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Guy Mannering, or The Astrologer, Complete, Illustrated by Sir Walter Scott

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modern house, communicating with the platform on which the ruins of the
ancient castle were situated. The wind had arisen, and swept before it
the clouds which had formerly obscured the sky. The moon was high, and at
the full, and all the lesser satellites of heaven shone forth in
cloudless effulgence. The scene which their light presented to Mannering
was in the highest degree unexpected and striking.

We have observed, that in the latter part of his journey our traveller
approached the sea-shore, without being aware how nearly. He now
perceived that the ruins of Ellangowan Castle were situated upon a
promontory, or projection of rock, which formed one side of a small and
placid bay on the sea-shore. The modern mansion was placed lower, though
closely adjoining, and the ground behind it descended to the sea by a
small swelling green bank, divided into levels by natural terraces, on
which grew some old trees, and terminating upon the white sand. The other
side of the bay, opposite to the old castle, was a sloping and varied
promontory, covered chiefly with copsewood, which on that favoured coast
grows almost within water-mark. A fisherman's cottage peeped from among
the trees. Even at this dead hour of night there were lights moving upon
the shore, probably occasioned by the unloading a smuggling lugger from
the Isle of Man which was lying in the bay. On the light from the sashed
door of the house being observed, a halloo from the vessel of 'Ware hawk!
Douse the glim!' alarmed those who were on shore, and the lights
instantly disappeared.

It was one hour after midnight, and the prospect around was lovely. The
grey old towers of the ruin, partly entire, partly broken, here bearing
the rusty weather-stains of ages, and there partially mantled with ivy,
stretched along the verge of the dark rock which rose on Mannering's
right hand. In his front was the quiet bay, whose little waves, crisping
and sparkling to the moonbeams, rolled successively along its surface,
and dashed with a soft and murmuring ripple against the silvery beach. To
the left the woods advanced far into the ocean, waving in the moonlight
along ground of an undulating and varied form, and presenting those
varieties of light and shade, and that interesting combination of glade
and thicket, upon which the eye delights to rest, charmed with what it
sees, yet curious to pierce still deeper into the intricacies of the
woodland scenery. Above rolled the planets, each, by its own liquid orbit
of light, distinguished from the inferior or more distant stars. So
strangely can imagination deceive even those by whose volition it has
been excited, that Mannering, while gazing upon these brilliant bodies,
was half inclined to believe in the influence ascribed to them by
superstition over human events. But Mannering was a youthful lover, and
might perhaps be influenced by the feelings so exquisitely expressed by a
modern poet:--

For fable is Love's world, his home, his birthplace:
Delightedly dwells he 'mong fays, and talismans,
And spirits, and delightedly believes
Divinities, being himself divine
The intelligible forms of ancient poets,
The fair humanities of old religion,
The power,the beauty, and the majesty,
That had their haunts in dale, or piny mountain,
Or forest, by slow stream, or pebbly spring,
Or chasms and wat'ry depths--all these have vanish'd;
They live no longer in the faith of reason!
But still the heart doth need a language, still
Doth the old instinct bring back the old names.
And to yon starry world they now are gone,
Spirits or gods, that used to share this earth
With man as with their friend, and to the lover
Yonder they move, from yonder visible sky
Shoot influence down; and even at this day
'T is Jupiter who brings whate'er is great,
And Venus who brings everything that's fair.

Such musings soon gave way to others. 'Alas!' he muttered, 'my good old
tutor, who used to enter so deep into the controversy between Heydon and
Chambers on the subject of astrology, he would have looked upon the scene
with other eyes, and would have seriously endeavoured to discover from
the respective positions of these luminaries their probable effects on
the destiny of the new-born infant, as if the courses or emanations of
the stars superseded, or at least were co-ordinate with, Divine
Providence. Well, rest be with him! he instilled into me enough of
knowledge for erecting a scheme of nativity, and therefore will I
presently go about it.' So saying, and having noted the position of the
principal planetary bodies, Guy Mannering returned to the house. The
Laird met him in the parlour, and, acquainting him with great glee that
the boy was a fine healthy little fellow, seemed rather disposed to press
further conviviality. He admitted, however, Mannering's plea of
weariness, and, conducting him to his sleeping apartment, left him to
repose for the evening.

Come and see' trust thine own eyes
A fearful sign stands in the house of life,
An enemy a fiend lurks close behind
The radiance of thy planet O be warned!


The belief in astrology was almost universal in the middle of the
seventeenth century; it began to waver and become doubtful towards the
close of that period, and in the beginning of the eighteenth the art fell
into general disrepute, and even under general ridicule. Yet it still
retained many partizans even in the seats of learning. Grave and studious
men were both to relinquish the calculations which had early become the
principal objects of their studies, and felt reluctant to descend from
the predominating height to which a supposed insight into futurity, by
the power of consulting abstract influences and conjunctions, had exalted
them over the rest of mankind.

Among those who cherished this imaginary privilege with undoubting faith
was an old clergyman with whom Mannering was placed during his youth. He
wasted his eyes in observing the stars, and his brains in calculations
upon their various combinations. His pupil, in early youth, naturally
caught some portion of his enthusiasm, and laboured for a time to make
himself master of the technical process of astrological research; so
that, before he became convinced of its absurdity, William Lilly himself
would have allowed him 'a curious fancy and piercing judgment in
resolving a question of nativity.'

On the present occasion he arose as early in the morning as the shortness
of the day permitted, and proceeded to calculate the nativity of the
young heir of Ellangowan. He undertook the task secundum artem, as well
to keep up appearances as from a sort of curiosity to know whether he yet
remembered, and could practise, the imaginary science. He accordingly
erected his scheme, or figure of heaven, divided into its twelve houses,
placed the planets therein according to the ephemeris, and rectified
their position to the hour and moment of the nativity. Without troubling
our readers with the general prognostications which judicial astrology
would have inferred from these circumstances, in this diagram there was
one significator which pressed remarkably upon our astrologer's
attention. Mars, having dignity in the cusp of the twelfth house,
threatened captivity or sudden and violent death to the native; and
Mannering, having recourse to those further rules by which diviners
pretend to ascertain the vehemency of this evil direction, observed from
the result that three periods would be particularly hazardous--his fifth,
his tenth, his twenty-first year.

It was somewhat remarkable that Mannering had once before tried a similar
piece of foolery at the instance of Sophia Wellwood, the young lady to
whom he was attached, and that a similar conjunction of planetary
influence threatened her with death or imprisonment in her thirty-ninth
year. She was at this time eighteen; so that, according to the result of
the scheme in both cases, the same year threatened her with the same
misfortune that was presaged to the native or infant whom that night had
introduced into the world. Struck with this coincidence, Mannering
repeated his calculations; and the result approximated the events
predicted, until at length the same month, and day of the month, seemed
assigned as the period of peril to both.

It will be readily believed that, in mentioning this circumstance, we lay
no weight whatever upon the pretended information thus conveyed. But it
often happens, such is our natural love for the marvellous, that we
willingly contribute our own efforts to beguile our better judgments.
Whether the coincidence which I have mentioned was really one of those
singular chances which sometimes happen against all ordinary
calculations; or whether Mannering, bewildered amid the arithmetical
labyrinth and technical jargon of astrology, had insensibly twice
followed the same clue to guide him out of the maze; or whether his
imagination, seduced by some point of apparent resemblance, lent its aid
to make the similitude between the two operations more exactly accurate
than it might otherwise have been, it is impossible to guess; but the
impression upon his mind that the results exactly corresponded was
vividly and indelibly strong.

He could not help feeling surprise at a coincidence so singular and
unexpected. 'Does the devil mingle in the dance, to avenge himself for
our trifling with an art said to be of magical origin? Or is it possible,
as Bacon and Sir Thomas Browne admit, that there is some truth in a sober
and regulated astrology, and that the influence of the stars is not to be
denied, though the due application of it by the knaves who pretend to
practise the art is greatly to be suspected?' A moment's consideration of
the subject induced him to dismiss this opinion as fantastical, and only
sanctioned by those learned men either because they durst not at once
shock the universal prejudices of their age, or because they themselves
were not altogether freed from the contagious influence of a prevailing
superstition. Yet the result of his calculations in these two instances
left so unpleasing an impression on his mind that, like Prospero, he
mentally relinquished his art, and resolved, neither in jest nor earnest,
ever again to practise judicial astrology.

He hesitated a good deal what he should say to the Laird of Ellangowan
concerning the horoscope of his first-born; and at length resolved
plainly to tell him the judgment which he had formed, at the same time
acquainting him with the futility of the rules of art on which he had
proceeded. With this resolution he walked out upon the terrace.

If the view of the scene around Ellangowan had been pleasing by
moonlight, it lost none of its beauty by the light of the morning sun.
The land, even in the month of November, smiled under its influence. A
steep but regular ascent led from the terrace to the neighbouring
eminence, and conducted Mannering to the front of the old castle. It
consisted of two massive round towers projecting deeply and darkly at the
extreme angles of a curtain, or flat wall, which united them, and thus
protecting the main entrance, that opened through a lofty arch in the
centre of the curtain into the inner court of the castle. The arms of the
family, carved in freestone, frowned over the gateway, and the portal
showed the spaces arranged by the architect for lowering the portcullis
and raising the drawbridge. A rude farm-gate, made of young fir-trees
nailed together, now formed the only safeguard of this once formidable
entrance. The esplanade in front of the castle commanded a noble

The dreary scene of desolation through which Mannering's road had lain on
the preceding evening was excluded from the view by some rising ground,
and the landscape showed a pleasing alternation of hill and dale,
intersected by a river, which was in some places visible, and hidden in
others, where it rolled betwixt deep and wooded banks. The spire of a
church and the appearance of some houses indicated the situation of a
village at the place where the stream had its junction with the ocean.
The vales seemed well cultivated, the little inclosures into which they
were divided skirting the bottom of the hills, and sometimes carrying
their lines of straggling hedgerows a little way up the ascent. Above
these were green pastures, tenanted chiefly by herds of black cattle,
then the staple commodity of the country, whose distant low gave no
unpleasing animation to the landscape. The remoter hills were of a
sterner character, and, at still greater distance, swelled into mountains
of dark heath, bordering the horizon with a screen which gave a defined
and limited boundary to the cultivated country, and added at the same
time the pleasing idea that it was sequestered and solitary. The
sea-coast, which Mannering now saw in its extent, corresponded in variety
and beauty with the inland view. In some places it rose into tall rocks,
frequently crowned with the ruins of old buildings, towers, or beacons,
which, according to tradition, were placed within sight of each other,
that, in times of invasion or civil war, they might communicate by signal
for mutual defence and protection. Ellangowan Castle was by far the most
extensive and important of these ruins, and asserted from size and
situation the superiority which its founders were said once to have
possessed among the chiefs and nobles of the district. In other places
the shore was of a more gentle description, indented with small bays,
where the land sloped smoothly down, or sent into the sea promontories
covered with wood.

A scene so different from what last night's journey had presaged produced
a proportional effect upon Mannering. Beneath his eye lay the modern
house--an awkward mansion, indeed, in point of architecture, but well
situated, and with a warm, pleasant exposure. 'How happily,' thought our
hero, 'would life glide on in such a retirement! On the one hand, the
striking remnants of ancient grandeur, with the secret consciousness of
family pride which they inspire; on the other, enough of modern elegance
and comfort to satisfy every moderate wish. Here then, and with thee,

We shall not pursue a lover's day-dream any farther. Mannering stood a
minute with his arms folded, and then turned to the ruined castle.

