's a reasonable chance of his being hanged?"
"Why, pretty fair," said Oldbuck, willing to encourage this diversion, in
hopes it might mitigate the feelings which seemed like to overset the
poor man's understanding; "honester men have stretched a rope, or the law
has been sadly cheated--But this unhappy business of yours--can nothing
be done? Let me see the charge."
He took the papers; and, as he read them, his countenance grew hopelessly
dark and disconsolate. Miss Wardour had by this time entered the
apartment, and fixing her eyes on Mr. Oldbuck, as if she meant to read
her fate in his looks, easily perceived, from the change in his eye, and
the dropping of his nether-jaw, how little was to be hoped.
"We are then irremediably ruined, Mr. Oldbuck?" said the young lady.
"Irremediably?--I hope not--but the instant demand is very large, and
others will, doubtless, pour in."
"Ay, never doubt that, Monkbarns," said Sir Arthur; "where the slaughter
is, the eagles will be gathered together. I am like a sheep which I have
seen fall down a precipice, or drop down from sickness--if you had not
seen a single raven or hooded crow for a fortnight before, he will not
lie on the heather ten minutes before half-a-dozen will be picking out
his eyes (and he drew his hand over his own), and tearing at his
heartstrings before the poor devil has time to die. But that d--d
long-scented vulture that dogged me so long--you have got him fast, I
"Fast enough," said the Antiquary; "the gentleman wished to take the
wings of the morning, and bolt in the what d'ye call it,--the coach and
four there. But he would have found twigs limed for him at Edinburgh. As
it is, he never got so far, for the coach being overturned--as how could
it go safe with such a Jonah?--he has had an infernal tumble, is carried
into a cottage near Kittlebrig, and to prevent all possibility of escape,
I have sent your friend Sweepclean to bring him back to Fairport _in
nomine regis,_ or to act as his sick-nurse at Kittlebrig, as is most
fitting. And now, Sir Arthur, permit me to have some conversation with
you on the present unpleasant state of your affairs, that we may see what
can be done for their extrication;" and the Antiquary led the way into
the library, followed by the unfortunate gentleman.
They had been shut up together for about two hours, when Miss Wardour
interrupted them with her cloak on as if prepared for a journey. Her
countenance was very pale, yet expressive of the composure which
characterized her disposition.
"The messenger is returned, Mr. Oldbuck."
"Returned?--What the devil! he has not let the fellow go?"
"No--I understand he has carried him to confinement; and now he is
returned to attend my father, and says he can wait no longer."
A loud wrangling was now heard on the staircase, in which the voice of
Hector predominated. "You an officer, sir, and these ragamuffins a party!
a parcel of beggarly tailor fellows--tell yourselves off by nine, and we
shall know your effective strength."
The grumbling voice of the man of law was then heard indistinctly
muttering a reply, to which Hector retorted--"Come, come, sir, this won't
do;--march your party, as you call them, out of this house directly, or
I'll send you and them to the right about presently."
"The devil take Hector," said the Antiquary, hastening to the scene of
action; "his Highland blood is up again, and we shall have him fighting a
duel with the bailiff. Come, Mr. Sweepclean, you must give us a little
time--I know you would not wish to hurry Sir Arthur."
"By no means, sir," said the messenger, putting his hat off, which he had
thrown on to testify defiance of Captain M'Intyre's threats; "but your
nephew, sir, holds very uncivil language, and I have borne too much of it
already; and I am not justified in leaving my prisoner any longer after
the instructions I received, unless I am to get payment of the sums
contained in my diligence." And he held out the caption, pointing with
the awful truncheon, which he held in his right hand, to the formidable
line of figures jotted upon the back thereof.
Hector, on the other hand, though silent from respect to his uncle,
answered this gesture by shaking his clenched fist at the messenger with
a frown of Highland wrath.
"Foolish boy, be quiet," said Oldbuck, "and come with me into the room--
the man is doing his miserable duty, and you will only make matters worse
by opposing him.--I fear, Sir Arthur, you must accompany this man to
Fairport; there is no help for it in the first instance--I will accompany
you, to consult what further can be done--My nephew will escort Miss
Wardour to Monkbarns, which I hope she will make her residence until
these unpleasant matters are settled."
"I go with my father, Mr. Oldbuck," said Miss Wardour firmly--"I have
prepared his clothes and my own--I suppose we shall have the use of the
"Anything in reason, madam," said the messenger; "I have ordered it out,
and it's at the door--I will go on the box with the coachman--I have no
desire to intrude--but two of the concurrents must attend on horseback."
"I will attend too," said Hector, and he ran down to secure a horse for
"We must go then," said the Antiquary.
"To jail," said the Baronet, sighing involuntarily. "And what of that?"
he resumed, in a tone affectedly cheerful--"it is only a house we can't
get out of, after all--Suppose a fit of the gout, and Knockwinnock would
be the same--Ay, ay, Monkbarns--we'll call it a fit of the gout without
the d--d pain."
But his eyes swelled with tears as he spoke, and his faltering accent
marked how much this assumed gaiety cost him. The Antiquary wrung his
hand, and, like the Indian Banians, who drive the real terms of an
important bargain by signs, while they are apparently talking of
indifferent matters, the hand of Sir Arthur, by its convulsive return of
the grasp, expressed his sense of gratitude to his friend, and the real
state of his internal agony.--They stepped slowly down the magnificent
staircase--every well-known object seeming to the unfortunate father and
daughter to assume a more prominent and distinct appearance than usual,
as if to press themselves on their notice for the last time.
At the first landing-place, Sir Arthur made an agonized pause; and as he
observed the Antiquary look at him anxiously, he said with assumed
dignity--"Yes, Mr. Oldbuck, the descendant of an ancient line--the
representative of Richard Redhand and Gamelyn de Guardover, may be
pardoned a sigh when he leaves the castle of his fathers thus poorly
escorted. When I was sent to the Tower with my late father, in the year
1745, it was upon a charge becoming our birth--upon an accusation of high
treason, Mr. Oldbuck;--we were escorted from Highgate by a troop of
life-guards, and committed upon a secretary of state's warrant; and now,
here I am, in my old age, dragged from my household by a miserable
creature like that" (pointing to the messenger), "and for a paltry
concern of pounds, shillings, and pence."
"At least," said Oldbuck, "you have now the company of a dutiful
daughter, and a sincere friend, if you will permit me to say so, and that
may be some consolation, even without the certainty that there can be no
hanging, drawing, or quartering, on the present occasion. But I hear that
choleric boy as loud as ever. I hope to God he has got into no new
broil!--it was an accursed chance that brought him here at all."
In fact, a sudden clamour, in which the loud voice and somewhat northern
accent of Hector was again preeminently distinguished, broke off this
conversation. The cause we must refer to the next chapter.
