Redgauntlet by Sir Walter Scott by king0fpunjab

VIEWS: 10 PAGES: 281


Redgauntlet by Sir Walter Scott                                                                                  2

Redgauntlet by Sir Walter Scott
The Project Gutenberg Etext of Redgauntlet by Sir Walter Scott #11 in our series by Sir Walter Scott

Copyright laws are changing all over the world, be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before
posting these files!!

Please take a look at the important information in this header.

We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an electronic path open for the next readers. Do
not remove this.

**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations*

Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and further information is included below. We
need your donations.


by Sir Walter Scott

February, 2000 [Etext #2516]

The Project Gutenberg Etext of Redgauntlet by Sir Walter Scott ******This file should be named redg10.txt

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, redg11.txt VERSIONS based on separate sources
get new LETTER, redg10a.txt

Project Gutenberg Etexts are usually created from multiple editions, all of which are in the Public Domain in
the United States, unless a copyright notice is included. Therefore, we do usually do NOT! keep these books
in compliance with any particular paper edition.

We are now trying to release all our books one month in advance of the official release dates, leaving time for
better editing.

Please note: neither this list nor its contents are final till midnight of the last day of the month of any such
announcement. The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at Midnight, Central Time, of the
last day of the stated month. A preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment and editing
by those who wish to do so. To be sure you have an up to date first edition [] please check file
sizes in the first week of the next month. Since our ftp program has a bug in it that scrambles the date [tried to
fix and failed] a look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a new copy has at least one byte
more or less.
Information about Project Gutenberg                                                                                 3

Information about Project Gutenberg
(one page)

We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work. The time it takes us, a rather conservative
estimate, is fifty hours to get any etext selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright searched and analyzed,
the copyright letters written, etc. This projected audience is one hundred million readers. If our value per text
is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $2 million dollars per hour this year as we release
thirty-six text files per month, or 432 more Etexts in 1999 for a total of 2000+ If these reach just 10% of the
computerized population, then the total should reach over 200 billion Etexts given away this year.

The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away One Trillion Etext Files by December 31, 2001. [10,000 x
100,000,000 = 1 Trillion] This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers, which is only about
5% of the present number of computer users.

At our revised rates of production, we will reach only one-third of that goal by the end of 2001, or about 3,333
Etexts unless we manage to get some real funding; currently our funding is mostly from Michael Hart's salary
at Carnegie-Mellon University, and an assortment of sporadic gifts; this salary is only good for a few more
years, so we are looking for something to replace it, as we don't want Project Gutenberg to be so dependent on
one person.

We need your donations more than ever!

All donations should be made to "Project Gutenberg/CMU": and are tax deductible to the extent allowable by
law. (CMU = Carnegie- Mellon University).

For these and other matters, please mail to:

Project Gutenberg P. O. Box 2782 Champaign, IL 61825

When all other email fails. . .try our Executive Director: Michael S. Hart <> forwards to and if your mail bounces from, I
will still see it, if it bounces from, better resend later on. . . .

We would prefer to send you this information by email.


To access Project Gutenberg etexts, use any Web browser to view This site lists Etexts by
author and by title, and includes information about how to get involved with Project Gutenberg. You could
also download our past Newsletters, or subscribe here. This is one of our major sites, please email, for a more complete list of our various sites.

To go directly to the etext collections, use FTP or any Web browser to visit a Project Gutenberg mirror
(mirror sites are available on 7 continents; mirrors are listed at

Mac users, do NOT point and click, typing works better.

Example FTP session:

login: anonymous
password: your@login
Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor                                                     4
cd pub/docs/books/gutenberg
cd etext90 through etext99 etext00 etext01
dir [to see files]
get or mget [to get files. . .set bin for zip files]
GET GUTINDEX.?? [to get a year's listing of books, e.g., GUTINDEX.99]
GET GUTINDEX.ALL [to get a listing of ALL books]



Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal

(Three Pages)

Print!" statement here? You know: lawyers. They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not
our fault. So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement disclaims most of our liability to you. It also
tells you how you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.


By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, you indicate that you understand,
agree to and accept this "Small Print!" statement. If you do not, you can receive a refund of the money (if any)
you paid for this etext by sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person you got it from. If you
received this etext on a physical medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.


This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG- tm etexts, is a "public domain"
work distributed by Professor Michael S. Hart through the Project Gutenberg Association at Carnegie-Mellon
University (the "Project"). Among other things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright on or
for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without permission and
without paying copyright royalties. Special rules, set forth below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this
etext under the Project's "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark.

To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public
domain works. Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any medium they may be on may contain
"Defects". Among other things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or corrupt data,
transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or
other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.


But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below, [1] the Project (and any other party you may
receive this etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims all liability to you for damages,
costs and expenses, including legal fees, and [2] YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE OR
Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor                                                           5


If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if
any) you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that time to the person you received it from. If you
received it on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and such person may choose to
alternatively give you a replacement copy. If you received it electronically, such person may choose to
alternatively give you a second opportunity to receive it electronically.


Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or the exclusion or limitation of consequential
damages, so the above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you may have other legal rights.


You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors, officers, members and agents harmless from all
liability, cost and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following that
you do or cause: [1] distribution of this etext, [2] alteration, modification, or addition to the etext, or [3] any


You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by disk, book or any other medium if you either
delete this "Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg, or:

[1] Only give exact copies of it. Among other things, this requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the
etext or this "small print!" statement. You may however, if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable
binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form, including any form resulting from conversion by word pro-
cessing or hypertext software, but only so long as *EITHER*:

[*] The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and does *not* contain characters other than those intended
by the author of the work, although tilde (~), asterisk (*) and underline (i) characters may be used to convey
punctuation intended by the author, and additional characters may be used to indicate hypertext links; OR

[*] The etext may be readily converted by the reader at no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent
form by the program that displays the etext (as is the case, for instance, with most word processors); OR

[*] You provide, or agree to also provide on request at no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of the etext
in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC or other equivalent proprietary form).

[2] Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this "Small Print!" statement.

[3] Pay a trademark license fee to the Project of 20% of the net profits you derive calculated using the method
you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. If you don't derive profits, no royalty is due. Royalties are
payable to "Project Gutenberg Association/Carnegie-Mellon University" within the 60 days following each
date you prepare (or were legally required to prepare) your annual (or equivalent periodic) tax return.

Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor                                                    6

The Project gratefully accepts contributions in money, time, scanning machines, OCR software, public
domain etexts, royalty free copyright licenses, and every other sort of contribution you can think of. Money
should be paid to "Project Gutenberg Association / Carnegie-Mellon University".



REDGAUNTLET by Sir Walter Scott, Bart.



Introduction Text Letters I - XIII
Chapters                                                                                                            7

I - XXIII Conclusion Notes Glossary


Note: Footnotes in the printed book have been inserted in the etext in square brackets ("[]") close to the place
where they were referenced by a suffix in the original text. Text in italics has been written in capital letters.
There are some numbered notes at the end of the text that are referred to by their numbers with brief notes,
also in square brackets, embedded in the text.



The Jacobite enthusiasm of the eighteenth century, particularly during the rebellion of 1745, afforded a theme,
perhaps the finest that could be selected for fictitious composition, founded upon real or probable incident.
This civil war and its remarkable events were remembered by the existing generation without any degree of
the bitterness of spirit which seldom fails to attend internal dissension. The Highlanders, who formed the
principal strength of Charles Edward's army, were an ancient and high-spirited race, peculiar in their habits of
war and of peace, brave to romance, and exhibiting a character turning upon points more adapted to poetry
than to the prose of real life. Their prince, young, valiant, patient of fatigue, and despising danger, heading his
army on foot in the most toilsome marches, and defeating a regular force in three battles--all these were
circumstances fascinating to the imagination, and might well be supposed to seduce young and enthusiastic
minds to the cause in which they were found united, although wisdom and reason frowned upon the

The adventurous prince, as is well known, proved to be one of those personages who distinguish themselves
during some single and extraordinarily brilliant period of their lives, like the course of a shooting-star, at
which men wonder, as well on account of the briefness, as the brilliancy of its splendour. A long tract of
darkness overshadowed the subsequent life of a man who, in his youth, showed himself so capable of great
undertakings; and, without the painful task of tracing his course farther, we may say the latter pursuits and
habits of this unhappy prince are those painfully evincing a broken heart, which seeks refuge from its own
thoughts in sordid enjoyments.

Still, however, it was long ere Charles Edward appeared to be, perhaps it was long ere he altogether became,
so much degraded from his original self; as he enjoyed for a time the lustre attending the progress and
termination of his enterprise. Those who thought they discerned in his subsequent conduct an insensibility to
the distresses of his followers, coupled with that egotistical attention to his own interests which has been often
attributed to the Stuart family, and which is the natural effect of the principles of divine right in which they
were brought up, were now generally considered as dissatisfied and splenetic persons, who, displeased with
the issue of their adventure and finding themselves involved in the ruins of a falling cause, indulged
themselves in undeserved reproaches against their leader. Indeed, such censures were by no means frequent
among those of his followers who, if what was alleged had been just, had the best right to complain. Far the
greater number of those unfortunate gentlemen suffered with the most dignified patience, and were either too
proud to take notice of ill-treatment an the part of their prince, or so prudent as to be aware their complaints
would meet with little sympathy from the world. It may be added, that the greater part of the banished
Jacobites, and those of high rank and consequence, were not much within reach of the influence of the prince's
character and conduct, whether well regulated or otherwise.

In the meantime that great Jacobite conspiracy, of which the insurrection of 1745-6 was but a small part
precipitated into action on the failure of a far more general scheme, was resumed and again put into motion by
Chapters                                                                                                       8
the Jacobites of England, whose force had never been broken, as they had prudently avoided bringing it into
the field. The surprising effect which had been produced by small means, in 1745-6, animated their hopes for
more important successes, when the whole nonjuring interest of Britain, identified as it then was with great
part of the landed gentlemen, should come forward to finish what had been gallantly attempted by a few
Highland chiefs.

It is probable, indeed, that the Jacobites of the day were incapable of considering that the very small scale on
which the effort was made, was in one great measure the cause of its unexpected success. The remarkable
speed with which the insurgents marched, the singularly good discipline which they preserved, the union and
unanimity which for some time animated their councils, were all in a considerable degree produced by the
smallness of their numbers. Notwithstanding the discomfiture of Charles Edward, the nonjurors of the period
long continued to nurse unlawful schemes, and to drink treasonable toasts, until age stole upon them. Another
generation arose, who did not share the sentiments which they cherished; and at length the sparkles of
disaffection, which had long smouldered, but had never been heated enough to burst into actual flame, became
entirely extinguished. But in proportion as the political enthusiasm died gradually away among men of
ordinary temperament, it influenced those of warm imaginations and weak understandings, and hence wild
schemes were formed, as desperate as they were adventurous.

Thus a young Scottishman of rank is said to have stooped so low as to plot the surprisal of St. James's Palace,
and the assassination of the royal family. While these ill-digested and desperate conspiracies were agitated
among the few Jacobites who still adhered with more obstinacy to their purpose, there is no question but that
other plots might have been brought to an open explosion, had it not suited the policy of Sir Robert Walpole
rather to prevent or disable the conspirators in their projects, than to promulgate the tale of danger, which
might thus have been believed to be more widely diffused than was really the case.

In one instance alone this very prudential and humane line of conduct was departed from, and the event
seemed to confirm the policy of the general course. Doctor Archibald Cameron, brother of the celebrated
Donald Cameron of Lochiel, attainted for the rebellion of 1745, was found by a party of soldiers lurking with
a comrade in the wilds of Loch Katrine five or six years after the battle of Culloden, and was there seized.
There were circumstances in his case, so far as was made known to the public, which attracted much
compassion, and gave to the judicial proceedings against him an appearance of cold-blooded revenge on the
part of government; and the following argument of a zealous Jacobite in his favour, was received as
conclusive by Dr. Johnson and other persons who might pretend to impartiality. Dr. Cameron had never borne
arms, although engaged in the Rebellion, but used his medical skill for the service, indifferently, of the
wounded of both parties. His return to Scotland was ascribed exclusively to family affairs. His behaviour at
the bar was decent, firm, and respectful. His wife threw herself, on three different occasions, before George II
and the members of his family, was rudely repulsed from their presence, and at length placed, it was said, in
the same prison with her husband, and confined with unmanly severity.

Dr. Cameron was finally executed with all the severities of the law of treason; and his death remains in
popular estimation a dark blot upon the memory of George II, being almost publicly imputed to a mean and
personal hatred of Donald Cameron of Lochiel, the sufferer's heroic brother.

Yet the fact was that whether the execution of Archibald Cameron was political or otherwise, it might
certainly have been justified, had the king's ministers so pleased, upon reasons of a public nature. The
unfortunate sufferer had not come to the Highlands solely upon his private affairs, as was the general belief;
but it was not judged prudent by the English ministry to let it be generally known that he came to inquire
about a considerable sum of money which had been remitted from France to the friends of the exiled family.
He had also a commission to hold intercourse with the well-known M'Pherson of Cluny, chief of the clan
Vourich, whom the Chevalier had left behind at his departure from Scotland in 1746, and who remained
during ten years of proscription and danger, skulking from place to place in the Highlands, and maintaining an
uninterrupted correspondence between Charles and his friends. That Dr. Cameron should have held a
Chapters                                                                                                         9
commission to assist this chief in raking together the dispersed embers of disaffection, is in itself sufficiently
natural, and, considering his political principles, in no respect dishonourable to his memory. But neither ought
it to be imputed to George II that he suffered the laws to be enforced against a person taken in the act of
breaking them. When he lost his hazardous game, Dr. Cameron only paid the forfeit which he must have
calculated upon. The ministers, however, thought it proper to leave Dr. Cameron's new schemes in
concealment, lest, by divulging them, they had indicated the channel of communication which, it is now well
known, they possessed to all the plots of Charles Edward. But it was equally ill advised and ungenerous to
sacrifice the character of the king to the policy of the administration. Both points might have been gained by
sparing the life of Dr. Cameron after conviction, and limiting his punishment to perpetual exile.

These repeated and successive Jacobite plots rose and burst like bubbles on a fountain; and one of them, at
least, the Chevalier judged of importance enough to induce him to risk himself within the dangerous precincts
of the British capital. This appears from Dr. King's ANECDOTES OF HIS OWN TIMES.

'September, 1750.--I received a note from my Lady Primrose, who desired to see me immediately. As soon as
I waited on her, she led me into her dressing-room, and presented me to--' [the Chevalier, doubtless]. 'If I was
surprised to find him there, I was still more astonished when he acquainted me with the motives which had
induced him to hazard a journey to England at this juncture. The impatience of his friends who were in exile
had formed a scheme which was impracticable; but although it had been as feasible as they had represented it
to him, yet no preparation had been made, nor was anything ready to carry it into execution. He was soon
convinced that he had been deceived; and, therefore, after a stay in London of five days only, he returned to
the place from whence he came.' Dr. King was in 1750 a keen Jacobite, as may be inferred from the visit
made by him to the prince under such circumstances, and from his being one of that unfortunate person's
chosen correspondents. He, as well as other men of sense and observation, began to despair of making their
fortune in the party which they had chosen. It was indeed sufficiently dangerous; for, during the short visit just
described, one of Dr. King's servants remarked the stranger's likeness to Prince Charles, whom he recognized
from the common busts.

The occasion taken for breaking up the Stuart interest we shall tell in Dr. King's own words:--'When he
(Charles Edward) was in Scotland, he had a mistress whose name was Walkinshaw, and whose sister was at
that time, and is still, housekeeper at Leicester House. Some years after he was released from his prison, and
conducted out of France, he sent for this girl, who soon acquired such a dominion over him, that she was
acquainted with all his schemes, and trusted with his most secret correspondence. As soon as this was known
in England, all those persons of distinction who were attached to him were greatly alarmed: they imagined
that this wench had been placed in his family by the English ministers; and, considering her sister's situation,
they seemed to have some ground for their suspicion; wherefore, they dispatched a gentleman to Paris, where
the prince then was, who had instructions to insist that Mrs. Walkinshaw should be removed to a convent for a
certain term; but her gallant absolutely refused to comply with this demand; and although Mr. M'Namara, the
gentleman who was sent to him, who has a natural eloquence and an excellent understanding, urged the most
cogent reasons, and used all the arts of persuasion, to induce him to part with his mistress, and even proceeded
so far as to assure him, according to his instructions, that an immediate interruption of all correspondence with
his most powerful friends in England, and, in short, that the ruin of his interest, which was now daily
increasing, would be the infallible consequence of his refusal; yet he continued inflexible, and all M'Namara's
entreaties and remonstrances were ineffectual. M'Namara stayed in Paris some days beyond the time
prescribed him, endeavouring to reason the prince into a better temper; but finding him obstinately persevere
in his first answer, he took his leave with concern and indignation, saying, as he passed out, "What has your
family done, sir, thus to draw down the vengeance of Heaven on every branch of it, through so many ages?" It
is worthy of remark, that in all the conferences which M'Namara had with the prince on this occasion, the
latter declared that it was not a violent passion, or indeed any particular regard, which attached him to Mrs.
Walkinshaw and that he could see her removed from him without any concern; but he would not receive
directions, in respect to his private conduct, from any man alive. When M'Namara returned to London, and
reported the prince's answer to the gentlemen who had employed him, they were astonished and confounded.
Chapters                                                                                                       10
However, they soon resolved on the measures which they were to pursue for the future, and determined no
longer to serve a man who could not be persuaded to serve himself, and chose rather to endanger the lives of
his best and most faithful friends, than part with an harlot, whom, as he often declared, he neither loved nor

From this anecdote, the general truth of which is indubitable, the principal fault of Charles Edward's temper is
sufficiently obvious. It was a high sense of his own importance, and an obstinate adherence to what he had
once determined on--qualities which, if he had succeeded in his bold attempt, gave the nation little room to
hope that he would have been found free from the love of prerogative and desire of arbitrary power, which
characterized his unhappy grandfather. He gave a notable instance how far this was the leading feature of his
character, when, for no reasonable cause that can be assigned, he placed his own single will in opposition to
the necessities of France, which, in order to purchase a peace become necessary to the kingdom, was reduced
to gratify Britain by prohibiting the residence of Charles within any part of the French dominions. It was in
vain that France endeavoured to lessen the disgrace of this step by making the most flattering offers, in hopes
to induce the prince of himself to anticipate this disagreeable alternative, which, if seriously enforced, as it
was likely to be, he had no means whatever of resisting, by leaving the kingdom as of his own free will.
Inspired, however, by the spirit of hereditary obstinacy, Charles preferred a useless resistance to a dignified
submission, and, by a series of idle bravadoes, laid the French court under the necessity of arresting their late
ally, and sending him to close confinement in the Bastille, from which he was afterwards sent out of the
French dominions, much in the manner in which a convict is transported to the place of his destination.

In addition to these repeated instances of a rash and inflexible temper, Dr. King also adds faults alleged to
belong to the prince's character, of a kind less consonant with his noble birth and high pretensions. He is said
by this author to have been avaricious, or parsimonious at least, to such a degree of meanness, as to fail, even
when he had ample means, in relieving the sufferers who had lost their fortune, and sacrificed all in his
ill-fated attempt. [The approach is thus expressed by Dr. King, who brings the charge:--'But the most odious
part of his character is his love of money, a vice which I do not remember to have been imputed by our
historians to any of his ancestors, and is the certain index of a base and little mind. I know it may be urged in
his vindication, that a prince in exile ought to be an economist. And so he ought; but, nevertheless, his purse
should be always open as long as there is anything in it, to relieve the necessities of his friends and adherents.
King Charles II, during his banishment, would have shared the last pistole in his pocket with his little family.
But I have known this gentleman, with two thousand louis-d'ors in his strong-box, pretend he was in great
distress, and borrow money from a lady in Paris who was not in affluent circumstances. His most faithful
servants, who had closely attended him in all his difficulties, were ill rewarded.'--King's MEMOIRS.] We
must receive, however, with some degree of jealousy what is said by Dr. King on this subject, recollecting that
he had left at least, if he did not desert, the standard of the unfortunate prince, and was not therefore a person
who was likely to form the fairest estimate of his virtues and faults. We must also remember that if the exiled
prince gave little, he had but little to give, especially considering how late he nourished the scheme of another
expedition to Scotland, for which he was long endeavouring to hoard money.

The case, also, of Charles Edward must be allowed to have been a difficult one. He had to satisfy numerous
persons, who, having lost their all in his cause, had, with that all, seen the extinction of hopes which they
accounted nearly as good as certainties; some of these were perhaps clamorous in their applications, and
certainly ill pleased with their want of success. Other parts of the Chevalier's conduct may have afforded
grounds for charging him with coldness to the sufferings of his devoted followers. One of these was a
sentiment which has nothing in it that is generous, but it was certainly a principle in which the young prince
was trained, and which may be too probably denominated peculiar to his family, educated in all the high
notions of passive obedience and non-resistance. If the unhappy prince gave implicit faith to the professions
of statesmen holding such notions, which is implied by his whole conduct.

Chapters                                                                                                         11





CUR ME EXANIMAS QUERELIS TUIS? In plain English, Why do you deafen me with your croaking? The
disconsolate tone in which you bade me farewell at Noble House, [The first stage on the road from Edinburgh
to Dumfries via Moffat.] and mounted your miserable hack to return to your law drudgery, still sounds in my
ears. It seemed to say, 'Happy dog! you can ramble at pleasure over hill and dale, pursue every object of
curiosity that presents itself, and relinquish the chase when it loses interest; while I, your senior and your
better, must, in this brilliant season, return to my narrow chamber and my musty books.'

Such was the import of the reflections with which you saddened our parting bottle of claret, and thus I must
needs interpret the terms of your melancholy adieu.

And why should this be so, Alan? Why the deuce should you not be sitting precisely opposite to me at this
moment, in the same comfortable George Inn; thy heels on the fender, and thy juridical brow expanding its
plications as a pun rose in your fancy? Above all, why, when I fill this very glass of wine, cannot I push the
bottle to you, and say, 'Fairford, you are chased!' Why, I say, should not all this be, except because Alan
Fairford has not the same true sense of friendship as Darsie Latimer, and will not regard our purses as
common, as well as our sentiments?

I am alone in the world; my only guardian writes to me of a large fortune which will be mine when I reach the
age of twenty-five complete; my present income is, thou knowest, more than sufficient for all my wants; and
yet thou--traitor as thou art to the cause of friendship--dost deprive me of the pleasure of thy society, and
submittest, besides, to self-denial on thine own part, rather than my wanderings should cost me a few guineas
more! Is this regard for my purse, or for thine own pride? Is it not equally absurd and unreasonable, whichever
source it springs from? For myself, I tell thee, I have, and shall have, more than enough for both. This same
methodical Samuel Griffiths, of Ironmonger Lane, Guildhall, London, whose letter arrives as duly as
quarter-day, has sent me, as I told thee, double allowance for this my twenty-first birthday, and an assurance,
in his brief fashion, that it will be again doubled for the succeeding years, until I enter into possession of my
own property. Still I am to refrain from visiting England until my twenty-fifth year expires; and it is
recommended that I shall forbear all inquiries concerning my family, and so forth, for the present.

Were it not that I recollect my poor mother in her deep widow's weeds, with a countenance that never smiled
but when she looked on me--and then, in such wan and woful sort, as the sun when he glances through an
April cloud,--were it not, I say, that her mild and matron-like form and countenance forbid such a suspicion, I
might think myself the son of some Indian director, or rich citizen, who had more wealth than grace, and a
handful of hypocrisy to boot, and who was breeding up privately, and obscurely enriching, one of whose
existence he had some reason to be ashamed. But, as I said before, I think on my mother, and am convinced as
much as of the existence of my own soul, that no touch of shame could arise from aught in which she was
implicated. Meantime, I am wealthy, and I am alone, and why does my friend scruple to share my wealth?

Are you not my only friend? and have you not acquired a right to share my wealth? Answer me that, Alan
Fairford. When I was brought from the solitude of my mother's dwelling into the tumult of the Gaits' Class at
the High School--when I was mocked for my English accent--salted with snow as a Southern--rolled in the
gutter for a Saxon pock-pudding,--who, with stout arguments and stouter blows, stood forth my
defender?--why, Alan Fairford. Who beat me soundly when I brought the arrogance of an only son, and of
course a spoiled urchin, to the forms of the little republic? --why, Alan. And who taught me to smoke a
Chapters                                                                                                             12
cobbler, pin a losen, head a bicker, and hold the bannets?--[Break a window, head a skirmish with stones, and
hold the bonnet, or handkerchief, which used to divide High School boys when fighting.] Alan, once more. If
I became the pride of the Yards, and the dread of the hucksters in the High School Wynd, it was under thy
patronage; and, but for thee, I had been contented with humbly passing through the Cowgate Port, without
climbing over the top of it, and had never seen the KITTLE NINE-STEPS nearer than from Bareford's Parks.
[A pass on the very brink of the Castle rock to the north, by which it is just possible for a goat, or a High
School boy, to turn the corner of the building where it rises from the edge of the precipice. This was so
favourite a feat with the 'hell and neck boys' of the higher classes, that at one time sentinels were posted to
prevent its repetition. One of the nine-steps was rendered more secure because the climber could take hold of
the root of a nettle, so precarious were the means of passing this celebrated spot. The manning the Cowgate
Port, especially in snowball time, was also a choice amusement, as it offered an inaccessible station for the
boys who used these missiles to the annoyance of the passengers. The gateway is now demolished; and
probably most of its garrison lie as low as the fortress. To recollect that the author himself, however naturally
disqualified, was one of those juvenile dreadnoughts, is a sad reflection to one who cannot now step over a
brook without assistance.]

You taught me to keep my fingers off the weak, and to clench my fist against the strong--to carry no tales out
of school--to stand forth like a true man--obey the stern order of a PANDE MANUM, and endure my
pawmies without wincing, like one that is determined not to be the better for them. In a word, before I knew
thee, I knew nothing.

At college it was the same. When I was incorrigibly idle, your example and encouragement roused me to
mental exertion, and showed me the way to intellectual enjoyment. You made me an historian, a
metaphysician (INVITA MINERVA)--nay, by Heaven! you had almost made an advocate of me, as well as of
yourself. Yes, rather than part with you, Alan, I attended a weary season at the Scotch Law Class; a wearier at
the Civil; and with what excellent advantage, my notebook, filled with caricatures of the professors and my
fellow students, is it not yet extant to testify?

Thus far have I held on with thee untired;

and, to say truth, purely and solely that I might travel the same road with thee. But it will not do, Alan. By my
faith, man, I could as soon think of being one of those ingenious traders who cheat little Master Jackies on the
outside of the partition with tops, balls, bats, and battledores, as a member of the long-robed fraternity within,
who impose on grown country gentlemen with bouncing brocards of law. [The Hall of the Parliament House
of Edinburgh was, in former days, divided into two unequal portions by a partition, the inner side of which
was consecrated to the use of the Courts of Justice and the gentlemen of the law; while the outer division was
occupied by the stalls of stationers, toymen, and the like, as in a modern bazaar. From the old play of THE
PLAIN DEALER, it seems such was formerly the case with Westminster Hall. Minos has now purified his
courts in both cities from all traffic but his own.] Now, don't you read this to your worthy father, Alan--he
loves me well enough, I know, of a Saturday night; but he thinks me but idle company for any other day of the
week. And here, I suspect, lies your real objection to taking a ramble with me through the southern counties in
this delicious weather. I know the good gentleman has hard thoughts of me for being so unsettled as to leave
Edinburgh before the Session rises; perhaps, too, he quarrels a little--I will not say with my want of ancestry,
but with my want of connexions. He reckons me a lone thing in this world, Alan, and so, in good truth, I am;
and it seems a reason to him why you should not attach yourself to me, that I can claim no interest in the
general herd.

Do not suppose I forget what I owe him, for permitting me to shelter for four years under his roof: My
obligations to him are not the less, but the greater, if he never heartily loved me. He is angry, too, that I will
not, or cannot, be a lawyer, and, with reference to you, considers my disinclination that way as PESSIMI
EXEMPLI, as he might say.
Chapters                                                                                                       13
But he need not be afraid that a lad of your steadiness will be influenced by such a reed shaken by the winds
as I am. You will go on doubting with Dirleton, and resolving those doubts with Stewart, ['Sir John Nisbett of
AND ANSWERED,' are works of authority in Scottish jurisprudence. As is generally the case, the doubts are
held more in respect than the solution.] until the cramp speech [Till of late years, every advocate who catered
at the Scottish bar made a Latin address to the Court, faculty, and audience, in set terms, and said a few words
upon a text of the civil law, to show his Latinity and jurisprudence. He also wore his hat for a minute, in order
to vindicate his right of being covered before the Court, which is said to have originated from the celebrated
lawyer, Sir Thomas Hope, having two sons on the bench while he himself remained at the bar. Of late this
ceremony has been dispensed with, as occupying the time of the Court unnecessarily. The entrant lawyer
merely takes the oaths to government, and swears to maintain the rules and privileges of his order.] has been
spoken more SOLITO from the corner of the bench, and with covered head--until you have sworn to defend
the liberties and privileges of the College of Justice--until the black gown is hung on your shoulders, and you
are free as any of the Faculty to sue or defend. Then will I step forth, Alan, and in a character which even your
father will allow may be more useful to you than had I shared this splendid termination of your legal studies.
In a word, if I cannot be a counsel, I am determined to be a CLIENT, a sort of person without whom a lawsuit
would be as dull as a supposed case. Yes, I am determined to give you your first fee. One can easily, I am
assured, get into a lawsuit--it is only the getting out which is sometimes found troublesome;--and, with your
kind father for an agent, and you for my counsel learned in the law, and the worshipful Master Samuel
Griffiths to back me, a few sessions shall not tire my patience. In short, I will make my way into court, even if
it should cost me the committing a DELICT, or at least a QUASI DELICT.--You see all is not lost of what
Erskine wrote, and Wallace taught.

Thus far I have fooled it off well enough; and yet, Alan, all is not at ease within me. I am affected with a sense
of loneliness, the more depressing, that it seems to me to be a solitude peculiarly my own. In a country where
all the world have a circle of consanguinity, extending to sixth cousins at least, I am a solitary individual,
having only one kind heart to throb in unison with my own. If I were condemned to labour for my bread,
methinks I should less regard this peculiar species of deprivation, The necessary communication of master and
servant would be at least a tie which would attach me to the rest of my kind--as it is, my very independence
seems to enhance the peculiarity of my situation. I am in the world as a stranger in the crowded coffeehouse,
where he enters, calls for what refreshment he wants, pays his bill, and is forgotten so soon as the waiter's
mouth has pronounced his 'Thank ye, sir.'

I know your good father would term this SINNING MY MERCIES, [A peculiar Scottish phrase expressive of
ingratitude for the favours of Providence.] and ask how I should feel if, instead of being able to throw down
my reckoning, I were obliged to deprecate the resentment of the landlord for consuming that which I could not
pay for. I cannot tell how it is; but, though this very reasonable reflection comes across me, and though I do
confess that four hundred a year in possession, eight hundred in near prospect, and the L--d knows how many
hundreds more in the distance, are very pretty and comfortable things, yet I would freely give one half of them
to call your father father, though he should scold me for my idleness every hour of the day, and to call you
brother, though a brother whose merits would throw my own so completely into the shade.

The faint, yet not improbable, belief has often come across me, that your father knows something more about
my birth and condition than he is willing to communicate; it is so unlikely that I should be left in Edinburgh at
six years old, without any other recommendation than the regular payment of my board to old M--, [Probably
Mathieson, the predecessor of Dr. Adams, to whose memory the author and his contemporaries owe a deep
debt of gratitude.] of the High School. Before that time, as I have often told you, I have but a recollection of
unbounded indulgence on my mother's part, and the most tyrannical exertion of caprice on my own. I
remember still how bitterly she sighed, how vainly she strove to soothe me, while, in the full energy of
despotism, I roared like ten bull-calves, for something which it was impossible to procure for me. She is dead,
that kind, that ill- rewarded mother! I remember the long faces--the darkened rooms --the black hangings--the
Chapters                                                                                                       14

mysterious impression made upon my mind by the hearse and mourning coaches, and the difficulty which I
had to reconcile all this to the disappearance of my mother. I do not think I had before this event formed, any
idea, of death, or that I had even heard of that final consummation of all that lives. The first acquaintance
which I formed with it deprived me of my only relation.

A clergyman of venerable appearance, our only visitor, was my guide and companion in a journey of
considerable length; and in the charge of another elderly man, substituted in his place, I know not how or why,
I completed my journey to Scotland--and this is all I recollect.

I repeat the little history now, as I have a hundred times before, merely because I would wring some sense out
of it. Turn, then, thy sharp, wire-drawing, lawyer-like ingenuity to the same task--make up my history as
though thou wert shaping the blundering allegations of some blue-bonneted, hard-headed client, into a
condescendence of facts and circumstances, and thou shalt be, not my Apollo--QUID TIBI CUM LYRA?--but
my Lord Stair, [Celebrated as a Scottish lawyer.] Meanwhile, I have written myself out of my melancholy and
blue devils, merely by prosing about them; so I will now converse half an hour with Roan Robin in his
stall--the rascal knows me already, and snickers whenever I cross the threshold of the stable.

The black which you bestrode yesterday morning promises to be an admirable roadster, and ambled as easily
with Sam and the portmanteau, as with you and your load of law-learning. Sam promises to be steady, and has
hitherto been so. No long trial, you will say. He lays the blame of former inaccuracies on evil company--the
people who were at the livery-stable were too seductive, I suppose--he denies he ever did the horse injustice--
would rather have wanted his own dinner, he says. In this I believe him, as Roan Robin's ribs and coat show
no marks of contradiction. However, as he will meet with no saints in the inns we frequent, and as oats are
sometimes as speedily converted into ale as John Barleycorn himself, I shall keep a look-out after Master
Sam. Stupid fellow! had he not abused my good nature, I might have chatted to him to keep my tongue in
exercise; whereas now I must keep him at a distance.

Do you remember what Mr. Fairford said to me on this subject--it did not become my father's son to speak in
that manner to Sam's father's son? I asked you what your father could possibly know of mine; and you
answered, 'As much, you supposed, as he knew of Sam's--it was a proverbial expression.' This did not quite
satisfy me; though I am sure I cannot tell why it should not. But I am returning to a fruitless and exhausted
subject. Do not be afraid that I shall come back on this well-trodden yet pathless field of conjecture. I know
nothing so useless, so utterly feeble and contemptible, as the groaning forth one's lamentations into the ears of
our friends.

I would fain promise you that my letters shall be as entertaining as I am determined they shall be regular and
well filled. We have an advantage over the dear friends of old, every pair of them. Neither David and
Jonathan, nor Orestes and Pylades, nor Damon and Pythias--although, in the latter case particularly, a letter by
post would have been very acceptable--ever corresponded together; for they probably could not write, and
certainly had neither post nor franks to speed their effusions to each other; whereas yours, which you had
from the old peer, being handled gently, and opened with precaution, may be returned to me again, and serve
to make us free of his Majesty's post office, during the whole time of my proposed tour. [It is well known and
remembered, that when Members of Parliament enjoyed the unlimited privilege of franking by the mere
writing the name on the cover, it was extended to the most extraordinary occasions. One noble lord, to express
his regard for a particular regiment, franked a letter for every rank and file. It was customary also to save the
covers and return them, in order that the correspondence might be carried on as long as the envelopes could
hold together.] Mercy upon us, Alan! what letters I shall have to send to you, with an account of all that I can
collect, of pleasant or rare, in this wild-goose jaunt of mine! All I stipulate is that you do not communicate
them to the SCOTS MAGAZINE; for though you used, in a left-handed way, to compliment me on my
attainments in the lighter branches of literature, at the expense of my deficiency in the weightier matters of the
law, I am not yet audacious enough to enter the portal which the learned Ruddiman so kindly opened for the
acolytes of the Muses.--VALE SIS MEMOR MEI. D. L.
Chapters                                                                                                       15

PS. Direct to the Post Office here. I shall leave orders to forward your letters wherever I may travel.



NEGATUR, my dear Darsie--you have logic and law enough to understand the word of denial. I deny your
conclusion. The premises I admit, namely, that when I mounted on that infernal hack, I might utter what
seemed a sigh, although I deemed it lost amid the puffs and groans of the broken-winded brute, matchless in
the complication of her complaints by any save she, the poor man's mare, renowned in song, that died

A mile aboon Dundee.

[Alluding, as all Scotsmen know, to the humorous old song:-- 'The auld man's mare's dead, The puir man's
mare's dead, The auld man's mare's dead, A mile aboon Dundee.']

But credit me, Darsie, the sigh which escaped me, concerned thee more than myself, and regarded neither the
superior mettle of your cavalry, nor your greater command of the means of travelling. I could certainly have
cheerfully ridden with you for a few days; and assure yourself I would not have hesitated to tax your better
filled purse for our joint expenses. But you know my father considers every moment taken from the law as a
step down hill; and I owe much to his anxiety on my account, although its effects are sometimes troublesome.
For example:

I found, on my arrival at the shop in Brown's Square, that the old gentleman had returned that very evening,
impatient, it seems, of remaining a night out of the guardianship of the domestic Lares. Having this
information from James, whose brow wore rather an anxious look on the occasion, I dispatched a Highland
chairman to the livery stable with my Bucephalus, and slunk, with as little noise as might be, into my own
den, where I began to mumble certain half-gnawed and not half-digested doctrines of our municipal code. I
was not long seated, when my father's visage was thrust, in a peering sort of way, through the half-opened
door; and withdrawn, on seeing my occupation, with a half-articulated HUMPH! which seemed to convey a
doubt of the seriousness of my application. If it were so, I cannot condemn him; for recollection of thee
occupied me so entirely during an hour's reading, that although Stair lay before me, and notwithstanding that I
turned over three or four pages, the sense of his lordship's clear and perspicuous style so far escaped me, that I
had the mortification to find my labour was utterly in vain.

Ere I had brought up my lee-way, James appeared with his summons to our frugal supper--radishes, cheese,
and a bottle of the old ale-only two plates though--and no chair set for Mr. Darsie, by the attentive James
Wilkinson. Said James, with his long face, lank hair, and very long pig-tail in its leathern strap, was placed, as
usual, at the back of my father's chair, upright as a wooden sentinel at the door of a puppet-show. 'You may go
down, James,' said my father; and exit Wilkinson.--What is to come next? thought I; for the weather is not
clear on the paternal brow.

My boots encountered his first glance of displeasure, and he asked me, with a sneer, which way I had been
riding. He expected me to answer, 'Nowhere,' and would then have been at me with his usual sarcasm,
touching the humour of walking in shoes at twenty shillings a pair. But I answered with composure, that I had
ridden out to dinner as far as Noble House. He started (you know his way) as if I had said that I had dined at
Jericho; and as I did not choose to seem to observe his surprise, but continued munching my radishes in
tranquillity, he broke forth in ire.

'To Noble House, sir! and what had you to do at Noble House, sir? Do you remember you are studying law,
sir?--that your Scots law trials are coming on, sir?--that every moment of your time just now is worth hours at
another time?--and have you leisure to go to Noble House, sir?--and to throw your books behind you for so
Chapters                                                                                                           16

many hours?--Had it been a turn in the meadows, or even a game at golf--but Noble House, sir!'

'I went so far with Darsie Latimer, sir, to see him begin his journey.'

'Darsie Latimer?' he replied in a softened tone--'Humph!--Well, I do not blame you for being kind to Darsie
Latimer; but it would have done as much good if you had walked with him as far as the toll-bar, and then
made your farewells--it would have saved horse-hire--and your reckoning, too, at dinner.'

'Latimer paid that, sir,' I replied, thinking to soften the matter; but I had much better have left it unspoken.

'The reckoning, sir!' replied my father. 'And did you sponge upon any man for a reckoning? Sir, no man
should enter the door of a public-house without paying his lawing.'

'I admit the general rule, sir,' I replied; 'but this was a parting-cup between Darsie and me; and I should
conceive it fell under the exception of DOCH AN DORROCH.'

'You think yourself a wit,' said my father, with as near an approach to a smile as ever he permits to gild the
solemnity of his features; 'but I reckon you did not eat your dinner standing, like the Jews at their Passover?
and it was decided in a case before the town-bailies of Cupar-Angus, when Luckie Simpson's cow had drunk
up Luckie Jamieson's browst of ale while it stood in the door to cool, that there was no damage to pay,
because the crummie drank without sitting down; such being the very circumstance constituting DOCH AN
DORROCH, which is a standing drink, for which no reckoning is paid. Ha, sir! what says your advocateship
(FIERI) to that? EXEPTIO FIRMAT REGULAM--But come, fill your glass, Alan; I am not sorry ye have
shown this attention to Darsie Latimer, who is a good lad, as times go; and having now lived under my roof
since he left the school, why, there is really no great matter in coming under this small obligation to him.'

As I saw my father's scruples were much softened by the consciousness of his superiority in the legal
argument, I took care to accept my pardon as a matter of grace, rather than of justice; and only replied, we
should feel ourselves duller of an evening, now that you were absent. I will give you my father's exact words
in reply, Darsie. You know him so well, that they will not offend you; and you are also aware, that there
mingles with the good man's preciseness and formality, a fund of shrewd observation and practical good

'It is very true,' he said; 'Darsie was a pleasant companion-but over waggish, over waggish, Alan, and
somewhat scatter-brained. --By the way, Wilkinson must get our ale bottled in English pints now, for a quart
bottle is too much, night after night, for you and me, without his assistance.--But Darsie, as I was saying, is an
arch lad, and somewhat light in the upper story--I wish him well through the world; but he has little solidity,
Alan, little solidity.'

I scorn to desert an absent friend, Darsie, so I said for you a little more than my conscience warranted: but
your defection from your legal studies had driven you far to leeward in my father's good opinion.

'Unstable as water, he shall not excel,' said my father; 'or, as the Septuagint hath it, EFUSA EST SICUT
AQUA--NON CRESCAT. He goeth to dancing-houses, and readeth novels--SAT EST.'

I endeavoured to parry these texts by observing, that the dancing-houses amounted only to one night at La
Pique's ball--the novels (so far as matter of notoriety, Darsie) to an odd volume of TOM JONES.

'But he danced from night to morning,' replied my father, 'and he read the idle trash, which the author should
have been scourged for, at least twenty times over. It was never out of his hand.'

I then hinted, that in all probability your fortune was now so easy as to dispense with your prosecuting the law
Chapters                                                                                                       17

any further than you had done; and therefore you might think you had some title to amuse yourself. This was
the least palatable argument of all.

'If he cannot amuse himself with the law,' said my father, snappishly 'it is the worse for him. If he needs not
law to teach him to make a fortune, I am sure he needs it to teach him how to keep one; and it would better
become him to be learning this, than to be scouring the country like a land-louper, going he knows not where,
to see he knows not what, and giving treats at Noble House to fools like himself' (an angry glance at poor me),
'Noble House, indeed!' he repeated, with elevated voice and sneering tone, as if there were something
offensive to him in the name, though I will venture to say that any place in which you had been extravagant
enough to spend five shillings, would have stood as deep in his reprobation.

Mindful of your idea, that my father knows more of your real situation than he thinks proper to mention, I
thought I would hazard a fishing observation. 'I did not see,' I said, 'how the Scottish law would be useful to a
young gentleman whose fortune would seem to be vested in England.'--I really thought my father would have
beat me.

'D'ye mean to come round me, sir, PER AMBAGES, as Counsellor Pest says? What is it to you where Darsie
Latimer's fortune is vested, or whether he hath any fortune, aye or no? And what ill would the Scottish law do
to him, though he had as much of it as either Stair or Bankton, sir? Is not the foundation of our municipal law
the ancient code of the Roman Empire, devised at a time when it was so much renowned for its civil polity,
sir, and wisdom? Go to your bed, sir, after your expedition to Noble House, and see that your lamp be burning
and your book before you ere the sun peeps. ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS--were it not a sin to call the
divine science of the law by the inferior name of art.'

So my lamp did burn, dear Darsie, the next morning, though the owner took the risk of a domiciliary
visitation, and lay snug in bed, trusting its glimmer might, without further inquiry, be received as sufficient
evidence of his vigilance. And now, upon this the third morning after your departure, things are but little
better; for though the lamp burns in my den, and VOET ON THE PANDECTS hath his wisdom spread open
before me, yet as I only use him as a reading-desk on which to scribble this sheet of nonsense to Darsie
Latimer, it is probable the vicinity will be of little furtherance to my studies.

And now, methinks, I hear thee call me an affected hypocritical varlet, who, living under such a system of
distrust and restraint as my father chooses to govern by, nevertheless pretends not to envy you your freedom
and independence.

Latimer, I will tell you no lies. I wish my father would allow me a little more exercise of my free will, were it
but that I might feel the pleasure of doing what would please him of my own accord. A little more spare time,
and a little more money to enjoy it, would, besides, neither misbecome my age nor my condition; and it is, I
own, provoking to see so many in the same situation winging the air at freedom, while I sit here, caged up like
a cobbler's linnet, to chant the same unvaried lesson from sunrise to sunset, not to mention the listening to so
many lectures against idleness, as if I enjoyed or was making use of the means of amusement! But then I
cannot at heart blame either the motive or the object of this severity. For the motive, it is and can only be my
father's anxious, devoted, and unremitting affection and zeal for my improvement, with a laudable sense of the
honour of the profession to which he has trained me.

As we have no near relations, the tie betwixt us is of even unusual closeness, though in itself one of the
strongest which nature can form. I am, and have all along been, the exclusive object of my father's anxious
hopes, and his still more anxious and engrossing fears; so what title have I to complain, although now and
then these fears and hopes lead him to take a troublesome and incessant charge of all my motions? Besides, I
ought to recollect, and, Darsie, I do recollect, that my father upon various occasions, has shown that he can be
indulgent as well as strict. The leaving his old apartments in the Luckenbooths was to him like divorcing the
soul from the body; yet Dr. R-- did but hint that the better air of this new district was more favourable to my
Chapters                                                                                                         18
health, as I was then suffering under the penalties of too rapid a growth, when he exchanged his old and
beloved quarters, adjacent to the very Heart of Midlothian, for one of those new tenements (entire within
themselves) which modern taste has so lately introduced. Instance also the inestimable favour which he
conferred on me by receiving you into his house, when you had only the unpleasant alternative of remaining,
though a grown-up lad, in the society of mere boys. [The diminutive and obscure place called Brown's Square,
was hailed about the time of its erection as an extremely elegant improvement upon the style of designing and
erecting Edinburgh residences. Each house was, in the phrase used by appraisers, 'finished within itself,' or, in
the still newer phraseology, 'self-contained.' It was built about the year 1763-4; and the old part of the city
being near and accessible, this square soon received many inhabitants, who ventured to remove to so moderate
a distance from the High Street.] This was a thing so contrary to all my father's ideas of seclusion, of
economy, and of the safety to my morals and industry, which he wished to attain, by preserving me from the
society of other young people, that, upon my word, I am always rather astonished how I should have had the
impudence to make the request, than that he should have complied with it.

Then for the object of his solicitude--Do not laugh, or hold up your hands, my good Darsie; but upon my word
I like the profession to which I am in the course of being educated, and am serious in prosecuting the
preliminary studies. The law is my vocation--in an especial, and, I may say, in an hereditary way, my
vocation; for although I have not the honour to belong to any of the great families who form in Scotland, as in
France, the noblesse of the robe, and with us, at least, carry their heads as high, or rather higher, than the
noblesse of the sword,--for the former consist more frequently of the 'first-born of Egypt,'--yet my
grandfather, who, I dare say, was a most excellent person, had the honour to sign a bitter protest against the
Union, in the respectable character of town-clerk to the ancient Borough of Birlthegroat; and there is some
reason--shall I say to hope, or to suspect?--that he may have been a natural son of a first cousin of the then
Fairford of that Ilk, who had been long numbered among the minor barons. Now my father mounted a step
higher on the ladder of legal promotion, being, as you know as well as I do, an eminent and respected Writer
to his Majesty's Signet; and I myself am destined to mount a round higher still, and wear the honoured robe
which is sometimes supposed, like Charity, to cover a multitude of sins. I have, therefore, no choice but to
climb upwards; since we have mounted thus high, or else to fall down at the imminent risk of my neck. So
that I reconcile myself to my destiny; and while you, are looking from mountain peaks, at distant lakes and
firths, I am, DE APICIBUS JURIS, consoling myself with visions of crimson and scarlet gowns--with the
appendages of handsome cowls, well lined with salary.

You smile, Darsie, MORE TUO, and seem to say it is little worth while to cozen one's self with such vulgar
dreams; yours being, on the contrary, of a high and heroic character, bearing the same resemblance to mine,
that a bench, covered with purple cloth and plentifully loaded with session papers, does to some Gothic
throne, rough with barbaric pearl and gold. But what would you have?--SUA QUEMQUE TRAHIT
VOLUPTAS. And my visions of preferment, though they may be as unsubstantial at present, are nevertheless
more capable of being realized, than your aspirations after the Lord knows what. What says my father's
proverb? 'Look to a gown of gold, and you will at least get a sleeve of it.' Such is my pursuit; but what dost
thou look to? The chance that the mystery, as you call it, which at present overclouds your birth and
connexions, will clear up into something inexpressibly and inconceivably brilliant; and this without any effort
or exertion of your own, but purely by the goodwill of Fortune. I know the pride and naughtiness of thy heart,
and sincerely do I wish that thou hadst more beatings to thank me for, than those which thou dost
acknowledge so gratefully. Then had I thumped these Quixotical expectations out of thee, and thou hadst not,
as now, conceived thyself to be the hero of some romantic history, and converted, in thy vain imaginations,
honest Griffiths, citizen and broker, who never bestows more than the needful upon his quarterly epistles, into
some wise Alexander or sage Alquife, the mystical and magical protector of thy peerless destiny. But I know
not how it was, thy skull got harder, I think, and my knuckles became softer; not to mention that at length
thou didst begin to show about thee a spark of something dangerous, which I was bound to respect at least, if I
did not fear it.

And while I speak of this, it is not much amiss to advise thee to correct a little this cock-a-hoop courage of
Chapters                                                                                                          19
thine. I fear much that, like a hot-mettled horse, it will carry the owner into some scrape, out of which he will
find it difficult to extricate himself, especially if the daring spirit which bore thee thither should chance to fail
thee at a pinch. Remember, Darsie, thou art not naturally courageous; on the contrary, we have long since
agreed that, quiet as I am, I have the advantage in this important particular. My courage consists, I think, in
strength of nerves and constitutional indifference to danger; which, though it never pushes me on adventure,
secures me in full use of my recollection, and tolerably complete self-possession, when danger actually
arrives. Now, thine seems more what may be called intellectual courage; highness of spirit, and desire of
distinction; impulses which render thee alive to the love of fame, and deaf to the apprehension of danger, until
it forces itself suddenly upon thee. I own that, whether it is from my having caught my father's apprehensions,
or that I have reason to entertain doubts of my own, I often think that this wildfire chase of romantic situation
and adventure may lead thee into some mischief; and then what would become of Alan Fairford? They might
make whom they pleased Lord Advocate or Solicitor-General, I should never have the heart to strive for it. All
my exertions are intended to Vindicate myself one day in your eyes; and I think I should not care a farthing
for the embroidered silk gown, more than for an old woman's apron, unless I had hopes that thou shouldst be
walking the boards to admire, and perhaps to envy me.

That this may be the case, I prithee--beware! See not a Dulcinea, in every slipshod girl, who, with blue eyes,
fair hair, a tattered plaid, and a willow-wand in her grip, drives out the village cows to the loaning. Do not
think you will meet a gallant Valentine in every English rider, or an Orson in every Highland drover. View
things as they are, and not as they may be magnified through thy teeming fancy. I have seen thee look at an
old gravel pit, till thou madest out capes, and bays, and inlets, crags and precipices, and the whole stupendous
scenery of the Isle of Feroe, in what was, to all ordinary eyes, a mere horse- pond. Besides, did I not once find
thee gazing with respect at a lizard, in the attitude of one who looks upon a crocodile? Now this is, doubtless,
so far a harmless exercise of your imagination; for the puddle cannot drown you, nor the Lilliputian alligator
eat you up. But it is different in society, where you cannot mistake the character of those you converse with,
or suffer your fancy to exaggerate their qualities, good or bad, without exposing yourself not only to ridicule,
but to great and serious inconveniences. Keep guard, therefore, on your imagination, my dear Darsie; and let
your old friend assure you, it is the point of your character most pregnant with peril to its good and generous
owner. Adieu! let not the franks of the worthy peer remain unemployed; above all, SIS MEMOR MEI. A. F.




I have received thine absurd and most conceited epistle. It is well for thee that, Lovelace and Belford-like, we
came under a convention to pardon every species of liberty which we may take with each other; since, upon
my word, there are some reflections in your last which would otherwise have obliged me to return forthwith to
Edinburgh, merely to show you I was not what you took me for.

Why, what a pair of prigs hast thou made of us! I plunging into scrapes, without having courage to get out of
them--thy sagacious self, afraid to put one foot before the other, lest it should run away from its companion;
and so standing still like a post, out of mere faintness and coldness of heart, while all the world were driving
full speed past thee. Thou a portrait-painter! I tell thee, Alan, I have seen a better seated on the fourth round of
a ladder, and painting a bare-breeched Highlander, holding a pint- stoup as big as himself, and a booted
Lowlander, in a bobwig, supporting a glass of like dimensions; the whole being designed to represent the sign
of the Salutation.

How hadst thou the heart to represent thine own individual self, with all thy motions, like those of a great
Dutch doll, depending on the pressure of certain springs, as duty, reflection, and the like; without the impulse
of which, thou wouldst doubtless have me believe thou wouldst not budge an inch! But have I not seen
Chapters                                                                                                        20
Gravity out of his bed at midnight? and must I, in plain terms, remind thee of certain mad pranks? Thou hadst
ever, with the gravest sentiments in thy mouth and the most starched reserve in thy manner, a kind of
lumbering proclivity towards mischief, although with more inclination to set it a-going than address to carry it
through; and I cannot but chuckle internally, when I think of having seen my most venerable monitor, the
future president of some high Scottish court, puffing, blowing, and floundering, like a clumsy cart-horse in a
bog where his efforts to extricate himself only plunged him deeper at every awkward struggle, till some one--I
myself, for example--took compassion on the moaning monster, and dragged him out by mane and tail.

As for me, my portrait is, if possible, even more scandalously caricatured, I fail or quail in spirit at the
upcome! Where canst thou show me the least symptom of the recreant temper, with which thou hast invested
me (as I trust) merely to set off the solid and impassible dignity of thine own stupid indifference? If you ever
saw me tremble, be assured that my flesh, like that of the old Spanish general, only quaked at the dangers into
which my spirit was about to lead it. Seriously, Alan, this imputed poverty of spirit is a shabby charge to bring
against your friend. I have examined myself as closely as I can, being, in very truth, a little hurt at your having
such hard thoughts of me, and on my life I can see no reason for them. I allow you have, perhaps, some
advantage of me in the steadiness and indifference of your temper; but I should despise myself, if I were
conscious of the deficiency in courage which you seem willing enough to impute to me. However, I suppose,
this ungracious hint proceeds from sincere anxiety for my safety; and so viewing it, I swallow it as I would do
medicine from a friendly doctor, although I believed in my heart he had mistaken my complaint.

This offensive insinuation disposed of, I thank thee, Alan, for the rest of thy epistle. I thought I heard your
good father pronouncing the word Noble House, with a mixture of contempt and displeasure, as if the very
name of the poor little hamlet were odious to him, or as if you had selected, out of all Scotland, the very place
at which you had no call to dine. But if he had had any particular aversion to that blameless village and very
sorry inn, is it not his own fault that I did not accept the invitation of the Laird of Glengallacher, to shoot a
buck in what he emphatically calls 'his country'? Truth is, I had a strong desire to have complied with his
lairdship's invitation. To shoot a buck! Think how magnificent an idea to one who never shot anything but
hedge-sparrows, and that with a horse-pistol purchased at a broker's stand in the Cowgate! You, who stand
upon your courage, may remember that I took the risk of firing the said pistol for the first time, while you
stood at twenty yards' distance; and that, when you were persuaded it would go off without bursting,
forgetting all law but that of the biggest and strongest, you possessed yourself of it exclusively for the rest of
the holidays. Such a day's sport was no complete introduction to the noble art of deer-stalking, as it is
practised in the Highlands; but I should not have scrupled to accept honest Glengallacher's invitation, at the
risk of firing a rifle for the first time, had it not been for the outcry which your father made at my proposal, in
the full ardour of his zeal for King George, the Hanover succession, and the Presbyterian faith. I wish I had
stood out, since I have gained so little upon his good opinion by submission. All his impressions concerning
the Highlanders are taken from the recollections of the Forty-five, when he retreated from the West Port with
his brother volunteers, each to the fortalice of his own separate dwelling, so soon as they heard the Adventurer
was arrived with his clans as near them as Kirkliston. The flight of Falkirk-- PARMA NON BENE
SELECTA--in which I think your sire had his share with the undaunted western regiment, does not seem to
have improved his taste for the company of the Highlanders; (quaere, Alan, dost thou derive the courage thou
makest such boast of from an hereditary source?) and stories of Rob Roy Macgregor, and Sergeant Alan Mhor
Cameron, have served to paint them in still more sable colours to his imagination. [Of Rob Roy we have had
more than enough. Alan Cameron, commonly called Sergeant Mhor, a freebooter of the same period, was
equally remarkable for strength, courage, and generosity.]

Now, from all I can understand, these ideas, as applied to the present state of the country, are absolutely
chimerical. The Pretender is no more remembered in the Highlands than if the poor gentleman were gathered
to his hundred and eight fathers, whose portraits adorn the ancient walls of Holyrood; the broadswords have
passed into other hands; the targets are used to cover the butter churns; and the race has sunk, or is fast
sinking, from ruffling bullies into tame cheaters. Indeed, it was partly my conviction that there is little to be
seen in the north, which, arriving at your father's conclusions, though from different premisses, inclined my
Chapters                                                                                                       21

course in this direction, where perhaps I shall see as little.

One thing, however, I HAVE seen; and it was with pleasure the more indescribable, that I was debarred from
treading the land which my eyes were permitted to gaze upon, like those of the dying prophet from top of
Mount Pisgah,--I have seen, in a word, the fruitful shores of merry England; merry England! of which I boast
myself a native, and on which I gaze, even while raging floods and unstable quicksands divide us, with the
filial affection of a dutiful son.

Thou canst not have forgotten, Alan--for when didst thou ever forget what was interesting to thy friend?--that
the same letter from my friend Griffiths, which doubled my income, and placed my motions at my own free
disposal, contained a prohibitory clause, by which, reason none assigned, I was prohibited, as I respected my
present safety and future fortunes, from visiting England; every other part of the British dominions, and a tour,
if I pleased, on the Continent, being left to my own choice.--Where is the tale, Alan, of a covered dish in the
midst of a royal banquet, upon which the eyes of every guest were immediately fixed, neglecting all the
dainties with which the table was loaded? This cause of banishment from England--from my native
country--from the land of the brave, and the wise, and the free-- affects me more than I am rejoiced by the
freedom and independence assigned to me in all other respects. Thus, in seeking this extreme boundary of the
country which I am forbidden to tread, I resemble the poor tethered horse, which, you may have observed, is
always grazing on the very verge of the circle to which it is limited by its halter.

Do not accuse me of romance for obeying this impulse towards the South; nor suppose that, to satisfy the
imaginary longing of an idle curiosity, I am in any danger of risking the solid comforts of my present
condition. Whoever has hitherto taken charge of my motions has shown me, by convincing proofs more
weighty than the assurances which they have witheld, that my real advantage is their principal object. I should
be, therefore, worse than a fool did I object to their authority, even when it seems somewhat capriciously
exercised; for assuredly, at my age, I might-- intrusted as I am with the care and management of myself in
every other particular--expect that the cause of excluding me from England should be frankly and fairly stated
for my own consideration and guidance. However, I will not grumble about the matter. I shall know the whole
story one day, I suppose; and perhaps, as you sometimes surmise, I shall not find there is any mighty matter in
it after all.

Yet one cannot help wondering--but plague on it, if I wonder any longer, my letter will be as full of wonders
as one of Katterfelto's advertisements. I have a month's mind, instead of this damnable iteration of guesses and
forebodings, to give thee the history of a little adventure which befell me yesterday; though I am sure you
will, as usual, turn the opposite side of the spyglass on my poor narrative, and reduce, MORE TUO, to the
most petty trivialities, the circumstance to which thou accusest me of giving undue consequence. Hang thee,
Alan, thou art as unfit a confidant for a youthful gallant with some spice of imagination, as the old taciturn
secretary of Facardin of Trebizond. Nevertheless, we must each perform our separate destinies. I am doomed
to see, act, and tell; thou, like a Dutchman enclosed in the same diligence with a Gascon, to hear, and shrug
thy shoulders.

Of Dumfries, the capital town of this county, I have but little to say, and will not abuse your patience by
reminding you that it is built on the gallant river Nith, and that its churchyard, the highest place of the old
town, commands an extensive and fine prospect. Neither will I take the traveller's privilege of inflicting upon
you the whole history of Bruce poniarding the Red Comyn in the Church of the Dominicans at this place, and
becoming a king and patriot because he had been a church-breaker and a murderer. The present Dumfriezers
remember and justify the deed, observing it was only a papist church--in evidence whereof, its walls have
been so completely demolished that no vestiges of them remain. They are a sturdy set of true-blue
Presbyterians, these burghers of Dumfries; men after your father's own heart, zealous for the Protestant
succession--the rather that many of the great families around are suspected to be of a different way of
thinking, and shared, a great many of them, in the insurrection of the Fifteen, and some in the more recent
business of the Forty-five. The town itself suffered in the latter era; for Lord Elcho, with a large party of the
Chapters                                                                                                       22
rebels, levied a severe contribution upon Dumfries, on account of the citizens having annoyed the rear of the
Chevalier during his march into England.

Many of these particulars I learned from Provost C--, who, happening to see me in the market-place,
remembered that I was an intimate of your father's, and very kindly asked me to dinner. Pray tell your father
that the effects of his kindness to me follow me everywhere. I became tired, however, of this pretty town in
the course of twenty-four hours, and crept along the coast eastwards, amusing myself with looking out for
objects of antiquity, and sometimes making, or attempting to make, use of my new angling-rod. By the way,
old Cotton's instructions, by which I hoped to qualify myself for one of the gentle society of anglers, are not
worth a farthing for this meridian. I learned this by mere accident, after I had waited four mortal hours. I shall
never forget an impudent urchin, a cowherd, about twelve years old, without either brogue or bonnet,
barelegged, and with a very indifferent pair of breeches--how the villain grinned in scorn at my landing-net,
my plummet, and the gorgeous jury of flies which I had assembled to destroy all the fish in the river. I was
induced at last to lend the rod to the sneering scoundrel, to see what he would make of it; and he had not only
half filled my basket in an hour, but literally taught me to kill two trouts with my own hand. This, and Sam
having found the hay and oats, not forgetting the ale, very good at this small inn, first made me take the fancy
of resting here for a day or two; and I have got my grinning blackguard of a piscator leave to attend on me, by
paying sixpence a day for a herd-boy in his stead.

A notably clean Englishwoman keeps this small house, and my bedroom is sweetened with lavender, has a
clean sash-window, and the walls are, moreover, adorned with ballads of Fair Rosamond and Cruel Barbara
Allan. The woman's accent, though uncouth enough, sounds yet kindly in my ear; for I have never yet
forgotten the desolate effect produced on my infant organs, when I heard on all sides your slow and broad
northern pronunciation, which was to me the tone of a foreign land. I am sensible I myself have since that
time acquired Scotch in perfection, and many a Scotticism withal. Still the sound of the English accentuation
comes to my ears as the tones of a friend; and even when heard from the mouth of some wandering beggar, it
has seldom failed to charm forth my mite. You Scotch, who are so proud of your own nationality, must make
due allowance for that of other folks.

On the next morning I was about to set forth to the stream where I had commenced angler the night before,
but was prevented by a heavy shower of rain from stirring abroad the whole forenoon; during all which time, I
heard my varlet of a guide as loud with his blackguard jokes in the kitchen, as a footman in the shilling
gallery; so little are modesty and innocence the inseparable companions of rusticity and seclusion.

When after dinner the day cleared, and we at length sallied out to the river side, I found myself subjected to a
new trick on the part of my accomplished preceptor. Apparently, he liked fishing himself better than the
trouble of instructing an awkward novice such as I; and in hopes of exhausting my patience, and inducing me
to resign the rod, as I had done the preceding day, my friend contrived to keep me thrashing the water more
than an hour with a pointless hook. I detected this trick at last, by observing the rogue grinning with delight
when he saw a large trout rise and dash harmless away from the angle. I gave him a sound cuff, Alan; but the
next moment was sorry, and, to make amends, yielded possession of the fishing-rod for the rest of the
evening, he undertaking to bring me home a dish of trouts for my supper, in atonement for his offences.

Having thus got honourably rid of the trouble of amusing myself in a way I cared not for, I turned my steps
towards the sea, or rather the Solway Firth which here separates the two sister kingdoms, and which lay at
about a mile's distance, by a pleasant walk over sandy knells, covered with short herbage, which you call
Links, and we English, Downs.

But the rest of my adventure would weary out my fingers, and must be deferred until to-morrow, when you
shall hear from me, by way of continuation; and, in the meanwhile, to prevent over-hasty conclusions, I must
just hint to you, we are but yet on the verge of the adventure which it is my purpose to communicate.
Chapters                                                                                                      23




I mentioned in my last, that having abandoned my fishing-rod as an unprofitable implement, I crossed over
the open downs which divided me from the margin of the Solway. When I reached the banks of the great
estuary, which are here very bare and exposed, the waters had receded from the large and level space of sand,
through which a stream, now feeble and fordable, found its way to the ocean. The whole was illuminated by
the beams of the low and setting sun, who showed his ruddy front, like a warrior prepared for defence, over a
huge battlemented and turreted wall of crimson and black clouds, which appeared like an immense Gothic
fortress, into which the lord of day was descending. His setting rays glimmered bright upon the wet surface of
the sands, and the numberless pools of water by which it was covered, where the inequality of the ground had
occasioned their being left by the tide.

The scene was animated by the exertions of a number of horsemen, who were actually employed in hunting
salmon. Aye, Alan, lift up your hands and eyes as you will, I can give their mode of fishing no name so
appropriate; for they chased the fish at full gallop, and struck them with their barbed spears, as you see
hunters spearing boars in the old tapestry. The salmon, to be sure, take the thing more quietly than the boars;
but they are so swift in their own element, that to pursue and strike them is the task of a good horseman, with
a quick eye, a determined hand, and full command both of his horse and weapon. The shouts of the fellows as
they galloped up and down in the animating exercise--their loud bursts of laughter when any of their number
caught a fall-- and still louder acclamations when any of the party made a capital stroke with his lance--gave
so much animation to the whole scene, that I caught the enthusiasm of the sport, and ventured forward a
considerable space on the sands. The feats of one horseman, in particular, called forth so repeatedly the
clamorous applause of his companions, that the very banks rang again with their shouts. He was a tall man,
well mounted on a strong black horse, which he caused to turn and wind like a bird in the air, carried a longer
spear than the others, and wore a sort of fur cap or bonnet, with a short feather in it, which gave him on the
whole rather a superior appearance to the other fishermen. He seemed to hold some sort of authority among
them, and occasionally directed their motions both by voice and hand: at which times I thought his gestures
were striking, and his voice uncommonly sonorous and commanding.

The riders began to make for the shore, and the interest of the scene was almost over, while I lingered on the
sands, with my looks turned to the shores of England, still gilded by the sun's last rays, and, as it seemed,
scarce distant a mile from me. The anxious thoughts which haunt me began to muster in my bosom, and my
feet slowly and insensibly approached the river which divided me from the forbidden precincts, though
without any formed intention, when my steps were arrested by the sound of a horse galloping; and as I turned,
the rider (the same fisherman whom I had formerly distinguished) called out to me, in an abrupt manner,
'Soho, brother! you are too late for Bowness to-night-- the tide will make presently.'

I turned my head and looked at him without answering; for, to my thinking, his sudden appearance (or rather,
I should say, his unexpected approach) had, amidst the gathering shadows and lingering light, something in it
which was wild and ominous.

'Are you deaf?' he added--'or are you mad?--or have you a mind for the next world?'

'I am a stranger,' I answered,' and had no other purpose than looking on at the fishing--I am about to return to
the side I came from.'

'Best make haste then,' said he. 'He that dreams on the bed of the Solway, may wake in the next world. The
sky threatens a blast that will bring in the waves three feet abreast.'
Chapters                                                                                                      24
So saying, he turned his horse and rode off, while I began to walk back towards the Scottish shore, a little
alarmed at what I had heard; for the tide advances with such rapidity upon these fatal sands, that
well-mounted horsemen lay aside hopes of safety, if they see its white surge advancing while they are yet at a
distance from the bank.

These recollections grew more agitating, and, instead of walking deliberately, I began a race as fast as I could,
feeling, or thinking I felt, each pool of salt water through which I splashed, grow deeper and deeper. At length
the surface of the sand did seem considerably more intersected with pools and channels full of water--either
that the tide was really beginning to influence the bed of the estuary, or, as I must own is equally probable,
that I had, in the hurry and confusion of my retreat, involved myself in difficulties which I had avoided in my
more deliberate advance. Either way, it was rather an unpromising state of affairs, for the sands at the same
time turned softer, and my footsteps, so soon as I had passed, were instantly filled with water. I began to have
odd recollections concerning the snugness of your father's parlour, and the secure footing afforded by the
pavement of Brown's Square and Scott's Close, when my better genius, the tall fisherman, appeared once more
close to my side, he and his sable horse looming gigantic in the now darkening twilight.

'Are you mad?' he said, in the same deep tone which had before thrilled on my ear, 'or are you weary of your
life? You will be presently amongst the quicksands.' I professed my ignorance of the way, to which he only
replied, 'There is no time for prating --get up behind me.'

He probably expected me to spring from the ground with the activity which these Borderers have, by constant
practice, acquired in everything relating to horsemanship; but as I stood irresolute, he extended his hand, and
grasping mine, bid me place my foot on the toe of his boot, and thus raised me in a trice to the croupe of his
horse. I was scarcely securely seated, ere he shook the reins of his horse, who instantly sprang forward; but
annoyed, doubtless, by the unusual burden, treated us to two or three bounds, accompanied by as many
flourishes of his hind heels. The rider sat like a tower, notwithstanding that the unexpected plunging of the
animal threw me forward upon him. The horse was soon compelled to submit to the discipline of the spur and
bridle, and went off at a steady hand gallop; thus shortening the devious, for it was by no means a direct path,
by which the rider, avoiding the loose quicksands, made for the northern bank.

My friend, perhaps I may call him my preserver,--for, to a stranger, my situation was fraught with real
danger,--continued to press on at the same speedy pace, but in perfect silence, and I was under too much
anxiety of mind to disturb him with any questions. At length we arrived at a part of the shore with which I was
utterly unacquainted, when I alighted and began to return in the best fashion I could my thanks for the
important service which he had just rendered me.

The stranger only replied by an impatient 'pshaw!' and was about to ride off, and leave me to my own
resources when I implored him to complete his work of kindness by directing me to Shepherd's Bush, which
was, as I informed him, my home for the present.

'To Shepherd's Bush?' he said; 'it is but three miles but if you know not the land better than the sand, you may
break your neck before you get there; for it is no road for a moping boy in a dark night; and, besides, there are
the brook and the fens to cross.'

I was a little dismayed at this communication of such difficulties as my habits had not called on me to contend
with. Once more the idea of thy father's fireside came across me; and I could have been well contented to have
swapped the romance of my situation, together with the glorious independence of control which I possessed at
the moment, for the comforts of that chimney-corner, though I were obliged to keep my eyes chained to

I asked my new friend whether he could not direct me to any house of public entertainment for the night; and
supposing it probable he was himself a poor man, I added, with the conscious dignity of a well-filled
Chapters                                                                                                        25

pocket-book, that I could make it worth any man's while to oblige me. The fisherman making no answer, I
turned away from him with as gallant an appearance of indifference as I could command, and began to take,
as I thought, the path which he had pointed out to me.

His deep voice immediately sounded after me to recall me. 'Stay, young man, stay--you have mistaken the
road already.--I wonder your friends sent out such an inconsiderate youth, without some one wiser than
himself to take care of him.'

'Perhaps they might not have done so,' said I, 'if I had any friends who cared about the matter.'

'Well, sir,' he said, 'it is not my custom to open my house to strangers, but your pinch is like to be a smart one;
for, besides the risk from bad roads, fords, and broken ground, and the night, which looks both black and
gloomy, there is bad company on the road sometimes--at least it has a bad name, and some have come to
harm; so that I think I must for once make my rule give way to your necessity, and give you a night's lodging
in my cottage.

Why was it, Alan, that I could not help giving an involuntary shudder at receiving an invitation so seasonable
in itself, and so suitable to my naturally inquisitive disposition? I easily suppressed this untimely sensation;
and as I returned thanks, and expressed my hope that I should not disarrange, his family, I once more dropped
a hint of my desire to make compensation for any trouble I might occasion. The man answered very coldly,
'Your presence will no doubt give me trouble, sir, but it is of a kind which your purse, cannot compensate; in a
word, although I am content to receive you as my guest, I am no publican to call a reckoning.'

I begged his pardon, and, at his instance, once more seated myself behind hint upon the good horse, which
went forth steady as before--the moon, whenever she could penetrate the clouds, throwing the huge shadow of
the animal, with its double burden, on the wild and bare ground over which we passed.

Thou mayst laugh till thou lettest the letter fall, if thou wilt, but it reminded me of the magician Atlantes on
his hippogriff with a knight trussed up behind him, in the manner Ariosto has depicted that matter. Thou art I
know, matter-of-fact enough to affect contempt of that fascinating and delicious poem; but think not that, to
conform with thy bad taste, I shall forbear any suitable illustration which now or hereafter may occur to me.

On we went, the sky blackening around us, and the wind beginning to pipe such a wild and melancholy tune
as best suited the hollow sounds of the advancing tide, which I could hear at a distance, like the roar of some
immense monster defrauded of its prey.

At length, our course was crossed by a deep dell or dingle, such as they call in some parts of Scotland a den,
and in others a cleuch or narrow glen. It seemed, by the broken glances which the moon continued to throw
upon it, to be steep, precipitous, and full of trees, which are, generally speaking, rather scarce upon these
shores. The descent by which we plunged into this dell was both steep and rugged, with two or three abrupt
turnings; but neither danger nor darkness impeded the motion of the black horse, who seemed rather to slide
upon his haunches, than to gallop down the pass, throwing me again on the shoulders of the athletic rider,
who, sustaining no inconvenience by the circumstance, continued to press the horse forward with his heel,
steadily supporting him at the same time by raising his bridle- hand, until we stood in safety at the bottom of
the steep--not a little to my consolation, as, friend Alan, thou mayst easily conceive.

A very short advance up the glen, the bottom of which we had attained by this ugly descent, brought us in
front of two or three cottages, one of which another blink of moonshine enabled me to rate as rather better
than those of the Scottish peasantry in this part of the world; for the sashes seemed glazed, and there were
what are called storm-windows in the roof, giving symptoms of the magnificence of a second story. The scene
around was very interesting; for the cottages, and the yards or crofts annexed to them, occupied a haugh, or
helm, of two acres, which a brook of some consequence (to judge from its roar) had left upon one side of the
Chapters                                                                                                        26
little glen while finding its course close to the farther bank, and which appeared to be covered and darkened
with trees, while the level space beneath enjoyed such stormy smiles as the moon had that night to bestow.

I had little time for observation, for my companion's loud whistle, seconded by an equally loud halloo,
speedily brought to the door of the principal cottage a man and a woman, together with two large
Newfoundland dogs, the deep baying of which I had for some time heard. A yelping terrier or two, which had
joined the concert, were silent at the presence of my conductor, and began to whine, jump up, and fawn upon
him. The female drew back when she beheld a stranger; the man, who had a lighted lantern, advanced, and,
without any observation, received the horse from my host, and led him, doubtless, to stable, while I followed
my conductor into the house. When we had passed the HALLAN, [The partition which divides a Scottish
cottage.] we entered a well- sized apartment, with a clean brick floor, where a fire blazed (much to my
contentment) in the ordinary projecting sort of a chimney, common in Scottish houses. There were stone seats
within the chimney; and ordinary utensils, mixed with fishing- spears, nets, and similar implements of sport,
were hung around the walls of the place. The female who had first appeared at the door, had now retreated
into a side apartment. She was presently followed by my guide, after he had silently motioned me to a seat;
and their place was supplied by an elderly woman, in a grey stuff gown, with a check apron and toy,
obviously a menial, though neater in her dress than is usual in her apparent rank--an advantage which was
counterbalanced by a very forbidding aspect. But the most singular part of her attire, in this very Protestant
country, was a rosary, in which the smaller beads were black oak, and those indicating the PATER-NOSTER
of silver, with a crucifix of the same metal.

This person made preparations for supper, by spreading a clean though coarse cloth over a large oaken table,
placing trenchers and salt upon it, and arranging the fire to receive a gridiron. I observed her motions in
silence; for she took no sort of notice of me, and as her looks were singularly forbidding, I felt no disposition
to commence conversation.

When this duenna had made all preliminary arrangements, she took from the well-filled pouch of my
conductor, which he had hung up by the door, one or two salmon, or GRILSES, as the smaller sort are termed,
and selecting that which seemed best and in highest season, began to cut it into slices, and to prepare a
GRILLADE; the savoury smell of which affected me so powerfully that I began sincerely to hope that no
delay would intervene between the platter and the lip.