On entering the gateway, he found that the rude magnificence of the inner
court amply corresponded with the grandeur of the exterior. On the one
side ran a range of windows lofty and large, divided by carved mullions
of stone, which had once lighted the great hall of the castle; on the
other were various buildings of different heights and dates, yet so
united as to present to the eye a certain general effect of uniformity of
front. The doors and windows were ornamented with projections exhibiting
rude specimens of sculpture and tracery, partly entire and partly broken
down, partly covered by ivy and trailing plants, which grew luxuriantly
among the ruins. That end of the court which faced the entrance had also
been formerly closed by a range of buildings; but owing, it was said, to
its having been battered by the ships of the Parliament under Deane,
during the long civil war, this part of the castle was much more ruinous
than the rest, and exhibited a great chasm, through which Mannering could
observe the sea, and the little vessel (an armed lugger), which retained
her station in the centre of the bay. [Footnote: The outline of the above
description, as far as the supposed ruins are concerned, will be found
somewhat to resemble the noble remains of Carlaverock Castle, six or
seven miles from Dumfries, and near to Lochar Moss.] While Mannering was
gazing round the ruins, he heard from the interior of an apartment on the
left hand the voice of the gipsy he had seen on the preceding evening. He
soon found an aperture through which he could observe her without being
himself visible; and could not help feeling that her figure, her
employment, and her situation conveyed the exact impression of an ancient

She sate upon a broken corner-stone in the angle of a paved apartment,
part of which she had swept clean to afford a smooth space for the
evolutions of her spindle. A strong sunbeam through a lofty and narrow
window fell upon her wild dress and features, and afforded her light for
her occupation; the rest of the apartment was very gloomy. Equipt in a
habit which mingled the national dress of the Scottish common people with
something of an Eastern costume, she spun a thread drawn from wool of
three different colours, black, white, and grey, by assistance of those
ancient implements of housewifery now almost banished from the land, the
distaff and spindle. As she spun, she sung what seemed to be a charm.
Mannering, after in vain attempting to make himself master of the exact
words of her song, afterwards attempted the following paraphrase of what,
from a few intelligible phrases, he concluded to be its purport:--

Twist ye, twine ye! even so
Mingle shades of joy and woe,
Hope, and fear, and peace, and strife,
In the thread of human life.

While the mystic twist is spinning,
And the infant's life beginning,
Dimly seen through twilight bending,
Lo, what varied shapes attending!

Passions wild, and Follies vain,
Pleasures soon exchanged for pain,
Doubt, and Jealousy, and Fear
In the magic dance appear.

Now they wax, and now they dwindle,
Whirling with the whirling spindle.
Twist ye, twine ye! even so
Mingle human bliss and woe.

Ere our translator, or rather our free imitator, had arranged these
stanzas in his head, and while he was yet hammering out a rhyme for
DWINDLE, the task of the sibyl was accomplished, or her wool was
expended. She took the spindle, now charged with her labours, and,
undoing the thread gradually, measured it by casting it over her elbow
and bringing each loop round between her forefinger and thumb. When she
had measured it out, she muttered to herself--'A hank, but not a haill
ane--the full years o' three score and ten, but thrice broken, and thrice
to OOP (i.e. to unite); he'll be a lucky lad an he win through wi't.'

Our hero was about to speak to the prophetess, when a voice, hoarse as
the waves with which it mingled, hallooed twice, and with increasing
impatience--'Meg, Meg Merrilies! Gipsy--hag--tausend deyvils!'

'I am coming, I am coming, Captain,' answered Meg; and in a moment or two
the impatient commander whom she addressed made his appearance from the
broken part of the ruins.

He was apparently a seafaring man, rather under the middle size, and with
a countenance bronzed by a thousand conflicts with the north-east wind.
His frame was prodigiously muscular, strong, and thick-set; so that it
seemed as if a man of much greater height would have been an inadequate
match in any close personal conflict. He was hard-favoured, and, which
was worse, his face bore nothing of the insouciance, the careless,
frolicsome jollity and vacant curiosity, of a sailor on shore. These
qualities, perhaps, as much as any others, contribute to the high
popularity of our seamen, and the general good inclination which our
society expresses towards them. Their gallantry, courage, and hardihood
are qualities which excite reverence, and perhaps rather humble pacific
landsmen in their presence; and neither respect nor a sense of
humiliation are feelings easily combined with a familiar fondness towards
those who inspire them. But the boyish frolics, the exulting high
spirits, the unreflecting mirth of a sailor when enjoying himself on
shore, temper the more formidable points of his character. There was
nothing like these in this man's face; on the contrary, a surly and even
savage scowl appeared to darken features which would have been harsh and
unpleasant under any expression or modification. 'Where are you, Mother
Deyvilson?' he said, with somewhat of a foreign accent, though speaking
perfectly good English. 'Donner and blitzen! we have been staying this
half-hour. Come, bless the good ship and the voyage, and be cursed to ye
for a hag of Satan!'

At this moment he noticed Mannering, who, from the position which he had
taken to watch Meg Merrilies's incantations, had the appearance of some
one who was concealing himself, being half hidden by the buttress behind
which he stood. The Captain, for such he styled himself, made a sudden
and startled pause, and thrust his right hand into his bosom between his
jacket and waistcoat as if to draw some weapon. 'What cheer, brother? you
seem on the outlook, eh?' Ere Mannering, somewhat struck by the man's
gesture and insolent tone of voice, had made any answer, the gipsy
emerged from her vault and joined the stranger. He questioned her in an
undertone, looking at Mannering--'A shark alongside, eh?'

She answered in the same tone of under-dialogue, using the cant language
of her tribe--'Cut ben whids, and stow them; a gentry cove of the ken.'
[Footnote: Meaning--Stop your uncivil language; that is a gentleman from
the house below.]

The fellow's cloudy visage cleared up. 'The top of the morning to you,
sir; I find you are a visitor of my friend Mr. Bertram. I beg pardon, but
I took you for another sort of a person.'

Mannering replied, 'And you, sir, I presume, are the master of that
vessel in the bay?'

'Ay, ay, sir; I am Captain Dirk Hatteraick, of the Yungfrauw
Hagenslaapen, well known on this coast; I am not ashamed of my name, nor
of my vessel--no, nor of my cargo neither for that matter.'

'I daresay you have no reason, sir.'

'Tausend donner, no; I'm all in the way of fair trade. Just loaded yonder
at Douglas, in the Isle of Man--neat cogniac--real hyson and
souchong--Mechlin lace, if you want any--right cogniac--we bumped ashore
a hundred kegs last night.'

'Really, sir, I am only a traveller, and have no sort of occasion for
anything of the kind at present.'

'Why, then, good-morning to you, for business must be minded--unless
ye'll go aboard and take schnaps; you shall have a pouch-full of tea
ashore. Dirk Hatteraick knows how to be civil.'

There was a mixture of impudence, hardihood, and suspicious fear about
this man which was inexpressibly disgusting. His manners were those of a
ruffian, conscious of the suspicion attending his character, yet aiming
to bear it down by the affectation of a careless and hardy familiarity.
Mannering briefly rejected his proffered civilities; and, after a surly
good-morning, Hatteraick retired with the gipsy to that part of the ruins
from which he had first made his appearance. A very narrow staircase here
went down to the beach, intended probably for the convenience of the
garrison during a siege. By this stair the couple, equally amiable in
appearance and respectable by profession, descended to the sea-side. The
soi-disant captain embarked in a small boat with two men, who appeared to
wait for him, and the gipsy remained on the shore, reciting or singing,
and gesticulating with great vehemence.

You have fed upon my seignories,
Dispark'd my parks, and fell'd my forest woods,
From mine own windows torn my household coat,
Razed out my impress, leaving me no sign,
Save men's opinions and my living blood,
To show the world I am a gentleman.

Richard II.

When the boat which carried the worthy captain on board his vessel had
accomplished that task, the sails began to ascend, and the ship was got
under way. She fired three guns as a salute to the house of Ellangowan,
and then shot away rapidly before the wind, which blew off shore, under
all the sail she could crowd.

'Ay, ay,' said the Laird, who had sought Mannering for some time, and now
joined him, 'there they go--there go the free-traders--there go Captain
Dirk Hatteraick and the Yungfrauw Hagenslaapen, half Manks, half
Dutchman, half devil! run out the boltsprit, up mainsail, top and
top-gallant sails, royals, and skyscrapers, and away--follow who can!
That fellow, Mr. Mannering, is the terror of all the excise and
custom-house cruisers; they can make nothing of him; he drubs them, or he
distances them;--and, speaking of excise, I come to bring you to
breakfast; and you shall have some tea, that--'

Mannering by this time was aware that one thought linked strangely on to
another in the concatenation of worthy Mr. Bertram's ideas,

Like orient pearls at random strung;

and therefore, before the current of his associations had drifted farther
from the point he had left, he brought him back by some inquiry about
Dirk Hatteraick.

'O he's a--a--gude sort of blackguard fellow eneugh; naebody cares to
trouble him--smuggler, when his guns are in ballast--privateer, or
pirate, faith, when he gets them mounted. He has done more mischief to
the revenue folk than ony rogue that ever came out of Ramsay.'

'But, my good sir, such being his character, I wonder he has any
protection and encouragement on this coast.'

'Why, Mr. Mannering, people must have brandy and tea, and there's none in
the country but what comes this way; and then there's short accounts, and
maybe a keg or two, or a dozen pounds, left at your stable-door, instead
of a d--d lang account at Christmas from Duncan Robb, the grocer at
Kippletringan, who has aye a sum to make up, and either wants ready money
or a short-dated bill. Now, Hatteraick will take wood, or he'll take
bark, or he'll take barley, or he'll take just what's convenient at the
time. I'll tell you a gude story about that. There was ance a
laird--that's Macfie of Gudgeonford,--he had a great number of kain
hens--that's hens that the tenant pays to the landlord, like a sort of
rent in kind. They aye feed mine very ill; Luckie Finniston sent up three
that were a shame to be seen only last week, and yet she has twelve bows
sowing of victual; indeed her goodman, Duncan Finniston--that's him
that's gone--(we must all die, Mr. Mannering, that's ower true)--and,
speaking of that, let us live in the meanwhile, for here's breakfast on
the table, and the Dominie ready to say the grace.'

The Dominie did accordingly pronounce a benediction, that exceeded in
length any speech which Mannering had yet heard him utter. The tea, which
of course belonged to the noble Captain Hatteraick's trade, was
pronounced excellent. Still Mannering hinted, though with due delicacy,
at the risk of encouraging such desperate characters. 'Were it but in
justice to the revenue, I should have supposed--'

'Ah, the revenue lads'--for Mr. Bertram never embraced a general or
abstract idea, and his notion of the revenue was personified in the
commissioners, surveyors, comptrollers, and riding officers whom he
happened to know--'the revenue lads can look sharp eneugh out for
themselves, no ane needs to help them; and they have a' the soldiers to
assist them besides; and as to justice--you 'll be surprised to hear it,
Mr. Mannering, but I am not a justice of peace!'

Mannering assumed the expected look of surprise, but thought within
himself that the worshipful bench suffered no great deprivation from
wanting the assistance of his good-humoured landlord. Mr. Bertram had now
hit upon one of the few subjects on which he felt sore, and went on with
some energy.

'No, sir, the name of Godfrey Bertram of Ellangowan is not in the last
commission, though there's scarce a carle in the country that has a
plough-gate of land, but what he must ride to quarter-sessions and write
J.P. after his name. I ken fu' weel whom I am obliged to--Sir Thomas
Kittlecourt as good as tell'd me he would sit in my skirts if he had not
my interest at the last election; and because I chose to go with my own
blood and third cousin, the Laird of Balruddery, they keepit me off the
roll of freeholders; and now there comes a new nomination of justices,
and I am left out! And whereas they pretend it was because I let David
Mac-Guffog, the constable, draw the warrants, and manage the business his
ain gate, as if I had been a nose o' wax, it's a main untruth; for I
granted but seven warrants in my life, and the Dominie wrote every one of
them--and if it had not been that unlucky business of Sandy
Mac-Gruthar's, that the constables should have keepit twa or three days
up yonder at the auld castle, just till they could get conveniency to
send him to the county jail--and that cost me eneugh o' siller. But I ken
what Sir Thomas wants very weel--it was just sic and siclike about the
seat in the kirk o' Kilmagirdle--was I not entitled to have the front
gallery facing the minister, rather than Mac-Crosskie of Creochstone, the
son of Deacon Mac-Crosskie, the Dumfries weaver?'