Fortune, you say, flies from us--She but circles,
Like the fleet sea-bird round the fowler's skiff,--
Lost in the mist one moment, and the next
Brushing the white sail with her whiter wing,
As if to court the aim.--Experience watches,
And has her on the wheel--
The shout of triumph in Hector's warlike tones was not easily
distinguished from that of battle. But as he rushed up stairs with a
packet in his hand, exclaiming, "Long life to an old soldier! here comes
Edie with a whole budget of good news!" it became obvious that his
present cause of clamour was of an agreeable nature. He delivered the
letter to Oldbuck, shook Sir Arthur heartily by the hand, and wished Miss
Wardour joy, with all the frankness of Highland congratulation. The
messenger, who had a kind of instinctive terror for Captain M'Intyre,
drew towards his prisoner, keeping an eye of caution on the soldier's
"Don't suppose I shall trouble myself about you, you dirty fellow," said
the soldier; "there's a guinea for the fright I have given you; and here
comes an old _forty-two_ man, who is a fitter match for you than I am."
The messenger (one of those dogs who are not too scornful to eat dirty
puddings) caught in his hand the guinea which Hector chucked at his face;
and abode warily and carefully the turn which matters were now to take.
All voices meanwhile were loud in inquiries, which no one was in a hurry
"What is the matter, Captain M'Intyre?" said Sir Arthur.
"Ask old Edie," said Hector;--"I only know all's safe and well."
"What is all this, Edie?" said Miss Wardour to the mendicant.
"Your leddyship maun ask Monkbarns, for he has gotten the yepistolary
"God save the king!" exclaimed the Antiquary at the first glance at the
contents of his packet, and, surprised at once out of decorum,
philosophy, and phlegm, he skimmed his cocked hat in the air, from which
it descended not again, being caught in its fall by a branch of the
chandelier. He next, looking joyously round, laid a grasp on his wig,
which he perhaps would have sent after the beaver, had not Edie stopped
his hand, exclaiming "Lordsake! he's gaun gyte!--mind Caxon's no here to
repair the damage."
Every person now assailed the Antiquary, clamouring to know the cause of
so sudden a transport, when, somewhat ashamed of his rapture, he fairly
turned tail, like a fox at the cry of a pack of hounds, and ascending the
stair by two steps at a time, gained the upper landing-place, where,
turning round, he addressed the astonished audience as follows:--
"My good friends, _favete linguis_--To give you information, I must
first, according to logicians, be possessed of it myself; and, therefore,
with your leaves, I will retire into the library to examine these papers
--Sir Arthur and Miss Wardour will have the goodness to step into the
parlour--Mr. Sweepclean, _secede paulisper,_ or, in your own language,
grant us a supersedere of diligence for five minutes--Hector, draw off
your forces, and make your bear-garden flourish elsewhere--and, finally,
be all of good cheer till my return, which will be _instanter._"
The contents of the packet were indeed so little expected, that the
Antiquary might be pardoned, first his ecstasy, and next his desire of
delaying to communicate the intelligence they conveyed, until it was
arranged and digested in his own mind.
Within the envelope was a letter addressed to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq. of
Monkbarns, of the following purport:--
"Dear Sir,--To you, as my father's proved and valued friend, I venture to
address myself, being detained here by military duty of a very pressing
nature. You must by this time be acquainted with the entangled state of
our affairs; and I know it will give you great pleasure to learn, that I
am as fortunately as unexpectedly placed in a situation to give effectual
assistance for extricating them. I understand Sir Arthur is threatened
with severe measures by persons who acted formerly as his agents; and, by
advice of a creditable man of business here, I have procured the enclosed
writing, which I understand will stop their proceedings until their claim
shall be legally discussed, and brought down to its proper amount. I also
enclose bills to the amount of one thousand pounds to pay any other
pressing demands, and request of your friendship to apply them according
to your discretion. You will be surprised I give you this trouble, when
it would seem more natural to address my father directly in his own
affairs. But I have yet had no assurance that his eyes are opened to the
character of a person against whom you have often, I know, warned him,
and whose baneful influence has been the occasion of these distresses.
And as I owe the means of relieving Sir Arthur to the generosity of a
matchless friend, it is my duty to take the most certain measures for the
supplies being devoted to the purpose for which they were destined,--and
I know your wisdom and kindness will see that it is done. My friend, as
he claims an interest in your regard, will explain some views of his own
in the enclosed letter. The state of the post-office at Fairport being
rather notorious, I must send this letter to Tannonburgh; but the old man
Ochiltree, whom particular circumstances have recommended as trustworthy,
has information when the packet is likely to reach that place, and will
take care to forward it. I expect to have soon an opportunity to
apologize in person for the trouble I now give, and have the honour to be
your very faithful servant,
"Reginald Gamelyn Wardour."
"Edinburgh, 6th August, 179-."
The Antiquary hastily broke the seal of the enclosure, the contents of
which gave him equal surprise and pleasure. When he had in some measure
composed himself after such unexpected tidings, he inspected the other
papers carefully, which all related to business--put the bills into his
pocket-book, and wrote a short acknowledgment to be despatched by that
day's post, for he was extremely methodical in money matters--and lastly,
fraught with all the importance of disclosure, he descended to the
"Sweepclean," said he, as he entered, to the officer who stood
respectfully at the door, "you must sweep yourself clean out of
Knockwinnock Castle, with all your followers, tag-rag and bob-tail. Seest
thou this paper, man?"
"A sist on a bill o' suspension," said the messenger, with a disappointed
look;--"I thought it would be a queer thing if ultimate diligence was to
be done against sic a gentleman as Sir Arthur--Weel, sir, I'se go my ways
with my party--And who's to pay my charges?"
"They who employed thee," replied Oldbuck, "as thou full well dost know.
--But here comes another express: this is a day of news, I think."
This was Mr. Mailsetter on his mare from Fairport, with a letter for Sir
Arthur, another to the messenger, both of which, he said, he was directed
to forward instantly. The messenger opened his, observing that Greenhorn
and Grinderson were good enough men for his expenses, and here was a
letter from them desiring him to stop the diligence. Accordingly, he
immediately left the apartment, and staying no longer than to gather his
posse together, he did then, in the phrase of Hector, who watched his
departure as a jealous mastiff eyes the retreat of a repulsed beggar,
Sir Arthur's letter was from Mr. Greenhorn, and a curiosity in its way.
We give it, with the worthy Baronet's comments.
"Sir--[Oh! I am _dear_ sir no longer; folks are only dear to Messrs.
Greenhorn and Grinderson when they are in adversity]--Sir, I am much
concerned to learn, on my return from the country, where I was called on
particular business [a bet on the sweepstakes, I suppose], that my
partner had the impropriety, in my absence, to undertake the concerns of
Messrs. Goldiebirds in preference to yours, and had written to you in an
unbecoming manner. I beg to make my most humble apology, as well as Mr.