As this thought came across me, the man who had conducted the horse to the stable entered the apartment, and
discovered to me a countenance yet more uninviting than that of the old crone who was performing with such
dexterity the office of cook to the party. He was perhaps sixty years old; yet his brow was not much furrowed,
and his jet-black hair was only grizzled, not whitened, by the advance of age. All his motions spoke strength
unabated; and, though rather undersized, he had very broad shoulders, was square-made, thin-flanked, and
apparently combined in his frame muscular strength and activity; the last somewhat impaired perhaps by
years, but the first remaining in full vigour. A hard and harsh countenance--eyes far sunk under projecting
eyebrows, which were grizzled like his hair--a wide mouth, furnished from ear to ear with it range of
unimpaired teeth, of uncommon whiteness, and a size and breadth which might have become the jaws of an
ogre, completed this delightful portrait. He was clad like a fisherman, in jacket and trousers of the blue cloth
commonly used by seamen, and had a Dutch case-knife, like that of a Hamburgh skipper, stuck into a broad
buff belt, which seemed as if it might occasionally sustain weapons of a description still less equivocally
calculated for violence.

This man gave me an inquisitive, and, as I thought, a sinister look upon entering the apartment; but without
any further notice of me, took up the office of arranging the table, which the old lady had abandoned for that
of cooking the fish, and, with more address than I expected from a person of his coarse appearance, placed
two chairs at the head of the table, and two stools below; accommodating each seat to a cover, beside which
he placed an allowance of barley-bread, and a small jug, which he replenished with ale from a large black
jack. Three of these jugs were of ordinary earthenware, but the fourth, which he placed by the right-hand
Chapters                                                                                                      27
cover at, the upper end of the table, was a flagon of silver, and displayed armorial bearings. Beside this flagon
he placed a salt-cellar of silver, handsomely wrought, containing salt of exquisite whiteness, with pepper and
other spices. A sliced lemon was also presented on a small silver salver. The two large water-dogs, who
seemed perfectly to understand the nature of the preparations, seated themselves one on each side of the table,
to be ready to receive their portion of the entertainment. I never saw finer animals, or which seemed to be
more influenced by a sense of decorum, excepting that they slobbered a little as the rich scent from the
chimney was wafted past their noses. The small dogs ensconced themselves beneath the table.

I am aware that I am dwelling upon trivial and ordinary circumstances, and that perhaps I may weary out your
patience in doing so. But conceive me alone in this strange place, which seemed, from the universal silence, to
be the very temple of Harpocrates--remember that this is my first excursion from home-- forget not that the
manner in which I had been brought hither had the dignity of danger and something the air of an adventure,
and that there was a mysterious incongruity in all I had hitherto witnessed; and you will not, I think, be
surprised that these circumstances, though trifling, should force themselves on my notice at the time, and
dwell in my memory afterwards.

That a fisher, who pursued the sport perhaps for his amusement as well as profit, should be well mounted and
better lodged than the lower class of peasantry, had in it nothing surprising; but there was something about all
that I saw which seemed to intimate that I was rather in the abode of a decayed gentleman, who clung to a few
of the forms and observances of former rank, than in that of a common peasant, raised above his fellows by
comparative opulence.

Besides the articles of plate which I have already noticed, the old man now lighted and placed on the table a
silver lamp, or CRUISIE as the Scottish term it, filled with very pure oil, which in burning diffused an
aromatic fragrance, and gave me a more perfect view of the cottage walls, which I had hitherto only seen
dimly by the light of the fire. The BINK [The frame of wooden shelves placed in a Scottish kitchen for
holding plates.] with its usual arrangement of pewter and earthenware, which was most strictly and critically
clean, glanced back the flame of the lamp merrily from one side of the apartment. In a recess, formed by the
small bow of a latticed window, was a large writing-desk of walnut-tree wood, curiously carved, above which
arose shelves of the same, which supported a few books and papers. The opposite side of the recess contained
(as far as I could discern, for it lay in shadow, and I could at any rate have seen it but imperfectly from the
place where I was seated) one or two guns, together with swords, pistols, and other arms a collection which, in
a poor cottage, and in a country so peaceful, appeared singular at least, if not even somewhat suspicious.

All these observations, you may suppose, were made much sooner than I have recorded, or you (if you have
not skipped) have been able to read them. They were already finished, and I was considering how I should
open some communication with the mute inhabitants of the mansion, when my conductor re-entered from the
side-door by which he had made his exit.

He had now thrown off his rough riding-cap, and his coarse jockey-coat, And stood before me in a grey jerkin
trimmed with black, which sat close to, and set off, his large and sinewy frame, and a pair of trousers of a
lighter colour, cut as close to the body as they are used by Highlandmen. His whole dress was of finer cloth
than that of the old man; and his linen, so minute was my observation, clean and unsullied. His shirt was
without ruffles, and tied at the collar with a black ribbon, which showed his strong and muscular neck rising
from it like that of an ancient Hercules. His head was small, with a large forehead, and well-formed ears. He
wore neither peruke nor hair-powder; and his chestnut locks, curling close to his head like those of an antique
statue, showed not the least touch of time, though the owner must have been at least fifty. His features were
high and prominent in such a degree that one knew not whether to term them harsh or handsome. In either
case, the sparkling grey eye, aquiline nose, and well-formed mouth, combined to render his physiognomy
noble and expressive. An air of sadness, or severity, or of both, seemed to indicate a melancholy, and, at the
same time, a haughty temper. I could not help running mentally over the ancient heroes, to whom I might
assimilate the noble form and countenance before me. He was too young, and evinced too little resignation to
Chapters                                                                                                          28
his fate, to resemble Belisarius. Coriolanus, standing by the hearth of Tullus Aufidius, came nearer the mark;
yet the gloomy and haughty look of the stranger had, perhaps, still more of Marius, seated among the ruins of

While I was lost in these imaginations, my host stood by the fire, gazing on me with the same attention which
I paid to him, until, embarrassed by his look, I was about to break silence at all hazards. But the supper, now
placed upon the table, reminded me, by its appearance, of those wants which I had almost forgotten while I
was gazing on the fine form of my conductor. He spoke at length, and I almost started at the deep rich tone of
his voice, though what he said was but to invite me to sit down to the table. He himself assumed the seat of
honour, beside which the silver flagon was placed, and beckoned to me to sit down beside him.

Thou knowest thy father's strict and excellent domestic discipline has trained me to bear the invocation of a
blessing before we break the daily bread, for which we are taught to pray --I paused a moment, and, without
designing to do so, I suppose my manner made him sensible of what I expected. The two domestics or
inferiors, as I should have before observed, were already seated at the bottom of the table, when my host shot
a glance of a very peculiar expression towards the old man, observing, with something approaching to a sneer,
'Cristal Nixon, say grace--the gentleman expects one.'

'The foul fiend shall be clerk, and say amen, when I turn chaplain,' growled out the party addressed, in tones
which might have become the condition of a dying bear; 'if the gentleman is a whig, he may please himself
with his own mummery. My faith is neither in word nor writ, but in barley-bread and brown ale.'

'Mabel Moffat,' said my guide, looking at the old woman, and raising his sonorous voice, probably because
she was hard of hearing, 'canst thou ask a blessing upon our victuals?'

The old woman shook her head, kissed the cross which hung from her rosary, and was silent.

'Mabel will say grace for no heretic,' said the master of the house, with the same latent sneer on his brow and
in his accent.

At the same moment, the side-door already mentioned opened, and the young woman (so she proved) whom I
had first seen at the door of the cottage, advanced a little way into the room, then stopped bashfully, as if she
had observed that I was looking at her, and asked the master of the house, 'if he had called?'

'Not louder than to make old Mabel hear me,' he replied; 'and yet,' be added, as she turned to retire, 'it is a
shame a stranger should see a house where not one of the family can or will say a grace--do thou be our

The girl, who was really pretty, came forward with timid modesty, and, apparently unconscious that she was
doing anything uncommon, pronounced the benediction in a silver-toned voice, and with affecting
simplicity--her cheek colouring just so much as to show that on a less solemn occasion she would have felt
more embarrassed.

Now, if thou expectest a fine description of this young woman, Alan Fairford, in order to entitle thee to taunt
me with having found a Dulcinea in the inhabitant of a fisherman's cottage on the Solway Firth, thou shalt be
disappointed; for, having said she seemed very pretty, and that she was a sweet and gentle- speaking creature,
I have said all concerning her that I can tell thee. She vanished when the benediction was spoken.

My host, with a muttered remark on the cold of our ride, and the keen air of the Solway Sands, to which he
did not seem to wish an answer, loaded my plate from Mabel's grillade, which, with a large wooden bowl of
potatoes, formed our whole meal. A sprinkling from the lemon gave a much higher zest than the usual
condiment of vinegar; and I promise you that whatever I might hitherto have felt, either of curiosity or
Chapters                                                                                                        29
suspicion, did not prevent me from making a most excellent supper, during which little passed betwixt me and
my entertainer, unless that he did the usual honours of the table with courtesy, indeed, but without even the
affectation of hearty hospitality, which those in his (apparent) condition generally affect on such occasions,
even when they do not actually feel it. On the contrary, his manner seemed that of a polished landlord towards
an unexpected and unwelcome guest, whom, for the sake of his own credit, he receives with civility, but
without either goodwill or cheerfulness.

If you ask how I learned all this, I cannot tell you; nor, were I to write down at length the insignificant
intercourse which took place between us, would it perhaps serve to justify these observations. It is sufficient
to say, that in helping his dogs, which he did from time to time with great liberality, he seemed to discharge a
duty much more pleasing to himself, than when he paid the same attention to his guest. Upon the whole, the
result on my mind was as I tell it you.

When supper was over, a small case-bottle of brandy, in a curious frame of silver filigree, circulated to the
guests. I had already taken a small glass of the liquor, and, when it had passed to Mabel and to Cristal and was
again returned to the upper end of the table, I could not help taking the bottle in my hand, to look more at the
armorial bearings which were chased with considerable taste on the silver framework. Encountering the eye of
my entertainer, I instantly saw that my curiosity was highly distasteful; he frowned, bit his lip, and showed
such uncontrollable signs of impatience, that, setting the bottle immediately down, I attempted some apology.
To this he did not deign either to reply, or even to listen; and Cristal, at a signal from his master, removed the
object of my curiosity, as well as the cup, upon which the same arms were engraved.

Then ensued an awkward pause, which I endeavoured to break by observing, that 'I feared my intrusion upon
his hospitality had put his family to some inconvenience'.

'I hope you see no appearance of it, sir,' he replied, with cold civility. 'What inconvenience a family so retired
as ours may suffer from receiving an unexpected guest is like to be trifling, in comparison of what the visitor
himself sustains from want of his accustomed comforts. So far, therefore, as our connexion stands, our
accounts stand clear.'

Notwithstanding this discouraging reply, I blundered on, as is usual in such cases, wishing to appear civil, and
being, perhaps, in reality the very reverse. 'I was afraid,' I said, that my presence had banished one of the
family' (looking at the side- door) 'from his table.'

'If,' he coldly replied, 'I meant the young woman whom I had seen in the apartment, he bid me observe that
there was room enough at the table for her to have seated herself, and meat enough, such as it was, for her
supper. I might, therefore, be assured, if she had chosen it, she would have supped with us.'

There was no dwelling on this or any other topic longer; for my entertainer, taking up the lamp, observed, that
'my wet clothes might reconcile me for the night to their custom of keeping early hours; that he was under the
necessity of going abroad by peep of day to-morrow morning, and would call me up at the same time, to point
out the way by which I was to return to the Shepherd's Bush.'

This left no opening for further explanation; nor was there room for it on the usual terms of civility; for, as he
neither asked my name, nor expressed the least interest concerning my condition, I--the obliged person--had
no pretence to trouble him with such inquiries on my part.

He took up the lamp, and led me through the side-door into a very small room, where a bed had been hastily
arranged for my accommodation, and, putting down the lamp, directed me to leave my wet clothes on the
outside of the door, that they might be exposed to the fire during the night. He then left me, having muttered
something which was meant to pass for good night.
Chapters                                                                                                         30
I obeyed his directions with respect to my clothes, the rather that, in despite of the spirits which I had drunk, I
felt my teeth begin to chatter, and received various hints from an aguish feeling, that a town-bred youth, like
myself, could not at once rush into all the hardihood of country sports with impunity. But my bed, though
coarse and hard, was dry and clean; and I soon was so little occupied with my heats and tremors, as to listen
with interest to a heavy foot, which seemed to be that of my landlord, traversing the boards (there was no
ceiling, as you may believe) which roofed my apartment. Light, glancing through these rude planks, became
visible as soon as my lamp was extinguished; and as the noise of the slow, solemn, and regular step continued,
and I could distinguish that the person turned and returned as he reached the end of the apartment, it seemed
clear to me that the walker was engaged in no domestic occupation, but merely pacing to and fro for his own
pleasure. 'An odd amusement this,' I thought, 'for one who had been engaged at least a part of the preceding
day in violent exercise, and who talked of rising by the peep of dawn on the ensuing morning.'

Meantime I heard the storm, which had been brewing during the evening, begin to descend with a vengeance;
sounds as of distant- thunder (the noise of the more distant waves, doubtless, on the shore) mingled with the
roaring of the neighbouring torrent, and with the crashing, groaning, and even screaming of the trees in the
glen whose boughs were tormented by the gale. Within the house, windows clattered, and doors clapped, and
the walls, though sufficiently substantial for a building of the kind, seemed to me to totter in the tempest.

But still the heavy steps perambulating the apartment over my head were distinctly heard amid the roar and
fury of the elements. I thought more than once I even heard a groan; but I frankly own that, placed in this
unusual situation, my fancy may have misled me. I was tempted several times to call aloud, and ask whether
the turmoil around us did not threaten danger to the building which we inhabited; but when I thought of the
secluded and unsocial master of the dwelling, who seemed to avoid human society, and to remain unperturbed
amid the elemental war, it seemed that to speak to him at that moment would have been to address the spirit of
the tempest himself, since no other being, I thought, could have remained calm and tranquil while winds and
waters were thus raging around.

In process of time, fatigue prevailed over anxiety and curiosity. The storm abated, or my senses became
deadened to its terrors, and I fell asleep ere yet the mysterious paces of my host had ceased to shake the
flooring over my head.

It might have been expected that the novelty of my situation, although it did not prevent my slumbers, would
have at least diminished their profoundness, and shortened their duration. It proved otherwise, however; for I
never slept more soundly in my life, and only awoke when, at morning dawn, my landlord shook me by the
shoulder, and dispelled some dream, of which, fortunately for you, I have no recollection, otherwise you
would have been favoured with it, in hopes you might have proved a second Daniel upon the occasion.

'You sleep sound--' said his full deep voice; 'ere five years have rolled over your head, your slumbers will be
lighter--unless ere then you are wrapped in the sleep which is never broken.'

'How!' said I, starting up in the bed; 'do you know anything of me--of my prospects--of my views in life?'

'Nothing,' he answered, with a grim smile; 'but it is evident you are entering upon the world young,
inexperienced, and full of hopes, and I do but prophesy to you what I would to any one in your condition. But
come; there lie your clothes--a brown crust and a draught of milk wait you, if you choose to break your fast;
but you must make haste.'

'I must first,' I said, 'take the freedom to spend a few minutes alone, before beginning the ordinary works of
the day.'

'Oh!--umph!--I cry your devotions pardon,' he replied, and left the apartment.
Chapters                                                                                                      31

Alan, there is something terrible about this man.

I joined him, as I had promised, in the kitchen where we had supped overnight, where I found the articles
which he had offered me for breakfast, without butter or any other addition.

He walked up and down while I partook of the bread and milk; and the slow measured weighty step seemed
identified with those which I had heard last night. His pace, from its funereal slowness, seemed to keep time
with some current of internal passion, dark, slow, and unchanged. 'We run and leap by the side of a lively and
bubbling brook,' thought I, internally, 'as if we would run a race with it; but beside waters deep, slow, and
lonely, our pace is sullen and silent as their course. What thoughts may be now corresponding with that
furrowed brow, and bearing time with that heavy step?'

'If you have finished,' said he, looking up to me with a glance of impatience, as he observed that I ate no
longer, but remained with my eyes fixed upon him, 'I wait to show you the way.'

We went out together, no individual of the family having been visible excepting my landlord. I was
disappointed of the opportunity which I watched for of giving some gratuity to the domestics, as they seemed
to be. As for offering any recompense to the master of the household, it seemed to me impossible to have
attempted it.

What would I have given for a share of thy composure, who wouldst have thrust half a crown into a man's
hand whose necessities seemed to crave it, conscious that you did right in making the proffer, and not caring
sixpence whether you hurt the feelings of him whom you meant to serve! I saw thee once give a penny to a
man with a long beard, who, from the dignity of his exterior, might have represented Solon. I had not thy
courage, and therefore I made no tender to my mysterious host, although, notwithstanding his display of silver
utensils, all around the house bespoke narrow circumstances, if not actual poverty.

We left the place together. But I hear thee murmur thy very new and appropriate ejaculation, OHE, JAM
SATIS!--The rest for another time. Perhaps I may delay further communication till I learn how my favours are



I have thy two last epistles, my dear Darsie, and expecting the third, have been in no hurry to answer them. Do
not think my silence ought to be ascribed to my failing to take interest in them, for, truly, they excel (though
the task was difficult) thy usual excellings. Since the moon-calf who earliest discovered the Pandemonium of
Milton in an expiring wood-fire--since the first ingenious urchin who blew bubbles out of soap and water,
thou, my best of friends, hast the highest knack at making histories out of nothing. Wert thou to plant the bean
in the nursery-tale, thou wouldst make out, so soon as it began to germinate, that the castle of the giant was
about to elevate its battlements on the top of it. All that happens to thee gets a touch of the wonderful and the
sublime from thy own rich imagination. Didst ever see what artists call a Claude Lorraine glass, which
spreads its own particular hue over the whole landscape which you see through it?--thou beholdest ordinary
events just through such a medium.

I have looked carefully at the facts of thy last long letter, and they are just such as might have befallen any
little truant of the High School, who had got down to Leith Sands, gone beyond the PRAWN-DUB, wet his
hose and shoon, and, finally, had been carried home, in compassion, by some high-kilted fishwife, cursing all
the while the trouble which the brat occasioned her.
Chapters                                                                                                      32
I admire the figure which thou must have made, clinging for dear life behind the old fellow's back--thy jaws
chattering with fear, thy muscles cramped with anxiety. Thy execrable supper of broiled salmon, which was
enough to ensure the nightmare's regular visits for a twelvemonth, may be termed a real affliction; but as for
the storm of Thursday last (such, I observe, was the date), it roared, whistled, howled, and bellowed, as
fearfully amongst the old chimney-heads in the Candlemaker Row, as it could on the Solway shore, for the
very wind of it--TESTE ME PER TOTAM NOCTEM VIGILANTE. And then in the morning again,
when--Lord help you--in your sentimental delicacy you bid the poor man adieu, without even tendering him
half a crown for supper and lodging!

You laugh at me for giving a penny (to be accurate, though, thou shouldst have said sixpence) to an old
fellow, whom thou, in thy high flight, wouldst have sent home supperless, because he was like Solon or
Belisarius. But you forget that the affront descended like a benediction into the pouch of the old gaberlunzie,
who overflowed in blessings upon the generous donor --long ere he would have thanked thee, Darsie, for thy
barren veneration of his beard and his bearing. Then you laugh at my good father's retreat from Falkirk, just as
if it were not time for a man to trudge when three or four mountain knaves, with naked claymores, and heels
as light as their fingers, were scampering after him, crying FURINISH. You remember what he said himself
when the Laird of Bucklivat told him that FURINISH signified 'stay a while'. 'What the devil,' he said,
surprised out of his Presbyterian correctness by the unreasonableness of such a request under the
circumstances, 'would the, scoundrels have had me stop to have my head cut off?'

Imagine such a train at your own heels, Darsie, and ask yourself whether you would not exert your legs as fast
as you did in flying from the Solway tide. And yet you impeach my father's courage. I tell you he has courage
enough to do what is right, and to spurn what is wrong--courage enough to defend a righteous cause with hand
and purse, and to take the part of the poor man against his oppressor, without fear of the consequences to
himself. This is civil courage, Darsie; and it is of little consequence to most men in this age and country
whether they ever possess military courage or no.

Do not think I am angry with you, though I thus attempt to rectify your opinions on my father's account. I am
well aware that, upon the whole, he is scarce regarded with more respect by me than by thee. And, while I am
in a serious humour, which it is difficult to preserve with one who is perpetually tempting me to laugh at him,
pray, dearest Darsie, let not thy ardour for adventure carry thee into more such scrapes as that of the Solway
Sands. The rest of the story is a mere imagination; but that stormy evening might have proved, as the clown
says to Lear, 'a naughty night to swim in.'

As for the rest, if you can work mysterious and romantic heroes out of old cross-grained fishermen, why, I for
one will reap some amusement by the metamorphosis. Yet hold! even there, there is some need of caution.
This same female chaplain--thou sayest so little of her, and so much of every one else, that it excites some
doubt in my mind. VERY PRETTY she is, it seems--and that is all thy discretion informs me of. There are
cases in which silence implies other things than consent. Wert thou ashamed or afraid, Darsie, to trust thyself
with the praises of the very pretty grace-sayer?--As I live, thou blushest! Why, do I not know thee an
inveterate squire of dames? and have I not been in thy confidence? An elegant elbow, displayed when the rest
of the figure was muffled in a cardinal, or a neat well-turned ankle and instep, seen by chance as its owner
tripped up the Old Assembly Close, [Of old this almost deserted alley formed the most common access
betwixt the High Street and the southern suburbs.] turned thy brain for eight days. Thou wert once caught if I
remember rightly, with a single glance of a single matchless eye, which, when the fair owner withdrew her
veil, proved to be single in the literal sense of the word. And, besides, were you not another time enamoured
of a voice--a mere voice, that mingled in the psalmody at the Old Greyfriars' Church--until you discovered the
proprietor of that dulcet organ to be Miss Dolly MacIzzard, who is both 'back and breast', as our saying goes?

All these things considered, and contrasted with thy artful silence on the subject of this grace-saying Nereid of
thine, I must beg thee to be more explicit upon that subject in thy next, unless thou wouldst have me form the
conclusion that thou thinkest more of her than thou carest to talk of.
Chapters                                                                                                      33

You will not expect much news from this quarter, as you know the monotony of my life, and are aware it must
at present be devoted to uninterrupted study. You have said a thousand times that I am only qualified to make
my way by dint of plodding, and therefore plod I must.

My father seems to be more impatient of your absence than he was after your first departure. He is sensible, I
believe, that our solitary meals want the light which your gay humour was wont to throw over them, and feels
melancholy as men do when the light of the sun is no longer upon the landscape. If it is thus with him, thou
mayst imagine it is much more so with me, and canst conceive how heartily I wish that thy frolic were ended,
and thou once more our inmate.


I resume my pen, after a few hours' interval, to say that an incident has occurred on which you will yourself be
building a hundred castles in the air, and which even I, jealous as I am of such baseless fabrics, cannot but
own affords ground for singular conjecture.

My father has of late taken me frequently along with him when he attends the courts, in his anxiety to see me
properly initiated into the practical forms of business. I own I feel something on his account and my own from
this over-anxiety, which, I dare say, renders us both ridiculous. But what signifies my repugnance? my father
drags me up to his counsel learned in the law,--'Are you quite ready to come on to-day, Mr. Crossbite?--This
is my son, designed for the bar--I take the liberty to bring him with me to-day to the consultation, merely that
he may see how these things are managed.'

Mr. Crossbite smiles and bows; as a lawyer smiles on the solicitor who employs him, and I dare say, thrusts
his tongue into his cheek, and whispers into the first great wig that passes him, 'What the d--l does old
Fairford mean by letting loose his whelp on me?'

As I stood beside them, too much vexed at the childish part I was made to play to derive much information
from the valuable arguments of Mr. Crossbite, I observed a rather elderly man, who stood with his eyes firmly
bent on my father, as if he only waited an end of the business in which he was engaged, to address him. There
was something, I thought, in the gentleman's appearance which commanded attention. Yet his dress was not in
the present taste, and though it had once been magnificent, was now antiquated and unfashionable. His coat
was of branched velvet, with a satin lining, a waistcoat of violet-coloured silk, much embroidered; his
breeches the same stuff as the coat. He wore square-toed shoes, with foretops, as they are called; and his silk
stockings were rolled up over his knee, as you may have seen in pictures, and here and there on some of those
originals who seem to pique themselves on dressing after the mode of Methuselah. A CHAPEAU BRAS and
sword necessarily completed his equipment, which, though out of date, showed that it belonged to a man of

The instant Mr. Crossbite had ended what he had to say, this gentleman walked up to my father, with, 'Your
servant, Mr. Fairford--it is long since you and I met.'

My father, whose politeness, you know, is exact and formal, bowed, and hemmed, and was confused, and at
length professed that the distance since they had met was so great, that though he remembered the face
perfectly, the name, he was sorry to any, had--really--somehow--escaped his memory.

'Have you forgot Herries of Birrenswork?' said the gentleman, and my father bowed even more profoundly
than before; though I think his reception of his old friend seemed to lose some of the respectful civility which
he bestowed on him while his name was yet unknown. It now seemed to be something like the lip-courtesy
which the heart would have denied had ceremony permitted.

My father, however, again bowed low, and hoped he saw him well.
Chapters                                                                                                        34

'So well, my good Mr. Fairford, that I come hither determined to renew my acquaintance with one or two old
friends, and with you in the first place. I halt at my old resting place--you must dine with me to-day, at
Paterson's, at the head of the Horse Wynd--it is near your new fashionable dwelling, and I have business with

My father excused himself respectfully, and not without embarrassment--'he was particularly engaged at

'Then I will dine with you, man,' said Mr. Herries of Birrenswork; 'the few minutes you can spare me after
dinner will suffice for my business; and I will not prevent you a moment from minding your own--I am no

You have often remarked that my father, though a scrupulous ohserver of the rites of hospitality, seems to
exercise them rather as a duty than as a pleasure; indeed, but for a conscientious wish to feed the hungry and
receive the stranger, his doors would open to guests much seldomer than is the case. I never saw so strong an
example of this peculiarity (which I should otherwise have said is caricatured in your description) as in his
mode of homologating the self-given invitation of Mr. Herries. The embarsassed brow, and the attempt at a
smile which accompanied his 'We will expect the honour of seeing you in Brown Square at three o'clock,'
could not deceive any one, and did not impose upon the old laird. It was with a look of scorn that he replied, 'I
will relieve you then till that hour, Mr. Fairford;' and his whole manner seemed to say, 'It is my pleasure to
dine with you, and I care not whether I am welcome or no.'

When he turned away, I asked my father who he was.

'An unfortunate gentleman,' was the reply.

'He looks pretty well on his misfortunes,' replied I. 'I should not have suspected that so gay an outside was
lacking a dinner.'

'Who told you that he does?' replied my father; 'he is OMNI SUSPICIONE MAJOR, so far as worldly
circumstances are concerned. It is to be hoped he makes a good use of them; though, if he does, it will be for
the first time in his life.'

'He has then been an irregular liver?' insinuated I.

My father replied by that famous brocard with which he silences all unacceptable queries turning in the
slightest degree upon the failings of our neighbours,--'If we mend our own faults, Alan, we shall all of us have
enough to do, without sitting in judgement upon other folks.'

Here I was again at fault; but rallying once more, I observed, he had the air of a man of high rank and family.

'He is well entitled,' said my father, 'representing Herries of Birrenswork; a branch of that great and once
powerful family of Herries, the elder branch whereof merged in the house of Nithesdale at the death of Lord
Robin the Philosopher, Anno Domini sixteen hundred and sixty-seven.'

'Has he still,' said I, 'his patrimonial estate of Birrenswork?'

'No,' replied my father; 'so far back as his father's time, it was a mere designation--the property being forfeited
by Herbert Herries following his kinsman the Earl of Derwentwater to the Preston affair in 1715. But they
keep up the designation, thinking, doubtless, that their claims may be revived in more favourable times for
Jacobites and for popery; and folks who in no way partake of their fantastic capriccios do yet allow it to pass
unchallenged, EX COMITATE, if not EX MISERICORDIA.--But were he the Pope and the Pretender both,
Chapters                                                                                                        35
we must get some dinner ready for him, since he has thought fit to offer himself. So hasten home, my lad, and
tell Hannah, Cook Epps, and James Wilkinson, to do their best; and do thou look out a pint or two of
Maxwell's best--it is in the fifth bin--there are the keys of the wine- cellar. Do not leave them in the lock--you
know poor James's failing, though he is an honest creature under all other temptations--and I have but two
bottles of the old brandy left-- we must keep it for medicine, Alan.'

Away went I--made my preparations--the hour of dinner came, and so did Mr. Herries of Birrenswork.

If I had thy power of imagination and description, Darsie, I could make out a fine, dark, mysterious,
Rembrandt-looking portrait of this same stranger, which should be as far superior to thy fisherman as a shirt
of chain-mail is to a herring-net. I can assure you there is some matter for description about him; but knowing
my own imperfections, I can only say, I thought him eminently disagreeable and ill-bred.--No, ILL-BRED is
not the proper word on the contrary, he appeared to know the rules of good-breeding perfectly, and only to
think that the rank of the company did not require that he should attend to them--a view of the matter
infinitely more offensive than if his behaviour had been that of uneducated and proper rudeness. While my
father said grace, the laird did all but whistle aloud; and when I, at my father's desire, returned thanks, he used
his toothpick, as if he had waited that moment for its exercise.

So much for Kirk--with King, matters went even worse. My father, thou knowest, is particularly full of
deference to his guests; and in the present care, he seemed more than usually desirous to escape every cause of
dispute. He so far compromised his loyalty as to announce merely 'The King' as his first toast after dinner,
instead of the emphatic 'King George', which is his usual formula. Our guest made a motion with his glass, so
as to pass it over the water-decanter which stood beside him, and added, 'Over the water.'

My father coloured, but would not seem to hear this. Much more there was of careless and disrespectful in the
stranger's manner and tone of conversation; so that, though I know my father's prejudices in favour of rank
and birth, and though I am aware his otherwise masculine understanding has never entirely shaken off the
slavish awe of the great which in his earlier days they had so many modes of commanding, still I could hardly
excuse him for enduring so much insolence--such it seemed to be as this self- invited guest was disposed to
offer to him at his own table.

One can endure a traveller in the same carriage, if he treads upon your toes by accident, or even through
negligence; but it is very different when, knowing that they are rather of a tender description, he continues to
pound away at them with his hoofs. In my poor opinion--and I am a man of peace--you can, in that case,
hardly avoid a declaration of war.

I believe my father read my thoughts in my eye; for, pulling out his watch, he said; 'Half-past four, Alan--you
should be in your own room by this time--Birrenswork will excuse you.'

Our visitor nodded carelessly, and I had no longer any pretence to remain. But as I left the room, I heard this
magnate of Nithesdale distinctly mention the name of Latimer. I lingered; but at length a direct hint from my
father obliged me to withdraw; and when, an hour afterwards, I was summoned to partake of a cup of tea, our
guest had departed. He had business that evening in the High Street, and could not spare time even to drink
tea. I could not help saying, I considered his departure as a relief from incivility. 'What business has he to
upbraid us,' I said, 'with the change of our dwelling from a more inconvenient to a better quarter of the town?
What was it to him if we chose to imitate some of the conveniences or luxuries of an English dwelling-house,
instead of living piled up above each other in flats? Have his patrician birth and aristocratic fortunes given
him any right to censure those who dispose of the fruits of their own industry, according to their own

My father took a long pinch of snuff, and replied, 'Very well, Alan; very well indeed. I wish Mr. Crossbite or
Counsellor Pest had heard you; they must have acknowledged that you have a talent for forensic elocution;
Chapters                                                                                                         36

and it may not be amiss to try a little declamation at home now and then, to gather audacity and keep yourself
in breath. But touching the subject of this paraffle of words, it's not worth a pinch of tobacco. D'ye think that I
care for Mr. Herries of Birrenswork more than any other gentleman who comes here about business, although
I do not care to go tilting at his throat, because he speaks like a grey goose, as he is? But to say no more about
him, I want to have Darsie Latimer's present direction; for it is possible I may have to write the lad a line with
my own hand--and yet I do not well know--but give me the direction at all events.'

I did so, and if you have heard from my father accordingly, you know more, probably, about the subject of
this letter than I who write it. But if you have not, then shall I have discharged a friend's duty, in letting you
know that there certainly is something afloat between this disagreeable laird and my father, in which you are
considerably interested.

Adieu! and although I have given thee a subject for waking dreams, beware of building a castle too heavy for
the foundation; which, in the present instance, is barely the word Latimer occurring in a conversation betwixt
a gentleman of Dumfriesshire and a W.S. of Edinburgh--CAETERA PRORSUS IGNORO.



(In continuation of Letters III and IV.)

I told thee I walked out into the open air with my grave and stern landlord. I could now see more perfectly
than on the preceding night the secluded glen in which stood the two or three cottages which appeared to be
the abode of him and his family.

It was so narrow, in proportion to its depth, that no ray of the morning sun was likely to reach it till it should
rise high in the horizon. Looking up the dell, you saw a brawling brook issuing in foamy haste from a covert
of underwood, like a race- horse impatient to arrive at the goal; and, if you gazed yet; more earnestly, you
might observe part of a high waterfall glimmering through the foliage, and giving occasion, doubtless, to the
precipitate speed of the brook. Lower down, the stream became more placid, and opened into a quiet piece of
water which afforded a rude haven to two or three fishermen's boats, then lying high and dry on the sand, the
tide being out. Two or three miserable huts could be seen beside this little haven, inhabited probably by the
owners of the boats, but inferior in every respect to the establishment of mine host, though that was miserable

I had but a minute or two to make these observations, yet during that space my companion showed symptoms
of impatience, and more than once shouted, 'Cristal--Cristal Nixon,' until the old man of the preceding evening
appeared at the door of one of the neighbouring cottages or outhouses, leading the strong black horse which I
before commemorated, ready bridled and saddled. My conductor made Cristal a sign with his finger, and,
turning from the cottage door, led the way up the steep path or ravine which connected the sequestered dell
with the open country.

Had I been perfectly aware of the character of the road down which I had been hurried with so much
impetuosity on the preceding evening, I greatly question if I should have ventured the descent; for it deserved
no better name than the channel of a torrent, now in a good measure filled with water, that dashed in foam and
fury into the dell, being swelled with the rains of the preceding night. I ascended this ugly path with some
difficulty although on foot, and felt dizzy when I observed, from such traces as the rains had not obliterated,
that the horse seemed almost to have slid down it upon his haunches the evening before.

My host threw himself on his horse's back, without placing a foot in the stirrup--passed me in the perilous
ascent, against which he pressed his steed as if the animal had had the footing of a wild cat. The water and
Chapters                                                                                                        37
mud splashed from his heels in his reckless course, and a few bounds placed him on the top of the bank,
where I presently joined him, and found the horse and rider standing still as a statue; the former panting and
expanding his broad nostrils to the morning wind, the latter motionless, with his eye fixed on the first beams
of the rising sun, which already began to peer above the eastern horizon and gild the distant mountains of
Cumberland and Liddesdale.

He seemed in a reverie, from which he started at my approach, and, putting his horse in motion, led the way at
a leisurely pace through a broken and sandy road, which traversed a waste, level, and uncultivated tract of
downs, intermixed with morass, much like that in the neighbourhood of my quarters at Shepherd's Bush.
Indeed, the whole open ground of this district, where it approaches the sea, has, except in a few favoured
spots, the same uniform and dreary character.

Advancing about a hundred yards from the brink of the glen, we gained a still more extensive command of
this desolate prospect, which seemed even more dreary, as contrasted with the opposite shores of Cumberland,
crossed and intersected by ten thousand lines of trees growing in hedgerows, shaded with groves and woods of
considerable extent, animated by hamlets and villas, from which thin clouds of smoke already gave sign of
human life and human industry.

My conductor had extended his arm, and was pointing the road to Shepherd's Bush, when the step of a horse
was heard approaching us. He looked sharply round, and having observed who was approaching, proceeded in
his instructions to me, planting himself at the same time in the very middle of the path, which, at the place
where we halted, had a slough on the one side and a sandbank on the other.

I observed that the rider who approached us slackened his horse's pace from a slow trot to a walk, as if
desirous to suffer us to proceed, or at least to avoid passing us at a spot where the difficulty of doing so must
have brought us very close to each other. You know my old failing, Alan, and that I am always willing to
attend to anything in preference to the individual who has for the time possession of the conversation.

Agreeably to this amiable propensity, I was internally speculating concerning the cause of the rider keeping
aloof from us, when my companion, elevating his deep voice so suddenly and so sternly as at once to recall
my wandering thoughts, exclaimed, 'In the name of the devil, young man, do you think that others have no
better use for their time than you have, that you oblige me to repeat the same thing to you three times over?
Do you see, I say, yonder thing at a mile's distance, that looks like a finger-post, or rather like a gallows? I
would it had a dreaming fool hanging upon it, as an example to all meditative moon- calves!--Yon
gibbet-looking pole will guide you to the bridge, where you must pass the large brook; then proceed straight
forwards, till several roads divide at a cairn. Plague on thee, thou art wandering again!

It is indeed quite true that at this moment the horseman approached us, and my attention was again called to
him as I made way to let him pass. His whole exterior at once showed that he belonged to the Society of
Friends, or, as the world and the world's law calls them, Quakers. A strong and useful iron-grey galloway
showed, by its sleek and good condition, that the merciful man was merciful to his beast. His accoutrements
were in the usual unostentatious but clean and servicable order which characterizes these sectaries. His long
surtout of dark-grey superfine cloth descended down to the middle of his leg, and was buttoned up to his chin,
to defend him against the morning air. As usual, his ample beaver hung down without button or loop, and
shaded a comely and placid countenance, the gravity of which appeared to contain some seasoning of humour,
and had nothing in common with the pinched puritanical air affected by devotees in general. The brow was
open and free from wrinkles, whether of age or hypocrisy. The eye was clear, calm, and considerate, yet
appeared to be disturbed by apprehension, not to say fear, as, pronouncing the usual salutation of, 'I wish thee
a good morrow, friend,' he indicated, by turning his palfrey close to one side of the path, a wish to glide past
us with as little trouble as possible--just as a traveller would choose to pass a mastiff of whose peaceable
intentions he is by no means confident.
Chapters                                                                                                         38
But my friend, not meaning, perhaps, that he should get off so easily, put his horse quite across the path, so
that, without plunging into the slough, or scrambling up the bank, the Quaker could not have passed him.
Neither of these was an experiment without hazard greater than the passenger seemed willing to incur. He
halted, therefore, as if waiting till my companion should make way for him; and, as they sat fronting each
other, I could not help thinking that they might have formed no bad emblem of Peace and War; for although
my conductor was unarmed, yet the whole of his manner, his stern look, and his upright seat on horseback,
were entirely those of a soldier in undress, He accosted the Quaker in these words, 'So ho! friend Joshua, thou
art early to the road this morning. Has the spirit moved thee and thy righteous brethren to act with some
honesty, and pull down yonder tide-nets that keep the fish from coming up the river?'

'Surely, friend, not so,' answered Joshua, firmly, but good- humouredly at the same time; 'thou canst not
expect that our own hands should pull down what our purses established. Thou killest the fish with spear, line,
and coble-net; and we, with snares and with nets, which work by the ebb and the flow of the tide. Each doth
what seems best in his eyes to secure a share of the blessing which Providence hath bestowed on the river, and
that within his own bounds. I prithee seek no quarrel against us, for thou shalt have no wrong at our hand.'

'Be assured I will take none at the hand of any man, whether his hat be cocked or broad-brimmed,' answered
the fisherman. 'I tell you in fair terms, Joshua Geddes, that you and your partners are using unlawful craft to
destroy the fish in the Solway by stake- nets and wears; and that we, who fish fairly, and like men, as our
fathers did, have daily and yearly less sport and less profit. Do not think gravity or hypocrisy can carry it off
as you have done. The world knows you, and we know you. You will destroy the salmon which makes the
livelihood of fifty poor families, and then wipe your mouth, and go to make a speech at meeting. But do not
hope it will last thus. I give you fair warning, we will be upon you one morning soon, when we will not leave
a stake standing in the pools of the Solway; and down the tide they shall every one go, and well if we do not
send a lessee along with them.'

'Friend,' replied Joshua, with a constrained smile, 'but that I know thou dost not mean as thou sayst, I would
tell thee we are under the protection of this country's laws; nor do we the less trust to obtain their protection,
that our principles permit us not, by any act of violent resistance, to protect ourselves.'

'All villainous cant and cowardice,' exclaimed the fisherman, 'and assumed merely as a cloak to your
hypocritical avarice.'

'Nay, say not cowardice, my friend,' answered the Quaker, 'since thou knowest there may be as much courage
in enduring as in acting; and I will be judged by this youth, or by any one else, whether there is not more
cowardice--even in the opinion of that world whose thoughts are the breath in thy nostrils--in the armed
oppressor who doth injury, than in the defenceless and patient sufferer who endureth it with constancy.'

'I will change no more words with you on the subject,' said the fisherman, who, as if something moved at the
last argument which Mr. Geddes had used, now made room for him to pass forward on his journey. 'Do not
forget, however,' he added, 'that you have had fair warning, nor suppose that we will accept of fair words in
apology for foul play. These nets of yours are unlawful--they spoil our fishings--we will have them down at
all risks and hazards. I am a man of my word, friend Joshua.'

'I trust thou art,' said the Quaker; 'but thou art the rather bound to be cautious in rashly affirming what thou
wilt never execute. For I tell thee, friend, that though there is as great a difference between thee and one of our
people as there is between a lion and a sheep, yet I know and believe thou hast so much of the lion in thee,
that thou wouldst scarce employ thy strength and thy rage upon that which professeth no means of resistance.
Report says so much good of thee, at least, if it says little more.'

'Time will try,' answered the fisherman; 'and hark thee, Joshua, before we part I will put thee in the way of
doing one good deed, which, credit me, is better than twenty moral speeches. Here is a stranger youth, whom
Chapters                                                                                                         39

Heaven has so scantily gifted with brains, that he will bewilder himself in the Sands, as he did last night,
unless thou wilt kindly show him the way to Shepherd's Bush; for I have been in vain endeavouring to make
him comprehend the road thither. Hast thou so much charity under thy simplicity, Quaker, as to do this good

'Nay, it is thou, friend,' answered Joshua, 'that dost lack charity, to suppose any one unwilling to do so simple
a kindness.'

'Thou art right--I should have remembered it can cost thee nothing. Young gentlemen, this pious pattern of
primitive simplicity will teach thee the right way to the Shepherd's Bush-- aye, and will himself shear thee like
a sheep, if you come to buying and selling with him.'

He then abruptly asked me, how long I intended to remain at Shepherd's Bush.

I replied, I was at present uncertain--as long probably, as I could amuse myself in the neighbourhood.

'You are fond of sport?' he added, in the same tone of brief inquiry.

I answered in the affirmative, but added, I was totally inexperienced.

'Perhaps if you reside here for some days,' he said, 'we may meet again, and I may have the chance of giving
you a lesson.'

Ere I could express either thanks or assent, he turned short round with a wave of his hand by way of adieu,
and rode back to the verge of the dell from which we had emerged together; and as he remained standing upon
the banks, I could long hear his voice while he shouted down to those within its recesses.

Meanwhile the Quaker and I proceeded on our journey for some time in silence; he restraining his
sober-minded steed to a pace which might have suited a much less active walker than myself, and looking on
me from time to time with an expression of curiosity, mingled with benignity. For my part, I cared not to
speak first. It happened I had never before been in company with one of this particular sect, and, afraid that in
addressing him I might unwittingly infringe upon some of their prejudices or peculiarities, I patiently
remained silent. At length he asked me, whether I had been long in the service of the laird, as men called him.

I repeated the words 'in his service?' with such an accent of surprise, as induced him to say, 'Nay, but, friend, I
mean no offence; perhaps I should have said in his society--an inmate, I mean, in his house?'

'I am totally unknown to the person from whom we have just parted,' said I, 'and our connexion is only
temporary. He had the charity to give me his guidance from the Sands, and a night's harbourage from the
tempest. So our acquaintance began, and there it is likely to end; for you may observe that our friend is by no
means apt to encourage familiarity.'

'So little so,' answered my companion, 'that thy case is, I think, the first in which I ever heard of his receiving
any one into his house; that is, if thou hast really spent the night there.'

'Why should you doubt it?' replied I; 'there is no motive I can have to deceive you, nor is the object worth it.'

'Be not angry with me,' said the Quaker; 'but thou knowest that thine own people do not, as we humbly
endeavour to do, confine themselves within the simplicity of truth, but employ the language of falsehood, not
only for profit, but for compliment, and sometimes for mere diversion. I have heard various stories of my
neighbour; of most of which I only believe a small part, and even then they are difficult to reconcile with each
other. But this being the first time I ever beard of his receiving a stranger within his dwelling, made me
Chapters                                                                                                          40

express some doubts. I pray thee let them not offend thee.'

'He does not,' said I, 'appear to possess in much abundance the means of exercising hospitality, and so may be
excused from offering it in ordinary cases.'

'That is to say, friend,' replied Joshua, 'thou hast supped ill, and perhaps breakfasted worse. Now my small
tenement, called Mount Sharon, is nearer to us by two miles than thine inn; and although going thither may
prolong thy walk, as taking thee of the straighter road to Shepherd's Bush, yet methinks exercise will suit thy
youthful limbs, as well as a good plain meal thy youthful appetite. What sayst thou, my young acquaintance?'

'If it puts you not to inconvenience,' I replied; for the invitation was cordially given, and my bread and milk
had been hastily swallowed, and in small quantity.

'Nay,' said Joshua, 'use not the language of compliment with those who renounce it. Had this poor courtesy
been very inconvenient, perhaps I had not offered it.'

'I accept the invitation, then,' said I, 'in the same good spirit in which you give it.'

The Quaker smiled, reached me his hand, I shook it, and we travelled on in great cordiality with each other.
The fact is, I was much entertained by contrasting in my own mind, the open manner of the kind-hearted
Joshua Geddes, with the abrupt, dark, and lofty demeanour of my entertainer on the preceding evening. Both
were blunt and unceremonious; but the plainness of the Quaker had the character of devotional simplicity, and
was mingled with the more real kindness, as if honest Joshua was desirous of atoning, by his sincerity, for the
lack of external courtesy. On the contrary, the manners of the fisherman were those of one to whom the rules
of good behaviour might be familiar, but who, either from pride or misanthropy, scorned to observe them.
Still I thought of him with interest and curiosity, notwithstanding so much about him that was repulsive; and I
promised myself, in the course of my conversation with the Quaker, to learn all that he knew on the subject.
He turned the conversation, however, into a different channel, and inquired into my own condition of life, and
views in visiting this remote frontier.

I only thought it necessary to mention my name, and add, that I had been educated to the law, but finding
myself possessed of some independence, I had of late permitted myself some relaxation, and was residing at
Shepherd's Bush to enjoy the pleasure of angling.

'I do thee no harm, young man,' said my new friend, 'in wishing thee a better employment for thy grave hours,
and a more humane amusement (if amusement thou must have) for those of a lighter character.'

'You are severe, sir,' I replied. 'I heard you but a moment since refer yourself to the protection of the laws of
the country--if there be laws, there must be lawyers to explain, and judges to administer them.'

Joshua smiled, and pointed to the sheep which were grazing on the downs over which we were travelling.
'Were a wolf,' he said, 'to come even now upon yonder flocks, they would crowd for protection, doubtless,
around the shepherd and his dogs; yet they are bitten and harassed daily by the one, shorn, and finally killed
and eaten by the other. But I say not this to shock you; for, though laws and lawyers are evils, yet they are
necessary evils in this probationary state of society, till man shall learn to render unto his fellows that which is
their due, according to the light of his own conscience, and through no other compulsion. Meanwhile, I have
known many righteous men who have followed thy intended profession in honesty and uprightness of walk.
The greater their merit, who walk erect in a path which so many find slippery.

'And angling,' said I:--'you object to that also as an amusement, you who, if I understood rightly what passed
between you and my late landlord, are yourself a proprietor of fisheries.'
Chapters                                                                                                      41

'Not a proprietor,' he replied, 'I am only, in copartnery with others, a tacksman or lessee of some valuable
salmon-fisheries a little down the coast. But mistake me not. The evil of angling, with which I class all sports,
as they are called, which have the sufferings of animals for their end and object, does not consist in the mere
catching and killing those animals with which the bounty of Providence hath stocked the earth for the good of
man, but in making their protracted agony a principle of delight and enjoyment. I do indeed cause these
fisheries to be conducted for the necessary taking, killing, and selling the fish; and, in the same way, were I a
farmer, I should send my lambs to market. But I should as soon think of contriving myself a sport and
amusement out of the trade of the butcher as out of that of the fisher.'

We argued the point no further; for though I thought his arguments a little too high-strained, yet as my mind
acquitted me of having taken delight in aught but the theory of field-sports, I did not think myself called upon
stubbornly to advocate a practice which had afforded me so little pleasure.

We had by this time arrived at the remains of an old finger-post, which my host had formerly pointed out as a
landmark. Here, a ruinous wooden bridge, supported by long posts resembling crutches, served me to get
across the water, while my new friend sought a ford a good way higher up, for the stream was considerably

As I paused for his rejoining me, I observed an angler at a little distance pouching trout after trout, as fast
almost as he could cast his line; and I own, in spite of Joshua's lecture on humanity, I could not but envy his
adroitness and success, so natural is the love of sport to our minds, or so easily are we taught to assimilate
success in field-sports with ideas of pleasure, and with the praise due to address and agility. I soon recognized
in the successful angler little Benjie, who had been my guide and tutor in that gentle art, as you have learned
from my former letters. I called--I whistled--the rascal recognized me, and, starting like a guilty thing, seemed
hesitating whether to approach or to run away; and when he determined on the former, it was to assail me with
a loud, clamorous, and exaggerated report of the anxiety of all at the Shepherd's Bush for my personal safety;
how my landlady had wept, how Sam and the ostler had not the heart to go to bed, but sat up all night
drinking--and how he himself had been up long before daybreak to go in quest of me.

'And you were switching the water, I suppose,' said I, 'to discover my dead body?'

This observation produced a long 'Na--a--a' of acknowledged detection; but, with his natural impudence, and
confidence in my good nature, he immediately added, 'that he thought I would like a fresh trout or twa for
breakfast, and the water being in such a rare trim for the saumon raun, [The bait made of salmon-roe salted
and preserved. In a swollen river, and about the month of October, it is a most deadly bait.] he couldna help
taking a cast.'

While we were engaged in this discussion, the honest Quaker returned to the farther end of the wooden bridge
to tell me he could not venture to cross the brook in its present state: but would be under the necessity to ride
round by the stone bridge, which was a mile and a half higher up than his own house. He was about to give
me directions how to proceed without him, and inquire for his sister, when I suggested to him that, if he
pleased to trust his horse to little Benjie, the boy might carry him round by the bridge, while we walked the
shorter and more pleasant road.

Joshua shook his head, for he was well acquainted with Benjie, who, he said, was the naughtiest varlet in the
whole neighbourhood. Nevertheless, rather than part company, he agreed to put the pony under his charge for
a short season, with many injunctions that he should not attempt to mount, but lead the pony (even Solomon)
by the bridle, under the assurances of sixpence in case of proper demeanour, and penalty that if he
transgressed the orders given him, 'verily he would be scourged.'

Promises cost Benjie nothing, and he showered them out wholesale; till the Quaker at length yielded up the
bridle to him, repeating his charges, and enforcing them by holding up his forefinger. On my part, I called to
Chapters                                                                                                      42
Benjie to leave the fish he had taken at Mount Sharon, making, at the same time, an apologetic countenance to
my new friend, not being quite aware whether the compliment would be agreeable to such a condemner of

He understood me at once, and reminded me of the practical distinction betwixt catching the animals as an
object of cruel and wanton sport, and eating them as lawful and gratifying articles of food, after they were
killed. On the latter point he had no scruples; but, on the contrary, assured me that this brook contained the
real red trout, so highly esteemed by all connoisseurs, and that, when eaten within an hour of their being
caught, they had a peculiar firmness of substance and delicacy of flavour, which rendered them an agreeable
addition to a morning meal, especially when earned, like ours, by early rising, and an hour or two's
wholesome exercise.

But to thy alarm be it spoken, Alan, we did not come so far as the frying of our fish without further adventure.
So it is only to spare thy patience, and mine own eyes, that I pull up for the present, and send thee the rest of
my story in a subsequent letter.


THE SAME TO THE SAME (In continuation.)

Little Benjie, with the pony, having been sent off on the left side of the brook, the Quaker and I sauntered on,
like the cavalry and infantry of the same army occupying the opposite banks of a river, and observing the
same line of march. But, while my worthy companion was assuring me of a pleasant greensward walk to his
mansion, little Benjie, who had been charged to keep in sight, chose to deviate from the path assigned him,
and, turning to the right, led his charge, Solomon, out of our vision.

'The villain means to mount him!' cried Joshua, with more vivacity than was consistent with his profession of
passive endurance.

I endeavoured to appease his apprehensions, as he pushed on, wiping his brow with vexation, assuring him
that, if the boy did mount, he would, for his own sake, ride gently.

'You do not know him,' said Joshua, rejecting all consolation; 'HE do anything gently!--no, he will gallop
Solomon--he will misuse the sober patience of the poor animal who has borne me so long! Yes, I was given
over to my own devices when I ever let him touch the bridle, for such a little miscreant there never was before
him in this country.'

He then proceeded to expatiate on every sort of rustic enormity of which he accused Benjie. He had been
suspected of snaring partridges--was detected by Joshua himself in liming singing- birds--stood fully charged
with having worried several cats, by aid of a lurcher which attended him, and which was as lean, and ragged,
and mischievous, as his master. Finally, Benjie stood accused of having stolen a duck, to hunt it with the said
lurcher, which was as dexterous on water as on land. I chimed in with my friend, in order to avoid giving him
further irritation, and declared I should be disposed, from my own experience, to give up Benjie as one of
Satan's imps. Joshua Geddes began to censure the phrase as too much exaggerated, and otherwise unbecoming
the mouth of a reflecting person; and, just as I was apologizing for it, as being a term of common parlance, we
heard certain sounds on the opposite side of the brook, which seemed to indicate that Solomon and Benjie
were at issue together. The sandhills behind which Benjie seemed to take his course, had concealed from us,
as doubtless he meant they should, his ascent into the forbidden saddle, and, putting Solomon to his mettle,
which he was seldom called upon to exert, they had cantered away together in great amity, till they came near
to the ford from which the palfrey's legitimate owner had already turned back.
Chapters                                                                                                         43
Here a contest of opinions took place between the horse and his rider. The latter, according to his instructions,
attempted to direct Solomon towards the distant bridge of stone; but Solomon opined that the ford was the
shortest way to his own stable. The point was sharply contested, and we heard Benjie gee-hupping,
tchek-tcheking, and, above all, flogging in great style; while Solomon, who, docile in his general habits, was
now stirred beyond his patience, made a great trampling and recalcitration; and it was their joint noise which
we heard, without being able to see, though Joshua might too well guess, the cause of it.

Alarmed at these indications, the Quaker began to shout out, 'Benjie--thou varlet! Solomon--thou fool!' when
the couple presented themselves in full drive, Solomon having now decidedly obtained the better of the
conflict, and bringing his unwilling rider in high career down to the ford. Never was there anger changed so
fast into humane fear, as that of my good companion. 'The varlet will be drowned!' he exclaimed--'a widow's
son!-- her only son!--and drowned!--let me go'--And he struggled with me stoutly as I hung upon him, to
prevent him from plunging into the ford.

I had no fear whatever for Benjie; for the blackguard vermin, though he could not manage the refractory
horse, stuck on his seat like a monkey. Solomon and Benjie scrambled through the ford with little
inconvenience, and resumed their gallop on the other side.

It was impossible to guess whether on this last occasion Benjie was running off with Solomon, or Solomon
with Benjie; but, judging from character and motives, I rather suspected the former. I could not help laughing
as the rascal passed me, grinning betwixt terror and delight, perched on the very pommel of the saddle, and
holding with extended arms by bridle and mane while Solomon, the bit secured between his teeth, and his
head bored down betwixt his forelegs, passed his master in this unwonted guise as hard as he could pelt.

'The mischievous bastard!' exclaimed the Quaker, terrified out of his usual moderation of speech--'the doomed
gallows-bird!--he will break Solomon's wind to a certainty.'

I prayed him to be comforted--assured, him a brushing gallop would do his favourite no harm and reminded
him of the censure he had bestowed on me a minute before, for applying a harsh epithet to the boy.

But Joshua was not without his answer; 'Friend youth,' he said, 'thou didst speak of the lad's soul, which thou
didst affirm belonged to the enemy, and of that thou couldst say nothing of thine own knowledge; on the
contrary, I did but speak of his outward man, which will assuredly be suspended by a cord, if he mendeth not
his manners. Men say that, young as he is, he is one of the laird's gang.'

'Of the laird's gang!' said I, repeating the words in surprise. 'Do you mean the person with whom I slept last
night? I heard you call him the laird. Is he at the head of a gang?'

'Nay, I meant not precisely a gang,' said the Quaker, who appeared in his haste to have spoken more than he
intended--a company, or party, I should have said; but thus it is, friend Latimer, with the wisest men when
they permit themselves to be perturbed with passion, and speak as in a fever, or as with the tongue of the
foolish and the forward. And although thou hast been hasty to mark my infirmity, yet I grieve not that thou
hast been a witness to it, seeing that the stumbles of the wise may be no less a caution to youth and
inexperience, than is the fall of the foolish.'

This was a sort of acknowledgement of what I had already begun to suspect--that my new friend's real
goodness of disposition, joined to the acquired quietism of his religious sect, had been unable entirely to
check the effervescence of a temper naturally warm and hasty.

Upon the present occasion, as if sensible he had displayed a greater degree of emotion than became his
character, Joshua avoided further allusion to Benjie and Solomon, and proceeded to solicit my attention to the
natural objects around us, which increased in beauty and interest, as, still conducted by the meanders of the
Chapters                                                                                                         44
brook, we left the common behind us, and entered a more cultivated and enclosed country, where arable and
pasture ground was agreeably varied with groves and hedges. Descending now almost close to the stream, our
course lay through a little gate, into a pathway kept with great neatness, the sides of which were decorated
with trees and flowering shrubs of the hardier species; until, ascending by a gentle slope, we issued from the
grove, and stood almost at once in front of a low but very neat building, of an irregular form; and my guide,
shaking me cordially by the hand, made me welcome to Mount Sharon.

The wood through which we had approached this little mansion was thrown around it both on the north and
north-west, but, breaking off into different directions, was intersected by a few fields well watered and
sheltered. The house fronted to the south-east, and from thence the pleasure-ground, or, I should rather say,
the gardens, sloped down to the water. I afterwards understood that the father of the present proprietor had a
considerable taste for horticulture, which had been inherited by his son, and had formed these gardens, which,
with their shaven turf, pleached alleys, wildernesses, and exotic trees and shrubs, greatly excelled anything of
the kind which had been attempted in the neighbourhood.

If there was a little vanity in the complacent smile with which Joshua Geddes saw me gaze with delight on a
scene so different from the naked waste we had that day traversed in company, it might surely be permitted to
one who, cultivating and improving the beauties of nature, had found therein, as he said, bodily health, and a
pleasing relaxation for the mind. At the bottom of the extended gardens the brook wheeled round in a wide
semicircle, and was itself their boundary. The opposite side was no part of Joshua's domain, but the brook was
there skirted by a precipitous rock of limestone, which seemed a barrier of nature's own erecting around his
little Eden of beauty, comfort, and peace.

'But I must not let thee forget,' said the kind Quaker, 'amidst thy admiration of these beauties of our little
inheritance, that thy breakfast has been a light one.'

So saying, Joshua conducted me to a small sashed door, opening under a porch amply mantled by
honeysuckle and clematis, into a parlour of moderate size; the furniture of which, in plainness and excessive
cleanliness, bore the characteristic marks of the sect to which the owner belonged.

Thy father's Hannah is generally allowed to be an exception to all Scottish housekeepers, and stands
unparalleled for cleanliness among the women of Auld Reekie; but the cleanliness of Hannah is sluttishness
compared to the scrupulous purifications of these people, who seem to carry into the minor decencies of life
that conscientious rigour which they affect in their morals.

The parlour would have been gloomy, for the windows were small and the ceiling low; but the present
proprietor had rendered it more cheerful by opening one end into a small conservatory, roofed with glass, and
divided from the parlour by a partition of the same. I have never before seen this very pleasing manner of
uniting the comforts of an apartment with the beauties of a garden, and I wonder it is not more practised by
the great. Something of the kind is hinted at in a paper of the SPECTATOR.

As I walked towards the conservatory to view it more closely, the parlour chimney engaged my attention. It
was a pile of massive stone, entirely out of proportion to the size of the apartment. On the front had once been
an armorial scutcheon; for the hammer, or chisel, which had been employed to deface the shield or crest, had
left uninjured the scroll beneath, which bore the pious motto, 'TRUST IN GOD.' Black-letter, you know, was
my early passion, and the tombstones in the Greyfriars' churchyard early yielded up to my knowledge as a
decipherer what little they could tell of the forgotten dead.

Joshua Geddes paused when he saw my eye fixed on this relic of antiquity. 'Thou canst read it?' he said.

I repeated the motto, and added, there seemed vestiges of a date.
Chapters                                                                                                                45

'It should be 1537,' said he; 'for so long ago, at the least computation, did my ancestors, in the blinded times of
Papistry, possess these lands, and in that year did they build their house.'

'It is an ancient descent,' said I, looking with respect upon the monument. 'I am sorry the arms have been

It was perhaps impossible for my friend, Quaker as he was, to seem altogether void of respect for the pedigree
which he began to recount to me, disclaiming all the while the vanity usually connected with the subject; in
short, with the air of mingled melancholy, regret, and conscious dignity, with which Jack Fawkes used to tell
us at college of his ancestor's unfortunate connexion with the Gunpowder Plot.

'Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher,' thus harangued Joshua Gleddes of Mount Sharon; 'if we ourselves are
nothing in the sight of Heaven, how much less than nothing must be our derivation from rotten bones and
mouldering dust, whose immortal spirits have long since gone to their private account? Yes, friend Latimer,
my ancestors were renowned among the ravenous and bloodthirsty men who then dwelt in this vexed country;
and so much were they famed for successful freebooting, robbery, and bloodshed, that they are said to have
been called Geddes, as likening them to the fish called a Jack, Pike, or Luce, and in our country tongue, a
GED--a, goodly distinction truly for Christian men! Yet did they paint this shark of the fresh waters upon their
shields, and these profane priests of a wicked idolatry, the empty boasters called heralds, who make engraven
images of fishes, fowls, and four-footed beasts, that men may fall down and worship them, assigned the ged
for the device and escutcheon of my fathers, and hewed it over their chimneys, and placed it above their
tombs; and the men were elated in mind, and became yet more ged-like, slaying, leading into captivity, and
dividing the spoil, until the place where they dwelt obtained the name of Sharing-Knowe, from the booty
which was there divided amongst them and their accomplices. But a better judgement was given to my father's
father, Philip Geddes, who, after trying to light his candle at some of the vain wildfires then held aloft at
different meetings and steeple-houses, at length obtained a spark from the lamp of the blessed George Fox,
who came into Scotland spreading light among darkness, as he himself hath written, as plentifully as fly the
sparkles from the hoof of the horse which gallops swiftly along the stony road.'--Here the good Quaker
interrupted himself with, 'And that is very true, I must go speedily to see after the condition of Solomon.'

A Quaker servant here entered the room with a tray, and inclining his head towards his master, but not after
the manner of one who bows, said composedly, 'Thou art welcome home, friend Joshua, we expected thee not
so early; but what hath befallen Solomon thy horse?'

'What hath befallen him, indeed?' said my friend; 'hath he not been returned hither by the child whom they call

'He hath,' said his domestic, 'but it was after a strange fashion; for he came hither at a swift and furious pace,
and flung the child Benjie from his back, upon the heap of dung which is in the stable-yard.'

'I am glad of it,' said Joshua, hastily,--'glad of it, with all my heart and spirit! But stay, he is the child of the
widow-- hath the boy any hurt?'

'Not so' answered the servant, 'for he rose and fled swiftly.'

Joshua muttered something about a scourge, and then inquired after Solomon's present condition.

'He seetheth like a steaming cauldron,' answered the servant; 'and Bauldie, the lad, walketh him about the yard
with a halter, lest he take cold.'

Mr. Geddes hastened to the stable-yard to view personally the condition of his favourite, and I followed to
offer my counsel as a jockey. Don't laugh, Alan, sure I have jockeyship enough to assist a Quaker--in this
Chapters                                                                                                         46

unpleasing predicament.

The lad who was leading the horse seemed to be no Quaker, though his intercourse with the family had given
him a touch of their prim sobriety of look and manner. He assured Joshua that his horse had received no
injury, and I even hinted that the exercise would be of service to him. Solomon himself neighed towards his
master, and rubbed his head against the good Quaker's shoulder, as if to assure him of his being quite well; so
that Joshua returned in comfort to his parlour, where breakfast was now about to be displayed.

I have since learned that the affection of Joshua for his pony is considered as inordinate by some of his own
sect; and that he has been much blamed for permitting it to be called by the name of Solomon, or any other
name whatever; but he has gained so much respect and influence among them that they overlook these foibles.

I learned from him (whilst the old servant, Jehoiachim, entering and re-entering, seemed to make no end of
the materials which he brought in for breakfast) that his grandfather Philip, the convert of George Fox, had
suffered much from the persecution to which these harmless devotees were subjected on all sides during that
intolerant period, and much of their family estate had been dilapidated. But better days dawned on Joshua's
father, who, connecting himself by marriage with a wealthy family of Quakers in Lancashire, engaged
successfully in various branches of commerce, and redeemed the remnants of the property, changing its name
in sense, without much alteration of sound, from the Border appellation of Sharing-Knowe, to the evangelical
appellation of Mount Sharon.

This Philip Geddes, as I before hinted, had imbibed the taste for horticulture and the pursuits of the florist,
which are not uncommon among the peaceful sect he belonged to. He had destroyed the remnants of the old
peel-house, substituting the modern mansion in its place; and while he reserved the hearth of his ancestors, in
memory of their hospitality, as also the, pious motto which they had chanced to assume, he failed not to
obliterate the worldly and military emblems displayed upon the shield and helmet, together with all their

In a few minutes after Mr. Geddes had concluded the account; of himself and his family, his sister Rachel, the
only surviving member of it, entered the room. Her appearance is remarkably pleasing, and although her age
is certainly thirty at least, she still retains the shape and motion of an earlier period. The absence of everything
like fashion or ornament was, as usual, atoned for by the most perfect neatness and cleanliness of her dress;
and her simple close cap was perticularly suited to eyes which had the softness and simplicity of the dove's.
Her features were also extremely agreeable, but had suffered a little through the ravages of that professed
enemy to beauty, the small- pox; a disadvantage which was in part counterbalanced by a well- formed mouth,
teeth like pearls, and a pleasing sobriety of smile, that seemed to wish good here and hereafter to every one
she spoke to. You cannot make any of your vile inferences here, Alan, for I have given a full-length picture of
Rachel Geddes; so that; you cannot say, in this case, as in the letter I have just received, that she was passed
over as a subject on which I feared to dilate. More of this anon.

Well, we settled to our breakfast after a blessing, or rather an extempore prayer, which Joshua made upon the
occasion, and which the spirit moved him to prolong rather more than I felt altogether agreeable. Then, Alan,
there was such a dispatching of the good things of the morning as you have not witnessed since you have seen
Darsie Latimer at breakfast. Tea and chocolate, eggs, ham, and pastry, not forgetting the broiled fish,
disappeared with a celerity which seemed to astonish the good- humoured Quakers, who kept loading my
plate with supplies, as if desirous of seeing whether they could, by any possibility, tire me out. One hint,
however, I received, which put me in mind where I was. Miss Geddes had offered me some sweet-cake,
which, at the moment, I declined; but presently afterwards, seeing it within my reach, I naturally enough
helped myself to a slice, and had just; deposited it beside my plate, when Joshua, mine host, not with the
authoritative air of Sancho's doctor, Tirteafuera, but in a very calm and quiet manner, lifted it away and
replaced it on the dish, observing only, 'Thou didst refuse it before, friend Latimer.'
Chapters                                                                                                         47

These good folks, Alan, make no allowance for what your good father calls the Aberdeen-man's privilege, of
'taking his word again;' or what the wise call second thoughts.

Bating this slight hint that I was among a precise generation, there was nothing in my reception that was
peculiar--unless, indeed, I were to notice the solicitous and uniform kindness with which all the attentions of
my new friends were seasoned, as if they were anxious to assure me that the neglect of worldly compliments
interdicted by their sect, only served to render their hospitality more sincere. At length my hunger was
satisfied, and the worthy Quaker, who, with looks of great good nature, had watched my progress, thus
addressed his sister:--

'This young man, Rachel, hath last night sojourned in the tents of our neighbour whom men call the laird. I am
sorry I had not met him the evening before, for our neighbour's hospitality is too unfrequently exercised to be
well prepared with the means of welcome.'

'Nay, but, Joshua,' said Rachel, 'if our neighbour hath done a kindness, thou shouldst not grudge him the
opportunity; and if our young friend hath fared ill for a night, he will the better relish what Providence may
send him of better provisions.'

'And that he may do so at leisure,' said Joshua, 'we will pray him, Rachel, to tarry a day or twain with us: he is
young, and is but now entering upon the world, and our habitation may, if he will, be like a resting-place,
from which he may look abroad upon the pilgrimage which he must take, and the path which he has to
travel.--What sayest thou, friend Latimer? We constrain not our friends to our ways, and thou art, I think, too
wise to quarrel with us for following our own fashions; and if we should even give thee a word of advice, thou
wilt not, I think, be angry, so that it is spoken in season.'

You know, Alan, how easily I am determined by anything resembling cordiality--and so, though a little afraid
of the formality of my host and hostess, I accepted their invitation, provided I could get some messenger to
send to Shepherd's Bush for my servant and portmanteau.

'Why, truly, friend,' said Joshua, 'thy outward frame would be improved by cleaner garments; but I will do
thine errand myself to the Widow Gregson's house of reception, and send thy lad hither with thy clothes.
Meanwhile, Rachel will show thee these little gardens, and then will put thee in some way of spending thy
time usefully, till our meal calls us together at the second hour after noon. I bid thee farewell for the present,
having some space to walk, seeing I must leave the animal Solomon to his refreshing rest.'

With these words, Mr. Joshua Geddes withdrew. Some ladies we have known would have felt, or at least
affected, reserve or embarrassment, at being left to do the honours of the grounds to (it will be out, Alan)--a
smart young fellow--an entire stranger. She went out for a few minutes, and returned in her plain cloak and
bonnet, with her beaver gloves, prepared to act as my guide, with as much simplicity as if she had been to wait
upon thy father. So forth I sallied with my fair Quakeress.

If the house at Mount Sharon be merely a plain and convenient dwelling, of moderate size and small
pretensions, the gardens and offices, though not extensive, might rival an earl's in point of care and expense.
Rachel carried me first to her own favourite resort, a poultry-yard, stocked with a variety of domestic fowls,
of the more rare as well as the most ordinary kinds, furnished with every accommodation which may suit their
various habits. A rivulet which spread into a pond for the convenience of the aquatic birds, trickled over
gravel as it passed through the yards dedicated to the land poultry, which were thus amply supplied with the
means they use for digestion.

All these creatures seemed to recognize the presence of their mistress, and some especial favourites hastened
to her feet, and continued to follow her as far as their limits permitted. She pointed out their peculiarities and
qualities, with the discrimination of one who had made natural history her study; and I own I never looked on
Chapters                                                                                                        48
barn-door fowls with so much interest before--at least until they were boiled or roasted. I could not help
asking the trying question, how she could order the execution of any of the creatures of which she seemed so

'It was painful,' she said, 'but it was according to the law of their being. They must die; but they knew not
when death was approaching; and in making them comfortable while they lived, we contributed to their
happiness as much as the conditions of their existence permitted to us.'

I am not quite of her mind, Alan. I do not believe either pigs or poultry would admit that the chief end of their
being was to be killed and eaten. However, I did not press the argument, from which my Quaker seemed
rather desirous to escape; for, conducting me to the greenhouse, which was extensive, and filled with the
choicest plants, she pointed out an aviary which occupied the farther end, where, she said, she employed
herself with attending the inhabitants, without being disturbed with any painful recollections concerning their
future destination.

I will not trouble you with any account of the various hot-houses and gardens, and their contents. No small
sum of money must have been expended in erecting and maintaining them in the exquisite degree of good
order which they exhibited. The family, I understood, were connected with that of the celebrated Millar, and
had imbibed his taste for flowers, and for horticulture. But instead of murdering botanical names, I will rather
conduct you to the POLICY, or pleasure-garden, which the taste of Joshua or his father had extended on the
banks betwixt the house and river. This also, in contradistinction to the prevailing simplicity, was ornamented
in an unusual degree. There were various compartments, the connexion of which was well managed, and
although the whole ground did not exceed five or six acres, it was so much varied as to seem four times larger.
The space contained close alleys and open walks; a very pretty artificial waterfall; a fountain also, consisting
of a considerable jet- d'eau, whose streams glittered in the sunbeams and exhibited a continual rainbow. There
was a cabinet of verdure, as the French call it, to cool the summer heat, and there was a terrace sheltered from
the north-east by a noble holly hedge, with all its glittering spears where you might have the full advantage of
the sun in the clear frosty days of winter.

I know that you, Alan, will condemn all this as bad and antiquated; for, ever since Dodsley has described the
Leasowes, and talked of Brown's imitations of nature and Horace Walpole's late Essay on Gardening, you are
all for simple nature--condemn walking up and down stairs in the open air and declare for wood and
wilderness. But NE QUID NIMIS. I would not deface a scene of natural grandeur or beauty, by the
introduction of crowded artificial decorations; yet such may, I think, be very interesting, where the situation,
in its natural state, otherwise has no particular charms.

So that when I have a country-house (who can say how soon?) you may look for grottoes, and cascades, and
fountains; nay if you vex me by contradiction, perhaps I may go the length of a temple --so provoke me not,
for you see of what enormities I am capable.

At any rate, Alan, had you condemned as artificial the rest of Friend Geddes's grounds, there is a willow walk
by the very verge of the stream, so sad, so solemn, and so silent, that it must have commanded your
admiration. The brook, restrained at the ultimate boundary of the grounds by a natural dam-dike or ledge of
rocks, seemed, even in its present swollen state, scarcely to glide along: and the pale willow-trees, dropping
their long branches into the stream, gathered around them little coronals of the foam that floated down from
the more rapid stream above. The high rock, which formed the opposite bank of the brook, was seen dimly
through the branches, and its pale and splintered front, garlanded with long streamers of briers and other
creeping plants, seemed a barrier between the quiet path which we trod, and the toiling and bustling world
beyond. The path itself, following the sweep of the stream, made a very gentle curve; enough, however,
served by its inflection completely to hide the end of the walk until you arrived at it. A deep and sullen sound,
which increased as you proceeded, prepared you for this termination, which was indeed only a plain root-seat,
from which you looked on a fall of about six or seven feet, where the brook flung itself over the ledge of
Chapters                                                                                                          49
natural rock I have already mentioned, which there crossed its course.

The quiet and twilight seclusion of this walk rendered it a fit scene for confidential communing; and having
nothing more interesting to say to my fair Quaker, I took the liberty of questioning her about the laird; for you
are, or ought to be, aware, that next to discussing the affairs of the heart, the fair sex are most interested in
those of their neighbours.

I did not conceal either my curiosity, or the check which it had received from Joshua, and I saw that my
companion answered with embarrassment. 'I must not speak otherwise than truly,' she said; 'and therefore I
tell thee, that my brother dislikes, and that I fear, the man of whom thou hast asked me. Perhaps we are both
wrong--but he is a man of violence, and hath great influence over many, who, following the trade of sailors
and fishermen, become as rude as the elements with which they contend. He hath no certain name among
them, which is not unusual, their rude fashion being to distinguish each other by nicknames; and they have
called him the Laird of the Lakes (not remembering there should be no one called Lord, save one only) in idle
derision; the pools of salt water left by the tide among the sands being called the Lakes of Solway.'

'Has he no other revenue than he derives from these sands?' I asked.

'That I cannot answer,' replied Rachel; 'men say that he wants not money, though he lives like an ordinary
fisherman, and that he imparts freely of his means to the poor around him. They intimate that he is a man of
consequence, once deeply engaged in the unhappy affair of the rebellion, and even still too much in danger
from the government to assume his own name. He is often absent from his cottage at Broken-burn-cliffs, for
weeks and months.'

'I should have thought,' said I, 'that the government would scarce, at this time of day, be likely to proceed
against any one even of the most obnoxious rebels. Many years have passed away' --

'It is true,' she replied; 'yet such persons may understand that their being connived at depends on their living in
obscurity. But indeed there can nothing certain be known among these rude people. The truth is not in
them--most of them participate in the unlawful trade betwixt these parts and the neighbouring shore of
England; and they are familiar with every species of falsehood and deceit.'

'It is a pity,' I remarked, 'your brother should have neighbours of such a description, especially as I understand
he is at some variance with them.'

'Where, when, and about what matter?' answered Miss Geddes, with an eager and timorous anxiety, which
made me regret having touched on the subject.

I told her, in a way as little alarming as I could devise, the purport of what passed betwixt this Laird of the
Lakes and her brother, at their morning's interview.

'You affright me much,' answered she; 'it is this very circumstance which has scared me in the watches of the
night. When my brother Joshua withdrew from an active share in the commercial concerns of my father, being
satisfied with the portion of worldly substance which he already possessed, there were one or two
undertakings in which he retained an interest, either because his withdrawing might have been prejudicial to
friends, or because he wished to retain some mode of occupying his time. Amongst the more important of
these is a fishing station on the coast, where, by certain improved modes of erecting snares, opening at the
advance of the tide, and shutting at the reflux, many more fish are taken than can be destroyed by those who,
like the men of Broken-burn, use only the boat-net and spear, or fishing-rod. They complain of these tide-nets,
as men call them, as an innovation, and pretend to a right to remove and destroy them by the strong hand. I
fear me, this man of violence, whom they call the laird, will execute these his threats, which cannot be without
both loss and danger to my brother.'
Chapters                                                                                                          50

'Mr. Geddes,' said I, 'ought to apply to the civil, magistrate; there are soldiers at Dumfries who would be
detached for his protection.'