Mannering expressed his acquiescence in the justice of these various

'And then, Mr. Mannering, there was the story about the road and the
fauld-dike. I ken Sir Thomas was behind there, and I said plainly to the
clerk to the trustees that I saw the cloven foot, let them take that as
they like. Would any gentleman, or set of gentlemen, go and drive a road
right through the corner of a fauld-dike and take away, as my agent
observed to them, like twa roods of gude moorland pasture? And there was
the story about choosing the collector of the cess--'

'Certainly, sir, it is hard you should meet with any neglect in a country
where, to judge from the extent of their residence, your ancestors must
have made a very important figure.'

'Very true, Mr. Mannering; I am a plain man and do not dwell on these
things, and I must needs say I have little memory for them; but I wish ye
could have heard my father's stories about the auld fights of the
Mac-Dingawaies--that's the Bertrams that now is--wi' the Irish and wi'
the Highlanders that came here in their berlings from Ilay and Cantire;
and how they went to the Holy Land--that is, to Jerusalem and Jericho,
wi' a' their clan at their heels--they had better have gaen to Jamaica,
like Sir Thomas Kittlecourt's uncle--and how they brought hame relics
like those that Catholics have, and a flag that's up yonder in the
garret. If they had been casks of muscavado and puncheons of rum it would
have been better for the estate at this day; but there's little
comparison between the auld keep at Kittlecourt and the castle o'
Ellangowan; I doubt if the keep's forty feet of front. But ye make no
breakfast, Mr. Mannering; ye're no eating your meat; allow me to
recommend some of the kipper. It was John Hay that catcht it, Saturday
was three weeks, down at the stream below Hempseed ford,' etc. etc. etc.

The Laird, whose indignation had for some time kept him pretty steady to
one topic, now launched forth into his usual roving style of
conversation, which gave Mannering ample time to reflect upon the
disadvantages attending the situation which an hour before he had thought
worthy of so much envy. Here was a country gentleman, whose most
estimable quality seemed his perfect good-nature, secretly fretting
himself and murmuring against others for causes which, compared with any
real evil in life, must weigh like dust in the balance. But such is the
equal distribution of Providence. To those who lie out of the road of
great afflictions are assigned petty vexations which answer all the
purpose of disturbing their serenity; and every reader must have observed
that neither natural apathy nor acquired philosophy can render country
gentlemen insensible to the grievances which occur at elections,
quarter-sessions, and meetings of trustees.

Curious to investigate the manners of the country, Mannering took the
advantage of a pause in good Mr. Bertram's string of stories to inquire
what Captain Hatteraick so earnestly wanted with the gipsy woman.

'O, to bless his ship, I suppose. You must know, Mr. Mannering, that
these free-traders, whom the law calls smugglers, having no religion,
make it all up in superstition; and they have as many spells and charms
and nonsense--'

'Vanity and waur!' said the Dominie;' it is a trafficking with the Evil
One. Spells, periapts, and charms are of his device--choice arrows out of
Apollyon's quiver.'

'Hold your peace, Dominie; ye're speaking for ever'--by the way, they
were the first words the poor man had uttered that morning, excepting
that he said grace and returned thanks--'Mr. Mannering cannot get in a
word for ye! And so, Mr. Mannering, talking of astronomy and spells and
these matters, have ye been so kind as to consider what we were speaking
about last night?'

'I begin to think, Mr. Bertram, with your worthy friend here, that I have
been rather jesting with edge-tools; and although neither you nor I, nor
any sensible man, can put faith in the predictions of astrology, yet, as
it has sometimes happened that inquiries into futurity, undertaken in
jest, have in their results produced serious and unpleasant effects both
upon actions and characters, I really wish you would dispense with my
replying to your question.'

It was easy to see that this evasive answer only rendered the Laird's
curiosity more uncontrollable. Mannering, however, was determined in his
own mind not to expose the infant to the inconveniences which might have
arisen from his being supposed the object of evil prediction. He
therefore delivered the paper into Mr. Bertram's hand, and requested him
to keep it for five years with the seal unbroken, until the month of
November was expired. After that date had intervened he left him at
liberty to examine the writing, trusting that, the first fatal period
being then safely overpassed, no credit would be paid to its farther
contents. This Mr. Bertram was content to promise, and Mannering, to
ensure his fidelity, hinted at misfortunes which would certainly take
place if his injunctions were neglected. The rest of the day, which
Mannering, by Mr. Bertram's invitation, spent at Ellangowan, passed over
without anything remarkable; and on the morning of that which followed
the traveller mounted his palfrey, bade a courteous adieu to his
hospitable landlord and to his clerical attendant, repeated his good
wishes for the prosperity of the family, and then, turning his horse's
head towards England, disappeared from the sight of the inmates of
Ellangowan. He must also disappear from that of our readers, for it is to
another and later period of his life that the present narrative relates.


Next, the Justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances--
And so he plays his part

--As You Like It

When Mrs. Bertram of Ellangowan was able to hear the news of what had
passed during her confinement, her apartment rung with all manner of
gossiping respecting the handsome young student from Oxford who had told
such a fortune by the stars to the young Laird, 'blessings on his dainty
face.' The form, accent, and manners of the stranger were expatiated
upon. His horse, bridle, saddle, and stirrups did not remain unnoticed.
All this made a great impression upon the mind of Mrs. Bertram, for the
good lady had no small store of superstition.

Her first employment, when she became capable of a little work, was to
make a small velvet bag for the scheme of nativity which she had obtained
from her husband. Her fingers itched to break the seal, but credulity
proved stronger than curiosity; and she had the firmness to inclose it,
in all its integrity, within two slips of parchment, which she sewed
round it to prevent its being chafed. The whole was then put into the
velvet bag aforesaid, and hung as a charm round the neck of the infant,
where his mother resolved it should remain until the period for the
legitimate satisfaction of her curiosity should arrive.

The father also resolved to do his part by the child in securing him a
good education; and, with the view that it should commence with the first
dawnings of reason, Dominie Sampson was easily induced to renounce his
public profession of parish schoolmaster, make his constant residence at
the Place, and, in consideration of a sum not quite equal to the wages of
a footman even at that time, to undertake to communicate to the future
Laird of Ellangowan all the erudition which he had, and all the graces
and accomplishments which--he had not indeed, but which he had never
discovered that he wanted. In this arrangement the Laird found also his
private advantage, securing the constant benefit of a patient auditor, to
whom he told his stories when they were alone, and at whose expense he
could break a sly jest when he had company.

About four years after this time a great commotion took place in the
county where Ellangowan is situated.

Those who watched the signs of the times had long been of opinion that a
change of ministry was about to take place; and at length, after a due
proportion of hopes, fears, and delays, rumours from good authority and
bad authority, and no authority at all; after some clubs had drank Up
with this statesman and others Down with him; after riding, and running,
and posting, and addressing, and counter-addressing, and proffers of
lives and fortunes, the blow was at length struck, the administration of
the day was dissolved, and parliament, as a natural consequence, was
dissolved also.

Sir Thomas Kittlecourt, like other members in the same situation, posted
down to his county, and met but an indifferent reception. He was a
partizan of the old administration; and the friends of the new had
already set about an active canvass in behalf of John Featherhead, Esq.,
who kept the best hounds and hunters in the shire. Among others who
joined the standard of revolt was Gilbert Glossin, writer in--, agent for
the Laird of Ellangowan. This honest gentleman had either been refused
some favour by the old member, or, what is as probable, he had got all
that he had the most distant pretension to ask, and could only look to
the other side for fresh advancement. Mr. Glossin had a vote upon
Ellangowan's property; and he was now determined that his patron should
have one also, there being no doubt which side Mr. Bertram would embrace
in the contest. He easily persuaded Ellangowan that it would be
creditable to him to take the field at the head of as strong a party as
possible; and immediately went to work, making votes, as every Scotch
lawyer knows how, by splitting and subdividing the superiorities upon
this ancient and once powerful barony. These were so extensive that, by
dint of clipping and paring here, adding and eking there, and creating
over-lords upon all the estate which Bertram held of the crown, they
advanced at the day of contest at the head of ten as good men of
parchment as ever took the oath of trust and possession. This strong
reinforcement turned the dubious day of battle. The principal and his
agent divided the honour; the reward fell to the latter exclusively. Mr.
Gilbert Glossin was made clerk of the peace, and Godfrey Bertram had his
name inserted in a new commission of justices, issued immediately upon
the sitting of the parliament.

This had been the summit of Mr. Bertram's ambition; not that he liked
either the trouble or the responsibility of the office, but he thought it
was a dignity to which he was well entitled, and that it had been
withheld from him by malice prepense. But there is an old and true Scotch
proverb, 'Fools should not have chapping sticks'; that is, weapons of
offence. Mr. Bertram was no sooner possessed of the judicial authority
which he had so much longed for than he began to exercise it with more
severity than mercy, and totally belied all the opinions which had
hitherto been formed of his inert good-nature. We have read somewhere of
a justice of peace who, on being nominated in the commission, wrote a
letter to a bookseller for the statutes respecting his official duty in
the following orthography--'Please send the ax relating to a gustus
pease.' No doubt, when this learned gentleman had possessed himself of
the axe, he hewed the laws with it to some purpose. Mr. Bertram was not
quite so ignorant of English grammar as his worshipful predecessor; but
Augustus Pease himself could not have used more indiscriminately the
weapon unwarily put into his hand.

In good earnest, he considered the commission with which he had been
entrusted as a personal mark of favour from his sovereign; forgetting
that he had formerly thought his being deprived of a privilege, or
honour, common to those of his rank was the result of mere party cabal.
He commanded his trusty aid-de-camp, Dominie Sampson, to read aloud the
commission; and at the first words, 'The King has been pleased to
appoint'--'Pleased!' he exclaimed in a transport of gratitude; 'honest
gentleman! I'm sure he cannot be better pleased than I am.'

Accordingly, unwilling to confine his gratitude to mere feelings or
verbal expressions, he gave full current to the new-born zeal of office,
and endeavoured to express his sense of the honour conferred upon him by
an unmitigated activity in the discharge of his duty. New brooms, it is
said, sweep clean; and I myself can bear witness that, on the arrival of
a new housemaid, the ancient, hereditary, and domestic spiders who have
spun their webs over the lower division of my bookshelves (consisting
chiefly of law and divinity) during the peaceful reign of her
predecessor, fly at full speed before the probationary inroads of the new
mercenary. Even so the Laird of Ellangowan ruthlessly commenced his
magisterial reform, at the expense of various established and
superannuated pickers and stealers who had been his neighbours for half a
century. He wrought his miracles like a second Duke Humphrey; and by the
influence of the beadle's rod caused the lame to walk, the blind to see,
and the palsied to labour. He detected poachers, black-fishers,
orchard-breakers, and pigeon-shooters; had the applause of the bench for
his reward, and the public credit of an active magistrate.

All this good had its rateable proportion of evil. Even an admitted
nuisance of ancient standing should not be abated without some caution.
The zeal of our worthy friend now involved in great distress sundry
personages whose idle and mendicant habits his own lachesse had
contributed to foster, until these habits had become irreclaimable, or
whose real incapacity for exertion rendered them fit objects, in their
own phrase, for the charity of all well-disposed Christians. The
'long-remembered beggar,' who for twenty years had made his regular
rounds within the neighbourhood, received rather as an humble friend than
as an object of charity, was sent to the neighbouring workhouse. The
decrepit dame, who travelled round the parish upon a hand-barrow,
circulating from house to house like a bad shilling, which every one is
in haste to pass to his neighbour,--she, who used to call for her bearers
as loud, or louder, than a traveller demands post-horses,--even she
shared the same disastrous fate. The 'daft Jock,' who, half knave, half
idiot, had been the sport of each succeeding race of village children for
a good part of a century, was remitted to the county bridewell, where,
secluded from free air and sunshine, the only advantages he was capable
of enjoying, he pined and died in the course of six months. The old
sailor, who had so long rejoiced the smoky rafters of every kitchen in
the country by singing 'Captain Ward' and 'Bold Admiral Benbow,' was
banished from the county for no better reason than that he was supposed
to speak with a strong Irish accent. Even the annual rounds of the pedlar
were abolished by the Justice, in his hasty zeal for the administration
of rural police.