Grindersons--[come, I see he can write for himself and partner too]--and
trust it is impossible you can think me forgetful of, or ungrateful for,
the constant patronage which my family [_his_ family! curse him for a
puppy!] have uniformly experienced from that of Knockwinnock. I am sorry
to find, from an interview I had this day with Mr. Wardour, that he is
much irritated, and, I must own, with apparent reason. But in order to
remedy as much as in me lies the mistake of which he complains [pretty
mistake, indeed! to clap his patron into jail], I have sent this express
to discharge all proceedings against your person or property; and at the
same time to transmit my respectful apology. I have only to add, that Mr.
Grinderson is of opinion, that if restored to your confidence, he could
point out circumstances connected with Messrs. Goldiebirds' present claim
which would greatly reduce its amount [so, so, willing to play the rogue
on either side]; and that there is not the slightest hurry in settling
the balance of your accompt with us; and that I am, for Mr. G. as well as
myself, Dear Sir [O ay, he has written himself into an approach to
familiarity], your much obliged and most humble servant,
"Well said, Mr. Gilbert Greenhorn," said Monkbarns; "I see now there is
some use in having two attorneys in one firm. Their movements resemble
those of the man and woman in a Dutch baby-house. When it is fair weather
with the client, out comes the gentleman partner to fawn like a spaniel;
when it is foul, forth bolts the operative brother to pin like a
bull-dog. Well, I thank God that my man of business still wears an
equilateral cocked hat, has a house in the Old Town, is as much afraid of
a horse as I am myself, plays at golf of a Saturday, goes to the kirk of
a Sunday, and, in respect he has no partner, hath only his own folly to
"There are some writers very honest fellows," said Hector; "I should like
to hear any one say that my cousin, Donald M'Intyre, Strathtudlem's
seventh son (the other six are in the army), is not as honest a fellow"--
"No doubt, no doubt, Hector, all the M'Intyres are so; they have it by
patent, man--But I was going to say, that in a profession where unbounded
trust is necessarily reposed, there is nothing surprising that fools
should neglect it in their idleness, and tricksters abuse it in their
knavery. But it is the more to the honour of those (and I will vouch for
many) who unite integrity with skill and attention, and walk honourably
upright where there are so many pitfalls and stumbling-blocks for those
of a different character. To such men their fellow citizens may safely
entrust the care of protecting their patrimonial rights, and their
country the more sacred charge of her laws and privileges."
"They are best aff, however, that hae least to do with them," said
Ochiltree, who had stretched his neck into the parlour door; for the
general confusion of the family not having yet subsided, the domestics,
like waves after the fall of a hurricane, had not yet exactly regained
their due limits, but were roaming wildly through the house.
"Aha, old Truepenny, art thou there?" said the Antiquary. "Sir Arthur,
let me bring in the messenger of good luck, though he is but a lame one.
You talked of the raven that scented out the slaughter from afar; but
here's a blue pigeon (somewhat of the oldest and toughest, I grant) who
smelled the good news six or seven miles off, flew thither in the
taxed-cart, and returned with the olive branch."
"Ye owe it o' to puir Robie that drave me;--puir fallow," said the
beggar, "he doubts he's in disgrace wi' my leddy and Sir Arthur."
Robert's repentant and bashful face was seen over the mendicant's
"In disgrace with me?" said Sir Arthur--"how so?"--for the irritation
into which he had worked himself on occasion of the toast had been long
forgotten. "O, I recollect--Robert, I was angry, and you were wrong;--go
about your work, and never answer a master that speaks to you in a
"Nor any one else," said the Antiquary; "for a soft answer turneth away
"And tell your mother, who is so ill with the rheumatism, to come down to
the housekeeper to-morrow," said Miss Wardour, "and we will see what can
be of service to her."
"God bless your leddyship," said poor Robert, "and his honour Sir Arthur,
and the young laird, and the house of Knockwinnock in a' its branches,
far and near!--it's been a kind and gude house to the puir this mony
"There"--said the Antiquary to Sir Arthur--"we won't dispute--but there
you see the gratitude of the poor people naturally turns to the civil
virtues of your family. You don't hear them talk of Redhand, or
Hell-in-Harness. For me, I must say, _Odi accipitrem qui semper vivit in
armis_--so let us eat and drink in peace, and be joyful, Sir Knight."
A table was quickly covered in the parlour, where the party sat joyously
down to some refreshment. At the request of Oldbuck, Edie Ochiltree was
permitted to sit by the sideboard in a great leathern chair, which was
placed in some measure behind a screen.
"I accede to this the more readily," said Sir Arthur, "because I remember
in my fathers days that chair was occupied by Ailshie Gourlay, who, for
aught I know, was the last privileged fool, or jester, maintained by any
family of distinction in Scotland."
"Aweel, Sir Arthur," replied the beggar, who never hesitated an instant
between his friend and his jest, "mony a wise man sits in a fule's seat,
and mony a fule in a wise man's, especially in families o' distinction."
Miss Wardour, fearing the effect of this speech (however worthy of
Ailsbie Gourlay, or any other privileged jester) upon the nerves of her
father, hastened to inquire whether ale and beef should not be
distributed to the servants and people whom the news had assembled round
"Surely, my love," said her father; "when was it ever otherwise in our
families when a siege had been raised?"
"Ay, a siege laid by Saunders Sweepclean the bailiff, and raised by Edie
Ochiltree the gaberlunzie, _par nobile fratrum,_" said Oldbuck, "and well
pitted against each other in respectability. But never mind, Sir Arthur--
these are such sieges and such reliefs as our time of day admits of--and
our escape is not less worth commemorating in a glass of this excellent
wine--Upon my credit, it is Burgundy, I think."
"Were there anything better in the cellar," said Miss Wardour, "it would
be all too little to regale you after your friendly exertions."
"Say you so?" said the Antiquary: "why, then, a cup of thanks to you, my
fair enemy, and soon may you be besieged as ladies love best to be, and
sign terms of capitulation in the chapel of Saint Winnox!"
Miss Wardour blushed--Hector coloured, and then grew pale.
Sir Arthur answered, "My daughter is much obliged to you, Monkbarns; but
unless you'll accept of her yourself, I really do not know where a poor
knight's daughter is to seek for an alliance in these mercenary times."
"Me, mean ye, Sir Arthur? No, not I! I will claim privilege of the
duello, and, as being unable to encounter my fair enemy myself, I will
appear by my champion--But of this matter hereafter. What do you find in
the papers there, Hector, that you hold your head down over them as if
your nose were bleeding?"