'Thou speakest, friend Latimer,' answered the lady, 'as one who is still in the gall of bitterness and bond of
iniquity. God forbid that we should endeavour to preserve nets of flax and stakes of wood, or the Mammon of
gain which they procure for us, by the hands of men of war and at the risk of spilling human blood.'

'I respect your scruples,' I replied; 'but since such is your way of thinking, your brother ought to avert the
danger by compromise or submission.'

'Perhaps it would be best,' answered Rachel; 'but what can I say? Even in the best-trained temper there may
remain some leaven of the old Adam; and I know not whether it is this or a better spirit that maketh my
brother Joshua determine, that though he will not resist force by force, neither will he yield up his right to
mere threats, or encourage wrong to others by yielding to menaces. His partners, he says, confide in his
steadiness: and that he must not disappoint them by yielding up their right for the fear of the threats of man,
whose breath is in his nostrils.'

This observation convinced me that the spirit of the old sharers of the spoil was not utterly departed even from
the bosom of the peaceful Quaker; and I could not help confessing internally that Joshua had the right, when
he averred that there was as much courage in sufferance as in exertion.

As we approached the farther end of the willow walk, the sullen and continuous sound of the dashing waters
became still more and more audible, and at length rendered it difficult for us to communicate with each other.
The conversation dropped, but apparently my companion continued to dwell upon the apprehensions which it
had excited. At the bottom of the walk we obtained a view of the cascade, where the swollen brook flung itself
in foam and tumult over the natural barrier of rock, which seemed in vain to attempt to bar its course. I gazed
with delight, and, turning to express my sentiment to my companion, I observed that she had folded her hands
in an attitude of sorrowful resignation, which showed her thoughts were far from the scene which lay before
her. When she saw that her abstraction was observed, she resumed her former placidity of manner; and having
given me sufficient time to admire this termination of our sober and secluded walk, proposed that me should
return to the house through her brother's farm. 'Even we Quakers, as we are called, have our little pride,' she
said; 'and my brother Joshua would not forgive me, were I not to show thee the fields which he taketh delight
to cultivate after the newest and best fashion; for which, I promise thee, he hath received much praise from
good judges, as well as some ridicule from those who think it folly to improve on the customs of our

As she spoke, she opened a low door, leading through a moss and ivy-covered wall, the boundary of the
pleasure-ground, into the open fields; through which we moved by a convenient path, leading, with good taste
and simplicity, by stile and hedgerow, through pasturage, and arable, and woodland; so that in all ordinary
weather, the good man might, without even soiling his shoes, perform his perambulation round the farm.
There were seats also, on which to rest; and though not adorned with inscriptions, nor quite so frequent in
occurrence as those mentioned in the account of the Leasowes, their situation was always chosen with respect
to some distant prospect to be commanded, or some home-view to be enjoyed.

But what struck me most in Joshua's domain was the quantity and the tameness of the game. The hen
partridge scarce abandoned the roost, at the foot of the hedge where she had assembled her covey, though the
path went close beside her; and the hare, remaining on her form, gazed at us as we passed, with her full dark
eye, or rising lazily and hopping to a little distance, stood erect to look at us with more curiosity than
apprehension. I observed to Miss Geddes the extreme tameness of these timid and shy animals, and she
informed me that their confidence arose from protection in the summer, and relief during the winter.

'They are pets,' she said, 'of my brother, who considers them as the better entitled to his kindness that they are
Chapters                                                                                                            51
a race persecuted by the world in general. He denieth himself,' she said, 'even the company of a dog, that these
creatures may here at least enjoy undisturbed security. Yet this harmless or humane propensity, or humour,
hath given offence,' she added, 'to our dangerous neighbours.'

She explained this, by telling me that my host of the preceding night was remarkable for his attachment to
field-sports, which he pursued without much regard to the wishes of the individuals over whose property he
followed them. The undefined mixture of respect and fear with which he was generally regarded induced most
of the neighbouring land-holders to connive at what they would perhaps in another have punished as a
trespass; but Joshua Geddes would not permit the intrusion of any one upon his premises, and as he had before
offended several country neighbours, who, because he would neither shoot himself nor permit others to do so,
compared him to the dog in the manger, so he now aggravated the displeasure which the Laird of the Lakes
had already conceived against him, by positively debarring him from pursuing his sport over his grounds--'So
that,' said Rachel Geddes, 'I sometimes wish our lot had been cast elsewhere than in these pleasant borders,
where, if we had less of beauty around us, we might have had a neighbourhood of peace and, goodwill.'

We at length returned to the house, where Miss Geddes showed me a small study, containing a little collection
of books, in two separate presses.

'These,' said she, pointing to the smaller press, 'will, if thou bestowest thy leisure upon them, do thee good;
and these,' pointing to the other and larger cabinet, 'can, I believe, do thee little harm. Some of our people do
indeed hold, that every writer who is not with us is against us; but brother Joshua is mitigated in his opinions,
and correspondeth with our friend John Scot of Amwell, who hath himself constructed verses well approved
of even in the world. I wish thee many good thoughts till our family meet at the hour of dinner.'

Left alone, I tried both collections; the first consisted entirely of religious and controversial tracts, and the
latter formed a small selection of history and of moral writers, both in prose and verse.

Neither collection promising much amusement, thou hast, in these close pages, the fruits of my tediousness;
and truly, I think, writing history (one's self being the subject) is as amusing as reading that of foreign
countries, at any time.

Sam, still more drunk than sober, arrived in due time with my portmanteau, and enabled me to put my dress
into order, better befitting this temple of cleanliness and decorum, where (to conclude) I believe I shall be a
sojourner more days than one. [See Note 1.]

PS.--I have noted your adventure, as you home-bred youths may perhaps term it, concerning the visit of your
doughty laird. We travellers hold such an incident no great consequence, though it may serve to embellish the
uniform life of Brown's Square. But art thou not ashamed to attempt to interest one who is seeing the world at
large, and studying human nature on a large scale, by so bald a narrative? Why, what does it amount to, after
all, but that a Tory laird dined with a Whig lawyer? no very uncommon matter, especially as you state Mr.
Herries to have lost the estate, though retaining the designation. The laird behaves with haughtiness and
impertinence--nothing out of character in that: is NOT kicked down stairs, as he ought to have been, were
Alan Fairford half the man that he would wish his friends to think him. Aye, but then, as the young lawyer,
instead of showing his friend the door, chose to make use of it himself, he overheard the laird aforesaid ask
the old lawyer concerning Darsie Latimer --no doubt earnestly inquiring after the handsome, accomplished
inmate of his family, who has so lately made Themis his bow and declined the honour of following her
farther. You laugh at me for my air-drawn castles; but confess, have they not surer footing, in general, than
two words spoken by such a man as Herries? And yet--and yet--I would rally the matter off, Alan; but in dark
nights even the glow-worm becomes an object of lustre, and to one plunged in my uncertainty and ignorance,
the slightest gleam that promises intelligence is interesting. My life is like the subterranean river in the Peak
of Derby, visible only where it crosses the celebrated cavern. I am here, and this much I know; but where I
have sprung from, or whither my course of life is like to tend, who shall tell me? Your father, too, seemed
Chapters                                                                                                      52

interested and alarmed, and talked of writing; would to Heaven he may!--I send daily to the post-town for



Thou mayst clap thy wings and crow as thou pleasest. You go in search of adventures, but adventures come to
me unsought for; and oh! in what a pleasing shape came mine, since it arrived in the form of a client--and a
fair client to boot! What think you of that, Darsie! you who are such a sworn squire of dames? Will this not
match my adventures with thine, that hunt salmon on horseback, and will it not, besides, eclipse the history of
a whole tribe of Broadbrims?--But I must proceed methodically.

When I returned to-day from the College, I was surprised to see a broad grin distending the adust countenance
of the faithful James Wilkinson, which, as the circumstance seldom happens above once a year, was matter of
some surprise. Moreover, he had a knowing glance with his eye, which I should have as soon expected from a
dumb-waiter--an article of furniture to which James, in his usual state, may be happily assimilated. 'What the
devil is the matter, James?'

'The devil may be in the matter, for aught I ken,' said James, with another provoking grin; 'for here has been a
woman calling for you, Maister Alan.'

'A woman calling for me?' said I in surprise; for you know well, that excepting old Aunt Peggy, who comes to
dinner of a Sunday, and the still older Lady Bedrooket, who calls ten times a year for the quarterly payment of
her jointure of four hundred merks, a female scarce approaches our threshold, as my father visits all his female
clients at their own lodgings. James protested, however, that there had been a lady calling, and for me. 'As
bonny a lass as I have seen,' added James, 'since I was in the Fusileers, and kept company with Peg Baxter.'
Thou knowest all James's gay recollections go back to the period of his military service, the years he has spent
in ours having probably been dull enough.

'Did the lady leave no name nor place of address?'

'No,' replied James; 'but she asked when you wad be at hame, and I appointed her for twelve o'clock, when the
house wad be quiet, and your father at the Bank.'

'For shame, James! how can you think my father's being at home or abroad could be of consequence?--The
lady is of course a decent person?'

'I'se uphaud her that, sir--she is nane of your--WHEW'--(Here James supplied a blank with a low
whistle)--'but I didna ken--my maister makes an unco wark if a woman comes here.'

I passed into my own room, not ill-pleased that my father was absent, notwithstanding I had thought it proper
to rebuke James for having so contrived it, I disarranged my books, to give them the appearance of a graceful
confusion on the table, and laying my foils (useless since your departure) across the mantelpiece, that the lady
might see I was TAM MARTE QUAM MERCURIO--I endeavoured to dispose my dress so as to resemble an
elegant morning deshabille--gave my hair the general shade of powder which marks the gentleman--laid my
watch and seals on the table, to hint that I understood the value of time;--and when I had made all these
arrangements, of which I am a little ashamed when I think of them, I had nothing better to do than to watch
the dial- plate till the index pointed to noon. Five minutes elapsed, which. I allowed for variation of
clocks--five minutes more rendered me anxious and doubtful--and five minutes more would have made me
Chapters                                                                                                          53
Laugh as thou wilt; but remember, Darsie, I was a lawyer, expecting his first client--a young man, how strictly
bred up I need not remind you, expecting a private interview with a young and beautiful woman. But ere the
third term of five minutes had elapsed, the door-bell was heard to tinkle low and modestly, as if touched by
some timid hand.

James Wilkinson, swift in nothing, is, as thou knowest, peculiarly slow in answering the door-bell; and I
reckoned on five minutes good, ere his solemn step should have ascended the stair. Time enough, thought I,
for a peep through the blinds, and was hastening to the window accordingly. But I reckoned without my host;
for James, who had his own curiosity as well as I, was lying PERDU in the lobby, ready to open at the first
tinkle; and there was, 'This way, ma'am--Yes, ma'am--The lady, Mr. Alan,' before I could get to the chair in
which I proposed to be discovered, seated in all legal dignity. The consciousness of being half-caught in the
act of peeping, joined to that native air of awkward bashfulness of which I am told the law will soon free me,
kept me standing on the floor in some confusion; while the lady, disconcerted on her part, remained on the
threshold of the room. James Wilkinson, who had his senses most about him, and was perhaps willing to
prolong his stay in the apartment, busied himself in setting a chair for the lady, and recalled me to my
good-breeding by the hint. I invited her to take possession of it, and bid James withdraw.

My visitor was undeniably a lady, and probably considerably above the ordinary rank--very modest, too,
judging from the mixture of grace and timidity with which she moved, and at my entreaty sat down. Her dress
was, I should suppose, both handsome and fashionable; but it was much concealed by a walking-cloak of
green silk, fancifully embroidered; in which, though heavy for the season, her person was enveloped, and
which, moreover, was furnished with a hood.

The devil take that hood, Darsie! for I was just able to distinguish that, pulled as it was over the face, it
concealed from me, as I was convinced, one of the prettiest countenances I have seen, and which, from a
sense of embarrassment, seemed to be crimsoned with a deep blush. I could see her complexion was
beautiful--her chin finely turned--her lips coral--and her teeth rivals to ivory. But further the deponent sayeth
not; for a clasp of gold, ornamented with it sapphire, closed the envious mantle under the incognita's throat,
and the cursed hood concealed entirely the upper part of the face.

I ought to have spoken first, that is certain; but ere I could get my phrases well arranged, the young lady,
rendered desperate I suppose by my hesitation opened the conversation herself.

'I fear I am an intruder, sir--I expected to meet an elderly gentleman.'

This brought me to myself. 'My father, madam, perhaps. But you inquired for Alan Fairford--my father's name
is Alexander.'

'It is Mr. Alan Fairford, undoubtedly, with whom I wished to speak,' she said, with greater confusion; 'but I
was told that he was advanced in life.'

'Some mistake, madam, I presume, betwixt my father and myself-- our Christian names have the same initials,
though the terminations are different. I--I--I would esteem it a most fortunate mistake if I could have the
honour of supplying my father's place in anything that could be of service to you.'

'You are very obliging, sir,' A pause, during which she seemed undetermined whether to rise or sit still.

'I am just about to be called to the bar, madam,' said I, in hopes to remove her scruples to open her case to me;
'and if my advice or opinion could be of the slightest use, although I cannot presume to say that they are much
to be depended upon, yet'--

The lady arose. 'I am truly sensible of your kindness, sir; and I have no doubt of your talents. I will be very
Chapters                                                                                                          54
plain with you-- it is you whom I came to visit; although, now that we have met, I find it will be much better
that I should commit my communication to writing.'

'I hope, madam, you will not be so cruel--so tantalizing, I would say. Consider, you are my first client--your
business my first consultation--do not do me the displeasure of withdrawing your confidence because I am a
few years younger than you seem to have expected. My attention shall make amends for my want of

'I have no doubt of either,' said the lady, in a grave tone, calculated to restrain the air of gallantry with which I
had endeavoured to address her. 'But when you have received my letter you will find good reasons assigned
why a written communication will best suit my purpose. I wish you, sir, a good morning.' And she left the
apartment, her poor baffled counsel scraping, and bowing, and apologizing for anything that might have been
disagreeable to her, although the front of my offence seems to be my having been discovered to be younger
than my father.

The door was opened--out she went--walked along the pavement, turned down the close, and put the sun, I
believe, into her pocket when she disappeared, so suddenly did dullness and darkness sink down on the
square, when she was no longer visible. I stood for a moment as if I had been senseless, not recollecting what
a fund of entertainment I must have supplied to our watchful friends on the other side of the green. Then it
darted on my mind that I might dog her, and ascertain at least who or what she was. Off I set--ran down the
close, where she was no longer to be seen, and demanded of one of the dyer's lads whether he had seen a lady
go down the close, or had observed which way she turned.

'A leddy!'--said the dyer, staring at me with his rainbow countenance. 'Mr. Alan, what takes you out, rinning
like daft, without your hat?'

'The devil take my hat!' answered I, running back, however, in quest of it; snatched it up, and again sallied
forth. But as I reached the head of the close once more, I had sense enough to recollect that all pursuit would
be now in vain. Besides, I saw my friend, the journeyman dyer, in close confabulation with a pea-green
personage of his own profession, and was conscious, like Scrub, that they talked of me, because they laughed
consumedly. I had no mind, by a second sudden appearance, to confirm the report that Advocate Fairford was
'gaen daft,' which had probably spread from Campbell's Close-foot to the Meal-market Stairs; and so slunk
back within my own hole again.

My first employment was to remove all traces of that elegant and fanciful disposition of my effects, from
which I had hoped for so much credit; for I was now ashamed and angry at having thought an instant upon the
mode of receiving a visit which had commenced so agreeably, but terminated in a manner so unsatisfactory. I
put my folios in their places--threw the foils into the dressing- closet--tormenting myself all the while with the
fruitless doubt, whether I had missed an opportunity or escaped a stratagem, or whether the young person had
been really startled, as she seemed to intimate, by the extreme youth of her intended legal adviser. The mirror
was not unnaturally called in to aid; and that cabinet-counsellor pronounced me rather short, thick-set, with a
cast of features fitter, I trust, for the bar than the ball--not handsome enough for blushing virgins to pine for
my sake, or even to invent sham cases to bring them to my chambers--yet not ugly enough either to scare
those away who came on real business-- dark, to be sure, but--NIGRI SUNT HYACINTHI--there are pretty
things to be said in favour of that complexion.

At length--as common sense will get the better in all cases when a man will but give it fair play--I began to
stand convicted in my own mind, as an ass before the interview, for having expected too much--an ass during
the interview, for having failed to extract the lady's real purpose--and an especial ass, now that it was over, for
thinking so much about it. But I can think of nothing else, and therefore I am determined to think of this to
some good purpose.
Chapters                                                                                                      55
You remember Murtough O'Hara's defence of the Catholic doctrine of confession; because, 'by his soul, his
sins were always a great burden to his mind, till he had told them to the priest; and once confessed, he never
thought more about them.' I have tried his receipt, therefore; and having poured my secret mortification into
thy trusty ear, I will think no more about this maid of the mist,

Who, with no face, as 'twere, outfaced me.

--Four o'clock. Plague on her green mantle, she can be nothing better than a fairy; she keeps possession of my
head yet! All during dinner- time I was terribly absent; but, luckily, my father gave the whole credit of my
reverie to the abstract nature of the doctrine, VINCO VINCENTEM, ERGO VINCO TE; upon which brocard
of law the professor this morning lectured. So I got an early dismissal to my own crib, and here am I studying,
in one sense, VINCERE VINCENTEM, to get the better of the silly passion of curiosity--I think--I think it
amounts to nothing else--which has taken such possession of my imagination, and is perpetually worrying me
with the question--will she write or no? She will not--she will not! So says Reason, and adds, Why should she
take the trouble to enter into correspondence with one who, instead of a bold, alert, prompt gallant, proved a
chicken-hearted boy, and left her the whole awkwardness of explanation, which he should have met half-way?
But then, says Fancy, she WILL write, for she was not a bit that sort of person whom you, Mr. Reason, in
your wisdom, take her to be. She was disconcerted enough, without my adding to her distress by any
impudent conduct on my part. And she will write, for--By Heaven, she HAS written, Darsie, and with a
vengeance! Here is her letter, thrown into the kitchen by a caddie, too faithful to be bribed, either by money or
whisky, to say more than that he received it, with sixpence, from an ordinary-looking woman, as he was
plying on his station near the Cross.


'SIR, 'Excuse my mistake of to-day. I had accidentally learnt that Mr. Darsie Latimer had an intimate friend
and associate in Mr. A. Fairford. When I inquired for such a person, he was pointed out to me at the Cross (as
I think the Exchange of your city is called) in the character of a respectable elderly man--your father, as I now
understand. On inquiry at Brown's Square, where I understood he resided, I used the full name of Alan, which
naturally occasioned you the trouble of this day's visit. Upon further inquiry, I am led to believe that you are
likely to be the person most active in the matter to which I am now about to direct your attention; and I regret
much that circumstances, arising out of my own particular situation, prevent my communicating to you
personally what I now apprise you of in this matter.

'Your friend, Mr. Darsie Latimer, is in a situation of considerable danger. You are doubtless aware that he has
been cautioned not to trust himself in England. Now, if he has not absolutely transgressed this friendly
injunction, he has at least approached as nearly to the menaced danger as he could do, consistently with the
letter of the prohibition. He has chosen his abode in a neighbourhood very perilous to him; and it is only by a
speedy return to Edinburgh, or at least by a removal to some more remote part of Scotland, that he can escape
the machinations of those whose enmity he has to fear. I must speak in mystery, but my words are not the less
certain; and, I believe, you know enough of your friend's fortunes to be aware that I could not write this much
without being even more intimate with them than you are.

'If he cannot, or will not, take the advice here given, it is my opinion that you should join him, if possible,
without delay, and use, by your personal presence and entreaty, the arguments which may prove ineffectual in
writing. One word more, and I implore of your candour to take it as it is meant. No one supposes that Mr.
Fairford's zeal in his friend's service needs to be quickened by mercenary motives. 'But report says, that Mr.
Alan Fairford, not having yet entered on his professional career, may, in such a case as this, want the means,
though he cannot want the inclination, to act with promptitude. The enclosed note Mr. Alan Fairford must be
pleased to consider as his first professional emolument; and she who sends it hopes it will be the omen of
unbounded success, though the fee comes from a hand so unknown as that of 'GREEN MANTLE'
Chapters                                                                                                        56
A bank-note of L20 was the enclosure, and the whole incident left me speechless with astonishment. I am not
able to read over the beginning of my own letter, which forms the introduction to this extraordinary
communication. I only know that, though mixed with a quantity of foolery (God knows very much different
from my present feelings), it gives an account sufficiently accurate, of the mysterious person from whom this
letter comes, and that I have neither time nor patience to separate the absurd commentary from the text, which
it is so necessary you should know.

Combine this warning, so strangely conveyed, with the caution impressed on you by your London
correspondent, Griffiths, against your visiting England--with the character of your Laird of the Solway
Lakes--with the lawless habits of the people on that frontier country, where warrants are not easily executed
owing to the jealousy entertained by either country of the legal interference of the other; remember, that even
Sir John Fielding said to my father that he could never trace a rogue beyond the Briggend of Dumfries--think
that the distinctions of Whig and Tory, Papist and Protestant, still keep that country in a loose and
comparatively lawless state--think of all this, my dearest Darsie, and remember that, while at this Mount
Sharon of yours, you are residing with a family actually menaced with forcible interference, and who, while
their obstinacy provokes violence, are by principle bound to abstain from resistance.

Nay, let me tell you, professionally, that the legality of the mode of fishing practised by your friend Joshua is
greatly doubted by our best lawyers; and that, if the stake-nets be considered as actually an unlawful
obstruction raised in the channel of the estuary, an assembly of persons who shall proceed, VIA FACTI, to
pull dawn and destroy them, would not, in the eye of the law, be esteemed guilty of a riot. So, by remaining
where you are, YOU are likely to be engaged in a quarrel with which you have nothing to do, and thus to
enable your enemies, whoever these may be, to execute, amid the confusion of a general hubbub, whatever
designs they may have against your personal safety. Black-fishers, poachers, and smugglers are a sort of
gentry that will not be much checked, either by your Quaker's texts, or by your chivalry. If you are Don
Quixote enough to lay lance in rest, in defence of those of the stake-net, and of the sad- coloured garment, I
pronounce you but a lost knight; for, as I said before, I doubt if these potent redressers of wrongs, the justices
and constables, will hold themselves warranted to interfere. In a word, return, my dear Amadis; the adventure
of the Solway-nets is not reserved for your worship. Come back, and I will be your faithful Sancho Panza
upon a more hopeful quest. We will beat about together, in search of this Urganda, the Unknown She of the
Green Mantle, who can read this, the riddle of thy fate, better than wise Eppie of Buckhaven, [Well known in
the Chap-Book, called the History of Buckhaven.] or Cassandra herself.

I would fain trifle, Darsie; for, in debating with you, jests will sometimes go farther than arguments; but I am
sick at heart and cannot keep the ball up. If you have a moment's regard for the friendship we have so often
vowed to each other, let my wishes for once prevail over your own venturous and romantic temper. I am quite
serious in thinking that the information communicated to my father by this Mr. Herries, and the admonitory
letter of the young lady, bear upon each other; and that, were you here, you might learn something from one
or other, or from both, that; might throw light on your birth and parentage. You will not, surely, prefer an idle
whim to the prospect which is thus held out to you?

I would, agreeably to the hint I have received in the young lady's letter (for I am confident that such is her
condition), have ere now been with you to urge these things, instead of pouring them out upon paper. But you
know that the day for my trials is appointed; I have already gone through the form of being introduced to the
examinators, and have gotten my titles assigned me. All this should not keep me at home, but my father would
view any irregularity upon this occasion as a mortal blow to the hopes which he has cherished most fondly
during his life; viz. my being called to the bar with some credit. For my own part, I know there is no great
difficulty in passing these formal examinations, else how have some of our acquaintance got through them?
But, to my father, these formalities compose an august and serious solemnity, to which he has long looked
forward, and my absenting myself at this moment would wellnigh drive him distracted. Yet I shall go
altogether distracted myself, if I have not an instant assurance from you that you are hastening hither.
Meanwhile I have desired Hannah to get your little crib into the best order possible. I cannot learn that my
Chapters                                                                                                       57

father has yet written to you; nor has he spoken more of his communication with Birrenswork; but when I let
him have some inkling of the dangers you are at present incurring, I know my request that you will return
immediately will have his cordial support.

Another reason yet--I must give a dinner, as usual, upon my admission, to our friends; and my father, laying
aside all his usual considerations of economy, has desired it may be in the best style possible. Come hither
then, dear Darsie! or, I protest to you, I shall send examination, admission-dinner, and guests to the devil, and
come, in person, to fetch you with a vengeance. Thine, in much anxiety, A. F.



DEAR MR. DARSIE, Having been your FACTOR LOCO TUTORIS or rather, I ought to say, in correctness
(since I acted without warrant from the court), your NEGOTIORUM GESTOR, that connexion occasions my
present writing. And although having rendered an account of my intromissions, which have been regularly
approved of, not only by yourself (whom I could not prevail upon to look at more than the docket and sum
total), but also by the worthy Mr. Samuel Griffiths of London, being the hand through whom the remittances
were made, I may, in some sense, be considered as to you FUNCTUS OFFICIO; yet to speak facetiously, I
trust you will not hold me accountable as a vicious intromitter, should I still consider myself as occasionally
interested in your welfare. My motives for writing, at this time, are twofold.

I have met with a Mr. Herries of Birrenswork, a gentleman of very ancient descent, but who hath in time past
been in difficulties, nor do I know if his affairs are yet well redd. Birrenswork says that he believes he was
very familiar with your father, whom he states to have been called Ralph Latimer of Langcote Hall, in
Westmoreland; and he mentioned family affairs, which it may be of the highest importance to you to be
acquainted with; but as he seemed to decline communicating them to me, I could not civilly urge him
thereanent. Thus much I know, that Mr. Herries had his own share in the late desperate and unhappy matter of
1745, and was in trouble about it, although that is probably now over. Moreover, although he did not profess
the Popish religion openly, he had an eye that way. And both of these are reasons why I have hesitated to
recommend him to a youth who maybe hath not altogether so well founded his opinions concerning Kirk and
State, that they might not be changed by some sudden wind of doctrine. For I have observed ye, Master
Darsie, to be rather tinctured with the old leaven of prelacy--this under your leave; and although God forbid
that you should be in any manner disaffected to the Protestant Hanoverian line, yet ye have ever loved to hear
the blawing, blazing stories which the Hieland gentlemen tell of those troublous times, which, if it were their
will, they had better pretermit, as tending rather to shame than to honour. It is come to me also by a sidewind,
as I may say, that you have been neighbouring more than was needful among some of the pestilent sect of
Quakers--a people who own neither priest nor king, nor civil magistrate, nor the fabric of our law, and will not
depone either IN CIVILIBUS or CRIMINALIBUS, be the loss to the lieges what it may. Anent which
heresies, it were good ye read 'The Snake in the Grass' or 'The Foot out of the Snare,' being both
well-approved tracts, touching these doctrines.

Now, Mr. Darsie, ye are to judge for yourself whether ye can safely to your soul's weal remain longer among
these Papists and Quakers--these defections on the right hand, and failings away on the left; and truly if you
can confidently resist these evil examples of doctrine, I think ye may as well tarry in the bounds where ye are,
until you see Mr. Herries of Birrenswork, who does assuredly know more of your matters than I thought had
been communicated to any man in Scotland. I would fain have precognosced him myself on these affairs, but
found him unwilling to speak out, as I have partly intimated before.

To call a new cause--I have the pleasure to tell you, that Alan has passed his private Scots Law examinations
with good approbation--a great relief to my mind; especially as worthy Mr. Pest told me in my ear there was
no fear of 'the callant', as he familiarly called him, which gives me great heart. His public trials, which are
Chapters                                                                                                        58
nothing in comparison save a mere form, are to take place, by order of the Honourable Dean of Faculty, on
Wednesday first; and on Friday he puts on the gown, and gives a bit chack of dinner to his friends and
acquaintances, as is, you know, the custom. Your company will be wished for there, Master Darsie, by more
than him, which I regret to think is impossible to have, as well by your engagements, as that our cousin, Peter
Fairford, comes from the West on purpose, and we have no place to offer him but your chamber in the wall.
And, to be plain with you, after my use and wont, Master Darsie, it may be as well that Alan and you do not
meet till he is hefted as it were to his new calling. You are a pleasant gentleman, and full of daffing, which
may well become you, as you have enough (as I understand) to uphold your merry humour. If you regard the
matter wisely, you would perchance consider that a man of substance should have a douce and staid
demeanour; yet you are so far from growing grave and considerate with the increase of your annual income,
that the richer you become, the merrier I think you grow. But this must be at your own pleasure, so far as you
are concerned. Alan, however (overpassing my small savings), has the world to win; and louping and
laughing, as you and he were wont to do, would soon make the powder flee out of his wig, and the pence out
of his pocket. Nevertheless, I trust you will meet when you return from your rambles; for there is a time, as
the wise man sayeth, for gathering, and a time for casting away; it is always the part of a man of sense to take
the gathering time first. I remain, dear sir, your well-wishing friend; and obedient to command,

PS.--Alan's Thesis is upon the title DE PERICULO ET COMMODO REI VENDITAE, and is a very pretty
piece of Latinity.--Ross House, in our neighbourhood, is nearly finished, and is thought to excel Duff House
in ornature.



The plot thickens, Alan. I have your letter, and also one from your father. The last makes it impossible for me
to comply with the kind request which the former urges. No--I cannot be with you, Alan; and that, for the best
of all reasons--I cannot and ought not to counteract your father's anxious wishes. I do not take it unkind of him
that he desires my absence. It is natural that he should wish for his son what his son so well deserves-- the
advantage of a wiser and steadier companion than I seem to him. And yet I am sure I have often laboured hard
enough to acquire that decency of demeanour which can no more be suspected of breaking bounds, than an
owl of catching a butterfly.

But it was in vain that I have knitted my brows till I had the headache, in order to acquire the reputation of a
grave, solid, and well-judging youth. Your father always has discovered, or thought that he discovered, a
hare-brained eccentricity lying folded among the wrinkles of my forehead, which rendered me a perilous
associate for the future counsellor and ultimate judge. Well, Corporal Nym's philosophy must be my
comfort--'Things must be as they may.'--I cannot come to your father's house, where he wishes not to see me;
and as to your coming hither,--by all that is dear to me, I vow that if you are guilty of such a piece of reckless
folly--not to say undutiful cruelty, considering your father's thoughts and wishes--I will never speak to you
again as long as I live! I am perfectly serious. And besides, your father, while he in a manner prohibits me
from returning to Edinburgh, gives me the strongest reasons for continuing a little while longer in this
country, by holding out the hope that I may receive from your old friend, Mr. Herries of Birrenswork, some
particulars concerning my origin, with which that ancient recusant seems to be acquainted.

That gentleman mentioned the name of a family in Westmoreland, with which he supposes me connected. My
inquiries here after such a family have been ineffectual, for the borderers, on either side, know little of each
other. But I shall doubtless find some English person of whom to make inquiries, since the confounded
fetterlock clapped on my movements by old Griffiths, prevents me repairing to England in person. At least,
the prospect of obtaining some information is greater here than elsewhere; it will be an apology for my
making a longer stay in this neighbourhood, a line of conduct which seems to have your father's sanction,
Chapters                                                                                                       59

whose opinion must be sounder than that of your wandering damoselle.

If the road were paved with dangers which leads to such a discovery, I cannot for a moment hesitate to tread
it. But in fact there is no peril in the case. If the Tritons of the Solway shall proceed to pull down honest
Joshua's tide-nets, I am neither Quixote enough in disposition, nor Goliath enough in person, to attempt their
protection. I have no idea of attempting to prop a falling house by putting my shoulders against it. And
indeed, Joshua gave me a hint that the company which he belongs to, injured in the way threatened (some of
them being men who thought after the fashion of the world), would pursue the rioters at law, and recover
damages, in which probably his own ideas of non-resistance will not prevent his participating. Therefore the
whole affair will take its course as law will, as I only mean to interfere when it may be necessary to direct the
course of the plaintiffs to thy chambers; and I request they may find thee intimate with all the Scottish statutes
concerning salmon fisheries, from the LEX AQUARUM, downward.

As for the Lady of the Mantle, I will lay a wager that the sun so bedazzled thine eyes on that memorable
morning, that everything thou didst look upon seemed green; and notwithstanding James Wilkinson's
experience in the Fusileers, as well as his negative whistle, I will venture to hold a crown that she is but a
what- shall-call-'um after all. Let not even the gold persuade you to the contrary. She may make a shift to
cause you to disgorge that, and (immense spoil!) a session's fees to boot, if you look not all the sharper about
you. Or if it should be otherwise, and if indeed there lurk some mystery under this visitation, credit me, it is
one which thou canst not penetrate, nor can I as yet even attempt to explain it; since, if I prove mistaken, and
mistaken I may easily be, I would be fain to creep into Phalaris's bull, were it standing before me ready
heated, rather than be roasted with thy raillery. Do not tax me with want of confidence; for the instant I can
throw any light on the matter thou shalt have it; but while I am only blundering about in the dark, I do not
choose to call wise folks to see me, perchance, break my nose against a post. So if you marvel at this,

E'en marvel on till time makes all things plain.

In the meantime, kind Alan, let me proceed in my diurnal.

On the third or fourth day after my arrival at Mount Sharon, Time, that bald sexton to whom I have just
referred you, did certainly limp more heavily along with me than he had done at first. The quaint morality of
Joshua, and Huguenot simplicity of his sister, began to lose much of their raciness with their novelty, and my
mode of life, by dint of being very quiet, began to feel abominably dull. It was, as thou say'st, as if the
Quakers had put the sun in their pockets--all around was soft and mild, and even pleasant; but there was, in
the whole routine, a uniformity, a want of interest, a helpless and hopeless languor, which rendered life
insipid. No doubt, my worthy host and hostess felt none of this void, this want of excitation, which was
becoming oppressive to their guest. They had their little round of occupations, charities, and pleasures; Rachel
had her poultry-yard and conservatory, and Joshua his garden. Besides this, they enjoyed, doubtless, their
devotional meditations; and, on the whole, time glided softly and imperceptibly on with them, though to me,
who long for stream and cataract, it seemed absolutely to stand still. I meditated returning to Shepherd's Bush,
and began to think, with some hankering, after little Benjie and the rod. The imp has ventured hither, and
hovers about to catch a peep of me now and then; I suppose the little sharper is angling for a few more
sixpences. But this would have been, in Joshua's eyes, a return of the washed sow to wallowing in the mire,
and I resolved, while I remained his guest, to spare him so violent a shock to his prejudices. The next point
was, to shorten the time of my proposed stay; but, alas! that I felt to be equally impossible. I had named a
week; and however rashly my promise had been pledged, it must be held sacred, even according to the letter,
from which the Friends permit no deviation.

All these considerations wrought me up to a kind of impatience yesterday evening; so that I snatched up my
hat, and prepared for a sally beyond the cultivated farm and ornamented grounds of Mount Sharon, just as if I
were desirous to escape from the realms of art, into those of free and unconstrained nature.
Chapters                                                                                                          60
I was scarcely more delighted when I first entered this peaceful demesne, than I now was--such is the
instability and inconsistency of human nature!--when I escaped from it to the open downs, which had
formerly seemed so waste and dreary, The air I breathed felt purer and more bracing. The clouds, riding high
upon a summer breeze, drove, in gay succession, over my head, now obscuring the sun, now letting its rays
stream in transient flashes upon various parts of the landscape, and especially upon the broad mirror of the
distant Firth of Solway.

I advanced on the scene with the light step of a liberated captive; and, like John Bunyan's Pilgrim, could have
found in my heart to sing as I went on my way. It seemed as if my gaiety had accumulated while suppressed,
and that I was, in my present joyous mood, entitled to expend the savings of the previous week. But just as I
was about to uplift a merry stave, I heard, to my joyful surprise, the voices of three or more choristers,
singing, with considerable success, the lively old catch,

For all our men were very very merry, And all our men were drinking: There were two men of mine, Three
men of thine, And three that belonged to old Sir Thom o' Lyne; As they went to the ferry, they were very very
merry, And all our men were drinking.'

[The original of this catch is to be found in Cowley's witty comedy of THE GUARDIAN, the first edition. It
does not exist in the second and revised edition, called THE CUTTER OF COLEMAN STREET.

VERY MERRY, &c. Such are the words, which are somewhat altered and amplified in the text. The play was
acted in presence of Charles II, then Prince of Wales, in 1641. The catch in the text has been happily set to

As the chorus ended, there followed a loud and hearty laugh by way of cheers. Attracted by sounds which
were so congenial to my present feelings, I made towards the spot from which they came,-- cautiously,
however, for the downs, as had been repeatedly hinted to me, had no good name; and the attraction of the
music, without rivalling that of the sirens in melody, might have been followed by similarly inconvenient
consequences to an incautious amateur.

I crept on, therefore, trusting that the sinuosities of the ground, broken as it was into knells and sand-pits,
would permit me to obtain a sight of the musicians before I should be observed by them. As I advanced, the
old ditty was again raised. The voices seemed those of a man and two boys; they were rough, but kept good
time, and were managed with too much skill to belong to the ordinary country people.

Jack looked at the sun, and cried, Fire, fire, fire; Tom stabled his keffel in Birkendale mire; Jem started a calf,
and halloo'd for a stag; Will mounted a gate-post instead of his nag: For all our men were very very merry,
And all our men were drinking; There were two men of mine, Three men of thine, And three that belonged to
old Sir Thom o' Lyne; As they went to the ferry, they were very very merry, For all our men were drinking.

The voices, as they mixed in their several parts, and ran through them, untwisting and again entwining all the
links of the merry old catch, seemed to have a little touch of the bacchanalian spirit which they celebrated, and
showed plainly that the musicians were engaged in the same joyous revel as the MENYIE of old Sir Thom o'
Lyne. At length I came within sight of them, three in number, where they sat cosily niched into what you
might call a BUNKER, a little sand-pit, dry and snug, and surrounded by its banks, and a screen of whins in
full bloom.

The only one of the trio whom I recognized as a personal acquaintance was the notorious little Benjie, who,
Chapters                                                                                                     61
having just finished his stave, was cramming a huge luncheon of pie-crust into his mouth with one hand,
while in the other he held a foaming tankard, his eyes dancing with all the glee of a forbidden revel; and his
features, which have at all times a mischievous archness of expression, confessing the full sweetness of stolen
waters, and bread eaten in secret.

There was no mistaking the profession of the male and female, who were partners with Benjie in these merry
doings. The man's long loose-bodied greatcoat (wrap-rascal as the vulgar term it), the fiddle-case, with its
straps, which lay beside him, and a small knapsack which might contain his few necessaries; a clear grey eye;
features which, in contending with many a storm, had not lost a wild and, careless expression of glee,
animated at present, when he was exercising for his own pleasure the arts which he usually practised for
bread,--all announced one of those peripatetic followers of Orpheus whom the vulgar call a strolling fiddler.
Gazing more attentively, I easily discovered that though the poor musician's eyes were open, their sense was
shut, and that the ecstasy with which he turned them up to heaven only derived its apparent expression from
his own internal emotions, but received no assistance from the visible objects around. Beside him sat his
female companion, in a man's hat, a blue coat, which seemed also to have been an article of male apparel, and
a red petticoat. She was cleaner, in person and in clothes, than such itinerants generally are; and, having been
in her day a strapping BONA ROBA, she did not even yet neglect some attention to her appearance; wore a
large amber necklace, and silver ear-rings, and had her laid fastened across her breast with a brooch of the
same metal.

The man also looked clean, notwithstanding the meanness of his attire, and had a decent silk handkerchief
well knotted about his throat, under which peeped a clean owerlay. His beard, also, instead of displaying a
grizzly stubble, unmowed for several days, flowed in thick and comely abundance over the breast, to the
length of six inches, and mingled with his hair, which was but beginning to exhibit a touch of age. To sum up
his appearance, the loose garment which I have described was secured around him by a large old-fashioned
belt, with brass studs, in which hung a dirk, with a knife and fork, its usual accompaniments. Altogether, there
was something more wild and adventurous-looking about the man than I could have expected to see in an
ordinary modern crowder; and the bow which he now and then drew across the violin, to direct his little choir,
was decidedly that of no ordinary performer.

You must understand that many of these observations were the fruits of after remark; for I had scarce
approached so near as to get a distinct view of the party, when my friend Benjie's lurching attendant, which he
calls by the appropriate name of Hemp, began to cock his tail and ears, and, sensible of my presence, flew,
barking like a fury, to the place where I had meant to lie concealed till I heard another song. I was obliged,
however, to jump on my feet, and intimidate Hemp, who would otherwise have bit me, by two sound kicks on
the ribs, which sent him howling back to his master.

Little Benjie seemed somewhat dismayed at my appearance; but, calculating on my placability, and
remembering, perhaps, that the ill-used Solomon was no palfrey of mine, he speedily affected great glee, and
almost in one breath assured the itinerants that I was 'a grand gentleman, and had plenty of money, and was
very kind to poor folk;' and informed me that this was 'Willie Steenson--Wandering Willie the best fiddler that
ever kittled thairm with horse-hair.'

The woman rose and curtsied; and Wandering Willie sanctioned his own praises with a nod, and the
ejaculation, 'All is true that the little boy says.'

I asked him if he was of this country.

'THIS country!' replied the blind man--'I am of every country in broad Scotland, and a wee bit of England to
the boot. But yet I am, in some sense, of this country; for I was born within hearing of the roar of Solway.
Will I give your honour a touch of the auld bread-winner?'
Chapters                                                                                                        62

He preluded as he spoke, in a manner which really excited my curiosity; and then, taking the old tune of
Galashiels for his theme, he graced it with a number of wild, complicated, and beautiful variations; during
which it was wonderful to observe how his sightless face was lighted up under the conscious pride and
heartfelt delight in the exercise of his own very considerable powers.

'What think you of that, now, for threescore and twa?'

I expressed my surprise and pleasure.

'A rant, man--an auld rant,' said Willie; 'naething like the music ye hae in your ballhouses and your playhouses
in Edinbro'; but it's weel aneugh anes in a way at a dykeside. Here's another --it's no a Scotch tune, but it
passes for ane--Oswald made it himsell, I reckon--he has cheated mony ane, but he canna cheat Wandering

He then played your favourite air of Roslin Castle, with a number of beautiful variations, some of which I am
certain were almost extempore.

'You have another fiddle there, my friend,' said I--'Have you a comrade?' But Willie's ears were deaf, or his
attention was still busied with the tune.

The female replied in his stead, 'O aye, sir--troth we have a partner--a gangrel body like oursells. No but my
hinny might have been better if he had liked; for mony a bein nook in mony a braw house has been offered to
my hinny Willie, if he wad but just bide still and play to the gentles.'

'Whisht, woman! whisht!' said the blind man, angrily, shaking his locks; 'dinna deave the gentleman wi' your
havers. Stay in a house and play to the gentles!--strike up when my leddy pleases, and lay down the bow when
my lord bids! Na, na, that's nae life for Willie. Look out, Maggie--peer out, woman, and see if ye can see
Robin coming. Deil be in him! He has got to the lee-side of some smuggler's punch-bowl, and he wunna
budge the night, I doubt.'

'That is your consort's instrument,' said I--' Will you give me leave to try my skill?' I slipped at the same time
a shilling into the woman's hand.

'I dinna ken whether I dare trust Robin's fiddle to ye,' said Willie, bluntly. His wife gave him a twitch. 'Hout
awa, Maggie,' he said in contempt of the hint; 'though the gentleman may hae gien ye siller, he may have nae
bowhand for a' that, and I'll no trust Robin's fiddle wi' an ignoramus. But that's no sae muckle amiss,' he
added, as I began to touch the instrument; 'I am thinking ye have some skill o' the craft.'

To confirm him in this favourable opinion, I began to execute such a complicated flourish as I thought must
have turned Crowdero into a pillar of stone with envy and wonder. I scaled the top of the finger-board, to dive
at once to the bottom-- skipped with flying fingers, like Timotheus, from shift to shift --struck arpeggios and
harmonic tones, but without exciting any of the astonishment which I had expected.

Willie indeed listened to me with considerable attention; but I was no sooner finished, than he immediately
mimicked on his own instrument the fantastic complication of tones which I had produced, and made so
whimsical a parody of my performance, that, although somewhat angry, I could not help laughing heartily, in
which I was joined by Benjie, whose reverence for me held him under no restraint; while the poor dame,
fearful, doubtless, of my taking offence at this familiarity, seemed divided betwixt her conjugal reverence for
her Willie, and her desire to give him a hint for his guidance.

At length the old man stopped of his own accord, and, as if he had sufficiently rebuked me by his mimicry, he
said, 'But for a' that, ye will play very weel wi' a little practice and some gude teaching. But ye maun learn to
Chapters                                                                                                         63

put the heart into it, man--to put the heart into it.'

I played an air in simpler taste, and received more decided approbation.

'That's something like it man. Od, ye are a clever birkie!'

The woman touched his coat again. 'The gentleman is a gentleman, Willie--ye maunna speak that gate to him,

'The deevil I maunna!' said Willie; 'and what for maunna I?--If he was ten gentles, he canna draw a bow like
me, can he?'

'Indeed I cannot, my honest friend,' said I; 'and if you will go with me to a house hard by, I would be glad to
have a night with you.'

Here I looked round, and observed Benjie smothering a laugh, which I was sure had mischief in it. I seized
him suddenly by the ear, and made him confess that he was laughing at the thoughts of the reception which a
fiddler was likely to get from the Quakers at Mount Sharon. I chucked him from me, not sorry that his mirth
had reminded me in time of what I had for the moment forgotten; and invited the itinerant to go with me to
Shepherd's Bush, from which I proposed to send word to Mr. Geddes that I should not return home that
evening. But the minstrel declined this invitation also. He was engaged for the night, he said, to a dance in the
neighbourhood, and vented a round execration on the laziness or drunkenness of his comrade, who had not
appeared at the place of rendezvous.

'I will go with you instead of him,' said I, in a sudden whim; 'and I will give you a crown to introduce me as
your comrade.'

'YOU gang instead of Rob the Rambler! My certie, freend, ye are no blate!' answered Wandering Willie, in a
tone which announced death to my frolic.

But Maggie, whom the offer of the crown had not escaped, began to open on that scent with a maundering sort
of lecture. 'Oh Willie! hinny Willie, whan will ye learn to be wise? There's a crown to be win for naething but
saying ae man's name instead of anither. And, wae's me! I hae just a shilling of this gentleman's gieing, and a
boddle of my ain; and ye wunna, bend your will sae muckle as to take up the siller that's flung at your feet! Ye
will die the death of a cadger's powney, in a wreath of drift! and what can I do better than lie doun and die wi'
you? for ye winna let me win siller to keep either you or mysell leevin.'

'Haud your nonsense tongue, woman,' said Willie, but less absolutely than before. 'Is he a real gentleman, or
ane of the player-men?'

'I'se uphaud him a real gentleman,' said the woman.

'I'se uphaud ye ken little of the matter,' said Willie; 'let us see haud of your hand, neebor, gin ye like.

I gave him my hand. He said to himself, 'Aye, aye, here are fingers that have seen canny service.' Then
running his hand over my hair, my face, and my dress, he went on with his soliloquy; 'Aye, aye, muisted hair,
braidclaith o' the best, and seenteen hundred linen on his back, at the least o' it. And how do you think, my
braw birkie, that you are to pass for a tramping fiddler?'

'My dress is plain,' said I,--indeed I had chosen my most ordinary suit, out of compliment to my Quaker
friends,--'and I can easily pass for a young farmer out upon a frolic. Come, I will double the crown I promised
Chapters                                                                                                         64

'Damn your crowns!' said the disinterested man of music. 'I would like to have a round wi' you, that's
certain;--but a farmer, and with a hand that never held pleugh-stilt or pettle, that will never do. Ye may pass
for a trades-lad from Dumfries, or a student upon the ramble, or the like o' that. But hark ye, lad; if ye expect
to be ranting among the queans o' lasses where ye are gaun, ye will come by the waur, I can tell ye; for the
fishers are wild chaps, and will bide nae taunts.'

I promised to be civil and cautious; and, to smooth the good woman, I slipped the promised piece into her
hand. The acute organs of the blind man detected this little manoeuvre.

'Are ye at it again wi' the siller, ye jaud? I'll be sworn ye wad rather hear ae twalpenny clink against another,
than have a spring from Rory Dall, [Blind Rorie, a famous musician according to tradition.] if he was-coming
alive again anes errand. Gang doun the gate to Lucky Gregson's and get the things ye want, and bide there till
ele'en hours in the morn; and if you see Robin, send him on to me.'

'Am I no gaun to the ploy, then?' said Maggie, in a disappointed tone.

'And what for should ye?' said her lord and master; 'to dance a' night, I'se warrant, and no to be fit to walk
your tae's-length the morn, and we have ten Scots miles afore us? Na, na. Stable the steed, and pit your wife to
bed, when there's night wark to do.'

'Aweel, aweel, Willie hinnie, ye ken best; but oh, take an unco care o' yoursell, and mind ye haena the
blessing o' sight.'

'Your tongue gars me whiles tire of the blessing of hearing, woman,' replied 'Willie, in answer to this tender

But I now put in for my interest. 'Hollo, good folks, remember that I am to send the boy to Mount Sharon, and
if you go to the Shepherd's Bush, honest woman, how the deuce am I to guide the blind man where he is
going? I know little or nothing of the country.'

'And ye ken mickle less of my hinnie, sir,' replied Maggie, 'that think he needs ony guiding; he's the best guide
himsell that ye'll find between Criffell and Carlisle. Horse-road and foot- path, parish-road and kirk-road,
high-road and cross-road, he kens ilka foot of ground in Nithsdale.'

'Aye, ye might have said in braid Scotland, gudewife,' added the fiddler. 'But gang your ways, Maggie, that's
the first wise word ye hae spoke the day. I wish it was dark night, and rain, and wind, for the gentleman's
sake, that I might show him there is whiles when ane had better want een than have them; for I am as true a
guide by darkness as by daylight.'

Internally as well pleased that my companion was not put to give me this last proof of his skill, I wrote a note
with a pencil, desiring Samuel to bring my horses at midnight, when I thought my frolic would be wellnigh
over, to the place to which the bearer should direct him, and I sent little Benjie with an apology to the worthy

As we parted in different directions, the good woman said, 'Oh, sir, if ye wad but ask Willie to tell ye ane of
his tales to shorten the gate! He can speak like ony minister frae the pu'pit, and he might have been a minister
himsell, but'--

'Haud your tongue, ye fule!' said Willie,--'But stay, Meg--gie me a kiss, ne maunna part in anger,
neither.'--And thus our society separated.

[It is certain that in many cases the blind have, by constant exercise of their other organs, learned to overcome
Chapters                                                                                                             65

a defect which one would think incapable of being supplied. Every reader must remember the celebrated
Blind Jack of Knaresborough, who lived by laying out roads.]



You are now to conceive us proceeding in our different directions across the bare downs. Yonder flies little
Benjie to the northward with Hemp scampering at his heels, both running as if for dear life so long as the
rogue is within sight of his employer, and certain to take the walk very easy so soon as he is out of ken.
Stepping westward, you see Maggie's tall form and high-crowned hat, relieved by the fluttering of her plaid
upon the left shoulder, darkening as the distance diminishes her size and as the level sunbeams begin to sink
upon the sea. She is taking her quiet journey to the Shepherd's Bush.

Then, stoutly striding over the lea, you have a full view of Darsie Latimer, with his new acquaintance,
Wandering Willie, who, bating that he touched the ground now and then with his staff, not in a doubtful
groping manner, but with the confident air of an experienced pilot, heaving the lead when he has the
soundings by heart, walks as firmly and boldly as if he possessed the eyes of Argus. There they go, each with
his violin slung at his back, but one of them at least totally ignorant whither their course is directed.

And wherefore did you enter so keenly into such a mad frolic? says my wise counsellor.--Why, I think, upon
the whole, that as a sense of loneliness, and a longing for that kindness which is interchanged in society, led
me to take up my temporary residence at Mount Sharon, the monotony of my life there, the quiet simplicity of
the conversation of the Geddeses, and the uniformity of their amusements and employments, wearied out my
impatient temper, and prepared me for the first escapade which chance might throw in my way.

What would I have given that I could have procured that solemn grave visage of thine, to dignify this joke, as
it has done full many a one of thine own! Thou hast so happy a knack of doing the most foolish things in the
wisest manner, that thou mightst pass thy extravagances for rational actions, even in the eyes of Prudence

From the direction which my guide observed, I began to suspect that the dell at Brokenburn was our probable
destination; and it became important to me to consider whether I could, with propriety, or even perfect safety,
intrude myself again upon the hospitality of my former host. I therefore asked Willie whether we were bound
for the laird's, as folk called him.

'Do ye ken the laird?' said Willie, interrupting a sonata of Corelli, of which he had whistled several bars with
great precision.

'I know the laird a little,' said I; 'and therefore I was doubting whether I ought to go to his town in disguise.'

'I should doubt, not a little only, but a great deal, before I took ye there, my chap,' said Wandering Willie; 'for
I am thinking it wad be worth little less than broken banes baith to you and me. Na, na, chap, we are no
ganging to the laird's, but to a blithe birling at the Brokenburn-foot, where there will be mony a braw lad and
lass; and maybe there may be some of the laird's folks, for he never comes to sic splores himsell. He is all for
fowling-piece and salmon-spear, now that pike and musket are out of the question.'

'He has been at soldier, then?' said I.

'I'se warrant him a soger,' answered Willie; 'but take my advice, and speer as little about him as he does about
you. Best to let sleeping dogs lie. Better say naething about the laird, my man, and tell me instead, what sort
of a chap ye are that are sae ready to cleik in with an auld gaberlunzie fiddler? Maggie says ye're gentle, but a
Chapters                                                                                                          66

shilling maks a' the difference that Maggie kens between a gentle and a semple, and your crowns wad mak ye
a prince of the blood in her een. But I am ane that ken full weel that ye may wear good claithes, and have a
saft hand, and yet that may come of idleness as weel as gentrice.'

I told him my name, with the same addition I had formerly given to Mr. Joshua Geddes; that I was a
law-student, tired of my studies, and rambling about for exercise and amusement.

'And are ye in the wont of drawing up wi' a' the gangrel bodies that ye meet on the high-road, or find cowering
in a sand-bunker upon the links?' demanded Willie.

'Oh, no; only with honest folks like yourself, Willie,' was my reply.

'Honest folks like me! How do ye ken whether I am honest, or what I am? I may be the deevil himsell for
what ye ken; for he has power to come disguised like an angel of light; and besides he is a prime fiddler. He
played a sonata to Corelli, ye ken.'

There was something odd in this speech, and the tone in which it was said. It seemed as if my companion was
not always in his constant mind, or that he was willing to try if he could frighten me. I laughed at the
extravagance of his language, however, and asked him in reply, if he was fool enough to believe that the foul
fiend would play so silly a masquerade.

'Ye ken little about it--little about it,' said the old man, shaking his head and beard, and knitting his brows, 'I
could tell ye something about that.'

What his wife mentioned of his being a tale-teller, as well as a musician, now occurred to me; and as you
know I like tales of superstition, I begged to have a specimen of his talent as we went along.

'It is very true,' said the blind man, 'that when I am tired of scraping thairm or singing ballants, I whiles mak a
tale serve the turn among the country bodies; and I have some fearsome anes, that make the auld carlines
shake on the settle, and the bits o' bairns skirl on their minnies out frae their beds. But this that I am gaun to
tell you was a thing that befell in our ain house in my father's time--that is, my father was then a hafflins
callant; and I tell it to you that it may be a lesson to you, that are but a young, thoughtless chap, wha ye draw
up wi' on a lonely road; for muckle was the dool and care that came o't to my gudesire.'

He commenced his tale accordingly, in a distinct narrative tone of voice which he raised and depressed with
considerable skill; at times sinking almost into a whisper, and turning his clear but sightless eyeballs upon my
face, as if it had been possible for him to witness the impression which his narrative made upon my features. I
will not spare you a syllable of it, although it be of the longest; so I make a dash--and begin


Ye maun have heard of Sir Robert Redgauntlet of that Ilk, who lived in these parts before the dear years. The
country will lang mind him; and our fathers used to draw breath thick if ever they heard him named. He was
out wi' the Hielandmen in Montrose's time; and again he was in the hills wi' Glencairn in the saxteen hundred
and fifty-twa; and sae when King Charles the Second came in, wha was in sic favour as the Laird of
Redgauntlet? He was knighted at Lonon court, wi' the king's ain sword; and being a redhot prelatist, he came
down here, rampauging like a lion, with commissions of lieutenancy (and of lunacy, for what I ken) to put
down a' the Whigs and Covenanters in the country. Wild wark they made of it; for the Whigs were as dour as
the Cavaliers were fierce, and it was which should first tire the other. Redgauntlet was ay for the strong hand;
and his name is kend as wide in the country as Claverhouse's or Tam Dalyell's. Glen, nor dargle, nor
mountain, nor cave, could hide the puir hill-folk when Redgauntlet was out with bugle and bloodhound after
them, as if they had been sae mony deer. And troth when they fand them, they didna mak muckle mair
Chapters                                                                                                          67

ceremony than a Hielandman wi' a roebuck--it was just, 'Will ye tak the test?'--if not, 'Make
ready--present--fire!'--and there lay the recusant.

Far and wide was Sir Robert hated and feared. Men thought he had a direct compact with Satan--that he was
proof against steel--and that bullets happed aff his buff-coat like hailstanes from a hearth--that he had a mear
that would turn a hare on the side of Carrifra-gawns [A precipitous side of a mountain in Moffatdale.] --and
muckle to the same purpose, of whilk mair anon. The best blessing they wared on him was, 'Deil scowp wi'
Redgauntlet!' He wasna a bad master to his ain folk, though, and was weel aneugh liked by his tenants; and as
for the lackies and troopers that raid out wi' him to the persecutions, as the Whigs caa'd those killing times,
they wad hae drunken themsells blind to his health at ony time.

Now you are to ken that my gudesire lived on Redgauntlet's grund --they ca' the place Primrose Knowe. We
had lived on the grund, and under the Redgauntlets, since the riding days, and lang before. It was a pleasant
bit; and I think the air is callerer and fresher there than onywhere else in the country. It's a' deserted now; and I
sat on the broken door-cheek three days since, and was glad I couldna see the plight the place was in; but
that's a' wide o' the mark. There dwelt my gudesire, Steenie Steenson, a rambling, rattling chiel' he had been in
his young days, and could play weel on the pipes; he was famous at 'Hoopers and Girders'--a' Cumberland
couldna, touch him at 'Jockie Lattin'--and he had the finest finger for the back-lilt between Berwick and
Carlisle. The like o' Steenie wasna the sort that they made Whigs o'. And so he became a Tory, as they ca' it,
which we now ca' Jacobites, just out of a kind of needcessity, that he might belang to some side or other. He
had nae ill will to the Whig bodies, and liked little to see the blude rin, though, being obliged to follow Sir
Robert in hunting and hoisting, watching and warding, he saw muckle mischief, and maybe did some, that he
couldna avoid.

Now Steenie was a kind of favourite with his master, and kend a' the folks about the castle, and was often sent
for to play the pipes when they were at their merriment. Auld Dougal MacCallum, the butler, that had
followed Sir Robert through gude and ill, thick and thin, pool and stream, was specially fond of the pipes, and
ay gae my gudesire his gude word wi' the laird; for Dougal could turn his master round his finger.

Weel, round came the Revolution, and it had like to have broken the hearts baith of Dougal and his master.
But the change was not a'thegether sae great as they feared, and other folk thought for. The Whigs made an
unco crawing what they wad do with their auld enemies, and in special wi' Sir Robert Redgauntlet. But there
were ower mony great folks dipped in the same doings, to mak a spick and span new warld. So Parliament
passed it a' ower easy; and Sir Robert, bating that he was held to hunting foxes instead of Covenanters,
remained just the man he was. [The caution and moderation of King William III, and his principles of
unlimited toleration, deprived the Cameronians of the opportunity they ardently desired, to retaliate the
injuries which they had received during the reign of prelacy, and purify the land, as they called it, from the
pollution of blood. They esteemed the Revolution, therefore, only a half measure, which neither
comprehended the rebuilding the Kirk in its full splendour, nor the revenge of the death of the Saints on their
persecutors.] His revel was as loud, and his hall as weel lighted, as ever it had been, though maybe he lacked
the fines of the nonconformists, that used to come to stock his larder and cellar; for it is certain he began to be
keener about the rents than his tenants used to find him before, and they behoved to be prompt to the rent-day,
or else the laird wasna pleased. And he was sic an awsome body, that naebody cared to anger him; for the
oaths he swore, and the rage that he used to get into, and the looks that he put on, made men sometimes think
him a devil incarnate.

Weel, my gudesire was nae manager--no that he was a very great misguider--but he hadna the saving gift, and
he got twa terms' rent in arrear. He got the first brash at Whitsunday put ower wi' fair word and piping; but
when Martinmas came, there was a summons from the grund-officer to come wi' the rent on a day preceese, or
else Steenie behoved to flit. Sair wark he had to get the siller; but he was weel-freended, and at last he got the
haill scraped thegether--a thousand merks--the maist of it was from a neighbour they ca'd Laurie Lapraik--a
sly tod. Laurie had walth o' gear--could hunt wi' the hound and rin wi' the hare--and be Whig or Tory, saunt or
Chapters                                                                                                          68
sinner, as the wind stood. He was a professor in this Revolution warld, but he liked an orra sough of this
warld, and a tune on the pipes weel aneugh at a bytime; and abune a', he thought he had gude security for the
siller he lent my gudesire ower the stocking at Primrose Knowe.

Away trots my gudesire to Redgauntlet Castle wi' a heavy purse and a light heart, glad to be out of the laird's
danger. Weel, the first thing he learned at the castle was, that Sir Robert had fretted himsell into a fit of the
gout, because he did not appear before twelve' o'clock. It wasna a'thegether for sake of the money, Dougal
thought; but because he didna like to part wi' my gudesire aff the grund. Dougal was glad to see Steenie, and
brought him into the great oak parlour, and there sat the laird his leesome lane, excepting that he had beside
him a great, ill- favoured jackanape, that was a special pet of his; a cankered beast it was, and mony an
ill-natured trick it played--ill to please it was, and easily angered--ran about the haill castle, chattering and
yowling, and pinching, and biting folk, specially before ill weather, or disturbances in the state. Sir Robert
caa'd it Major Weir, after the warlock that was burnt; [A celebrated wizard, executed at Edinburgh for sorcery
and other crimes.] and few folk liked either the name or the conditions of the creature--they thought there was
something in it by ordinar-- and my gudesire was not just easy in mind when the door shut on him, and he saw
himself in the room wi' naebody but the laird, Dougal MacCallum, and the major, a thing that hadna chanced
to him before.

Sir Robert sat, or, I should say, lay, in a great armed chair, wi' his grand velvet gown, and his feet on a cradle;
for he had baith gout and gravel, and his face looked as gash and ghastly as Satan's. Major Weir sat opposite
to him, in a red laced coat, and the laird's wig on his head; and ay as Sir Robert girned wi' pain, the jackanape
girned too, like a sheep's-head between a pair of tangs--an ill-faur'd, fearsome couple they were. The laird's
buff-coat was hung on a pin behind him, and his broadsword and his pistols within reach; for he keepit up the
auld fashion of having the weapons ready, and a horse saddled day and night, just as he used to do when he
was able to loup on horseback, and away after ony of the hill-folk he could get speerings of. Some said it was
for fear of the Whigs taking vengeance, but I judge it was just his auld custom--he wasna, gien to fear
onything. The rental-book, wi' its black cover and brass clasps, was lying beside him; and a book of
sculduddry sangs was put betwixt the leaves, to keep it open at the place where it bore evidence against the
Goodman of Primrose Knowe, as behind the hand with his mails and duties. Sir Robert gave my gudesire a
look, as if he would have withered his heart in his bosom. Ye maun ken he had a way of bending his brows,
that men saw the visible mark of a horseshoe in his forehead, deep dinted, as if it had been stamped there.

'Are ye come light-handed, ye son of a toom whistle?' said Sir Robert. 'Zounds! if you are'--

My gudesire, with as gude acountenance as he could put on, made a leg, and placed the bag of money on the
table wi' a dash, like a man that does something clever. The laird drew it to him hastily--'Is it all here, Steenie,

'Your honour will find it right,' said my gudesire.

'Here, Dougal,' said the laird, 'gie Steenie a tass of brandy downstairs, till I count the siller and write the

But they werena weel out of the room, when Sir Robert gied a yelloch that garr'd the castle rock. Back ran
Dougal--in flew the livery-men--yell on yell gied the laird, ilk ane mair awfu' than the ither. My gudesire
knew not whether to stand or flee, but he ventured back into the parlour, where a' was gaun hirdy-
girdie--naebody to say 'come in,' or 'gae out.' Terribly the laird roared for cauld water to his feet, and wine to
cool his throat; and Hell, hell, hell, and its flames, was ay the word in his mouth. They brought him water, and
when they plunged his swollen feet into the tub, he cried out it was burning; and folk say that it DID bubble
and sparkle like a seething cauldron. He flung the cup at Dougal's head, and said he had given him blood
instead of burgundy; and, sure aneugh, the lass washed clotted blood aff the carpet; the neist day. The
jackanape they caa'd Major Weir, it jibbered and cried as if it was mocking its master; my gudesire's head was
Chapters                                                                                                         69

like to turn--he forgot baith siller and receipt, and downstairs he banged; but as he ran, the shrieks came faint
and fainter; there was a deep-drawn shivering groan, and word gaed through the castle that the laird was dead.

Weel, away came my gudesire, wi' his finger in his mouth, and his best hope was that Dougal had seen the
money-bag, and heard the laird speak of writing the receipt. The young laird, now Sir John, came from
Edinburgh, to see things put to rights. Sir John and his father never gree'd weel. Sir John had been bred an
advocate, and afterwards sat in the last Scots Parliament and voted for the Union, having gotten, it was
thought, a rug of the compensations--if his father could have come out of his grave, he would have brained
him for it on his awn hearthstane. Some thought it was easier counting with the auld rough knight than the
fair-spoken young ane--but mair of that anon.

Dougal MacCallum, poor body, neither grat nor grained, but gaed about the house looking like a corpse, but
directing, as was his duty, a' the order of the grand funeral. Now Dougal looked ay waur and waur when night
was coming, and was ay the last to gang to his bed, whilk was in a little round just opposite the chamber of
dais, whilk his master occupied while he was living, and where he now lay in state, as they caa'd it,
weel-a-day! The night before the funeral, Dougal could keep his awn counsel nae langer; he came doun with
his proud spirit, and fairly asked auld Hutcheon to sit in his room with him for an hour. When they were in the
round, Dougal took ae tass of brandy to himsell, and gave another to Hutcheon, and wished him all health and
lang life, and said that, for himsell, he wasna lang for this world; for that, every night since Sir Robert's death,
his silver call had sounded from the state chamber, just as it used to do at nights in his lifetime, to call Dougal
to help to turn him in his bed. Dougal said that being alone with the dead on that floor of the tower (for
naebody cared to wake Sir Robert Redgauntlet like another corpse) he had never daured to answer the call, but
that now his conscience checked him for neglecting his duty; for, 'though death breaks service,' said
MacCallum, 'it shall never break my service to Sir Robert; and I will answer his next whistle, so be you will
stand by me, Hutcheon.'

Hutcheon had nae will to the wark, but he had stood by Dougal in battle and broil, and he wad not fail him at
this pinch; so down the carles sat ower a stoup of brandy, and Hutcheon, who was something of a clerk, would
have read a chapter of the Bible; but Dougal would hear naething but a blaud of Davie Lindsay, whilk was the
waur preparation.

When midnight came, and the house was quiet as the grave, sure enough the silver whistle sounded as sharp
and shrill as if Sir Robert was blowing it, and up got the twa auld serving-men, and tottered into the room
where the dead man lay. Hutcheon saw aneugh at the first glance; for there were torches in the room, which
showed him the foul fiend, in his ain shape, sitting on the laird's coffin! Ower he cowped as if he had been
dead. He could not tell how lang he lay in a trance at the door, but when he gathered himself, he cried on his
neighbour, and getting nae answer, raised the house, when Dougal was found lying dead within twa steps of
the bed where his master's coffin was placed. As for the whistle, it was gaen anes and ay; but mony a time was
it heard at the top of the house on the bartizan, and amang the auld chimneys and turrets where the howlets
have their nests. Sir John hushed the matter up, and the funeral passed over without mair bogle-wark.

But when a' was ower, and the laird was beginning to settle his affairs, every tenant was called up for his
arrears, and my gudesire for the full sum that stood against him in the rental- book. Weel, away he trots to the
castle, to tell his story, and there he is introduced to Sir John, sitting in his father's chair, in deep mourning,
with weepers and hanging cravat, and a small wallring rapier by his side, instead of the auld broadsword that
had a hundredweight of steel about it, what with blade, chape, and basket-hilt. I have heard their communing
so often tauld ower, that I almost think I was there mysell, though I couldna be born at the time. (In fact, Alan,
my companion mimicked, with a good deal of humour, the flattering, conciliating tone of the tenant's address,
and the hypocritical melancholy of the laird's reply. His grandfather, he said, had, while he spoke, his eye
fixed on the rental-book, as if it were a mastiff-dog that he was afraid would spring up and bite him).

'I wuss ye joy, sir, of the head seat, and the white loaf, and the braid lairdship. Your father was a kind man to
Chapters                                                                                                           70

friends and followers; muckle grace to you, Sir John, to fill his shoon--his boots, I suld say, for he seldom
wore shoon, unless it were muils when he had the gout.'

'Aye, Steenie,' quoth the laird, sighing deeply, and putting his napkin to his een, 'his was a sudden call, and he
will be missed in the country; no time to set his house in order--weel prepared Godward, no doubt, which is
the root of the matter--but left us behind a tangled heap to wind, Steenie.--Hem! hem! We maun go to
business, Steenie; much to do, and little time to do it in.'

Here he opened the fatal volume. I have heard of a thing they call Doomsday Book--I am clear it has been a
rental of back- ganging tenants.

'Stephen,' said Sir John, still in the same soft, sleekit tone of voice--'Stephen Stevenson, or Steenson, ye are
down here for a year's rent behind the hand--due at last term.'

STEPHEN. 'Please your honour, Sir John, I paid it to your father.'

SIR JOHN. 'Ye took a receipt, then, doubtless, Stephen; and can produce it?'

STEPHEN. 'Indeed I hadna time, an it like your honour; for nae sooner had I set doun the siller, and just as his
honour, Sir Robert, that's gaen, drew it till him to count it, and write out the receipt, he was ta'en wi' the pains
that removed him.'

'That was unlucky,' said Sir John, after a pause. 'But ye maybe paid it in the presence of somebody, I want but
a TALIS QUALIS evidence, Stephen. I would go ower strictly to work with no poor man.'

STEPHEN. 'Troth, Sir John, there was naebody in the room but Dougal MacCallum the butler. But, as your
honour kens, he has e'en followed his auld master.

'Very unlucky again, Stephen,' said Sir John, without altering his voice a single note. (The man to whom ye
paid the money is dead--and the man who witnessed the payment is dead too--and the siller, which should
have been to the fore, is neither seen nor heard tell of in the repositories. How am I to believe a' this?'

STEPHEN. 'I dinna, ken, your honour; but there is a bit memorandum note of the very coins; for, God help
me! I had to borrow out of twenty purses; and I am sure that ilka man there set down will take his grit oath for
what purpose I borrowed the money.'

SIR JOHN. 'I have little doubt ye BORROWED the money, Steenie. It is the PAYMENT to my father that I
want to have some proof of.'

STEPHEN. 'The siller maun be about the house, Sir John. And since your honour never got it, and his honour
that was canna have taen it wi' him, maybe some of the family may have seen it.'

SIR JOHN. 'We will examine the servants, Stephen; that is but reasonable.'

But lackey and lass, and page and groom, all denied stoutly that they had ever seen such a bag of money as
my gudesire described. What was waur, he had unluckily not mentioned to any living soul of them his
purpose of paying his rent. Ae quean had noticed something under his arm, but she took it for the pipes.

Sir John Redgauntlet ordered the servants out of the room, and then said to my gudesire, 'Now, Steenie, ye see
ye have fair play; and, as I have little doubt ye ken better where to find the siller than ony other body, I beg, in
fair terms, and for your own sake, that you will end this fasherie; for, Stephen, ye maun pay or flit.'
Chapters                                                                                                        71

'The Lord forgie your opinion,' said Stephen, driven almost to his wit's end--'I am an honest man.'

'So am I, Stephen,' said his honour; 'and so are all the folks in the house, I hope. But if there be a knave
amongst us, it must be he that tells the story he cannot prove.' He paused, and then added, mair sternly, 'If I
understand your trick, sir, you want to take advantage of some malicious reports concerning things in this
family, and particularly respecting my father's sudden death, thereby to cheat me out of the money, and
perhaps take away my character, by insinuating that I have received the rent I am demanding. Where do you
suppose this money to be? I insist upon knowing.'

My gudesire saw everything look so muckle against him, that he grew nearly desperate--however, he shifted
from one foot to another, looked to every corner of the room, and made no answer.

'Speak out, sirrah,' said the laird, assuming a look of his father's, a very particular ane, which he had when he
was angry-- it seemed as if the wrinkles of his frown made that selfsame fearful shape of a horse's shoe in the
middle of his brow;-- 'Speak out, sir! I WILL know your thoughts;--do you suppose that I have this money?'

'Far be it frae me to say so,' said Stephen.

'Do you charge any of my people with having taken it?'

'I wad be laith to charge them that may be innocent,' said my gudesire; 'and if there be any one that is guilty, I
have nae proof.'

'Somewhere the money must be, if there is a word of truth in your story,' said Sir John; 'I ask where you think
it is--and demand a correct answer?'

'In HELL, if you will have my thoughts of it,' said my gudesire, driven to extremity, 'in hell! with your father,
his jackanape, and his silver whistle.'

Down the stairs he ran (for the parlour was nae place for him after such a word) and he heard the laird
swearing blood and wounds behind him, as fast; as ever did Sir Robert, and roaring for the bailie and the

Away rode my gudesire to his chief creditor (him they ca'd Laurie Lapraik) to try if he could make onything
out of him; but when he tauld his story, he got but the worst word in his wame--thief, beggar, and dyvour,
were the saftest terms; and to the boot of these hard terms, Laurie brought up the auld story of his dipping his
hand in the blood of God's saunts, just as if a tenant could have helped riding with the laird, and that a laird
like Sir Robert Redgauntlet. My gudesire was, by this time, far beyond the bounds of patience, and, while he
and Laurie were at deil speed the liars, he was wanchancie aneugh to abuse Lapraik's doctrine as weel as the
man, ond said things that garr'd folks' flesh grue that heard them;--he wasna just himsell, and he had lived wi'
a wild set in his day.

At last they parted, and my gudesire was to ride hame through the wood of Pitmurkie, that is a' fou of black
firs, as they say.--I ken the wood, but the firs may be black or white for what I can tell.--At the entry of the
wood there is a wild common, and on the edge of the common, a little lonely change-house, that was keepit
then by an ostler-wife, they suld hae caa'd her Tibbie Faw, and there puir Steenie cried for a mutchkin of
brandy, for he had had no refreshment the haill day. Tibbie was earnest wi' him to take a bite of meat, but he
couldna think o't, nor would he take his foot out of the stirrup, and took off the brandy wholely at twa
draughts, and named a toast at each:--the first was the memory of Sir Robert Redgauntlet, and might he never
lie quiet in his grave till he had righted his poor bond-tenant; and the second was a health to Man's Enemy, if
he would but get him back the pock of siller or tell him what came o't, for he saw the haill world was like to
regard him as a thief and a cheat, and he took that waur than even the ruin of his house and hauld.
Chapters                                                                                                         72

On he rode, little caring where. It was a dark night turned, and the trees made it yet darker, and he let the beast
take its ain road through the wood; when all of a sudden, from tired and wearied that it was before, the nag
began to spring and flee, and stend, that my gudesire could hardly keep the saddle. Upon the whilk, a
horseman, suddenly riding up beside him, said, 'That's a mettle beast of yours, freend; will you sell him?' So
saying, he touched the horse's neck with his riding-wand, and it fell into its auld heigh-ho of a stumbling trot.
'But his spunk's soon out of him, I think,' continued the stranger, 'and that is like mony a man's courage, that
thinks he wad do great things till he come to the proof.'

My gudesire scarce listened to this, but spurred his horse, with 'Gude e'en to you, freend.'

But it's like the stranger was ane that doesna lightly yield his point; for, ride as Steenie liked, be was ay beside
him at the selfsame pace. At last my gudesire, Steenie Steenson, grew half angry, and, to say the truth, half

'What is it that ye want with me, freend?' he said. 'If ye be a robber, I have nae money; if ye be a leal man,
wanting company, I have nae heart to mirth or speaking; and if ye want to ken the road, I scarce ken it mysell.'

'If you will tell me your grief,' said the stranger, 'I am one that, though I have been sair miscaa'd in the world,
am the only hand for helping my freends.'

So my gudesire, to ease his ain heart, mair than from any hope of help, told him the story from beginning to

'It's a hard pinch,' said the stranger; 'but I think I can help you.'

'If you could lend the money, sir, and take a lang day--I ken nae other help on earth,' said my gudesire.

'But there may be some under the earth,' said the stranger. 'Come, I'll be frank wi' you; I could lend you the
money on bond, but you would maybe scruple my terms. Now, I can tell you, that your auld laird is disturbed
in his grave by your curses, and the wailing of your family, and if ye daur venture to go to see him, he will
give you the receipt.'