These things did not pass without notice and censure. We are not made of
wood or stone, and the things which connect themselves with our hearts
and habits cannot, like bark or lichen, be rent away without our missing
them. The farmer's dame lacked her usual share of intelligence, perhaps
also the self-applause which she had felt while distributing the awmous
(alms), in shape of a gowpen (handful) of oatmeal, to the mendicant who
brought the news. The cottage felt inconvenience from interruption of the
petty trade carried on by the itinerant dealers. The children lacked
their supply of sugarplums and toys; the young women wanted pins,
ribbons, combs, and ballads; and the old could no longer barter their
eggs for salt, snuff, and tobacco. All these circumstances brought the
busy Laird of Ellangowan into discredit, which was the more general on
account of his former popularity. Even his lineage was brought up in
judgment against him. They thought 'naething of what the like of
Greenside, or Burnville, or Viewforth might do, that were strangers in
the country; but Ellangowan! that had been a name amang them since the
Mirk Monanday, and lang before--HIM to be grinding the puir at that rate!
They ca'd his grandfather the Wicked Laird; but, though he was whiles
fractious aneuch, when he got into roving company and had ta'en the drap
drink, he would have scorned to gang on at this gate. Na, na, the muckle
chumlay in the Auld Place reeked like a killogie in his time, and there
were as mony puir folk riving at the banes in the court, and about the
door, as there were gentles in the ha'. And the leddy, on ilka Christmas
night as it came round, gae twelve siller pennies to ilka puir body
about, in honour of the twelve apostles like. They were fond to ca' it
papistrie; but I think our great folk might take a lesson frae the
papists whiles. They gie another sort o' help to puir folk than just
dinging down a saxpence in the brod on the Sabbath, and kilting, and
scourging, and drumming them a' the sax days o' the week besides.'

Such was the gossip over the good twopenny in every ale-house within
three or four miles of Ellangowan, that being about the diameter of the
orbit in which our friend Godfrey Bertram, Esq., J. P., must be
considered as the principal luminary. Still greater scope was given to
evil tongues by the removal of a colony of gipsies, with one of whom our
reader is somewhat acquainted, and who had for a great many years enjoyed
their chief settlement upon the estate of Ellangowan.

Come, princes of the ragged regiment,
You of the blood! PRIGS, my most upright lord,
And these, what name or title e'er they bear,
PRATER or ABRAM-MAN--I speak of all.

Beggar's Bush.

Although the character of those gipsy tribes which formerly inundated
most of the nations of Europe, and which in some degree still subsist
among them as a distinct people, is generally understood, the reader will
pardon my saying a few words respecting their situation in Scotland.

It is well known that the gipsies were at an early period acknowledged as
a separate and independent race by one of the Scottish monarchs, and that
they were less favourably distinguished by a subsequent law, which
rendered the character of gipsy equal in the judicial balance to that of
common and habitual thief, and prescribed his punishment accordingly.
Notwithstanding the severity of this and other statutes, the fraternity
prospered amid the distresses of the country, and received large
accessions from among those whom famine, oppression, or the sword of war
had deprived of the ordinary means of subsistence. They lost in a great
measure by this intermixture the national character of Egyptians, and
became a mingled race, having all the idleness and predatory habits of
their Eastern ancestors, with a ferocity which they probably borrowed
from the men of the north who joined their society. They travelled in
different bands, and had rules among themselves, by which each tribe was
confined to its own district. The slightest invasion of the precincts
which had been assigned to another tribe produced desperate skirmishes,
in which there was often much blood shed.

The patriotic Fletcher of Saltoun drew a picture of these banditti about
a century ago, which my readers will peruse with astonishment:--

'There are at this day in Scotland (besides a great many poor families
very meanly provided for by the church boxes, with others who, by living
on bad food, fall into various diseases) two hundred thousand people
begging from door to door. These are not only no way advantageous, but a
very grievous burden to so poor a country. And though the number of them
be perhaps double to what it was formerly, by reason of this present
great distress, yet in all times there have been about one hundred
thousand of those vagabonds, who have lived without any regard or
subjection either to the laws of the land or even those of God and nature
. . . No magistrate could ever discover, or be informed, which way one in
a hundred of these wretches died, or that ever they were baptized. Many
murders have been discovered among them; and they are not only a most
unspeakable oppression to poor tenants (who, if they give not bread or
some kind of provision to perhaps forty such villains in one day, are
sure to be insulted by them), but they rob many poor people who live in
houses distant from any neighbourhood. In years of plenty, many thousands
of them meet together in the mountains, where they feast and riot for
many days; and at country weddings, markets, burials, and other the like
public occasions, they are to be seen, both man and woman, perpetually
drunk, cursing, blaspheming, and fighting together.'

Notwithstanding the deplorable picture presented in this extract, and
which Fletcher himself, though the energetic and eloquent friend of
freedom, saw no better mode of correcting than by introducing a system of
domestic slavery, the progress of time, and increase both of the means of
life and of the power of the laws, gradually reduced this dreadful evil
within more narrow bounds. The tribes of gipsies, jockies, or cairds--for
by all these denominations such banditti were known--became few in
number, and many were entirely rooted out. Still, however, a sufficient
number remained to give, occasional alarm and constant vexation. Some
rude handicrafts were entirely resigned to these itinerants, particularly
the art of trencher-making, of manufacturing horn-spoons, and the whole
mystery of the tinker. To these they added a petty trade in the coarse
sorts of earthenware. Such were their ostensible means of livelihood.
Each tribe had usually some fixed place of rendezvous, which they
occasionally occupied and considered as their standing camp, and in the
vicinity of which they generally abstained from depredation. They had
even talents and accomplishments, which made them occasionally useful and
entertaining. Many cultivated music with success; and the favourite
fiddler or piper of a district was often to be found in a gipsy town.
They understood all out-of-door sports, especially otter-hunting,
fishing, or finding game. They bred the best and boldest terriers, and
sometimes had good pointers for sale. In winter the women told fortunes,
the men showed tricks of legerdemain; and these accomplishments often
helped to while away a weary or stormy evening in the circle of the
'farmer's ha'.' The wildness of their character, and the indomitable
pride with which they despised all regular labour, commanded a certain
awe, which was not diminished by the consideration that these strollers
were a vindictive race, and were restrained by no check, either of fear
or conscience, from taking desperate vengeance upon those who had
offended them. These tribes were, in short, the pariahs of Scotland,
living like wild Indians among European settlers, and, like them, judged
of rather by their own customs, habits, and opinions, than as if they had
been members of the civilised part of the community. Some hordes of them
yet remain, chiefly in such situations as afford a ready escape either
into a waste country or into another Jurisdiction. Nor are the features
of their character much softened. Their numbers, however, are so greatly
diminished that, instead of one hundred thousand, as calculated by
Fletcher, it would now perhaps be impossible to collect above five
hundred throughout all Scotland.

A tribe of these itinerants, to whom Meg Merrilies appertained, had long
been as stationary as their habits permitted in a glen upon the estate of
Ellangowan. They had there erected a few huts, which they denominated
their 'city of refuge,' and where, when not absent on excursions, they
harboured unmolested, as the crows that roosted in the old ash-trees
around them. They had been such long occupants that they were considered
in some degree as proprietors of the wretched shealings which they
inhabited. This protection they were said anciently to have repaid by
service to the Laird in war, or more frequently, by infesting or
plundering the lands of those neighbouring barons with whom he chanced to
be at feud. Latterly their services were of a more pacific nature. The
women spun mittens for the lady, and knitted boot-hose for the Laird,
which were annually presented at Christmas with great form. The aged
sibyls blessed the bridal bed of the Laird when he married, and the
cradle of the heir when born. The men repaired her ladyship's cracked
china, and assisted the Laird in his sporting parties, wormed his dogs,
and cut the ears of his terrier puppies. The children gathered nuts in
the woods, and cranberries in the moss, and mushrooms on the pastures,
for tribute to the Place. These acts of voluntary service, and
acknowledgments of dependence, were rewarded by protection on some
occasions, connivance on others, and broken victuals, ale, and brandy
when circumstances called for a display of generosity; and this mutual
intercourse of good offices, which had been carried on for at least two
centuries, rendered the inhabitants of Derncleugh a kind of privileged
retainers upon the estate of Ellangowan. 'The knaves' were the Laird's
'exceeding good friends'; and he would have deemed himself very ill used
if his countenance could not now and then have borne them out against the
law of the country and the local magistrate. But this friendly union was
soon to be dissolved.

The community of Derncleugh, who cared for no rogues but their own, were
wholly without alarm at the severity of the Justice's proceedings towards
other itinerants. They had no doubt that he determined to suffer no
mendicants or strollers in the country but what resided on his own
property, and practised their trade by his immediate permission, implied
or expressed. Nor was Mr. Bertram in a hurry to exert his newly-acquired
authority at the expense of these old settlers. But he was driven on by

At the quarter-sessions our new Justice was publicly upbraided by a
gentleman of the opposite party in county politics, that, while he
affected a great zeal for the public police, and seemed ambitious of the
fame of an active magistrate, he fostered a tribe of the greatest rogues
in the country, and permitted them to harbour within a mile of the house
of Ellangowan. To this there was no reply, for the fact was too evident
and well known. The Laird digested the taunt as he best could, and in his
way home amused himself with speculations on the easiest method of
ridding himself of these vagrants, who brought a stain upon his fair fame
as a magistrate. Just as he had resolved to take the first opportunity of
quarrelling with the pariahs of Derncleugh, a cause of provocation
presented itself.

Since our friend's advancement to be a conservator of the peace, he had
caused the gate at the head of his avenue, which formerly, having only
one hinge, remained at all times hospitably open--he had caused this
gate, I say, to be newly hung and handsomely painted. He had also shut up
with paling, curiously twisted with furze, certain holes in the fences
adjoining, through which the gipsy boys used to scramble into the
plantations to gather birds' nests, the seniors of the village to make a
short cut from one point to another, and the lads and lasses for evening
rendezvous--all without offence taken or leave asked. But these halcyon
days were now to have an end, and a minatory inscription on one side of
the gate intimated 'prosecution according to law' (the painter had spelt
it 'persecution'--l'un vaut bien l'autre) to all who should be found
trespassing on these inclosures. On the other side, for uniformity's
sake, was a precautionary annunciation of spring-guns and man-traps of
such formidable powers that, said the rubrick, with an emphatic nota
bene--'if a man goes in they will break a horse's leg.'

In defiance of these threats, six well-grown gipsy boys and girls were
riding cock-horse upon the new gate, and plaiting may-flowers, which it
was but too evident had been gathered within the forbidden precincts.
With as much anger as he was capable of feeling, or perhaps of assuming,
the Laird commanded them to descend;--they paid no attention to his
mandate: he then began to pull them down one after another;--they
resisted, passively at least, each sturdy bronzed varlet making himself
as heavy as he could, or climbing up as fast as he was dismounted.

The Laird then called in the assistance of his servant, a surly fellow,
who had immediate recourse to his horsewhip. A few lashes sent the party
a-scampering; and thus commenced the first breach of the peace between
the house of Ellangowan and the gipsies of Derncleugh.

The latter could not for some time imagine that the war was real; until
they found that their children were horsewhipped by the grieve when found
trespassing; that their asses were poinded by the ground-officer when
left in the plantations, or even when turned to graze by the roadside,
against the provision of the turnpike acts; that the constable began to
make curious inquiries into their mode of gaining a livelihood, and
expressed his surprise that the men should sleep in the hovels all day,
and be abroad the greater part of the night.