"Nothing particular, sir; but only that, as my arm is now almost quite
well, I think I shall relieve you of my company in a day or two, and go
to Edinburgh. I see Major Neville is arrived there. I should like to see
"Major whom?" said his uncle.
"Major Neville, sir," answered the young soldier.
"And who the devil is Major Neville?" demanded the Antiquary.
"O, Mr. Oldbuck," said Sir Arthur, "you must remember his name frequently
in the newspapers--a very distinguished young officer indeed. But I am
happy to say that Mr. M'Intyre need not leave Monkbarns to see him, for
my son writes that the Major is to come with him to Knockwinnock, and I
need not say how happy I shall be to make the young gentlemen
acquainted,--unless, indeed, they are known to each other already."
"No, not personally," answered Hector, "but I have had occasion to hear a
good deal of him, and we have several mutual friends--your son being one
of them. But I must go to Edinburgh; for I see my uncle is beginning to
grow tired of me, and I am afraid"--
"That you will grow tired of him?" interrupted Oldbuck,--"I fear that's
past praying for. But you have forgotten that the ecstatic twelfth of
August approaches, and that you are engaged to meet one of Lord
Glenallan's gamekeepers, God knows where, to persecute the peaceful
"True, true, uncle--I had forgot that," exclaimed the volatile Hector;
"but you said something just now that put everything out of my head."
"An it like your honours," said old Edie, thrusting his white bead from
behind the screen, where he had been plentifully regaling himself with
ale and cold meat--"an it like your honours, I can tell ye something that
will keep the Captain wi' us amaist as weel as the pouting--Hear ye na
the French are coming?"
"The French, you blockhead?" answered Oldbuck--"Bah!"
"I have not had time," said Sir Arthur Wardour, "to look over my
lieutenancy correspondence for the week--indeed, I generally make a rule
to read it only on Wednesdays, except in pressing cases,--for I do
everything by method; but from the glance I took of my letters, I
observed some alarm was entertained."
"Alarm?" said Edie, "troth there's alarm, for the provost's gar'd the
beacon light on the Halket-head be sorted up (that suld hae been sorted
half a year syne) in an unco hurry, and the council hae named nae less a
man than auld Caxon himsell to watch the light. Some say it was out o'
compliment to Lieutenant Taffril,--for it's neist to certain that he'll
marry Jenny Caxon,--some say it's to please your honour and Monkbarns
that wear wigs--and some say there's some auld story about a periwig that
ane o' the bailies got and neer paid for--Onyway, there he is, sitting
cockit up like a skart upon the tap o' the craig, to skirl when foul
"On mine honour, a pretty warder," said Monkbarns; "and what's my wig to
do all the while?"
"I asked Caxon that very question," answered Ochiltree, "and he said he
could look in ilka morning, and gie't a touch afore he gaed to his bed,
for there's another man to watch in the day-time, and Caxon says he'll
friz your honour's wig as weel sleeping as wauking."
This news gave a different turn to the conversation, which ran upon
national defence, and the duty of fighting for the land we live in, until
it was time to part. The Antiquary and his nephew resumed their walk
homeward, after parting from Knockwinnock with the warmest expressions of
mutual regard, and an agreement to meet again as soon as possible.
Nay, if she love me not, I care not for her:
Shall I look pale because the maiden blooms
Or sigh because she smiles, and smiles on others
Not I, by Heaven!--I hold my peace too dear,
To let it, like the plume upon her cap,
Shake at each nod that her caprice shall dictate.
"Hector," said his uncle to Captain M'Intyre, in the course of their walk
homeward, "I am sometimes inclined to suspect that, in one respect, you
are a fool."
"If you only think me so in _one_ respect, sir, I am sure you do me more
grace than I expected or deserve."
"I mean in one particular _par excellence,_" answered the Antiquary. "I
have sometimes thought that you have cast your eyes upon Miss Wardour."
"Well, sir," said M'Intyre, with much composure.
"Well, sir," echoed his uncle--"Deuce take the fellow! he answers me as
if it were the most reasonable thing in the world, that he, a captain in
the array, and nothing at all besides, should marry the daughter of a
"I presume to think, sir," said the young Highlander, "there would be no
degradation on Miss Wardour's part in point of family."
"O, Heaven forbid we should come on that topic!--No, no, equal both--both
on the table-land of gentility, and qualified to look down on every
_roturier_ in Scotland."
"And in point of fortune we are pretty even, since neither of us have got
any," continued Hector. "There may be an error, but I cannot plead guilty
"But here lies the error, then, if you call it so," replied his uncle:
"she won't have you, Hector."
"It is very sure, Hector; and to make it double sure, I must inform you
that she likes another man. She misunderstood some words I once said to
her, and I have since been able to guess at the interpretation she put on
them. At the time I was unable to account for her hesitation and
blushing; but, my poor Hector, I now understand them as a death-signal to
your hopes and pretensions. So I advise you to beat your retreat and draw
off your forces as well as you can, for the fort is too well garrisoned
for you to storm it."
"I have no occasion to beat any retreat, uncle," said Hector, holding
himself very upright, and marching with a sort of dogged and offended
solemnity; "no man needs to retreat that has never advanced. There are
women in Scotland besides Miss Wardour, of as good family"--
"And better taste," said his uncle; "doubtless there are, Hector; and
though I cannot say but that she is one of the most accomplished as well
as sensible girls I have seen, yet I doubt, much of her merit would be
cast away on you. A showy figure, now, with two cross feathers above her
noddle--one green, one blue; who would wear a riding-habit of the
regimental complexion, drive a gig one day, and the next review the
regiment on the grey trotting pony which dragged that vehicle, _hoc erat
in votis;_--these are the qualities that would subdue you, especially if
she had a taste for natural history, and loved a specimen of a _phoca._"
"It's a little hard, sir," said Hector, "I must have that cursed seal
thrown into my face on all occasions--but I care little about it--and I
shall not break my heart for Miss Wardour. She is free to choose for
herself, and I wish her all happiness."
"Magnanimously resolved, thou prop of Troy! Why, Hector, I was afraid of
a scene. Your sister told me you were desperately in love with Miss
"Sir," answered the young man, "you would not have me desperately in love
with a woman that does not care about me?"
"Well, nephew," said the Antiquary, more seriously, "there is doubtless
much sense in what you say; yet I would have given a great deal, some
twenty or twenty-five years since, to have been able to think as you do."
"Anybody, I suppose, may think as they please on such subjects," said
"Not according to the old school," said Oldbuck; "but, as I said before,
the practice of the modern seems in this case the most prudential,
though, I think, scarcely the most interesting. But tell me your ideas
now on this prevailing subject of an invasion. The cry is still, They
Hector, swallowing his mortification, which he was peculiarly anxious to
conceal from his uncle's satirical observation, readily entered into a
conversation which was to turn the Antiquary's thoughts from Miss Wardour
and the seal. When they reached Monkbarns, the communicating to the
ladies the events which had taken place at the castle, with the
counter-information of how long dinner had waited before the womankind
had ventured to eat it in the Antiquary's absence, averted these delicate
topics of discussion.