My gudesire's hair stood on end at this proposal, but he thought his companion might be some humoursome
chield that was trying to frighten him, and might end with lending him the money. Besides, he was bauld wi'
brandy, and desperate wi' distress; and he said he had courage to go to the gate of hell, and a step farther, for
that receipt. The stranger laughed.

Weel, they rode on through the thickest of the wood, when, all of a sudden, the horse stopped at the door of a
great house; and, but that he knew the place was ten miles off, my father would have thought he was at
Redgauntlet Castle. They rode into the outer courtyard, through the muckle faulding yetts and aneath the auld
portcullis; and the whole front of the house was lighted, and there were pipes and fiddles, and as much
dancing and deray within as used to be at Sir Robert's house at Pace and Yule, and such high seasons. They
lap off, and my gudesire, as seemed to him, fastened his horse to the very ring he had tied him to that
morning, when he gaed to wait on the young Sir John.

'God!' said my gudesire, 'if Sir Robert's death be but a dream!'

He knocked at the ha' door just as he was wont, and his auld acquaintance, Dougal MacCallum--just after his
wont, too,--came to open the door, and said, 'Piper Steenie, are ye there, lad? Sir Robert has been crying for

My gudesire was like a man in a dream--he looked for the stranger, but he was gane for the time. At last he
Chapters                                                                                                         73

just tried to say, 'Ha! Dougal Driveower, are ye living? I thought ye had been dead.'

'Never fash yoursell wi' me,' said Dougal, 'but look to yoursell; and see ye tak naethlng frae ony body here,
neither meat, drink, or siller, except just the receipt that is your ain.'

So saying, he led the way out through halls and trances that were weel kend to my gudesire, and into the auld
oak parlour; and there was as much singing of profane sangs, and birling of red wine, and speaking blasphemy
and sculduddry, as had ever been in Redgauntlet Castle when it was at the blithest.

But, Lord take us in keeping, what a set of ghastly revellers they were that sat around that table! My gudesire
kend mony that had long before gane to their place, for often had he piped to the most part in the hall of
Redgauntlet. There was the fierce Middleton, and the dissolute Rothes, and the crafty Lauderdale; and
Dalyell, with his bald head and a beard to his girdle; and Earlshall, with Cameron's blude on his hand; and
wild Bonshaw, that tied blessed Mr. Cargill's limbs till the blude sprung; and Dunbarton Douglas, the
twice-turned traitor baith to country and king. There was the Bluidy Advocate MacKenyie, who, for his
worldly wit and wisdom had been to the rest as a god. And there was Claverhouse, as beautiful as when he
lived, with his long, dark, curled locks streaming down over his laced buff-coat, and his left hand always on
his right spule-blade, to hide the wound that the silver bullet had made. [See Note 2.] He sat apart from them
all, and looked at them with a melancholy, haughty countenance; while the rest hallooed, and sang, and
laughed, that the room rang. But their smiles were fearfully contorted from time to time; and their laugh
passed into such wild sounds as made my gudesire's very nails grow blue, and chilled the marrow in his banes.

They that waited at the table were just the wicked serving-men and troopers, that had done their work and
cruel bidding on earth. There was the Lang Lad of the Nethertown, that helped to take Argyle; and the
bishop's summoner, that they called the Deil's Rattle-bag; and the wicked guardsmen in their laced coats; and
the savage Highland Amorites, that shed blood like water; and many a proud serving-man, haughty of heart
and bloody of hand, cringing to the rich, and making them wickeder than they would be; grinding the poor to
powder, when the rich had broken them to fragments. And mony, mony mair were coming and ganging, a' as
busy in their vocation as if they had been alive.

Sir Robert Redgauntlet, in the midst of a' this fearful riot, cried, wi' a voice like thunder, on Steenie Piper to
come to the board-head where he was sitting; his legs stretched out before him, and swathed up with flannel,
with his holster pistols aside him, while the great broadsword rested against his chair, just as my gudesire had
seen him the last time upon earth--the very cushion for the jackanape was close to him, but the creature itself
was not there--it wasna its hour, it's likely; for he heard them say as he came forward, 'Is not the major come
yet?' And another answered, 'The jackanape will be here betimes the morn.' And when my gudesire came
forward, Sir Robert, or his ghaist, or the deevil in his likeness, said, 'Weel, piper, hae ye settled wi' my son for
the year's rent?'

With much ado my father gat breath to say that Sir John would not settle without his honour's receipt.

'Ye shall hae that for a tune of the pipes, Steenie,' said the appearance of Sir Robert--'Play us up "Weel
hoddled, Luckie".'

Now this was a tune my gudesire learned frae a warlock, that heard it when they were worshipping Satan at
their meetings, and my gudesire had sometimes played it at the ranting suppers in Redgauntlet Castle, but
never very willingly; and now he grew cauld at the very name of it, and said, for excuse, he hadna his pipes
wi' him.

'MacCallum, ye limb of Beelzebub,' said the fearfu' Sir Robert, 'bring Steenie the pipes that I am keeping for
Chapters                                                                                                          74
MacCallum brought a pair of pipes might have served the piper of Donald of the Isles. But he gave my
gudesire a nudge as he offered them; and looking secretly and closely, Steenie saw that the chanter was of
steel, and heated to a white heat; so he had fair warning not to trust his fingers with it. So he excused himself
again, and said he was faint and frightened, and had not wind aneugh to fill the bag.

'Then ye maun eat and drink, Steenie,' said the figure; 'for we do little else here; and it's ill speaking between a
fou man and a fasting.'

Now these were the very words that the bloody Earl of Douglas said to keep the king's messenger in hand
while he cut the head off MacLellan of Bombie, at the Threave Castle, [The reader is referred for particulars
to Pitscottie's HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.] and that put Steenie mair and mair on his guard. So he spoke up
like a man, and said he came neither to eat, or drink. or make minstrelsy; but simply for his ain--to ken what
was come o' the money he had paid, and to get a discharge for it; and he was so stout-hearted by this time that
he charged Sir Robert for conscience-sake (he had no power to say the holy name) and as he hoped for peace
and rest, to spread no snares for him, but just to give him his ain.

The appearance gnashed its teeth and laughed, but it took from a large pocket-book the receipt, and handed it
to Steenie. 'There is your receipt, ye pitiful cur; and for the money, my dog-whelp of a son may go look for it
in the Cat's Cradle.'

My gudesire uttered mony thanks, and was about to retire when Sir Robert roared aloud, 'Stop, though, thou
sack-doudling son of a whore! I am not done with thee. HERE we do nothing for nothing; and you must return
on this very day twelvemonth, to pay your master the homage that you owe me for my protection.'

My father's tongue was loosed of a suddenty, and he said aloud, 'I refer mysell to God's pleasure, and not to

He had no sooner uttered the word than all was dark around him; and he sank on the earth with such a sudden
shock, that he lost both breath and sense.

How lang Steenie lay there, he could not tell; but when he came to himsell, he was lying in the auld kirkyard
of Redgauntlet parochine just at the door of the family aisle, and the scutcheon of the auld knight, Sir Robert,
hanging over his head. There was a deep morning fog on grass and gravestane around him, and his horse was
feeding quietly beside the minister's twa cows. Steenie would have thought the whole was a dream, but he had
the receipt in his hand, fairly written and signed by the auld laird; only the last letters of his name were a little
disorderly, written like one seized with sudden pain.

Sorely troubled in his mind, he left that dreary place, rode through the mist to Redgauntlet Castle, and with
much ado he got speech of the laird.

'Well, you dyvour bankrupt,' was the first word, 'have you brought me my rent?'

'No,' answered my gudesire, 'I have not; but I have brought your honour Sir Robert's receipt for it.'

'Wow, sirrah? Sir Robert's receipt! You told me he had not given you one.'

'Will your honour please to see if that bit line is right?'

Sir John looked at every line, and at every letter, with much attention; and at last, at the date, which my
gudesire had not observed,--'FROM MY APPOINTED PLACE," he read, 'THIS TWENTY-FIFTH OF
NOVEMBER.'--'What!--That is yesterday!--Villain, thou must have gone to hell for this!'
Chapters                                                                                                            75

'I got it from your honour's father--whether he be in heaven or hell, I know not,' said Steenie.

'I will delate you for a warlock to the Privy Council!' said Sir John. 'I will send you to your master, the devil,
with the help of a tar-barrel and a torch!'

'I intend to delate mysell to the Presbytery,' said Steenie, 'and tell them all I have seen last night, whilk are
things fitter for them to judge of than a borrel man like me.'

Sir John paused, composed himsell, and desired to hear the full history; and my gudesire told it him from
point to point, as I have told it you--word for word, neither more nor less,

Sir John was silent again for a long time, and at last he said, very composedly, 'Steenie, this story of yours
concerns the honour of many a noble family besides mine; and if it be a leasing-making, to keep yourself out
of my danger, the least you can expect is to have a redhot iron driven through your tongue, and that will be as
bad as scauding your fingers wi' a redhot chanter. But yet it may be true, Steenie; and if the money cast up I
shall not know what to think of it. But where shall we find the Cat's Cradle? There are cats enough about the
old house, but I think they kitten without the ceremony of bed or cradle.'

'We were best ask Hutcheon,' said my gudesire; 'he kens a' the odd corners about as weel as--another
serving-man that is now gane, and that I wad not like to name.'

Aweel, Hutcheon, when he was asked, told them, that a ruinous turret, lang disused, next to the clock-house,
only accessible by a ladder, for the opening was on the outside, and far above the battlements, was called of
old the Cat's Cradle.

'There will I go immediately,' said Sir John; and he took (with what purpose, Heaven kens) one of his father's
pistols from the hall-table, where they had lain since the night he died, and hastened to the battlements.

It was a dangerous place to climb, for the ladder was auld and frail, and wanted ane or twa rounds. However,
up got Sir John, and entered at the turret-door, where his body stopped the only little light that was in the bit
turret. Something flees at him wi' a vengeance, maist dang him back ower--bang gaed the knight's pistol, and
Hutcheon, that held the ladder, and my gudesire that stood beside him, hears a loud skelloch. A minute after,
Sir John flings the body of the jackanape down to them, and cries that the siller is fund, and that they should
come up and help him. And there was the bag of siller sure aneugh, and mony orra thing besides, that had
been missing for mony a day. And Sir John, when he had riped the turret weel, led my gudesire into the
dining-parlour, and took him by the hand and spoke kindly to him, and said he was sorry he should have
doubted his word and that he would hereafter be a good master to him to make amends.

'And now, Steenie,' said Sir John, 'although this vision of yours tend, on the whole, to my father's credit, as an
honest man, that he should, even after his death, desire to see justice done to a poor man like you, yet you are
sensible that ill-dispositioned men might make bad constructions upon it, concerning his soul's health. So, I
think, we had better lay the haill dirdum on that ill-deedie creature, Major Weir, and say naething about your
dream in the wood of Pitmurkie. You had taken ower muckle brandy to be very certain about onything; and,
Steenie, this receipt' (his hand shook while he held it out),--'it's but a queer kind of document, and we will do
best, I think, to put it quietly in the fire.'

'Od, but for as queer as it is, it's a' the voucher I have for my rent,' said my gudesire, who was afraid, it may
be, of losing the benefit of Sir Robert's discharge.

'I will bear the contents to your credit in the rental-book, and give you a discharge under my own hand,' said
Sir John, 'and that on the spot. And, Steenie, if you can hold your tongue about this matter, you shall sit, from
this term downward, at an easier rent.'
Chapters                                                                                                       76

'Mony thanks to your honour,' said Steenie, who saw easily in what corner the wind was; 'doubtless I will be
comformable to all your honour's commands; only I would willingly speak wi' some powerful minister on the
subject, for I do not like the sort of sommons of appointment whilk your honour's father'--

'Do not call the phantom my father!' said Sir John, interrupting him.

'Weel, then, the thing that was so like him,' said my gudesire; 'he spoke of my coming back to see him this
time twelvemonth, and it's a weight on my conscience.'

'Aweel, then,' said Sir John, 'if you be so much distressed in mind, you may speak to our minister of the
parish; he is a douce man, regards the honour of our family, and the mair that he may look for some patronage
from me.'

Wi' that, my father readily agreed that the receipt should be burnt, and the laird threw it into the chimney with
his ain hand. Burn it would not for them, though; but away it flew up the lum, wi' a lang train of sparks at its
tail, and a hissing noise like a squib.

My gudesire gaed down to the Manse, and the minister, when he had heard the story, said it was his real
opinion that though my gudesire had gaen very far in tampering with dangerous matters, yet, as he had refused
the devil's arles (for such was the offer of meat and drink) and had refused to do homage by piping at his
bidding, he hoped, that if he held a circumspect walk hereafter, Satan could take little advantage by what was
come and gane. And, indeed, my gudesire, of his ain accord, lang foreswore baith the pipes and the brandy--it
was not even till the year was out, and the fatal day past, that he would so much as take the fiddle, or drink
usquebaugh or tippeny.

Sir John made up his story about the jackanape as he liked himsell; and some believe till this day there was no
more in the matter than the filching nature of the brute. Indeed, ye'll no hinder some to threap that it was nane
o' the auld Enemy that Dougal and my gudesire saw in the laird's room, but only that wanchancy creature, the
major, capering on the coffin; and that, as to the blawing on the laird's whistle that was heard after he was
dead, the filthy brute could do that as weel as the laird himsell, if no better. But Heaven kens the truth, whilk
first came out by the minister's wife, after Sir John and her ain gudeman were baith in the moulds. And then
my gudesire, wha was failed in his limbs, but not in his judgement or memory--at least nothing to speak
of--was obliged to tell the real narrative to his friends, for the credit of his good name. He might else have
been charged for a warlock. [See Note 3.]

The shades of evening were growing thicker around us as my conductor finished his long narrative with this
moral--'Ye see, birkie, it is nae chancy thing to tak a stranger traveller for a guide, when you are in an uncouth

'I should not have made that inference,' said I. 'Your grandfather's adventure was fortunate for himself, whom
it saved from ruin and distress; and fortunate for his landlord also, whom it prevented from committing a
gross act of injustice.'

'Aye, but they had baith to sup the sauce o't sooner or later,' said Wandering Willie--'what was fristed wasna
forgiven. Sir John died before he was much over three-score; and it was just like of a moment's illness. And
for my gudesire, though he departed in fullness of life, yet there was my father, a yauld man of forty-five, fell
down betwixt the stilts of his pleugh, and rase never again, and left nae bairn but me, a puir sightless,
fatherless, motherless creature, could neither work nor want. Things gaed weel aneugh at first; for Sir
Redwald Redgauntlet, the only son of Sir John, and the oye of auld Sir Robert, and, waes me! the last of the
honourable house, took the farm aff our hands, and brought me into his household to have care of me. He
liked music, and I had the best teachers baith England and Scotland could gie me. Mony a merry year was I
wi' him; but waes me! he gaed out with other pretty men in the Forty-five--I'll say nae mair about it--My head
Chapters                                                                                                        77

never settled weel since I lost him; and if I say another word about it, deil a bar will I have the heart to play
the night.--Look out, my gentle chap,' he resumed in a different tone, 'ye should see the lights at Brokenburn
glen by this time.'



Tam Luter was their minstrel meet, Gude Lord as he could lance, He play'd sae shrill, and sang sae sweet, Till
Towsie took a trance. Auld Lightfoot there he did forleet, And counterfeited France; He used himself as man
discreet, And up took Morrice danse sae loud, At Christ's Kirk on the Green that day. KING JAMES I.

I continue to scribble at length, though the subject may seem somewhat deficient in interest. Let the grace of
the narrative, therefore, and the concern we take in each other's matters, make amends for its tenuity. We fools
of fancy who suffer ourselves, like Malvolio, to be cheated with our own visions, have, nevertheless, this
advantage over the wise ones of the earth, that we have our whole stock of enjoyments under our own
command, and can dish for ourselves an intellectual banquet with most moderate assistance from external
objects. It is, to be sure, something like the feast which the Barmecide served up to Alnaschar; and we cannot
expect to get fat upon such diet. But then, neither is there repletion nor nausea, which often succeed the
grosser and more material revel. On the whole, I still pray, with the Ode to Castle Building--

Give me thy hope which sickens not the heart; Give me thy wealth which has no wings to fly; Give me the
bliss thy visions can impart: Thy friendship give me, warm in poverty!

And so, despite thy solemn smile and sapient shake of the head, I will go on picking such interest as I can out
of my trivial adventures, even though that interest should be the creation of my own fancy; nor will I cease to
indict on thy devoted eyes the labour of perusing the scrolls in which I shall record my narrative.

My last broke off as we were on the point of descending into the glen at Brokenburn, by the dangerous track
which I had first travelled EN CROUPE, behind a furious horseman, and was now again to brave under the
precarious guidance of a blind man.

It was now getting dark; but this was no inconvenience to my guide, who moved on, as formerly, with
instinctive security of step, so that we soon reached the bottom, and I could see lights twinkling in the cottage
which had been my place of refuge on a former occasion. It was not thither, however, that our course was
directed. We left the habitation of the laird to the left, and turning down the brook, soon approached the small
hamlet which had been erected at the mouth of the stream, probably on account of the convenience which it
afforded as a harbour to the fishing-boats. A large, low cottage, full in our front, seemed highly illuminated;
for the light not only glanced from every window and aperture in its frail walls, but was even visible from
rents and fractures in the roof, composed of tarred shingles, repaired in part by thatch and divot.

While these appearances engaged my attention, that of my companion was attracted by a regular succession of
sounds, like a bouncing on the floor, mixed with a very faint noise of music, which Willie's acute organs at
once recognized and accounted for, while to me it was almost inaudible. The old man struck the earth with his
staff in a violent passion. 'The whoreson fisher rabble! They have brought another violer upon my walk! They
are such smuggling blackguards, that they must run in their very music; but I'll sort them waur than ony
gauger in the country.-- Stay--hark--it 's no a fiddle neither--it's the pipe and tabor bastard, Simon of Sowport,
frae the Nicol Forest; but I'll pipe and tabor him!--Let me hae ance my left hand on his cravat, and ye shall see
what my right will do. Come away, chap--come away, gentle chap--nae time to be picking and waling your
steps.' And on he passed with long and determined strides, dragging me along with him.
Chapters                                                                                                        78
I was not quite easy in his company; for, now that his minstrel pride was hurt, the man had changed from the
quiet, decorous, I might almost say respectable person, which he seemed while he told his tale, into the
appearance of a fierce, brawling, dissolute stroller. So that when he entered the large hut, where a great
number of fishers, with their wives and daughters, were engaged in eating, drinking, and dancing, I was
somewhat afraid that the impatient violence of my companion might procure us an indifferent reception.

But the universal shout of welcome with which Wandering Willie was received--the hearty
congratulations--the repeated 'Here's t' ye, Willie!'--'Where hae ya been, ye blind deevil?' and the call upon
him to pledge them--above all, the speed with which the obnoxious pipe and tabor were put to silence, gave
the old man such effectual assurance of undiminished popularity and importance, as at once put his jealousy to
rest, and changed his tone of offended dignity into one better fitted to receive such cordial greetings. Young
men and women crowded round, to tell how much they were afraid some mischance had detained him, and
how two or three young fellows had set out in quest of him.

'It was nae mischance, praised be Heaven,' said Willie, 'but the absence of the lazy loon Rob the Rambler, my
comrade, that didna come to meet me on the Links; but I hae gotten a braw consort in his stead, worth a dozen
of him, the unhanged blackguard.'

'And wha is't tou's gotten, Wullie, lad?' said half a score of voices, while all eyes were turned on your humble
servant, who kept the best countenance he could, though not quite easy at becoming the centre to which all
eyes were pointed.

'I ken him by his hemmed cravat,' said one fellow; 'it's Gil Hobson, the souple tailor frae Burgh. Ye are
welcome to Scotland, ye prick-the-clout loon,' he said, thrusting forth a paw; much the colour of a badger's
back, and of most portentous dimensions.

'Gil Hobson? Gil whoreson!' exclaimed Wandering Willie; 'it's a gentle chap that I judge to be an apprentice
wi' auld Joshua Geddes, to the quaker-trade.'

'What trade be's that, man?' said he of the badger-coloured fist.

'Canting and lying,'--said Willie, which produced a thundering laugh; 'but I am teaching the callant a better
trade, and that is, feasting and fiddling.'

Willie's conduct in thus announcing something like my real character, was contrary to compact; and yet I was
rather glad he did so, for the consequence of putting a trick upon these rude and ferocious men, might, in case
of discovery, have been dangerous to us both, and I was at the same time delivered from the painful effort to
support a fictitious character. The good company, except perhaps one or two of the young women whose
looks expressed some desire for better acquaintance, gave themselves no further trouble about me; but, while
the seniors resumed their places near an immense bowl or rather reeking cauldron of brandy- punch, the
younger arranged themselves on the floor and called loudly on Willie to strike up.

With a brief caution to me, to 'mind my credit, for fishers have ears, though fish have none,' Willie led off in
capital style, and I followed, certainly not so as to disgrace my companion, who, every now and then, gave me
a nod of approbation. The dances were, of course, the Scottish jigs, and reels, and 'twasome dances', with a
strathspey or hornpipe for interlude; and the want of grace on the part of the performers was amply supplied
by truth of ear, vigour and decision of step, and the agility proper to the northern performers. My own spirits
rose with the mirth around me, and with old Willie's admirable execution, and frequent 'weel dune, gentle
chap, yet;'--and, to confess the truth, I felt a great deal more pleasure in this rustic revel, than I have done at
the more formal balls and concerts in your famed city, to which I have sometimes made my way. Perhaps this
was because I was a person of more importance to the presiding matron of Brokenburn-foot, than I had the
means of rendering myself to the far-famed Miss Nickie Murray, the patroness of your Edinburgh assemblies.
Chapters                                                                                                       79

The person I mean was a buxom dame of about thirty, her fingers loaded with many a silver ring, and three or
four of gold; her ankles liberally displayed from under her numerous blue, white, and scarlet; short petticoats,
and attired in hose of the finest and whitest lamb's- wool, which arose from shoes of Spanish cordwain,
fastened with silver buckles. She took the lead in my favour, and declared, 'that the brave young gentleman
should not weary himself to death wi' playing, but take the floor for a dance or twa.'

'And what's to come of me, Dame Martin?' said Willie.

'Come o' thee?' said the dame; 'mishanter on the auld beard o' ye! ye could play for twenty hours on end, and
tire out the haill countryside wi' dancing before ye laid down your bow, saving for a by-drink or the like o'

'In troth, dame,' answered Willie, 'ye are no sae far wrang; sae if my comrade is to take his dance, ye maun gie
me my drink, and then bob it away like Madge of Middlebie.'

The drink was soon brought; but while Willie was partaking of it, a party entered the hut, which arrested my
attention at once, and intercepted the intended gallantry with which I had proposed to present my hand to the
fresh-coloured, well-made, white-ankled Thetis, who had obtained me manumission from my musical task.

This was nothing less than the sudden appearance of the old woman whom the laird had termed Mabel; Cristal
Nixon, his male attendant; and the young person who had said grace to us when I supped with him.

This young person--Alan, thou art in thy way a bit of a conjurer --this young person whom I DID NOT
describe, and whom you, for that very reason, suspected was not an indifferent object to me --is, I am sorry to
say it, in very fact not so much so as in prudence she ought. I will not use the name of love on this occasion;
for I have applied it too often to transient whims and fancies to escape your satire, should I venture to apply it
now. For it is a phrase, I must confess, which I have used--a romancer would say, profaned--a little too often,
considering how few years have passed over my head. But seriously, the fair chaplain of Brokenburn has been
often in my head when she had no business there; and if this can give thee any clue for explaining my motives
in lingering about the country, and assuming the character of Willie's companion, why, hang thee, thou art
welcome to make use of it--a permission for which thou need'st not thank me much, as thou wouldst not have
failed to assume it whether it were given or no.

Such being my feelings, conceive how they must have been excited, when, like a beam upon a cloud, I saw
this uncommonly beautiful girl enter the apartment in which they were dancing; not, however, with the air of
an equal, but that of a superior, come to grace with her presence the festival of her dependants. The old man
and woman attended, with looks as sinister as hers were lovely, like two of the worst winter months waiting
upon the bright-eyed May.

When she entered--wonder if thou wilt--she wore A GREEN MANTLE, such as thou hast described as the
garb of thy fair client, and confirmed what I had partly guessed from thy personal description, that my
chaplain and thy visitor were the same person. There was an alteration on her brow the instant she recognized
me. She gave her cloak to her female attendant, and, after a momentary hesitation, as if uncertain whether to
advance or retire, she walked into the room with dignity and composure, all making way, the men
unbonneting, and the women curtsying respectfully, as she assumed a chair which was reverently placed for
her accommodation, apart from others.

There was then a pause, until the bustling mistress of the ceremonies, with awkward but kindly courtesy,
offered the young lady a glass of wine, which was at first declined, and at length only thus far accepted, that,
bowing round to the festive company, the fair visitor wished them all health and mirth, and just touching the
brim with her lip, replaced it on the salver. There was another pause; and I did not immediately recollect,
confused as I was by this unexpected apparition, that it belonged to me to break it. At length a murmur was
Chapters                                                                                                       80

heard around me, being expected to exhibit,--nay, to lead down the dance,--in consequence of the previous

'Deil's in the fiddler lad,' was muttered from more quarters than one--'saw folk ever sic a thing as a
shame-faced fiddler before?'

At length a venerable Triton, seconding his remonstrances with a hearty thump on my shoulder, cried out, 'To
the floor--to the floor, and let us see how ye can fling--the lasses are a' waiting.'

Up I jumped, sprang from the elevated station which constituted our orchestra, and, arranging my ideas as
rapidly as I could, advanced to the head of the room, and, instead of offering my hand to the white-footed
Thetis aforesaid, I venturously made the same proposal to her of the Green Mantle.

The nymph's lovely eyes seemed to open with astonishment at the audacity of this offer; and, from the
murmurs I heard around me, I also understood that it surprised, and perhaps offended, the bystanders. But
after the first moment's emotion, she wreathed her neck, and drawing herself haughtily up, like one who was
willing to show that she was sensible of the full extent of her own condescension, extended her hand towards
me, like a princess gracing a squire of low degree.

There is affectation in all this, thought I to myself, if the Green Mantle has borne true evidence--for young
ladies do not make visits, or write letters to counsel learned in the law, to interfere in the motions of those
whom they hold as cheap as this nymph seems to do me; and if I am cheated by a resemblance of cloaks, still I
am interested to show myself, in some degree, worthy of the favour she has granted with so much state and
reserve. The dance to be performed was the old Scots Jig, in which you are aware I used to play no sorry
figure at La Pique's, when thy clumsy movements used to be rebuked by raps over the knuckles with that great
professor's fiddlestick. The choice of the tune was left to my comrade Willie, who, having finished his drink,
feloniously struck up the well-known and popular measure,

Merrily danced the Quaker's wife, And merrily danced the Quaker.

An astounding laugh arose at my expense, and I should have been annihilated, but that the smile which
mantled on the lip of my partner, had a different expression from that of ridicule, and seemed to say, 'Do not
take this to heart.' And I did not, Alan --my partner danced admirably, and I like one who was determined, if
outshone, which I could not help, not to be altogether thrown into the shade.

I assure you our performance, as well as Willie's music, deserved more polished spectators and auditors; but
we could not then have been greeted with such enthusiastic shouts of applause as attended while I handed my
partner to her seat, and took my place by her side, as one who had a right to offer the attentions usual on such
an occasion. She was visibly embarrassed, but I was determined not to observe her confusion, and to avail
myself of the opportunity of learning whether this beautiful creature's mind was worthy of the casket in which
nature had lodged it.

Nevertheless, however courageously I formed this resolution, you cannot but too well guess the difficulties I
must needs have felt in carrying it into execution; since want of habitual intercourse with the charmers of the
other sex has rendered me a sheepish cur, only one grain less awkward than thyself. Then she was so very
beautiful, and assumed an air of so much dignity, that I was like to fall under the fatal error of supposing she
should only be addressed with something very clever; and in the hasty raking which my brains underwent in
this persuasion, not a single idea occurred that common sense did not reject as fustian on the one hand, or
weary, flat, and stale triticism on the other. I felt as if my understanding were no longer my own, but was
alternately under the dominion of Aldeborontiphoscophornio, and that of his facetious friend
Rigdum-Funnidos. How did I envy at that moment our friend Jack Oliver, who produces with such happy
complacence his fardel of small talk, and who, as he never doubts his own powers of affording amusement,
Chapters                                                                                                           81

passes them current with every pretty woman he approaches, and fills up the intervals of chat by his complete
acquaintance with the exercise of the fan, the FLACON, and the other duties of the CAVALIERE
SERVENTE. Some of these I attempted, but I suppose it was awkwardly; at least the Lady Green Mantle
received them as a princess accepts the homage of a clown.

Meantime the floor remained empty, and as the mirth of the good meeting was somewhat checked, I ventured,
as a DERNIER RESSORT, to propose a minuet. She thanked me, and told me haughtily enough, 'she was
here to encourage the harmless pleasures of these good folks, but was not disposed to make an exhibition of
her own indifferent dancing for their amusement.'

She paused a moment, as if she expected me to suggest something; and as I remained silent and rebuked, she
bowed her head more graciously, and said, 'Not to affront you, however, a country- dance, if you please.'

What an ass was I, Alan, not to have anticipated her wishes! Should I not have observed that the ill-favoured
couple, Mabel and Cristal, had placed themselves on each side of her seat, like the supporters of the royal
arms? the man, thick, short, shaggy, and hirsute, as the lion; the female, skin-dried, tight-laced, long, lean, and
hungry-faced, like the unicorn. I ought to have recollected, that under the close inspection of two such
watchful salvages, our communication, while in repose, could not have been easy; that the period of dancing a
minuet was not the very choicest time for conversation; but that the noise, the exercise, and the mazy
confusion of a country-dance, where the inexperienced performers were every now and then running against
each other, and compelling the other couples to stand still for a minute at a time, besides the more regular
repose afforded by the intervals of the dance itself, gave the best possible openings for a word or two spoken
in season, and without being liable to observation.

We had but just led down, when an opportunity of the kind occurred, and my partner said, with great
gentleness and modesty, 'It is not perhaps very proper in me to acknowledge an acquaintance that is not
claimed; but I believe I speak to Mr. Darsie Latimer?'

'Darsie Latimer was indeed the person that had now the honour and happiness'--

I would have gone on in the false gallop of compliment, but she cut me short. 'And why,' she said, 'is Mr.
Latimer here, and in disguise, or at least assuming an office unworthy of a man of education?--I beg pardon,'
she continued,--'I would not give you pain, but surely making, an associate of a person of that description'--

She looked towards my friend Willie, and was silent. I felt heartily ashamed of myself, and hastened to say it
was an idle frolic, which want of occupation had suggested, and which I could not regret, since it had
procured me the pleasure I at present enjoyed.

Without seeming to notice my compliment, she took the next opportunity to say, 'Will Mr. Latimer permit a
stranger who wishes him well to ask, whether it is right that, at his active age, he should be in so far void of
occupation, as to be ready to adopt low society for the sake of idle amusement?'

'You are severe, madam,' I answered; 'but I cannot think myself degraded by mixing with any society where I

Here I stopped short, conscious that I was giving my answer an unhandsome turn. The ARGUMENTUM AD
HOMINEM, the last to which a polite man has recourse, may, however, be justified by circumstances, but
seldom or never the ARGUMENTUM AD FOEMINAM.

She filled up the blank herself which I had left. 'Where you meet ME, I suppose you would say? But the case
is different. I am, from my unhappy fate, obliged to move by the will of others, and to be in places which I
would by my own will gladly avoid. Besides, I am, except for these few minutes, no participator of the
Chapters                                                                                                       82

revels--a spectator only, and attended by my servants. Your situation is different--you are here by choice, the
partaker and minister of the pleasures of a class below you in education, birth, and fortunes. If I speak harshly,
Mr. Latimer,' she added, with much sweetness of manner, 'I mean kindly.'

I was confounded by her speech, 'severe in youthful wisdom'; all of naive or lively, suitable to such a
dialogue, vanished from my recollection, and I answered with gravity like her own, 'I am, indeed, better
educated than these poor people; but you, madam, whose kind admonition I am grateful for, must know more
of my condition than I do myself--I dare not say I am their superior in birth, since I know nothing of my own,
or in fortunes, over which hangs an impenetrable cloud.'

'And why should your ignorance on these points drive you into low society and idle habits?' answered my
female monitor. 'Is it manly to wait till fortune cast her beams upon you, when by exertion of your own
energy you might distinguish yourself? Do not the pursuits of learning lie open to you--of manly ambition --of
war? But no--not of war, that has already cost you too dear.'

'I will be what you wish me to be,' I replied with eagerness-- 'You have but to choose my path, and you shall
see if I do not pursue it with energy, were it only because you command me.'

'Not because I command you,' said the maiden, 'but because reason, common sense, manhood, and, in one
word, regard for your own safety, give the same counsel.'

'At least permit me to reply, that reason and sense never assumed a fairer form--of persuasion,' I hastily added;
for she turned from me--nor did she give me another opportunity of continuing what I had to say till the next
pause of the dance, when, determined to bring our dialogue to a point, I said, 'You mentioned manhood also,
and in the same breath, personal danger. My ideas of manhood suggest that it is cowardice to retreat before
dangers of a doubtful character. You, who appear to know so much of my fortunes that I might call you my
guardian angel, tell me what these dangers are, that I may judge whether manhood calls on me to face or to fly

She was evidently perplexed by this appeal.

'You make me pay dearly for acting as your humane adviser,' she replied at last: 'I acknowledge an interest in
your fate, and yet I dare not tell you whence it arises; neither am I at liberty to say why, or from whom, you
are in danger; but it is not less true that danger is near and imminent. Ask me no more, but, for your own sake,
begone from this country. Elsewhere you are safe --here you do but invite your fate.'

'But am I doomed to bid thus farewell to almost the only human being who has showed an interest in my
welfare? Do not say so-- say that we shall meet again, and the hope shall be the leading star to regulate my

'It is more than probable,' she said--'much more than probable, that we may never meet again. The help which
I now render you is all that may be in my power; it is such as I should render to a blind man whom I might
observe approaching the verge of a precipice; it ought to excite no surprise, and requires no gratitude.'

So saying, she again turned from me, nor did she address me until the dance was on the point of ending, when
she said, 'Do not attempt to speak to or approach me again in the course of the night; leave the company as
soon as you can, but not abruptly, and God be with you.'

I handed her to her seat, and did not quit the fair palm I held, without expressing my feelings by a gentle
pressure. She coloured slightly, and withdrew her hand, but not angrily. Seeing the eyes of Cristal and Mabel
sternly fixed on me, I bowed deeply, and withdrew from her; my heart saddening, and my eyes becoming dim
in spite of me, as the shifting crowd hid us from each other.
Chapters                                                                                                       83
It was my intention to have crept back to my comrade Willie, and resumed my bow with such spirit as I
might, although, at the moment, I would have given half my income for an instant's solitude. But my retreat
was cut off by Dame Martin, with the frankness--if it is not an inconsistent phrase-of rustic coquetry, that goes
straight up to the point.

'Aye, lad, ye seem unco sune weary, to dance sae lightly? Better the nag that ambles a' the day, than him that
makes a brattle for a mile, and then's dune wi' the road.'

This was a fair challenge, and I could not decline accepting it. Besides, I could see Dame Martin was queen of
the revels; and so many were the rude and singular figures about me, that I was by no means certain whether I
might not need some protection. I seized on her willing hand, and we took our places in the dance, where, if I
did not acquit myself with all the accuracy of step and movement which I had before attempted, I at least
came up to the expectations of my partner, who said, and almost swore, 'I was prime at it;' while, stimulated to
her utmost exertions, she herself frisked like a kid, snapped her fingers like castanets, whooped like a
Bacchanal, and bounded from the floor like a tennis-ball,--aye, till the colour of her garters was no particular
mystery. She made the less secret of this, perhaps, that they were sky-blue, and fringed with silver.

The time has been that this would have been special fun; or rather, last night was the only time I can recollect
these four years when it would not have been so; yet, at this moment, I cannot tell you how I longed to be rid
of Dame Martin. I almost wished she would sprain one of those 'many-twinkling' ankles, which served her so
alertly; and when, in the midst of her exuberant caprioling, I saw my former partner leaving the apartment,
and with eyes, as I thought, turning towards me, this unwillingness to carry on the dance increased to such a
point, that I was almost about to feign a sprain or a dislocation myself, in order to put an end to the
performance. But there were around me scores of old women, all of whom looked as if they might have some
sovereign recipe for such an accident; and, remembering Gil Blas, and his pretended disorder in the robber's
cavern, I thought it as wise to play Dame Martin fair, and dance till she thought proper to dismiss me. What I
did I resolved to do strenuously, and in the latter part of the exhibition I cut and sprang from the floor as high
and as perpendicularly as Dame Martin herself; and received, I promise you, thunders of applause, for the
common people always prefer exertion and agility to grace. At length Dame Martin could dance no more, and,
rejoicing at my release, I led her to a seat, and took the privilege of a partner to attend her.

'Hegh, sirs,' exclaimed Dame Martin, 'I am sair forfoughen! Troth! callant, I think ye hae been amaist the
death o' me.'

I could only atone for the alleged offence by fetching her some refreshment, of which she readily partook.

'I have been lucky in my partners,' I said, 'first that pretty young lady, and then you, Mrs, Martin.'

'Hout wi' your fleeching,' said Dame Martin. 'Gae wa--gae wa, lad; dinna blaw in folk's lugs that gate; me and
Miss Lilias even'd thegither! Na, na, lad--od, she is maybe four or five years younger than the like o' me,--bye
and attour her gentle havings.'

'She is the laird's daughter?' said I, in as careless a tone of inquiry as I could assume.

'His daughter, man? Na, na, only his niece--and sib aneugh to him, I think.'

'Aye, indeed,' I replied; 'I thought she had borne his name?'

'She bears her ain name, and that's Lilias.'

'And has she no other name?' asked I.
Chapters                                                                                                        84

'What needs she another till she gets a gudeman?' answered my Thetis, a little miffed perhaps--to use the
women's phrase--that I turned the conversation upon my former partner, rather than addressed it to herself.

There was a little pause, which was interrupted by Dame Martin observing, 'They are standing up again.'

'True,' said I, having no mind to renew my late violent CAPRIOLE, and I must go help old Willie.'

Ere I could extricate myself, I heard poor Thetis address herself to a sort of merman in a jacket of seaman's
blue, and a pair of trousers (whose hand, by the way, she had rejected at an earlier part of the evening) and
intimate that she was now disposed to take a trip.

'Trip away, then, dearie,' said the vindictive man of the waters, without offering his hand; 'there,' pointing to
the floor, 'is a roomy berth for you.'

Certain I had made one enemy, and perhaps two, I hastened to my original seat beside Willie, and began to
handle my bow. But I could see that my conduct had made an unfavourable impression; the words, 'flory
conceited chap,'--'hafflins gentle,' and at length, the still more alarming epithet of 'spy,' began to be buzzed
about, and I was heartily glad when the apparition of Sam's visage at the door, who was already possessed of
and draining a can of punch, gave me assurance that my means of retreat were at hand. I intimated as much to
Willie, who probably had heard more of the murmurs of the company than I had, for he whispered, 'Aye,
aye,--awa wi' ye--ower lang here--slide out canny--dinna let them see ye are on the tramp.'

I slipped half a guinea into the old man's hand, who answered, 'Truts pruts! nonsense but I 'se no refuse,
trusting ye can afford it. Awa wi' ye--and if ony body stops ye, cry on me.'

I glided, by his advice, along the room as if looking for a partner, joined Sam, whom I disengaged with some
difficulty from his can, and we left the cottage together in a manner to attract the least possible observation.
The horses were tied in a neighbouring shed, and as the moon was up, and I was now familiar with the road,
broken and complicated as it is, we soon reached the Shepherd's Bush, where the old landlady was sitting up
waiting for us, under some anxiety of mind, to account for which she did not hesitate to tell me that some
folks had gone to Brokenburn from her house, or neighbouring towns, that did not come so safe back again.
'Wandering Willie,' she said, 'was doubtless a kind of protection.'

Here Willie's wife, who was smoking in the chimney corner, took up the praises of her 'hinnie,' as she called
him, and endeavoured to awaken my generosity afresh, by describing the dangers from which, as she was
pleased to allege, her husband's countenance had assuredly been the means of preserving me. I was not,
however, to be fooled out of more money at this time, and went to bed in haste, full of vanous cogitations.

I have since spent a couple of days betwixt Mount Sharon and this place, and betwixt reading, writing to thee
this momentous history, forming plans for seeing the lovely Lilias, and--partly, I think, for the sake of
contradiction--angling a little in spite of Joshua'a scruples--though I am rather liking the amusement better as I
begin to have some success in it.

And now, my dearest Alan, you are in full possession of my secret--let me as frankly into the recesses of your
bosom. How do you feel towards this fair ignis fatuus, this lily of the desert? Tell me honestly; for however
the recollection of her may haunt my own mind, my love for Alan Fairford surpasses the love of woman, I
know, too, that when you DO love, it will be to

Love once and love no more.

A deep-consuming passion, once kindled in a breast so steady as yours, would never be extinguished but with
life. I am of another and more volatile temper, and though I shall open your next with a trembling hand and
Chapters                                                                                                          85

uncertain heart, yet let it bring a frank confession that this fair unknown has made a deeper impression on
your gravity than you reckoned for, and you will see I can tear the arrow from my own wound, barb and all. In
the meantime, though I have formed schemes once more to see her, I will, you may rely on it, take no step for
putting them into practice. I have refrained from this hitherto, and I give you my word of honour, I shall
continue to do so; yet why should you need any further assurance from one who is so entirely yours as D.L.

PS.--I shall be on thorns till I receive your answer. I read, and re-read your letter, and cannot for my soul
discover what your real sentiments are. Sometimes I think you write of her as one in jest--and sometimes I
think that cannot be. Put me at ease as soon as possible.



I write on the instant, as you direct; and in a tragi-comic humour, for I have a tear in my eye and a smile on
my cheek. Dearest Darsie, sure never a being but yourself could be so generous--sure never a being but
yourself could be so absurd! I remember when you were a boy you wished to make your fine new whip a
present to old Aunt Peggy, merely because she admired it; and now, with like unreflecting and inappropriate
liberality, you would resign your beloved to a smoke-dried young sophister, who cares not one of the hairs
which it is his occupation to split, for all the daughters of Eve. I in love with your Lilias--your Green
Mantle--your unknown enchantress!--why I scarce saw her for five minutes, and even then only the tip of her
chin was distinctly visible. She was well made, and the tip of her chin was of a most promising cast for the
rest of the face; but, Heaven save you! she came upon business! and for a lawyer to fall in love with a pretty
client on a single consultation, would be as wise as if he became enamoured of a particularly bright sunbeam
which chanced for a moment to gild his bar-wig. I give you my word I am heart-whole and moreover, I assure
you, that before I suffer a woman to sit near my heart's core, I must see her full face, without mask or mantle,
aye, and know a good deal of her mind into the bargain. So never fret yourself on my account, my kind and
generous Darsie; but, for your own sake, have a care and let not an idle attachment, so lightly taken up, lead
you into serious danger.

On this subject I feel so apprehensive, that now when I am decorated with the honours of the gown, I should
have abandoned my career at the very starting to come to you, but for my father having contrived to clog my
heels with fetters of a professional nature. I will tell you the matter at length, for it is comical enough; and
why should not you list to my juridical adventures, as well as I to those of your fiddling knight-errantry?

It was after dinner, and I was considering how I might best introduce to my father the private resolution I had
formed to set off for Dumfriesshire, or whether I had not better run away at once, and plead my excuse by
letter, when, assuming the peculiar look with which he communicates any of his intentions respecting me, that
he suspects may not be altogether acceptable, 'Alan,' he said, 'ye now wear a gown--ye have opened shop, as
we would say of a more mechanical profession; and, doubtless, ye think the floor of the courts is strewed with
guineas, and that ye have only to stoop down to gather them?'

'I hope I am sensible, sir,' I replied, 'that I have some knowledge and practice to acquire, and must stoop for
that in the first place.'

'It is well said,' answered my father; and, always afraid to give too much encouragement, added, 'Very well
said, if it be well acted up to--Stoop to get knowledge and practice is the very word. Ye know very well, Alan,
that in the other faculty who study the ARS MEDENDI, before the young doctor gets to the bedsides of
palaces, he must, as they call it, walk the hospitals; and cure Lazarus of his sores, before he be admitted to
prescribe for Dives, when he has gout or indigestion'--

'I am aware, sir, that'--
Chapters                                                                                                          86

'Whisht--do not interrupt the court. Well--also the chirurgeons have a useful practice, by which they put their
apprentices and tyrones to work; upon senseless dead bodies, to which, as they can do no good, so they
certainly can do as little harm; while at the same time the tyro, or apprentice, gains experience, and becomes
fit to whip off a leg or arm from a living subject, as cleanly as ye would slice an onion.'

'I believe I guess your meaning, sir,' answered I; 'and were it not for a very particular engagement'--

'Do not speak to me of engagements ; but whisht--there is a good lad--and do not interrupt the court.'

My father, you know, is apt--be it said with all filial duty--to be a little prolix in his harangues. I had nothing
for it but to lean back and listen.

'Maybe you think, Alan, because I have, doubtless, the management of some actions in dependence, whilk my
worthy clients have intrusted me with, that I may think of airting them your way INSTANTER; and so setting
you up in practice, so far as my small business or influence may go; and, doubtless, Alan, that is a day whilk I
hope may come round. But then, before I give, as the proverb hath it, "My own fish-guts to my own
sea-maws," I must, for the sake of my own character, be very sure that my sea-maw can pick them to some
purpose. What say ye?'

'I am so far,' answered I, 'from wishing to get early into practice, sir, that I would willingly bestow a few

'In further study, ye would say, Alan. But that is not the way either--ye must walk the hospitals--ye must cure
Lazarus--ye must cut and carve on a departed subject, to show your skill.'

'I am sure,' I replied, 'I will undertake the cause of any poor man with pleasure, and bestow as much pains
upon it as if it were a duke's; but for the next two or three days'--

'They must be devoted to close study, Alan--very close study indeed; for ye must stand primed for a hearing,
IN PRESENTIA DOMINORUM, upon Tuesday next.'

'I, sir?' I replied in astonishment--'I have not opened my mouth in the Outer House yet!'

'Never mind the court of the Gentiles, man,' said my father; 'we will have you into the Sanctuary at once--over
shoes, over boots.'

'But, sir, I should really spoil any cause thrust on me so hastily.'

'Ye cannot spoil it, Alan,' said my father, rubbing his hands with much complacency ; 'that is the very cream
of the business, man--it is just, as I said before, a subject upon whilk all the TYRONES have been trying their
whittles for fifteen years; and as there have been about ten or a dozen agents concerned, and each took his
own way, the case is come to that pass, that Stair or Amiston could not mend it; and I do not think even you,
Alan, can do it much harm--ye may get credit by it, but ye can lose none.'

'And pray what is the name of my happy client, sir?' said I, ungraciously enough, I believe.

'It is a well-known name in the Parliament House,' replied my father. 'To say the truth, I expect him every
moment; it is Peter Peebles.' [See Note 4.]

'Peter Peebles!' exclaimed I, in astonishment; 'he is an insane beggar--as poor as Job, and as mad as a March
Chapters                                                                                                         87

'He has been pleaing in the court for fifteen years,' said my father, in a tone of commiseration, which seemed
to acknowledge that this fact was enough to account for the poor man's condition both in mind and

'Besides, sir,' I added, 'he is on the Poor's Roll; and you know there are advocates regularly appointed to
manage those cases; and for me to presume to interfere'--

'Whisht, Alan!--never interrupt the court--all THAT is managed for ye like a tee'd ball' (my father sometimes
draws his similes from his once favourite game of golf); 'you must know, Alan, that Peter's cause was to have
been opened by young Dumtoustie--ye may ken the lad, a son of Dumtoustie of that ilk, member of
Parliament for the county of --, and a nephew of the laird's younger brother, worthy Lord Bladderskate, whilk
ye are aware sounds as like being akin to a peatship [Formerly, a lawyer, supposed to be under the peculiar
patronage of any particular judge, was invidiously termed his PEAT or PET.] and a sheriffdom, as a sieve is
sib to a riddle. Now, Peter Drudgeit, my lord's clerk, came to me this morning in the House, like ane bereft of
his wits; for it seems that young Dumtoustie is ane of the Poor's lawyers, and Peter Peebles's process had been
remitted to him of course. But so soon as the harebrained goose saw the pokes [Process-bags.] (as indeed,
Alan, they are none of the least) he took fright, called for his nag, lap on, and away to the country is he gone;
and so? said Peter, my lord is at his wit's end wi' vexation, and shame, to see his nevoy break off the course at
the very starting. "I'll tell you, Peter," said I, "were I my lord, and a friend or kinsman of mine should leave
the town while the court was sitting, that kinsman, or be he what he liked, should never darken my door
again." And then, Alan, I thought to turn the ball our own way; and I said that you were a gey sharp birkie,
just off the irons, and if it would oblige my lord, and so forth, you would open Peter's cause on Tuesday, and
make some handsome apology for the necessary absence of your learned friend, and the loss which your client
and the court had sustained, and so forth. Peter lap at the proposition like a cock at a grossart; for, he said, the
only chance was to get a new hand, that did not ken the charge he was taking upon him; for there was not a
lad of two sessions' standing that was not dead- sick of Peter Peebles and his cause; and he advised me to
break the matter gently to you at the first; but I told him you were, a good bairn, Alan, and had no will and
pleasure in these matters but mine.'

What could I say, Darsie, in answer to this arrangement, so very well meant--so very vexatious at the same
time? To imitate the defection and flight of young Dumtoustie, was at once to destroy my father's hopes of me
for ever; nay, such is the keenness with which he regards all connected with his profession, it might have been
a step to breaking his heart. I was obliged, therefore, to bow in sad acquiescence, when my father called to
James Wilkinson to bring the two bits of pokes he would find on his table.

Exit James, and presently re-enters, bending under the load of two huge leathern bags, full of papers to the
brim, and labelled on the greasy backs with the magic impress of the clerks of court, and the title, PEEBLES
AGAINST PLAINSTANES. This huge mass was deposited on the table, and my father, with no ordinary glee
in his countenance, began to draw out; the various bundles of papers, secured by none of your red tape or
whipcord, but stout, substantial casts of tarred rope, such as might have held small craft at their moorings.

I made a last and desperate effort to get rid of the impending job. 'I am really afraid, sir, that this case seems
so much complicated, and there is so little time to prepare, that we had better move the court to supersede it
till next session.'

'How, sir?--how, Alan?' said my father--'Would you approbate and reprobate, sir? You have accepted the poor
man's cause, and if you have not his fee in your pocket, it is because he has none to give you; and now would
you approbate and reprobate in the same breath of your mouth? Think of your oath of office, Alan, and your
duty to your father, my dear boy.'

Once more, what could I say? I saw from my father's hurried and alarmed manner, that nothing could vex him
so much as failing in the point he had determined to carry, and once more intimated my readiness to do my
Chapters                                                                                                      88

best, under every disadvantage.

'Well, well, my boy,' said my father, 'the Lord will make your days long in the land, for the honour you have
given to your father's grey hairs. You may find wiser advisers, Alan, but none that can wish you better.'

My father, you know, does not usually give way to expressions of affection, and they are interesting in
proportion to their rarity. My eyes began to fill at seeing his glisten; and my delight at having given him such
sensible gratification would have been unmixed but for the thoughts of you. These out of the question, I could
have grappled with the bags, had they been as large as corn-sacks. But, to turn what was grave into farce, the
door opened, and Wilkinson ushered in Peter Peebles.

You must have seen this original, Darsie, who, like others in the same predicament, continues to haunt the
courts of justice, where he has made shipwreck of time, means, and understanding. Such insane paupers have
sometimes seemed to me to resemble wrecks lying upon the shoals on the Goodwin Sands, or in Yarmouth
Roads, warning other vessels to keep aloof from the banks on which they have been lost; or rather, such
ruined clients are like scarecrows and potato-bogies, distributed through the courts to scare away fools from
the scene of litigation.

The identical Peter wears a huge greatcoat threadbare and patched itself, yet carefully so disposed and secured
by what buttons remain, and many supplementary pins, as to conceal the still more infirm state of his under
garments. The shoes and stockings of a ploughman were, however, seen to meet at his knees with a pair of
brownish, blackish breeches; a rusty-coloured handkerchief, that has been black in its day, surrounded his
throat, and was an apology for linen. His hair, half grey, half black, escaped in elf-locks around a huge wig,
made of tow, as it seemed to me, and so much shrunk that it stood up on the very top of his head; above which
he plants, when covered, an immense cocked hat, which, like the chieftain's banner in an ancient battle, may
be seen any sederunt day betwixt nine and ten, high towering above all the fluctuating and changeful scene in
the Outer House, where his eccentricities often make him the centre of a group of petulant and teasing boys,
who exercise upon him every art of ingenious torture. His countenance, originally that of a portly, comely
burgess, is now emaciated with poverty and anxiety, and rendered wild by an insane lightness about the eyes;
a withered and blighted skin and complexion; features begrimed with snuff, charged with the self-importance
peculiar to insanity; and a habit of perpetually speaking to himself. Such was my unfortunate client; and I
must allow, Darsie, that my profession had need to do a great deal of good, if, as is much to be feared, it
brings many individuals to such a pass.

After we had been, with a good deal of form, presented to each other, at which time I easily saw by my
father's manner that he was desirous of supporting Peter's character in my eyes, as much as circumstances
would permit, 'Alan,' he said, 'this is the gentleman who has agreed to accept of you as his counsel, in place of
young Dumtoustie.'

'Entirely out of favour to my old acquaintance your father, said Peter. with a benign and patronizing
countenance, 'out of respect to your father, and my old intimacy with Lord Bladderskate. Otherwise, by the
REGIAM MAJESTATEM! I would have presented a petition and complaint against Daniel Dumtoustie,
Advocate, by name and surname--I would, by all the practiques!-- I know the forms of process; and I am not
to be triffled with.'

My father here interrupted my client, and reminded him that there was a good deal of business to do, as he
proposed to give the young counsel an outline of the state of the conjoined process, with a view to letting him
into the merits of the cause, disencumbered from the points of form. 'I have made a short abbreviate, Mr.
Peebles,' said he; 'having sat up late last night, and employed much of this morning in wading through these
papers, to save Alan some trouble, and I am now about to state the result.'

'I will state it myself,' said Peter, breaking in without reverence upon his solicitor.
Chapters                                                                                                         89

'No, by no means,' said my father; 'I am your agent for the time.'

'Mine eleventh in number,' said Peter; 'I have a new one every year; I wish I could get a new coat as regularly.'

'Your agent for the time,' resumed my father; 'and you, who are acquainted with the forms, know that the
client states the cause to the agent--the agent to the counsel'--

'The counsel to the Lord Ordinary,' continued Peter, once set a-going, like the peal of an alarm clock, 'the
Ordinary to the Inner House, the President to the Bench. It is just like the rope to the man, the man to the ox,
the ox to the water, the water to the fire'--

'Hush, for Heaven's sake, Mr. Peebles,' said my father, cutting his recitation short; 'time wears on--we must
get to business-- you must not interrupt the court, you know.--Hem, hem! From this abbreviate it appears'--

'Before you begin,' said Peter Peebles 'I'll thank you to order me a morsel of bread and cheese, or some cauld
meat, or broth, or the like alimentary provision; I was so anxious to see your son, that I could not eat a
mouthful of dinner.'

Heartily glad, I believe, to have so good a chance of stopping his client's mouth effectually, my father ordered
some cold meat; to which James Wilkinson, for the honour of the house, was about to add the brandy bottle,
which remained on the sideboard, but, at a wink from my father, supplied its place with small beer. Peter
charged the provisions with the rapacity of a famished lion; and so well did the diversion engage him, that
though, while my father stated the case, he looked at him repeatedly, as if he meant to interrupt his statement,
yet he always found more agreeable employment for his mouth, and returned to the cold beef with an avidity
which convinced me he had not had such an opportunity for many a day of satiating his appetite. Omitting
much formal phraseology, and many legal details, I will endeavour to give you, in exchange for your fiddler's
tale, the history of a litigant, or rather, the history of his lawsuit.

'Peter Peebles and Paul Plainstanes,' said my father, entered into partnership, in the year --, as mercers and
linendrapers, in the Luckenbooths, and carried on a great line of business to mutual advantage. But the learned
counsel needeth not to be told, SOCIETAS EST MATER DISCORDIARUM, partnership oft makes pleaship.
The company being dissolved by mutual consent, in the year --, the affairs had to be wound up, and after
certain attempts to settle the matter extra-judicially, it was at last brought into the court, and has branched out
into several distinct processes, most of whilk have been conjoined by the Ordinary. It is to the state of these
processes that counsel's attention is particularly directed. There is the original action of Peebles v. Plainstanes,
convening him for payment of 3000l., less or more, as alleged balance due by Plainstanes. Secondly, there is a
counter action, in which Plainstanes is pursuer and Peebles defender, for 2500l., less or more, being balance
alleged per contra, to be due by Peebles. Thirdly, Mr. Peeble's seventh agent advised an action of Compt and
Reckoning at his instance, wherein what balance should prove due on either side might be fairly struck and
ascertained. Fourthly, to meet the hypothetical case, that Peebles might be found liable in a balance to
Plainstanes, Mr. Wildgoose, Mr. Peebles's eighth agent, recommended a Multiplepoinding, to bring all parties
concerned into the field.'

My brain was like to turn at this account of lawsuit within lawsuit, like a nest of chip-boxes, with all of which
I was expected to make myself acquainted.

'I understand,' I said, 'that Mr. Peebles claims a sum of money from Plainstanes--how then can he be his
debtor? and if not his debtor, how can he bring a Multiplepoinding, the very summons of which sets forth, that
the pursuer does owe certain monies, which he is desirous to pay by warrant of a judge?' [Multiplepoinding is,
I believe, equivalent to what is called in England a case of Double Distress.]

'Ye know little of the matter, I doubt, friend,' said Mr. Peebles; 'a Multiplepoinding is the safest REMEDIUM
Chapters                                                                                                          90

JURIS in the whole; form of process. I have known it conjoined with a declarator of marriage.--Your beef is
excellent,' he said to my father, who in vain endeavoured to resume his legal disquisition; 'but something
highly powdered--and the twopenny is undeniable; but it is small swipes--small swipes--more of hop than
malt-with your leave, I'll try your black bottle.'

My father started to help him with his own hand, and in due measure; but, infinitely to my amusement, Peter
got possession of the bottle by the neck, and my father's ideas of hospitality were far too scrupulous to permit
his attempting, by any direct means, to redeem it; so that Peter returned to the table triumphant, with his prey
in his clutch.

'Better have a wine-glass, Mr. Peebles,' said my father, in an admonitory tone, 'you will find it pretty strong.'

'If the kirk is ower muckle, we can sing mass in the quire,' said Peter, helping himself in the goblet out of
which he had been drinking the small beer. 'What is it, usquebaugh?--BRANDY, as I am an honest man! I had
almost forgotten the name and taste of brandy. Mr. Fairford elder, your good health' (a mouthful of brandy),
'Mr. Alan Fairford, wishing you well through your arduous undertaking' (another go-down of the comfortable
liquor). 'And now, though you have given a tolerable breviate of this great lawsuit, of whilk everybody has
heard something that has walked the boards in the Outer House (here's to ye again, by way of interim decreet)
yet ye have omitted to speak a word of the arrestments.'

'I was just coming to that point, Mr. Peebles.'

'Or of the action of suspension of the charge on the bill.'

'I was just coming to that.'

'Or the advocation of the Sheriff-Court process.'

'I was just coming to it.'

'As Tweed comes to Melrose, I think,' said the litigant; and then filling his goblet about a quarter full of
brandy, as if in absence of mind, 'Oh, Mr. Alan Fairford, ye are a lucky man to buckle to such a cause as mine
at the very outset! it is like a specimen of all causes, man. By the Regiam, there is not a REMEDIUM JURIS
in the practiques but ye'll find a spice o't. Here's to your getting weel through with it--Pshut--I am drinking
naked spirits, I think. But if the heathen he ower strong, we'll christen him with the brewer' (here he added a
little small beer to his beverage, paused, rolled his eyes, winked, and proceeded),--'Mr. Fairford--the action of
assault and battery, Mr. Fairford, when I compelled the villain Plainstanes to pull my nose within two steps of
King Charles's statue, in the Parliament Close--there I had him in a hose-net. Never man could tell me how to
shape that process--no counsel that ever selled mind could condescend and say whether it were best to
proceed by way of petition and complaint, AD VINDICTAM PUBLICAM, with consent of his Majesty's
advocate, or by action on the statute for battery PENDENTE LITE, whilk would be the winning my plea at
once, and so getting a back-door out of court.--By the Regiam, that beef and brandy is unco het at my heart--I
maun try the ale again' (sipped a little beer); 'and the ale's but cauld, I maun e'en put in the rest of the brandy.'

He was as good as his word, and proceeded in so loud and animated a style of elocution, thumping the table,
drinking and snuffing alternately, that my father, abandoning all attempts to interrupt him, sat silent and
ashamed, suffering, and anxious for the conclusion of the scene.

'And then to come back to my pet process of all--my battery and assault process, when I had the good luck to
provoke him to pull my nose at the very threshold of the court, whilk was the very thing I wanted--Mr. Pest,
ye ken him, Daddie Fairford? Old Pest was for making it out HAMESUCKEN, for he said the court might be
said--said--ugh!--to be my dwelling-place. I dwell mair there than ony gate else, and the essence of
Chapters                                                                                                       91

hamesucken is to strike a man in his dwelling-place--mind that, young advocate--and so there's hope
Plainstanes may be hanged, as many has for a less matter; for, my lords,--will Pest say to the Justiciary
bodies,-- my lords, the Parliament House is Peebles' place of dwelling, says he--being COMMUNE FORUM,
and COMMUNE FORUM EST COMMUNE DOMICILIUM--Lass, fetch another glass of and score it--time
to gae hame--by the practiques, I cannot find the jug--yet there's twa of them, I think. By the Regiam,
Fairford--Daddie Fairford --lend us twal pennies to buy sneeshing, mine is done--Macer, call another cause.'

The box fell from his hands, and his body would at the same time have fallen from the chair, had not I
supported him.

'This is intolerable,' said my father--'Call a chairman, James Wilkinson, to carry this degraded, worthless,
drunken beast home.'

When Peter Peebles was removed from this memorable consultation, under the care of an able-bodied Celt,
my father hastily bundled up the papers, as a showman, whose exhibition has miscarried, hastes to remove his
booth. 'Here are my memoranda, Alan,' he said, in a hurried way; 'look them carefully over--compare them
with the processes, and turn it in your head before Tuesday. Many a good speech has been made for a beast of
a client; and hark ye, lad, hark ye--I never intended to cheat you of your fee when all was done, though I
would have liked to have heard the speech first; but there is nothing like corning the horse before the journey.
Here are five goud guineas in a silk purse--of your poor mother's netting, Alan--she would have been a blithe
woman to have seen her young son with a gown on his back--but no more of that--be a good boy, and to the
work like a tiger.'

I did set to work, Darsie; for who could resist such motives? With my father's assistance, I have mastered the
details, confused as they are; and on Tuesday I shall plead as well for Peter Peebles as I could for a duke.
Indeed, I feel my head so clear on the subject as to be able to write this long letter to you; into which,
however, Peter and his lawsuit have insinuated themselves so far as to show you how much they at present
occupy my thoughts. Once more, be careful of yourself, and mindful of me, who am ever thine, while ALAN

From circumstances, to be hereafter mentioned, it was long ere this letter reached the person to whom it was

CHAPTER I                                                                                                     92


The advantage of laying before the reader, in the words of the actors themselves, the adventures which we
must otherwise have narrated in our own, has given great popularity to the publication of epistolary
correspondence, as practised by various great authors, and by ourselves in the preceding chapters.
Nevertheless, a genuine correspondence of this kind (and Heaven forbid it should be in any respect
sophisticated by interpolations of our own!) can seldom be found to contain all in which it is necessary to
instruct the reader for his full comprehension of the story. Also it must often happen that various prolixities
and redundancies occur in the course of an interchange of letters, which must hang as a dead weight on the
progress of the narrative. To avoid this dilemma, some biographers have used the letters of the personages
concerned, or liberal extracts from them, to describe particular incidents, or express the sentiments which they
entertained; while they connect them occasionally with such portions of narrative, as may serve to carry on the
thread of the story.

It is thus that the adventurous travellers who explore the summit of Mont Blanc now move on through the
crumbling snowdrift so slowly, that their progress is almost imperceptible, and anon abridge their journey by
springing over the intervening chasms which cross their path, with the assistance of their pilgrim- staves. Or,
to make a briefer simile, the course of story- telling which we have for the present adopted, resembles the
original discipline of the dragoons, who were trained to serve either on foot or horseback, as the emergencies
of the service required. With this explanation, we shall proceed to narrate some circumstances which Alan
Fairford did not, and could not, write to his correspondent.

Our reader, we trust, has formed somewhat approaching to a distinct idea of the principal characters who have
appeared before him during our narrative; but in case our good opinion of his sagacity has been exaggerated,
and in order to satisfy such as are addicted to the laudable practice of SKIPPING (with whom we have at
times a strong fellow-feeling), the following particulars may not be superfluous.

Mr. Saunders Fairford, as he was usually called, was a man of business of the old school, moderate in his
charges, economical and even niggardly in his expenditure, strictly honest in conducting his own affairs and
those of his clients, but taught by long experience to be wary and suspicious in observing the motions of
others. Punctual as the clock of Saint Giles tolled nine, the neat dapper form of the little hale old gentleman
was seen at the threshold of the court hall, or at farthest, at the head of the Back Stairs, trimly dressed in a
complete suit of snuff-coloured brown, with stockings of silk or woollen as, suited the weather; a bob-wig,
and a small cocked hat; shoes blacked as Warren would have blacked them; silver shoe-buckles, and a gold
stock-buckle. A nosegay in summer, and a sprig of holly in winter, completed his well-known dress and
appearance. His manners corresponded with his attire, for they were scrupulously civil, and not a little formal.
He was an elder of the kirk, and, of course, zealous for King George and the Government even to slaying, as
he had showed by taking up arms in their cause. But then, as he had clients and connexions of business among
families of opposite political tenets, he was particularly cautious to use all the conventional phrases which the
civility of the time had devised, as an admissible mode of language betwixt the two parties. Thus he spoke
sometimes of the Chevalier, but never either of the Prince, which would have been sacrificing his own
principles, or of the Pretender, which would have been offensive to those of others. Again, he usually
designated the Rebellion as the AFFAIR of 1745, and spoke of any one engaged in it as a person who had
been OUT at a certain period. [OLD-FASHIONED SCOTTISH CIVILITY.--Such were literally the points of
politeness observed in general society during the author's youth, where it was by no means unusual in a
company assembled by chance, to find individuals who had borne arms on one side or other in the civil broils
of 1745. Nothing, according to my recollection, could be more gentle and decorous than the respect these old
enemies paid to each other's prejudices. But in this I speak generally. I have witnessed one or two explosions.]
So that, on the whole, Mr. Fairford was a man much liked and respected on all sides, though his friends would
not have been sorry if he had given a dinner more frequently, as his little cellar contained some choice old
CHAPTER I                                                                                                        93

wine, of which, on such rare occasions he was no niggard.

The whole pleasure of this good old-fashioned man of method, besides that which he really felt in the
discharge of his daily business, was the hope to see his son Alan, the only fruit of a union which death early
dissolved, attain what in the father's eyes was the proudest of all distinctions--the rank and fame of a
well-employed lawyer.

Every profession has its peculiar honours, and Mr. Fairford's mind was constructed upon so limited and
exclusive a plan, that he valued nothing save the objects of ambition which his own presented. He would have
shuddered at Alan's acquiring the renown of a hero, and laughed with scorn at the equally barren laurels of
literature; it was by the path of the law alone that he was desirous to see him rise to eminence, and the
probabilities of success or disappointment were the thoughts of his father by day, and his dream by night.

The disposition of Alan Fairford, as well as his talents, were such as to encourage his father's expectations. He
had acuteness of intellect, joined to habits of long and patient study, improved no doubt by the discipline of
his father's house; to which, generally speaking, he conformed with the utmost docility, expressing no wish
for greater or more frequent relaxation than consisted with his father's anxious and severe restrictions. When
he did indulge in any juvenile frolics, his father had the candour to lay the whole blame upon his more
mercurial companion, Darsie Latimer.

This youth, as the reader must be aware, had been received as an inmate into the family of Mr. Fairford,
senior, at a time when some of the delicacy of constitution which had abridged the life of his consort began to
show itself in the son, and when the father was, of course, peculiarly disposed to indulge his slightest wish.
That the young Englishman was able to pay a considerable board, was a matter of no importance to Mr.
Fairford; it was enough that his presence seemed to make his son cheerful and happy. He was compelled to
allow that 'Darsie was a fine lad, though unsettled,' and he would have had some difficulty in getting rid of
him, and the apprehensions which his levities excited, had it not been for the voluntary excursion which gave
rise to the preceding correspondence, and in which Mr. Fairford secretly rejoiced, as affording the means of
separating Alan from his gay companion, at least until he should have assumed, and become accustomed to,
the duties of his dry and laborious profession.

But the absence of Darsie was far from promoting the end which the elder Mr. Fairford had expected and
desired. The young men were united by the closest bonds of intimacy; and the more so, that neither of them
sought nor desired to admit any others into their society. Alan Fairford was averse to general company, from a
disposition naturally reserved, and Darsie Latimer from a painful sense of his own unknown origin, peculiarly
afflicting in a country where high and low are professed genealogists. The young men were all in all to each
other; it is no wonder, therefore, that their separation was painful, and that its effects upon Alan Fairford,
joined to the anxiety occasioned by the tenor of his friend's letters, greatly exceeded what the senior had
anticipated. The young man went through his usual duties, his studies, and the examinations to which he was
subjected, but with nothing like the zeal and assiduity which he had formerly displayed; and his anxious and
observant father saw but too plainly that his heart was with his absent comrade.

A philosopher would have given way to this tide of feeling, in hopes to have diminished its excess, and
permitted the youths to have been some time together, that their intimacy might have been broken off by
degrees; but Mr. Fairford only saw the more direct mode of continued restraint, which, however, he was
desirous of veiling under some plausible pretext. In the anxiety which he felt on this occasion, he had held
communication with an old acquaintance, Peter Drudgeit, with whom the reader is partly acquainted. 'Alan,'
he said, 'was ance wud, and ay waur; and he was expecting every moment when he would start off in a
wildgoose-chase after the callant Latimer; Will Sampson, the horse-hirer in Candlemaker Row, had given him
a hint that Alan had been looking for a good hack, to go to the country for a few days. And then to oppose him
downright--he could not but think on the way his poor mother was removed. Would to Heaven he was yoked
to some tight piece of business, no matter whether well or ill paid, but some job that would hamshackle him at
CHAPTER I                                                                                                         94

least until the courts rose, if it were but for decency's sake.'

Peter Drudgeit sympathized, for Peter had a son, who, reason or none, would needs exchange the torn and
inky fustian sleeves for the blue jacket and white lapelle; and he suggested, as the reader knows, the engaging
our friend Alan in the matter of Poor Peter Peebles, just opened by the desertion of young Dumtoustie, whose
defection would be at the same time concealed; and this, Drudgeit said, 'would be felling two dogs with one

With these explanations, the reader will hold a man of the elder Fairford's sense and experience free from the
hazardous and impatient curiosity with which boys fling a puppy into a deep pond, merely to see if the
creature can swim. However confident in his son's talents, which were really considerable, he would have
been very sorry to have involved him in the duty of pleading a complicated and difficult case, upon his very
first appearance at the bar, had he not resorted to it as an effectual way to prevent the young man from taking
a step which his habits of thinking represented as a most fatal one at his outset of life.

Betwixt two evils, Mr. Fairford chose that which was in his own apprehension the least; and, like a brave
officer sending forth his son to battle, rather chose he should die upon the breach, than desert the conflict with
dishonour. Neither did he leave him to his own unassisted energies. Like Alpheus preceding Hercules, he
himself encountered the Augean mass of Peter Peebles' law-matters. It was to the old man a labour of love to
place in a clear and undistorted view the real merits of this case, which the carelessness and blunders of
Peter's former solicitors had converted into a huge chaotic mass of unintelligible technicality; and such was
his skill and industry, that he was able, after the severe toil of two or three days, to present to the consideration
of the young counsel the principal facts of the case, in a light equally simple and comprehensible. With the
assistance of a solicitor so affectionate and indefatigable, Alan Fairford was enabled, then the day of trial
arrived, to walk towards the court, attended by his anxious yet encouraging parent, with some degree of
confidence that he would lose no reputation upon this arduous occasion.

They were met at the door of the court by Poor Peter Peebles in his usual plenitude of wig and celsitude of
hat. He seized on the young pleader like a lion on his prey. 'How is a' wi' you, Mr. Alan--how is a' wi' you,
man? The awfu' day is come at last --a day that will be lang minded in this house. Poor Peter Peebles against
Plainstanes--conjoined proceases--Hearing in presence--stands for the Short Roll for this day--I have not been
able to sleep for a week for thinking of it, and, I dare to say, neither has the Lord President himsell--for such a
cause!! But your father garr'd me tak a wee drap ower muckle of his pint bottle the other night; it's no right to
mix brandy wi' business, Mr. Fairford. I would have been the waur o' liquor if I would have drank as muckle
as you twa would have had me. But there's a time for a' things, and if ye will dine with me after the case is
heard, or whilk is the same, or maybe better, I'LL gang my ways hame wi' YOU, and I winna object to a
cheerfu' glass, within the bounds of moderation.'

Old Fairford shrugged his shoulders and hurried past the client, saw his son wrapped in the sable bombazine,
which, in his eyes, was more venerable than an archbishop's lawn, and could not help fondly patting his
shoulder, and whispering to him to take courage, and show he was worthy to wear it. The party entered the
Outer Hall of the court, (once the place of meeting of the ancient Scottish Parliament), and which corresponds
to the use of Westminster Hall in England, serving as a vestibule to the Inner House, as it is termed, and a
place of dominion to certain sedentary personages called Lords Ordinary.

The earlier part of the morning was spent by old Fairford in reiterating his instructions to Alan, and in running
from one person to another, from whom he thought he could still glean some grains of information, either
concerning the point at issue, or collateral cases. Meantime, Poor Peter Peebles, whose shallow brain was
altogether unable to bear the importance of the moment, kept as close to his young counsel as shadow to
substance, affected now to speak loud, now to whisper in his ear, now to deck his ghastly countenance with
wreathed smiles, now to cloud it with a shade of deep and solemn importance, and anon to contort it with the
sneer of scorn and derision. These moods of the client's mind were accompanied with singular 'mockings and
CHAPTER I                                                                                                          95

mowings,' fantastic gestures, which the man of rags and litigation deemed appropriate to his changes of
countenance. Now he brandished his arm aloft, now thrust his fist straight out, as if to knock his opponent
down. Now he laid his open palm on his bosom, and now hinging it abroad, he gallantly snapped his fingers in
the air.

These demonstrations, and the obvious shame and embarrassment of Alan Fairford, did not escape the
observation of the juvenile idlers in the hall. They did not, indeed, approach Peter with their usual familiarity,
from some feeling of deference towards Fairford, though many accused him of conceit in presuming to
undertake, at this early stage of his practice, a case of considerable difficulty. But Alan, notwithstanding this
forbearance, was not the less sensible that he and his companion were the subjects of many a passing jest, and
many a shout of laughter, with which that region at all times abounds.

At length the young counsel's patience gave way, and as it threatened to carry his presence of mind and
recollection along with it, Alan frankly told his father, that unless he was relieved from the infliction of his
client's personal presence and instructions, he must necessarily throw up his brief, and decline pleading the

'Hush, hush, my dear Alan,' said the old gentleman, almost at his own wit's end upon hearing this dilemma;
'dinna mind the silly ne'er-do-weel; we cannot keep the man from hearing his own cause, though he be not
quite right in the head.'

'On my life, sir,' answered Alan, 'I shall be unable to go on, he drives everything out of my remembrance; and
if I attempt to speak seriously of the injuries he has sustained, and the condition he is reduced to, how can I
expect but that the very appearance of such an absurd scarecrow will turn it all into ridicule?'

'There is something in that,' said Saunders Fairford, glancing a look at Poor Peter, and then cautiously
inserting his forefinger under his bob-wig, in order to rub his temple and aid his invention; 'he is no figure for
the fore-bar to see without laughing; but how to get rid of him? To speak sense, or anything like it, is the last
thing he will listen to. Stay, aye,--Alan, my darling, hae patience; I'll get him off on the instant, like a gowff

So saying, he hastened to his ally, Peter Drudgeit, who on seeing him with marks of haste in his gait, and care
upon his countenance, clapped his pen behind his ear, with 'What's the stir now, Mr. Saunders? Is there aught

'Here's a dollar, man,' said Mr. Saunders; 'now, or never, Peter, do me a good turn. Yonder's your namesake,
Peter Peebles, will drive the swine through our bonny hanks of yarn; get him over to John's Coffeehouse,
man--gie him his meridian--keep him there, drunk or sober, till the hearing is ower.' [The simile is obvious,
from the old manufacture of Scotland, when the gudewife's thrift, as the yarn wrought in the winter was
called, when laid down to bleach by the burn-side, was peculiarly exposed to the inroads of pigs, seldom well
regulated about a Scottish farm-house.]

'Eneugh said,' quoth Peter Drudgeit, no way displeased with his own share in the service required, 'We'se do
your bidding.'