When matters came to this point, the gipsies, without scruple, entered
upon measures of retaliation. Ellangowan's hen-roosts were plundered, his
linen stolen from the lines or bleaching-ground, his fishings poached,
his dogs kidnapped, his growing trees cut or barked. Much petty mischief
was done, and some evidently for the mischief's sake. On the other hand,
warrants went forth, without mercy, to pursue, search for, take, and
apprehend; and, notwithstanding their dexterity, one or two of the
depredators were unable to avoid conviction. One, a stout young fellow,
who sometimes had gone to sea a-fishing, was handed over to the captain
of the impress service at D--; two children were soundly flogged, and one
Egyptian matron sent to the house of correction.

Still, however, the gipsies made no motion to leave the spot which they
had so long inhabited, and Mr. Bertram felt an unwillingness to deprive
them of their ancient 'city of refuge'; so that the petty warfare we have
noticed continued for several months, without increase or abatement of
hostilities on either side.

So the red Indian, by Ontario's side,
Nursed hardy on the brindled panther's hide,
As fades his swarthy race, with anguish sees
The white man's cottage rise beneath the trees;
He leaves the shelter of his native wood,
He leaves the murmur of Ohio's flood,
And forward rushing in indignant grief,
Where never foot has trod the fallen leaf,
He bends his course where twilight reigns sublime.
O'er forests silent since the birth of time.


In tracing the rise and progress of the Scottish Maroon war, we must not
omit to mention that years had rolled on, and that little Harry Bertram,
one of the hardiest and most lively children that ever made a sword and
grenadier's cap of rushes, now approached his fifth revolving birthday. A
hardihood of disposition, which early developed itself, made him already
a little wanderer; he was well acquainted with every patch of lea ground
and dingle around Ellangowan, and could tell in his broken language upon
what baulks grew the bonniest flowers, and what copse had the ripest
nuts. He repeatedly terrified his attendants by clambering about the
ruins of the old castle, and had more than once made a stolen excursion
as far as the gipsy hamlet.

On these occasions he was generally brought back by Meg Merrilies, who,
though she could not be prevailed upon to enter the Place of Ellangowan
after her nephew had been given up to the press-gang, did not apparently
extend her resentment to the child. On the contrary, she often contrived
to waylay him in his walks, sing him a gipsy song, give him a ride upon
her jackass, and thrust into his pocket a piece of gingerbread or a
red-cheeked apple. This woman's ancient attachment to the family,
repelled and checked in every other direction, seemed to rejoice in
having some object on which it could yet repose and expand itself. She
prophesied a hundred times, 'that young Mr. Harry would be the pride o'
the family, and there hadna been sic a sprout frae the auld aik since the
death of Arthur Mac-Dingawaie, that was killed in the battle o' the
Bloody Bay; as for the present stick, it was good for nothing but
fire-wood.' On one occasion, when the child was ill, she lay all night
below the window, chanting a rhyme which she believed sovereign as a
febrifuge, and could neither be prevailed upon to enter the house nor to
leave the station she had chosen till she was informed that the crisis
was over.

The affection of this woman became matter of suspicion, not indeed to the
Laird, who was never hasty in suspecting evil, but to his wife, who had
indifferent health and poor spirits. She was now far advanced in a second
pregnancy, and, as she could not walk abroad herself, and the woman who
attended upon Harry was young and thoughtless, she prayed Dominie Sampson
to undertake the task of watching the boy in his rambles, when he should
not be otherwise accompanied. The Dominie loved his young charge, and was
enraptured with his own success in having already brought him so far in
his learning as to spell words of three syllables. The idea of this early
prodigy of erudition being carried off by the gipsies, like a second Adam
Smith,[Footnote: The father of Economical Philosophy was, when a child,
actually carried off by gipsies, and remained some hours in their
possession.] was not to be tolerated; and accordingly, though the charge
was contrary to all his habits of life, he readily undertook it, and
might be seen stalking about with a mathematical problem in his head, and
his eye upon a child of five years old, whose rambles led him into a
hundred awkward situations. Twice was the Dominie chased by a
cross-grained cow, once he fell into the brook crossing at the
stepping-stones, and another time was bogged up to the middle in the
slough of Lochend, in attempting to gather a water-lily for the young
Laird. It was the opinion of the village matrons who relieved Sampson on
the latter occasion, 'that the Laird might as weel trust the care o' his
bairn to a potatoe bogle'; but the good Dominie bore all his disasters
with gravity and serenity equally imperturbable. 'Pro-di-gi-ous!' was the
only ejaculation they ever extorted from the much-enduring man.

The Laird had by this time determined to make root-and-branch work with
the Maroons of Derncleugh. The old servants shook their heads at his
proposal, and even Dominie Sampson ventured upon an indirect
remonstrance. As, however, it was couched in the oracular phrase, 'Ne
moveas Camerinam,' neither the allusion, nor the language in which it was
expressed, were calculated for Mr. Bertram's edification, and matters
proceeded against the gipsies in form of law. Every door in the hamlet
was chalked by the ground-officer, in token of a formal warning to remove
at next term. Still, however, they showed no symptoms either of
submission or of compliance. At length the term-day, the fatal Martinmas,
arrived, and violent measures of ejection were resorted to. A strong
posse of peace-officers, sufficient to render all resistance vain,
charged the inhabitants to depart by noon; and, as they did not obey, the
officers, in terms of their warrant, proceeded to unroof the cottages,
and pull down the wretched doors and windows--a summary and effectual
mode of ejection still practised in some remote parts of Scotland when a
tenant proves refractory. The gipsies for a time beheld the work of
destruction in sullen silence and inactivity; then set about saddling and
loading their asses, and making preparations for their departure. These
were soon accomplished, where all had the habits of wandering Tartars;
and they set forth on their journey to seek new settlements, where their
patrons should neither be of the quorum nor custos rotulorum.

Certain qualms of feeling had deterred Ellangowan from attending in
person to see his tenants expelled. He left the executive part of the
business to the officers of the law, under the immediate direction of
Frank Kennedy, a supervisor, or riding-officer, belonging to the excise,
who had of late become intimate at the Place, and of whom we shall have
more to say in the next chapter. Mr. Bertram himself chose that day to
make a visit to a friend at some distance. But it so happened,
notwithstanding his precautions, that he could not avoid meeting his late
tenants during their retreat from his property.

It was in a hollow way, near the top of a steep ascent, upon the verge of
the Ellangowan estate, that Mr. Bertram met the gipsy procession. Four or
five men formed the advanced guard, wrapped in long loose great-coats
that hid their tall slender figures, as the large slouched hats, drawn
over their brows, concealed their wild features, dark eyes, and swarthy
faces. Two of them carried long fowling-pieces, one wore a broadsword
without a sheath, and all had the Highland dirk, though they did not wear
that weapon openly or ostentatiously. Behind them followed the train of
laden asses, and small carts or TUMBLERS, as they were called in that
country, on which were laid the decrepit and the helpless, the aged and
infant part of the exiled community. The women in their red cloaks and
straw hats, the elder children with bare heads and bare feet, and almost
naked bodies, had the immediate care of the little caravan. The road was
narrow, running between two broken banks of sand, and Mr. Bertram's
servant rode forward, smacking his whip with an air of authority, and
motioning to the drivers to allow free passage to their betters. His
signal was unattended to. He then called to the men who lounged idly on
before, 'Stand to your beasts' heads, and make room for the Laird to

'He shall have his share of the road,' answered a male gipsy from under
his slouched and large-brimmed hat, and without raising his face, 'and he
shall have nae mair; the highway is as free to our cuddies as to his

The tone of the man being sulky, and even menacing, Mr. Bertram thought
it best to put his dignity in his pocket, and pass by the procession
quietly, on such space as they chose to leave for his accommodation,
which was narrow enough. To cover with an appearance of indifference his
feeling of the want of respect with which he was treated, he addressed
one of the men, as he passed him without any show of greeting, salute, or
recognition--'Giles Baillie,' he said, 'have you heard that your son
Gabriel is well?' (The question respected the young man who had been

'If I had heard otherwise,' said the old man, looking up with a stern and
menacing countenance, 'you should have heard of it too.' And he plodded
on his way, tarrying no further question. [Footnote: This anecdote is a
literal fact.] When the Laird had pressed on with difficulty among a
crowd of familiar faces, which had on all former occasions marked his
approach with the reverence due to that of a superior being, but in which
he now only read hatred and contempt, and had got clear of the throng, he
could not help turning his horse, and looking back to mark the progress
of their march. The group would have been an excellent subject for the
pencil of Calotte. The van had already reached a small and stunted
thicket, which was at the bottom of the hill, and which gradually hid the
line of march until the last stragglers disappeared.

His sensations were bitter enough. The race, it is true, which he had
thus summarily dismissed from their ancient place of refuge, was idle and
vicious; but had he endeavoured to render them otherwise? They were not
more irregular characters now than they had been while they were admitted
to consider themselves as a sort of subordinate dependents of his family;
and ought the mere circumstance of his becoming a magistrate to have made
at once such a change in his conduct towards them? Some means of
reformation ought at least to have been tried before sending seven
families at once upon the wide world, and depriving them of a degree of
countenance which withheld them at least from atrocious guilt. There was
also a natural yearning of heart on parting with so many known and
familiar faces; and to this feeling Godfrey Bertram was peculiarly
accessible, from the limited qualities of his mind, which sought its
principal amusements among the petty objects around him. As he was about
to turn his horse's head to pursue his journey, Meg Merrilies, who had
lagged behind the troop, unexpectedly presented herself.

She was standing upon one of those high precipitous banks which, as we
before noticed, overhung the road, so that she was placed considerably
higher than Ellangowan, even though he was on horseback; and her tall
figure, relieved against the clear blue sky, seemed almost of
supernatural stature. We have noticed that there was in her general
attire, or rather in her mode of adjusting it, somewhat of a foreign
costume, artfully adopted perhaps for the purpose of adding to the effect
of her spells and predictions, or perhaps from some traditional notions
respecting the dress of her ancestors. On this occasion she had a large
piece of red cotton cloth rolled about her head in the form of a turban,
from beneath which her dark eyes flashed with uncommon lustre. Her long
and tangled black hair fell in elf-locks from the folds of this singular
head-gear. Her attitude was that of a sibyl in frenzy, and she stretched
out in her right hand a sapling bough which seemed just pulled.

'I'll be d--d,' said the groom, 'if she has not been cutting the young
ashes in the dukit park!' The Laird made no answer, but continued to look
at the figure which was thus perched above his path.

'Ride your ways,' said the gipsy, 'ride your ways, Laird of Ellangowan;
ride your ways, Godfrey Bertram! This day have ye quenched seven smoking
hearths; see if the fire in your ain parlour burn the blyther for that.
Ye have riven the thack off seven cottar houses; look if your ain
roof-tree stand the faster. Ye may stable your stirks in the shealings at
Derncleugh; see that the hare does not couch on the hearthstane at
Ellangowan. Ride your ways, Godfrey Bertram; what do ye glower after our
folk for? There's thirty hearts there that wad hae wanted bread ere ye
had wanted sunkets, and spent their life-blood ere ye had scratched your
finger. Yes; there's thirty yonder, from the auld wife of an hundred to
the babe that was born last week, that ye have turned out o' their bits
o' bields, to sleep with the tod and the blackcock in the muirs! Ride
your ways, Ellangowan. Our bairns are hinging at our weary backs; look
that your braw cradle at hame be the fairer spread up; not that I am
wishing ill to little Harry, or to the babe that's yet to be born--God
forbid--and make them kind to the poor, and better folk than their
father! And now, ride e'en your ways; for these are the last words ye'll
ever hear Meg Merrilies speak, and this is the last reise that I'll ever
cut in the bonny woods of Ellangowan.'