The next morning the Antiquary arose early, and, as Caxon had not yet
made his appearance, he began mentally to feel the absence of the petty
news and small talk of which the ex-peruquier was a faithful reporter,
and which habit had made as necessary to the Antiquary as his occasional
pinch of snuff, although he held, or affected to hold, both to be of the
same intrinsic value. The feeling of vacuity peculiar to such a
deprivation, was alleviated by the appearance of old Ochiltree,
sauntering beside the clipped yew and holly hedges, with the air of a
person quite at home. Indeed, so familiar had he been of late, that even
Juno did not bark at him, but contented herself with watching him with a
close and vigilant eye. Our Antiquary stepped out in his night-gown, and
instantly received and returned his greeting.
"They are coming now, in good earnest, Monkbarns. I just cam frae
Fairport to bring ye the news, and then I'll step away back again. The
Search has just come into the bay, and they say she's been chased by a
"The Search?" said Oldbuck, reflecting a moment. "Oho!"
"Ay, ay, Captain Taffril's gun-brig, the Search."
"What? any relation to _Search, No. II.?_" said Oldbuck, catching at the
light which the name of the vessel seemed to throw on the mysterious
chest of treasure.
The mendicant, like a man detected in a frolic, put his bonnet before his
face, yet could not help laughing heartily.--"The deil's in you,
Monkbarns, for garring odds and evens meet. Wha thought ye wad hae laid
that and that thegither? Od, I am clean catch'd now."
"I see it all," said Oldbuck, "as plain as the legend on a medal of high
preservation--the box in which the' bullion was found belonged to the
gun-brig, and the treasure to my phoenix?"--(Edie nodded assent),--"and
was buried there that Sir Arthur might receive relief in his
"By me," said Edie, "and twa o' the brig's men--but they didna ken its
contents, and thought it some bit smuggling concern o' the Captain's. I
watched day and night till I saw it in the right hand; and then, when
that German deevil was glowering at the lid o' the kist (they liked
mutton weel that licked where the yowe lay), I think some Scottish deevil
put it into my head to play him yon ither cantrip. Now, ye see, if I had
said mair or less to Bailie Littlejohn, I behoved till hae come out wi'
a' this story; and vexed would Mr. Lovel hae been to have it brought to
light--sae I thought I would stand to onything rather than that."
"I must say he has chosen his confidant well," said Oldbuck, "though
"I'll say this for mysell, Monkbarns," answered the mendicant, "that I am
the fittest man in the haill country to trust wi' siller, for I neither
want it, nor wish for it, nor could use it if I had it. But the lad hadna
muckle choice in the matter, for he thought he was leaving the country
for ever (I trust he's mistaen in that though); and the night was set in
when we learned, by a strange chance, Sir Arthur's sair distress, and
Lovel was obliged to be on board as the day dawned. But five nights
afterwards the brig stood into the bay, and I met the boat by
appointment, and we buried the treasure where ye fand it."
"This was a very romantic, foolish exploit," said Oldbuck: "why not trust
me, or any other friend?"
"The blood o' your sister's son," replied Edie, "was on his hands, and
him maybe dead outright--what time had he to take counsel?--or how could
he ask it of you, by onybody?"
"You are right. But what if Dousterswivel had come before you?"
"There was little fear o' his coming there without Sir Arthur: he had
gotten a sair gliff the night afore, and never intended to look near the
place again, unless he had been brought there sting and ling. He ken'd
weel the first pose was o' his ain hiding, and how could he expect a
second? He just havered on about it to make the mair o' Sir Arthur."
"Then how," said Oldbuck, "should Sir Arthur have come there unless the
German had brought him?"
"Umph!" answered Edie drily. "I had a story about Misticot wad hae
brought him forty miles, or you either. Besides, it was to be thought he
would be for visiting the place he fand the first siller in--he ken'd na
the secret o' that job. In short, the siller being in this shape, Sir
Arthur in utter difficulties, and Lovel determined he should never ken
the hand that helped him,--for that was what he insisted maist upon,--we
couldna think o' a better way to fling the gear in his gate, though we
simmered it and wintered it e'er sae lang. And if by ony queer mischance
Doustercivil had got his claws on't, I was instantly to hae informed you
or the Sheriff o' the haill story."
"Well, notwithstanding all these wise precautions, I think your
contrivance succeeded better than such a clumsy one deserved, Edie. But
how the deuce came Lovel by such a mass of silver ingots?"
"That's just what I canna tell ye--But they were put on board wi' his
things at Fairport, it's like, and we stowed them into ane o' the
ammunition-boxes o' the brig, baith for concealment and convenience of
"Lord!" said Oldbuck, his recollection recurring to the earlier part of
his acquaintance with Lovel; "and this young fellow, who was putting
hundreds on so strange a hazard, I must be recommending a subscription to
him, and paying his bill at the Ferry! I never will pay any person's bill
again, that's certain.--And you kept up a constant correspondence with
Lovel, I suppose?"
"I just gat ae bit scrape o' a pen frae him, to say there wad, as
yesterday fell, be a packet at Tannonburgh, wi' letters o' great
consequence to the Knockwinnock folk; for they jaloused the opening of
our letters at Fairport--And that's a's true; I hear Mrs. Mailsetter is
to lose her office for looking after other folk's business and neglecting
"And what do you expect now, Edie, for being the adviser, and messenger,
and guard, and confidential person in all these matters?"
"Deil haet do I expect--excepting that a' the gentles will come to the
gaberlunzie's burial; and maybe ye'll carry the head yoursell, as ye did
puir Steenie Mucklebackit's.--What trouble was't to me? I was ganging
about at ony rate--Oh, but I was blythe when I got out of Prison, though;
for I thought, what if that weary letter should come when I am closed up
here like an oyster, and a' should gang wrang for want o't? and whiles I
thought I maun mak a clean breast and tell you a' about it; but then I
couldna weel do that without contravening Mr. Lovel's positive orders;
and I reckon he had to see somebody at Edinburgh afore he could do what
he wussed to do for Sir Arthur and his family."
"Well, and to your public news, Edie--So they are still coming are they?"
"Troth they say sae, sir; and there's come down strict orders for the
forces and volunteers to be alert; and there's a clever young officer to
come here forthwith, to look at our means o' defence--I saw the Bailies
lass cleaning his belts and white breeks--I gae her a hand, for ye maun
think she wasna ower clever at it, and sae I gat a' the news for my
"And what think you, as an old soldier?"