Accordingly, the scribe was presently seen whispering in the ear of Peter Peebles, whose response came forth
in the following broken form :-

'Leave the court for ae minute on this great day of judgement? not I, by the Reg--Eh! what? Brandy, did ye
say--French brandy?--couldna ye fetch a stoup to the bar under your coat, man? Impossible? Nay, if it's clean
impossible, and if we have an hour good till they get through the single bill and the summar-roll, I carena if I
cross the close wi' you; I am sure I need something to keep my heart up this awful day; but I'll no stay above
CHAPTER I                                                                                                         96
an instant--not above a minute of time--nor drink aboon a single gill,'

In a few minutes afterwards, the two Peters were seen moving through the Parliament Close (which
new-fangled affectation has termed a Square), the triumphant Drudgeit leading captive the passive Peebles,
whose legs conducted him towards the dramshop, while his reverted eyes were fixed upon the court. They
dived into the Cimmerian abysses of John's Coffeehouse, [See Note 5.] formerly the favourite rendezvous of
the classical and genial Doctor Pitcairn, and were for the present seen no more.

Relieved from his tormentor, Alan Fairford had time to rally his recollections, which, in the irritation of his
spirits, had nearly escaped him, and to prepare himself far a task, the successful discharge or failure in which
must, he was aware, have the deepest influence upon his fortunes. He had pride, was not without a
consciousness of talent, and the sense of his father's feelings upon the subject impelled him to the utmost
exertion. Above all, he had that sort of self-command which is essential to success in every arduous
undertaking, and he was constitutionally free from that feverish irritability by which those whose over- active
imaginations exaggerate difficulties, render themselves incapable of encountering such when they arrive.

Having collected all the scattered and broken associations which were necessary, Alan's thoughts reverted to
Dumfriesshire, and the precarious situation in which he feared his beloved friend had placed himself; and
once and again he consulted his watch, eager to have his present task commenced and ended, that he might
hasten to Darsie's assistance. The hour and moment at length arrived. The macer shouted, with all his
well-remembered brazen strength of lungs, 'Poor Peter Peebles VERSUS Plainstanes, PER Dumtoustie ET
Tough!--Maister Da-a-niel Dumtoustie!' Dumtoustie answered not the summons, which, deep and swelling as
it was, could not reach across the Queensferry; but our Maister Alan Fairford appeared in his place.

The court was very much crowded; for much amusement had been received on former occasions when Peter
had volunteered his own oratory, and had been completely successful in routing the gravity of the whole
procedure, and putting to silence, not indeed the counsel of the opposite party, but his own.

Both bench and audience seemed considerably surprised at the juvenile appearance of the young man who
appeared in the room of Dumtoustie, for the purpose of opening this complicated and long depending process,
and the common herd were disappointed at the absence of Peter the client, the Punchinello of the expected
entertainment. The judges looked with a very favourable countenance on our friend Alan, most of them being
acquainted, more or less, with so old a practitioner as his father, and all, or almost all, affording, from civility,
the same fair play to the first pleading of a counsel, which the House of Commons yields to the maiden speech
of one of its members.

Lord Bladderskate was an exception to this general expression of benevolence. He scowled upon Alan, from
beneath his large, shaggy, grey eyebrows, just as if the young lawyer had been usurping his nephew's honours,
instead of covering his disgrace; and, from feelings which did his lordship little honour, he privately hoped the
young man would not succeed in the cause which his kinsman had abandoned.

Even Lord Bladderskate, however, was, in spite of himself, pleased with the judicious and modest tone in
which Alan began his address to the court, apologizing for his own presumption, and excusing it by the
sudden illness of his learned brother, for whom the labour of opening a cause of some difficulty and
importance had been much more worthily designed. He spoke of himself as he really was, and of young
Dumtoustie as what he ought to have been, taking care not to dwell on either topic a moment longer than was
necessary. The old judge's looks became benign; his family pride was propitiated, and, pleased equally with
the modesty and civility of the young man whom he had thought forward and officious, he relaxed the scorn
of his features into an expression of profound attention; the highest compliment, and the greatest
encouragement, which a judge can render to the counsel addressing him.

Having succeeded in securing the favourable attention of the court, the young lawyer, using the lights which
CHAPTER I                                                                                                      97
his father's experience and knowledge of business had afforded him, proceeded with an address and clearness,
unexpected from one of his years, to remove from the case itself those complicated formalities with which it
had been loaded, as a surgeon strips from a wound the dressings which had been hastily wrapped round it, in
order to proceed to his cure SECUNDUM ARTEM. Developed of the cumbrous and complicated
technicalities of litigation, with which the perverse obstinacy of the client, the inconsiderate haste or
ignorance of his agents, and the evasions of a subtle adversary, had invested the process, the cause of Poor
Peter Peebles, standing upon its simple merits, was no bad subject for the declamation of a young counsel, nor
did our friend Alan fail to avail himself of its strong points.

He exhibited his client as a simple-hearted, honest, well-meaning man, who, during a copartnership of twelve
years, had gradually become impoverished, while his partner (his former clerk) having no funds but his share
of the same business, into which he had been admitted without any advance of stock, had become gradually
more and more wealthy.

'Their association,' said Alan, and the little flight was received with some applause, 'resembled the ancient
story of the fruit which was carved with a knife poisoned on one side of the blade only, so that the individual
to whom the envenomed portion was served, drew decay and death from what afforded savour and sustenance
to the consumer of the other moiety.' He then plunged boldly into the MARE MAGNUM of accompts
between the parties; he pursued each false statement from the waste-book to the day-book, from the day-book
to the bill-book, from the bill-book to the ledger; placed the artful interpolations and insertions of the
fallacious Plainstanes in array against each other, and against the fact; and availing himself to the utmost of
his father's previous labours, and his own knowledge of accompts, in which he had been sedulously trained,
he laid before the court a clear and intelligible statement of the affairs of the copartnery, showing, with
precision, that a large balance must, at the dissolution, have been due to his client, sufficient to have enabled
him to have carried on business on his own account, and thus to have retained his situation in society as an
independent and industrious tradesman. 'But instead of this justice being voluntarily rendered by the former
clerk to his former master,-- by the party obliged to his benefactor,--by one honest man to another,--his
wretched client had been compelled to follow his quondam clerk, his present debtor, from court to court; had
found his just claims met with well-invented but unfounded counter- claims, had seen his party shift his
character of pursuer or defender, as often as Harlequin effects his transformations, till, in a chase so varied
and so long, the unhappy litigant had lost substance, reputation, and almost the use of reason itself, and came
before their lordships an object of thoughtless derision to the unreflecting, of compassion to the better-hearted,
and of awful meditation to every one who considered that, in a country where excellent laws were
administered by upright and incorruptible judges, a man might pursue an almost indisputable claim through
all the mazes of litigation; lose fortune, reputation, and reason itself in the chase, and now come before the
supreme court of his country in the wretched condition of his unhappy client, a victim to protracted justice,
and to that hope delayed which sickens the heart.'

The force of this appeal to feeling made as much impression on the Bench as had been previously effected by
the clearness of Alan's argument. The absurd form of Peter himself, with his tow- wig, was fortunately not
present to excite any ludicrous emotion, and the pause that took place when the young lawyer had concluded
his speech, was followed by a murmur of approbation, which the ears of his father drank in as the sweetest
sounds that had ever entered them. Many a hand of gratulation was thrust out to his grasp, trembling as it was
with anxiety, and finally with delight; his voice faltering as he replied, 'Aye, aye, I kend Alan was the lad to
make a spoon or spoil a horn.' [Said of an adventurous gipsy, who resolves at all risks to convert a sheep's
horn into a spoon.]

The counsel on the other side arose, an old practitioner, who had noted too closely the impression made by
Alan's pleading not to fear the consequences of an immediate decision. He paid the highest compliments to his
very young brother--'the Benjamin, as he would presume to call him, of the learned Faculty--said the alleged
hardships of Mr. Peebles were compensated by his being placed in a situation where the benevolence of their
lordships had assigned him gratuitously such assistance as he might not otherwise have obtained at a high
CHAPTER I                                                                                                      98
price--and allowed his young brother had put many things in such a new point of view, that, although he was
quite certain of his ability to refute them, he was honestly desirous of having a few hours to arrange his
answer, in order to be able to follow Mr. Fairford from point to point. He had further to observe, there was
one point of the case to which his brother, whose attention had been otherwise so wonderfully comprehensive,
had not given the consideration which he expected; it was founded on the interpretation of certain
correspondence which had passed betwixt the parties soon after the dissolution of the copartnery.'

The court having heard Mr. Tough, readily allowed him two days for preparing himself, hinting at the same
time that he might find his task difficult, and affording the young counsel, with high encomiums upon the
mode in which he had acquitted himself, the choice of speaking, either now or at the next calling of the cause,
upon the point which Plainstanes's lawyer had adverted to.

Alan modestly apologized for what in fact had been an omission very pardonable in so complicated a case,
and professed himself instantly ready to go through that correspondence, and prove that it was in form and
substance exactly applicable to the view of the case he had submitted to their lordships. He applied to his
father, who sat behind him, to hand him, from time to time, the letters, in the order in which he meant to read
and comment upon them.

Old Counsellor Tough had probably formed an ingenious enough scheme to blunt the effect of the young
lawyer's reasoning, by thus obliging him to follow up a process of reasoning, clear and complete in itself, by a
hasty and extemporary appendix. If so, he seemed likely to be disappointed; for Alan was well prepared on
this as on other parts of the cause, and recommenced his pleading with a degree of animation which added
force even to what he had formerly stated, and might perhaps have occasioned the old gentleman to regret his
having again called him up, when his father, as he handed him the letters, put one into his hand which
produced a singular effect on the pleader.

At the first glance, he saw that the paper had no reference to the affairs of Peter Peebles; but the first glance
also showed him, what, even at that time, and in that presence, he could not help reading; and which, being
read, seemed totally to disconcert his ideas. He stopped short in his harangue--gazed on the paper with a look
of surprise and horror-uttered an exclamation, and flinging down the brief which he had in his hand, hurried
out of court without returning a single word of answer to the various questions, 'What was the matter?'--'Was
he taken unwell?'-- 'Should not a chair be called?' &c. &c. &c.

The elder Mr. Fairford, who remained seated, and looking as senseless as if he had been made of stone, was at
length recalled to himself by the anxious inquiries of the judges and the counsel after his son's health. He then
rose with an air, in which was mingled the deep habitual reverence in which he held the court, with some
internal cause of agitation, and with difficulty mentioned something of a mistake--a piece of bad news--Alan,
he hoped would be well enough to-morrow. But unable to proceed further, he clasped his hands together,
exclaiming, 'My son! my son!' and left the court hastily, as if in pursuit of him.

'What's the matter with the auld bitch next?' [Tradition ascribes this whimsical style of language to the
ingenious and philosophical Lord Kaimes.] said an acute metaphysical judge, though somewhat coarse in his
manners, aside to his brethren. 'This is a daft cause, Bladderskate--first, it drives the poor man mad that aught
it--then your nevoy goes daft with fright, and flies the pit--then this smart young hopeful is aff the hooks with
too hard study, I fancy--and now auld Saunders Fairford is as lunatic as the best of them. What say ye till't, ye

'Nothing, my lord,' answered Bladderskate, much too formal to admire the levities in which his philosophical
brother sometimes indulged--'I say nothing, but pray to Heaven to keep our own wits.'

'Amen, amen,' answered his learned brother; 'for some of us have but few to spare.'
CHAPTER I                                                                                                    99
The court then arose, and the audience departed, greatly wondering at the talent displayed by Alan Fairford at
his first appearance in a case so difficult and so complicated, and assigning a hundred conjectural causes, each
different from the others, for the singular interruption which had clouded his day of success. The worst of the
whole was, that six agents, who had each come to the separate resolution of thrusting a retaining fee into
Alan's hand as he left the court, shook their heads as they returned the money into their leathern pouches, and
said, 'that the lad was clever, but they would like to see more of him before they engaged him in the way of
business--they did not like his lowping away like a flea in a blanket.'
CHAPTER II                                                                                                    100

Had our friend Alexander Fairford known the consequences of his son's abrupt retreat from the court, which
are mentioned in the end of the last chapter, it might have accomplished the prediction of the lively old judge,
and driven him utterly distracted. As it was, he was miserable enough. His son had risen ten degrees higher in
his estimation than ever by his display of juridical talents, which seemed to assure him that the applause of the
judges and professors of the law, which, in his estimation, was worth that of all mankind besides, authorized
to the fullest extent the advantageous estimate which even his parental partiality had been induced to form of
Alan's powers. On the other hand, he felt that he was himself a little humbled, from a disguise which he had
practised towards this son of his hopes and wishes.

The truth was, that on the morning of this eventful day, Mr. Alexander Fairford had received from his
correspondent and friend, Provost Crosbie of Dumfries, a letter of the following tenor:

'DEAR SIR, 'Your respected favour of 25th ultimo, per favour of Mr. Darsie Latimer, reached me in safety,
and I showed to the young gentleman such attention as he was pleased to accept of. The object of my present
writing is twofold. First, the council are of opinion that you should now begin to stir in the thirlage cause; and
they think they will be able, from evidence NOVITER REPERTUM, to enable you to amend your
condescendence upon the use and wont of the burgh, touching the GRANA INVECTA ET ILLATA. So you
will please consider yourself as authorized to speak to Mr. Pest, and lay before him the papers which you will
receive by the coach. The council think that a fee of two guineas may be sufficient on this occasion, as Mr.
Pest had three for drawing the original condescendence.

'I take the opportunity of adding that there has been a great riot among the Solway fishermen, who have
destroyed, in a masterful manner, the stake-nets set up near the mouth of this river; and have besides attacked
the house of Quaker Geddes, one of the principal partners of the Tide-net Fishing Company, and done a great
deal of damage. Am sorry to add, young Mr. Latimer was in the fray and has not since been heard of. Murder
is spoke of, but that may be a word of course. As the young gentleman has behaved rather oddly while in
these parts, as in declining to dine with me more than once, and going about the country with strolling fiddlers
and such-like, I rather hope that his present absence is only occasioned by a frolic; but as his servant has been
making inquiries of me respecting his master, I thought it best to acquaint you in course of post. I have only to
add that our sheriff has taken a precognition, and committed one or two of the rioters. If I can be useful in this
matter, either by advertising for Mr. Latimer as missing, publishing a reward, or otherwise, I will obey your
respected instructions, being your most obedient to command, 'WILLIAM CROSBIE.'

When Mr. Fairford received this letter, and had read it to an end,' his first idea was to communicate it to his
son, that an express might be instantly dispatched, or a king's messenger sent with proper authority to search
after his late guest.

The habits of the fishers were rude; as he well knew, though not absolutely sanguinary or ferocious; and there
had been instances of their transporting persons who had interfered in their smuggling trade to the Isle of Man
and elsewhere, and keeping them under restraint for many weeks. On this account, Mr. Fairford was naturally
led to feel anxiety concerning the fate of his late inmate; and, at a less interesting moment, would certainly
have set out himself, or licensed his son to go in pursuit of his friend.

But, alas! he was both a father and an agent. In the one capacity, he looked on his son as dearer to him than all
the world besides; in the other, the lawsuit which he conducted was to him like an infant to its nurse, and the
case of Poor Peter Peebles against Plainstanes was, he saw, adjourned, perhaps SINE DIE, should this
document reach the hands of his son. The mutual and enthusiastical affection betwixt the young men was well
known to him; and he concluded that if the precarious state of Latimer were made known to Alan Fairford, it
would render him not only unwilling, but totally unfit, to discharge the duty of the day to which the old
gentleman attached such ideas of importance.
CHAPTER II                                                                                                     101
On mature reflection, therefore, he resolved, though not without some feelings of compunction, to delay
communicating to his son the disagreeable intelligence which he had received, until the business of the day
should be ended. The delay, he persuaded himself, could be of little consequence to Darsie Latimer, whose
folly, he dared to say, had led him into some scrape which would meet an appropriate punishment in some
accidental restraint, which would be thus prolonged for only a few hours longer. Besides, he would have time
to speak to the sheriff of the county--perhaps to the King's Advocate--and set about the matter in a regular
manner, or, as he termed it, as summing up the duties of a solicitor, to AGE AS ACCORDS. [A Scots law
phrase, of no very determinate import, meaning, generally, to do what is fitting.]

The scheme, as we have seen, was partially successful, and was only ultimately defeated, as he confessed to
himself with shame, by his own very unbusiness-like mistake of shuffling the provost's letter, in the hurry and
anxiety of the morning, among some papers belonging to Peter Peebles's affairs, and then handing it to his
son, without observing the blunder. He used to protest, even till the day of his death, that he never had been
guilty of such an inaccuracy as giving a paper out of his hand without looking at the docketing, except on that
unhappy occasion, when, of all others, he had such particular reason to regret his negligence.

Disturbed by these reflections, the old gentleman had, for the first time in his life, some disinclination, arising
from shame and vexation, to face his own son; so that to protract for a little the meeting, which he feared
would be a painful one, he went to wait upon the sheriff-depute, who he found had set off for Dumfries in
great haste to superintend in person the investigation which had been set on foot by his substitute. This
gentleman's clerk could say little on the subject of the riot, excepting that it had been serious, much damage
done to property, and some personal violence offered to individuals; but, as far as he had yet heard, no lives
lost on the spot.

Mr. Fairford was compelled to return home with this intelligence; and on inquiring at James Wilkinson where
his son was, received for answer, that 'Maister Alan was in his own room, and very busy.'

'We must have our explanation over,' said Saunders Fairford to himself. 'Better a finger off, as ay wagging;'
and going to the door of his son's apartment, he knocked at first gently--then more loudly--but received no
answer. Somewhat alarmed at this silence, he opened the door of the chamber it was empty--clothes lay mixed
in confusion with the law-books and papers, as if the inmate had been engaged in hastily packing for a
journey. As Mr. Fairford looked around in alarm, his eye was arrested by a sealed letter lying upon his son's
writing-table, and addressed to himself. It contained the following words:--

'MY DEAREST FATHER, 'You will not, I trust, be surprised, nor perhaps very much displeased, to learn that
I am on my way to Dumfriesshire, to learn, by my own personal investigation, the present state of my dear
friend, and afford him such relief as may be in my power, and which, I trust, will be effectual. I do not
presume to reflect upon you, dearest sir, for concealing from me information of so much consequence to my
peace of mind and happiness; but I hope your having done so will be, if not an excuse, at least some
mitigation of my present offence, in taking a step of consequence without consulting your pleasure; and, I
must further own, under circumstances which perhaps might lead to your disapprobation of my purpose. I can
only say, in further apology, that if anything unhappy, which Heaven forbid! shall have occurred to the person
who, next to yourself, is dearest to me in this world, I shall have on my heart, as a subject of eternal regret,
that being in a certain degree warned of his danger and furnished with the means of obviating it, I did not
instantly hasten to his assistance, but preferred giving my attention to the business of this unlucky morning.
No view of personal distinction, nothing, indeed, short of your earnest and often expressed wishes, could have
detained me in town till this day; and having made this sacrifice to filial duty, I trust you will hold me excused
if I now obey the calls of friendship and humanity. Do not be in the least anxious on my account; I shall
know, I trust, how to conduct myself with due caution in any emergence which may occur, otherwise my legal
studies for so many years have been to little purpose. I am fully provided with money, and also with arms, in
case of need; but you may rely on my prudence in avoiding all occasions of using the latter, short of the last
necessity. God almighty bless you, my dearest father! and grant that you may forgive the first, and, I trust, the
CHAPTER II                                                                                                      102
last act approaching towards premeditated disobedience, of which I either have now, or shall hereafter have,
to accuse myself. I remain, till death, your dutiful and affectionate son, ALAN FAIRFORD.'

'PS.--I shall write with the utmost regularity, acquainting you with my motions, and requesting your advice. I
trust my stay will be very short, and I think it possible that I may bring back Darsie along with me.'

'The paper dropped from the old man's hand when he was thus assured of the misfortune which he
apprehended. His first idea was to get a postchaise and pursue the fugitive; but he recollected that, upon the
very rare occasions when Alan had shown himself indocile to the PATRIA POTESTAS, his natural ease and
gentleness of disposition seemed hardened into obstinacy, and that now, entitled, as arrived at the years of
majority and a member of the learned faculty, to direct his own motions, there was great doubt, whether, in
the event of his overtaking his son, he might be able to prevail upon him to return back. In such a risk of
failure he thought it wiser to desist from his purpose, especially as even his success in such a pursuit would
give a ridiculous ECLAT to the whole affair, which could not be otherwise than prejudicial to his son's rising

Bitter, however, were Saunders Fairford's reflections, as again picking up the fatal scroll, he threw himself
into his son's leathern easy-chair, and bestowed upon it a disjointed commentary, 'Bring back Darsie? little
doubt of that--the bad shilling is sure enough to come back again. I wish Darsie no worse ill than that he were
carried where the silly fool, Alan, should never see him again. It was an ill hour that he darkened my doors in,
for, ever since that, Alan has given up his ain old- fashioned mother-wit for the tother's capernoited maggots
and nonsense. Provided with money? you must have more than I know of, then, my friend, for I trow I kept
you pretty short, for your own good. Can he have gotten more fees? or, does he think five guineas has neither
beginning nor end? Arms! What would he do with arms, or what would any man do with them that is not a
regular soldier under government, or else a thief-taker? I have had enough of arms, I trow, although I carried
them for King George and the government. But this is a worse strait than Falkirk field yet. God guide us, we
are poor inconsistent creatures! To think the lad should have made so able an appearance, and then bolted off
this gate, after a glaiket ne'er- do-weel, like a hound upon a false scent! Las-a-day! it's a sore thing to see a
stunkard cow kick down the pail when it's reaming fou. But, after all, it's an ill bird that defiles its ain nest. I
must cover up the scandal as well as I can. What's the matter now, James?'

'A message, sir,' said James Wilkinson, 'from my Lord President; and he hopes Mr. Alan is not seriously

'From the Lord President? the Lord preserve us!--I'll send an answer this instant; bid the lad sit down, and ask
him to drink, James. Let me see,' continued he, taking a sheet of gilt paper 'how we are to draw our answers.'

Ere his pen had touched the paper, James was in the room again.

'What now, James?'

'Lord Bladderskate's lad is come to ask how Mr. Alan is, as he left; the court'--

'Aye, aye, aye,' answered Saunders, bitterly; 'he has e'en made a moonlight flitting, like my lord's ain nevoy.'

'Shall I say sae, sir?' said James, who, as an old soldier, was literal in all things touching the service.

'The devil! no, no!--Bid the lad sit down and taste our ale. I will write his lordship an answer.'

Once more the gilt paper was resumed, and once more the door was opened by James.

'Lord -- sends his servitor to ask after Mr. Alan.'
CHAPTER II                                                                                                       103

'Oh, the deevil take their civility!' said poor Saunders. set him down to drink too--I will write to his lordship.'

'The lads will bide your pleasure, sir, as lang as I keep the bicker fou; but this ringing is like to wear out the
bell, I think; there are they at it again.'

He answered the fresh summons accordingly, and came back to inform Mr. Fairford that the Dean of Faculty
was below, inquiring for Mr. Alan. 'Will I set him down to drink, too?' said James.

'Will you be an idiot, sir?' said Mr. Fairford. 'Show Mr. Dean into the parlour.'

In going slowly downstairs, step by step, the perplexed man of business had time enough to reflect, that if it
be possible to put a fair gloss upon a true story, the verity always serves the purpose better than any substitute
which ingenuity can devise. He therefore told his learned visitor, that although his son had been incommoded
by the heat of the court, and the long train of hard study, by day and night, preceding his exertions, yet he had
fortunately so far recovered, as to be in condition to obey upon the instant a sudden summons which had
called him to the country, on a matter of life and death.

'It should be a serious matter indeed that takes my young friend away at this moment,' said the good-natured
dean. 'I wish he had stayed to finish his pleading, and put down old Tough. Without compliment, Mr.
Fairford, it was as fine a first appearance as I ever heard. I should be sorry your son did not follow it up in a
reply. Nothing like striking while the iron is hot.'

Mr. Saunders Fairford made a bitter grimace as he acquiesced in an opinion which was indeed decidedly his
own; but he thought it most prudent to reply, 'that the affair which rendered his son Alan's presence in the
country absolutely necessary, regarded the affairs of a young gentleman of great fortune, who was a particular
friend of Alan's, and who never took any material step in his affairs without consulting his counsel learned in
the law.'

'Well, well, Mr. Fairford, you know best,' answered the learned dean; 'if there be death or marriage in the case,
a will or a wedding is to be preferred to all other business. I am happy Mr. Alan is so much recovered as to be
able for travel, and wish you a very good morning.'

Having thus taken his ground to the Dean of Faculty, Mr. Fairford hastily wrote cards in answer to the inquiry
of the three judges, accounting for Alan's absence in the same manner. These, being properly sealed and
addressed, he delivered to James with directions to dismiss the particoloured gentry, who, in the meanwhile,
had consumed a gallon of twopenny ale, while discussing points of law, and addressing each other by their
masters' titles. [The Scottish judges are distinguished by the title of lord prefixed to their own temporal
designation. As the ladies of these official dignitaries do not bear any share in their husbands' honours, they
are distinguished only by their lords' family name. They were not always contented with this species of
Salique law, which certainly is somewhat inconsistent. But their pretensions to title are said to have been long
since repelled by James V, the sovereign who founded the College of Justice. 'I,' said he, 'made the caries
lords, but who the devil made the carlines ladies?']

The exertion which these matters demanded, and the interest which so many persons of legal distinction
appeared to have taken in his son, greatly relieved the oppressed spirit of Saunders Fairford, who continued, to
talk mysteriously of the very important business which had interfered with his son's attendance during the
brief remainder of the session. He endeavoured to lay the same unction to his own heart; but here the
application was less fortunate, for his conscience told him that no end, however important, which could be
achieved in Darsie Latimer's affairs, could be balanced against the reputation which Alan was like to forfeit
by deserting the cause of Poor Peter Peebles.

In the meanwhile, although the haze which surrounded the cause, or causes, of that unfortunate litigant had
CHAPTER II                                                                                                  104
been for a time dispelled by Alan's eloquence, like a fog by the thunder of artillery, yet it seemed once more to
settle down upon the mass of litigation, thick as the palpable darkness of Egypt, at the very sound of Mr.
Tough's voice, who, on the second day after Alan's departure, was heard in answer to the opening counsel.
Deep-mouthed, long-breathed, and pertinacious, taking a pinch of snuff betwixt every sentence, which
otherwise seemed interminable--the veteran pleader prosed over all the themes which had been treated so
luminously by Fairford: he quietly and imperceptibly replaced all the rubbish which the other had cleared
away, and succeeded in restoring the veil of obscurity and unintelligibility which had for many years darkened
the case of Peebles against Plainstanes; and the matter was once more hung up by a remit to an accountant,
with instruction to report before answer. So different a result from that which the public had been led to
expect from Alan's speech gave rise to various speculations.

The client himself opined, that it was entirely owing, first, to his own absence during the first day's pleading,
being, as he said, deboshed with brandy, usquebaugh, and other strong waters, at John's Coffee-house, PER
AMBAGES of Peter Drudgeit, employed to that effect by and through the device, counsel, and covyne of
Saunders Fairford, his agent, or pretended agent. Secondly by the flight and voluntary desertion of the
younger Fairford, the advocate; on account of which, he served both father and son with a petition and
complaint against them, for malversation in office. So that the apparent and most probable issue of this cause
seemed to menace the melancholy Mr. Saunders Fairford, with additional subject for plague and mortification;
which was the more galling, as his conscience told him that the case was really given away, and that a very
brief resumption of the former argument, with reference to the necessary authorities and points of evidence,
would have enabled Alan, by the mere breath, as it were, of his mouth, to blow away the various cobwebs
with which Mr. Tough had again invested the proceedings. But it went, he said, just like a decreet in absence,
and was lost for want of a contradictor.

In the meanwhile, nearly a week passed over without Mr. Fairford hearing a word directly from his son. He
learned, indeed, by a letter from Mr. Crosbie, that the young counsellor had safely reached Dumfries, but had
left that town upon some ulterior researches, the purpose of which he had not communicated. The old man,
thus left to suspense, and to mortifying recollections, deprived also of the domestic society to which he had
been habituated, began to suffer in body as well as in mind. He had formed the determination of setting out in
person for Dumfriesshire, when, after having been dogged, peevish, and snappish to his clerks and domestics,
to an unusual and almost intolerable degree, the acrimonious humours settled in a hissing- hot fit of the gout,
which is a well-known tamer of the most froward spirits, and under whose discipline we shall, for the present,
leave him, as the continuation of this history assumes, with the next division, a form somewhat different from
direct narrative and epistolary correspondence, though partaking of the character of both.
CHAPTER III                                                                                                   105

JOURNAL OF DARSIE LATIMER (The following address is written on the inside of the envelope which
contained the Journal.)

Into what hands soever these leaves may fall, they will instruct him, during a certain time at least, in the
history of the life of an unfortunate young man, who, in the heart of a free country, and without any crime
being laid to his charge, has been, and is, subjected to a course of unlawful and violent restraint. He who
opens this letter, is therefore conjured to apply to the nearest magistrate, and, following such indications as the
papers may afford, to exert himself for the relief of one, who, while he possesses every claim to assistance
which oppressed innocence can give, has, at the same time, both the inclination and the means of being
grateful to his deliverers. Or, if the person obtaining these letters shall want courage or means to effect the
writer's release, he is, in that case, conjured, by every duty of a man to his fellow mortals, and of a Christian
towards one who professes the same holy faith, to take the speediest measures for conveying them with speed
and safety to the hands of Alan Fairford, Esq., Advocate, residing in the family of his father, Alexander
Fairford, Esq., Writer to the Signet, Brown's Square, Edinburgh. He may be assured of a liberal reward,
besides the consciousness of having discharged a real duty to humanity.

MY DEAREST ALAN, Feeling as warmly towards you in doubt and in distress, as I ever did in the brightest
days of our intimacy, it is to you whom I address a history which may perhaps fall into very different hands. A
portion of my former spirit descends to my pen when I write your name, and indulging the happy thought that
you may be my deliverer from my present uncomfortable and alarming situation, as you have been my guide
and counsellor on every former occasion, I will subdue the dejection which would otherwise overwhelm me.
Therefore, as, Heaven knows, I have time enough to write, I will endeavour to pour my thoughts out, as fully
and freely as of old, though probably without the same gay and happy levity.

If the papers should reach other hands than yours, still I will not regret this exposure of my feelings; for,
allowing for an ample share of the folly incidental to youth and inexperience, I fear not that I have much to be
ashamed of in my narrative; nay, I even hope that the open simplicity and frankness with which I am about to
relate every singular and distressing circumstance, may prepossess even a stranger in my favour; and that,
amid the multitude of seemingly trivial circumstances which I detail at length, a clue may be found to effect
my liberation.

Another chance certainly remains--the Journal, as I may call it, may never reach the hands, either of the dear
friend to whom it is addressed, or those of an indifferent stranger, but may become the prey of the persons by
whom I am at present treated as a prisoner. Let it be so--they will learn from it little but what they already
know; that, as a man and an Englishman, my soul revolts at the usage which I have received; that I am
determined to essay every possible means to obtain my freedom; that captivity has not broken my spirit, and
that, although they may doubtless complete their oppression by murder, I am still willing to bequeath my
cause to the justice of my country. Undeterred, therefore, by the probability that my papers may be torn from
me, and subjected to the inspection of one in particular, who, causelessly my enemy already, may be yet
further incensed at me for recording the history of my wrongs, I proceed to resume the history of events which
have befallen me since the conclusion of my last letter to my dear Alan Fairford, dated, if I mistake not, on the
5th day of this still current month of August.

Upon the night preceding the date of that letter, I had been present, for the purpose of an idle frolic, at a
dancing party at the village of Brokenburn, about six miles from Dumfries; many persons must have seen me
there, should the fact appear of importance sufficient to require investigation. I danced, played on the violin,
and took part in the festivity till about midnight, when my servant, Samuel Owen, brought me my horses, and
I rode back to a small inn called Shepherd's Bush, kept by Mrs. Gregson, which had been occasionally my
residence for about a fortnight past. I spent the earlier part of the forenoon in writing a letter, which I have
already mentioned, to you, my dear Alan, and which, I think, you must have received in safety. Why did I not
CHAPTER III                                                                                                      106
follow your advice, so often given me? Why did I linger in the neighbourhood of a danger, of which a kind
voice had warned me? These are now unavailing questions; I was blinded by a fatality, and remained,
fluttering like a moth around the candle, until I have been scorched to some purpose.

The greater part of the day had passed, and time hung heavy on my hands. I ought, perhaps, to blush at
recollecting what has been often objected to me by the dear friend to whom this letter is addressed, viz. the
facility with which I have, in moments of indolence, suffered my motions to be, directed by any person who
chanced to be near me, instead of taking the labour of thinking or deciding for myself. I had employed for
some time, as a sort of guide and errand-boy, a lad named Benjamin, the son of one widow Coltherd, who
lives near the Shepherd's Bush, and I cannot but remember that, upon several occasions, I had of late suffered
him to possess more influence over my motions than at all became the difference of our age and condition. At
present, he exerted himself to persuade me that it was the finest possible sport to see the fish taken out from
the nets placed in the Solway at the reflux of the tide, and urged my going thither this evening so much, that,
looking back on the whole circumstances, I cannot but think he had some especial motive for his conduct.
These particulars I have mentioned, that if these papers fall into friendly hands, the boy may be sought after
and submitted to examination.

His eloquence being unable to persuade me that I should take any pleasure in seeing the fruitless struggles of
the fish when left in the nets and deserted by the tide, he artfully suggested, that Mr. and Miss Geddes, a
respectable Quaker family well known in the neighbourhood and with whom I had contracted habits of
intimacy, would possibly be offended if I did not make them an early visit. Both, he said, had been
particularly inquiring the reasons of my leaving their house rather suddenly on the previous day. I resolved,
therefore, to walk up to Mount Sharon and make my apologies; and I agreed to permit the boy to attend upon
me, and wait my return from the house, that I might fish on my way homeward to Shepherd's Bush, for which
amusement, he assured me, I would find the evening most favourable. I mention this minute circumstance,
because I strongly suspect that this boy had a presentiment how the evening was to terminate with me, and
entertained the selfish though childish wish of securing to himself an angling-rod which he had often admired,
as a part of my spoils. I may do the boy wrong, but I had before remarked in him the peculiar art of pursuing
the trifling objects of cupidity proper to his age, with the systematic address of much riper years.

When we had commenced our walk, I upbraided him with the coolness of the evening, considering the season,
the easterly wind, and other circumstances, unfavourable for angling. He persisted in his own story, and made
a few casts, as if to convince me of my error, but caught no fish; and, indeed, as I am now convinced, was
much more intent on watching my motions than on taking any. When I ridiculed him once more on his
fruitless endeavours, he answered with a sneering smile, that 'the trouts would not rise, because there was
thunder in the air;' an intimation which, in one sense, I have found too true.

I arrived at Mount Sharon; was received by my friends there with their wonted kindness; and after being a
little rallied on my having suddenly left them on the preceding evening, I agreed to make atonement by
staying all night, and dismissed the lad who attended with my fishing-rod, to carry that information to
Shepherd's Bush. It may be doubted whether he went thither, or in a different direction.

Betwixt eight and nine o'clock, when it began to become dark, we walked on the terrace to enjoy the
appearance of the firmament, glittering with ten million stars; to which a slight touch of early frost gave
tenfold lustre. As we gazed on this splendid scene, Miss Geddes, I think, was the first to point out to our
admiration a shooting or falling star, which, she said, drew a long train after it. Looking to the part of the
heavens which she pointed out, I distinctly observed two successive sky-rockets arise and burst in the sky.

'These meteors,' said Mr. Geddes, in answer to his sister's observation, 'are not formed in heaven, nor do they
bode any good to the dwellers upon earth.'

As he spoke, I looked to another quarter of the sky, and a rocket, as if a signal in answer to those which had
CHAPTER III                                                                                                     107

already appeared, rose high from the earth, and burst apparently among the stars.

Mr. Geddes seemed very thoughtful for some minutes, and then said to his sister, 'Rachel, though it waxes
late. I must go down to the fishing station, and pass the night in the overseer's room there.'

'Nay, then,' replied the lady, 'I am but too well assured that the sons of Belial are menacing these nets and
devices. Joshua, art thou a man of peace, and wilt thou willingly and wittingly thrust thyself where thou mayst
be tempted by the old man Adam within thee, to enter into debate and strife?'

'I am a man of peace, Rachel,' answered Mr. Geddes, 'even to the utmost extent which our friends can demand
of humanity; and neither have I ever used, nor, with the help of God, will I at any future time employ, the arm
of flesh to repel or to revenge injuries. But if I can, by mild reasons and firm conduct, save those rude men
from committing a crime, and the property belonging to myself and others from sustaining damage, surely I
do but the duty of a man and a Christian.'

With these words, he ordered his horse instantly; and his sister, ceasing to argue with him, folded her arms
upon her bosom, and looked up to heaven with a resigned and yet sorrowful countenance.

These particulars may appear trivial; but it is better, in my present condition, to exert my faculties in
recollecting the past, and in recording it, than waste them in vain and anxious anticipations of the future.

It would have been scarcely proper in me to remain in the house from which the master was thus suddenly
summoned away; and I therefore begged permission to attend him to the fishing station, assuring his sister
that I would be a guarantee for his safety.

That proposal seemed to give much pleasure to Miss Geddes. 'Let it be so, brother,' she said; 'and let the
young man have the desire of his heart, that there may be a faithful witness to stand by thee in the hour of
need, and to report how it shall fare with thee.

'Nay, Rachel,' said the worthy man, 'thou art to blame in this, that to quiet thy apprehensions on my account,
thou shouldst thrust into danger--if danger it shall prove to be--this youth, our guest; for whom, doubtless, in
case of mishap, as many hearts will ache as may be afflicted on our account.'

'No, my good friend,' said I, taking Mr. Geddes's hand, 'I am not so happy as you suppose me. Were my span
to be concluded this evening, few would so much as know that such a being had existed for twenty years on
the face of the earth; and of these few, only one would sincerely regret me. Do not, therefore, refuse me the
privilege attending you; and of showing, by so trifling an act of kindness, that if I have few friends, I am at
least desirous to serve them.'

'Thou hast a kind heart, I warrant thee,' said Joshua Geddes, returning the pressure of my hand. 'Rachel, the
young man shall go with me. Why should he not face danger, in order to do justice and preserve peace? There
is that within me,' he added, looking upwards, and with a passing enthusiasm which I had not before observed
and the absence of which perhaps rather belonged to the sect than to his own personal character--'I say, I have
that within which assures me, that though the ungodly may rage even like the storm of the ocean, they shall
not have freedom to prevail against us.'

Having spoken thus, Mr. Geddes appointed a pony to be saddled for my use; and having taken a basket with
some provisions, and a servant to carry back the horses for which there was no accommodation at the fishing
station, we set off about nine o'clock at night, and after three-quarters of an hour's riding, arrived at our place
of destination.

The station consists, or then consisted, of huts for four or five fishermen, a cooperage and shed, and a better
CHAPTER III                                                                                                     108
sort of cottage at which the superintendent resided. We gave our horses to the servant, to be carried back to
Mount Sharon; my companion expressing himself humanely anxious for their safety--and knocked at the door
of the house. At first we only heard a barking of dogs; but these animals became quiet on snuffing beneath the
door, and acknowledging the presence of friends. A hoarse voice then demanded, in rather unfriendly accents,
who we were, and what we wanted and it was not; until Joshua named himself, and called upon his
superintendent to open, that the latter appeared at the door of the hut, attended by three large dogs of the
Newfoundland breed. He had a flambeau in his hand, and two large heavy ship-pistols stuck into his belt. He
was a stout elderly man, who had been a sailor, as I learned, during the earlier part of his life, and was now
much confided in by the Fishing Company, whose concerns he directed under the orders of Mr. Geddes.

'Thou didst not expect me to-night, friend Davies?' said my friend to the old man, who was arranging seats for
us by the fire.

'No, Master Geddes,' answered he, 'I did not expect you, nor, to speak the truth, did I wish for you either.'

'These are plain terms: John Davies,' answered Mr.Geddes.

'Aye, aye, sir, I know your worship loves no holiday speeches.'

'Thou dost guess, I suppose, what brings us here so late, John Davies?' said Mr. Geddes.

'I do suppose, sir,' answered the superintendent, 'that it was because those d--d smuggling wreckers on the
coast are showing their lights to gather their forces, as they did the night before they broke down the
dam-dyke and weirs up the country; but if that same be the case, I wish once more you had stayed away, for
your worship carries no fighting tackle aboard, I think; and there will be work for such ere morning, your

'Worship is due to Heaven only, John Davies,' said Geddes, 'I have often desired thee to desist from using that
phrase to me.'

'I won't, then,' said John; 'no offence meant: But how the devil can a man stand picking his words, when he is
just going to come to blows?'

'I hope not, John Davies,' said Joshua Geddes. 'Call in the rest of the men, that I may give them their

'I may cry till doomsday Master Geddes, ere a soul answers--the cowardly lubbers have all made sail--the
cooper, and all the rest of them, so soon as they heard the enemy were at sea. They have all taken to the
long-boat, and left the ship among the breakers, except little Phil and myself--they have, by--!'

'Swear not at all, John Davies--thou art an honest man; and I believe, without an oath, that thy comrades love
their own bones better than my goods and chattels. And so thou hast no assistance but little Phil against a
hundred men or two?'

'Why, there are the dogs, your honour knows, Neptune and Thetis --and the puppy may do something; and
then though your worship--I beg pardon--though your honour be no great fighter, this young gentleman may
bear a hand.'

'Aye, and I see you are provided with arms,' said Mr. Geddes; 'let me see them.'

'Aye, aye, sir; here be a pair of buffers will bite as well as bark--these will make sure of two rogues at least. It
would be a shame to strike without firing a shot. Take care, your honour, they are double-shotted.'
CHAPTER III                                                                                                   109

'Aye, John Davies, I will take care of them, throwing the pistols into a tub of water beside him; 'and I wish I
could render the whole generation of them useless at the same moment.'

A deep shade of displeasure passed over John Davies's weatherbeaten countenance. 'Belike your honour is
going to take the command yourself, then?' he said, after a pause. 'Why, I can be of little use now; and since
your worship, or your honour, or whatever you are, means to strike quietly, I believe you will do it better
without me than with me, for I am like enough to make mischief, I admit; but I'll never leave my post without

'Then you have mine, John Davies, to go to Mount Sharon directly, and take the boy Phil with you. Where is

'He is on the outlook for these scums of the earth,' answered Davies; 'but it is to no purpose to know when
they come, if we are not to stand to our weapons.'

'We will use none but those of sense and reason, John.'

'And you may just as well cast chaff against the wind, as speak sense and reason to the like of them.'

'Well, well, be it so,' said Joshua; 'and now, John Davies, I know thou art what the world calls a brave fellow,
and I have ever found thee an honest one. And now I command you to go to Mount Sharon, and let Phil lie on
the bank-side--see the poor boy hath a sea-cloak, though--and watch what happens there, and let him bring
you the news; and if any violence shall be offered to the property there, I trust to your fidelity to carry my
sister to Dumfries to the house of our friends the Corsacks, and inform the civil authorities of what mischief
hath befallen.'

The old seaman paused a moment. 'It is hard lines for me,' he said, 'to leave your honour in tribulation; and
yet, staying here, I am only like to make bad worse; and your honour's sister, Miss Rachel, must be looked to,
that's certain; for if the rogues once get their hand to mischief, they will come to Mount Sharon after they have
wasted and destroyed this here snug little roadstead, where I thought to ride at anchor for life.'

'Right, right, John Davies,' said Joshua Geddes; 'and best call the dogs with you.'

'Aye, aye, sir,' said the veteran, 'for they are something of my mind, and would not keep quiet if they saw
mischief doing; so maybe they might come to mischief, poor dumb creatures. So God bless your honour--I
mean your worship--I cannot bring my mouth to say fare you well. Here, Neptune, Thetis! come, dogs, come.'

So saying, and with a very crestfallen countenance, John Davies left the hut.

'Now there goes one of the best and most faithful creatures that ever was born,' said Mr. Geddes, as the
superintendent shut the door of the cottage. 'Nature made him with a heart that would not have suffered him to
harm a fly; but thou seest, friend Latimer, that as men arm their bull-dogs with spiked collars, and their
game-cocks with steel spurs, to aid them in fight, so they corrupt, by education, the best and mildest natures,
until fortitude and spirit become stubbornness and ferocity. Believe me, friend Latimer, I would as soon
expose my faithful household dog to a vain combat with a herd of wolves, as yon trusty creature to the
violence of the enraged multitude. But I need say little on this subject to thee, friend Latimer, who, I doubt
not, art trained to believe that courage is displayed and honour attained, not by doing and suffering as
becomes a man that which fate calls us to suffer and justice commands us to do, but because thou art ready to
retort violence for violence, and considerest the lightest insult as a sufficient cause for the spilling of blood,
nay, the taking of life. But, leaving these points of controversy to a more fit season, let us see what our basket
of provision contains; for in truth, friend Latimer, I am one of those whom neither fear nor anxiety deprives of
their ordinary appetite.'
CHAPTER III                                                                                                  110
We found the means of good cheer accordingly, which Mr. Geddes seemed to enjoy as much as if it had been
eaten in a situation of perfect safety; nay, his conversation appeared to be rather more gay than on ordinary
occasions. After eating our supper, we left the hut together, and walked for a few minutes on the banks of the
sea. It was high water, and the ebb had not yet commenced. The moon shone broad and bright upon the placid
face of the Solway Firth, and showed a slight ripple upon the stakes, the tops of which were just visible above
the waves, and on the dark- coloured buoys which marked the upper edge of the enclosure of nets. At a much
greater distance--for the estuary is here very wide--the line of the English coast was seen on the verge of the
water, resembling one of those fog-banks on which mariners are said to gaze, uncertain whether it be land or
atmospherical delusion.

'We shall be undisturbed for some hours,' said Mr. Geddes; 'they will not come down upon us: till the state of
the tide permits them to destroy the tide-nets. Is it not strange to think that human passions will so soon
transform such a tranquil scene as this into one of devastation and confusion?'

It was indeed a scene of exquisite stillness; so much so, that the restless waves of the Solway seemed, if not
absolutely to sleep, at least to slumber; on the shore no night-bird was heard --the cock had not sung his first
matins, and we ourselves walked more lightly than by day, as if to suit the sounds of our own paces to the
serene tranquillity around us. At length, the plaintive cry of a dog broke the silence, and on our return to the
cottage, we found that the younger of the three animals which had gone along with John Davies,
unaccustomed, perhaps, to distant journeys, and the duty of following to heel, had strayed from the party, and,
unable to rejoin them, had wandered back to the place of its birth.

'Another feeble addition to our feeble garrison,' said Mr. Geddes, as he caressed the dog, and admitted it into
the cottage. 'Poor thing! as thou art incapable of doing any mischief, I hope thou wilt sustain none. At least
thou mayst do us the good service of a sentinel, and permit us to enjoy a quiet repose, under the certainty that
thou wilt alarm us when the enemy is at hand.'

There were two beds in the superintendent's room, upon which we threw ourselves. Mr. Geddes, with his
happy equanimity of temper, was asleep in the first five minutes. I lay for some time in doubtful and anxious
thoughts, watching the fire, and the motions of the restless dog, which, disturbed probably at the absence of
John Davies, wandered from the hearth to the door and back again, then came to the bedside and licked my
hands and face, and at length, experiencing no repulse to its advances, established itself at my feet, and went
to sleep, an example which I soon afterwards followed.

The rage of narration, my dear Alan--for I will never relinquish the hope that what I am writing may one day
reach your hands--has not forsaken me, even in my confinement, and the extensive though unimportant details
into which I have been hurried, renders it necessary that I commence another sheet. Fortunately, my pygmy
characters comprehend a great many words within a small space of paper.
CHAPTER IV                                                                                                    111


The morning was dawning, and Mr. Geddes and I myself were still sleeping soundly, when the alarm was
given by my canine bedfellow, who first growled deeply at intervals, and at length bore more decided
testimony to the approach of some enemy. I opened the door of the cottage, and perceived, at the distance of
about two hundred yards, a small but close column of men, which I would have taken for a dark hedge, but
that I could perceive it was advancing rapidly and in silence.

The dog flew towards them, but instantly ran howling back to me, having probably been chastised by a stick
or a stone. Uncertain as to the plan of tactics or of treaty which Mr. Geddes might think proper to adopt, I was
about to retire into the cottage, when he suddenly joined me at the door, and, slipping his arm through mine,
said, 'Let us go to meet them manfully; we have done nothing to be ashamed of.--Friends,' he said, raising his
voice as we approached them, 'who and what are you, and with what purpose are you here on my property?'

A loud cheer was the answer returned, and a brace of fiddlers who occupied the front of the march
immediately struck up the insulting air, the words of which begin--

Merrily danced the Quaker's wife, And merrily danced the Quaker.

Even at that moment of alarm, I think I recognized the tones of the blind fiddler, Will, known by the name of
Wandering Willie, from his itinerant habits. They continued to advance swiftly and in great order, in their

The fiery fiddlers playing martial airs;

when, coming close up, they surrounded us by a single movement, and there was a universal cry, 'Whoop,
Quaker--whoop, Quaker! Here have we them both, the wet Quaker and the dry one.'

'Hang up the wet Quaker to dry, and wet the dry one with a ducking,' answered another voice.

'Where is the sea-otter, John Davies, that destroyed more fish than any sealch upon Ailsa Craig?' exclaimed a
third voice. 'I have an old crow to pluck with him, and a pock to put the feathers in.'

We stood perfectly passive; for, to have attempted resistance against more than a hundred men, armed with
guns, fish-spears, iron-crows, spades, and bludgeons, would have been an act of utter insanity. Mr. Geddes,
with his strong sonorous voice, answered the question about the superintendent in a manner the manly
indifference of which compelled them to attend to him.

'John Davies,' he said, 'will, I trust, soon be at Dumfries'--

'To fetch down redcoats and dragoons against us, you canting old villain!'

A blow was, at the same time, levelled at my friend, which I parried by interposing the stick I had in my hand.
I was instantly struck down, and have a faint recollection of hearing some crying, 'Kill the young spy!' and
others, as I thought, interposing on my behalf. But a second blow on the head, received in the scuffle, soon
deprived me of sense and consciousness, and threw me into it state of insensibility, from which I did not
recover immediately. When I did come to myself, I was lying on the bed from which I had just risen before
the fray, and my poor companion, the Newfoundland puppy, its courage entirely cowed by the tumult of the
riot, had crept as close to me as it could, and lay trembling and whining, as if under the most dreadful terror. I
doubted at first whether I had not dreamed of the tumult, until, as I attempted to rise, a feeling of pain and
CHAPTER IV                                                                                                       112

dizziness assured me that the injury I had sustained was but too real. I gathered together my senses
listened--and heard at a distance the shouts of the rioters, busy, doubtless, in their work of devastation. I made
a second effort to rise, or at least to turn myself, for I lay with my face to the wall of the cottage, but I found
that my limbs were secured, and my motions effectually prevented--not indeed by cords, but by linen or cloth
bandages swathed around my ankles, and securing my arms to my sides. Aware of my utterly captive
condition, I groaned betwixt bodily pain and mental distress,

A voice by my bedside whispered, in a whining tone, 'Whisht a-ye, hinnie--Whisht a-ye; haud your tongue,
like a gude bairn--ye have cost us dear aneugh already. My hinnie's clean gane now.'

Knowing, as I thought, the phraseology of the wife of the itinerant musician, I asked her where her husband
was, and whether he had been hurt.

'Broken,' answered the dame, 'all broken to pieces; fit for naught but to be made spunks of--the best blood that
was in Scotland.'

'Broken?--blood?--is your husband wounded; has there been bloodshed broken limbs?'

'Broken limbs I wish,' answered the beldam, 'that my hinnie had broken the best bane in his body, before he
had broken his fiddle, that was the best blood in Scotland--it was a Cremony, for aught that I ken.'

'Pshaw--only his fiddle?' said I.

'I dinna ken what waur your honour could have wished him to do, unless he had broken his neck; and this is
muckle the same to my hinnie Willie and me. Chaw, indeed! It is easy to say chaw, but wha is to gie us ony
thing to chaw?--the bread-winner's gane, and we may e'en sit down and starve.'

'No, no,' I said, 'I will pay you for twenty such fiddles.'

'Twenty such! is that a' ye ken about it? the country hadna the like o't. But if your honour were to pay us, as
nae doubt wad be to your credit here and hereafter, where are ye to get the siller?'

'I have enough of money,' said I, attempting to reach my hand towards my side-pocket; 'unloose these
bandages, and I will pay you on the spot.'

This hint appeared to move her, and she was approaching the bedside, as I hoped, to liberate me from my
bonds, when a nearer and more desperate shout was heard, as if the rioters were close by the hut.

'I daurna I daurna,' said the poor woman, 'they would murder me and my hinnie Willie baith, and they have
misguided us aneugh already;--but if there is anything worldly I could do for your honour, leave out loosing

What she said recalled me to my bodily suffering. Agitation, and the effects of the usage I had received, had
produced a burning thirst. I asked for a drink of water.

'Heaven Almighty forbid that Epps Ainslie should gie ony sick gentleman cauld well-water, and him in a
fever. Na, na, hinnie, let me alane, I'll do better for ye than the like of that.'

'Give me what you will,' I replied; 'let it but be liquid and cool.'

The woman gave me a large horn accordingly, filled with spirits and water, which, without minute inquiry
concerning the nature of its contents, I drained at a draught. Either the spirits taken in such a manner acted
CHAPTER IV                                                                                                   113
more suddenly than usual on my brain, or else there was some drug mixed with the beverage. I remember
little after drinking it off, only that the appearance of things around me became indistinct; that the woman's
form seemed to multiply itself, and to flit in various figures around me, bearing the same lineaments as she
herself did. I remember also that the discordant noises and cries of those without the cottage seemed to die
away in a hum like that with which a nurse hushes her babe. At length I fell into a deep sound sleep, or rather,
a state of absolute insensibility.

I have reason to think this species of trance lasted for many hours; indeed, for the whole subsequent day and
part of the night. It was not uniformly so profound, for my recollection of it is chequered with many dreams,
all of a painful nature, but too faint and too indistinct to be remembered. At length the moment of waking
came, and my sensations were horrible.

A deep sound, which, in the confusion of my senses, I identified with the cries of the rioters, was the first
thing of which I was sensible; next, I became conscious that I was carried violently forward in some
conveyance, with an unequal motion, which gave me much pain. My position was horizontal, and when I
attempted to stretch my hands in order to find some mode of securing myself against this species of suffering,
I found I was bound as before, and the horrible reality rushed on my mind that I was in the hands of those who
had lately committed a great outrage on property, and were now about to kidnap, if not to murder me. I
opened my eyes, it was to no purpose--all around me was dark, for a day had passed over during my captivity.
A dispiriting sickness oppressed my head--my heart seemed on fire, while my feet and hands were chilled and
benumbed with want of circulation. It was with the utmost difficulty that I at length, and gradually, recovered
in a sufficient degree the power of observing external sounds and circumstances; and when I did so, they
presented nothing consolatory.

Groping with my hands, as far as the bandages would permit, and receiving the assistance of some occasional
glances of the moonlight, I became aware that the carriage in which I was transported was one of the light
carts of the country, called TUMBLERS, and that a little attention had been paid to my accommodation, as I
was laid upon some sacks covered with matting, and filled with straw. Without these, my condition would
have been still more intolerable, for the vehicle, sinking now on one side, and now on the other, sometimes
sticking absolutely fast and requiring the utmost exertions of the animal which drew it to put it once more in
motion, was subjected to jolts in all directions, which were very severe. At other times it rolled silently and
smoothly over what seemed to be wet sand; and, as I heard the distant roar of the tide, I had little doubt that
we were engaged in passing the formidable estuary which divides the two kingdoms.

There seemed to be at least five or six people about the cart, some on foot, others on horseback; the former
lent assistance whenever it was in danger of upsetting, or sticking fast in the quicksand; the others rode before
and acted as guides, often changing the direction of the vehicle as the precarious state of the passage required.

I addressed myself to the men around the cart, and endeavoured to move their compassion. I had harmed, I
said, no one, and for no action in my life had deserved such cruel treatment, I had no concern whatever in the
fishing station which had incurred their displeasure, and my acquaintance with Mr. Geddes was of a very late
date. Lastly, and as my strongest argument, I endeavoured to excite their fears, by informing them that my
rank in life would not permit me to be either murdered or secreted with impunity; and to interest their avarice,
by the promises I made them of reward, if they would effect my deliverance. I only received a scornful laugh
in reply to my threats; my promises might have done more, for the fellows were whispering together as if in
hesitation, and I began to reiterate and increase my offers, when the voice of one of the horsemen, who had
suddenly come up, enjoined silence to the men on foot, and, approaching the side of the cart, said to me, with
a strong and determined voice, 'Young man, there is no personal harm designed to you. If you remain silent
and quiet, you may reckon on good treatment; but if you endeavour to tamper with these men in the execution
of their duty, I will take such measures for silencing you, as you shall remember the longest day you have to
CHAPTER IV                                                                                                    114

I thought I knew the voice which uttered these threats; but, in such a situation, my perceptions could not be
supposed to be perfectly accurate. I was contented to reply, 'Whoever you are that speak to me, I entreat the
benefit of the meanest prisoner, who is not to be subjected, legally to greater hardship than is necessary for the
restraint of his person. I entreat that these bonds, which hurt me so cruelly, may be slackened at least, if not
removed altogether.'

'I will slacken the belts,' said the former speaker; 'nay, I will altogether remove them, and allow you to pursue
your journey in a more convenient manner, provided you will give me your word of honour that you will not
attempt an escape?'

'NEVER!' I answered, with an energy of which despair alone could have rendered me capable--'I will never
submit to loss of freedom a moment longer than I am subjected to it by force.'

'Enough,' he replied; 'the sentiment is natural; but do not on your side complain that I, who am carrying on an
important undertaking, use the only means in my power for ensuring its success.'

I entreated to know what it was designed to do with me; but my conductor, in a voice of menacing authority,
desired me to be silent on my peril; and my strength and spirits were too much exhausted to permit my
continuing a dialogue so singular, even if I could have promised myself any good result by doing so.

It is proper here to add, that, from my recollections at the time, and from what has since taken place, I have
the strongest possible belief that the man with whom I held this expostulation was the singular person residing
at Brokenburn, in Dumfriesshire, and called by the fishers of that hamlet, the Laird of the Solway Lochs. The
cause for his inveterate persecution I cannot pretend even to guess at.

In the meantime, the cart was dragged heavily and wearily on, until the nearer roar of the advancing tide
excited the apprehension of another danger. I could not mistake the sound, which I had heard upon another
occasion, when it was only the speed of a fleet horse which saved me from perishing in the quicksands. Thou,
my dear Alan, canst not but remember the former circumstances; and now, wonderful contrast! the very man,
to the best of my belief, who then saved me from peril, was the leader of the lawless band who had deprived
me of my liberty. I conjectured that the danger grew imminent; for I heard some words and circumstances
which made me aware that a rider hastily fastened his own horse to the shafts of the cart in order to assist the
exhausted animal which drew it, and the vehicle was now pulled forward at a faster pace, which the horses
were urged to maintain by blows and curses. The men, however, were inhabitants of the neighbourhood; and I
had strong personal reason to believe that one of them, at least, was intimately acquainted with all the depths
and shallows of the perilous paths in which we were engaged. But they were in imminent danger themselves;
and if so, as from the whispering and exertions to push on with the cart was much to be apprehended, there
was little doubt that I should be left behind as a useless encumbrance, and that, while I was in a condition
which rendered every chance of escape impracticable. These were awful apprehensions; but it pleased
Providence to increase them to a point which my brain was scarcely able to endure.

As we approached very near to a black line, which, dimly visible as it was, I could make out to be the shore,
we heard two or three sounds, which appeared to be the report of fire-arms. Immediately all was bustle among
our party to get forward. Presently a fellow galloped up to us, crying out, 'Ware hawk! ware hawk! the
land-sharks are out from Burgh, and Allonby Tom will lose his cargo if you do not bear a hand.'

Most of my company seemed to make hastily for the shore on receiving this intelligence. A driver was left
with the cart; but at length, when, after repeated and hairbreadth escapes, it actually stuck fast in a slough or
quicksand, the fellow, with an oath, cut the harness, and, as I presume, departed with the horses, whose feet I
heard splashing over the wet sand and through the shallows, as he galloped off.

The dropping sound of fire-arms was still continued, but lost almost entirely in the thunder of the advancing
CHAPTER IV                                                                                                   115
surge. By a desperate effort I raised myself in the cart, and attained a sitting posture, which served only to
show me the extent of my danger. There lay my native land--my own England--the land where I was born,
and to which my wishes, since my earliest age, had turned with all the prejudices of national feeling--there it
lay, within a furlong of the place where I yet was; that furlong, which an infant would have raced over in a
minute, was yet a barrier effectual to divide me for ever from England and from life. I soon not only heard the
roar of this dreadful torrent, but saw, by the fitful moonlight, the foamy crests of the devouring waves, as they
advanced with the speed and fury of a pack of hungry wolves.

The consciousness that the slightest ray of hope, or power of struggling, was not left me, quite overcame the
constancy which I had hitherto maintained. My eyes began to swim--my head grew giddy and mad with
fear--I chattered and howled to the howling and roaring sea. One or two great waves already reached the cart,
when the conductor of the party whom I have mentioned so often, was, as if by magic, at my side. He sprang
from his horse into the vehicle, cut the ligatures which restrained me, and bade me get up and mount in the
fiend's name.

Seeing I was incapable of obeying, he seized me as if I had been a child of six months old, threw me across
the horse, sprang on behind, supporting with one hand, while he directed the animal with the other. In my
helpless and painful posture, I was unconscious of the degree of danger which we incurred; but I believe at
one time the horse was swimming, or nearly so; and that it was with difficulty that my stern and powerful
assistant kept my head above water. I remember particularly the shock which I felt when the animal,
endeavouring to gain the bank, reared, and very nearly fell back on his burden. The time during which I
continued in this dreadful condition did not probably exceed two or three minutes, yet so strongly were they
marked with horror and agony, that they seem to my recollection a much more considerable space of time.

When I had been thus snatched from destruction, I had only power to say to my protector,--or oppressor,--for
he merited either name at my hand, 'You do not, then, design to murder me?'

He laughed as he replied, but it was a sort of laughter which I scarce desire to hear again,--'Else you think I
had let the waves do the work? But remember, the shepherd saves his sheep from the torrent--is it to preserve
its life?--Be silent, however, with questions or entreaties. What I mean to do, thou canst no more discover or
prevent, than a man, with his bare palm, can scoop dry the Solway.'

I was too much exhausted to continue the argument; and, still numbed and torpid in all my limbs, permitted
myself without reluctance to be placed on a horse brought for the purpose. My formidable conductor rode on
the one side, and another person on the other, keeping me upright in the saddle. In this manner we travelled
forward at a considerable rate, and by by-roads, with which my attendant seemed as familiar as with the
perilous passages of the Solway.

At length, after stumbling through a labyrinth of dark and deep lanes, and crossing more than one rough and
barren heath, we found ourselves on the edge of a highroad, where a chaise and four awaited, as it appeared,
our arrival. To my great relief, we now changed our mode of conveyance; for my dizziness and headache had
returned in so strong a degree, that I should otherwise have been totally unable to keep my seat on horseback,
even with the support which I received.

My doubted and dangerous companion signed to me to enter the carriage--the man who had ridden on the left
side of my horse stepped in after me, and drawing up the blinds of the vehicle, gave the signal for instant

I had obtained a glimpse of the countenance of my new companion, as by the aid of a dark lantern the drivers
opened the carriage door, and I was wellnigh persuaded that I recognized in him the domestic of the leader of
this party, whom I had seen at his house in Brokenburn on a former occasion. To ascertain the truth of my
suspicion, I asked him whether his name was not Cristal Nixon.
CHAPTER IV                                                                                                    116

'What is other folk's names to you,' he replied, gruffly, 'who cannot tell your own father and mother?'

'You know them, perhaps!' I exclaimed eagerly. 'You know them! and with that secret is connected the
treatment which I am now receiving? It must be so, for in my life have I never injured any one. Tell me the
cause of my misfortunes, or rather, help me to my liberty, and I will reward you richly.'

'Aye, aye,' replied my keeper; 'but what use to give you liberty, who know nothing how to use it like a
gentleman, but spend your time with Quakers and fiddlers, and such like raff! If I was your--hem, hem, hem!'

Here Cristal stopped short, just on the point, as it appeared, when some information was likely to escape him.
I urged him once more to be my friend, and promised him all the stock of money which I had about me, and it
was not inconsiderable, if he would assist in my escape.

He listened, as if to a proposition which had some interest, and replied, but in a voice rather softer than before,
'Aye, but men do not catch old birds with chaff, my master. Where have you got the rhino you are so flush of?'

'I will give you earnest directly, and that in banknotes,' said I; but thrusting my hand into my side-pocket, I
found my pocket- book was gone. I would have persuaded myself that it was only the numbness of my hands
which prevented my finding it; but Cristal Nixon, who bears in his countenance that cynicism which is
especially entertained with human misery, no longer suppressed his laughter.

'Oh, ho! my young master,' he said; 'we have taken good enough care you have not kept the means of bribing
poor folk's fidelity. What, man, they have souls as well as other people, and to make them break trust is a
deadly sin. And as for me, young gentleman, if you would fill Saint Mary's Kirk with gold, Cristal Nixon
would mind it no more than so many chucky-stones.'

I would have persisted, were it but in hopes of his letting drop that which it concerned me to know, but he cut
off further communication, by desiring me to lean back in the corner and go to sleep.

'Thou art cock-brained enough already,' he added, 'and we shall have thy young pate addled entirely, if you do
not take some natural rest.'

I did indeed require repose, if not slumber; the draught which I had taken continued to operate, and, satisfied
in my own mind that no attempt on my life was designed, the fear of instant death no longer combated the
torpor which crept over me--I slept, and slept soundly, but still without refreshment.

When I awoke, I found myself extremely indisposed; images of the past, and anticipations of the future,
floated confusedly through my brain. I perceived, however, that my situation was changed, greatly for the
better. I was in a good bed, with the curtains drawn round it; I heard the lowered voice and cautious step of
attendants, who seemed to respect my repose; it appeared as if I was in the hands either of friends, or of such
as meant me no personal harm.

I can give but an indistinct account of two or three broken and feverish days which succeeded, but if they
were chequered with dreams and visions of terror, other and more agreeable objects were also sometimes
presented. Alan Fairford will understand me when I say, I am convinced I saw G.M. during this interval of
oblivion. I had medical attendance, and was bled more than once. I also remember a painful operation
performed on my head, where I had received a severe blow on the night of the riot. My hair was cut short, and
the bone of the skull examined, to discover if the cranium had received any injury.

On seeing the physician, it would have been natural to have appealed to him on the subject of my
confinement, and I remember more than once attempting to do so. But the fever lay like a spell upon my
tongue, and when I would have implored the doctor's assistance, I rambled from the subject, and spoke I know
CHAPTER IV                                                                                                117
not what nonsense. Some power, which I was unable to resist, seemed to impel me into a different course of
conversation from what I intended, and though conscious, in some degree, of the failure, I could not mend it;
and resolved, therefore, to be patient, until my capacity of steady thought and expression was restored to me
with my ordinary health, which had sustained a severe shock from the vicissitudes to which I had been
exposed. [See Note 6.]
CHAPTER V                                                                                                   118


Two or three days, perhaps more, perhaps less, had been spent in bed, where I was carefully attended, and
treated, I believe, with as much judgement as the case required, and I was at length allowed to quit my bed,
though not the chamber. I was now more able to make some observation on the place of my confinement.

The room, in appearance and furniture, resembled the best apartment in a farmer's house; and the window,
two stories high, looked into a backyard, or court, filled with domestic poultry. There were the usual domestic
offices about this yard. I could distinguish the brewhouse and the barn, and I heard, from a more remote
building, the lowing of the cattle, and other rural sounds, announcing a large and well-stocked farm. These
were sights and sounds qualified to dispel any apprehension of immediate violence. Yet the building seemed
ancient and strong, a part of the roof was battlemented,and the walls were of great thickness; lastly, I
observed, with some unpleasant sensations, that the windows of my chamber had been lately secured with iron
stanchions, and that the servants who brought me victuals, or visited my apartment to render other menial
offices, always locked the door when they retired.

The comfort and cleanliness of my chamber were of true English growth, and such as I had rarely seen on the
other side of the Tweed; the very old wainscot, which composed the floor and the panelling of the room, was
scrubbed with a degree of labour which the Scottish housewife rarely bestows on her most costly furniture.

The whole apartments appropriated to my use consisted of the bedroom, a small parlour adjacent, within
which was a still smaller closet having a narrow window which seemed anciently to have been used as a
shot-hole, admitting, indeed, a very moderate portion of light and air, but without its being possible to see
anything from it except the blue sky, and that only by mounting on a chair. There were appearances of a
separate entrance into this cabinet, besides that which communicated with the parlour, but it had been recently
built up, as I discovered by removing a piece of tapestry which covered the fresh mason-work. I found some
of my clothes here, with linen and other articles, as well as my writing-case, containing pen, ink, and paper,
which enables me, at my leisure (which, God knows, is undisturbed enough) to make this record of my
confinement. It may be well believed, however, that I do not trust to the security of the bureau, but carry the
written sheets about my person, so that I can only be deprived of them by actual violence. I also am cautious
to write in the little cabinet only, so that I can hear any person approach me through the other apartments, and
have time enough to put aside my journal before they come upon me.

The servants, a stout country fellow and a very pretty milkmaid- looking lass, by whom I am attended, seem
of the true Joan and Hedge school, thinking of little and desiring nothing beyond the very limited sphere of
their own duties or enjoyments, and having no curiosity whatever about the affairs of others. Their behaviour
to me in particular, is, at the same time, very kind and very provoking. My table is abundantly supplied, and
they seem anxious to comply with my taste in that department. But whenever I make inquiries beyond 'what's
for dinner', the brute of a lad baffles me by his ANAN, and his DUNNA KNAW, and if hard pressed, turns his
back on me composedly, and leaves the room. The girl, too, pretends to be as simple as he; but an arch grin,
which she cannot always suppress, seems to acknowledge that she understands perfectly well the game which
she is playing, and is determined to keep me in ignorance. Both of them, and the wench in particular, treat me
as they would do a spoiled child, and never directly refuse me anything which I ask, taking care, at the same
time, not to make their words good by effectually granting my request. Thus, if I desire to go out, I am
promised by Dorcas that I shall walk in the park at night, and see the cows milked, just as she would propose
such an amusement to a child. But she takes care never to keep her word, if it is in her power to do so.

In the meantime, there has stolen on me insensibly an indifference to my freedom--a carelessness about my
situation, for which I am unable to account, unless it be the consequence of weakness and loss of blood. I have
read of men who, immured as I am, have surprised the world by the address with which they have
CHAPTER V                                                                                                      119
successfully overcome the most formidable obstacles to their escape; and when I have heard such anecdotes, I
have said to myself, that no one who is possessed only of a fragment of freestone, or a rusty nail to grind
down rivets and to pick locks, having his full leisure to employ in the task, need continue the inhabitant of a
prison. Here, however, I sit, day after day, without a single effort to effect my liberation.

Yet my inactivity is not the result of despondency, but arises, in part at least, from feelings of a very different
cast. My story, long a mysterious one, seems now upon the verge of some strange development; and I feel a
solemn impression that I ought to wait the course of events, to struggle against which is opposing my feeble
efforts to the high will of fate. Thou, my Alan, wilt treat as timidity this passive acquiescence, which has sunk
down on me like a benumbing torpor; but if thou hast remembered by what visions my couch was haunted,
and dost but think of the probability that I am in the vicinity, perhaps under the same roof with G.M., thou
wilt acknowledge that other feelings than pusillanimity have tended in some degree to reconcile me to my

Still I own it is unmanly to submit with patience to this oppressive confinement. My heart rises against it,
especially when I sit down to record my sufferings in this journal, and I am determined, as the first step to my
deliverance, to have my letters sent to the post-house.


I am disappointed. When the girl Dorcas, upon whom I had fixed for a messenger, heard me talk of sending a
letter, she willingly offered her services, and received the crown which I gave her (for my purse had not taken
flight with the more valuable contents of my pocket-book) with a smile which showed her whole set of white

But when, with the purpose of gaining some intelligence respecting my present place of abode, I asked to
which post-town she was to send or carry the letter, a stolid 'ANAN' showed me she was either ignorant of the
nature of a post-office, or that, for the present, she chose to seem so.--'Simpleton!' I said, with some sharpness.

'O Lord, sir!' answered the girl, turning pale, which they always do when I show any sparks of anger, 'Don't
put yourself in a passion--I'll put the letter in the post.

'What! and not know the name of the post-town?' said I, out of patience. 'How on earth do you propose to
manage that?'

'La you there, good master. What need you frighten a poor girl that is no schollard, bating what she learned at
the Charity School of Saint Bees?'

'Is Saint Bees far from this place, Dorcas? Do you send your letters there?' said I, in a manner as insinuating,
and yet careless, as I could assume.

'Saint Bees! La, who but a madman--begging your honour's pardon --it's a matter of twenty years since fader
lived at Saint Bees, which is twenty, or forty, or I dunna know not how many miles from this part, to the
West, on the coast side; and I would not have left Saint Bees, but that fader'--

'Oh, the devil take your father!' replied I.

To which she answered, 'Nay, but thof your honour be a little how-come-so, you shouldn't damn folk's faders;
and I won't stand to it, for one.'

'Oh, I beg you a thousand pardons--I wish your father no ill in the world--he was a very honest man in his
CHAPTER V                                                                                                        120

'WAS an honest man!' she exclaimed; for the Cumbrians are, it would seem, like their neighbours the Scotch,
ticklish on the point of ancestry,--'He IS a very honest man as ever led nag with halter on head to Staneshaw
Bank Fair. Honest! He is a horse- couper.'

'Right, right,' I replied; 'I know it--I have heard of your father-as honest as any horse-couper of them all. Why,
Dorcas, I mean to buy a horse of him.'

'Ah, your honour,' sighed Dorcas, 'he is the man to serve your honour well--if ever you should get round
again--or thof you were a bit off the hooks, he would no more cheat you than'--

'Well, well, we will deal, my girl, you may depend on't. But tell me now, were I to give you a letter, what
would you do to get it forward?'

'Why, put it into Squire's own bag that hangs in hall,' answered poor Dorcas. 'What else could I do? He sends
it to Brampton, or to Carloisle, or where it pleases him, once a week, and that gate.'

'Ah!' said I; 'and I suppose your sweetheart John carries it?'

'Noa--disn't now--and Jan is no sweetheart of mine, ever since he danced at his mother's feast with Kitty
Rutlege, and let me sit still; that a did.'

'It was most abominable in Jan, and what I could never have thought of him,' I replied.

'Oh, but a did though--a let me sit still on my seat, a did.'

'Well, well, my pretty May, you will get a handsomer fellow than Jan--Jan's not the fellow for you, I see that.'

'Noa, noa,' answered the damsel; 'but he is weel aneugh for a' that, mon. But I carena a button for him; for
there is the miller's son, that suitored me last Appleby Fair, when I went wi' oncle, is a gway canny lad as you
will see in the sunshine.'

'Aye, a fine stout fellow. Do you think he would carry my letter to Carlisle?'

'To Carloisle! 'Twould be all his life is worth; he maun wait on clap and hopper, as they say. Odd, his father
would brain him if he went to Carloisle, bating to wrestling for the belt, or sic loike. But I ha' more bachelors
than him; there is the schoolmaster, can write almaist as weel as tou canst, mon.'

'Then he is the very man to take charge of a letter; he knows the trouble of writing one.'

'Aye, marry does he, an tou comest to that, mon; only it takes him four hours to write as mony lines. Tan, it is
a great round hand loike, that one can read easily, and not loike your honour's, that are like midge's taes. But
for ganging to Carloisle, he's dead foundered, man, as cripple as Eckie's mear.'

'In the name of God,' said I, 'how is it that you propose to get my letter to the post?'

'Why, just to put it into Squire's bag loike,' reiterated Dorcas; 'he sends it by Cristal Nixon to post, as you call
it, when such is his pleasure.'

Here I was, then, not much edified by having obtained a list of Dorcas's bachelors; and by finding myself,
with respect to any information which I desired, just exactly at the point where I set out. It was of
consequence to me, however, to accustom, the girl to converse with me familiarly. If she did so, she could not
always be on her guard, and something, I thought, might drop from her which I could turn to advantage.
CHAPTER V                                                                                                      121

'Does not the Squire usually look into his letter-bag, Dorcas?' said I, with as much indifference as I could

'That a does,' said Dorcas; 'and a threw out a letter of mine to Raff Miller, because a said'--

'Well, well, I won't trouble him with mine,' said I, 'Dorcas; but, instead, I will write to himself, Dorcas. But
how shall I address him?'

'Anan?' was again Dorcas's resource.

'I mean how is he called? What is his name?'

'Sure you honour should know best,' said Dorcas.

'I know? The devil! You drive me beyond patience.'

'Noa, noa! donna your honour go beyond patience--donna ye now,' implored the wench. 'And for his neame,
they say he has mair nor ane in Westmoreland and on the Scottish side. But he is but seldom wi' us, excepting
in the cocking season; and then we just call him Squoire loike; and so do my measter and dame.'

'And is he here at present?' said I.

'Not he, not he; he is a buck-hoonting, as they tell me, somewhere up the Patterdale way; but he comes and
gangs like a flap of a whirlwind, or sic loike.'

I broke off the conversation, after forcing on Dorcas a little silver to buy ribbons, with which she was so much
delighted that she exclaimed, 'God! Cristal Nixon may say his worst on thee; but thou art a civil gentleman for
all him; and a quoit man wi' woman folk loike.'

There is no sense in being too quiet with women folk, so I added a kiss with my crown piece; and I cannot
help thinking that I have secured a partisan in Dorcas. At least, she blushed, and pocketed her little
compliment with one hand, while, with the other, she adjusted her cherry-coloured ribbons, a little disordered
by the struggle it cost me to attain the honour of a salute.