So saying, she broke the sapling she held in her hand, and flung it into
the road. Margaret of Anjou, bestowing on her triumphant foes her
keen-edged malediction, could not have turned from them with a gesture
more proudly contemptuous. The Laird was clearing his voice to speak, and
thrusting his hand in his pocket to find a half-crown; the gipsy waited
neither for his reply nor his donation, but strode down the hill to
overtake the caravan.

Ellangowan rode pensively home; and it was remarkable that he did not
mention this interview to any of his family. The groom was not so
reserved; he told the story at great length to a full audience in the
kitchen, and concluded by swearing, that 'if ever the devil spoke by the
mouth of a woman, he had spoken by that of Meg Merrilies that blessed

Paint Scotland greeting ower her thrissle,
Her mutchkin stoup as toom's a whistle,
And d--n'd excisemen in a bustle,
Seizing a stell,
Triumphant crushin't like a mussel,
Or lampit shell


During the period of Mr. Bertram's active magistracy, he did not forget
the affairs of the revenue. Smuggling, for which the Isle of Man then
afforded peculiar facilities, was general, or rather universal, all along
the southwestern coast of Scotland. Almost all the common people were
engaged in these practices; the gentry connived at them, and the officers
of the revenue were frequently discountenanced in the exercise of their
duty by those who should have protected them.

There was at this period, employed as a riding-officer or supervisor, in
that part of the country a certain Francis Kennedy, already named in our
narrative--a stout, resolute, and active man, who had made seizures to a
great amount, and was proportionally hated by those who had an interest
in the fair trade, as they called the pursuit of these contraband
adventurers. This person was natural son to a gentleman of good family,
owing to which circumstance, and to his being of a jolly, convivial
disposition, and singing a good song, he was admitted to the occasional
society of the gentlemen of the country, and was a member of several of
their clubs for practising athletic games, at which he was particularly

At Ellangowan Kennedy was a frequent and always an acceptable guest. His
vivacity relieved Mr. Bertram of the trouble of thought, and the labour
which it cost him to support a detailed communication of ideas; while the
daring and dangerous exploits which he had undertaken in the discharge of
his office formed excellent conversation. To all these revenue adventures
did the Laird of Ellangowan seriously incline, and the amusement which he
derived from Kennedy's society formed an excellent reason for
countenancing and assisting the narrator in the execution of his
invidious and hazardous duty.

'Frank Kennedy,' he said, 'was a gentleman, though on the wrang side of
the blanket; he was connected with the family of Ellangowan through the
house of Glengubble. The last Laird of Glengubble would have brought the
estate into the Ellangowan line; but, happening to go to Harrigate, he
there met with Miss Jean Hadaway--by the by, the Green Dragon at
Harrigate is the best house of the twa--but for Frank Kennedy, he's in
one sense a gentleman born, and it's a shame not to support him against
these blackguard smugglers.'

After this league had taken place between judgment and execution, it
chanced that Captain Dirk Hatteraick had landed a cargo of spirits and
other contraband goods upon the beach not far from Ellangowan, and,
confiding in the indifference with which the Laird had formerly regarded
similar infractions of the law, he was neither very anxious to conceal
nor to expedite the transaction. The consequence was that Mr. Frank
Kennedy, armed with a warrant from Ellangowan, and supported by some of
the Laird's people who knew the country, and by a party of military,
poured down upon the kegs, bales, and bags, and after a desperate affray,
in which severe wounds were given and received, succeeded in clapping the
broad arrow upon the articles, and bearing them off in triumph to the
next custom-house. Dirk Hatteraick vowed, in Dutch, German, and English,
a deep and full revenge, both against the gauger and his abettors; and
all who knew him thought it likely he would keep his word.

A few days after the departure of the gipsy tribe, Mr. Bertram asked his
lady one morning at breakfast whether this was not little Harry's

'Five years auld exactly, this blessed day,' answered the lady; 'so we
may look into the English gentleman's paper.'

Mr. Bertram liked to show his authority in trifles. 'No, my dear, not
till to-morrow. The last time I was at quarter-sessions the sheriff told
us that DIES--that dies inceptus--in short, you don't understand Latin,
but it means that a term-day is not begun till it's ended.'

'That sounds like nonsense, my dear.'

'May be so, my dear; but it may be very good law for all that. I am sure,
speaking of term-days, I wish, as Frank Kennedy says, that Whitsunday
would kill Martinmas and be hanged for the murder; for there I have got a
letter about that interest of Jenny Cairns's, and deil a tenant's been at
the Place yet wi' a boddle of rent, nor will not till Candlemas. But,
speaking of Frank Kennedy, I daresay he'll be here the day, for he was
away round to Wigton to warn a king's ship that's lying in the bay about
Dirk Hatteraick's lugger being on the coast again, and he'll be back this
day; so we'll have a bottle of claret and drink little Harry's health.'

'I wish,' replied the lady, 'Frank Kennedy would let Dirk Hatteraick
alane. What needs he make himself mair busy than other folk? Cannot he
sing his sang, and take his drink, and draw his salary, like Collector
Snail, honest man, that never fashes ony body? And I wonder at you,
Laird, for meddling and making. Did we ever want to send for tea or
brandy frae the borough-town when Dirk Hatteraick used to come quietly
into the bay?'

'Mrs. Bertram, you know nothing of these matters. Do you think it becomes
a magistrate to let his own house be made a receptacle for smuggled
goods? Frank Kennedy will show you the penalties in the act, and ye ken
yoursell they used to put their run goods into the Auld Place of
Ellangowan up by there.'

'Oh dear, Mr. Bertram, and what the waur were the wa's and the vault o'
the auld castle for having a whin kegs o' brandy in them at an orra time?
I am sure ye were not obliged to ken ony thing about it; and what the
waur was the King that the lairds here got a soup o' drink and the ladies
their drap o' tea at a reasonable rate?--it's a shame to them to pit such
taxes on them!--and was na I much the better of these Flanders head and
pinners that Dirk Hatteraick sent me a' the way from Antwerp? It will be
lang or the King sends me ony thing, or Frank Kennedy either. And then ye
would quarrel with these gipsies too! I expect every day to hear the
barnyard's in a low.'

'I tell you once more, my dear, you don't understand these things--and
there's Frank Kennedy coming galloping up the avenue.'

'Aweel! aweel! Ellangowan,' said the lady, raising her voice as the Laird
left the room, 'I wish ye may understand them yoursell, that's a'!'

From this nuptial dialogue the Laird joyfully escaped to meet his
faithful friend, Mr. Kennedy, who arrived in high spirits. 'For the love
of life, Ellangowan,' he said, 'get up to the castle! you'll see that old
fox Dirk Hatteraick, and his Majesty's hounds in full cry after him.' So
saying, he flung his horse's bridle to a boy, and ran up the ascent to
the old castle, followed by the Laird, and indeed by several others of
the family, alarmed by the sound of guns from the sea, now distinctly

On gaining that part of the ruins which commanded the most extensive
outlook, they saw a lugger, with all her canvass crowded, standing across
the bay, closely pursued by a sloop of war, that kept firing upon the
chase from her bows, which the lugger returned with her stern-chasers.
'They're but at long bowls yet,' cried Kennedy, in great exultation, 'but
they will be closer by and by. D--n him, he's starting his cargo! I see
the good Nantz pitching overboard, keg after keg! That's a d--d ungenteel
thing of Mr. Hatteraick, as I shall let him know by and by. Now, now!
they've got the wind of him! that's it, that's it! Hark to him! hark to
him! Now, my dogs! now, my dogs! Hark to Ranger, hark!'

'I think,' said the old gardener to one of the maids, 'the ganger's fie,'
by which word the common people express those violent spirits which they
think a presage of death.

Meantime the chase continued. The lugger, being piloted with great
ability, and using every nautical shift to make her escape, had now
reached, and was about to double, the headland which formed the extreme
point of land on the left side of the bay, when a ball having hit the
yard in the slings, the mainsail fell upon the deck. The consequence of
this accident appeared inevitable, but could not be seen by the
spectators; for the vessel, which had just doubled the headland, lost
steerage, and fell out of their sight behind the promontory. The sloop of
war crowded all sail to pursue, but she had stood too close upon the
cape, so that they were obliged to wear the vessel for fear of going
ashore, and to make a large tack back into the bay, in order to recover
sea-room enough to double the headland.

'They 'll lose her, by--, cargo and lugger, one or both,' said Kennedy;
'I must gallop away to the Point of Warroch (this was the headland so
often mentioned), and make them a signal where she has drifted to on the
other side. Good-bye for an hour, Ellangowan; get out the gallon
punch-bowl and plenty of lemons. I'll stand for the French article by the
time I come back, and we'll drink the young Laird's health in a bowl that
would swim the collector's yawl.' So saying, he mounted his horse and
galloped off.

About a mile from the house, and upon the verge of the woods, which, as
we have said, covered a promontory terminating in the cape called the
Point of Warroch, Kennedy met young Harry Bertram, attended by his tutor,
Dominie Sampson. He had often promised the child a ride upon his
galloway; and, from singing, dancing, and playing Punch for his
amusement, was a particular favourite. He no sooner came scampering up
the path, than the boy loudly claimed his promise; and Kennedy, who saw
no risk, in indulging him, and wished to tease the Dominie, in whose
visage he read a remonstrance, caught up Harry from the ground, placed
him before him, and continued his route; Sampson's 'Peradventure, Master
Kennedy-' being lost in the clatter of his horse's feet. The pedagogue
hesitated a moment whether he should go after them; but Kennedy being a
person in full confidence of the family, and with whom he himself had no
delight in associating, 'being that he was addicted unto profane and
scurrilous jests,' he continued his own walk at his own pace, till he
reached the Place of Ellangowan.

The spectators from the ruined walls of the castle were still watching
the sloop of war, which at length, but not without the loss of
considerable time, recovered sea-room enough to weather the Point of
Warroch, and was lost to their sight behind that wooded promontory. Some
time afterwards the discharges of several cannon were heard at a
distance, and, after an interval, a still louder explosion, as of a
vessel blown up, and a cloud of smoke rose above the trees and mingled
with the blue sky. All then separated on their different occasions,
auguring variously upon the fate of the smuggler, but the majority
insisting that her capture was inevitable, if she had not already gone to
the bottom.

'It is near our dinner-time, my dear,' said Mrs. Bertram to her husband;
'will it be lang before Mr. Kennedy comes back?'

'I expect him every moment, my dear,' said the Laird; 'perhaps he is
bringing some of the officers of the sloop with him.'

'My stars, Mr. Bertram! why did not ye tell me this before, that we might
have had the large round table? And then, they're a' tired o' saut meat,
and, to tell you the plain truth, a rump o' beef is the best part of your
dinner. And then I wad have put on another gown, and ye wadna have been
the waur o' a clean neck-cloth yoursell. But ye delight in surprising and
hurrying one. I am sure I am no to baud out for ever against this sort of
going on; but when folk's missed, then they are moaned.'

'Pshaw, pshaw! deuce take the beef, and the gown, and table, and the
neck-cloth! we shall do all very well. Where's the Dominie, John? (to a
servant who was busy about the table) where's the Dominie and little

'Mr. Sampson's been at hame these twa hours and mair, but I dinna think
Mr. Harry cam hame wi' him.'

'Not come hame wi' him?' said the lady; 'desire Mr. Sampson to step this
way directly.'

'Mr. Sampson,' said she, upon his entrance, 'is it not the most
extraordinary thing in this world wide, that you, that have free
up-putting--bed, board, and washing--and twelve pounds sterling a year,
just to look after that boy, should let him out of your sight for twa or
three hours?'

Sampson made a bow of humble acknowledgment at each pause which the angry
lady made in her enumeration of the advantages of his situation, in order
to give more weight to her remonstrance, and then, in words which we will
not do him the injustice to imitate, told how Mr. Francis Kennedy 'had
assumed spontaneously the charge of Master Harry, in despite of his
remonstrances in the contrary.'