"Troth I kenna--an they come so mony as they speak o', they'll be odds
against us. But there's mony yauld chields amang thae volunteers; and I
mauna say muckle about them that's no weel and no very able, because I am
something that gate mysell--But we'se do our best."
"What! so your martial spirit is rising again, Edie?
Even in our ashes glow their wonted fires!
I would not have thought you, Edie, had so much to fight for?"
"_Me_ no muckle to fight for, sir?--isna there the country to fight for,
and the burnsides that I gang daundering beside, and the hearths o'the
gudewives that gie me my bit bread, and the bits o' weans that come
toddling to play wi' me when I come about a landward town?--Deil!" he
continued, grasping his pike-staff with great emphasis, "an I had as gude
pith as I hae gude-will, and a gude cause, I should gie some o' them a
"Bravo, bravo, Edie! The country's in little ultimate danger, when the
beggar's as ready to fight for his dish as the laird for his land."
Their further conversation reverted to the particulars of the night
passed by the mendicant and Lovel in the ruins of St. Ruth; by the
details of which the Antiquary was highly amused.
"I would have given a guinea," he said, "to have seen the scoundrelly
German under the agonies of those terrors, which it is part of his own
quackery to inspire into others; and trembling alternately for the fury
of his patron, and the apparition of some hobgoblin."
"Troth," said the beggar, "there was time for him to be cowed; for ye wad
hae thought the very spirit of Hell-in-Harness had taken possession o'
the body o' Sir Arthur. But what will come o' the land-louper?"
"I have had a letter this morning, from which I understand he has
acquitted you of the charge he brought against you, and offers to make
such discoveries as will render the settlement of Sir Arthur's affairs a
more easy task than we apprehended--So writes the Sheriff; and adds, that
he has given some private information of importance to Government, in
consideration of which, I understand he will be sent back to play the
knave in his own country."
"And a' the bonny engines, and wheels, and the coves, and sheughs, doun
at Glenwithershins yonder, what's to come o' them?" said Edie.
"I hope the men, before they are dispersed, will make a bonfire of their
gimcracks, as an army destroy their artillery when forced to raise a
siege. And as for the holes, Edie, I abandon them as rat-traps, for the
benefit of the next wise men who may choose to drop the substance to
snatch at a shadow."
"Hech, sirs! guide us a'! to burn the engines? that's a great waste--Had
ye na better try to get back part o' your hundred pounds wi' the sale o'
the materials?" he continued, with a tone of affected condolence.
"Not a farthing," said the Antiquary, peevishly, taking a turn from him,
and making a step or two away. Then returning, half-smiling at his own
pettishness, he said, "Get thee into the house, Edie, and remember my
counsel, never speak to me about a mine, nor to my nephew Hector about a
_phoca,_ that is a sealgh, as you call it."
"I maun be ganging my ways back to Fairport," said the wanderer; "I want
to see what they're saying there about the invasion;--but I'll mind what
your honour says, no to speak to you about a sealgh, or to the Captain
about the hundred pounds that you gied to Douster"--
"Confound thee!--I desired thee not to mention that to me."
"Dear me!" said Edie, with affected surprise; "weel, I thought there was
naething but what your honour could hae studden in the way o' agreeable
conversation, unless it was about the Praetorian yonder, or the bodle
that the packman sauld to ye for an auld coin."
"Pshaw! pshaw!" said the Antiquary, turning from him hastily, and
retreating into the house.
The mendicant looked after him a moment, and with a chuckling laugh, such
as that with which a magpie or parrot applauds a successful exploit of
mischief, he resumed once more the road to Fairport. His habits had given
him a sort of restlessness, much increased by the pleasure he took in
gathering news; and in a short time he had regained the town which he
left in the morning, for no reason that he knew himself, unless just to
"hae a bit crack wi' Monkbarns."
Red glared the beacon on Pownell
On Skiddaw there were three;
The bugle horn on moor and fell
Was heard continually.
The watch who kept his watch on the hill, and looked towards Birnam,
probably conceived himself dreaming when he first beheld the fated grove
put itself into motion for its march to Dunsinane. Even so old Caxon, as
perched in his hut, he qualified his thoughts upon the approaching
marriage of his daughter, and the dignity of being father-in-law to
Lieutenant Taffril, with an occasional peep towards the signal-post with
which his own corresponded, was not a little surprised by observing a
light in that direction. He rubbed his eyes, looked again, adjusting his
observation by a cross-staff which had been placed so as to bear upon the
point. And behold, the light increased, like a comet to the eye of the
astronomer, "with fear of change perplexing nations."
"The Lord preserve us!" said Caxon, "what's to be done now? But there
will be wiser heads than mine to look to that, sae I'se e'en fire the
And he lighted the beacon accordingly, which threw up to the sky a long
wavering train of light, startling the sea-fowl from their nests, and
reflected far beneath by the reddening billows of the sea. The brother
warders of Caxon being equally diligent, caught, and repeated his signal.
The lights glanced on headlands and capes and inland hills, and the whole
district was alarmed by the signal of invasion. *
* Note J. Alarms of Invasion.
Our Antiquary, his head wrapped warm in two double night-caps, was
quietly enjoying his repose, when it was suddenly broken by the screams
of his sister, his niece, and two maid-servants.
"What the devil is the matter?" said he, starting up in his bed--
"womankind in my room at this hour of night!--are ye all mad?"
"The beacon, uncle!" said Miss M'Intyre.
"The French coming to murder us!" screamed Miss Griselda.
"The beacon! the beacon!--the French! the French!--murder! murder! and
waur than murder!"--cried the two handmaidens, like the chorus of an
"The French?" said Oldbuck, starting up--"get out of the room, womankind
that you are, till I get my things on--And hark ye, bring me my sword."
"Whilk o' them, Monkbarns?" cried his sister, offering a Roman falchion
of brass with the one hand, and with the other an Andrea Ferrara without
"The langest, the langest," cried Jenny Rintherout, dragging in a
two-handed sword of the twelfth century.
"Womankind," said Oldbuck in great agitation, "be composed, and do not
give way to vain terror--Are you sure they are come?"
"Sure, sure!" exclaimed Jenny--"ower sure!--a' the sea fencibles, and the
land fencibles, and the volunteers and yeomanry, are on fit, and driving
to Fairport as hard as horse and man can gang--and auld Mucklebackit's
gane wi' the lave--muckle gude he'll do!--Hech, sirs!--_he'll_ be missed
the morn wha wad hae served king and country weel!"
"Give me," said Oldbuck, "the sword which my father wore in the year
forty-five--it hath no belt or baldrick--but we'll make shift."
So saying he thrust the weapon through the cover of his breeches pocket.