As she unlocked the door to leave the apartment, she turned back, and looking on me with a strong expression
of compassion, added the remarkable words, 'La--be'st mad or no, thou'se a mettled lad, after all.'

There was something very ominous in the sound of these farewell words, which seemed to afford me a clue to
the pretext under which I was detained in confinement, My demeanour was probably insane enough, while I
was agitated at once by the frenzy incident to the fever, and the anxiety arising from my extraordinary
situation. But is it possible they can now establish any cause for confining me arising out of the state of my

If this be really the pretext under which I am restrained from my liberty, nothing but the sedate correctness of
my conduct can remove the prejudices which these circumstances may have excited in the minds of all who
have approached me during my illness. I have heard--dreadful thought!--of men who, for various reasons,
have been trepanned into the custody of the keepers of private madhouses, and whose brain, after years of
misery, became at length unsettled, through irresistible sympathy with the wretched beings among whom they
were classed. This shall not be my case, if, by strong internal resolution, it is in human nature to avoid the
action of exterior and contagious sympathies.

Meantime I sat down to compose and arrange my thoughts, for my purposed appeal to my jailer--so I must
CHAPTER V                                                                                                   122
call him--whom I addressed in the following manner; having at length, and after making several copies, found
language to qualify the sense of resentment which burned in the first, drafts of my letter, and endeavoured to
assume a tone more conciliating. I mentioned the two occasions on which he had certainly saved my life,
when at the utmost peril; and I added, that whatever was the purpose of the restraint, now practised on me, as I
was given to understand, by his authority, it could not certainly be with any view to ultimately injuring me.
He might, I said, have mistaken me for some other person; and I gave him what account I could of my
situation and education, to correct such an error. I supposed it next possible, that he might think me too weak
for travelling, and not capable of taking care of myself; and I begged to assure him, that I was restored to
perfect health, and quite able to endure the fatigue of a journey. Lastly, I reminded him, in firm though
measured terms, that the restraint which I sustained was an illegal one, and highly punishable by the laws
which protect the liberties of the subject. I ended by demanding that he would take me before a magistrate; or,
at least, that he would favour me with a personal interview and explain his meaning with regard to me.

Perhaps this letter was expressed in a tone too humble for the situation of an injured man, and I am inclined to
think so when I again recapitulate its tenor. But what could I do? I was in the power of one whose passions
seem as violent as his means of gratifying them appear unbounded. I had reason, too, to believe (this to thee,
Alan) that all his family did not approve of the violence of his conduct towards me; my object, in fine, was
freedom, and who would not sacrifice much to attain it?

I had no means of addressing my letter excepting 'For the Squire's own hand.' He could be at no great
distance, for in the course of twenty-four hours I received an answer. It was addressed to Darsie Latimer, and
contained these words: 'You have demanded an interview with me. You have required to be carried before a
magistrate. Your first wish shall be granted-- perhaps the second also. Meanwhile, be assured that you are a
prisoner for the time, by competent authority, and that such authority is supported by adequate power.
Beware, therefore, of struggling with a force sufficient to crush you, but abandon yourself to that train of
events by which we are both swept along, and which it is impossible that either of us can resist.'

These mysterious words were without signature of any kind, and left me nothing more important to do than to
prepare myself for the meeting which they promised. For that purpose I must now break off, and make sure of
the manuscript--so far as I can, in my present condition, be sure of anything--by concealing it within the lining
of my coat, so as not to be found without strict search.
CHAPTER VI                                                                                                       123


The important interview expected at the conclusion of my last took place sooner than I had calculated; for the
very day I received the letter, and just when my dinner was finished, the squire, or whatever he is called,
entered the room so suddenly that I almost thought I beheld an apparition. The figure of this man is peculiarly
noble and stately, and his voice has that deep fullness of accent which implies unresisted authority. I had risen
involuntarily as he entered; we gazed on each other for a moment in silence, which was at length broken by
my visitor.

'You have desired to see me,' he said. 'I am here; if you have aught to say let me hear it; my time is too brief to
be consumed in childish dumb-show.'

'I would ask of you,' said I, 'by what authority I am detained in this place of confinement, and for what

'I have told you already,' said he, 'that my authority is sufficient, and my power equal to it; this is all which it
is necessary for you at present to know.'

'Every British subject has a right to know why he suffers restraint,' I replied; 'nor can he be deprived of liberty
without a legal warrant. Show me that by which you confine me thus.'

'You shall see more,' he said; 'you shall see the magistrate by whom it is granted, and that without a moment's

This sudden proposal fluttered and alarmed me; I felt, nevertheless, that I had the right cause, and resolved to
plead it boldly, although I could well have desired a little further time for preparation. He turned, however,
threw open the door of the apartment, and commanded me to follow him. I felt some inclination, when I
crossed the threshold of my prison-chamber, to have turned and run for it; but I knew not where to find the
stairs--had reason to think the outer doors would be secured and, to conclude, so soon as I had quitted the
room to follow the proud step of my conductor, I observed that I was dogged by Cristal Nixon, who suddenly
appeared within two paces of me, and with whose great personal strength, independent of the assistance he
might have received from his master, I saw no chance of contending. I therefore followed, unresistingly and in
silence; along one or two passages of much greater length than consisted with the ideas I had previously
entertained of the size of the house. At length a door was flung open, and we entered a large, old-fashioned
parlour, having coloured glass in the windows, oaken panelling on the wall, a huge grate, in which a large
faggot or two smoked under an arched chimney-piece of stone which bore some armorial device, whilst the
walls were adorned with the usual number of heroes in armour, with large wigs instead of helmets, and ladies
in sacques, smelling to nosegays.

Behind a long table, on which were several books, sat a smart underbred-looking man, wearing his own hair
tied in a club, and who, from the quire of paper laid before him, and the pen which he handled at my entrance,
seemed prepared to officiate as clerk. As I wish to describe these persons as accurately as possible, I may add,
he wore a dark-coloured coat, corduroy breeches, and spatterdashes. At the upper end of the same table, in an
ample easy-chair covered with black leather, reposed a fat personage, about fifty years old, who either was
actually a country justice, or was well selected to represent such a character. His leathern breeches were
faultless in make, his jockey boots spotless in the varnish, and a handsome and flourishing pair of
boot-garters, as they are called, united the one part of his garments to the other; in fine, a richly-laced scarlet
waistcoat and a purple coat set off the neat though corpulent figure of the little man, and threw an additional
bloom upon his plethoric aspect. I suppose he had dined, for it was two hours past noon, and he was amusing
himself, and aiding digestion, with a pipe of tobacco. There was an air of importance in his manner which
CHAPTER VI                                                                                                   124
corresponded to the rural dignity of his exterior, and a habit which he had of throwing out a number of
interjectional sounds, uttered with a strange variety of intonation running from bass up to treble in a very
extraordinary manner, or breaking off his sentences with a whiff of his pipe, seemed adopted to give an air of
thought and mature deliberation to his opinions and decisions. Notwithstanding all this, Alan, it might be
DOOTED, as our old Professor used to say, whether the Justice was anything more then an ass. Certainly,
besides a great deference for the legal opinion of his clerk, which might be quite according to the order of
things, he seemed to be wonderfully under the command of his brother squire, if squire either of them were,
and indeed much more than was consistent with so much assumed consequence of his own.

'Ho--ha--aye--so--so--hum--humph--this is the young man, I suppose--hum--aye--seems sickly. Young
gentleman, you may sit down.'

I used the permission given, for I had been much more reduced by my illness than I was aware of, and felt
myself really fatigued, even by the few paces I had walked, joined to the agitation I suffered.

'And your name, young man, is--humph--aye--ha--what is it?'

'Darsie Latimer.'

'Right--aye--humph--very right. Darsie Latimer is the very thing--ha--aye--where do you come from?'

'From Scotland, sir,' I replied.

'A native of Scotland--a--humph--eh--how is it?'

'I am an Englishman by birth, sir.'

'Right--aye--yes, you are so. But pray, Mr. Darsie Latimer, have you always been called by that name, or have
you any other?-- Nick, write down his answers, Nick.'

'As far as I remember, I never bore any other,' was my answer.

'How, no? well, I should not have thought so, Hey, neighbour, would you?'

Here he looked towards the other squire, who had thrown himself into a chair; and, with his legs stretched out
before him, and his arms folded on his bosom, seemed carelessly attending to what was going forward. He
answered the appeal of the Justice by saying, that perhaps the young man's memory did not go back to a very
early period.

'Ah--eh--ha--you hear the gentleman. Pray, how far may your memory be pleased to run back to?--umph?'

'Perhaps, sir, to the age of three years, or a little further.'

'And will you presume to say, sir,' said the squire, drawing himself suddenly erect in his seat, and exerting the
strength of his powerful voice, 'that you then bore your present name?'

I was startled at the confidence with which this question was put, and in vain rummaged my memory for the
means of replying. 'At least,' I said, 'I always remember being called Darsie; children, at that early age, seldom
get more than their Christian name.'

'Oh, I thought so,' he replied, and again stretched himself on his seat, in the same lounging posture as before.
CHAPTER VI                                                                                                       125

'So you were called Darsie in your infancy,' said the Justice; 'and--hum--aye--when did you first take the name
of Latimer?'

'I did not take it, sir; it was given to me.'

'I ask you,' said the lord of the mansion, but with less severity in his voice than formerly, 'whether you can
remember that you were ever called Latimer, until you had that name given you in Scotland?'

'I will be candid: I cannot recollect an instance that I was so called when in England, but neither can I
recollect when the name was first given me; and if anything is to be founded on these queries and my answers,
I desire my early childhood may be taken into consideration.'

'Hum--aye--yes,' said the Justice; 'all that requires consideration shall be duly considered. Young man--eh--I
beg to know the name of your father and mother?'

This was galling a wound that has festered for years, and I did not endure the question so patiently as those
which preceded it; but replied, 'I demand, in my turn, to know if I am before an English Justice of the Peace?'

'His worship, Squire Foxley, of Foxley Hall, has been of the quorum these twenty years,' said Master

'Then he ought to know, or you, sir, as his clerk, should inform him,' said I, 'that I am the complainer in this
case, and that my complaint ought to be heard before I am subjected to cross- examination.'

'Humph--hoy--what, aye--there is something in that, neighbour,' said the poor Justice, who, blown about by
every wind of doctrine, seemed desirous to attain the sanction of his brother squire.

'I wonder at you, Foxley,' said his firm-minded acquaintance; 'how can you render the young man justice
unless you know who he is?'

'Ha--yes--egad, that's true,' said Mr. Justice Foxley; 'and now-- looking into the matter more closely--there is,
eh, upon the whole--nothing at all in what he says--so, sir, you must tell your father's name, and surname.'

'It is out of my power, sir; they are not known to me, since you must needs know so much of my private

The Justice collected a great AFFLATUS in his cheeks, which puffed them up like those of a Dutch cherub,
while his eyes seemed flying out of his head, from the effort with which he retained his breath. He then blew
it forth with,--'Whew!--Hoom-- poof--ha!--not know your parents, youngster?--Then I must commit you for a
vagrant, I warrant you. OMNE IGNOTUM PRO TERRIBILI, as we used to say at Appleby school; that is,
every one that is not known to the Justice; is a rogue and a vagabond. Ha!--aye, you may sneer, sir; but I
question if you would have known the meaning of that Latin, unless I had told you.'

I acknowledged myself obliged for a new edition of the adage, and an interpretation which I could never have
reached alone and unassisted. I then proceeded to state my case with greater confidence. The Justice was an
ass, that was clear; but if was scarcely possible he could be so utterly ignorant as not to know what was
necessary in so plain a case as mine. I therefore informed him of the riot which had been committed on the
Scottish side of the Solway Firth, explained how I came to be placed in my present situation, and requested of
his worship to set me at liberty. I pleaded my cause with as much earnestness as I could, casting an eye from
time to time upon the opposite party, who seemed entirely indifferent to all the animation with which I
accused him.
CHAPTER VI                                                                                                     126
As for the Justice, when at length I had ceased, as really not knowing what more to say in a case so very plain,
he replied, 'Ho--aye--aye--yes--wonderful! and so this is all the gratitude you show to this good gentleman for
the great charge and trouble he hath had with respect to and concerning of you?'

'He saved my life, sir, I acknowledge, on one occasion certainly, and most probably on two; but his having
done so gives him no right over my person. I am not, however, asking for any punishment or revenge; on the
contrary, I am content to part friends with the gentleman, whose motives I am unwilling to suppose are bad,
though his actions have been, towards me, unauthorized and violent.'

This moderation, Alan, thou wilt comprehend, was not entirely dictated by my feelings towards the individual
of whom I complained; there were other reasons, in which regard for him had little share. It seemed, however,
as if the mildness with which I pleaded my cause had more effect upon him than anything I had yet said. We
was moved to the point of being almost out of countenance; and took snuff repeatedly, as if to gain time to
stifle some degree of emotion.

But on Justice Foxley, on whom my eloquence was particularly designed to make impression, the result was
much less favourable. He consulted in a whisper with Mr. Nicholas, his clerk--pshawed, hemmed, and
elevated his eyebrows, as if in scorn of my supplication. At length, having apparently made up his mind, he
leaned back in his chair, and smoked his pipe with great energy, with a look of defiance, designed to make me
aware that all my reasoning was lost on him.

At length, when I stopped, more from lack of breath than want of argument, he opened his oracular jaws, and
made the following reply, interrupted by his usual interjectional ejaculations, and by long volumes of
smoke:--'Hem--aye--eh--poof. And, youngster, do you think Matthew Foxley, who has been one of the
quorum for these twenty years, is to be come over with such trash as would hardly cheat an apple-woman?
Poof--poof--eh! Why, man--eh-- dost thou not know the charge is not a bailable matter--and that
--hum--aye--the greatest man--poof--the Baron of Graystock himself, must stand committed? and yet you
pretend to have been kidnapped by this gentleman, and robbed of property, and what not; and--eh--poof--you
would persuade me all you want is to get away from him? I do believe--eh--that it IS all you want. Therefore,
as you are a sort of a slip-string gentleman, and--aye --hum--a kind of idle apprentice, and something
cock-brained withal, as the honest folks of the house tell me--why, you must e'en remain under custody of
your guardian, till your coming of age, or my Lord Chancellor's warrant, shall give you the management of
your own affairs, which, if you can gather your brains again, you will even then not be--aye--hem--poof--in
particular haste to assume.'

The time occupied by his worship's hums, and haws, and puffs of tobacco smoke, together with the slow and
pompous manner in which he spoke, gave me a minute's space to collect my ideas, dispersed as they were by
the extraordinary purport of this annunciation.

'I cannot conceive, sir,' I replied, 'by what singular tenure this person claims my obedience as a guardian; it is
a barefaced imposture. I never in my life saw him, until I came unhappily to this country, about four weeks

'Aye, sir--we--eh--know, and are aware--that--poof--you do not like to hear some folk's names; and
that--eh--you understand me-- there are things, and sounds, and matters, conversation about names, and
suchlike, which put you off the hooks--which I have no humour to witness. Nevertheless, Mr.
Darsie--or--poof--Mr. Darsie Latimer--or--poof, poof--eh--aye, Mr. Darsie without the Latimer--you have
acknowledged as much to-day as assures me you will best be disposed of under the honourable care of my
friend here--all your confessions--besides that--poof--eh--I know him to be a most responsible
person--a--hay--aye--most responsible and honourable person--Can you deny this?'

'I know nothing of him,' I repeated; 'not even his name; and I have not, as I told you, seen him in the course of
CHAPTER VI                                                                                                    127
my whole life, till a few weeks since.'

'Will you swear to that?' said the singular man, who seemed to await the result of this debate, secure as a
rattle-snake is of the prey which has once felt its fascination. And while he said these words in deep
undertone, he withdrew his chair a little behind that of the Justice, so as to be unseen by him or his clerk, who
sat upon the same side; while he bent on me a frown so portentous, that no one who has witnessed the look
can forget it during the whole of his life. The furrows of the brow above the eyes became livid and almost
black, and were bent into a semicircular, or rather elliptical form, above the junction of the eyebrows. I had
heard such a look described in an old tale of DIABLERIE, which it was my chance to be entertained with not
long since; when this deep and gloomy contortion of the frontal muscles was not unaptly described as forming
the representation of a small horseshoe.

The tale, when told, awaked a dreadful vision of infancy, which the withering and blighting look now fixed on
me again forced on my recollection, but with much more vivacity. Indeed, I was so much surprised, and, I
must add, terrified, at the vague ideas which were awakened in my mind by this fearful sign, that I kept my
eyes fixed on the face in which it was exhibited, as on a frightful vision; until, passing his handkerchief a
moment across his countenance, this mysterious man relaxed at once the look which had for me something so
appalling. 'The young man will no longer deny that he has seen me before,' said he to the Justice, in a tone of
complacency; 'and I trust he will now be reconciled to my temporary guardianship, which may end better for
him than he expects.'

'Whatever I expect,' I replied, summoning my scattered recollections together, 'I see I am neither to expect
justice nor protection from this gentleman, whose office it is to render both to the lieges. For you, sir, how
strangely you have wrought yourself into the fate of an unhappy young man or what interest you can pretend
in me, you yourself only can explain. That I have seen you before is certain; for none can forget the look with
which you seem to have the power of blighting those upon whom you cast it.'

The Justice seemed not very easy under this hint,'Ha!--aye,' he said; 'it is time to be going, neighbour. I have a
many miles to ride, and I care not to ride darkling in these parts. You and I, Mr. Nicholas, must be jogging.'

The Justice fumbled with his gloves, in endeavouring to draw them on hastily, and Mr. Nicholas bustled to get
his greatcoat and whip. Their landlord endeavoured to detain them, and spoke of supper and beds. Both,
pouring forth many thanks for his invitation, seemed as if they would much rather not, and Mr. Justice Foxley
was making a score of apologies, with at least a hundred cautionary hems and eh-ehs, when the girl Dorcas
burst into the room, and announced a gentleman on justice business.

'What gentleman?--and whom does he want?'

'He is cuome post on his ten toes,' said the wench; 'and on justice business to his worship loike. I'se uphald
him a gentleman, for he speaks as good Latin as the schule-measter; but, lack-a-day! he has gotten a queer
mop of a wig.'

The gentleman, thus announced and described, bounced into the room. But I have already written as much as
fills a sheet of my paper, and my singular embarrassments press so hard on me that I have matter to fill
another from what followed the intrusion of-- my dear Alan--your crazy client--Poor Peter Peebles!
CHAPTER VII                                                                                                    128


Sheet 2.

I have rarely in my life, till the last alarming days, known what it was to sustain a moment's real sorrow. What
I called such, was, I am now well convinced, only the weariness of mind which, having nothing actually
present to complain of, turns upon itself and becomes anxious about the past and the future; those periods with
which human life has so little connexion, that Scripture itself hath said, 'Sufficient for the day is the evil

If, therefore, I have sometimes abused prosperity, by murmuring at my unknown birth and uncertain rank in
society, I will make amends by bearing my present real adversity with patience and courage, and, if I can,
even with gaiety. What can they--dare they-do to me? Foxley, I am persuaded, is a real Justice of Peace, and
country gentleman of estate, though (wonderful to tell!) he is an ass notwithstanding; and his functionary in
the drab coat must have a shrewd guess at the consequences of being accessory to an act of murder or
kidnapping. Men invite not such witnesses to deeds of darkness. I have also--Alan, I have hopes, arising out of
the family of the oppressor himself. I am encouraged to believe that G.M. is likely again to enter on the field.
More I dare not here say; nor must I drop a hint which another eye than thine might be able to construe.
Enough, my feelings are lighter than they have been; and, though fear and wonder are still around me, they are
unable entirely to overcloud the horizon.

Even when I saw the spectral form of the old scarecrow of the Parliament House rush into the apartment
where I had undergone so singular an examination, I thought of thy connexion with him, and could almost
have parodied Lear--

Death!--nothing could have thus subdued nature To such a lowness, but his 'learned lawyers.'

He was e'en as we have seen him of yore, Alan, when, rather to keep thee company than to follow my own
bent, I formerly frequented the halls of justice. The only addition to his dress, in the capacity of a traveller,
was a pair of boots, that seemed as if they might have seen the field of Sheriffmoor; so large and heavy that,
tied as they were to the creature's wearied hams with large bunches of worsted tape of various colours, they
looked as if he had been dragging them along, either for a wager or by way of penance.

Regardless of the surprised looks of the party on whom he thus intruded himself, Peter blundered into the
middle of the apartment, with his head charged like a ram's in the act of butting, and saluted them thus:--

'Gude day to ye, gude day to your honours. Is't here they sell the fugie warrants?'

I observed that on his entrance, my friend--or enemy--drew himself back, and placed himself as if he would
rather avoid attracting the observation of the new-comer. I did the same myself, as far as I was able; for I
thought it likely that Mr. Peebles might recognize me, as indeed I was too frequently among the group of
young juridical aspirants who used to amuse themselves by putting cases for Peter's solution, and playing him
worse tricks; yet I was uncertain whether I had better avail myself of our acquaintance to have the advantage,
such as it might be, of his evidence before the magistrate, or whether to make him, if possible, bearer of a
letter which might procure me more effectual assistance. I resolved, therefore, to be guided by circumstances,
and to watch carefully that nothing might escape me. I drew back as far as I could, and even reconnoitred the
door and passage, to consider whether absolute escape might not be practicable. But there paraded Cristal
Nixon, whose little black eyes, sharp as those of a basilisk, seemed, the instant when they encountered mine,
to penetrate my purpose.
CHAPTER VII                                                                                                   129

I sat down, as much out of sight of all parties as I could, and listened to the dialogue which followed--a
dialogue how much more interesting to me than any I could have conceived, in which Peter Peebles was to be
one of the dramatis personae!

'Is it here where ye sell the warrants--the fugies, ye ken?' said Peter.

'Hey--eh--what!' said Justice Foxley; 'what the devil does the fellow mean?--What would you have a warrant

'It is to apprehend a young lawyer that is IN MEDITATIONE FUGAE; for he has ta'en my memorial and
pleaded my cause, and a good fee I gave him, and as muckle brandy as he could drink that day at his father's
house--he loes the brandy ower weel for sae youthful a creature.'

'And what has this drunken young dog of a lawyer done to you, that you are come to me--eh--ha? Has he
robbed you? Not unlikely if he be a lawyer--eh--Nick--ha?' said Justice Foxley.

'He has robbed me of himself, sir,' answered Peter; 'of his help, comfort, aid, maintenance, and assistance,
whilk, as a counsel to a client, he is bound to yield me RATIONE OFFICII--that is it, ye see. He has pouched
my fee, and drucken a mutchkin of brandy, and now he's ower the march, and left my cause, half won half
lost--as dead a heat as e'er was run ower the back-sands. Now, I was advised by some cunning laddies that are
used to crack a bit law wi' me in the House, that the best thing I could do was to take heart o' grace and set out
after him; so I have taken post on my ain shanks, forby a cast in a cart, or the like. I got wind of him in
Dumfries, and now I have run him ower to the English side, and I want a fugie warrant against him.'

How did my heart throb at this information, dearest Alan! Thou art near me then, and I well know with what
kind purpose; thou hast abandoned all to fly to my assistance; and no wonder that, knowing thy friendship and
faith, thy sound sagacity and persevering disposition, 'my bosom's lord should now sit lightly on his throne';
that gaiety should almost involuntarily hover on my pen; and that my heart should beat like that of a general,
responsive to the drums of his advancing ally, without whose help the battle must have been lost.

I did not suffer myself to be startled by this joyous surprise, but continued to bend my strictest attention to
what followed among this singular party. That Poor Peter Peebles had been put on this wildgoose chase by
some of his juvenile advisers in the Parliament House, he himself had intimated; but he spoke with much
confidence, and the Justice, who seemed to have some secret apprehension of being put to trouble in the
matter, and, as sometimes occurs on the English frontier, a jealousy lest the superior acuteness of their
northern neighbours might overreach their own simplicity, turned to his clerk with a perplexed countenance.

'Eh--oh--Nick--d--n thee--Hast thou got nothing to say? This is more Scots law, I take it, and more Scotsmen.'
(Here he cast a side-glance at the owner of the mansion, and winked to his clerk.) 'I would Solway were as
deep as it is wide, and we had then some chance of keeping of them out.'

Nicholas conversed an instant aside with the supplicant, and then reported:--

'The man wants a border-warrant, I think; but they are only granted for debt--now he wants one to catch a

'And what for no?' answered Peter Peebles, doggedly; 'what for no, I would be glad to ken? If a day's labourer
refuse to work, ye'll grant a warrant to gar him do out his daurg--if a wench quean rin away from her hairst,
ye'll send her back to her heuck again--if sae mickle as a collier or a salter make a moonlight flitting, ye will
cleek him by the back-spaul in a minute of time--and yet the damage canna amount to mair than a creelfu' of
coals, and a forpit or twa of saut; and here is a chield taks leg from his engagement, and damages me to the
tune of sax thousand punds sterling; that is, three thousand that I should win, and three thousand mair that I
CHAPTER VII                                                                                                    130

am like to lose; and you that ca' yourself a justice canna help a poor man to catch the rinaway? A bonny like
justice I am like to get amang ye!'

'The fellow must be drunk,' said the clerk.

'Black fasting from all but sin,' replied the supplicant; 'I havena had mair than a mouthful of cauld water since
I passed the Border, and deil a ane of ye is like to say to me, "Dog, will ye drink?"'

The Justice seemed moved by this appeal. 'Hem---tush, man,' replied he; 'thou speak'st to us as if thou wert in
presence of one of thine own beggarly justices--get downstairs--get something to eat, man (with permission of
my friend to make so free in his house), and a mouthful to drink, and I warrant we get ye such justice as will
please ye.'

'I winna refuse your neighbourly offer,' said Poor Peter Peebles, making his bow; 'muckle grace be wi' your
honour, and wisdom to guide you in this extraordinary cause.'

When I saw Peter Peebles about to retire from the room, I could not forbear an effort to obtain from him such
evidence as might give me some credit with the Justice. I stepped forward, therefore, and, saluting him, asked
him if he remembered me?

After a stare or two, and a long pinch of snuff, recollection seemed suddenly to dawn on Peter Peebles.
'Recollect ye!' he said; 'by my troth do I.---Haud him a grip, gentlemen!-- constables, keep him fast! where
that ill-deedie hempy is, ye are sure that Alan Fairford is not far off. Haud him fast, Master Constable; I
charge ye wi' him, for I am mista'en if he is not at the bottom of this rinaway business. He was aye getting the
silly callant Alan awa wi' gigs, and horse, and the like of that, to Roslin, and Prestonpans, and a' the idle gates
he could think of. He's a rinaway apprentice, that ane.'

'Mr. Peebles,' I said, 'do not do me wrong. I am sure you can say no harm of me justly, but can satisfy these
gentlemen, if you will, that I am a student of law in Edinburgh--Darsie Latimer by name.'

'Me satisfy! how can I satisfy the gentlemen,' answered Peter, 'that am sae far from being satisfied mysell? I
ken naething about your name, and can only testify, NIHIL NOVIT IN CAUSA.'

'A pretty witness you have brought forward in your favour,' said Mr. Foxley. 'But--ha--aye---I'll ask him a
question or two. Pray, friend, will you take your oath to this youth being a runaway apprentice?'

'Sir,' said Peter, 'I will make oath to onything in reason; when a case comes to my oath it's a won cause: But I
am in some haste to prie your worship's good cheer;' for Peter had become much more respectful in his
demeanour towards the Justice since he had heard some intimation of dinner.

'You shall have--eh--hum--aye--a bellyful, if it be possible to fill it. First let me know if this young man be
really what he pretends. Nick, make his affidavit.'

'Ow, he is just a wud harum-scarum creature, that wad never take to his studies; daft, sir, clean daft.'

'Deft!' said the Justice; 'what d'ye mean by deft--eh?'

'Just Fifish,' replied Peter; 'wowf--a wee bit by the East Nook or sae; it's a common case--the ae half of the
warld thinks the tither daft. I have met with folk in my day that thought I was daft mysell; and, for my part, I
think our Court of Session clean daft, that have had the great cause of Peebles against Plainstanes before them
for this score of years, and have never been able to ding the bottom out of it yet.'
CHAPTER VII                                                                                                   131

'I cannot make out a word of his cursed brogue,' said the Cumbrian justice; 'can you, neighbour--eh? What can
he mean by DEFT?'

'He means MAD,' said the party appealed to, thrown off his guard by impatience of this protracted discussion.

'Ye have it--ye have it,' said Peter; 'that is, not clean skivie, but--'

Here he stopped, and fixed his eye on the person he addressed with an air of joyful recognition.--'Aye, aye,
Mr. Herries of Birrenswork, is this your ainsell in blood and bane? I thought ye had been hanged at
Kennington Common, or Hairiebie, or some of these places, after the bonny ploy ye made in the Forty-five.'

'I believe you are mistaken, friend,' said Herries, sternly, with whose name and designation I was thus made
unexpectedly acquainted.

'The deil a bit,' answered the undaunted Peter Peebles; I mind ye weel, for ye lodged in my house the great
year of Forty-five, for a great year it was; the Grand Rebellion broke out, and my cause --the great
cause--Peebles against Plainstanes, ET PER CONTRA --was called in the beginning of the winter session, and
would have been heard, but that there was a surcease of justice, with your plaids, and your piping, and your

'I tell you, fellow,' said Herries, yet more fiercely, 'you have confused me with some of the other furniture of
your crazy pate.'

'Speak like a gentleman, sir,' answered Peebles; 'these are not legal phrases, Mr. Herries of Birrenswork.
Speak in form of law, or I sall bid ye gude day, sir. I have nae pleasure in speaking to proud folk, though I am
willing to answer onything in a legal way; so if you are for a crack about auld langsyne, and the splores that
you and Captain Redgimlet used to breed in my house, and the girded cask of brandy that ye drank and ne'er
thought of paying for it (not that I minded it muckle in thae days, though I have felt a lack of it sin syne), why
I will waste an hour on ye at ony time.--and where is Captain Redgimlet now? he was a wild chap, like
yoursell, though they arena sae keen after you poor bodies for these some years bygane; the heading and
hanging is weel ower now--awful job--awful job--will ye try my sneeshing?'

He concluded his desultory speech by thrusting out his large bony paw, filled with a Scottish mull of huge
dimensions, which Herries, who had been standing like one petrified by the assurance of this unexpected
address, rejected with a contemptuous motion of his hand, which spilled some of the contents of the box.

'Aweel, aweel,' said Peter Peebles, totally unabashed by the repulse, 'e'en as ye like, a wilful man maun hae his
way; but,' he added, stooping down and endeavouring to gather the spilled snuff from the polished floor, 'I
canna afford to lose my sneeshing for a' that ye are gumple-foisted wi' me.'

My attention had been keenly awakened, during this extraordinary and unexpected scene. I watched, with as
much attention as my own agitation permitted me to command, the effect produced on the parties concerned.
It was evident that our friend, Peter Peebles, had unwarily let out something which altered the sentiments of
Justice Foxley and his clerk towards Mr. Herries, with whom, until he was known and acknowledged under
that name, they had appeared to be so intimate. They talked with each other aside, looked at a paper or two
which the clerk selected from the contents of a huge black pocket-book, and seemed, under the influence of
fear and uncertainty, totally at a loss what line of conduct to adopt.

Herries made a different, and far more interesting figure. However little Peter Peebles might resemble the
angel Ithuriel, the appearance of Herries, his high and scornful demeanour, vexed at what seemed detection
yet fearless of the consequences, and regarding the whispering magistrate and his clerk with looks in which
contempt predominated over anger or anxiety, bore, in my opinion, no slight resemblance to
CHAPTER VII                                                                                                     132

the regal port And faded splendour wan

with which the poet has invested the detected King of the powers of the air.

As he glanced round, with a look which he had endeavoured to compose to haughty indifference, his eye
encountered mine, and, I thought, at the first glance sank beneath it. But he instantly rallied his natural spirit,
and returned me one of those extraordinary looks, by which he could contort so strangely the wrinkles on his
forehead. I started; but, angry at myself for my pusillanimity, I answered him by a look of the same kind, and
catching the reflection of my countenance in a large antique mirror which stood before me, I started again at
the real or imaginary resemblance which my countenance, at that moment, bore to that of Herries. Surely my
fate is somehow strangely interwoven with that of this mysterious individual. I had no time at present to
speculate upon the subject, for the subsequent conversation demanded all my attention.

The Justice addressed Herries, after a pause of about five minutes, in which, all parties seemed at some loss
how to proceed. He spoke with embarrassment, and his faltering voice, and the long intervals which divided
his sentences, seemed to indicate fear of him whom he addressed.

'Neighbour,' he said, 'I could not have thought this; or, if I--eh--DID think--in a corner of my own mind as it
were--that you, I say--that you might have unluckily engaged in--eh--the matter of the Forty-five--there was
still time to have forgot all that.'

'And is it so singular that a man should have been out in the Forty-five?' said Herries, with contemptuous
composure;--'your father, I think, Mr. Foxley, was out with Derwentwater in the Fifteen.'

'And lost half of his estate,' answered Foxley, with more rapidity than usual; 'and was very near--hem--being
hanged into the boot. But this is--another guess job--for--eh--Fifteen is not Forty-five; and my father had a
remission, and you, I take it, have none.'

'Perhaps I have,' said Herries indifferently; 'or if I have not, I am but in the case of half a dozen others whom
government do not think worth looking after at this time of day, so they give no offence or disturbance.'

'But you have given both, sir,' said Nicholas Faggot, the clerk, who, having some petty provincial situation, as
I have since understood, deemed himself bound to be zealous for government, 'Mr. Justice Foxley cannot be
answerable for letting you pass free, now your name and surname have been spoken plainly out. There are
warrants out against you from the Secretary of State's office.'

'A proper allegation, Mr. Attorney! that, at the distance of so many years, the Secretary of State should trouble
himself about the unfortunate relics of a ruined cause,' answered Mr. Herries.

'But if it be so,' said the clerk, who seemed to assume more confidence upon the composure of Herries's
demeanour; 'and if cause has been given by the conduct of a gentleman himself, who hath been, it is alleged,
raking up old matters, and mixing them with new subjects of disaffection--I say, if it be so, I should advise the
party, in his wisdom, to surrender himself quietly into the lawful custody of the next Justice of Peace--Mr.
Foxley, suppose--where, and by whom, the matter should be regularly inquired into. I am only putting a case,'
he added, watching with apprehension the effect which his words were likely to produce upon the party to
whom they were addressed.

'And were I to receive such advice,' said Herries, with the same composure as before--'putting the case, as you
say, Mr. Faggot--I should request to see the warrant which countenanced such a scandalous proceeding.'

Mr. Nicholas, by way of answer, placed in his hand a paper, and seemed anxiously to expect the consequences
which were to ensue. Mr. Herries looked it over with the same equanimity as before, and then continued, 'And
CHAPTER VII                                                                                                    133

were such a scrawl as this presented to me in my own house, I would throw it into the chimney, and Mr.
Faggot upon the top of it.'

Accordingly, seconding the word with the action, he flung the warrant into the fire with one hand, and fixed
the other, with a stern and irresistible grip, on the breast of the attorney, who, totally unable to contend with
him, in either personal strength or mental energy, trembled like a chicken in the raven's clutch. He got off,
however, for the fright; for Herries, having probably made him fully sensible of the strength of his grasp,
released him, with a scornful laugh.

'Deforcement--spulzie-stouthrief--masterful rescue!' exclaimed Peter Peebles, scandalized at the resistance
offered to the law in the person of Nicholas Faggot. But his shrill exclamations were drowned in the
thundering voice of Herries, who, calling upon Cristal Nixon, ordered him to take the bawling fool
downstairs, fill his belly, and then give him a guinea, and thrust him out of doors. Under such injunctions,
Peter easily suffered himself to be withdrawn from the scene.

Herries then turned to the Justice, whose visage, wholly abandoned by the rubicund hue which so lately
beamed upon it, hung out the same pale livery as that of his dismayed clerk. 'Old friend and acquaintance,' he
said, 'you came here at my request on a friendly errand, to convince this silly young man of the right which I
have over his person for the present. I trust you do not intend to make your visit the pretext of disquieting me
about other matters? All the world knows that I have been living at large, in these northern counties, for some
months, not to say years, and might have been apprehended at any time, had the necessities of the state
required, or my own behaviour deserved it. But no English magistrate has been ungenerous enough to trouble
a gentleman under misfortune, on account of political opinions and disputes which have been long ended by
the success of the reigning powers. I trust, my good friend, you will not endanger yourself by taking any other
view of the subject than you have done ever since we were acquainted?'

The Justice answered with more readiness, as well as more spirit than usual, 'Neighbour Ingoldsby--what you
say--is--eh--in some sort true; and when you were coming and going at markets, horse- races, and cock-fights,
fairs, hunts, and such-like--it was--eh --neither my business nor my wish to dispel--I say--to inquire into and
dispel the mysteries which hung about you; for while you were a good companion in the field, and over a
bottle now and then--I did not--eh--think it necessary to ask--into your private affairs. And if I thought you
were--ahem--somewhat unfortunate in former undertakings, and enterprises, and connexions, which might
cause you to live unsettledly and more private, I could have--eh--very little pleasure--to aggravate your case
by interfering, or requiring explanations, which are often more easily asked than given. But when there are
warrants and witnesses to names--and those names, christian and surname, belong to--eh--an attainted
person--charged--I trust falsely-- with--ahem-taking advantage of modern broils and heart-burnings to renew
our civil disturbances, the case is altered; and I must --ahem--do my duty.'

The Justice, got on his feet as he concluded this speech, and looked as bold as he could. I drew close beside
him and his clerk, Mr. Faggot, thinking the moment favourable for my own liberation, and intimated to Mr.
Foxley my determination to stand by him. But Mr. Herries only laughed at the menacing posture which we
assumed. 'My good neighbour,' said he, 'you talk of a witness. Is yon crazy beggar a fit witness in an affair of
this nature?'

'But you do not deny that you are Mr. Herries of Birrenswork, mentioned in the Secretary of State's warrant?'
said Mr. Foxley.

'How can I deny or own anything about it?' said Herries, with a sneer. 'There is no such warrant in existence
now; its ashes, like the poor traitor whose doom it threatened, have been dispersed to the four winds of
heaven. There is now no warrant in the world.'

'But you will not deny,' said the Justice, 'that you were the person named in it; and that--eh--your own act
CHAPTER VII                                                                                                    134

destroyed it?'

'I will neither deny my name nor my actions, Justice,' replied Mr. Herries, 'when called upon by competent
authority to avow or defend them. But I will resist all impertinent attempts either to intrude into my private
motives, or to control my person. I am quite well prepared to do so; and I trust that you, my good neighbour
and brother sportsman, in your expostulation, and my friend Mr. Nicholas Faggot here, in his humble advice
and petition that I should surrender myself, will consider yourselves as having amply discharged your duty to
King George and government.'

The cold and ironical tone in which he made this declaration; the look and attitude, so nobly expressive of
absolute confidence in his own superior strength and energy, seemed to complete the indecision which had
already shown itself on the side of those whom he addressed.

The Justice looked to the clerk--the clerk to the Justice; the former HA'D, EH'D, without bringing forth an
articulate syllable; the latter only said, 'As the warrant is destroyed, Mr. Justice, I presume you do not mean to
proceed with the arrest?'

'Hum--aye--why, no--Nicholas--it would not be quite advisable-- and as the Forty-five was an old
affair--and--hem--as my friend here will, I hope, see his error--that is, if he has not seen it already--and
renounce the Pope, the Devil, and the Pretender--I mean no harm, neighbour--I think we--as we have no
POSSE, or constables, or the like--should order our horses--and, in one word, look the matter over.'

'Judiciously resolved,' said the person whom this decision affected; 'but before you go, I trust you will drink
and be friends?'

'Why,' said the Justice, rubbing his brow, 'our business has been--hem--rather a thirsty one.'

'Cristal Nixon,' said Mr. Herries, 'let us have a cool tankard instantly, large enough to quench the thirst of the
whole commission.'

While Cristal was absent on this genial errand, there was a pause, of which I endeavoured to avail myself by
bringing back the discourse to my own concerns. 'Sir,' I said to Justice Foxley, 'I have no direct business with
your late discussion with Mr. Herries, only just thus far--You leave me, a loyal subject of King George, an
unwilling prisoner in the hands of a person whom you have reason to believe unfriendly to the king's cause. I
humbly submit that this is contrary to your duty as a magistrate, and that you ought to make Mr. Herries
aware of the illegality of his proceedings, and take steps for my rescue, either upon the spot, or, at least, as
soon as possible after you have left this case'--

'Young man,' said Mr. Justice Foxley, 'I would have you remember you are under the power, the lawful
power--ahem--of your guardian.'

'He calls himself so, indeed,' I replied; 'but he has shown no evidence to establish so absurd a claim; and if he
had, his circumstances, as an attainted traitor excepted from pardon, would void such a right if it existed. I do
therefore desire you, Mr. Justice, and you, his clerk, to consider my situation, and afford me relief at your

'Here is a young fellow now,' said the Justice, with much- embarrassed looks, 'thinks that I carry the whole
statute law of England in my head, and a POSSE COMITATUS to execute them in my pocket! Why, what
good would my interference do?--but--hum--eh --I will speak to your guardian in your favour.'

He took Mr. Herries aside, and seemed indeed to urge something upon him with much earnestness; and
perhaps such a species of intercession was all which, in the circumstances, I was entitled to expect from him.
CHAPTER VII                                                                                                 135
They often looked at me as they spoke together; and as Cristal Nixon entered with a huge four-pottle tankard,
filled with the beverage his master had demanded, Herries turned away from Mr. Foxley somewhat
impatiently, saying with emphasis, 'I give you my word of honour, that you have not the slightest reason to
apprehend anything on his account.' He then took up the tankard, and saying aloud in Gaelic, 'SLAINT AN
REY,' [The King's health.] just tasted the liquor, and handed the tankard to Justice Foxley, who, to avoid the
dilemma of pledging him to what might be the Pretender's health, drank to Mr. Herries's own, with much
pointed solemnity, but in a draught far less moderate.

The clerk imitated the example of his principal, and I was fain to follow their example, for anxiety and fear
are at least as thirsty as sorrow is said to be. In a word, we exhausted the composition of ale, sherry,
lemon-juice, nutmeg, and other good things, stranded upon the silver bottom of the tankard the huge toast, as
well as the roasted orange, which had whilom floated jollily upon the brim, and rendered legible Dr. Byrom's
celebrated lines engraved thereon--

God bless the King!--God bless the Faith's defender! God bless--No harm in blessing--the Pretender. Who that
Pretender is, and who that King,-- God bless us all!--is quite another thing.

I had time enough to study this effusion of the Jacobite muse, while the Justice was engaged in the somewhat
tedious ceremony of taking leave. That of Mr. Faggot was less ceremonious; but I suspect something besides
empty compliment passed betwixt him and Mr. Herries; for I remarked that the latter slipped a piece of paper
into the hand of the former, which might perhaps be a little atonement for the rashness with which he had
burnt the warrant, and imposed no gentle hand on the respectable minion of the law by whom it was exhibited;
and I observed that he made this propitiation in such a manner as to be secret from the worthy clerk's

When this was arranged, the party took leave of each other with much formality on the part of Squire Foxley,
amongst whose adieus the following phrase was chiefly remarkable: 'I presume you do not intend to stay long
in these parts?'

'Not for the present, Justice, you may be sure; there are good reasons to the contrary. But I have no doubt of
arranging my affairs so that we shall speedily have sport together again.'

He went to wait upon the Justice to the courtyard; and, as he did so, commanded Cristal Nixon to see that I
returned into my apartment. Knowing it would be to no purpose to resist or tamper with that stubborn
functionary, I obeyed in silence, and was once more a prisoner in my former quarters.
CHAPTER VIII                                                                                                136


I spent more than an hour, after returning to the apartment which I may call my prison, in reducing to writing
the singular circumstances which I had just witnessed. Methought I could now form some guess at the
character of Mr. Herries, upon whose name and situation the late scene had thrown considerable light--one of
those fanatical Jacobites, doubtless, whose arms, not twenty years since, had shaken the British throne, and
some of whom, though their party daily diminished in numbers, energy, and power, retained still an
inclination to renew the attempt they had found so desperate. He was indeed perfectly different from the sort
of zealous Jacobites whom it had been my luck hitherto to meet with. Old ladies of family over their hyson,
and grey- haired lairds over their punch, I had often heard utter a little harmless treason; while the former
remembered having led down a dance with the Chevalier, and the latter recounted the feats they had
performed at Preston, Clifton, and Falkirk.

The disaffection of such persons was too unimportant to excite the attention of government. I had heard,
however, that there still existed partisans of the Stuart family of a more daring and dangerous description; men
who, furnished with gold from Rome, moved, secretly and in disguise, through the various classes of society,
and endeavoured to keep alive the expiring zeal of their party.

I had no difficulty in assigning an important post among this class of persons, whose agency and exertion are
only doubted by those who look on the surface of things, to this Mr. Herries, whose mental energies, as well
as his personal strength and activity, seemed to qualify him well to act so dangerous a part; and I knew that all
along the Western Border, both in England and Scotland, there are so many nonjurors, that such a person may
reside there with absolute safety, unless it becomes, in a very especial degree, the object of the government to
secure his person; and which purpose, even then, might be disappointed by early intelligence, or, as in the case
of Mr. Foxley, by the unwillingness of provincial magistrates to interfere in what is now considered an
invidious pursuit of the unfortunate.

There have, however, been rumours lately, as if the present state of the nation or at least of some discontented
provinces, agitated by a variety of causes but particularly by the unpopularity of the present administration,
may seem to this species of agitators a favourable period for recommencing their intrigues; while, on the other
hand, government may not, at such a crisis, be inclined to look upon them with the contempt which a few
years ago would have been their most appropriate punishment.

That men should be found rash enough to throw away their services and lives in a desperate cause, is nothing
new in history, which abounds with instances of similar devotion--that Mr. Herries is such an enthusiast is no
less evident; but all this explains not his conduct towards me. Had he sought to make me a proselyte to his
ruined cause, violence and compulsion were arguments very unlikely to prevail with any generous spirit. But
even if such were his object, of what use to him could be the acquisition of a single reluctant partisan, who
could bring only his own person to support any quarrel which he might adopt? He had claimed over me the
rights of a guardian; he had more than hinted that I was in a state of mind which could not dispense with the
authority of such a person. Was this man, so sternly desperate in his purpose--he who seemed willing to take
on his own shoulders the entire support of a cause which had been ruinous to thousands--was he the person
that had the power of deciding on my fate? Was it from him those dangers flowed, to secure me against which
I had been educated under such circumstances of secrecy and precaution?

And if this was so, of what nature was the claim which he asserted?--Was it that of propinquity? And did I
share the blood, perhaps the features, of this singular being?--Strange as it may seem, a thrill of awe, which
shot across my mind at that instant, was not unmingled with a wild and mysterious feeling of wonder, almost
amounting to pleasure. I remembered the reflection of my own face in the mirror at one striking moment
during the singular interview of the day, and I hastened to the outward apartment to consult a glass which
CHAPTER VIII                                                                                                  137

hung there, whether it were possible for my countenance to be again contorted into the peculiar frown which
so much resembled the terrific look of Herries. But I folded my brows in vain into a thousand complicated
wrinkles, and I was obliged to conclude, either that the supposed mark on my brow was altogether imaginary,
or that it could not be called forth by voluntary effort; or, in fine, what seemed most likely, that it was such a
resemblance as the imagination traces in the embers of a wood fire, or among the varied veins of marble,
distinct at one time, and obscure or invisible at another, according as the combination of lines strikes the eye
or impresses the fancy.

While I was moulding my visage like a mad player, the door suddenly opened, and the girl of the house
entered. Angry and ashamed at being detected in my singular occupation, I turned round sharply, and, I
suppose, chance produced the change on my features which I had been in vain labouring to call forth.

The girl started back, with her 'Don't ya look so now--don't ye, for love's sake--you be as like the ould squoire
as--But here a comes,' she said, huddling away out of the room; 'and if you want a third, there is none but ould
Harry, as I know of, that can match ye for a brent broo!'

As the girl muttered this exclamation, and hastened out of the room, Herries entered. He stopped on observing
that I had looked again to the mirror, anxious to trace the look by which the wench had undoubtedly been
terrified. He seemed to guess what was passing in my mind, for, as I turned towards him, he observed, 'Doubt
not that it is stamped on your forehead--the fatal mark of our race; though it is not now so apparent as it will
become when age and sorrow, and the traces of stormy passions and of bitter penitence, shall have drawn their
furrows on your brow.'

'Mysterious man,' I replied, 'I know not of what you speak; your language is as dark as your purposes!'

'Sit down, then,' he said, 'and listen; thus far, at least, must the veil of which you complain be raised. When
withdrawn, it will only display guilt and sorrow--guilt followed by strange penalty, and sorrow which
Providence has entailed upon the posterity of the mourners.'

He paused a moment, and commenced his narrative, which he told with the air of one, who, remote as the
events were which he recited, took still the deepest interest in them. The tone of his voice, which I have
already described as rich and powerful, aided by its inflections the effects of his story, which I will endeavour
to write down, as nearly as possible, in the very words which he used.

'It was not of late years that the English learned that their best chance of conquering their independent
neighbours must be by introducing amongst them division and civil war. You need not be reminded of the
state of thraldom to which Scotland was reduced by the unhappy wars betwixt the domestic factions of Bruce
and Baliol, nor how, after Scotland had been emancipated from a foreign yoke by the conduct and valour of
the immortal Bruce, the whole fruits of the triumphs of Bannockburn were lost in the dreadful defeats of
Dupplin and Halidon; and Edward Baliol, the minion and feudatory of his namesake of England, seemed, for a
brief season, in safe and uncontested possession of the throne so lately occupied by the greatest general and
wisest prince in Europe. But the experience of Bruce had not died with him. There were many who had shared
his martial labours, and all remembered the successful efforts by which, under circumstances as
disadvantageous as those of his son, he had achieved the liberation of Scotland.

'The usurper, Edward Baliol, was feasting with a few of his favourite retainers in the castle of Annan, when he
was suddenly surprised by a chosen band of insurgent patriots. Their chiefs were, Douglas, Randolph, the
young Earl of Moray, and Sir Simon Fraser; and their success was so complete, that Baliol was obliged to fly
for his life scarcely clothed, and on a horse which there was no leisure to saddle. It was of importance to seize
his person, if possible, and his flight was closely pursued by a valiant knight of Norman descent, whose
family had been long settled in the marches of Dumfriesshire. Their Norman appellation was Fitz-Aldin, but
this knight, from the great slaughter which he had made of the Southron, and the reluctance which he had
CHAPTER VIII                                                                                               138

shown to admit them to quarter during the former war of that bloody period, had acquired the name of
Redgauntlet, which he transmitted to his posterity'--

'Redgauntlet!' I involuntarily repeated.

'Yes, Redgauntlet,' said my alleged guardian, looking at me keenly; 'does that name recall any associations to
your mind?'

'No,' I replied, 'except that I had lately heard it given to the hero of a supernatural legend.'

'There are many such current concerning the family,' he answered; and then proceeded in his narrative.

'Alberick Redgauntlet, the first of his house so termed, was, as may be supposed from his name, of a stern and
implacable disposition, which had been rendered more so by family discord. An only son, now a youth of
eighteen, shared so much the haughty spirit of his father, that he became impatient of domestic control,
resisted paternal authority, and finally fled from his father's house, renounced his political opinions, and
awakened his mortal displeasure by joining the adherents of Baliol. It was said that his father cursed, in his
wrath, his degenerate offspring, and swore that if they met he should perish by his hand. Meantime,
circumstances seemed to promise atonement for this great deprivation. The lady of Alberick Redgauntlet was
again, after many years, in a situation which afforded her husband the hope of a more dutiful heir.

'But the delicacy and deep interest of his wife's condition did not prevent Alberick from engaging in the
undertaking of Douglas and Moray. He had been the most forward in the attack of the castle, and was now
foremost in the pursuit of Baliol, eagerly engaged in dispersing or cutting down the few daring followers who
endeavoured to protect the usurper in his flight.

'As these were successively routed or slain, the formidable Redgauntlet, the mortal enemy of the House of
Baliol, was within two lances' length of the fugitive Edward Baliol, in a narrow pass, when a, youth, one of
the last who attended the usurper in his flight, threw himself between them, received the shock of the pursuer,
and was unhorsed and overthrown. The helmet rolled from his head, and the beams of the sun, then rising over
the Solway, showed Redgauntlet the features of his disobedient son, in the livery, and wearing the cognizance,
of the usurper.

'Redgauntlet beheld his son lying before his horse's feet; but he also saw Baliol, the usurper of the Scottish
crown, still, as it seemed, within his grasp, and separated from him only by the prostrate body of his
overthrown adherent. Without pausing to inquire whether young Edward was wounded, he dashed his spurs
into his horse, meaning to leap over him, but was unhappily frustrated in his purpose. The steed made indeed a
bound forward, but was unable to clear the body of the youth, and with its hind foot struck him in the
forehead, as he was in the act of rising. The blow was mortal. It is needless to add, that the pursuit was
checked, and Baliol escaped.

'Redgauntlet, ferocious as he is described, was yet overwhelmed with the thoughts of the crime he had
committed. When he returned to his castle, it was to encounter new domestic sorrows. His wife had been
prematurely seized with the pangs of labour upon hearing the dreadful catastrophe which had taken place. The
birth of an infant boy cost her her life. Redgauntlet sat by her corpse for more than twenty-four hours without
changing either feature or posture, so far as his terrified domestics could observe. The Abbot of Dundrennan
preached consolation to him in vain. Douglas, who came to visit in his affliction a patriot of such
distinguished zeal, was more successful in rousing his attention. He caused the trumpets to sound an English
point of war in the courtyard, and Redgauntlet at once sprang to his arms, and seemed restored to the
recollection which had been lost in the extent of his misery.

'From that moment, whatever he might feel inwardly, he gave way to no outward emotion. Douglas caused his
CHAPTER VIII                                                                                                      139
infant to be brought; but even the iron-hearted soldiers were struck with horror to observe that, by the
mysterious law of nature, the cause of his mother's death, and the evidence of his father's guilt, was stamped
on the innocent face of the babe, whose brow was distinctly marked by the miniature resemblance of a
horseshoe. Redgauntlet himself pointed it out to Douglas, saying, with a ghastly smile, "It should have been

'Moved, as he was, to compassion for his brother-in-arms, and steeled against all softer feelings by the habits
of civil war, Douglas shuddered at this sight, and displayed a desire to leave the house which was doomed to
be the scene of such horrors. As his parting advice, he exhorted Alberick Redgauntlet to make a pilgrimage to
Saint Ninian's of Whiteherne, then esteemed a shrine of great sanctity; and departed with a precipitation which
might have aggravated, had that been possible, the forlorn state of his unhappy friend. But that seems to have
been incapable of admitting any addition. Sir Alberick caused the bodies of his slaughtered son and the
mother to be laid side by side in the ancient chapel of his house, after he had used the skill of a celebrated
surgeon of that time to embalm them; and it was said that for many weeks he spent; some hours nightly in the
vault where they reposed.

'At length he undertook the proposed pilgrimage to Whiteherne, where he confessed himself for the first time
since his misfortune, and was shrived by an aged monk, who afterwards died in the odour of sanctity. It is said
that it was then foretold to the Redgauntlet, that on account of his unshaken patriotism his family should
continue to be powerful amid the changes of future times; but that, in detestation of his unrelenting cruelty to
his own issue, Heaven had decreed that the valour of his race should always be fruitless, and that the cause
which they espoused should never prosper.

'Submitting to such penance as was there imposed, Sir Alberick went, it is thought, on a pilgrimage either to
Rome, or to the Holy Sepulchre itself. He was universally considered as dead; and it was not till thirteen years
afterwards, that in the great battle of Durham, fought between David Bruce and Queen Philippa of England, a
knight, bearing a horseshoe for his crest, appeared in the van of the Scottish army, distinguishing himself by
his reckless and desperate valour; who being at length overpowered and slain, was finally discovered to be the
brave and unhappy Sir Alberick Redgauntlet.'

'And has the fatal sign,' said I, when Herries had ended his narrative, 'descended on all the posterity of this
unhappy house?'

'It has been so handed down from antiquity, and is still believed,' said Herries. 'But perhaps there is, in the
popular evidence, something of that fancy which creates what it sees. Certainly, as other families have
peculiarities by which they are distinguished, this of Redgauntlet is marked in most individuals by a singular
indenture of the forehead, supposed to be derived from the son of Alberick, their ancestor, and brother to the
unfortunate Edward, who had perished in so piteous a manner. It is certain there seems to have been a fate
upon the House of Redgauntlet, which has been on the losing side in almost all the civil broils which have
divided the kingdom of Scotland from David Bruce's days, till the late valiant and unsuccessful attempt of the
Chevalier Charles Edward.'

He concluded with a deep sigh, as one whom the subject had involved in a train of painful reflections.

'And am I then,' I exclaimed, 'descended from this unhappy race? Do you belong to it? And if so, why do I
sustain restraint and hard usage at the hands of a relation?'

'Inquire no further for the present,' he said. 'The line of conduct which I am pursuing towards you is dictated,
not by choice but by necessity. You were withdrawn from the bosom of your family and the care of your legal
guardian, by the timidity and ignorance of a doting mother, who was incapable of estimating the arguments or
feelings of those who prefer honour and principle to fortune, and even to life. The young hawk, accustomed
only to the fostering care of its dam, must be tamed by darkness and sleeplessness, ere it is trusted on the wing
CHAPTER VIII                                                                                                    140

for the purposes of the falconer.'

I was appalled at this declaration, which seemed to threaten a long continuance, and a dangerous termination,
of my captivity. I deemed it best, however, to show some spirit, and at the same time to mingle a tone of
conciliation. 'Mr. Herries,' I said '(if I call you rightly by that name), let us speak upon this matter without the
tone of mystery and fear in which you seem inclined to envelop it. I have been long, alas! deprived of the care
of that affectionate mother to whom you allude--long under the charge of strangers--and compelled to form
my own resolutions upon the reasoning of my own mind. Misfortune--early deprivation--has given me the
privilege of acting for myself; and constraint shall not deprive me of an Englishman's best privilege.'

'The true cant of the day,' said Herries, in a tone of scorn. 'The privilege of free action belongs to no
mortal--we are tied down by the fetters of duty--our mortal path is limited by the regulations of honour--our
most indifferent actions are but meshes of the web of destiny by which we are all surrounded.'

He paced the room rapidly, and proceeded in a tone of enthusiasm which, joined to some other parts of his
conduct, seems to intimate an over-excited imagination, were it not contradicted by the general tenor of his
speech and conduct.

'Nothing,' he said, in an earnest yet melancholy voice--'nothing is the work of chance--nothing is the
consequence of free-will-- the liberty of which the Englishman boasts gives as little real freedom to its owner
as the despotism, of an Eastern sultan permits to his slave. The usurper, William of Nassau, went forth to
hunt, and thought, doubtless, that it was by an act of his own royal pleasure that the horse of his murdered
victim was prepared for his kingly sport. But Heaven had other views; and before the sun was high, a stumble
of that very animal over an obstacle so inconsiderable as a mole-hillock, cost the haughty rider his life and his
usurped crown, Do you think an inclination of the rein could have avoided that trifling impediment? I tell you,
it crossed his way as inevitably as all the long chain of Caucasus could have done. Yes, young man, in doing
and suffering, we play but the part allotted by Destiny, the manager of this strange drama, stand bound to act
no more than is prescribed, to say no more than is set down for us; and yet we mouth about free-will and
freedom of thought and action, as if Richard must not die, or Richmond conquer, exactly where the Author
has decreed it shall be so!'

He continued to pace the room after this speech, with folded arms and downcast looks; and the sound of his
steps and tone of his voice brought to my remembrance, that I had heard this singular person, when I met him
on a former occasion, uttering such soliloquies in his solitary chamber. I observed that, like other Jacobites, in
his inveteracy against the memory of King William, he had adopted the party opinion, that the monarch, on
the day he had his fatal accident, rode upon a horse once the property of the unfortunate Sir John Friend,
executed for high treason in 1698.

It was not my business to aggravate, but, if possible, rather to soothe him in whose power I was so singularly
placed. When I conceived that the keenness of his feelings had in some degree subsided, I answered him as
follows:--'I will not--indeed I feel myself incompetent to argue a question of such metaphysical subtlety, as
that which involves the limits betwixt free-will and predestination. Let us hope we may live honestly and die
hopefully, without being obliged to form a decided opinion upon a point so far beyond our comprehension.'

'Wisely resolved,' he interrupted, with a sneer--'there came a note from some Geneva, sermon.'

'But,' I proceeded, 'I call your attention to the fact that I, as well as you, am acted upon by impulses, the result
either of my own free will, or the consequences of the part which is assigned to me by destiny. These may
be--nay, at present they are--in direct contradiction to those by which you are actuated; and how shall we
decide which shall have precedence?--YOU perhaps feel yourself destined to act as my jailer. I feel myself, on
the contrary, destined to attempt and effect my escape. One of us must be wrong, but who can say which errs
till the event has decided betwixt us?'
CHAPTER VIII                                                                                                      141

'I shall feel myself destined to have recourse to severe modes of restraint,' said he, in the same tone of half
jest, half earnest which I had used.

'In that case,' I answered, 'it will be my destiny to attempt everything for my freedom.'

'And it may be mine, young man,' he replied, in a deep and stern tone, 'to take care that you should rather die
than attain your purpose.'

This was speaking out indeed, and I did not allow him to go unanswered. 'You threaten me in vain,' said I; 'the
laws of my country will protect me; or whom they cannot protect, they will avenge.'

I spoke this firmly, and he seemed for a moment silenced; and the scorn with which he at last answered me,
had something of affectation in it.

'The laws!' he said; 'and what, stripling, do you know of the laws of your country? Could you learn
jurisprudence under a base-born blotter of parchment, such as Saunders Fairford; or from the empty pedantic
coxcomb, his son, who now, forsooth, writer himself advocate? When Scotland was herself, and had her own
king and legislature, such plebeian cubs, instead of being called to the bar of her supreme courts, would scarce
have been admitted to the honour of bearing a sheepskin process-bag.'

Alan, I could not bear this, but answered indignantly, that he knew not the worth and honour from which he
was detracting.

'I know as much of these Fairfords as I do of you,' he replied.

'As much,' said I, 'and as little; for you can neither estimate their real worth nor mine. I know you saw them
when last in Edinburgh.'

'Ha!' he exclaimed, and turned on me an inquisitive look.

'It is true,' said I; 'you cannot deny it; and having thus shown you that I know something of your motions, let
me warn you I have modes of communication with which you are not acquainted. Oblige me not to use them
to your prejudice.'

'Prejudice me!' he replied. 'Young man, I smile at, and forgive your folly. Nay, I will tell you that of which
you are not aware, namely, that it was from letters received from these Fairfords that I first suspected, what
the result of my visit to them confirmed, that you were the person whom I had sought for years.'

'If you learned this,' said I, 'from the papers which were about my person on the night when I was under the
necessity of becoming your guest at Brokenburn, I do not envy your indifference to the means of acquiring
information. It was dishonourable to'--

'Peace, young man,' said Herries, more calmly than I might have expected; 'the word dishonour must not be
mentioned as in conjunction with my name. Your pocket-book was in the pocket of your coat, and did not
escape the curiosity of another, though it would have been sacred from mine, My servant, Cristal Nixon,
brought me the intelligence after you were gone. I was displeased with the manner in which he had acquired
his information; but it was not the less my duty to ascertain its truth, and for that purpose I went to Edinburgh.
I was in hopes to persuade Mr. Fairford to have entered into my views; but I found him too much prejudiced
to permit me to trust him. He is a wretched, yet a timid slave of the present government, under which our
unhappy country is dishonourably enthralled; and it would have been altogether unfit and unsafe to have
entrusted him with the secret either of the right which I possess to direct your actions, or of the manner in
which I purpose to exercise it.'
CHAPTER VIII                                                                                                  142
I was determined to take advantage of his communicative humour, and obtain, if possible, more light upon his
purpose. He seemed most accessible to being piqued on the point of honour, and I resolved to avail myself,
but with caution, of his sensibility upon that topic. 'You say,' I replied, 'that you are not friendly to indirect
practices, and disapprove of the means by which your domestic obtained information of my name and
quality-- Is it honourable to avail yourself of that knowledge which is dishonourably obtained?'

'It is boldly asked,' he replied; 'but, within certain necessary limits, I dislike not boldness of expostulation.
You have, in this short conference, displayed more character and energy than I was prepared to expect. You
will, I trust, resemble a forest plant, which has indeed, by some accident, been brought up in the greenhouse,
and thus rendered delicate and effeminate, but which regains its native firmness and tenacity when exposed
for a season to the winter air. I will answer your question plainly. In business, as in war, spies and informers
are necessary evils, which all good men detest; but which yet all prudent men must use, unless they mean to
fight and act blindfold. But nothing can justify the use of falsehood and treachery in our own person.'

'You said to the elder Mr. Fairford,' continued I, with the same boldness, which I began to find was my best
game, 'that I was the son of Ralph Latimer of Langcote Hall? How do you reconcile this with your late
assertion that my name is not Latimer?'

He coloured as he replied, 'The doting old fool lied; or perhaps mistook my meaning. I said, that gentleman
might be your father. To say truth, I wished you to visit England, your native country; because, when you
might do so, my rights over you would revive.'

This speech fully led me to understand a caution which had been often impressed upon me, that, if I regarded
my safety, I should not cross the southern Border; and I cursed my own folly, which kept me fluttering like a
moth around the candle, until I was betrayed into the calamity with which I had dallied. 'What are those
rights,' I said, 'which you claim over me? To what end do you propose to turn them?'

'To a weighty one, you may be certain,' answered Mr. Herries; 'but I do not, at present, mean to communicate
to you either its nature or extent. You may judge of its importance, when, in order entirely to possess myself
of your person, I condescended to mix myself with the fellows who destroyed the fishing station of yon
wretched Quaker. That I held him in contempt, and was displeased at the greedy devices with which he ruined
a manly sport, is true enough; but, unless as it favoured my designs on you, he might have, for me, maintained
his stake-nets till Solway should cease to ebb and flow.'

'Alas!' I said, 'it doubles my regret to have been the unwilling cause of misfortune to an honest and friendly

'Do not grieve for that,' said Herries; 'honest Joshua is one of those who, by dint of long prayers, can possess
themselves of widow's houses--he will quickly repair his losses. When he sustains any mishap, he and the
other canters set it down as a debt against Heaven, and, by way of set-off, practise rogueries without
compunction, till the they make the balance even, or incline it to the winning side. Enough of this for the
present. --I must immediately shift my quarters; for, although I do not fear the over-zeal of Mr. Justice Foxley
or his clerk will lead them to any extreme measure, yet that mad scoundrel's unhappy recognition of me may
make it more serious for them to connive at me, and I must not put their patience to an over severe trial. You
must prepare to attend me, either as a captive or a companion; if as the latter, you must give your parole of
honour to attempt no escape. Should you be so ill advised as to break your word once pledged, be assured that
I will blow your brains out without a moment's scruple.'

'I am ignorant of your plans and purposes,' I replied, 'and cannot but hold them dangerous. I do not mean to
aggravate my present situation by any unavailing resistance to the superior force which detains me; but I will
not renounce the right of asserting my natural freedom should it favourable opportunity occur. I will,
therefore, rather be your prisoner than your confederate.'
CHAPTER VIII                                                                                                  143

'That is spoken fairly,' he said; 'and yet not without the canny caution of one brought up in the Gude Town of
Edinburgh. On my part, I will impose no unnecessary hardship upon you; but, on the contrary, your journey
shall be made as easy as is consistent with your being kept safely. Do you feel strong enough to ride on
horseback as yet, or would you prefer a carriage? The former mode of travelling is best adapted to the country
through which we are to travel, but you are at liberty to choose between them.'

I said, 'I felt my strength gradually returning, and that I should much prefer travelling on horseback. A
carriage,' I added, 'is so close'--

'And so easily guarded,' replied Herries, with a look as if he would have penetrated my very thoughts,--'that,
doubtless, you think horseback better calculated for an escape.'

'My thoughts are my own,' I answered; 'and though you keep my person prisoner, these are beyond your

'Oh, I can read the book,' he said, 'without opening the leaves. But I would recommend to you to make no rash
attempt, and it will be my care to see that you have no power to make any that is likely to be effectual. Linen,
and all other necessaries for one in your circumstances, are amply provided, Cristal Nixon will act as your
valet,--I should rather, perhaps, say, your FEMME DE CHAMBRE. Your travelling dress you may perhaps
consider as singular; but it is such as the circumstances require; and, if you object to use the articles prepared
for your use, your mode of journeying will be as personally unpleasant as that which conducted you
hither.--Adieu--We now know each other better than we did--it will not be my fault if the consequences of
further intimacy be not a more favourable mutual opinion.'

He then left me, with a civil good night, to my own reflections, and only turned back to say that we should
proceed on our journey at daybreak next morning, at furthest; perhaps earlier, he said; but complimented me
by supposing that, as I was a sportsman, I must always be ready for a sudden start.

We are then at issue, this singular man and myself. His personal views are to a certain point explained. He has
chosen an antiquated and desperate line of politics, and he claims, from some pretended tie of guardianship or
relationship, which he does not deign to explain but which he seems to have been able to pass current on a
silly country Justice and his knavish clerk, a right to direct and to control my motions. The danger which
awaited me in England, and which I might have escaped had I remained in Scotland, was doubtless
occasioned by the authority of this man. But what my poor mother might fear for me as a child--what my
English friend, Samuel Griffiths, endeavoured to guard against during my youth and nonage, is now, it seems,
come upon me; and, under a legal pretext, I am detained in what must be a most illegal manner, by a person,
foe, whose own political immunities have been forfeited by his conduct. It matters not--my mind is made up
neither persuasion nor threats shall force me into the desperate designs which this man meditates. Whether I
am of the trifling consequence which my life hitherto seems to intimate, or whether I have (as would appear
from my adversary's conduct) such importance, by birth or fortune, as may make me a desirable acquisition to
a political faction, my resolution is taken in either case. Those who read this journal, if it shall be perused by
impartial eyes, shall judge of me truly; and if they consider me as a fool in encountering danger unnecessarily,
they shall have no reason to believe me a coward or a turncoat, when I find myself engaged in it. I have been
bred in sentiments of attachment to the family on the throne and in these sentiments I will live and die. I have,
indeed, some idea that Mr. Herries has already discovered that I am made of different and more unmalleable
metal than he had at first believed. There were letters from my dear Alan Fairford, giving a ludicrous account
of my instability of temper, in the same pocket-book, which, according to the admission of my pretended
guardian, fell under the investigation of his domestic during the night I passed at Brokenburn, where, as I now
recollect, my wet clothes, with the contents of my pockets, were, with the thoughtlessness of a young
traveller, committed too rashly to the care of a strange servant. And my kind friend and hospitable landlord,
Mr. Alexander Fairford, may also, and with justice, have spoken of my levities to this man. But he shall find
he has made a false estimate upon these plausible grounds, since--
CHAPTER VIII                        144

I must break off for the present.
CHAPTER IX                                                                                                  145


There is at length a halt--at length I have gained so much privacy as to enable me to continue my journal. It
has become a sort of task of duty to me, without the discharge of which I do not feel that the business of the
day is performed. True, no friendly eye may ever look upon these labours, which have amused the solitary
hours of an unhappy prisoner. Yet, in the meanwhile, the exercise of the pen seems to act as a sedative upon
my own agitated thoughts and tumultuous passions. I never lay it down but I rise stronger in resolution, more
ardent in hope. A thousand vague fears, wild expectations, and indigested schemes, hurry through one's
thoughts in seasons of doubt and of danger. But by arresting them as they flit across the mind, by throwing
them on paper, and even by that mechanical act compelling ourselves to consider them with scrupulous and
minute attention, we may perhaps escape becoming the dupes of our own excited imagination; just as a young
horse is cured of the vice of starting by being made to stand still and look for some time without any
interruption at the cause of its terror.

There remains but one risk, which is that of discovery. But besides the small characters, in which my
residence in Mr. Fairford's house enabled me to excel, for the purpose of transferring as many scroll sheets as
possible to a huge sheet of stamped paper, I have, as I have elsewhere intimated, had hitherto the comfortable
reflection that if the record of my misfortunes should fall into the hands of him by whom they are caused, they
would, without harming any one, show him the real character and disposition of the person who has become
his prisoner--perhaps his victim. Now, however, that other names, and other characters, are to be mingled with
the register of my own sentiments, I must take additional care of these papers, and keep them in such a
manner that, in case of the least hazard of detection, I may be able to destroy them at a moment's notice. I
shall not soon or easily forget the lesson I have been taught, by the prying disposition which Cristal Nixon,
this man's agent and confederate, manifested at Brokenburn, and which proved the original cause of my

My laying aside the last sheet of my journal hastily was occasioned by the unwonted sound of a violin, in the
farmyard beneath my windows. It will not appear surprising to those who have made music their study, that,
after listening to a few notes, I became at once assured that the musician was no other than the itinerant,
formerly mentioned as present at the destruction of Joshua Geddes's stake-nets, the superior delicacy and
force of whose execution would enable me to swear to his bow amongst a whole orchestra. I had the less
reason to doubt his identity, because he played twice over the beautiful Scottish air called Wandering Willie;
and I could not help concluding that he did so for the purpose of intimating his own presence, since what the
French called the nom de guerre of the performer was described by the tune.

Hope will catch at the most feeble twig for support in extremity. I knew this man, though deprived of sight, to
be bold, ingenious, and perfectly capable of acting as a guide. I believed I had won his goodwill, by having, in
a frolic, assumed the character of his partner; and I remembered that in a wild, wandering, and disorderly
course of life, men, as they become loosened from the ordinary bonds of civil society, hold those of
comradeship more closely sacred; so that honour is sometimes found among thieves, and faith and attachment
in such as the law has termed vagrants. The history of Richard Coeur de Lion and his minstrel, Blondel,
rushed, at the same time, on my mind, though I could not even then suppress a smile at the dignity of the
example when applied to a blind fiddler and myself. Still there was something in all this to awaken a hope
that, if I could open a correspondence with this poor violer, he might be useful in extricating me from my
present situation.

His profession furnished me with some hope that this desired communication might be attained; since it is
well known that, in Scotland, where there is so much national music, the words and airs of which are
generally known, there is a kind of freemasonry amongst performers, by which they can, by the mere choice
of a tune, express a great deal to the hearers. Personal allusions are often made in this manner, with much
CHAPTER IX                                                                                                     146

point and pleasantry; and nothing is more usual at public festivals, than that the air played to accompany a
particular health or toast, is made the vehicle of compliment, of wit, and sometimes of satire. [Every one must
remember instances of this festive custom, in which the adaptation of the tune to the toast was remarkably
felicitous. Old Neil Gow, and his son Nathaniel, were peculiarly happy on such occasions.]

While these things passed through my mind rapidly, I heard my friend beneath recommence, for the third
time, the air from which his own name had been probably adopted, when he was interrupted by his rustic

'If thou canst play no other spring but that, mon, ho hadst best put up ho's pipes and be jogging. Squoire will
be back anon, or Master Nixon, and we'll see who will pay poiper then.'

Oho, thought I, if I have no sharper ears than those of my friends Jan and Dorcas to encounter, I may venture
an experiment upon them; and, as most expressive of my state of captivity, I sang two or three lines of the
137th Psalm--

By Babel's streams we sat and wept.

The country people listened with attention, and when I ceased, I heard them whisper together in tones of
commiseration, 'Lack-a- day, poor soul! so pretty a man to be beside his wits!'

'An he be that gate,' said Wandering Willie, in a tone calculated to reach my ears, 'I ken naething will raise his
spirits like a spring.' And he struck up, with great vigour and spirit, the lively Scottish air, the words of which
instantly occurred to me --

Oh whistle and I'll come t'ye, my lad, Oh whistle and I'll come t'ye, my lad; Though father and mother and a'
should gae mad, Oh whistle and I'll come t'ye, my lad.

I soon heard a clattering noise of feet in the courtyard, which I concluded to be Jan and Dorcas dancing a jig
in their Cumberland wooden clogs. Under cover of this din, I endeavoured to answer Willie's signal by
whistling, as loud as I could---

Come back again and loe me When a' the lave are gane.

He instantly threw the dancers out, by changing his air to

There's my thumb, I'll ne'er beguile thee.

I no longer doubted that a communication betwixt us was happily established, and that, if I had an opportunity
of speaking to the poor musician, I should find him willing to take my letter to the post, to invoke the
assistance of some active magistrate, or of the commanding-officer of Carlisle Castle, or, in short, to do
whatever else I could point out, in the compass of his power, to contribute to my liberation. But to obtain
speech of him, I must have run the risk of alarming the suspicions of Dorcas, if not of her yet more stupid
Corydon. My ally's blindness prevented his receiving any communication by signs from the window--even if I
could have ventured to make them, consistently with prudence--so that notwithstanding the mode of
intercourse we had adopted was both circuitous and peculiarly liable to misapprehension, I saw nothing I
could do better than to continue it, trusting my own and my correspondent's acuteness in applying to the airs
the meaning they were intended to convey. I thought of singing the words themselves of some significant
song, but feared I might, by doing so, attract suspicion. I endeavoured, therefore, to intimate my speedy
departure from my present place of residence, by whistling the well-known air with which festive parties in
Scotland usually conclude the dance:--
CHAPTER IX                                                                                                    147

Good night and joy be wi' ye a', For here nae langer maun I stay; There's neither friend nor foe, of mine But
wishes that I were away.

It appeared that Willie's powers of intelligence were much more active than mine, and that, like a deaf person
accustomed to be spoken to by signs, he comprehended, from the very first notes, the whole meaning I
intended to convey; and he accompanied me in the air with his violin, in such a manner as at once to show he
understood my meaning, and to prevent my whistling from being attended to.

His reply was almost immediate, and was conveyed in the old martial air of 'Hey, Johnnie lad, cock up your
beaver.' I ran over the words, and fixed on the following stanza, as most applicable to my circumstances:--

Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush; We'll over the Border and give them a brush; There's somebody
there we'll teach better behaviour, Hey, Johnnie lad, cock up your beaver.