'I am very little obliged to Mr. Francis Kennedy for his pains,' said the
lady, peevishly; 'suppose he lets the boy drop from his horse, and lames
him? or suppose one of the cannons comes ashore and kills him? or

'Or suppose, my dear,' said Ellangowan, 'what is much more likely than
anything else, that they have gone aboard the sloop or the prize, and are
to come round the Point with the tide?'

'And then they may be drowned,' said the lady.

'Verily,' said Sampson, 'I thought Mr. Kennedy had returned an hour
since. Of a surety I deemed I heard his horse's feet.'

'That,' said John, with a broad grin, 'was Grizzel chasing the humble-cow
out of the close.'

Sampson coloured up to the eyes, not at the implied taunt, which he would
never have discovered, or resented if he had, but at some idea which
crossed his own mind. 'I have been in an error,' he said; 'of a surety I
should have tarried for the babe.' So saying, he snatched his bone-headed
cane and hat, and hurried away towards Warroch wood faster than he was
ever known to walk before or after.

The Laird lingered some time, debating the point with the lady. At length
he saw the sloop of war again make her appearance; but, without
approaching the shore, she stood away to the westward with all her sails
set, and was soon out of sight. The lady's state of timorous and fretful
apprehension was so habitual that her fears went for nothing with her
lord and master; but an appearance of disturbance and anxiety among the
servants now excited his alarm, especially when he was called out of the
room, and told in private that Mr. Kennedy's horse had come to the stable
door alone, with the saddle turned round below its belly and the reins of
the bridle broken; and that a farmer had informed them in passing that
there was a smuggling lugger burning like a furnace on the other side of
the Point of Warroch, and that, though he had come through the wood, he
had seen or heard nothing of Kennedy or the young Laird, 'only there was
Dominie Sampson gaun rampauging about like mad, seeking for them.'

All was now bustle at Ellangowan. The Laird and his servants, male and
female, hastened to the wood of Warroch. The tenants and cottagers in the
neighbourhood lent their assistance, partly out of zeal, partly from
curiosity. Boats were manned to search the sea-shore, which, on the other
side of the Point, rose into high and indented rocks. A vague suspicion
was entertained, though too horrible to be expressed, that the child
might have fallen from one of these cliffs.

The evening had begun to close when the parties entered the wood, and
dispersed different ways in quest of the boy and his companion. The
darkening of the atmosphere, and the hoarse sighs of the November wind
through the naked trees, the rustling of the withered leaves which
strewed the glades, the repeated halloos of the different parties, which
often drew them together in expectation of meeting the objects of their
search, gave a cast of dismal sublimity to the scene.

At length, after a minute and fruitless investigation through the wood,
the searchers began to draw together into one body, and to compare notes.
The agony of the father grew beyond concealment, yet it scarcely equalled
the anguish of the tutor. 'Would to God I had died for him!' the
affectionate creature repeated, in notes of the deepest distress. Those
who were less interested rushed into a tumultuary discussion of chances
and possibilities. Each gave his opinion, and each was alternately swayed
by that of the others. Some thought the objects of their search had gone
aboard the sloop; some that they had gone to a village at three miles'
distance; some whispered they might have been on board the lugger, a few
planks and beams of which the tide now drifted ashore.

At this instant a shout was heard from the beach, so loud, so shrill, so
piercing, so different from every sound which the woods that day had rung
to, that nobody hesitated a moment to believe that it conveyed tidings,
and tidings of dreadful import. All hurried to the place, and, venturing
without scruple upon paths which at another time they would have
shuddered to look at, descended towards a cleft of the rock, where one
boat's crew was already landed. 'Here, sirs, here! this way, for God's
sake! this way! this way!' was the reiterated cry. Ellangowan broke
through the throng which had already assembled at the fatal spot, and
beheld the object of their terror. It was the dead body of Kennedy. At
first sight he seemed to have perished by a fall from the rocks, which
rose above the spot on which he lay in a perpendicular precipice of a
hundred feet above the beach. The corpse was lying half in, half out of
the water; the advancing tide, raising the arm and stirring the clothes,
had given it at some distance the appearance of motion, so that those who
first discovered the body thought that life remained. But every spark had
been long extinguished.

'My bairn! my bairn!' cried the distracted father, 'where can he be?' A
dozen mouths were opened to communicate hopes which no one felt. Some one
at length mentioned--the gipsies! In a moment Ellangowan had reascended
the cliffs, flung himself upon the first horse he met, and rode furiously
to the huts at Derncleugh. All was there dark and desolate; and, as he
dismounted to make more minute search, he stumbled over fragments of
furniture which had been thrown out of the cottages, and the broken wood
and thatch which had been pulled down by his orders. At that moment the
prophecy, or anathema, of Meg Merrilies fell heavy on his mind. 'You have
stripped the thatch from seven cottages; see that the roof-tree of your
own house stand the surer!'

'Restore,' he cried, 'restore my bairn! bring me back my son, and all
shall be forgot and forgiven!' As he uttered these words in a sort of
frenzy, his eye caught a glimmering of light in one of the dismantled
cottages; it was that in which Meg Merrilies formerly resided. The light,
which seemed to proceed from fire, glimmered not only through the window,
but also through the rafters of the hut where the roofing had been torn

He flew to the place; the entrance was bolted. Despair gave the miserable
father the strength of ten men; he rushed against the door with such
violence that it gave way before the momentum of his weight and force.
The cottage was empty, but bore marks of recent habitation: there was
fire on the hearth, a kettle, and some preparation for food. As he
eagerly gazed around for something that might confirm his hope that his
child yet lived, although in the power of those strange people, a man
entered the hut.

It was his old gardener. 'O sir!' said the old man, 'such a night as this
I trusted never to live to see! ye maun come to the Place directly!'

'Is my boy found? is he alive? have ye found Harry Bertram? Andrew, have
ye found Harry Bertram?'

'No, sir; but-'

'Then he is kidnapped! I am sure of it, Andrew! as sure as that I tread
upon earth! She has stolen him; and I will never stir from this place
till I have tidings of my bairn!'

'O, but ye maun come hame, sir! ye maun come hame! We have sent for the
Sheriff, and we'll seta watch here a' night, in case the gipsies return;
but YOU--ye maun come hame, sir, for my lady's in the dead-thraw.'

Bertram turned a stupefied and unmeaning eye on the messenger who uttered
this calamitous news; and, repeating the words 'in the dead-thraw!' as if
he could not comprehend their meaning, suffered the old man to drag him
towards his horse. During the ride home he only said, 'Wife and bairn
baith--mother and son baith,--sair, sair to abide!'

It is needless to dwell upon the new scene of agony which awaited him.
The news of Kennedy's fate had been eagerly and incautiously communicated
at Ellangowan, with the gratuitous addition, that, doubtless, 'he had
drawn the young Laird over the craig with him, though the tide had swept
away the child's body; he was light, puir thing, and would flee farther
into the surf.'

Mrs. Bertram heard the tidings; she was far advanced in her pregnancy;
she fell into the pains of premature labour, and, ere Ellangowan had
recovered his agitated faculties, so as to comprehend the full distress
of his situation, he was the father of a female infant, and a widower.

But see, his face is black and full of blood;
His eye-balls farther out than when he lived,
Staring full ghastly like a strangled man,
His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretch d with struggling,
His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd
And tugg'd for life, and was by strength subdued

Henry VI, Part II

The Sheriff-depute of the county arrived at Ellangowan next morning by
daybreak. To this provincial magistrate the law of Scotland assigns
judicial powers of considerable extent, and the task of inquiring into
all crimes committed within his jurisdiction, the apprehension and
commitment of suspected persons, and so forth. [Footnote: The Scottish
sheriff discharges, on such occasions as that now mentioned, pretty much
the same duty as a coroner.]

The gentleman who held the office in the shire of---at the time of this
catastrophe was well born and well educated; and, though somewhat
pedantic and professional in his habits, he enjoyed general respect as an
active and intelligent magistrate. His first employment was to examine
all witnesses whose evidence could throw light upon this mysterious
event, and make up the written report, proces verbal, or precognition, as
it is technically called, which the practice of Scotland has substituted
for a coroner's inquest. Under the Sheriff's minute and skilful inquiry,
many circumstances appeared which seemed incompatible with the original
opinion that Kennedy had accidentally fallen from the cliffs. We shall
briefly detail some of these.

The body had been deposited in a neighbouring fisher-hut, but without
altering the condition in which it was found. This was the first object
of the Sheriff's examination. Though fearfully crushed and mangled by the
fall from such a height, the corpse was found to exhibit a deep cut in
the head, which, in the opinion of a skilful surgeon, must have been
inflicted by a broadsword or cutlass. The experience of this gentleman
discovered other suspicious indications. The face was much blackened, the
eyes distorted, and the veins of the neck swelled. A coloured
handkerchief, which the unfortunate man had worn round his neck, did not
present the usual appearance, but was much loosened, and the knot
displaced and dragged extremely tight; the folds were also compressed, as
if it had been used as a means of grappling the deceased, and dragging
him perhaps to the precipice.

On the other hand, poor Kennedy's purse was found untouched; and, what
seemed yet more extraordinary, the pistols which he usually carried when
about to encounter any hazardous adventure were found in his pockets
loaded. This appeared particularly strange, for he was known and dreaded
by the contraband traders as a man equally fearless and dexterous in the
use of his weapons, of which he had given many signal proofs. The Sheriff
inquired whether Kennedy was not in the practice of carrying any other
arms? Most of Mr. Bertram's servants recollected that he generally had a
couteau de chasse, or short hanger, but none such was found upon the dead
body; nor could those who had seen him on the morning of the fatal day
take it upon them to assert whether he then carried that weapon or not.

The corpse afforded no other indicia respecting the fate of Kennedy; for,
though the clothes were much displaced and the limbs dreadfully
fractured, the one seemed the probable, the other the certain,
consequences of such a fall. The hands of the deceased were clenched
fast, and full of turf and earth; but this also seemed equivocal.

The magistrate then proceeded to the place where the corpse was first
discovered, and made those who had found it give, upon the spot, a
particular and detailed account of the manner in which it was lying. A
large fragment of the rock appeared to have accompanied, or followed, the
fall of the victim from the cliff above. It was of so solid and compact a
substance that it had fallen without any great diminution by splintering;
so that the Sheriff was enabled, first, to estimate the weight by
measurement, and then to calculate, from the appearance of the fragment,
what portion of it had been bedded into the cliff from which it had
descended. This was easily detected by the raw appearance of the stone
where it had not been exposed to the atmosphere. They then ascended the
cliff, and surveyed the place from whence the stony fragment had fallen.
It seemed plain, from the appearance of the bed, that the mere weight of
one man standing upon the projecting part of the fragment, supposing it
in its original situation, could not have destroyed its balance and
precipitated it, with himself, from the cliff. At the same time, it
appeared to have lain so loose that the use of a lever, or the combined
strength of three or four men, might easily have hurled it from its
position. The short turf about the brink of the precipice was much
trampled, as if stamped by the heels of men in a mortal struggle, or in
the act of some violent exertion. Traces of the same kind, less visibly
marked, guided the sagacious investigator to the verge of the copsewood,
which in that place crept high up the bank towards the top of the

With patience and perseverance they traced these marks into the thickest
part of the copse, a route which no person would have voluntarily
adopted, unless for the purpose of concealment. Here they found plain
vestiges of violence and struggling, from space to space. Small boughs
were torn down, as if grasped by some resisting wretch who was dragged
forcibly along; the ground, where in the least degree soft or marshy,
showed the print of many feet; there were vestiges also which might be
those of human blood. At any rate it was certain that several persons
must have forced their passage among the oaks, hazels, and underwood with
which they were mingled; and in some places appeared traces as if a sack
full of grain, a dead body, or something of that heavy and solid
description, had been dragged along the ground. In one part of the
thicket there was a small swamp, the clay of which was whitish, being
probably mixed with marl. The back of Kennedy's coat appeared besmeared
with stains of the same colour.