At this moment Hector entered, who had been to a neighbouring height to
ascertain whether the alarm was actual.
"Where are your arms, nephew?" exclaimed Oldbuck--"where is your
double-barrelled gun, that was never out of your hand when there was no
occasion for such vanities?"
"Pooh! pooh! sir," said Hector, "who ever took a fowling-piece on action?
I have got my uniform on, you see--I hope I shall be of more use if they
will give me a command than I could be with ten double-barrels. And you,
sir, must get to Fairport, to give directions for quartering and
maintaining the men and horses, and preventing confusion."
"You are right, Hector,--l believe I shall do as much with my head as my
hand too. But here comes Sir Arthur Wardour, who, between ourselves, is
not fit to accomplish much either one way or the other."
Sir Arthur was probably of a different opinion; for, dressed in his
lieutenancy uniform, he was also on the road to Fairport, and called in
his way to take Mr. Oldbuck with him, having had his original opinion of
his sagacity much confirmed by late events. And in spite of all the
entreaties of the womankind that the Antiquary would stay to garrison
Monkbarns, Mr. Oldbuck, with his nephew, instantly accepted Sir Arthur's
Those who have witnessed such a scene can alone conceive the state of
bustle in Fairport. The windows were glancing with a hundred lights,
which, appearing and disappearing rapidly, indicated the confusion within
doors. The women of lower rank assembled and clamoured in the
market-place. The yeomanry, pouring from their different glens, galloped
through the streets, some individually, some in parties of five or six,
as they had met on the road. The drums and fifes of the volunteers
beating to arms, were blended with the voice of the officers, the sound
of the bugles, and the tolling of the bells from the steeple. The ships
in the harbour were lit up, and boats from the armed vessels added to the
bustle, by landing men and guns destined to assist in the defence of the
place. This part of the preparations was superintended by Taffril with
much activity. Two or three light vessels had already slipped their
cables and stood out to sea, in order to discover the supposed enemy.
Such was the scene of general confusion, when Sir Arthur Wardour,
Oldbuck, and Hector, made their way with difficulty into the principal
square, where the town-house is situated. It was lighted up, and the
magistracy, with many of the neighbouring gentlemen, were assembled. And
here, as upon other occasions of the like kind in Scotland, it was
remarkable how the good sense and firmness of the people supplied almost
all the deficiencies of inexperience.
The magistrates were beset by the quarter-masters of the different corps
for billets for men and horses. "Let us," said Bailie Littlejohn, "take
the horses into our warehouses, and the men into our parlours--share our
supper with the one, and our forage with the other. We have made
ourselves wealthy under a free and paternal government, and now is the
time to show we know its value."
A loud and cheerful acquiescence was given by all present, and the
substance of the wealthy, with the persons of those of all ranks, were
unanimously devoted to the defence of the country.
Captain M'Intyre acted on this occasion as military adviser and
aide-de-camp to the principal magistrate, and displayed a degree of
presence of mind, and knowledge of his profession, totally unexpected by
his uncle, who, recollecting his usual _insouciance_ and impetuosity,
gazed at him with astonishment from time to time, as he remarked the calm
and steady manner in which he explained the various measures of
precaution that his experience suggested, and gave directions for
executing them. He found the different corps in good order, considering
the irregular materials of which they were composed, in great force of
numbers and high confidence and spirits. And so much did military
experience at that moment overbalance all other claims to consequence,
that even old Edie, instead of being left, like Diogenes at Sinope, to
roll his tub when all around were preparing for defence, had the duty
assigned him of superintending the serving out of the ammunition, which
he executed with much discretion.
Two things were still anxiously expected--the presence of the Glenallan
volunteers, who, in consideration of the importance of that family, had
been formed into a separate corps, and the arrival of the officer before
announced, to whom the measures of defence on that coast had been
committed by the commander-in-chief, and whose commission would entitle
him to take upon himself the full disposal of the military force.
At length the bugles of the Glenallan yeomanry were heard, and the Earl
himself, to the surprise of all who knew his habits and state of health,
appeared at their head in uniform. They formed a very handsome and
well-mounted squadron, formed entirely out of the Earl's Lowland tenants,
and were followed by a regiment of five hundred men, completely equipped
in the Highland dress, whom he had brought down from the upland glens,
with their pipes playing in the van. The clean and serviceable appearance
of this band of feudal dependants called forth the admiration of Captain
M'Intyre; but his uncle was still more struck by the manner in which,
upon this crisis, the ancient military spirit of his house seemed to
animate and invigorate the decayed frame of the Earl, their leader. He
claimed, and obtained for himself and his followers, the post most likely
to be that of danger, displayed great alacrity in making the necessary
dispositions, and showed equal acuteness in discussing their propriety.
Morning broke in upon the military councils of Fairport, while all
concerned were still eagerly engaged in taking precautions for their
At length a cry among the people announced, "There's the brave Major
Neville come at last, with another officer;" and their post-chaise and
four drove into the square, amidst the huzzas of the volunteers and
inhabitants. The magistrates, with their assessors of the lieutenancy,
hastened to the door of their town-house to receive him; but what was the
surprise of all present, but most especially that of the Antiquary, when
they became aware, that the handsome uniform and military cap disclosed
the person and features of the pacific Lovel! A warm embrace, and a
hearty shake of the hand, were necessary to assure him that his eyes were
doing him justice. Sir Arthur was no less surprised to recognise his son,
Captain Wardour, in Lovel's, or rather Major Neville's company. The first
words of the young officers were a positive assurance to all present,
that the courage and zeal which they had displayed were entirely thrown
away, unless in so far as they afforded an acceptable proof of their
spirit and promptitude.
"The watchman at Halket-head," said Major Neville, "as we discovered by
an investigation which we made in our route hither, was most naturally
misled by a bonfire which some idle people had made on the hill above
Glenwithershins, just in the line of the beacon with which his
Oldbuck gave a conscious look to Sir Arthur, who returned it with one
equally sheepish, and a shrug of the shoulders,
"It must have been the machinery which we condemned to the flames in our
wrath," said the Antiquary, plucking up heart, though not a little
ashamed of having been the cause of so much disturbance--"The devil take
Dousterswivel with all my heart!--I think he has bequeathed us a legacy
of blunders and mischief, as if he had lighted some train of fireworks at
his departure. I wonder what cracker will go off next among our shins.
But yonder comes the prudent Caxon.--Hold up your head, you ass--your
betters must bear the blame for you--And here, take this what-d'ye-call
it"--(giving him his sword)--"I wonder what I would have said yesterday
to any man that would have told me I was to stick such an appendage to my
Here he found his arm gently pressed by Lord Glenallan, who dragged him
into a separate apartment. "For God's sake, who is that young gentleman
who is so strikingly like"--
"Like the unfortunate Eveline," interrupted Oldbuck. "I felt my heart
warm to him from the first, and your lordship has suggested the very
"But who--who is he?" continued Lord Glenallan, holding the Antiquary
with a convulsive grasp.