If these sounds alluded, as I hope they do, to the chance of assistance from my Scottish friends, I may indeed
consider that a door is open to hope and freedom. I immediately replied with:--

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer; A-chasing
the wild deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.

Farewell to the Highlands! farewell to the North! The birth-place of valour, the cradle of worth; Wherever I
wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Willie instantly played, with a degree of spirit which might have awakened hope in Despair herself, if Despair
could be supposed to understand Scotch music, the fine old Jacobite air,

For a' that, and a' that, And twice as much as a' that.

I next endeavoured to intimate my wish to send notice of my condition to my friends; and, despairing to find
an air sufficiently expressive of my purpose, I ventured to sing a verse, which, in various forms, occurs so
frequently in old ballads--

Whare will I get a bonny boy That will win hose and shoon: That will gae down to Durisdeer, And bid my
merry men come?

He drowned the latter part of the verse by playing, with much emphasis,

Kind Robin loes me.

Of this, though I ran over the verses of the song in my mind, I could make nothing; and before I could
contrive any mode of intimating my uncertainty, a cry arose in the courtyard that Cristal Nixon was coming.
My faithful Willie was obliged to retreat; but not before he had half played, half hummed, by way of farewell,

Leave thee--leave thee, lad-- I'll never leave thee; The stars shall gae withershins Ere I will leave thee.

I am thus, I think, secure of one trusty adherent in my misfortunes; and, however whimsical it may be to rely
much on a man of his idle profession and deprived of sight withal, it is deeply impressed on my mind that his
services may be both useful and necessary. There is another quarter from which I look for succour, and which
I have indicated to thee, Alan, in more than one passage of my journal. Twice, at the early hour of daybreak, I
have seen the individual alluded to in the court of the farm, and twice she made signs of recognition in answer
to the gestures by which I endeavoured to make her comprehend my situation; but on both occasions she
pressed her finger on her lips, as expressive of silence and secrecy.
CHAPTER IX                                                                                                    148
The manner in which G.M. entered upon the scene for the first time, seems to assure me of her goodwill, so
far as her power may reach; and I have many reasons to believe it is considerable. Yet she seemed hurried and
frightened during the very transitory moments of our interview, and I think was, upon the last occasion,
startled by the entrance of some one into the farmyard, just as she was on the point of addressing me. You
must not ask whether I am an early riser, since such objects are only to be seen at daybreak; and although I
have never again seen her, yet I have reason to think she is not distant. It was but three nights ago, that, worn
out by the uniformity of my confinement, I had manifested more symptoms of despondence than I had before
exhibited, which I conceive may have attracted the attention of the domestics, through whom the circumstance
might transpire. On the next morning, the following lines lay on my table; but how conveyed there, I cannot
tell. The hand in which they were written is a beautiful Italian manuscript:--

As lords their labourers' hire delay, Fate quits our toil with hopes to come, Which, if far short of present pay,
Still, owns a debt and names a sum.

Quit not the pledge, frail sufferer, then, Although a distant date be given; Despair is treason towards man, And
blasphemy to Heaven.

That these lines were written with the friendly purpose of inducing me to keep up my spirits, I cannot doubt;
and I trust the manner in which I shall conduct myself may show that the pledge is accepted.

The dress is arrived in which it seems to be my self-elected guardian's pleasure that I shall travel; and what
does it prove to be?--A skirt, or upper-petticoat of camlet, like those worn by country ladies of moderate rank
when on horseback, with such a riding-mask as they frequently use on journeys to preserve their eyes and
complexion from the sun and dust, and sometimes, it is suspected, to enable then to play off a little coquetry.
From the gayer mode of employing the mask, however, I suspect I shall be precluded; for instead of being
only pasteboard, covered with black velvet, I observe with anxiety that mine is thickened with a plate of steel,
which, like Quixote's visor, serves to render it more strong and durable.

This apparatus, together with a steel clasp for securing the mask behind me with a padlock, gave me fearful
recollections of the unfortunate being, who, never being permitted to lay aside such a visor, acquired the
well-known historical epithet of the Man in the Iron Mask. I hesitated a moment whether I should, so far
submit to the acts of oppression designed against me as to assume this disguise, which was, of course,
contrived to aid their purposes. But when I remembered Mr. Herries's threat, that I should be kept close
prisoner in a carriage, unless I assumed the dress which should be appointed for me; and I considered the
comparative degree of freedom which I might purchase by wearing the mask and female dress as easily and
advantageously purchased. Here, therefore, I must pause for the present, and await what the morning may
bring forth.

[To carry on the story from the documents before us, we think it proper here to drop the journal of the captive
Darsie Latimer, and adopt, instead, a narrative of the proceedings of Alan Fairford in pursuit of his friend,
which forms another series in this history.]
CHAPTER X                                                                                                          149


The reader ought, by this time, to have formed some idea of the character of Alan Fairford. He had a warmth
of heart which the study of the law and of the world could not chill, and talents which they had rendered
unusually acute. Deprived of the personal patronage enjoyed by most of his contemporaries, who assumed the
gown under the protection of their aristocratic alliances and descents, he early saw that he should have that to
achieve for himself which fell to them as a right of birth. He laboured hard in silence and solitude, and his
labours were crowned with success. But Alan doted on his friend Darsie, even more than he loved his
profession, and, as we have seen, threw everything aside when he thought Latimer in danger; forgetting fame
and fortune, and hazarding even the serious displeasure of his father, to rescue him whom he loved with an
elder brother's affection. Darsie, though his parts were more quick and brilliant than those of his friend,
seemed always to the latter a being under his peculiar charge, whom he was called upon to cherish and protect
in cases where the youth's own experience was unequal to the exigency; and now, when, the fate of Latimer
seeming worse than doubtful, Alan's whole prudence and energy were to be exerted in his behalf, an
adventure which might have seemed perilous to most youths of his age had no terrors for him. He was well
acquainted with the laws of his country, and knew how to appeal to them; and, besides his professional
confidence, his natural disposition was steady, sedate, persevering, and undaunted. With these requisites he
undertook a quest which, at that time, was not unattended with actual danger, and had much in it to appal a
more timid disposition.

Fairford's first inquiry concerning his friend was of the chief magistrate of Dumfries, Provost Crosbie, who
had sent the information of Darsie's disappearance. On his first application, he thought he discerned in the
honest dignitary a desire to get rid of the subject. The provost spoke of the riot at the fishing station as an
'outbreak among those lawless loons the fishermen, which concerned the sheriff,' he said, 'more than us poor
town council bodies, that have enough to do to keep peace within burgh, amongst such a set of commoners as
the town are plagued with.'

'But this is not all, Provost Crosbie,' said Mr. Alan Fairford; 'A young gentleman of rank and fortune has
disappeared amongst their hands--you know him. My father gave him a letter to you-- Mr. Darsie Latimer.'

'Lack-a-day, yes! lack-a-day, yes!' said the provost; 'Mr. Darsie Latimer--he dined at my house--I hope he is

'I hope so too,' said Alan, rather indignantly; 'but I desire more certainty on that point. You yourself wrote my
father that he had disappeared.'

'Troth, yes, and that is true,' said the provost. 'But did he not go back to his friends in Scotland? it was not
natural to think he would stay here.'

'Not unless he is under restraint,' said Fairford, surprised at the coolness with which the provost seemed to
take up the matter.

'Rely on it, sir,' said Mr. Crosbie, 'that if he has not returned to his friends in Scotland, he must have gone to
his friends in England.'

'I will rely on no such thing,' said Alan; 'if there is law or justice in Scotland, I will have the thing cleared to
the very bottom.'

'Reasonable, reasonable,' said the provost, 'so far as is possible; but you know I have no power beyond the
ports of the burgh.'
CHAPTER X                                                                                                       150

'But you are in the commission besides, Mr. Crosbie; a justice of peace for the county.'

'True, very true--that is,' said the cautious magistrate, 'I will not say but my name may stand on the list, but I
cannot remember that I have ever qualified.' [By taking the oaths to government.]

'Why, in that case,' said young Fairford, 'there are ill-natured people might doubt your attachment to the
Protestant line, Mr. Crosbie.'

'God forbid, Mr. Fairford! I who have done and suffered in the Forty-five. I reckon the Highlandmen did me
damage to the amount of 100l. Scots, forby all they ate and drank--no, no, sir, I stand beyond challenge; but as
for plaguing myself with county business, let them that aught the mare shoe the mare. The commissioners of
supply would see my back broken before they would help me in the burgh's work, and all the world kens the
difference of the weight between public business in burgh and landward. What are their riots to me? have we
not riots enough of our own?--But I must be getting ready, for the council meets this forenoon. I am blithe to
see your father's son on the causeway of our ancient burgh, Mr. Alan Fairford. Were you a twelve-month
aulder, we would make a burgess of you, man. I hope you will come and dine with me before you go away.
What think you of to-day at two o'clock--just a roasted chucky and a drappit egg?'

Alan Fairford resolved that his friend's hospitality should not, as it seemed the inviter intended, put a stop to
his queries. 'I must delay you for a moment,' he said, 'Mr. Crosbie; this is a serious affair; a young gentleman
of high hopes, my own dearest friend, is missing--you cannot think it will be passed over slightly, if a man of
your high character and known zeal for the government do not make some active inquiry. Mr. Crosbie, you
are my father's friend, and I respect you as such--but to others it will have a bad appearance.'

The withers of the provost were not unwrung; he paced the room in much tribulation, repeating, 'But what can
I do, Mr. Fairford? I warrant your friend casts up again--he will come back again, like the ill shilling--he is not
the sort of gear that tynes--a hellicat boy, running through the country with a blind fiddler and playing the
fiddle to a parcel of blackguards, who can tell where the like of him may have scampered to?'

'There are persons apprehended, and in the jail of the town, as I understand from the sheriff-substitute,' said
Mr. Fairford; 'you must call them before you, and inquire what they know of this young gentleman.'

'Aye, aye--the sheriff-depute did commit some poor creatures, I believe--wretched ignorant fishermen bodies,
that had been quarrelling with Quaker Geddes and his stake-nets, whilk, under favour of your gown be it
spoken, Mr. Fairford, are not over and above lawful, and the town clerk thinks that they may be lawfully
removed VIA FACTI--but that is by the by. But, sir, the creatures were a' dismissed for want of evidence; the
Quaker would not swear to them, and what could the sheriff and me do but just let them loose? Come awa,
cheer up, Master Alan, and take a walk till dinner-time--I must really go to the council.'

'Stop a moment, provost,' said Alan; 'I lodge a complaint before you as a magistrate, and you will find it
serious to slight it over. You must have these men apprehended again.'

'Aye, aye--easy said; but catch them that can,' answered the provost; 'they are ower the march by this time, or
by the point of Cairn.--Lord help ye! they are a kind of amphibious deevils, neither land nor water beasts
neither English nor Scots--neither county nor stewartry, as we say--they are dispersed like so much
quicksilver. You may as well try to whistle a sealgh out of the Solway, as to get hold of one of them till all the
fray is over.'

'Mr. Crosbie, this will not do,' answered the young counsellor; 'there is a person of more importance than such
wretches as you describe concerned in this unhappy business--I must name to you a certain Mr. Herries.'

He kept his eye on the provost as he uttered the name, which he did rather at a venture, and from the
CHAPTER X                                                                                                       151

connexion which that gentleman, and his real or supposed niece, seemed to have with the fate of Darsie
Latimer, than from any distinct cause of suspicion which he entertained. He thought the provost seemed
embarrassed, though he showed much desire to assume an appearance of indifference, in which he partly

'Herries!' he said--'What Herries?--There are many of that name --not so many as formerly, for the old stocks
are wearing out; but there is Herries of Heathgill, and Herries of Auchintulloch, and Herries'--

'To save you further trouble, this person's designation is Herries of Birrenswork.'

'Of Birrenswork?' said Mr. Crosbie; 'I have you now, Mr. Alan. Could you not as well have said, the Laird of

Fairford was too wary to testify any surprise at this identification of names, however unexpected. 'I thought,'
said he, 'he was more generally known by the name of Herries. I have seen and been in company with him
under that name, I am sure.'

'Oh aye; in Edinburgh, belike. You know Redgauntlet was unfortunate a great while ago, and though he was
maybe not deeper in the mire than other folk, yet, for some reason or other, he did not get so easily out.'

'He was attainted, I understand; and has no remission,' said Fairford.

The cautious provost only nodded, and said, 'You may guess, therefore, why it is so convenient he should hold
his mother's name, which is also partly his own, when he is about Edinburgh. To bear his proper name might
be accounted a kind of flying in the face of government, ye understand. But he has been long connived at--the
story is an old story--and the gentleman has many excellent qualities, and is of a very ancient and honourable
house--has cousins among the great folk--counts kin with the advocate and with the sheriff--hawks, you know,
Mr. Alan, will not pike out hawks' een--he is widely connected--my wife is a fourth cousin of Redgauntlet's.'

HINC ILLAE LACHRYMAE! thought Alan Fairford to himself; but the hint presently determined him to
proceed by soft means and with caution. 'I beg you to understand,' said Fairford, 'that in the investigation I am
about to make, I design no harm to Mr. Herries, or Redgauntlet--call him what you will. All I wish is, to
ascertain the safety of my friend. I know that he was rather foolish in once going upon a mere frolic, in
disguise, to the neighbourhood of this same gentleman's house. In his circumstances, Mr. Redgauntlet may
have misinterpreted the motives, and considered Darsie Latimer as a spy. His influence, I believe, is great
among the disorderly people you spoke of but now?'

The provost answered with another sagacious shake of his head, that would have done honour to Lord
Burleigh in the CRITIC.

'Well, then,' continued Fairford,' is it not possible that, in the mistaken belief that Mr. Latimer was a spy, he
may, upon such suspicion, have caused him to be carried off and confined somewhere? Such things are done
at elections, and on occasions less pressing than when men think their lives are in danger from an informer.'

'Mr. Fairford,' said the provost, very earnestly, 'I scarce think such a mistake possible; or if, by any
extraordinary chance, it should have taken place, Redgauntlet, whom I cannot but know well, being as I have
said my wife's first cousin (fourth cousin, I should say) is altogether incapable of doing anything harsh to the
young gentleman--he might send him ower to Ailsay for a night or two, or maybe land him on the north coast
of Ireland, or in Islay, or some of the Hebrides; but depend upon it, he is incapable of harming a hair of his

'I am determined not to trust to that, provost,' answered Fairford firmly; 'and I am a good deal surprised at
CHAPTER X                                                                                                       152
your way of talking so lightly of such an aggression on the liberty of the subject. You are to consider, and Mr.
Herries or Mr. Redgauntlet's friends would do very well also to consider, how it would sound in the ears of an
English Secretary of State, that an attainted traitor (for such is this gentleman) has not only ventured to take up
his abode in this realm--against the king of which he has been in arms--but is suspected of having proceeded,
by open force and violence, against the person of one of the lieges, a young man who is neither without
friends nor property to secure his being righted.'

The provost looked at the young counsellor with a face in which distrust, alarm, and vexation seemed
mingled. 'A fashious job,' he said at last, 'a fashious job; and it will be dangerous meddling with it. I should
like ill to see your father's son turn informer against an unfortunate gentleman.'

'Neither do I mean it,' answered Alan, 'provided that unfortunate gentleman and his friends give me a quiet
opportunity of securing my friend's safety. If I could speak with Mr. Redgauntlet, and hear his own
explanation, I should probably be satisfied. If I am forced, to denounce him to government, it will be in his
new capacity of a kidnapper. I may not be able, nor is it my business, to prevent his being recognized in his
former character of an attainted person, excepted from the general pardon.'

'Master Fairford,' said the provost, 'would ye ruin the poor innocent gentleman on an idle suspicion?'

'Say no more of it, Mr. Crosbie; my line of conduct is determined--unless that suspicion is removed.'

'Weel, sir,' said the provost, 'since so it be, and since you say that you do not seek to harm Redgauntlet
personally, I'll ask a man to dine with us to-day that kens as much about his matters as most folk. You must
think, Mr. Alan Fairford, though Redgauntlet be my wife's near relative, and though, doubtless, I wish him
weel, yet I am not the person who is like to be intrusted with his incomings and outgoings. I am not a man for
that--I keep the kirk, and I abhor Popery--I have stood up for the House of Hanover, and for liberty and
property--I carried arms, sir, against the Pretender, when three of the Highlandmen's baggage- carts were
stopped at Ecclefechan; and I had an especial loss of a hundred pounds'--

'Scots,' interrupted Fairford. 'You forget you told me all this before.'

'Scots or English, it was too much for me to lose,' said the provost; so you see I am not a person to pack or
peel with Jacobites, and such unfreemen as poor Redgauntlet.'

'Granted, granted, Mr. Crosbie; and what then?' said Alan Fairford.

'Why, then, it follows, that if I am to help you at this pinch, if cannot be by and through my ain personal
knowledge, but through some fitting agent or third person.'

'Granted again,' said Fairford. 'And pray who may this third person be?'

'Wha but Pate Maxwell of Summertrees--him they call Pate-in- Peril.'

'An old Forty-five man, of course?' said Fairford.

'Ye may swear that,' replied the provost--'as black a Jacobite as the auld leaven can make him; but a sonsy,
merry companion, that none of us think it worth while to break wi' for all his brags and his clavers. You would
have thought, if he had had but his own way at Derby, he would have marched Charlie Stuart through between
Wade and the Duke, as a thread goes through the needle's ee, and seated him in Saint James's before you
could have said haud your hand. But though he is a windy body when he gets on his auld-warld stories, he has
mair gumption in him than most people--knows business, Mr. Alan, being bred to the law; but never took the
gown, because of the oaths, which kept more folk out then than they do now--the more's the pity.'
CHAPTER X                                                                                                          153

'What! are you sorry, provost, that Jacobitism is upon the decline?' said Fairford.

'No, no,' answered the provost--'I am only sorry for folks losing the tenderness of conscience which they used
to have. I have a son breeding to the bar, Mr. Fairford; and, no doubt, considering my services and sufferings,
I might have looked for some bit postie to him; but if the muckle tykes come in--I mean a' these Maxwells,
and Johnstones, and great lairds, that the oaths used to keep out lang syne--the bits o' messan doggies, like my
son, and maybe like your father's son, Mr. Alan, will be sair put to the wall.'

'But to return to the subject, Mr. Crosbie,' said Fairford, 'do you really think it likely that this Mr. Maxwell
will be of service in this matter?'

'It's very like he may be, for he is the tongue of the trump to the whole squad of them,' said the provost; 'and
Redgauntlet, though he will not stick at times to call him a fool, takes more of his counsel than any man's else
that I am aware of. If Fate can bring him to a communing, the business is done. He's a sharp chield,

'Pate-in-Peril!' repeated Alan; 'a very singular name.'

'Aye, and it was in as queer a way he got it; but I'll say naething about that,' said the provost, 'for fear of
forestalling his market; for ye are sure to hear it once at least, however oftener, before the punch-bowl gives
place to the teapot.--And now, fare ye weel; for there is the council-bell clinking in earnest; and if I am not
there before it jows in, Bailie Laurie will be trying some of his manoeuvres.'

The provost, repeating his expectation of seeing Mr. Fairford at two o'clock, at length effected his escape from
the young counsellor, and left him at a considerable loss how to proceed. The sheriff, it seems, had returned to
Edinburgh, and he feared to find the visible repugnance of the provost to interfere with this Laird of
Birrenswork, or Redgauntlet, much stronger amongst the country gentlemen, many of whom were Catholics
as well as Jacobites, and most others unwilling to quarrel with kinsmen and friends, by prosecuting with
severity political offences which had almost run a prescription.

To collect all the information in his power, and not to have recourse to the higher authorities until he could
give all the light of which the case was capable, seemed the wiser proceeding in a choice of difficulties. He
had some conversation with the procurator-fiscal, who, as well as the provost, was an old correspondent of his
father. Alan expressed to that officer a purpose of visiting Brokenburn, but was assured by him, that it would
be a step attended with much danger to his own person, and altogether fruitless; that the individuals who had
been ringleaders in the riot were long since safely sheltered in their various lurking-holes in the Isle of Man,
Cumberland, and elsewhere; and that those who might remain would undoubtedly commit violence on any
who visited their settlement with the purpose of inquiring into the late disturbances.

There were not the same objections to his hastening to Mount Sharon, where he expected to find the latest
news of his friend; and there was time enough to do so, before the hour appointed for the provost's dinner.
Upon the road, he congratulated himself on having obtained one point of almost certain information. The
person who had in a manner forced himself upon his father's hospitality, and had appeared desirous to induce
Darsie Latimer to visit England, against whom, too, a sort of warning had been received from an individual
connected with and residing in his own family, proved to be a promoter of the disturbance in which Darsie
had disappeared.

What could be the cause of such an attempt on the liberty of an inoffensive and amiable man? It was
impossible it could be merely owing to Redgauntlet's mistaking Darsie for a spy; for though that was the
solution which Fairford had offered to the provost, he well knew that, in point of fact, he himself had been
warned by his singular visitor of some danger to which his friend was exposed, before such suspicion could
have been entertained; and the injunctions received by Latimer from his guardian, or him who acted as such,
CHAPTER X                                                                                                    154

Mr. Griffiths of London, pointed to the same thing. He was rather glad, however, that he had not let Provost
Crosbie into his secret further than was absolutely necessary; since it was plain that the connexion of his wife
with the suspected party was likely to affect his impartiality as a magistrate.

When Alan Fairford arrived at Mount Sharon, Rachel Geddes hastened to meet him, almost before the servant
could open the door. She drew back in disappointment when she beheld a stranger, and said, to excuse her
precipitation, that 'she had thought it was her brother Joshua returned from Cumberland.'

'Mr. Geddes is then absent from home?' said Fairford, much disappointed in his turn.

'He hath been gone since yesterday, friend,' answered Rachel, once more composed to the quietude which
characterizes her sect, but her pale cheek and red eye giving contradiction to her assumed equanimity.

'I am,' said Fairford, hastily, 'the particular friend of a young man not unknown to you, Miss Geddes--the
friend of Darsie Latimer--and am come hither in the utmost anxiety, having understood from Provost Crosbie,
that he had disappeared in the night when a destructive attack was made upon the fishing-station of Mr.

'Thou dost afflict me, friend, by thy inquiries,' said Rachel, more affected than before; 'for although the youth
was like those of the worldly generation, wise in his own conceit, and lightly to be moved by the breath of
vanity, yet Joshua loved him, and his heart clave to him as if he had been his own son. And when he himself
escaped from the sons of Belial, which was not until they had tired themselves with reviling, and with idle
reproach, and the jests of the scoffer, Joshua, my brother, returned to them once and again, to give ransom for
the youth called Darsie Latimer, with offers of money and with promise of remission, but they would not
hearken to him. Also, he went before the head judge, whom men call the sheriff, and would have told him of
the youth's peril; but he would in no way hearken to him unless he would swear unto the truth of his words,
which thing he might not do without sin, seeing it is written, Swear not at all--also, that our conversation shall
be yea or nay. Therefore, Joshua returned to me disconsolate, and said, "Sister Rachel, this youth hath run into
peril for my sake; assuredly I shall not be guiltless if a hair of his head be harmed, seeing I have sinned in
permitting him to go with me to the fishing station when such evil was to be feared. Therefore, I will take my
horse, even Solomon, and ride swiftly into Cumberland, and I will make myself friends with Mammon of
Unrighteousness, among the magistrates of the Gentiles, and among their mighty men; and it shall come to
pass that Darsie Latimer shall be delivered, even if it were at the expense of half my substance." And I said,
"Nay, my brother, go not, for they will but scoff at and revile thee; but hire with thy silver one of the scribes,
who are eager as hunters in pursuing their prey, and he shall free Darsie Latimer from the men of violence by
his cunning, and thy soul shall be guiltless of evil towards the lad." But he answered and said, "I will not be
controlled in this matter." And he is gone forth and hath not returned, and I fear me that he may never return;
for though he be peaceful, as becometh one who holds all violence as offence against his own soul, yet neither
the floods of water, nor the fear of the snare, nor the drawn sword of the adversary brandished in the path, will
overcome his purpose. Wherefore the Solway may swallow him up, or the sword of the enemy may devour
him--nevertheless, my hope is better in Him who directeth all things, and ruleth over the waves of the sea, and
overruleth the devices of the wicked, and who can redeem us even as a bird from the fowler's net.'

This was all that Fairford could learn from Miss Geddes; but he heard with pleasure that the good Quaker, her
brother, had many friends among those of his own profession in Cumberland, and without exposing himself to
so much danger as his sister seemed to apprehend, he trusted he might be able to discover some traces of
Darsie Latimer. He himself rode back to Dumfries, having left with Miss Geddes his direction in that place,
and an earnest request that she would forward thither whatever information she might obtain from her brother.

On Fairford's return to Dumfries, he employed the brief interval which remained before dinner-time, in
writing an account of what had befallen Latimer and of the present uncertainty of his condition, to Mr. Samuel
Griffiths, through whose hands the remittances for his friend's service had been regularly made, desiring he
CHAPTER X                                                                                                   155
would instantly acquaint him with such parts of his history as might direct him in the search which he was
about to institute through the border counties, and which he pledged himself not; to give up until he had
obtained news of his friend, alive or dead, The young lawyer's mind felt easier when he had dispatched this
letter. He could not conceive any reason why his friend's life should be aimed at; he knew Darsie had done
nothing by which his liberty could be legally affected; and although, even of late years, there had been
singular histories of men, and women also, who had been trepanned, and concealed in solitudes and distant
islands in order to serve some temporary purpose, such violences had been chiefly practised by the rich on the
poor, and by the strong on the feeble; whereas, in the present case, this Mr. Herries, or Redgauntlet, being
amenable, for more reasons than one, to the censure of the law, must be the weakest in any struggle in which
it could be appealed to. It is true, that his friendly anxiety whispered that the very cause which rendered this
oppressor less formidable, might make him more desperate. Still, recalling his language, so strikingly that of
the gentleman, and even of the man of honour, Alan Fairford concluded, that though, in his feudal pride,
Redgauntlet might venture on the deeds of violence exercised by the aristocracy in other times, he could not
be capable of any action of deliberate atrocity. And in these convictions he went to dine with Provost Crosbie,
with a heart more at ease than might have been expected. [See Note 7.]
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                     156


Five minutes had elapsed after the town clock struck two, before Alan Fairford, who had made a small detour
to put his letter into the post-house, reached the mansion of Mr. Provost Crosbie, and was at once greeted by
the voice of that civic dignitary, and the rural dignitary his visitor, as by the voices of men impatient for their

'Come away, Mr. Fairford--the Edinburgh time is later than ours,' said the provost.

And, 'Come away, young gentleman,' said the laird; 'I remember your father weel at the Cross thirty years
ago--I reckon you are as late in Edinburgh as at London, four o'clock hours--eh?'

'Not quite so degenerate,' replied Fairford; 'but certainly many Edinburgh people are so ill-advised as to
postpone their dinner till three, that they may have full time to answer their London correspondents.'

'London correspondents!' said Mr. Maxwell; 'and pray what the devil have the people of Auld Reekie to do
with London correspondents?' [Not much in those days, for within my recollection the London post; was
brought north in a small mail- cart; and men are yet as live who recollect when it came down with only one
single letter for Edinburgh, addressed to the manager of the British Linen Company.]

'The tradesmen must have their goods,' said Fairford.

'Can they not buy our own Scottish manufactures, and pick their customers pockets in a more patriotic

'Then the ladies must have fashions,' said Fairford.

'Can they not busk the plaid over their heads, as their mothers did? A tartan screen, and once a year a new
cockernony from Paris, should serve a countess. But ye have not many of them left, I think--Mareschal,
Airley, Winton, Vemyss, Balmerino, all passed and gone--aye, aye, the countesses and ladies of quality will
scarce take up too much of your ball-room floor with their quality hoops nowadays.'

'There is no want of crowding, however, sir,' said Fairford; 'they begin to talk of a new Assembly room.'

'A new Assembly room!' said the old Jacobite laird--'Umph--I mind quartering three hundred men in the old
Assembly room [I remember hearing this identical answer given by an old Highland gentleman of the
Forty-Five, when he heard of the opening of the New Assembly Rooms in George Street.]--But come,
come--I'll ask no more questions--the answers all smell of new lords new lands, and do but spoil my appetite,
which were a pity, since here comes Mrs. Crosbie to say our mutton's ready.'

It was even so. Mrs. Crosbie had been absent, like Eve, 'on hospitable cares intent,' a duty which she did not
conceive herself exempted from, either by the dignity of her husband's rank in the municipality, or the
splendour of her Brussels silk gown, or even by the more highly prized lustre of her birth; for she was born a
Maxwell, and allied, as her husband often informed his friends, to several of the first families in the county.
She had been handsome, and was still a portly, good-looking woman of her years; and though her peep into
the kitchen had somewhat heightened her complexion, it was no more than a modest touch of rouge might
have done.

The provost was certainly proud of his lady, nay, some said he was afraid of her; for of the females of the
Redgauntlet family there went a rumour, that, ally where they would, there was a grey mare as surely in the
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                     157
stables of their husbands, as there is a white horse in Wouvermans' pictures. The good dame, too, was
supposed to have brought a spice of politics into Mr. Crosbie's household along with her; and the provost's
enemies at the council-table of the burgh used to observe that he uttered there many a bold harangue against
the Pretender, and in favour of King George and government, of which he dared not have pronounced a
syllable in his own bedchamber; and that, in fact, his wife's predominating influence had now and then
occasioned his acting, or forbearing to act, in a manner very different from his general professions of zeal for
Revolution principles. If this was in any respect true, it was certain, on the other hand, that Mrs. Crosbie, in all
external points, seemed to acknowledge the 'lawful sway and right supremacy' of the head of the house, and if
she did not in truth reverence her husband, she at least seemed to do so.

This stately dame received Mr. Maxwell (a cousin of course) with cordiality, and Fairford with civility;
answering at the same time with respect, to the magisterial complaints of the provost, that dinner was just
coming up. 'But since you changed poor Peter MacAlpin, that used to take care of the town-clock, my dear, it
has never gone well a single day.'

'Peter MacAlpin, my dear,' said the provost,' made himself too busy for a person in office, and drunk healths
and so forth, which it became no man to drink or to pledge, far less one that is in point of office a servant of
the public, I understand that he lost the music bells in Edinburgh, for playing "Ower the Water to Charlie,"
upon the tenth of June. He is a black sheep, and deserves no encouragement.'

'Not a bad tune though, after all,' said Summertrees; and, turning to the window, he half hummed, half
whistled, the air in question, then sang the last verse aloud:

'Oh I loe weel my Charlie's name, Though some there be that abhor him; But oh to see the deil gang hame Wi'
a' the Whigs before him! Over the water, and over the sea, And over the water to Charlie; Come weal, come
woe, we'll gather and go, And live or die with Charlie.'

Mrs. Crosbie smiled furtively on the laird, wearing an aspect at the same time of deep submission; while the
provost, not choosing to hear his visitor's ditty, took a turn through the room, in unquestioned dignity and
independence of authority.

'Aweel, aweel, my dear,' said the lady, with a quiet smile of submission, 'ye ken these matters best, and you
will do your pleasure--they are far above my hand--only, I doubt if ever the town-clock will go right, or your
meals be got up so regular as I should wish, till Peter MacAlpin gets his office back again. The body's auld,
and can neither work nor want, but he is the only hand to set a clock.'

It may be noticed in passing, that notwithstanding this prediction, which, probably, the fair Cassandra had the
full means of accomplishing, it was not till the second council day thereafter that the misdemeanours of the
Jacobite clock-keeper were passed over, and he was once more restored to his occupation of fixing the town's
time, and the provost's dinner-hour.

Upon the present occasion the dinner passed pleasantly away. Summertrees talked and jested with the easy
indifference of a man who holds himself superior to his company. He was indeed an important person, as was
testified by his portly appearance; his hat laced with POINT D'ESPAGNE; his coat and waistcoat once richly
embroidered, though now almost threadbare; the splendour of his solitaire, and laced ruffles, though the first
was sorely creased, and the other sullied; not to forget the length of his silver-hilted rapier. His wit, or rather
humour, bordered on the sarcastic, and intimated a discontented man; and although he showed no displeasure
when the provost attempted a repartee, yet it seemed that he permitted it upon mere sufferance, as a
fencing-master, engaged with a pupil, will sometimes permit the tyro to hit him, solely by way of
encouragement. The laird's own jests, in the meanwhile, were eminently successful, not only with the provost
and his lady, but with the red-cheeked and red- ribboned servant-maid who waited at table, and who could
scarce perform her duty with propriety, so effectual were the explosions of Summertrees. Alan Fairford alone
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                      158
was unmoved among all this mirth; which was the less wonderful, that, besides the important subject which
occupied his thoughts, most of the laird's good things consisted in sly allusions to little parochial or family
incidents, with which the Edinburgh visitor was totally unacquainted: so that the laughter of the party sounded
in his ear like the idle crackling of thorns under the pot, with this difference, that they did not accompany or
second any such useful operation as the boiling thereof.

Fairford was glad when the cloth was withdrawn; and when Provost Crosbie (not without some points of
advice from his lady touching the precise mixture of the ingredients) had accomplished the compounding of a
noble bowl of punch, at which the old Jacobite's eyes seemed to glisten, the glasses were pushed round it,
filled, and withdrawn each by its owner, when the provost emphatically named the toast, 'The King,' with an
important look to Fairford, which seemed to say, You can have no doubt whom I mean, and therefore there is
no occasion to particularize the individual.

Summertrees repeated the toast, with a sly wink to the lady, while Fairford drank his glass in silence.

'Well, young advocate,' said the landed proprietor, 'I am glad to see there is some shame, if there is little
honesty, left in the Faculty. Some of your black gowns, nowadays, have as little of the one as of the other.'

'At least, sir,' replied Mr. Fairford, 'I am so much of a lawyer as not willingly to enter into disputes which I am
not retained to support--it would be but throwing away both time and argument.'

'Come, come,' said the lady, 'we will have no argument in this house about Whig or Tory--the provost kens
what he maun SAY, and I ken what he should THINK; and for a' that has come and gane yet, there may be a
time coming when honest men may say what they think, whether they be provosts or not.'

'D'ye hear that, provost?' said Summertrees; 'your wife's a witch, man; you should nail a horseshoe on your
chamber door--Ha, ha, ha!'

This sally did not take quite so well as former efforts of the laird's wit. The lady drew up, and the provost said,
half aside, 'The sooth bourd is nae bourd. [The true joke is no joke.] You will find the horseshoe hissing hot,

'You can speak from experience, doubtless, provost,' answered the laird; 'but I crave pardon--I need not tell
Mrs. Crosbie that I have all respect for the auld and honourable House of Redgauntlet.'

'And good reason ye have, that are sae sib to them,' quoth the lady, 'and kend weel baith them that are here,
and them that are gane.'

'In troth, and ye may say sae, madam,' answered the laird; 'for poor Harry Redgauntlet, that suffered at
Carlisle, was hand and glove with me; and yet we parted on short leave-taking.'

'Aye, Summertrees,' said the provost; 'that was when you played Cheat-the-woodie, and gat the by-name of
Pate-in-Peril. I wish you would tell the story to my young friend here. He likes weel to hear of a sharp trick, as
most lawyers do.'

'I wonder at your want of circumspection, provost,' said the laird,--much after the manner of a singer when
declining to sing the song that is quivering upon his tongue's very end. 'Ye should mind there are some auld
stories that cannot be ripped up again with entire safety to all concerned. TACE is Latin for a candle,'

'I hope,' said the lady, 'you are not afraid of anything being said out of this house to your prejudice,
Summertrees? I have heard the story before; but the oftener I hear it, the more wonderful I think it.'
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                         159

'Yes, madam; but it has been now a wonder of more than nine days, and it is time it should be ended,'
answered Maxwell.

Fairford now thought it civil to say, 'that he had often heard of Mr. Maxwell's wonderful escape, and that
nothing could be more agreeable to him than to hear the right version of it.'

But Summertrees was obdurate, and refused to take up the time of the company with such 'auld-warld

'Weel, weel,' said the provost, 'a wilful man maun hae his way. What do your folk in the country think about
the disturbances that are beginning to spunk out in the colonies?'

'Excellent, sir, excellent. When things come to the worst; they will mend; and to the worst they are coming.
But as to that nonsense ploy of mine, if ye insist on hearing the particulars,' --said the laird, who began to be
sensible that the period of telling his story gracefully was gliding fast away.

'Nay,' said the provost, 'it was not for myself, but this young gentlemen.'

'Aweel, what for should I not pleasure the young gentlemen? I'll just drink to honest folk at hame and abroad,
and deil ane else. And then--but you have heard it before, Mrs. Crosbie?'

'Not so often as to think it tiresome, I assure ye,' said the lady; and without further preliminaries, the laird
addressed Alan Fairford.

'Ye have heard of a year they call the FORTY-FIVE, young gentleman; when the Southrons' heads made their
last acquaintance with Scottish claymores? There was a set of rampauging chields in the country then that
they called rebels--I never could find out what for--Some men should have been wi' them that never came,
provost--Skye and the Bush aboon Traquair for that, ye ken.-- Weel, the job was settled at last. Cloured
crowns were plenty, and raxed necks came into fashion. I dinna mind very weel what I was doing, swaggering
about the country with dirk and pistol at my belt for five or six months, or thereaway; but I had a weary
waking out of a wild dream. When did I find myself on foot in a misty morning, with my hand, just for fear of
going astray, linked into a handcuff, as they call it, with poor Harry Redgauntlet's fastened into the other; and
there we were, trudging along, with about a score more that had thrust their horns ower deep in the bog, just
like ourselves, and a sergeant's guard of redcoats, with twa file of dragoons, to keep all quiet, and give us
heart to the road. Now, if this mode of travelling was not very pleasant, the object did not particularly
recommend it; for, you understand, young man, that they did not trust these poor rebel bodies to be tried by
juries of their ain kindly countrymen, though ane would have thought they would have found Whigs enough
in Scotland to hang us all; but they behoved to trounce us away to be tried at Carlisle, where the folk had been
so frightened, that had you brought a whole Highland clan at once into the court, they would have put their
hands upon their een, and cried, "hang them a'," just to be quit of them.'

'Aye, aye,' said the provost, 'that was a snell law, I grant ye.'

'Snell!' said the wife, 'snell! I wish they that passed it had the jury I would recommend them to!'

'I suppose the young lawyer thinks it all very right,' said Summertrees, looking at Fairford--"an OLD lawyer
might have thought otherwise. However, the cudgel was to be found to beat the dog, and they chose a heavy
one. Well, I kept my spirits better than my companion, poor fellow; for I had the luck to have neither wife nor
child to think about, and Harry Redgauntlet had both one and t'other.--You have seen Harry, Mrs. Crosbie?'

'In troth have I,' said she, with the sigh which we give to early recollections, of which the object is no more.
'He was not so tall as his brother, and a gentler lad every way. After he married the great English fortune, folk
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                      160
called him less of a Scottishman than Edward.'

'Folk lee'd, then,' said Summertrees; 'poor Harry was none of your bold-speaking, ranting reivers, that talk
about what they did yesterday, or what they will do to-morrow; it was when something was to do at the
moment that you should have looked at Harry Redgauntlet. I saw him at Culloden, when all was lost, doing
more than twenty of these bleezing braggarts, till the very soldiers that took him cried not to hurt him--for all
somebody's orders, provost--for he was the bravest fellow of them all. Weel, as I went by the side of Harry,
and felt him raise my hand up in the mist of the morning, as if he wished to wipe his eye-- for he had not that
freedom without my leave--my very heart was like to break for him, poor fellow. In the meanwhile, I had been
trying and trying to make my hand as fine as a lady's, to see if I could slip it out of my iron wristband. You
may think,' he said, laying his broad bony hand on the table, 'I had work enough with such a
shoulder-of-mutton fist; but if you observe, the shackle-bones are of the largest, and so they were obliged to
keep the handcuff wide; at length I got my hand slipped out, and slipped in again; and poor Harry was sae
deep in his ain thoughts, I could not make him sensible what I was doing,'

'Why not?' said Alan Fairford, for whom the tale began to have some interest.

'Because there was an unchancy beast of a dragoon riding close beside us on the other side; and if I had let
him into my confidence as well as Harry, it would not have been long before a pistol-ball slapped through my
bonnet.--Well, I had little for it but to do the best I could for myself; and, by my conscience, it was time, when
the gallows was staring me in the face. We were to halt for breakfast at Moffat. Well did I know the moors we
were marching over, having hunted and hawked on every acre of ground in very different times. So I waited,
you see, till I was on the edge of Errickstane-brae--Ye ken the place they call the Marquis's Beef-stand,
because the Annandale loons used to put their stolen cattle in there?'

Fairford intimated his ignorance,

'Ye must have seen it as ye came this way; it looks as if four hills were laying their heads together, to shut out
daylight from the dark hollow space between them. A d--d deep, black, blackguard-looking abyss of a hole it
is, and goes straight down from the roadside, as perpendicular as it can do, to be a heathery brae. At the
bottom, there is a small bit of a brook, that you would think could hardly find, its way out from the hills that
are so closely jammed round it.'

'A bad pass, indeed,' said Alan.

'You may say that,' continued the laird. 'Bad as it was, sir, it was my only chance; and though my very flesh
creeped when I thought what a rumble I was going to get, yet I kept my heart up all the same. And so, just
when we came on the edge of this Beef-stand of the Johnstones, I slipped out my hand from the handcuff,
cried to Harry Gauntlet, 'Follow me!'--whisked under the belly of the dragoon horse--flung my plaid round me
with the speed of lightning--threw myself on my side, for there was no keeping my feet, and down the brae
hurled I, over heather and fern, and blackberries, like a barrel down Chalmer's Close, in Auld Reekie. G--, sir,
I never could help laughing when I think how the scoundrel redcoats must have been bumbazed; for the mist
being, as I said, thick, they had little notion, I take it, that they were on the verge of such a dilemma. I was half
way down-- for rowing is faster wark than rinning--ere they could get at their arms; and then it was flash,
flash, flash--rap, rap, rap-- from the edge of the road; but my head was too jumbled to think anything either of
that or the hard knocks I got among the stones. I kept my senses thegither, whilk has been thought wonderful
by all that ever saw the place; and I helped myself with my hands as gallantly as I could, and to the bottom I
came. There I lay for half a moment; but the thoughts of a gallows is worth all the salts and scent-bottles in
the world for bringing a man to himself. Up I sprang, like a four-year-auld colt. All the hills were spinning
round with me, like so many great big humming-tops. But there was nae time to think of that neither; more
especially as the mist had risen a little with the firing. I could see the villains, like sae mony craws on the edge
of the brae; and I reckon that they saw me; for some of the loons were beginning to crawl down the hill, but
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                    161
liker auld wives in their red cloaks, coming frae a field preaching, than such a souple lad as I was.
Accordingly, they soon began to stop and load their pieces. Good-e'en to you, gentlemen, thought I, if that is
to be the gate of it. If you have any further word with me, you maun come as far as Carriefraw-gauns. And so
off I set, and never buck went faster ower the braes than I did; and I never stopped till I had put three waters,
reasonably deep, as the season was rainy, half a dozen mountains, and a few thousand acres of the worst moss
and ling in Scotland, betwixt me and my friends the redcoats.'

'It was that job which got you the name of Pate-in-Peril,' said the provost, filling the glasses, and exclaiming
with great emphasis, while his guest, much animated with the recollections which the exploit excited, looked
round with an air of triumph for sympathy and applause,--'Here is to your good health; and may you never put
your neck in such a venture again.' [The escape of a Jacobite gentleman while on the road to Carlisle to take
his trial for his share in the affair of 1745, took place at Errickstane-brae, in the singular manner ascribed to
the Laird of Summertrees in the text. The author has seen in his youth the gentleman to whom the adventure
actually happened. The distance of time makes some indistinctness of recollection, but it is believed the real
name was MacEwen or MacMillan.]

'Humph!--I do not know,' answered Summertrees. 'I am not like to be tempted with another opportunity--[An
old gentleman of the author's name was engaged in the affair of 1715, and with some difficulty was saved
from the gallows by the intercession of the Duchess of Buccleugh and Monmouth. Her Grace, who maintained
a good deal of authority over her clan, sent for the object of her intercession, and warning him of the risk
which he had run, and the trouble she had taken on his account, wound up her lecture by intimating that in
case of such disloyalty again, he was not to expect her interest in his favour. 'An it please your Grace,' said the
stout old Tory, 'I fear I am too old to see another opportunity.'] Yet who knows?' And then he made a deep

'May I ask what became of your friend, sir?' said Alan Fairford.

'Ah, poor Harry!' said Summertrees. 'I'll tell you what, sir, it takes time to make up one's mind to such a
venture, as my friend the provost calls it; and I was told by Neil Maclean,--who was next file to us, but had
the luck to escape the gallows by some sleight-of-hand trick or other,--that, upon my breaking off, poor Harry
stood like one motionless, although all our brethren in captivity made as much tumult as they could, to distract
the attention of the soldiers. And run he did at last; but he did not know the ground, and either from confusion,
or because he judged the descent altogether perpendicular, he fled up the hill to the left, instead of going down
at once, and so was easily pursued and taken. If he had followed my example, he would have found enough
among the shepherds to hide him, and feed him, as they did me, on bearmeal scenes and braxy mutton, till
better days came round again.' [BRAXY MUTTON.--The flesh of sheep that has died of disease, not by the
hand of the butcher. In pastoral countries it is used as food with little scruple.]

'He suffered then for his share in the insurrection?' said Alan.

'You may swear that,' said Summertrees. 'His blood was too red to be spared when that sort of paint was in
request. He suffered, sir, as you call it--that is, he was murdered in cold blood, with many a pretty fellow
besides. Well, we may have our day next--what is fristed is not forgiven--they think us all dead and
buried--but'--Here he filled his glass, and muttering some indistinct denunciations, drank it off, and assumed
his usual manner, which had been a little disturbed towards the end of the narrative.

'What became of Mr. Redgauntlet's child?' said Fairford.

MISTER Redgauntlet! He was Sir Henry Redgauntlet, as his son, if the child now lives, will be Sir Arthur--I
called him Harry from intimacy, and Redgauntlet, as the chief of his name--His proper style was Sir Henry
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                    162

'His son, therefore, is dead?' said Alan Fairford. 'It is a pity so brave a line should draw to a close.'

'He has left a brother,' said Summertrees, 'Edward Hugh Redgauntlet, who has now the representation of the
family. And well it is; for though he be unfortunate in many respects, he will keep up the honour of the house
better than a boy bred up amongst these bitter Whigs, the relations of his elder brother Sir Henry's lady. Then
they are on no good terms with the Redgauntlet line--bitter Whigs they are in every sense. It was a runaway
match betwixt Sir Henry and his lady. Poor thing, they would not allow her to see him when in
confinement--they had even the meanness to leave him without pecuniary assistance; and as all his own
property was seized upon and plundered, he would have wanted common necessaries, but for the attachment
of a fellow who was a famous fiddler--a blind man--I have seen him with Sir Henry myself, both before the
affair broke out and while it was going on. I have heard that he fiddled in the streets of Carlisle, and carried
what money he got to his master, while he was confined in the castle.'

'I do not believe a word of it,' said Mrs. Crosbie, kindling with indignation. 'A Redgauntlet would have died
twenty times before he had touched a fiddler's wages.'

'Hout fye--hout fye--all nonsense and pride,' said the Laird of Summertrees. 'Scornful dogs will eat dirty
puddings, cousin Crosbie--ye little ken what some of your friends were obliged to do yon time for a sowp of
brose, or a bit of bannock. G--d, I carried a cutler's wheel for several weeks, partly for need, and partly for
disguise--there I went bizz--bizz--whizz--zizz, at every auld wife's door; and if ever you want your shears
sharpened, Mrs. Crosbie, I am the lad to do it for you, if my wheel was but in order.'

'You, must ask my leave first,' said the provost; 'for I have been told you had some queer fashions of taking a
kiss instead of a penny, if you liked your customer.'

'Come, come, provost,' said the lady; rising, 'if the maut gets abune the meal with you, it is time for me to take
myself away-- And you will come to my room, gentlemen, when you want a cup of tea.'

Alan Fairford was not sorry for the lady's departure. She seemed too much alive to the honour of the house of
Redgauntlet, though only a fourth cousin, not to be alarmed by the inquiries which he proposed to make after
the whereabout of its present head. Strange confused suspicions arose in his mind, from his imperfect
recollection of the tale of Wandering Willie, and the idea forced itself upon him that his friend Darsie Latimer
might be the son of the unfortunate Sir Henry. But before indulging in such speculations, the point was to
discover what had actually become of him. If he were in the hands of his uncle, might there not exist some
rivalry in fortune, or rank, which might induce so stern a man as Redgauntlet to use unfair measures towards a
youth whom he would find himself unable to mould to his purpose? He considered these points in silence,
during several revolutions of the glasses as they wheeled in galaxy round the bowl, waiting until the provost,
agreeably to his own proposal, should mention the subject, for which he had expressly introduced him to Mr.
Maxwell of Summertrees.

Apparently the provost had forgot his promise, or at least was in no great haste to fulfil it. He debated with
great earnestness upon the Stamp Act, which was then impending over the American colonies, and upon other
political subjects of the day, but said not a word of Redgauntlet. Alan soon saw that the investigation he
meditated must advance, if at all, on his own special motion, and determined to proceed accordingly.

Acting upon this resolution, he took the first opportunity afforded by a pause in the discussion of colonial
politics, to say, 'I must remind you, Provost Crosbie, of your kind promise to procure some intelligence upon
the subject I am so anxious about.'

'Gadso!' said the provost, after a moment's hesitation, 'it is very true.--Mr. Maxwell, we wish to consult you on
a piece of important business. You must know indeed I think you must have heard, that the fishermen at
Brokenburn, and higher up the Solway, have made a raid upon Quaker Geddes's stake-nets, and levelled all
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                       163

with the sands.'

'In troth I heard it, provost, and I was glad to hear the scoundrels had so much pluck left as to right themselves
against a fashion which would make the upper heritors a sort of clocking- hens, to hatch the fish that folk
below them were to catch and eat.'

'Well, sir,' said Alan, 'that is not the present point. But a young friend of mine was with Mr. Geddes at the
time this violent procedure took place, and he has not since been heard of. Now, our friend, the provost, thinks
that you may be able to advise'--

Here he was interrupted by the provost and Summertrees speaking out both at once, the first endeavouring to
disclaim all interest in the question, and the last to evade giving an answer.

'Me think!' said the provost; 'I never thought twice about it, Mr. Fairford; it was neither fish, nor flesh, nor salt
herring of mine.'

'And I "able to advise"!' said Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees; 'what the devil can I advise you to do, excepting
to send the bellman through the town to cry your lost sheep, as they do spaniel dogs or stray ponies?'

'With your pardon,' said Alan, calmly, but resolutely, 'I must ask a more serious answer.'

'Why, Mr. Advocate,' answered Summertrees, 'I thought it was your business to give advice to the lieges, and
not to take it from poor stupid country gentlemen.'

'If not exactly advice, it is sometimes our duty to ask questions, Mr. Maxwell.'

'Aye, sir, when you have your bag-wig and your gown on, we must allow you the usual privilege of both
gown and petticoat, to ask what questions you please. But when you are out of your canonicals, the case is
altered. How come you, sir, to suppose that I have any business with this riotous proceeding, or should know
more than you do what happened there? the question proceeds on an uncivil supposition.'

'I will explain,' said Alan, determined to give Mr. Maxwell no opportunity of breaking off the conversation.
'You are an intimate of Mr. Redgauntlet--he is accused of having been engaged in this affray, and of having
placed under forcible restraint the person of my friend, Darsie Latimer, a young man of property and
consequence, whose fate I am here for the express purpose of investigating. This is the plain state of the case;
and all parties concerned,--your friend, in particular,--will have reason to be thankful for the temperate
manner in which it is my purpose to conduct the matter, if I am treated with proportionate frankness.'

'You have misunderstood me,' said Maxwell, with a tone changed to more composure; 'I told you I was the
friend of the late Sir Henry Redgauntlet, who was executed, in 1745, at Hairibie, near Carlisle, but I know no
one who at present bears the name of Redgauntlet.'

'You know Mr. Herries of Birrenswork,' said Alan, smiling, 'to whom the name of Redgauntlet belongs?'

Maxwell darted a keen reproachful look towards the provost, but instantly smoothed his brow, and changed
his tone to that of confidence and candour.

'You must not be angry, Mr. Fairford, that the poor persecuted nonjurors are a little upon the QUI VIVE when
such clever young men as you are making inquiries after us. I myself now, though I am quite out of the scrape,
and may cock my hat at the Cross as I best like, sunshine or moonshine, have been yet so much accustomed to
walk with the lap of my cloak cast over my face, that, faith, if a redcoat walk suddenly up to me, I wish for my
wheel and whetstone again for a moment. Now Redgauntlet, poor fellow, is far worse off--he is, you may
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                     164
have heard, still under the lash of the law,--the mark of the beast is still on his forehead, poor gentleman,--and
that makes us cautious--very cautious, which I am sure there is no occasion to be towards you, as no one of
your appearance and manners would wish to trepan a gentleman under misfortune.'

'On the contrary, sir,' said Fairford, 'I wish to afford Mr. Redgauntlet's friends an opportunity to get him out of
the scrape, by procuring the instant liberation of my friend Darsie Latimer. I will engage that if he has
sustained no greater bodily harm than a short confinement, the matter may be passed over quietly, without
inquiry; but to attain this end, so desirable for the man who has committed a great and recent infraction of the
laws, which he had before grievously offended, very speedy reparation of the wrong must be rendered.'

Maxwell seemed lost in reflection, and exchanged a glance or two, not of the most comfortable or
congratulatory kind, with his host the provost. Fairford rose and walked about the room, to allow them an
opportunity of conversing together; for he was in hopes that the impression he had visibly made upon
Summertrees was likely to ripen into something favourable to his purpose. They took the opportunity, and
engaged in whispers to each other, eagerly and reproachfully on the part of the laird, while the provost
answered in an embarrassed and apologetical tone. Some broken words of the conversation reached Fairford,
whose presence they seemed to forget, as he stood at the bottom of the room, apparently intent upon
examining the figures upon a fine Indian screen, a present to the provost from his brother, captain of a vessel
in the Company's service. What he overheard made it evident that his errand, and the obstinacy with which he
pursued it, occasioned altercation between the whisperers.

Maxwell at length let out the words, 'A good fright; and so send him home with his tail scalded, like a dog that
has come a- privateering on strange premises.'

The provost's negative was strongly interposed--'Not to be thought of'--'making bad worse'--'my
situation'--'my utility'-- 'you cannot conceive how obstinate--just like his father'.

They then whispered more closely, and at length the provost raised his drooping crest, and spoke in a cheerful
tone. 'Come, sit down to your glass, Mr. Fairford; we have laid our heads thegither, and you shall see it will
not be our fault if you are not quite pleased, and Mr. Darsie Latimer let loose to take his fiddle under his neck
again. But Summertrees thinks it will require you to put yourself into some bodily risk, which maybe you may
not be so keen of.'

'Gentlemen,' said Fairford, 'I will not certainly shun any risk by which my object may be accomplished; but I
bind it on your consciences--on yours, Mr. Maxwell, as a man of honour and a gentleman; and on yours,
provost, as a magistrate and a loyal subject, that you do not mislead me in this matter.'

'Nay, as for me,' said Summertrees, 'I will tell you the truth at once, and fairly own that I can certainly find
you the means of seeing Redgauntlet, poor man; and that I will do, if you require it, and conjure him also to
treat you as your errand requires; but poor Redgauntlet is much changed--indeed, to say truth, his temper
never was the best in the world; however, I will warrant you from any very great danger.'

'I will warrant myself from such,' said Fairford, 'by carrying a proper force with me.'

'Indeed,' said Summertrees, 'you will, do no such thing; for, in the first place, do you think that we will deliver
up the poor fellow into the hands of the Philistines, when, on the contrary, my only reason for furnishing you
with the clue I am to put into your hands, is to settle the matter amicably on all sides? And secondly, his
intelligence is so good, that were you coming near him with soldiers, or constables, or the like, I shall answer
for it, you will never lay salt on his tail.'

Fairford mused for a moment. He considered that to gain sight of this man, and knowledge of his friend's
condition, were advantages to be purchased at every personal risk; and he saw plainly, that were he to take the
CHAPTER XI                                                                                                      165

course most safe for himself, and call in the assistance of the law, it was clear he would either be deprived of
the intelligence necessary to guide him, or that Redgauntlet would be apprised of his danger, and might
probably leave the country, carrying his captive along with him. He therefore repeated, 'I put myself on your
honour, Mr. Maxwell; and I will go alone to visit your friend. I have little; doubt I shall find him amenable to
reason; and that I shall receive from him a satisfactory account of Mr. Latimer.'

'I have little doubt that you will,' said Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees; 'but still I think it will be only in the long
run, and after having sustained some delay and inconvenience. My warrandice goes no further.'

'I will take it as it is given,' said Alan Fairford. 'But let me ask, would it not be better, since you value your
friend's safety so highly and surely would not willingly compromise mine, that the provost or you should go
with me to this man, if he is within any reasonable distance, and try to make him hear reason?'

'Me!--I will not go my foot's length,' said the provost; and that, Mr. Alan, you may be well assured of. Mr.
Redgauntlet is my wife's fourth cousin, that is undeniable; but were he the last of her kin and mine both, it
would ill befit my office to be communing with rebels.'

'Aye, or drinking with nonjurors,' said Maxwell, filling his glass. 'I would as soon expect; to have met
Claverhouse at a field-preaching. And as for myself, Mr. Fairford, I cannot go, for just the opposite reason. It
would be INFRA DIG. in the provost of this most flourishing and loyal town to associate with Redgauntlet;
and for me it would be NOSCITUR A SOCIO. There would be post to London, with the tidings that two such
Jacobites as Redgauntlet and I had met on a braeside--the Habeas Corpus would be suspended--Fame would
sound a charge from Carlisle to the Land's End--and who knows but the very wind of the rumour might blow
my estate from between my fingers, and my body over Errickstane-brae again? No, no; bide a gliff--I will go
into the provost's closet, and write a letter to Redgauntlet, and direct you how to deliver it.'

'There is pen and ink in the office,' said the provost, pointing to the door of an inner apartment, in which he
had his walnut- tree desk and east-country cabinet.

'A pen that can write, I hope?' said the old laird.

'It can write and spell baith in right hands,' answered the provost, as the laird retired and shut the door behind
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                     166


The room was no sooner deprived of Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees's presence, than the provost looked very
warily above, beneath, and around the apartment, hitched his chair towards that of his remaining guest, and
began to speak In a whisper which could not have startled 'the smallest mouse that creeps on floor.'

'Mr. Fairford,' said he, 'you are a good lad; and, what is more, you are my auld friend your father's son. Your
father has been agent for this burgh for years, and has a good deal to say with the council; so there have been a
sort of obligations between him and me; it may have been now on this side and now on that; but obligations
there have been. I am but a plain man, Mr. Fairford; but I hope you understand me?'

'I believe you mean me well, provost; and I am sure,' replied Fairford, 'you can never better show your
kindness than on this occasion.'

'That's it--that's the very point I would be at, Mr. Alan,' replied the provost; 'besides, I am, as becomes well
my situation, a stanch friend to kirk and king, meaning this present establishment in church and state; and so,
as I was saying, you may command my best--advice.'

'I hope for your assistance and co-operation also,' said the youth.

'Certainly, certainly,' said the wary magistrate. 'Well, now, you see one may love the kirk, and yet not ride on
the rigging of it; and one may love the king, and yet not be cramming him eternally down the throat of the
unhappy folk that may chance to like another king better. I have friends and connexions among them, Mr.
Fairford, as your father may have clients--they are flesh and blood like ourselves, these poor Jacobite
bodies--sons of Adam and Eve, after all; and therefore--I hope you understand me?--I am a plain-spoken man.'

'I am afraid I do not quite understand you,' said Fairford; 'and if you have anything to say to me in private, my
dear provost, you had better come quickly out with it, for the Laird of Summertrees must finish his letter in a
minute or two.'

'Not a bit, man--Pate is a lang-headed fellow, but his pen does not clear the paper as his greyhound does the
Tinwald-furs. I gave him a wipe about that, if you noticed; I can say anything to Pate-in-Peril--Indeed, he is
my wife's near kinsman.'

'But your advice, provost,' said Alan, who perceived that, like a shy horse, the worthy magistrate always
started off from his own purpose just when he seemed approaching to it.

'Weel, you shall have it in plain terms, for I am a plain man. Ye see, we will suppose that any friend like
yourself were in the deepest hole of the Nith, sand making a sprattle for your life. Now, you see, such being
the case, I have little chance of helping you, being a fat, short-armed man, and no swimmer, and what would
be the use of my jumping in after you?'

'I understand you, I think,' said Alan Fairford. 'You think that Darsie Latimer is in danger of his life?'

'Me!--I think nothing about it, Mr. Alan; but if he were, as I trust he is not, he is nae drap's blood akin to you,
Mr. Alan.'

'But here your friend, Summertrees,' said the young lawyer, 'offers me a letter to this Redgauntlet of
yours--What say you to that?'
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                      167

'Me!' ejaculated the provost, 'me, Mr. Alan? I say neither buff nor stye to it--But ye dinna ken what it is to
look a Redgauntlet in the face;--better try my wife, who is but a fourth cousin, before ye venture on the laird
himself--just say something about the Revolution, and see what a look she can gie you.'

I shall leave you to stand all the shots from that battery, provost.' replied Fairford. 'But speak out like a
man--Do you think Summertrees means fairly by me?'

'Fairly--he is just coming--fairly? I am a plain man, Mr. Fairford--but ye said FAIRLY?'

'I do so,' replied Alan, 'and it is of importance to me to know, and to you to tell me if such is the case; for if
you do not, you may be an accomplice to murder before the fact, and that under circumstances which may
bring it near to murder under trust.'

'Murder!--who spoke of murder?' said the provost; no danger of that, Mr. Alan--only, if I were you--to speak
my plain mind'-- Here he approached his mouth to the ear of the young lawyer, and, after another acute pang
of travail, was safely delivered of his advice in the following abrupt words:--'Take a keek into Pate's letter
before ye deliver it.'

Fairford started, looked the provost hard in the face, and was silent; while Mr. Crosbie, with the
self-approbation of one who has at length brought himself to the discharge of a great duty, at the expense of a
considerable sacrifice, nodded and winked to Alan, as if enforcing his advice; and then swallowing a large
glass of punch, concluded, with the sigh of a man released from a heavy burden, 'I am a plain man, Mr.

'A plain man?' said Maxwell, who entered the room at that moment, with the letter in his hand,--'Provost, I
never heard you make use of the word but when you had some sly turn of your own to work out.'

The provost looked silly enough, and the Laird of Summertrees directed a keen and suspicious glance upon
Alan Fairford, who sustained it with professional intrepidity.--There was a moment's pause.

'I was trying,' said the provost, 'to dissuade our young friend from his wildgoose expedition.'

'And I,' said Fairford, 'am determined to go through with it. Trusting myself to you, Mr. Maxwell, I conceive
that I rely, as I before said, on the word of a gentleman.'

'I will warrant you,' said Maxwell, 'from all serious consequences--some inconveniences you must look to

'To these I shall be resigned,' said Fairford, 'and stand prepared to run my risk.'

'Well then,' said Summertrees, 'you must go'--

'I will leave you to yourselves, gentlemen,' said the provost, rising; 'when you have done with your crack, you
will find me at my wife's tea-table.'

'And a more accomplished old woman never drank catlap,' said Maxwell, as he shut the door; 'the last word
has him, speak it who will--and yet because he is a whillywhaw body, and has a plausible tongue of his own,
and is well enough connected, and especially because nobody could ever find out whether he is Whig or Tory,
this is the third time they have made him provost!--But to the matter in hand. This letter, Mr. Fairford,' putting
a sealed one into his hand, 'is addressed, you observe, to Mr. H-- of B--, and contains your credentials for that
gentlemen, who is also known by his family name of Redgauntlet, but less frequently addressed by it, because
it is mentioned something invidiously in a certain Act of Parliament. I have little doubt he will assure you of
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                      168

your friend's safety, and in a short time place him at freedom--that is, supposing him under present restraint.
But the point is, to discover where he is--and, before you are made acquainted with this necessary part of the
business, you must give me your assurance of honour that you will acquaint no one, either by word or letter,
with the expedition which you now propose to yourself.'

'How, sir?' answered Alan; 'can you expect that I will not take the precaution of informing some person of the
route I am about to take, that in case of accident it may be known where I am, and with what purpose I have
gone thither?'

'And can you expect,' answered Maxwell, in the same tone, 'that I am to place my friend's safety, not merely in
your hands, but in those of any person you may choose to confide in, and who may use the knowledge to his
destruction? Na--na--I have pledged my word for your safety, and you must give me yours to be private in the
matter--giff-gaff, you know.'

Alan Fairford could not help thinking that this obligation to secrecy gave a new and suspicious colouring to
the whole transaction; but, considering that his friend's release might depend upon his accepting the condition,
he gave it in the terms proposed, and with the purpose of abiding by it.

'And now, sir,' he said, 'whither am I to proceed with this letter? Is Mr. Herries at Brokenburn?'

'He is not; I do not think he will come thither again until the business of the stake-nets be hushed up, nor
would I advise him to do so--the Quakers, with all their demureness, can bear malice as long as other folk; and
though I have not the prudence of Mr. Provost, who refuses to ken where his friends are concealed during
adversity, lest, perchance, he should be asked to contribute to their relief, yet I do not think it necessary or
prudent to inquire into Redgauntlet's wanderings, poor man, but wish to remain at perfect freedom to answer,
if asked at, that I ken nothing of the matter. You must, then, go to old Tom Trumbull's at Annan,--Tam
Turnpenny, as they call him,--and he is sure either to know where Redgauntlet is himself, or to find some one
who can give a shrewd guess. But you must attend that old Turnpenny will answer no question on such a
subject without you give him the passport, which at present you must do, by asking him the age of the moon;
if he answers, "Not light enough to land a cargo," you are to answer, "Then plague on Aberdeen Almanacks,"
and upon that he will hold free intercourse with you. And now, I would advise you to lose no time, for the
parole is often changed--and take care of yourself among these moonlight lads, for laws and lawyers do not
stand very high in their favour.'

'I will set out this instant,' said the young barrister; 'I will but bid the provost and Mrs. Crosbie farewell, and
then get on horseback so soon as the ostler of the George Inn can saddle him;--as for the smugglers, I am
neither gauger nor supervisor, and, like the man who met the devil, if they have nothing to say to me, I have
nothing to say to them.'

'You are a mettled young man,' said Summertrees, evidently with increasing goodwill, on observing an
alertness and contempt of danger, which perhaps he did not expect from Alan's appearance and profession,--'a
very mettled young fellow indeed! and it is almost a pity'--Here he stopped abort.

'What is a pity?' said Fairford.

'It is almost a pity that I cannot go with you myself, or at least send a trusty guide.'

They walked together to the bedchamber of Mrs. Crosbie, for it was in that asylum that the ladies of the period
dispensed their tea, when the parlour was occupied by the punch-bowl.

'You have been good bairns to-night, gentlemen,' said Mrs. Crosbie; 'I am afraid, Summertrees, that the
provost has given you a bad browst; you are not used to quit the lee-side of the punch-bowl in such a hurry. I
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                    169

say nothing to you, Mr. Fairford, for you are too young a man yet for stoup and bicker; but I hope you will not
tell the Edinburgh fine folk that the provost has scrimped you of your cogie, as the sang says?'

'I am much obliged for the provost's kindness, and yours, madam,' replied Alan; 'but the truth is, I have still a
long ride before me this evening and the sooner I am on horse-back the better.'

'This evening?' said the provost, anxiously; 'had you not better take daylight with you to-morrow morning?'

'Mr. Fairford will ride as well in the cool of the evening,' said Summertrees, taking the word out of Alan's

The provost said no more, nor did his wife ask any questions, nor testify any surprise at the suddenness of
their guest's departure.

Having drunk tea, Alan Fairford took leave with the usual ceremony. The Laird of Summertrees seemed
studious to prevent any further communication between him and the provost, and remained lounging on the
landing-place of the stair while they made their adieus--heard the provost ask if Alan proposed a speedy
return, and the latter reply that his stay was uncertain, and witnessed the parting shake of the hand, which,
with a pressure more warm than usual, and a tremulous, 'God bless and prosper you!' Mr. Crosbie bestowed
on his young friend. Maxwell even strolled with Fairford as far as the George, although resisting all his
attempts at further inquiry into the affairs of Redgauntlet, and referring him to Tom Trumbull, alias
Turnpenny, for the particulars which he might find it necessary to inquire into.

At length Alan's hack was produced--an animal long in neck, and high in bone, accoutred with a pair of
saddle-bags containing the rider's travelling wardrobe. Proudly surmounting his small stock of necessaries,
and no way ashamed of a mode of travelling which a modern Mr. Silvertongue would consider as the last of
degradations, Alan Fairford took leave of the old Jacobite, Pate- in-Peril, and set forward on the road to the
loyal burgh of Annan. His reflections during his ride were none of the most pleasant. He could not disguise
from himself that he was venturing rather too rashly into the power of outlawed and desperate persons; for
with such only, a man in the situation of Redgauntlet could be supposed to associate. There were other
grounds for apprehension, Several marks of intelligence betwixt Mrs. Crosbie and the Laird of Summertrees
had not escaped Alan's acute observation; and it was plain that the provost's inclinations towards him, which
he believed to be sincere and good, were not firm enough to withstand the influence of this league between his
wife and friend. The provost's adieus, like Macbeth's amen, had stuck in his throat, and seemed to intimate
that he apprehended more than he dared give utterance to.

Laying all these matters together, Alan thought, with no little anxiety on the celebrated lines of Shakespeare,

-- A drop, That in the ocean seeks another drop, &c.

But pertinacity was a strong feature in the young lawyer's character. He was, and always had been, totally
unlike the 'horse hot at hand,' who tires before noon through his own over eager exertions in the beginning of
the day. On the contrary, his first efforts seemed frequently inadequate to accomplishing his purpose,
whatever that for the time might be; and it was only as the difficulties of the task increased, that his mind
seemed to acquire the energy necessary to combat and subdue them. If, therefore, he went anxiously forward
upon his uncertain and perilous expedition, the reader must acquit him of all idea, even in a passing thought,
of the possibility of abandoning his search, and resigning Darsie Latimer to his destiny.

A couple of hours' riding brought him to the little town of Annan, situated on the shores of the Solway,
between eight and nine o'clock. The sun had set, but the day was not yet ended; and when he had alighted and
seen his horse properly cared for at the principal inn of the place, he was readily directed to Mr. Maxwell's
friend, old Tom Trumbull, with whom everybody seemed well acquainted. He endeavoured to fish out from
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                    170
the lad that acted as a guide, something of this man's situation and profession; but the general expressions of 'a
very decent man'-- 'a very honest body'--'weel to pass in the world,' and such like, were all that could be
extracted from him; and while Fairford was following up the investigation with closer interrogatories, the lad
put an end to them by knocking at the door of Mr. Trumbull, whose decent dwelling was a little distance from
the town, and considerably nearer to the sea. It was one of a little row of houses running down to the
waterside, and having gardens and other accommodations behind. There was heard within the uplifting of a
Scottish psalm; and the boy saying, 'They are at exercise, sir,' gave intimation they might not be admitted till
prayers were over.

When, however, Fairford repeated the summons with the end of his whip, the singing ceased, and Mr.
Trumbull himself, with his psalm-book in his hand, kept open by the insertion of his forefinger between the
leaves, came to demand the meaning of this unseasonable interruption.

Nothing could be more different than his whole appearance seemed to be from the confidant of a desperate
man, and the associate of outlaws in their unlawful enterprises. He was a tall, thin, bony figure, with white
hair combed straight down on each side of his face, and an iron-grey hue of complexion; where the lines, or
rather, as Quin said of Macklin, the cordage, of his countenance were so sternly adapted to a devotional and
even ascetic expression, that they left no room for any indication of reckless daring or sly dissimulation. In
short, Trumbull appeared a perfect specimen of the rigid old Covenanter, who said only what he thought right,
acted on no other principle but that of duty, and, if he committed errors, did so under the full impression that
he was serving God rather than man.

'Do you want me, sir?' he said to Fairford, whose guide had slunk to the rear, as if to escape the rebuke of the
severe old man,--'We were engaged, and it is the Saturday night.'

Alan Fairford's preconceptions were so much deranged by this man's appearance and manner, that he stood for
a moment bewildered, and would as soon have thought of giving a cant password to a clergyman descending
from the pulpit, as to the respectable father of a family just interrupted in his prayers for and with the objects
of his care. Hastily concluding Mr. Maxwell had passed some idle jest on him, or rather that he had mistaken
the person to whom he was directed, he asked if he spoke to Mr. Trumbull.

'To Thomas Trumbull,' answered the old man--'What may be your business, sir?' And he glanced his eye to
the book he held in his hand, with a sigh like that of a saint desirous of dissolution.

'Do you know Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees?' said Fairford.

'I have heard of such a gentleman in the country-side, but have no acquaintance with him,' answered Mr.
Trumbull; 'he is, as I have heard, a Papist; for the whore that sitteth on the seven hills ceaseth not yet to pour
forth the cup of her abomination on these parts.'

'Yet he directed me hither, my good friend,' said Alan. 'Is there another of your name in this town of Annan?'

'None,' replied Mr. Trumbull, 'since my worthy father was removed; he was indeed a shining light.--I wish
you good even, sir.'

'Stay one single instant,' said Fairford; 'this is a matter of life and death.'

'Not more than the casting the burden of our sins where they should be laid,' said Thomas Trumbull, about to
shut the door in the inquirer's face.

'Do you know,' said Alan Fairford, 'the Laird of Redgauntlet?'
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                   171

'Now Heaven defend me from treason and rebellion!' exclaimed Trumbull. 'Young gentleman, you are
importunate. I live here among my own people, and do not consort with Jacobites and mass- mongers.'

He seemed about to shut the door, but did NOT shut it, a circumstance which did not escape Alan's notice.

'Mr. Redgauntlet is sometimes,' he said, 'called Herries of Birrenswork; perhaps you may know him under that

'Friend, you are uncivil,' answered Mr. Trumbull; 'honest men have enough to do to keep one name undefiled.
I ken nothing about those who have two. Good even to you, friend.'

He was now about to slam the door in his visitor's face without further ceremony, when Alan, who had
observed symptoms that the name of Redgauntlet did not seem altogether so indifferent to him as he
pretended, arrested his purpose by saying, in a low voice, 'At least you can tell me what age the moon is?'

The old man started, as if from a trance, and before answering, surveyed the querist with a keen penetrating
glance, which seemed to say, 'Are you really in possession of this key to my confidence, or do you speak from
mere accident?'

To this keen look of scrutiny, Fairford replied by a smile of intelligence.

The iron muscles of the old man's face did not, however, relax, as he dropped, in a careless manner, the
countersign, 'Not light enough to land a cargo.'

'Then plague of all Aberdeen Almanacks!'

'And plague of all fools that waste time,' said Thomas Trumbull, 'Could you not have said as much at first?
And standing wasting time, and encouraging; lookers-on, in the open street too? Come in by--in by.'

He drew his visitor into the dark entrance of the house, and shut the door carefully; then putting his head into
an apartment which the murmurs within announced to be filled with the family, he said aloud, 'A work of
necessity and mercy--Malachi, take the book--You will sing six double verses of the hundred and
nineteen-and you may lecture out of the Lamentations. And, Malachi,'--this he said in an undertone,--'see you
give them a a creed of doctrine that will last them till I come back; or else these inconsiderate lads will be out
of the house, and away to the publics, wasting their precious time, and, it may be, putting themselves in the
way of missing the morning tide.'

An inarticulate answer from within intimated Malachi's acquiescence in the commands imposed; and, Mr.
Trumbull, shutting the door, muttered something about fast bind, fast find, turned the key, and put it into his
pocket; and then bidding his visitor have a care of his steps, and make no noise, he led him through the house,
and out at a back-door, into a little garden. Here a plaited alley conducted them, without the possibility of their
being seen by any neighbour, to a door in the garden-wall, which being opened, proved to be a private
entrance into a three- stalled stable; in one of which was a horse, that whinnied on their entrance. 'Hush, hush!'
cried the old man, and presently seconded his exhortations to silence by throwing a handful of corn into the
manger, and the horse soon converted his acknowledgement of their presence into the usual sound of
munching and grinding his provender.

As the light was now failing fast, the old man, with much more alertness than might have been expected from
the rigidity of his figure, closed the window-shutters in an instant, produced phosphorus and matches, and
lighted a stable-lantern, which he placed on the corn-bin, and then addressed Fairford. 'We are private here,
young man; and as some time has been wasted already, you will be so kind as to tell me what is your errand.
Is it about the way of business, or the other job?'
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                     172

'My business with you, Mr. Trumbull, is to request you will find me the means of delivering this letter, from
Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees to the Laird of Redgauntlet.'

'Humph--fashious job! Pate Maxwell will still be the auld man-- always Pate-in-Peril--Craig-in-Peril, for what
I know. Let me see the letter from him.'

He examined it with much care, turning it up and down, and looking at the seal very attentively. 'All's right, I
see; it has the private mark for haste and speed. I bless my Maker that I am no great man, or great man's
fellow; and so I think no more of these passages than just to help them forward in the way of business. You
are an utter stranger in these parts, I warrant?'

Fairford answered in the affirmative.

'Aye--I never saw them make a wiser choice--I must call some one to direct you what to do--Stay, we must go
to him, I believe. You are well recommended to me, friend, and doubtless trusty; otherwise you may see more
than I would like to show, or am in the use of showing in the common line of business.'

Saying this, he placed his lantern on the ground, beside the post of one of the empty stalls, drew up a small
spring bolt which secured it to the floor, and then forcing the post to one side, discovered a small trap-door.
'Follow me,' he said, and dived into the subterranean descent to which this secret aperture gave access.