At length, about a quarter of a mile from the brink of the fatal
precipice, the traces conducted them to a small open space of ground,
very much trampled, and plainly stained with blood, although withered
leaves had been strewed upon the spot, and other means hastily taken to
efface the marks, which seemed obviously to have been derived from a
desperate affray. On one side of this patch of open ground was found the
sufferer's naked hanger, which seemed to have been thrown into the
thicket; on the other, the belt and sheath, which appeared to have been
hidden with more leisurely care and precaution.

The magistrate caused the footprints which marked this spot to be
carefully measured and examined. Some corresponded to the foot of the
unhappy victim; some were larger, some less; indicating that at least
four or five men had been busy around him. Above all, here, and here
only, were observed the vestiges of a child's foot; and as it could be
seen nowhere else, and the hard horse-track which traversed the wood of
Warroch was contiguous to the spot, it was natural to think that the boy
might have escaped in that direction during the confusion. But, as he was
never heard of, the Sheriff, who made a careful entry of all these
memoranda, did not suppress his opinion, that the deceased had met with
foul play, and that the murderers, whoever they were, had possessed
themselves of the person of the child Harry Bertram.

Every exertion was now made to discover the criminals. Suspicion
hesitated between the smugglers and the gipsies. The fate of Dirk
Hatteraick's vessel was certain. Two men from the opposite side of
Warroch Bay (so the inlet on the southern side of the Point of Warroch is
called) had seen, though at a great distance, the lugger drive eastward,
after doubling the headland, and, as they judged from her manoeuvres, in
a disabled state. Shortly after, they perceived that she grounded,
smoked, and finally took fire. She was, as one of them expressed himself,
'in a light low' (bright flame) when they observed a king's ship, with
her colours up, heave in sight from behind the cape. The guns of the
burning vessel discharged themselves as the fire reached them; and they
saw her at length blow up with a great explosion. The sloop of war kept
aloof for her own safety; and, after hovering till the other exploded,
stood away southward under a press of sail. The Sheriff anxiously
interrogated these men whether any boats had left the vessel. They could
not say, they had seen none; but they might have put off in such a
direction as placed the burning vessel, and the thick smoke which floated
landward from it, between their course and the witnesses' observation.

That the ship destroyed was Dirk Hatteraick's no one doubted. His lugger
was well known on the coast, and had been expected just at this time. A
letter from the commander of the king's sloop, to whom the Sheriff made
application, put the matter beyond doubt; he sent also an extract from
his log-book of the transactions of the day, which intimated their being
on the outlook for a smuggling lugger, Dirk Hatteraick master, upon the
information and requisition of Francis Kennedy, of his Majesty's excise
service; and that Kennedy was to be upon the outlook on the shore, in
case Hatteraick, who was known to be a desperate fellow, and had been
repeatedly outlawed, should attempt to run his sloop aground. About nine
o'clock A.M. they discovered a sail which answered the description of
Hatteraick's vessel, chased her, and, after repeated signals to her to
show colours and bring-to, fired upon her. The chase then showed Hamburgh
colours and returned the fire; and a running fight was maintained for
three hours, when, just as the lugger was doubling the Point of Warroch,
they observed that the main-yard was shot in the slings, and that the
vessel was disabled. It was not in the power of the man-of-war's men for
some time to profit by this circumstance, owing to their having kept too
much in shore for doubling the headland. After two tacks, they
accomplished this, and observed the chase on fire and apparently
deserted. The fire having reached some casks of spirits, which were
placed on the deck, with other combustibles, probably on purpose, burnt
with such fury that no boats durst approach the vessel, especially as her
shotted guns were discharging one after another by the heat. The captain
had no doubt whatever that the crew had set the vessel on fire and
escaped in their boats. After watching the conflagration till the ship
blew up, his Majesty's sloop, the Shark, stood towards the Isle of Man,
with the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the smugglers, who,
though they might conceal themselves in the woods for a day or two, would
probably take the first opportunity of endeavouring to make for this
asylum. But they never saw more of them than is above narrated.

Such was the account given by William Pritchard, master and commander of
his Majesty's sloop of war, Shark, who concluded by regretting deeply
that he had not had the happiness to fall in with the scoundrels who had
had the impudence to fire on his Majesty's flag, and with an assurance
that, should he meet Mr. Dirk Hatteraick in any future cruise, he would
not fail to bring him into port under his stern, to answer whatever might
be alleged against him.

As, therefore, it seemed tolerably certain that the men on board the
lugger had escaped, the death of Kennedy, if he fell in with them in the
woods, when irritated by the loss of their vessel and by the share he had
in it, was easily to be accounted for. And it was not improbable that to
such brutal tempers, rendered desperate by their own circumstances, even
the murder of the child, against whose father, as having become suddenly
active in the prosecution of smugglers, Hatteraick was known to have
uttered deep threats, would not appear a very heinous crime.

Against this hypothesis it was urged that a crew of fifteen or twenty men
could not have lain hidden upon the coast, when so close a search took
place immediately after the destruction of their vessel; or, at least,
that if they had hid themselves in the woods, their boats must have been
seen on the beach; that in such precarious circumstances, and when all
retreat must have seemed difficult if not impossible, it was not to be
thought that they would have all united to commit a useless murder for
the mere sake of revenge. Those who held this opinion supposed either
that the boats of the lugger had stood out to sea without being observed
by those who were intent upon gazing at the burning vessel, and so gained
safe distance before the sloop got round the headland; or else that, the
boats being staved or destroyed by the fire of the Shark during the
chase, the crew had obstinately determined to perish with the vessel.
What gave some countenance to this supposed act of desperation was, that
neither Dirk Hatteraick nor any of his sailors, all well-known men in the
fair trade, were again seen upon that coast, or heard of in the Isle of
Man, where strict inquiry was made. On the other hand, only one dead
body, apparently that of a seaman killed by a cannon-shot, drifted
ashore. So all that could be done was to register the names, description,
and appearance of the individuals belonging to the ship's company, and
offer a reward for the apprehension of them, or any one of them,
extending also to any person, not the actual murderer, who should give
evidence tending to convict those who had murdered Francis Kennedy.

Another opinion, which was also plausibly supported, went to charge this
horrid crime upon the late tenants of Derncleugh. They were known to have
resented highly the conduct of the Laird of Ellangowan towards them, and
to have used threatening expressions, which every one supposed them
capable of carrying into effect. The kidnapping the child was a crime
much more consistent with their habits than with those of smugglers, and
his temporary guardian might have fallen in an attempt to protect him.
Besides, it was remembered that Kennedy had been an active agent, two or
three days before, in the forcible expulsion of these people from
Derncleugh, and that harsh and menacing language had been exchanged
between him and some of the Egyptian patriarchs on that memorable

The Sheriff received also the depositions of the unfortunate father and
his servant, concerning what had passed at their meeting the caravan of
gipsies as they left the estate of Ellangowan. The speech of Meg
Merrilies seemed particularly suspicious. There was, as the magistrate
observed in his law language, damnum minatum--a damage, or evil turn,
threatened--and malum secutum--an evil of the very kind predicted shortly
afterwards following. A young woman, who had been gathering nuts in
Warroch wood upon the fatal day, was also strongly of opinion, though she
declined to make positive oath, that she had seen Meg Merrilies--at least
a woman of her remarkable size and appearance--start suddenly out of a
thicket; she said she had called to her by name, but, as the figure
turned from her and made no answer, she was uncertain if it were the
gipsy or her wraith, and was afraid to go nearer to one who was always
reckoned, in the vulgar phrase, 'no canny.' This vague story received
some corroboration from the circumstance of a fire being that evening
found in the gipsy's deserted cottage. To this fact Ellangowan and his
gardener bore evidence. Yet it seemed extravagant to suppose that, had
this woman been accessory to such a dreadful crime, she would have
returned, that very evening on which it was committed, to the place of
all others where she was most likely to be sought after.

Meg Merrilies was, however, apprehended and examined. She denied strongly
having been either at Derncleugh or in the wood of Warroch upon the day
of Kennedy's death; and several of her tribe made oath in her behalf,
that she had never quitted their encampment, which was in a glen about
ten miles distant from Ellangowan. Their oaths were indeed little to be
trusted to; but what other evidence could be had in the circumstances?
There was one remarkable fact, and only one, which arose from her
examination. Her arm appeared to be slightly wounded by the cut of a
sharp weapon, and was tied up with a handkerchief of Harry Bertram's. But
the chief of the horde acknowledged he had 'corrected her' that day with
his whinger; she herself, and others, gave the same account of her hurt;
and for the handkerchief, the quantity of linen stolen from Ellangowan
during the last months of their residence on the estate easily accounted
for it, without charging Meg with a more heinous crime.

It was observed upon her examination that she treated the questions
respecting the death of Kennedy, or 'the gauger,' as she called him, with
indifference; but expressed great and emphatic scorn and indignation at
being supposed capable of injuring little Harry Bertram. She was long
confined in jail, under the hope that something might yet be discovered
to throw light upon this dark and bloody transaction. Nothing, however,
occurred; and Meg was at length liberated, but under sentence of
banishment from the county as a vagrant, common thief, and disorderly
person. No traces of the boy could ever be discovered; and at length the
story, after making much noise, was gradually given up as altogether
inexplicable, and only perpetuated by the name of 'The Gauger's Loup,'
which was generally bestowed on the cliff from which the unfortunate man
had fallen or been precipitated.

I, that please some, try ail, both joy and terror
Of good and bad; that make and unfold error,
Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
To use my wings Impute it not a crime
To me, or my swift passage, that I slide
O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried
Of that wide gap.

Winter's Tale.

Our narration is now about to make a large stride, and omit a space of
nearly seventeen years; during which nothing occurred of any particular
consequence with respect to the story we have undertaken to tell. The gap
is a wide one; yet if the reader's experience in life enables him to look
back on so many years, the space will scarce appear longer in his
recollection than the time consumed in turning these pages.

It was, then, in the month of November, about seventeen years after the
catastrophe related in the last chapter, that, during a cold and stormy
night, a social group had closed around the kitchen-fire of the Gordon
Arms at Kippletringan, a small but comfortable inn kept by Mrs.
Mac-Candlish in that village. The conversation which passed among them
will save me the trouble of telling the few events occurring during this
chasm in our history, with which it is necessary that the reader should
be acquainted.

Mrs. Mac-Candlish, throned in a comfortable easychair lined with black
leather, was regaling herself and a neighbouring gossip or two with a cup
of genuine tea, and at the same time keeping a sharp eye upon her
domestics, as they went and came in prosecution of their various duties
and commissions. The clerk and precentor of the parish enjoyed at a
little distance his Saturday night's pipe, and aided its bland fumigation
by an occasional sip of brandy and water. Deacon Bearcliff, a man of
great importance in the village, combined the indulgence of both parties:
he had his pipe and his tea-cup, the latter being laced with a little
spirits. One or two clowns sat at some distance, drinking their twopenny

'Are ye sure the parlour's ready for them, and the fire burning clear,
and the chimney no smoking?' said the hostess to a chambermaid.

She was answered in the affirmative. 'Ane wadna be uncivil to them,
especially in their distress,' said she, turning to the Deacon.

'Assuredly not, Mrs. Mac-Candlish; assuredly not. I am sure ony sma'
thing they might want frae my shop, under seven, or eight, or ten pounds,
I would book them as readily for it as the first in the country. Do they
come in the auld chaise?'

'I daresay no,' said the precentor; 'for Miss Bertram comes on the white
powny ilka day to the kirk--and a constant kirk-keeper she is--and it's a
pleasure to hear her singing the psalms, winsome young thing.'

'Ay, and the young Laird of Hazlewood rides hame half the road wi' her
after sermon,' said one of the gossips in company. 'I wonder how auld
Hazlewood likes that.'

'I kenna how he may like it now,' answered another of the tea-drinkers;
'but the day has been when Ellangowan wad hae liked as little to see his

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