"Formerly I would have called him Lovel, but now he turns out to be Major
"Whom my brother brought up as his natural son--whom he made his heir--
Gracious Heaven! the child of my Eveline!"
"Hold, my lord--hold!" said Oldbuck, "do not give too hasty way to such a
presumption;--what probability is there?"
"Probability? none! There is certainty! absolute certainty! The agent I
mentioned to you wrote me the whole story--I received it yesterday, not
sooner. Bring him, for God's sake, that a father's eyes may bless him
before he departs."
"I will; but for your own sake and his, give him a few moments for
And, determined to make still farther investigation before yielding his
entire conviction to so strange a tale, he sought out Major Neville, and
found him expediting the necessary measures for dispersing the force
which had been assembled.
"Pray, Major Neville, leave this business for a moment to Captain Wardour
and to Hector, with whom, I hope, you are thoroughly reconciled" (Neville
laughed, and shook hands with Hector across the table), "and grant me a
"You have a claim on me, Mr. Oldbuck, were my business more urgent," said
Neville, "for having passed myself upon you under a false name, and
rewarding your hospitality by injuring your nephew."
"You served him as he deserved," said Oldbuck--"though, by the way, he
showed as much good sense as spirit to-day--Egad! if he would rub up his
learning, and read Caesar and Polybus, and the _Stratagemata Polyaeni,_ I
think he would rise in the army--and I will certainly lend him a lift."
"He is heartily deserving of it," said Neville; "and I am glad you excuse
me, which you may do the more frankly, when you know that I am so
unfortunate as to have no better right to the name of Neville, by which I
have been generally distinguished, than to that of Lovel, under which you
"Indeed! then, I trust, we shall find out one for you to which you shall
have a firm and legal title."
"Sir!--I trust you do not think the misfortune of my birth a fit
"By no means, young man," answered the Antiquary, interrupting him;--"I
believe I know more of your birth than you do yourself--and, to convince
you of it, you were educated and known as a natural son of Geraldin
Neville of Neville's-Burgh, in Yorkshire, and I presume, as his destined
"Pardon me--no such views were held out to me. I was liberally educated,
and pushed forward in the army by money and interest; but I believe my
supposed father long entertained some ideas of marriage, though he never
carried them into effect."
"You say your _supposed_ father?--What leads you to suppose Mr. Geraldin
Neville was not your real father?"
"I know, Mr. Oldbuck, that you would not ask these questions on a point
of such delicacy for the gratification of idle curiosity. I will
therefore tell you candidly, that last year, while we occupied a small
town in French Flanders, I found in a convent, near which I was
quartered, a woman who spoke remarkably good English--She was a Spaniard
--her name Teresa D'Acunha. In the process of our acquaintance, she
discovered who I was, and made herself known to me as the person who had
charge of my infancy. She dropped more than one hint of rank to which I
was entitled, and of injustice done to me, promising a more full
disclosure in case of the death of a lady in Scotland, during whose
lifetime she was determined to keep the secret. She also intimated that
Mr. Geraldin Neville was not my father. We were attacked by the enemy,
and driven from the town, which was pillaged with savage ferocity by the
republicans. The religious orders were the particular objects of their
hate and cruelty. The convent was burned, and several nuns perished--
among others Teresa; and with her all chance of knowing the story of my
birth: tragic by all accounts it must have been."
"_Raro antecedentem scelestum,_ or, as I may here say, _scelestam,_" said
Oldbuck, "_deseruit poena_--even Epicureans admitted that. And what did
you do upon this?"
"I remonstrated with Mr. Neville by letter, and to no purpose. I then
obtained leave of absence, and threw myself at his feet, conjuring him to
complete the disclosure which Teresa had begun. He refused, and, on my
importunity, indignantly upbraided me with the favours he had already
conferred. I thought he abused the power of a benefactor, as he was
compelled to admit he had no title to that of a father, and we parted in
mutual displeasure. I renounced the name of Neville, and assumed that
under which you knew me. It was at this time, when residing with a friend
in the north of England who favoured my disguise, that I became
acquainted with Miss Wardour, and was romantic enough to follow her to
Scotland. My mind wavered on various plans of life, when I resolved to
apply once more to Mr. Neville for an explanation of the mystery of my
birth. It was long ere I received an answer; you were present when it was
put into my hands. He informed me of his bad state of health, and
conjured me, for my own sake, to inquire no farther into the nature of
his connection with me, but to rest satisfied with his declaring it to be
such and so intimate, that he designed to constitute me his heir. When I
was preparing to leave Fairport to join him, a second express brought me
word that he was no more. The possession of great wealth was unable to
suppress the remorseful feelings with which I now regarded my conduct to
my benefactor, and some hints in his letter appearing to intimate there
was on my birth a deeper stain than that of ordinary illegitimacy, I
remembered certain prejudices of Sir Arthur."
"And you brooded over these melancholy ideas until you were ill, instead
of coming to me for advice, and telling me the whole story?" said
"Exactly; then came my quarrel with Captain M'Intyre, and my compelled
departure from Fairport and its vicinity."
"From love and from poetry--Miss Wardour and the Caledoniad?"
"And since that time you have been occupied, I suppose, with plans for
Sir Arthur's relief?"
"Yes, sir; with the assistance of Captain Wardour at Edinburgh."
"And Edie Ochiltree here--you see I know the whole story. But how came
you by the treasure?"
"It was a quantity of plate which had belonged to my uncle, and was left
in the custody of a person at Fairport. Some time before his death he had
sent orders that it should be melted down. He perhaps did not wish me to
see the Glenallan arms upon it."
"Well, Major Neville--or let me say, Lovel, being the name in which I
rather delight--you must, I believe, exchange both of your _alias's_ for
the style and title of the Honourable William Geraldin, commonly called
The Antiquary then went through the strange and melancholy circumstances
concerning his mother's death.
"I have no doubt," he said, "that your uncle wished the report to be
believed, that the child of this unhappy marriage was no more--perhaps he
might himself have an eye to the inheritance of his brother--he was then
a gay wild young man--But of all intentions against your person, however
much the evil conscience of Elspeth might lead her to inspect him from
the agitation in which he appeared, Teresa's story and your own fully
acquit him. And now, my dear sir, let me have the pleasure of introducing
a son to a father."
We will not attempt to describe such a meeting. The proofs on all sides
were found to be complete, for Mr. Neville had left a distinct account of
the whole transaction with his confidential steward in a sealed packet,
which was not to be opened until the death of the old Countess; his
motive for preserving secrecy so long appearing to have been an