Fairford plunged after him, not without apprehensions of more kinds than one, but still resolved to prosecute
the adventure.

The descent, which was not above six feet, led to a very narrow passage, which seemed to have been
constructed for the precise purpose of excluding every one who chanced to be an inch more in girth than was
his conductor. A small vaulted room, of about eight feet square, received them at the end of this lane. Here
Mr. Trumbull left Fairford alone, and returned for an instant, as he said, to shut his concealed trap-door.

Fairford liked not his departure, as it left him in utter darkness; besides that his breathing was much affected
by a strong and stifling smell of spirits, and other articles of a savour more powerful than agreeable to the
lungs. He was very glad, therefore, when he heard the returning steps of Mr. Trumbull, who, when once more
by his side, opened a strong though narrow door in the wall, and conveyed Fairford into an immense magazine
of spirit-casks, and other articles of contraband trade.

There was a small, light at the end of this range of well-stocked subterranean vaults, which, upon a low
whistle, began to flicker and move towards them. An undefined figure, holding a dark lantern, with the light
averted, approached them, whom Mr. Trumbull thus addressed:--'Why were you not at worship, Job; and this
Saturday at e'en?'

'Swanston was loading the JENNY, sir; and I stayed to serve out the article.'

'True--a work of necessity, and in the way of business. Does the JUMPING JENNY sail this tide?'

'Aye, aye, sir; she sails for'--

'I did not ask you WHERE she sailed for, Job,' said the old gentleman, interrupting him. 'I thank my Maker, I
know nothing of their incomings or outgoings. I sell my article fairly and in the ordinary way of business; and
I wash my hands of everything else. But what I wished to know is, whether the gentleman called the Laird of
the Solway Lakes is on the other side of the Border even now?'

'Aye, aye,' said Job, 'the laird is something in my own line, you know--a little contraband or so, There is a
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                   173

statute for him--But no matter; he took the sands after the splore at the Quaker's fish-traps yonder; for he has a
leal heart, the laird, and is always true to the country-side. But avast--is all snug here?'

So saying, he suddenly turned on Alan Fairford the light side of the lantern he carried, who, by the transient
gleam which it threw in passing on the man who bore it, saw a huge figure, upwards of six feet high, with a
rough hairy cap on his head, and a set of features corresponding to his bulky frame. He thought also he
observed pistols at his belt.

'I will answer for this gentleman,' said Mr. Trumbull; 'he must be brought to speech of the laird.'

'That will be kittle steering,' said the subordinate personage; 'for I understood that the laird and his folk were
no sooner on the other side than the land-sharks were on them, and some mounted lobsters from Carlisle; and
so they were obliged to split and squander. There are new brooms out to sweep the country of them, they say;
for the brush was a hard one; and they say there was a lad drowned;--he was not one of the laird's gang, so
there was the less matter.'

'Peace! prithee, peace, Job Rutledge,' said honest, pacific Mr. Trumbull. 'I wish thou couldst remember, man,
that I desire to know nothing of your roars and splores, your brooms and brushes. I dwell here among my own
people; and I sell my commodity to him who comes in the way of business; and so wash my hands of all
consequences, as becomes a quiet subject and an honest man. I never take payment, save in ready money.'

'Aye, aye,' muttered he with the lantern, 'your worship, Mr. Trumbull, understands that in the way of business.'

'Well, I hope you will one day know, Job,' answered Mr. Trumbull,--'the comfort of a conscience void of
offence, and that fears neither gauger nor collector, neither excise nor customs. The business is to pass this
gentleman to Cumberland upon earnest business, and to procure him speech with the Laird of the Solway
Lakes--I suppose that can be done? Now I think Nanty Ewart, if he sails with the brig this morning tide, is the
man to set him forward.'

'Aye, aye, truly is he,' said Job; 'never man knew the Border, dale and fell, pasture and ploughland, better than
Nanty; and he can always bring him to the laird, too, if you are sure the gentleman's right. But indeed that's his
own look-out; for were he the best man in Scotland, and the chairman of the d--d Board to boot, and had fifty
men at his back, he were as well not visit the laird for anything but good. As for Nanty, he is word and blow, a
d--d deal fiercer than Cristie Nixon that they keep such a din about. I have seen them both tried, by'--

Fairford now found himself called upon to say something; yet his feelings, upon finding himself thus
completely in the power of a canting hypocrite, and of his retainer, who had so much the air of a determined
ruffian, joined to the strong and abominable fume which they snuffed up with indifference, while it almost
deprived him of respiration, combined to render utterance difficult. He stated, however, that he had no evil
intentions towards the laird, as they called him, but was only the bearer of a letter to him on particular
business, from Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees.

'Aye, aye,' said Job, 'that may be well enough; and if Mr. Trumbull is satisfied that the service is right, why,
we will give you a cast in the JUMPING JENNY this tide, and Nanty Ewart will put you on a way of finding
the laird, I warrant you.'

'I may for the present return, I presume, to the inn where I left my horse?' said Fairford.

'With pardon,' replied Mr. Trumbull, 'you have been ower far ben with us for that; but Job will take you to a
place where you may sleep rough till he calls you. I will bring you what little baggage you can need--for those
who go on such errands must not be dainty. I will myself see after your horse, for a merciful man is merciful
to his beast--a matter too often forgotten in our way of business.'
CHAPTER XII                                                                                                  174
'Why, Master Trumbull,' replied Job, 'you know that when we are chased, it's no time to shorten sail, and so
the boys do ride whip and spur.' He stopped in his speech, observing the old man had vanished through the
door by which he had entered--'That's always the way with old Turnpenny,' he said to Fairford; 'he cares for
nothing of the trade but the profit--now, d--me, if I don't think the fun of it is better worth while. But come
along, my fine chap; I must stow you away in safety until it is time to go aboard.'
CHAPTER XIII                                                                                                 175


Fairford followed his gruff guide among a labyrinth of barrels and puncheons, on which he had more than
once like to have broken his nose, and from thence into what, by the glimpse of the passing lantern upon a
desk and writing materials, seemed to be a small office for the dispatch of business. Here there appeared no
exit; but the smuggler, or smuggler's ally, availing himself of a ladder, removed an old picture, which showed
a door about seven feet from the ground, and Fairford, still following Job, was involved in another tortuous
and dark passage, which involuntarily reminded him of Peter Peebles's lawsuit. At the end of this labyrinth,
when he had little guess where he had been conducted, and was, according to the French phrase, totally
DESORIENTE, Job suddenly set down the lantern, and availing himself of the flame to light two candles
which stood on the table, asked if Alan would choose anything to eat, recommending, at all events, a slug of
brandy to keep out the night air. Fairford declined both, but inquired after his baggage.

'The old master will take care of that himself,' said Job Rutledge; and drawing back in the direction in which
he had entered, he vanished from the farther end of the apartment, by a mode which the candles, still shedding
an imperfect light, gave Alan no means of ascertaining. Thus the adventurous young lawyer was left alone in
the apartment to which he had been conducted by so singular a passage.

In this condition, it was Alan's first employment to survey, with some accuracy, the place where he was; and
accordingly, having trimmed the lights, he walked slowly round the apartment, examining its appearance and
dimensions. It seemed to be such a small dining-parlour as is usually found in the house of the better class of
artisans, shopkeepers, and such persons, having a recess at the upper end, and the usual furniture of an
ordinary description. He found a door, which he endeavoured to open, but it was locked on the outside. A
corresponding door on the same side of the apartment admitted him into a closet, upon the front shelves of
which were punch-bowls, glasses, tea-cups, and the like, while on one side was hung a horseman's greatcoat
of the coarsest materials, with two great horse-pistols peeping out of the pocket, and on the floor stood a pair
of well-spattered jack- boots, the usual equipment of the time, at least for long journeys,

Not greatly liking the contents of the closet, Alan Fairford shut the door, and resumed his scrutiny round the
walls of the apartment, in order to discover the mode of Job Rutledge's retreat. The secret passage was,
however, too artificially concealed, and the young lawyer had nothing better to do than to meditate on the
singularity of his present situation. He had long known that the excise laws had occasioned an active
contraband trade betwixt Scotland and England, which then, as now, existed, and will continue to exist until
the utter abolition of the wretched system which establishes an inequality of duties betwixt the different parts
of the same kingdom; a system, be it said in passing, mightily resembling the conduct of a pugilist, who
should tie up one arm that he might fight the better with the other. But Fairford was unprepared for the
expensive and regular establishments by which the illicit traffic was carried on, and could not have conceived
that the capital employed in it should have been adequate to the erection of these extensive buildings, with all
their contrivances for secrecy of communication. He was musing on these circumstances, not without some
anxiety for the progress of his own journey, when suddenly, as he lifted his eyes, he discovered old Mr.
Trumbull at the upper end of the apartment, bearing in one hand a small bundle, in the other his dark lantern,
the light of which, as he advanced, he directed full upon Fairford's countenance.

Though such an apparition was exactly what he expected, yet he did not see the grim, stern old man present
himself thus suddenly without emotion; especially when he recollected, what to a youth of his pious education
was peculiarly shocking, that the grizzled hypocrite was probably that instant arisen from his knees to Heaven,
for the purpose of engaging in the mysterious transactions of a desperate and illegal trade.

The old man, accustomed to judge with ready sharpness of the physiognomy of those with whom he had
business, did not fail to remark something like agitation in Fairford's demeanour. 'Have ye taken the rue?' said
CHAPTER XIII                                                                                                     176

he. 'Will ye take the sheaf from the mare, and give up the venture?'

'Never!' said Fairford, firmly, stimulated at once by his natural spirit, and the recollection of his friend; 'never,
while I have life and strength to follow it out!'

'I have brought you,' said Trumbull, 'a clean shirt, and some stockings, which is all the baggage you can
conveniently carry, and I will cause one of the lads lend you a horseman's coat, for it is ill sailing or riding
without one; and, touching your valise, it will be as safe in my poor house, were it full of the gold of Ophir, as
if it were in the depth of the mine.' 'I have no doubt of it,' said Fairford.

'And now,' said Trumbull, again, 'I pray you to tell me by what name I am to name you to Nanty (which is
Antony) Ewart?'

'By the name of Alan Fairford,' answered the young lawyer.

'But that,' said Mr. Trumbull, in reply, 'is your own proper name and surname.'

'And what other should I give?' said the young man; 'do you think I have any occasion for an alias? And,
besides, Mr. Trumbull,' added Alan, thinking a little raillery might intimate confidence of spirit, 'you blessed
yourself, but a little while since, that you had no acquaintance with those who defiled their names so far as to
be obliged to change them.'

'True, very true,' said Mr. Trumbull; 'nevertheless, young man, my grey hairs stand unreproved in this matter;
for, in my line of business, when I sit under my vine and my fig-tree, exchanging the strong waters of the
north for the gold which is the price thereof, I have, I thank Heaven, no disguises to keep with any man, and
wear my own name of Thomas Trumbull, without any chance that the same may be polluted. Whereas, thou,
who art to journey in miry ways, and amongst a strange people, mayst do well to have two names, as thou hast
two shirts, the one to keep the other clean.'

Here he emitted a chuckling grunt, which lasted for two vibrations of the pendulum exactly, and was the only
approach towards laughter in which old Turnpenny, as he was nicknamed, was ever known to indulge.

'You are witty, Mr. Trumbull,' said Fairford; 'but jests are no arguments--I shall keep my own name.'

'At your own pleasure,' said the merchant; 'there is but one name which,' &c. &c, &c.

We will not follow the hypocrite through the impious cant which he added, in order to close the subject.

Alan followed him, in silent abhorrence, to the recess in which the beaufet was placed, and which was so
artificially made as to conceal another of those traps with which the whole building abounded. This
concealment admitted them to the same winding passage by which the young lawyer had been brought thither.
The path which they now took amid these mazes, differed from the direction in which he had been guided by
Rutledge. It led upwards, and terminated beneath a garret window. Trumbull opened it, and with more agility
than his age promised, clambered out upon the leads. If Fairford's journey had been hitherto in a stifled and
subterranean atmosphere, it was now open, lofty, and airy enough; for he had to follow his guide over leads
and slates, which the old smuggler traversed with the dexterity of a cat. It is true, his course was facilitated by
knowing exactly where certain stepping-places and holdfasts were placed, of which Fairford could not so
readily avail himself; but, after a difficult and somewhat perilous progress along the roofs of two or three
houses, they at length descended by a skylight into a garret room, and from thence by the stairs into a
public-house; for such it appeared, by the ringing of bells, whistling for waiters and attendance, bawling of
'House, house, here!' chorus of sea songs, and the like noises.
CHAPTER XIII                                                                                                     177

Having descended to the second story, and entered a room there in which there was a light, old Mr. Trumbull
rang the bell of the apartment thrice, with an interval betwixt each, during which he told deliberately the
number twenty. Immediately after the third ringing the landlord appeared, with stealthy step, and an
appearance of mystery on his buxom visage. He greeted Mr. Trumbull, who was his landlord as it proved,
with great respect, and expressed some surprise at seeing him so late, as he termed it, 'on Saturday e'en.'

'And I, Robin Hastie,' said the landlord to the tenant, am more surprised than pleased, to hear sae muckle din
in your house, Robie, so near the honourable Sabbath; and I must mind you that it is contravening the terms of
your tack, whilk stipulates that you should shut your public on Saturday at nine o'clock, at latest.'

'Yes, sir,' said Robin Hastie, no way alarmed at the gravity of the rebuke, 'but you must take tent that I have
admitted naebody but you, Mr. Trumbull (who by the way admitted yoursell), since nine o'clock for the most
of the folk have been here for several hours about the lading, and so on, of the brig. It is not full tide yet, and I
cannot put the men out into the street. If I did, they would go to some other public, and their souls would be
nane the better, and my purse muckle the waur; for how am I to pay the rent if I do not sell the liquor?'

'Nay, then,' said Thomas Trumbull, 'if it is a work of necessity, and in the honest independent way of business,
no doubt there is balm in Gilead. But prithee, Robin, wilt thou see if Nanty Ewart be, as is most likely,
amongst these unhappy topers; and if so, let him step this way cannily, and speak to me and this young
gentleman. And it's dry talking, Robin--you must minister to us a bowl of punch--ye ken my gage,'

'From a mutchkin to a gallon, I ken your honour's taste, Mr. Thomas Trumbull,' said mine host; 'and ye shall
hang me over the signpost if there be a drap mair lemon or a curn less sugar than just suits you. There are
three of you--you will be for the auld Scots peremptory pint-stoup for the success of the voyage?' [The
Scottish pint of liquid measure comprehends four English measures of the same denomination. The jest is well
known of my poor countryman, who, driven to extremity by the raillery of the Southern, on the small
denomination of the Scottish coin, at length answered, 'Aye, aye! But the deil tak them that has the LEAST

'Better pray for it than drink for it, Robin,' said Mr. Trumbull. 'Yours is a dangerous trade, Robin; it hurts
mony a ane--baith host and guest. But ye will get the blue bowl, Robin--the blue bowl--that will sloken all
their drouth, and prevent the sinful repetition of whipping for an eke of a Saturday at e'en. Aye, Robin, it is a
pity of Nanty Ewart--Nanty likes the turning up of his little finger unco weel, and we maunna stint him,
Robin, so as we leave him sense to steer by.'

'Nanty Ewart could steer through the Pentland Firth though he were as drunk as the Baltic Ocean,' said Robin
Hastie; and instantly tripping downstairs, he speedily returned with the materials for what he called his
BROWST, which consisted of two English quarts of spirits, in a huge blue bowl, with all the ingredients for
punch in the same formidable proportion. At the same time he introduced Mr. Antony or Nanty Ewart, whose
person, although he was a good deal flustered with liquor, was different from what Fairford expected. His
dress was what is emphatically termed the shabby genteel--a frock with tarnished lace--a small cocked hat,
ornamented in a similar way--a scarlet waistcoat, with faded embroidery, breeches of the same, with silver
knee- bands, and he wore a smart hanger and a pair of pistols in a sullied swordbelt.

'Here I come, patron,' he said, shaking hands with Mr. Trumbull. 'Well, I see you have got some grog aboard.'

'It is not my custom, Mr. Ewart,' said the old gentleman, 'as you well know, to become a chamberer or
carouser thus late on Saturday at e'en; but I wanted to recommend to your attention a young friend of ours,
that is going upon a something particular journey, with a letter to our friend the Laird from Pate-in- Peril, as
they call him.'

'Aye--indeed?--he must be in high trust for so young a gentleman. I wish you joy, sir,' bowing to Fairford.
CHAPTER XIII                                                                                                  178

'By'r lady, as Shakespeare says, you are bringing up a neck for a fair end. Come, patron, we will drink to Mr.
What-shall-call-um. What is his name? Did you tell me? And have I forgot it already.'

'Mr. Alan Fairford,' said Trumbull.

'Aye, Mr. Alan Fairford--a good name for a fair trader--Mr. Alan Fairford; and may he be long withheld from
the topmost round of ambition, which I take to be the highest round of a certain ladder.'

While he spoke, he seized the punch-ladle, and began to fill the glasses. But Mr. Trumbull arrested his hand,
until he had, as he expressed himself, sanctified the liquor by a long grace; during the pronunciation of which
he shut indeed his eyes, but his nostrils became dilated, as if he were snuffing up the fragrant beverage with
peculiar complacency.

When the grace was at length over, the three friends sat down to their beverage, and invited Alan Fairford to
partake. Anxious about his situation, and disgusted as he was with his company, he craved, and with difficulty
obtained permission, under the allegation of being fatigued, heated, and the like, to stretch himself on a couch
which was in the apartment, and attempted at least to procure some rest before high-water, when the vessel
was to sail.

He was at length permitted to use his freedom, and stretched himself on the couch, having his eyes for some
time fixed on the jovial party he had left, and straining his ears to catch if possible a little of their
conversation. This he soon found was to no purpose for what did actually reach his ears was disguised so
completely by the use of cant words and the thieves-latin called slang, that even when he caught the words, he
found himself as far as ever from the sense of their conversation. At length he fell asleep.

It was after Alan had slumbered for three or four hours, that he was wakened by voices bidding him rise up
and prepare to be jogging. He started up accordingly, and found himself in presence of the same party of boon
companions; who had just dispatched their huge bowl of punch. To Alan's surprise, the liquor had made but
little innovation on the brains of men who were accustomed to drink at all hours, and in the most inordinate
quantities. The landlord indeed spoke a little thick, and the texts of Mr. Thomas Trumbull stumbled on his
tongue; but Nanty was one of those topers, who, becoming early what bon vivants term flustered, remain
whole nights and days at the same point of intoxication; and, in fact, as they are seldom entirely sober, can be
as rarely seen absolutely drunk. Indeed, Fairford, had he not known how Ewart had been engaged whilst he
himself was asleep, would almost have sworn when he awoke, that the man was more sober than when he first
entered the room.

He was confirmed in this opinion when they descended below, where two or three sailors and ruffian-looking
fellows awaited their commands. Ewart took the whole direction upon himself, gave his orders with briefness
and precision, and looked to their being executed with the silence and celerity which that peculiar crisis
required. All were now dismissed for the brig, which lay, as Fairford was given to understand, a little farther
down the river, which is navigable for vessels of light burden till almost within a mile of the town.

When they issued from the inn, the landlord bid them goodbye. Old Trumbull walked a little way with them,
but the air had probably considerable effect on the state of his brain; for after reminding Alan Fairford that the
next day was the honourable Sabbath, he became extremely excursive in an attempt to exhort him to keep it
holy. At length, being perhaps sensible that he was becoming unintelligible, he thrust a volume into Fairford's
hand--hiccuping at the same time--'Good book--good book--fine hymn-book--fit for the honourable Sabbath,
whilk awaits us to- morrow morning.' Here the iron tongue of time told five from the town steeple of Annan,
to the further confusion of Mr. Trumbull's already disordered ideas. 'Aye? Is Sunday come and gone already?
Heaven be praised! Only it is a marvel the afternoon is sae dark for the time of the year--Sabbath has slipped
ower quietly, but we have reason to bless oursells it has not been altogether misemployed. I heard little of the
preaching--a cauld moralist, I doubt, served that out--but, eh--the prayer--I mind it as if I had said the words
CHAPTER XIII                                                                                                  179
mysell.' Here he repeated one or two petitions, which were probably a part of his family devotions, before he
was summoned forth to what he called the way of business. 'I never remember a Sabbath pass so cannily off in
my life.' Then he recollected himself a little, and said to Alan, 'You may read that book, Mr. Fairford,
to-morrow, all the same, though it be Monday; for, you see, it was Saturday when we were thegither, and now
it's Sunday and it's dark night--so the Sabbath has slipped clean away through our fingers like water through a
sieve, which abideth not; and we have to begin again to-morrow morning, in the weariful, base, mean, earthly
employments, whilk are unworthy of an immortal spirit--always excepting the way of business.'

Three of the fellows were now returning to the town, and, at Ewart's command, they cut short the patriarch's
exhortation, by leading him back to his own residence. The rest of the party then proceeded to the brig, which
only waited their arrival to get under weigh and drop down the river. Nanty Ewart betook himself to steering
the brig, and the very touch of the helm seemed to dispel the remaining influence of the liquor which he had
drunk, since, through a troublesome and intricate channel, he was able to direct the course of his little vessel
with the most perfect accuracy and safety.

Alan Fairford, for some time, availed himself of the clearness of the summer morning to gaze on the dimly
seen shores betwixt which they glided, becoming less and less distinct as they receded from each other, until
at length, having adjusted his little bundle by way of pillow, and wrapped around him the greatcoat with
which old Trumbull had equipped him, he stretched himself on the deck, to try to recover the slumber out of
which he had been awakened. Sleep had scarce begun to settle on his eyes, ere he found something stirring
about his person. With ready presence of mind he recollected his situation, and resolved to show no alarm
until the purpose of this became obvious; but he was soon relieved from his anxiety, by finding it was only the
result of Nanty's attention to his comfort, who was wrapping around him, as softly as he could, a great
boatcloak, in order to defend him from the morning air.

'Thou art but a cockerel,' he muttered, 'but 'twere pity thou wert knocked off the perch before seeing a little
more of the sweet and sour of this world--though, faith, if thou hast the usual luck of it, the best way were to
leave thee to the chance of a seasoning fever.'

These words, and the awkward courtesy with which the skipper of the little brig tucked the sea-coat round
Fairford, gave him a confidence of safety which he had not yet thoroughly possessed. He stretched himself in
more security on the hard planks, and was speedily asleep, though his slumbers were feverish and

It has been elsewhere intimated that Alan Fairford inherited from his mother a delicate constitution, with a
tendency to consumption; and, being an only child, with such a cause for apprehension, care, to the verge of
effeminacy, was taken to preserve him from damp beds, wet feet, and those various emergencies to which the
Caledonian boys of much higher birth, but more active habits, are generally accustomed. In man, the spirit
sustains the constitutional weakness, as in the winged tribes the feathers bear aloft the body. But there is a
bound to these supporting qualities; and as the pinions of the bird must at length grow weary, so the VIS
ANIMI of the human struggler becomes broken down by continued fatigue.

When the voyager was awakened by the light of the sun now riding high in heaven, he found himself under
the influence of an almost intolerable headache, with heat, thirst, shooting across the back and loins, and other
symptoms intimating violent cold, accompanied with fever. The manner in which he had passed the preceding
day and night, though perhaps it might have been of little consequence to most young men, was to him,
delicate in constitution and nurture, attended with bad and even perilous consequences. He felt this was the
case, yet would fain have combated the symptoms of indisposition, which, indeed, he imputed chiefly to
sea-sickness. He sat up on deck, and looked on the scene around, as the little vessel, having borne down the
Solway Firth, was beginning, with a favourable northerly breeze, to bear away to the southward, crossing the
entrance of the Wampool river, and preparing to double the most northerly point of Cumberland.
CHAPTER XIII                                                                                                     180
But Fairford felt annoyed with deadly sickness, as well as by pain of a distressing and oppressive character;
and neither Criffel, rising in majesty on the one hand, nor the distant yet more picturesque outline of Skiddaw
and Glaramara upon the other, could attract his attention in the manner in which it was usually fixed by
beautiful scenery, and especially that which had in it something new as well as striking. Yet it was not in Alan
Fairford's nature to give way to despondence, even when seconded by pain. He had recourse, in the first place,
to his pocket; but instead of the little Sallust he had brought with him, that the perusal of a classical author
might help to pass away a heavy hour, he pulled out the supposed hymn-book with which he had been
presented a few hours before, by that temperate and scrupulous person, Mr. Thomas Trumbull, ALIAS
Turnpenny. The volume was bound in sable, and its exterior might have become a psalter. But what was
Alan's astonishment to read on the title page the following words:--'Merry Thoughts for Merry Men; or
Mother Midnight's Miscellany for the Small Hours;' and turning over the leaves, he was disgusted with
profligate tales, and more profligate songs, ornamented with figures corresponding in infamy with the

'Good God!' he thought, 'and did this hoary reprobate summon his family together, and, with such a
disgraceful pledge of infamy in his bosom, venture to approach the throne of his Creator? It must be so; the
book is bound after the manner of those dedicated to devotional subjects, and doubtless the wretch, in his
intoxication, confounded the books he carried with him, as he did the days of the week.' Seized with the
disgust with which the young and generous usually regard the vices of advanced life, Alan, having turned the
leaves of the book over in hasty disdain, flung it from him, as far as he could, into the sea. He then had
recourse to the Sallust, which he had at first sought for in vain. As he opened the book, Nanty Ewart, who had
been looking over his shoulder, made his own opinion heard.

'I think now, brother, if you are so much scandalized at a little piece of sculduddery, which, after all, does
nobody any harm, you had better have given it to me than have flung it into the Solway.'

'I hope, sir,' answered Fairford, civilly, 'you are in the habit of reading better books.'

'Faith,' answered Nanty, 'with help of a little Geneva text, I could read my Sallust as well as you can;' and
snatching the book from Alan's hand, he began to read, in the Scottish accent:-- "'IGITUR EX DIVITIIS
translation of the passage is thus given by Sir Henry Steuart of Allanton:-- 'The youth, taught to look up to
riches as the sovereign good, became apt pupils in the school of Luxury. Rapacity and profusion went hand in
hand. Careless of their own fortunes, and eager to possess those of others, shame and remorse, modesty and
moderation, every principle gave way.'--WORKS OF SALLUST, WITH ORIGINAL ESSAYS, vol. ii.
p.17.]--There is a slap in the face now, for an honest fellow that has been buccaneering! Never could keep a
groat of what he got, or hold his fingers from what belonged to another, said you? Fie, fie, friend Crispus, thy
morals are as crabbed and austere as thy style--the one has as little mercy as the other has grace. By my soul,
it is unhandsome to make personal reflections on an old acquaintance, who seeks a little civil intercourse with
you after nigh twenty years' separation. On my soul, Master Sallust deserves to float on the Solway better than
Mother Midnight herself.'

'Perhaps, in some respects, he may merit better usage at our hands,' said Alan; 'for if he has described vice
plainly, it seems to have been for the purpose of rendering it generally abhorred.'

'Well,' said the seaman, 'I have heard of the Sortes Virgilianae, and I dare say the Sortes Sallustianae are as
true every tittle. I have consulted honest Crispus on my own account, and have had a cuff for my pains. But
now see, I open the book on your behalf, and behold what occurs first to my eye!--Lo you there--"CATILINA
CHAPTER XIII                                                                                                  181
PAR SIMILISQUE CAETERIS EFFICIEBATUR." [After enumerating the evil qualities of Catiline's
associates, the author adds, 'If it happened that any as yet uncontaminated by vice were fatally drawn into his
friendship, the effects of intercourse and snares artfully spread, subdued every scruple, and early assimilated
them to their conductors.'--Ibidem, p. 19.] That is what I call plain speaking on the part of the old Roman, Mr.
Fairford. By the way, that is a capital name for a lawyer.

'Lawyer as I am,' said Fairford, 'I do not understand your innuendo.'

'Nay, then,' said Ewart, 'I can try it another way, as well as the hypocritical old rascal Turnpenny himself
could do. I would have you to know that I am well acquainted with my Bible-book, as well as with my friend
Sallust.' He then, in a snuffling and canting tone, began to repeat the Scriptural text--'"DAVID THEREFORE
CAPTAIN OVER THEM." What think you of that?' he said, suddenly changing his manner. 'Have I touched
you now, sir?'

'You are as far off as ever,' replied Fairford.

'What the devil! and you a repeating frigate between Summertrees and the laird! Tell that to the marines--the
sailors won't believe it. But you are right to be cautious, since you can't say who are right, who not. But you
look ill; it's but the cold morning air. Will you have a can of flip, or a jorum of hot rumbo? or will you splice
the mainbrace' (showing a spirit- flask). 'Will you have a quid--or a pipe--or a cigar?--a pinch of snuff, at
least, to clear your brains and sharpen your apprehension?'

Fairford rejected all these friendly propositions.

'Why, then,' continued Ewart, 'if you will do nothing for the free trade, I must patronize it myself.'

So saying, he took a large glass of brandy.

'A hair of the dog that bit me,' he continued,--'of the dog that will worry me one day soon; and yet, and be d--d
to me for an idiot, I must always have hint at my throat. But, says the old catch'--Here he sang, and sang

'Let's drink--let's drink--while life we have; We'll find but cold drinking, cold drinking in the grave.

All this,' he continued, 'is no charm against the headache. I wish I had anything that could do you good. Faith,
and we have tea and coffee aboard! I'll open a chest or a bag, and let you have some in an instant. You are at
the age to like such catlap better than better stuff.'

Fairford thanked him, and accepted his offer of tea.

Nanty Ewart was soon heard calling about, 'Break open yon chest-- take out your capful, you bastard of a
powder-monkey; we may want it again. No sugar? all used up for grog, say you? knock another loaf to pieces,
can't ye? and get the kettle boiling, ye hell's baby, in no time at all!'

By dint of these energetic proceedings he was in a short time able to return to the place where his passenger
lay sick and exhausted, with a cup, or rather a canful, of tea; for everything was on a large scale on board of
the JUMPING JENNY. Alan drank it eagerly, and with so much appearance of being refreshed that Nanty
Ewart swore he would have some too, and only laced it, as his phrase went, with a single glass of brandy. [See
Note 8.]
CHAPTER XIV                                                                                                    182


We left Alan Fairford on the deck of the little smuggling brig, in that disconsolate situation, when sickness
and nausea, attack a heated and fevered frame, and an anxious mind. His share of sea-sickness, however, was
not so great as to engross his sensations entirely, or altogether to divert his attention from what was passing
around. If he could not delight in the swiftness and agility with which the 'little frigate' walked the waves, or
amuse himself by noticing the beauty of the sea-views around him, where the distant Skiddaw raised his brow,
as if in defiance of the clouded eminence of Criffel, which lorded it over the Scottish side of the estuary, he
had spirits and composure enough to pay particular attention to the master of the vessel, on whose character
his own safety in all probability was dependent.

Nanty Ewart had now given the helm to one of his people, a bald-pated, grizzled old fellow, whose whole life
had been spent in evading the revenue laws, with now and then the relaxation of a few months' imprisonment,
for deforcing officers, resisting seizures, and the like offences.

Nanty himself sat down by Fairford, helped him to his tea, with such other refreshments as he could think of,
and seemed in his way sincerely desirous to make his situation as comfortable as things admitted. Fairford had
thus an opportunity to study his countenance and manners more closely.

It was plain, Ewart, though a good seaman, had not been bred upon that element. He was a reasonably good
scholar, and seemed fond of showing it by recurring to the subject of Sallust and Juvenal; while, on the other
hand, sea-phrases seldom chequered his conversation. He had been in person what is called a smart little man;
but the tropical sun had burnt his originally fair complexion to a dusty red; and the bile which was diffused
through his system, had stained it with a yellowish black--what ought to have been the white part of his eyes,
in particular, had a hue as deep as the topaz. He was very thin, or rather emaciated, and his countenance,
though still indicating alertness and activity, showed a constitution exhausted with excessive use of his
favourite stimulus.

'I see you look at me hard,' said he to Fairford. 'Had you been an officer of the d--d customs, my terriers' backs
would have been up. He opened his breast, and showed Alan a pair of pistols disposed between his waistcoat
and jacket, placing his finger at the same time upon the cock of one of them. 'But come, you are an honest
fellow, though you're a close one. I dare say you think me a queer customer; but I can tell you, they that see
the ship leave harbour know little of the seas she is to sail through. My father, honest old gentleman, never
would have thought to see me master of the JUMPING JENNY.'

Fairford said, it seemed very clear indeed that Mr. Ewart's education was far superior to the line he at present

'Oh, Criffel to Solway Moss!' said the other. Why, man, I should have been an expounder of the word, with a
wig like a snow-wreath, and a stipend like--like--like a hundred pounds a year, I suppose. I can spend thrice as
much as that, though, being such as I am. Here he sang a scrap of an old Northumbrian ditty, mimicking the
burr of the natives of that county:--

'Willy Foster's gone to sea, Siller buckles at his knee, He'll come back and marry me-- Canny Willy Foster.'

'I have no doubt,' said Fairford, 'your present occupation is more lucrative; 'but I should have thought the
Church might have been more'--

He stopped, recollecting that it was not his business to say anything disagreeable.
CHAPTER XIV                                                                                                  183
'More respectable, you mean, I suppose?' said Ewart, with a sneer, and squirting the tobacco-juice through his
front teeth; then was silent for a moment, and proceeded in a tone of candour which some internal touch of
conscience dictated. 'And so it would, Mr. Fairford--and happier, too, by a thousand degrees-- though I have
had my pleasures too. But there was my father (God bless the old man!) a true chip of the old Presbyterian
block, walked his parish like a captain on the quarterdeck, and was always ready to do good to rich and
poor--Off went the laird's hat to the minister, as fast as the poor man's bonnet. When the eye saw him--Pshaw!
what have I to do with that now?--Yes, he was, as Virgil hath it, "VIR SAPIENTIA ET PIETATE GRAVIS."
But he might have been the wiser man, had he kept me at home, when he sent me at nineteen to study Divinity
at the head of the highest stair in the Covenant Close. It was a cursed mistake in the old gentleman. What
though Mrs. Cantrips of Kittlebasket (for she wrote herself no less) was our cousin five times removed, and
took me on that account to board and lodging at six shillings instead of seven shillings a week? it was a d--d
bad saving, as the case proved. Yet her very dignity might have kept me in order; for she never read a chapter
excepting out of a Cambridge Bible, printed by Daniel, and bound in embroidered velvet. I think I see it at this
moment! And on Sundays, when we had a quart of twopenny ale, instead of butter-milk, to our porridge, it
was always served up in a silver posset-dish. Also she used silver-mounted spectacles, whereas even my
father's were cased in mere horn. These things had their impression at first, but we get used to grandeur by
degrees. Well, sir!--Gad, I can scarce get on with my story--it sticks in my throat--must take a trifle to wash it
down. Well, this dame had a daughter--Jess Cantrips, a black-eyed, bouncing wench--and, as the devil would
have it, there was the d--d five-story stair--her foot was never from it, whether I went out or came home from
the Divinity Hall. I would have eschewed her, sir--I would, on my soul; for I was as innocent a lad as ever
came from Lammermuir; but there was no possibility of escape, retreat, or flight, unless I could have got a
pair of wings, or made use of a ladder seven stories high, to scale the window of my attic. It signifies little
talking-- you may suppose how all this was to end--I would have married the girl, and taken my chance--I
would, by Heaven! for she was a pretty girl, and a good girl, till she and I met; but you know the old song,
"Kirk would not let us be." A gentleman, in my case, would have settled the matter with the kirk-treasurer for
a small sum of money; but the poor stibbler, the penniless dominie, having married his cousin of Kittlebasket,
must next have proclaimed her frailty to the whole parish, by mounting the throne of Presbyterian penance,
and proving, as Othello says, "his love a whore," in face of the whole congregation.

'In this extremity I dared not stay where I was, and so thought to go home to my father. But first I got Jack
Radaway, a lad from the same parish, and who lived in the same infernal stair, to make some inquiries how
the old gentleman had taken the matter. I soon, by way of answer, learned, to the great increase of my
comfortable reflections, that the good old man made as much clamour as if such a thing as a man's eating his
wedding dinner without saying grace had never happened since Adam's time. He did nothing for six days but
cry out, "Ichabod, Ichabod, the glory is departed from my house!" and on the seventh he preached a sermon,
in which he enlarged on this incident as illustrative of one of the great occasions for humiliation, and causes of
national defection. I hope the course he took comforted himself --I am sure it made me ashamed to show my
nose at home. So I went down to Leith, and, exchanging my hoddin grey coat of my mother's spinning for
such a jacket as this, I entered my name at the rendezvous as an able-bodied landsman, and sailed with the
tender round to Plymouth, where they were fitting out a squadron for the West Indies. There I was put aboard
the FEARNOUGHT, Captain Daredevil--among whose crew I soon learned to fear Satan (the terror of my
early youth) as little as the toughest Jack on board. I had some qualms at first, but I took the remedy' (tapping
the case-bottle) 'which I recommend to you, being as good for sickness of the soul as for sickness of the
stomach-- What, you won't?--very well, I must, then--here is to ye.'

'You would, I am afraid, find your education of little use in your new condition?' said Fairford.

'Pardon me, sir,' resumed the captain of the JUMPING JENNY; 'my handful of Latin, and small pinch of
Greek, were as useless as old junk, to be sure; but my reading, writing and accompting, stood me in good
stead, and brought me forward; I might have been schoolmaster--aye, and master, in time; but that valiant
liquor, rum, made a conquest of me rather too often, and so, make what sail I could, I always went to leeward.
We were four years broiling in that blasted climate, and I came back at last with a little prize-money. I always
CHAPTER XIV                                                                                                 184
had thoughts of putting things to rights in the Covenant Close, and reconciling myself to my father. I found
out Jack Hadaway, who was TUPTOWING away with a dozen of wretched boys, and a fine string of stories
he had ready to regale my ears withal. My father had lectured on what he called "my falling away," for seven
Sabbaths, when, just as his parishioners began to hope that the course was at an end, he was found dead in his
bed on the eighth Sunday morning. Jack Hadaway assured me, that if I wished to atone for my errors, by
undergoing the fate of the first martyr, I had only to go to my native village, where the very stones of the
street would rise up against me as my father's murderer. Here was a pretty item-- well, my tongue clove to my
mouth for an hour, and was only able at last to utter the name of Mrs. Cantrips. Oh, this was a new theme for
my Job's comforter. My sudden departure--my father's no less sudden death--had prevented the payment of
the arrears of my board and lodging--the landlord was a haberdasher, with a heart as rotten as the muslin
wares he dealt in. Without respect to her age or gentle kin, my Lady Kittlebasket was ejected from her airy
habitation--her porridge-pot, silver posset-dish, silver-mounted spectacles, and Daniel's Cambridge Bible,
sold, at the Cross of Edinburgh, to the caddie who would bid highest for them, and she herself driven to the
workhouse, where she got in with difficulty, but was easily enough lifted out, at the end of the month, as dead
as her friends could desire. Merry tidings this to me, who had been the d--d' (he paused a moment) 'ORIGO
MALI--Gad, I think my confession would sound better in Latin than in English!

'But the best jest was behind--I had just power to stammer out something about Jess--by my faith he HAD an
answer! I had taught Jess one trade, and, like a prudent girl, she had found out another for herself; unluckily,
they were both contraband, and Jess Cantrips, daughter of the Lady Kittlebasket, had the honour to be
transported to the plantations, for street-walking and pocket-picking, about six months before I touched shore.'

He changed the bitter tone of affected pleasantry into an attempt to laugh, then drew his swarthy hand across
his swarthy eyes, and said in a more natural accent, 'Poor Jess!'

There was a pause--until Fairford, pitying the poor man's state of mind, and believing he saw something in
him that, but for early error and subsequent profligacy, might have been excellent and noble, helped on the
conversation by asking, in a tone of commiseration, how he had been able to endure such a load of calamity.

'Why, very well,' answered the seaman; 'exceedingly well--like a tight ship in a brisk gale. Let me recollect. I
remember thanking Jack, very composedly, for the interesting and agreeable communication; I then pulled out
my canvas pouch, with my hoard of moidores, and taking out two pieces, I bid Jack keep the rest till I came
back, as I was for a cruise about Auld Reekie. The poor devil looked anxiously, but I shook him by the hand,
and ran downstairs, in such confusion of mind, that notwithstanding what I had heard, I expected to meet Jess
at every turning.

It was market-day, and the usual number of rogues and fools were assembled at the Cross. I observed
everybody looked strange on me, and I thought some laughed. I fancy I had been making queer faces enough,
and perhaps talking to myself, When I saw myself used in this manner, I held out my clenched fists straight
before me, stooped my head, and, like a ram when be makes his race, darted off right down the street,
scattering groups of weatherbeaten lairds and periwigged burgesses, and bearing down all before me. I heard
the cry of "Seize the madman!" echoed, in Celtic sounds, from the City Guard, with "Ceaze ta matman!"--but
pursuit and opposition were in vain. I pursued my career; the smell of the sea, I suppose, led me to Leith,
where, soon after, I found myself walking very quietly on the shore, admiring the tough round and sound
cordage of the vessels, and thinking how a loop, with a man at the end of one of them, would look, by way of

'I was opposite to the rendezvous, formerly my place of refuge-- in I bolted--found one or two old
acquaintances, made half a dozen new ones--drank for two days--was put aboard the tender-- off to
Portsmouth--then landed at the Haslar hospital in a fine hissing-hot fever. Never mind--I got better--nothing
can kill me--the West Indies were my lot again, for since I did not go where I deserved in the next world, I
had something as like such quarters as can be had in this--black devils for inhabitants-- flames and
CHAPTER XIV                                                                                                     185
earthquakes, and so forth, for your element. Well, brother, something or other I did or said--I can't tell
what--How the devil should I, when I was as drunk as David's sow, you know? But I was punished, my
lad--made to kiss the wench that never speaks but when she scolds, and that's the gunner's daughter, comrade.
Yes, the minister's son of no matter where--has the cat's scratch on his back! This roused me, and when we
were ashore with the boat, I gave three inches of the dirk, after a stout tussle, to the fellow I blamed most, and
took the bush for it. There were plenty of wild lads then along shore--and, I don't care who knows--I went on
the account, look you--sailed under the black flag and marrow-bones--was a good friend to the sea, and an
enemy to all that sailed on it.'

Fairford, though uneasy in his mind at finding himself, a lawyer, so close to a character so lawless, thought it
best, nevertheless, to put a good face on the matter, and asked Mr. Ewart, with as much unconcern as he could
assume, 'whether he was fortunate as a rover?'

'No, no--d--n it, no,' replied Nanty; 'the devil a crumb of butter was ever churned that would stick upon my
bread. There was no order among us--he that was captain to-day, was swabber to-morrow; and as for
plunder--they say old Avery, and one or two close hunks, made money; but in my time, all went as it came;
and reason good, for if a fellow had saved five dollars, his throat would have been cut in his hammock. And
then it was a cruel, bloody work.--Pah,--we'll say no more about it. I broke with them at last, for what they did
on board of a bit of a snow--no matter what it was bad enough, since it frightened me--I took French leave,
and came in upon the proclamation, so I am free of all that business. And here I sit, the skipper of the
JUMPING JENNY--a nutshell of a thing, but goes through the water like a dolphin. If it were not for yon
hypocritical scoundrel at Annan, who has the best end of the profit, and takes none of the risk, I should be
well enough--as well as I want to be. Here is no lack of my best friend,'--touching his case-bottle;--'but, to tell
you a secret, he and I have got so used to each other, I begin to think he is like a professed joker, that makes
your sides sore with laughing if you see him but now and then; but if you take up house with him, he can only
make your head stupid. But I warrant the old fellow is doing the best he can for me, after all.'

'And what may that be?' said Fairford.

'He is KILLING me,' replied Nanty Ewart; 'and I am only sorry he is so long about it.'

So saying he jumped on his feet, and, tripping up and down the deck, gave his orders with his usual clearness
and decision, notwithstanding the considerable quantity of spirits which he had contrived to swallow while
recounting his history.

Although far from feeling well, Fairford endeavoured to rouse himself and walk to the head of the brig, to
enjoy the beautiful prospect, as well as to take some note of the course which the vessel held. To his great
surprise, instead of standing across to the opposite shore from which she had departed, the brig was going
down the Firth, and apparently steering into the Irish Sea. He called to Nanty Ewart, and expressed his
surprise at the course they were pursuing, and asked why they did not stand straight across the Firth for some
port in Cumberland.

'Why, this is what I call a reasonable question, now,' answered Nanty; 'as if a ship could go as straight to its
port as a horse to the stable, or a free-trader could sail the Solway as securely as a King's cutter! Why, I'll tell
ye, brother--if I do not see a smoke on Bowness, that is the village upon the headland yonder, I must stand out
to sea for twenty-four hours at least, for we must keep the weather-gage if there are hawks abroad.'

'And if you do see the signal of safety, Master Ewart, what is to be done then?'

'Why then, and in that case, I must keep off till night, and then run you, with the kegs and the rest of the
lumber, ashore at Skinburness,'
CHAPTER XIV                                                                                                         186

'And then I am to meet with this same laird whom I have the letter for?' continued Fairford.

'That,' said Ewart, 'is thereafter as it may be; the ship has its course--the fair trader has his port--but it is not
easy to say where the laird may be found. But he will be within twenty miles of us, off or on--and it will be
my business to guide you to him.'

Fairford could not withstand the passing impulse of terror which crossed him, when thus reminded that he was
so absolutely in the power of a man, who, by his own account, had been a pirate, and who was at present, in
all probability, an outlaw as well as a contraband trader. Nanty Ewart guessed the cause of his involuntary

'What the devil should I gain,' he said, 'by passing so poor a card as you are? Have I not had ace of trumps in
my hand, and did I not play it fairly? Aye, I say the JUMPING JENNY can run in other ware as well as kegs.
Put SIGMA and TAU to Ewart, and see how that will spell--D'ye take me now?'

'No indeed,' said Fairford; 'I am utterly ignorant of what you allude to.'

'Now, by Jove!' said Nanty Ewart, 'thou art either the deepest or the shallowest fellow I ever met with--or you
are not right after all. I wonder where Summertrees could pick up such a tender along-shore. Will you let me
see his letter?'

Fairford did not hesitate to gratify his wish, which, he was aware, he could not easily resist. The master of the
JUMPING JENNY looked at the direction very attentively, then turned the letter to and fro, and examined
each flourish of the pen, as if he were judging of a piece of ornamented manuscript; then handled it back to
Fairford, without a single word of remark.

'Am I right now?' said the young lawyer.

'Why, for that matter,' answered Nanty, 'the letter is right, sure enough; but whether you are right or not, is
your own business rather than mine.' And, striking upon a flint with the back of a knife, he kindled a cigar as
thick as his finger, and began to smoke away with great perseverance.

Alan Fairford continued to regard him with a melancholy feeling, divided betwixt the interest he took in the
unhappy man, and a not unnatural apprehension for the issue of his own adventure.

Ewart, notwithstanding the stupefying nature of his pastime, seemed to guess what was working in his
passenger's mind; for, after they had remained some time engaged in silently observing each other, he
suddenly dashed his cigar on the deck, and said to him, 'Well then, if you are sorry for me, I am sorry for you.
D--n me, if I have cared a button for man or mother's son, since two years since when I had another peep of
Jack Hadaway. 'The fellow was got as fat as a Norway whale--married to a great Dutch-built quean that had
brought him six children. I believe he did not know me, and thought I was come to rob his house; however, I
made up a poor face, and told him who I was. Poor Jack would have given me shelter and clothes, and began
to tell me of the moidores that were in bank, when I wanted them. Egad, he changed his note when I told him
what my life had been, and only wanted to pay me my cash and get rid of me. I never saw so terrified a
visage. I burst out a-laughing in his face, told him it was all a humbug, and that the moidores were all his own,
henceforth and for ever, and so ran off. I caused one of our people send him a bag of tea and a keg of brandy,
before I left-- poor Jack! I think you are the second person these ten years, that has cared a tobacco-stopper for
Nanty Ewart.'

'Perhaps, Mr. Ewart,' said Fairford, 'you live chiefly with men too deeply interested for their own immediate
safety, to think much upon the distress of others?'
CHAPTER XIV                                                                                                    187
'And with whom do you yourself consort, I pray?' replied Nanty, smartly. 'Why, with plotters, that can make
no plot to better purpose than their own hanging; and incendiaries, that are snapping the flint upon wet tinder.
You'll as soon raise the dead as raise the Highlands--you'll as soon get a grunt from a dead sow as any comfort
from Wales or Cheshire. You think because the pot is boiling, that no scum but yours can come uppermost--I
know better, by --. All these rackets and riots that you think are trending your way have no relation at all to
your interest; and the best way to make the whole kingdom friends again at once, would be the alarm of such
an undertaking as these mad old fellows are trying to launch into.

'I really am not in such secrets as you seem to allude to,' said Fairford; and, determined at the same time to
avail himself as far as possible of Nanty's communicative disposition, he added, with a smile,' And if I were, I
should not hold it prudent to make them much the subject of conversation. But I am sure, so sensible a man as
Summertrees and the laird may correspond together without offence to the state.'

'I take you, friend--I take you,' said Nanty Ewart, upon whom, at length, the liquor and tobacco-smoke began
to make considerable innovation. 'As to what gentlemen may or may not correspond about, why we may
pretermit the question, as the old professor used to say at the Hall; and as to Summertrees, I will say nothing,
knowing him to be an old fox. But I say that this fellow the laird is a firebrand in the country ; that he is
stirring up all the honest fellows who should be drinking their brandy quietly, by telling them stories about
their ancestors and the Forty-five ; and that he is trying to turn all waters into his own mill-dam, and to set his
sails to all winds. And because the London people are roaring about for some pinches of their own, he thinks
to win them to his turn with a wet finger. And he gets encouragement from some, because they want a spell of
money from him; and from others, because they fought for the cause once and are ashamed to go back; and
others, because they have nothing to lose; and others, because they are discontented fools. But if he has
brought you, or any one, I say not whom, into this scrape, with the hope of doing any good, he's a d--d
decoy-duck, and that's all I can say for him; and you are geese, which is worse than being decoy-ducks, or
lame-ducks either. And so here is to the prosperity of King George the Third, and the true Presbyterian
religion, and confusion to the Pope, the Devil, and the Pretender! I'll tell you what, Mr. Fairbairn, I am but
tenth owner of this bit of a craft, the JUMPING JENNY--but tenth owner and must sail her by my owners'
directions. But if I were whole owner, I would not have the brig be made a ferry-boat for your Jacobitical,
old-fashioned Popish riff-raff, Mr. Fairport--I would not, by my soul; they should walk the plank, by the gods,
as I have seen better men do when I sailed under the What-d'ye- callum colours. But being contraband goods,
and on board my vessel, and I with my sailing orders in my hand, why, I am to forward them as directed--I
say, John Roberts, keep her up a bit with the helm.--and so, Mr. Fairweather, what I do is--as the d--d villain
Turnpenny says--all in the way of business.'

He had been speaking with difficulty for the last five minutes, and now at length dropped on the deck, fairly
silenced by the quantity of spirits which he had swallowed, but without having showed any glimpse of the
gaiety, or even of the extravagance, of intoxication.

The old sailor stepped forward and flung a sea-cloak over the slumberer's shoulders, and added, looking at
Fairford, 'Pity of him he should have this fault; for without it, he would have been as clever a fellow as ever
trod a plank with ox leather.'

'And what are we to do now?' said Fairford.

'Stand off and on, to be sure, till we see the signal, and then obey orders.'

So saying, the old man turned to his duty, and left the passenger to amuse himself with his own meditations.
Presently afterward a light column of smoke was seen rising from the little headland.

'I can tell you what we are to do now, master,' said the sailor. 'We'll stand out to sea, and then run in again
with the evening tide, and make Skinburness; or, if there's not light, we can run into the Wampool river, and
CHAPTER XIV                                                                                                 188
put you ashore about Kirkbride or Leaths, with the long-boat.'

Fairford, unwell before, felt this destination condemned him to an agony of many hours, which his disordered
stomach and aching head were ill able to endure. There was no remedy, however, but patience, and the
recollection that he was suffering in the cause of friendship. As the sun rose high, he became worse; his sense
of smell appeared to acquire a morbid degree of acuteness, for the mere purpose of inhaling and distinguishing
all the various odours with which he was surrounded, from that of pitch to all the complicated smells of the
hold. His heart, too, throbbed under the heat, and he felt as if in full progress towards a high fever.

The seamen, who were civil and attentive considering their calling, observed his distress, and one contrived to
make an awning out of an old sail, while another compounded some lemonade, the only liquor which their
passenger could be prevailed upon to touch. After drinking it off, he obtained, but could not be said to enjoy, a
few hours of troubled slumber.
CHAPTER XV                                                                                                    189


Alan Fairford's spirit was more ready to encounter labour than his frame was adequate to support it. In spite of
his exertions, when he awoke, after five or six hours' slumber, he found that he was so much disabled by
dizziness in his head and pains in his limbs, that he could not raise himself without assistance. He heard with
some pleasure that they were now running right for the Wampool river, and that he would be put on shore in a
very short time. The vessel accordingly lay to, and presently showed a weft in her ensign, which was hastily
answered by signals from on shore. Men and horses were seen to come down the broken path which leads to
the shore; the latter all properly tackled for carrying their loading. Twenty fishing barks were pushed afloat at
once, and crowded round the brig with much clamour, laughter, cursing, and jesting. Amidst all this apparent
confusion there was the essential regularity. Nanty Ewart again walked his quarter-deck as if he had never
tasted spirits in his life, issued the necessary orders with precision, and saw them executed with punctuality. In
half an hour the loading of the brig was in a great measure disposed in the boats; in a quarter of an hour more,
it was landed on the beach, and another interval of about the same duration was sufficient to distribute it on
the various strings of packhorses which waited for that purpose, and which instantly dispersed, each on its
own proper adventure. More mystery was observed in loading the ship's boat with a quantity of small barrels,
which seemed to contain ammunition. This was not done until the commercial customers had been dismissed;
and it was not until this was performed that Ewart proposed to Alan, as he lay stunned with pain and noise, to
accompany him ashore.

It was with difficulty that Fairford could get over the side of the vessel, and he could not seat himself on the
stern of the boat without assistance from the captain and his people. Nanty Ewart, who saw nothing in this
worse than an ordinary fit of sea- sickness, applied the usual topics of consolation. He assured his passenger
that he would be quite well by and by, when he had been half an hour on terra firma, and that he hoped to
drink a can and smoke a pipe with him at Father Crackenthorp's, for all that he felt a little out of the way for
riding the wooden horse.

'Who is Father Crackenthorp?' said Fairford, though scarcely able to articulate the question.

'As honest a fellow as is of a thousand,' answered Nanty.

'Ah, how much good brandy he and I have made little of in our day! By my soul, Mr. Fairbird, he is the prince
of skinkers, and the father of the free trade--not a stingy hypocritical devil like old Turnpenny Skinflint, that
drinks drunk on other folk's cost, and thinks it sin when he has to pay for it--but a real hearty old cock;--the
sharks have been at and about him this many a day, but Father Crackenthorp knows how to trim his
sails--never a warrant but he hears of it before the ink's dry. He is BONUS SOCIUS with headborough and
constable. The king's exchequer could not bribe a man to inform against him. If any such rascal were to cast
up, why, he would miss his ears next morning, or be sent to seek them in the Solway. He is a statesman, [A
small landed proprietor.] though he keeps a public; but, indeed, that is only for convenience and to excuse his
having cellarage and folk about him; his wife's a canny woman--and his daughter Doll too. Gad, you'll be in
port there till you get round again; and I'll keep my word with you, and bring you to speech of the laird.

Gad, the only trouble I shall have is to get you out of the house; for Doll is a rare wench, and my dame a
funny old one, and Father Crackenthorp the rarest companion! He'll drink you a bottle of rum or brandy
without starting, but never wet his lips with the nasty Scottish stuff that the canting old scoundrel Turnpenny
has brought into fashion. He is a gentleman, every inch of him, old Crackenthorp; in his own way, that is; and
besides, he has a share in the JUMPING JENNY, and many a moonlight outfit besides. He can give Doll a
pretty penny, if he likes the tight fellow that would turn in with her for life.'
CHAPTER XV                                                                                                      190

In the midst of this prolonged panegyric on Father Crackenthorp, the boat touched the beach, the rowers
backed their oars to keep her afloat, whilst the other fellows lumped into the surf, and, with the most rapid
dexterity, began to hand the barrels ashore.

'Up with them higher on the beach, my hearties,' exclaimed Nanty Ewart--'High and dry--high and dry--this
gear will not stand wetting. Now, out with our spare hand here--high and dry with him too. What's that?--the
galloping of horse! Oh, I hear the jingle of the packsaddles--they are our own folk.'

By this time all the boat's load was ashore, consisting of the little barrels; and the boat's crew, standing to their
arms, ranged themselves in front, waiting the advance of the horses which came clattering along the beach. A
man, overgrown with corpulence, who might be distinguished in the moonlight panting with his own
exertions, appeared at the head of the cavalcade, which consisted of horses linked together, and
accommodated with packsaddles, and chains for securing the kegs which made a dreadful clattering.

'How now, Father Crackenthorp?' said Ewart--'Why this hurry with your horses? We mean to stay a night with
you, and taste your old brandy, and my dame's homebrewed. The signal is up, man, and all is right.'

'All is wrong, Captain Nanty,' cried the man to whom he spoke; 'and you are the lad that is like to find it so,
unless you bundle off--there are new brooms bought at Carlisle yesterday to sweep the country of you and the
like of you--so you were better be jogging inland.

'How many rogues are the officers? If not more than ten, I will make fight.'

'The devil you will!' answered Crackenthorp. 'You were better not, for they have the bloody-backed dragoons
from Carlisle with them.'

'Nay, then,' said Nanty, 'we must make sail. Come, Master Fairlord, you must mount and ride. He does not
hear me--he has fainted, I believe--What the devil shall I do? Father Crackenthorp, I must leave this young
fellow with you till the gale blows out--hark ye--goes between the laird and the t'other old one; he can neither
ride nor walk--I must send him up to you.'

'Send him up to the gallows!' said Crackenthorp; 'there is Quartermaster Thwacker, with twenty men, up
yonder; an he had not some kindness for Doll, I had never got hither for a start--but you must get off, or they
will be here to seek us, for his orders are woundy particular; and these kegs contain worse than whisky-- a
hanging matter, I take it.'

'I wish they were at the bottom of Wampool river, with them they belong to,' said Nanty Ewart. 'But they are
part of cargo; and what to do with the poor young fellow--'

'Why, many a better fellow has roughed it on the grass with a cloak o'er him,' said Crackenthorp. 'If he hath a
fever, nothing is so cooling as the night air.'

'Yes, he would be cold enough in the morning, no doubt; but it's a kind heart and shall not cool so soon if I
can help it,' answered the captain of the JUMPING JENNY.

'Well, captain, an ye will risk your own neck for another man's, why not take him to the old girls at

'What, the Miss Arthurets! The Papist jades! But never mind; it will do--I have known them take in a whole
sloop's crew that were stranded on the sands.'

'You may run some risk, though, by turning up to Fairladies; for I tell you they are all up through the country.'
CHAPTER XV                                                                                                    191

'Never mind--I may chance to put some of them down again,' said Nanty, cheerfully. 'Come, lads, bustle to
your tackle. Are you all loaded?'

'Aye, aye, captain; we will be ready in a jiffy,' answered the gang.

'D--n your captains! Have you a mind to have me hanged if I am taken? All's hail-fellow, here.'

'A sup at parting,' said Father Crackenthorp, extending a flask to Nanty Ewart.

'Not the twentieth part of a drop,' said Nanty. 'No Dutch courage for me--my heart is always high enough
when there's a chance of fighting; besides, if I live drunk, I should like to die sober. Here, old Jephson--you
are the best-natured brute amongst them--get the lad between us on a quiet horse, and we will keep him
upright, I warrant.'

As they raised Fairford from the ground, he groaned heavily, and asked faintly where they were taking him to.

'To a place where you will be as snug and quiet as a mouse in his hole,' said Nanty, 'if so be that we can get
you there safely. Good-bye, Father Crackenthorp--poison the quartermaster, if you can.'

The loaded horses then sprang forward at a hard trot, following each other in a line, and every second horse
being mounted by a stout fellow in a smock frock, which served to conceal the arms with which most of these
desperate men were provided. Ewart followed in the rear of the line, and, with the occasional assistance of old
Jephson, kept his young charge erect in the saddle. He groaned heavily from time to time; and Ewart, more
moved with compassion for his situation than might have been expected from his own habits, endeavoured to
amuse him and comfort him, by some account of the place to which they were conveying him--his words of
consolation being, however, frequently interrupted by the necessity of calling to his people, and many of them
being lost amongst the rattling of the barrels, and clinking of the tackle and small chains by which they are
secured on such occasions.

'And you see, brother, you will be in safe quarters at Fairladies--good old scrambling house--good old maids
enough, if they were not Papists,--Hollo, you Jack Lowther; keep the line, can't ye, and shut your rattle-trap,
you broth of a--? And so, being of a good family, and having enough, the old lasses have turned a kind of
saints, and nuns, and so forth. The place they live in was some sort of nun-shop long ago, as they have them
still in Flanders; so folk call them the Vestals of Fairladies-- that may be, or may not be; and I care not
whether it be or no.-- Blinkinsop, hold your tongue, and be d--d!--And so, betwixt great alms and good
dinners, they are well thought of by rich and poor, and their trucking with Papists is looked over. There are
plenty of priests, and stout young scholars, and such-like, about the house it's a hive of them. More shame that
government send dragoons out after-a few honest fellows that bring the old women of England a drop of
brandy, and let these ragamuffins smuggle in as much papistry and--Hark!--was that a whistle? No, it's only a
plover. You, Jem Collier, keep a look-out ahead--we'll meet them at the High Whins, or Brotthole bottom, or
nowhere. Go a furlong ahead, I say, and look sharp.--These Misses Arthurets feed the hungry, and clothe the
naked, and such-like acts--which my poor father used to say were filthy rags, but he dressed himself out with
as many of them as most folk.--D--n that stumbling horse! Father Crackenthorp should be d--d himself for
putting an honest fellow's neck in such jeopardy.'

Thus, and with much more to the same purpose, Nanty ran on, increasing, by his well-intended annoyance, the
agony of Alan Fairford, who, tormented by a racking pain along the back and loins, which made the rough trot
of the horse torture to him, had his aching head still further rended and split by the hoarse voice of the sailor,
close to his ear. Perfectly passive, however, he did not even essay to give any answer; and indeed his own
bodily distress was now so great and engrossing, that to think of his situation was impossible, even if he could
have mended it by doing so.
CHAPTER XV                                                                                                    192
Their course was inland; but in what direction, Alan had no means of ascertaining. They passed at first over
heaths and sandy downs; they crossed more than one brook, or beck, as they are called in that country--some
of them of considerable depth--and at length reached a cultivated country, divided, according to the English
fashion of agriculture, into very small fields or closes, by high banks, overgrown with underwood, and
surmounted by hedge- row trees, amongst which winded a number of impracticable and complicated lanes,
where the boughs projecting from the embankments on each side, intercepted the light of the moon, and
endangered the safety of the horsemen. But through this labyrinth the experience of the guides conducted
them without a blunder, and without even the slackening of their pace. In many places, however, it was
impossible for three men to ride abreast; and therefore the burden of supporting Alan Fairford fell alternately
to old Jephson and to Nanty; and it was with much difficulty that they could keep him upright in his saddle.

At length, when his powers of sufferance were quite worn out, and he was about to implore them to leave him
to his fate in the first cottage or shed--or under a haystack or a hedge--or anywhere, so he was left at ease,
Collier, who rode ahead, passed back the word that they were at the avenue to Fairladies--'Was he to turn up?'

Committing the charge of Fairford to Jephson, Nanty dashed up to the head of the troop, and gave his
orders.--'Who knows the house best?'

'Sam Skelton's a Catholic,' said Lowther.

'A d--d bad religion,' said Nanty, of whose Presbyterian education a hatred of Popery seemed to be the only
remnant. 'But I am glad there is one amongst us, anyhow. You, Sam, being a Papist, know Fairladies and the
old maidens I dare say; so do you fall out of the line, and wait here with me; and do you, Collier, carry on to
Walinford bottom, then turn down the beck till you come to the old mill, and Goodman Grist the Miller, or old
Peel- the-Causeway, will tell you where to stow; but I will be up with you before that.'

The string of loaded horses then struck forward at their former pace, while Nanty, with Sam Skelton, waited
by the roadside till the rear came up, when Jephson and Fairford joined them, and, to the great relief of the
latter, they began to proceed at an easier pace than formerly, suffering the gang to precede them, till the clatter
and clang attending their progress began to die away in the distance. They had not proceeded a pistol-shot
from the place where they parted, when a short turning brought them in front of an old mouldering gateway,
whose heavy pinnacles were decorated in the style of the seventeenth century, with clumsy architectural
ornaments; several of which had fallen down from decay, and lay scattered about, no further care having been
taken than just to remove them out of the direct approach to the avenue. The great stone pillars, glimmering
white in the moonlight, had some fanciful resemblance to supernatural apparitions, and the air of neglect all
around, gave an uncomfortable idea of the habitation to those who passed its avenue.

'There used to be no gate here,' said Skelton, finding their way unexpectedly stopped.

'But there is a gate now, and a porter too,' said a rough voice from within. 'Who be you, and what do you want
at this time of night?'

'We want to come to speech of the ladies--of the Misses Arthuret,' said Nanty; 'and to ask lodging for a sick

'There is no speech to be had of the Miss Arthurets at this time of night, and you may carry your sick man to
the doctor,' answered the fellow from within, gruffly; 'for as sure as there is savour in salt, and scent in
rosemary, you will get no entrance--put your pipes up and be jogging on.'

'Why, Dick Gardener,' said Skelton, 'be thou then turned porter?'

'What, do you know who I am?' said the domestic sharply.
CHAPTER XV                                                                                                      193

'I know you, by your by-word,' answered the other; 'What, have you forgot little Sam Skelton, and the brock
in the barrel?'

'No, I have not forgotten you,' answered the acquaintance of Sam Skelton; 'but my orders are peremptory to let
no one up the avenue this night, and therefore'--

'But we are armed, and will not be kept back,' said Nanty. 'Hark ye, fellow, were it not better for you to take a
guinea and let us in, than to have us break the door first, and thy pate afterwards? for I won't see my comrade
die at your door be assured of that.'

'Why, I dunna know,' said the fellow; 'but what cattle were those that rode by in such hurry?'

'Why, some of our folk from Bowness, Stoniecultrum, and thereby,' answered Skelton; 'Jack Lowther, and old
Jephson, and broad Will Lamplugh, and such like.'

'Well,' said Dick Gardener, 'as sure as there is savour in salt, and scent in rosemary, I thought it had been the
troopers from Carlisle and Wigton, and the sound brought my heart to my mouth.'

'Had thought thou wouldst have known the clatter of a cask from the clash of a broadsword, as well as e'er a
quaffer in Cumberland,' said Skelton.

'Come, brother, less of your jaw and more of your legs, if you please,' said Nanty; 'every moment we stay is a
moment lost. Go to the ladies, and tell them that Nanty Ewart, of the JUMPING JENNY, has brought a young
gentleman, charged with letters from Scotland to a certain gentleman of consequence in Cumberland-- that the
soldiers are out, and the gentleman is very ill and if he is not received at Fairladies he must be left either to die
at the gate, or to be taken, with all his papers about him, by the redcoats.'

Away ran Dick Gardener with this message; and, in a few minutes, lights were seen to flit about, which
convinced Fairford, who was now, in consequence of the halt, a little restored to self- possession, that they
were traversing the front of a tolerably large mansion-house.

'What if thy friend, Dick Gardener, comes not back again?' said Jephson to Skelton.

'Why, then,' said the person addressed, 'I shall owe him just such a licking as thou, old Jephson, had from Dan
Cooke, and will pay as duly and truly as he did.'

The old man was about to make an angry reply, when his doubts were silenced by the return of Dick
Gardener, who announced that Miss Arthuret was coming herself as far as the gateway to speak with them.

Nanty Ewart cursed in a low tone the suspicions of old maids and the churlish scruples of Catholics, that made
so many obstacles to helping a fellow creature, and wished Miss Arthuret a hearty rheumatism or toothache as
the reward of her excursion; but the lady presently appeared, to cut short further grumbling. She was attended
by a waiting-maid with a lantern, by means of which she examined the party on the outside, as closely as the
imperfect light, and the spars of the newly-erected gate, would permit.

'I am sorry we have disturbed you so late, Madam Arthuret,' said Nanty; 'but the case is this'--

'Holy Virgin,' said she, 'why do you speak so loud? Pray, are you not the captain of the SAINTE

'Why, aye, ma'am,' answered Ewart, 'they call the brig so at Dunkirk, sure enough; but along shore here, they
call her the JUMPING JENNY.'
CHAPTER XV                                                                                                      194

'You brought over the holy Father Buonaventure, did you not?'

'Aye, aye, madam, I have brought over enough of them black cattle,' answered Nanty. 'Fie! fie! friend,' said
Miss Arthuret; 'it is a pity that the saints should commit these good men to a heretic's care.'

'Why, no more they would, ma'am,' answered Nanty, 'could they find a Papist lubber that knew the coast as I
do; then I am trusty as steel to owners, and always look after cargo--live lumber, or dead flesh, or spirits, all is
one to me; and your Catholics have such d--d large hoods, with pardon, ma'am, that they can sometimes hide
two faces under them. But here is a gentleman dying, with letters about him from the Laird of Summertrees to
the Laird of the Lochs, as they call him, along Solway, and every minute he lies here is a nail in his coffin.'

'Saint Mary! what shall we do?' said Miss Arthuret; 'we must admit him, I think, at all risks. You, Richard
Gardener, help one of these men to carry the gentleman up to the Place; and you, Selby, see him lodged at the
end of the long gallery. You are a heretic, captain, but I think you are trusty, and I know you have been
trusted--but if you are imposing on me'--

'Not I, madam--never attempt to impose on ladies of your experience--my practice that way has been all
among the young ones. Come, cheerly, Mr. Fairford--you will be taken good care of--try to walk.'

Alan did so; and, refreshed by his halt, declared himself able to walk to the house with the sole assistance of
the gardener.

'Why, that's hearty. Thank thee, Dick, for lending him thine arm'--and Nanty slipped into his hand the guinea
he had promised.--'Farewell, then, Mr. Fairford, and farewell, Madam Arthuret, for I have been too long here.'

So saying, he and his two companions threw themselves on horseback, and went off at a gallop. Yet, even
above the clatter of their hoofs did the incorrigible Nanty hollo out the old ballad--

A lovely lass to a friar came, To confession a-morning early;-- 'In what, my dear, are you to blame? Come tell
me most sincerely?' 'Alas! my fault I dare not name-- But my lad he loved me dearly.'

'Holy Virgin!' exclaimed Miss Seraphina, as the unhallowed sounds reached her ears; 'what profane heathens
be these men, and what frights and pinches we be put to among them! The saints be good to us, what a night
has this been!--the like never seen at Fairladies. Help me to make fast the gate, Richard, and thou shalt come
down again to wait on it, lest there come more unwelcome visitors--Not that you are unwelcome, young
gentleman, for it is sufficient that you need such assistance as we can give you, to make you welcome to
Fairladies--only, another time would have done as well--but, hem! I dare say it is all for the best. The avenue
is none of the smoothest, sir, look to your feet. Richard Gardener should have had it mown and levelled, but
he was obliged to go on a pilgrimage to Saint Winifred's Well, in Wales.' (Here Dick gave a short dry cough,
which, as if he had found it betrayed some internal feeling a little at variance with what the lady said, he
converted into a muttered SANCTA WINIFREDA, ORA PRO NOBIS. Miss Arthuret, meantime, proceeded)
'We never interfere with our servants' vows or penances, Master Fairford--I know a very worthy father of your
name, perhaps a relation--I say, we never interfere with our servants vows. Our Lady forbid they should not
know some difference between our service and a heretic's.--Take care, sir, you will fall if you have not a care.
Alas! by night and day there are many stumbling-blocks in our paths!'

With more talk to the same purpose, all of which tended to show a charitable and somewhat silly woman with
a strong inclination to her superstitious devotion, Miss Arthuret entertained her new guest, as, stumbling at
every obstacle which the devotion of his guide, Richard, had left in the path, he at last, by ascending some
stone steps decorated on the side with griffins, or some such heraldic anomalies, attained a terrace extending
in front of the Place of Fairladies; an old-fashioned gentleman's house of some consequence, with its range of
notched gable-ends and narrow windows, relieved by here and there an old turret about the size of a
CHAPTER XV                                                                                                      195

pepper-box. The door was locked during the brief absence of the mistress; a dim light glimmered through the
sashed door of the hall, which opened beneath a huge stone porch, loaded with jessamine and other creepers.
All the windows were dark as pitch.

Miss Arthuret tapped at the door. 'Sister, sister Angelica.' 'Who is there?' was answered from within; 'is it you,
sister Seraphina?'

'Yes, yes, undo the door; do you not know my voice?'

'No doubt, sister,' said Angelica, undoing bolt and bar; 'but you know our charge, and the enemy is watchful to
surprise us-- INCEDIT SICUT LEO VORANS, saith the breviary. Whom have you brought here? Oh, sister,
what have you done?'

'It is a young man,' said Seraphina, hastening to interrupt her sister's remonstrance, 'a relation, I believe, of our
worthy Father Fairford; left at the gate by the captain of that blessed vessel the SAINTE
GENEVIEVE--almost dead--and charged with dispatches to '--

She lowered her voice as she mumbled over the last words.

'Nay, then, there is no help,' said Angelica; 'but it is unlucky.'

During this dialogue between the vestals of Fairladies, Dick Gardener deposited his burden in a chair, where
the young lady, after a moment of hesitation, expressing a becoming reluctance to touch the hand of a
stranger, put her finger and thumb upon Fairford's wrist, and counted his pulse.

'There is fever here, sister,' she said; 'Richard must call Ambrose, and we must send some of the febrifuge.'

Ambrose arrived presently, a plausible and respectable-looking old servant, bred in the family, and who had
risen from rank to rank in the Arthuret service till he was become half-physician, half-almoner, half-butler,
and entire governor; that is, when the Father Confessor, who frequently eased him of the toils of government,
chanced to be abroad. Under the direction, and with the assistance of this venerable personage, the unlucky
Alan Fairford was conveyed to a decent apartment at the end of a long gallery, and, to his inexpressible relief,
consigned to a comfortable bed. He did not attempt to resist the prescription of Mr. Ambrose, who not only
presented him with the proposed draught, but proceeded so far as to take a considerable quantity of blood
from him, by which last operation he probably did his patient much service.
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                 196


On the next morning, when Fairford awoke, after no very refreshing slumbers, in which were mingled many
wild dreams of his father and of Darsie Latimer,--of the damsel in the green mantle and the vestals of
Fairladies,--of drinking small beer with Nanty Ewart and being immersed in the Solway with the JUMPING
JENNY,--he found himself in no condition to dispute the order of Mr. Ambrose, that he should keep his bed,
from which, indeed, he could not have raised himself without assistance. He became sensible that his anxiety,
and his constant efforts for some days past, had been too much for his health, and that, whatever might be his
impatience, he could not proceed in his undertaking until his strength was re-established.

In the meanwhile, no better quarters could have been found for an invalid. The attendants spoke under their
breath, and moved only on tiptoe--nothing was done unless PAR ORDONNANCE DU MEDECIN.
Aesculapius reigned paramount in the premises at Fairladies. Once a day, the ladies came in great state to wait
upon him and inquire after his health, and it was then that; Alan's natural civility, and the thankfulness which
he expressed for their timely and charitable assistance, raised him considerably in their esteem. He was on the
third day removed to a better apartment than that in which he had been at first accommodated. When he was
permitted to drink a glass of wine, it was of the first quality; one of those curious old-fashioned cobwebbed
bottles being produced on the occasion, which are only to be found in the crypts of old country-seats, where
they may have lurked undisturbed for more than half a century.

But however delightful a residence for an invalid, Fairladies, as its present inmate became soon aware, was
not so agreeable to a convalescent. When he dragged himself to the window so soon as he could crawl from
bed, behold it was closely grated, and commanded no view except of a little paved court. This was nothing
remarkable, most old Border houses having their windows so secured. But then Fairford observed, that
whosoever entered or left the room. always locked the door with great care and circumspection; and some
proposals which he made to take a walk in the gallery, or even in the garden, were so coldly received, both by
the ladies and their prime minister, Mr. Ambrose, that he saw plainly such an extension of his privileges as a
guest would not be permitted.

Anxious to ascertain whether this excessive hospitality would permit him his proper privilege of free agency,
he announced to this important functionary, with grateful thanks for the care with which he had been attended,
his purpose to leave Fairladies next morning, requesting only, as a continuance of the favours with which he
had been loaded, the loan of a horse to the next town; and, assuring Mr. Ambrose that his gratitude would not
be limited by such, a trifle, he slipped three guineas into his hand, by way of seconding his proposal. The
fingers of that worthy domestic closed as naturally upon the honorarium, as if a degree in the learned faculty
had given him a right to clutch it; but his answer concerning Alan's proposed departure was at first evasive,
and when he was pushed, it amounted to a peremptory assurance that he could not be permitted to depart
to-morrow; it was as much as his life was worth, and his ladies would not authorize it.

'I know best what my own life is worth,' said Alan; 'and I do not value it in comparison to the business which
requires my instant attention.'

Receiving still no satisfactory answer from Mr. Ambrose, Fairford thought it best to state his resolution to the
ladies themselves, in the most measured, respectful, and grateful terms; but still such as expressed a firm
determination to depart on the morrow, or next day at farthest. After some attempts to induce him to stay, on
the alleged score of health, which were so expressed that he was convinced they were only used to delay his
departure, Fairford plainly told them that he was entrusted with dispatches of consequence to the gentleman
known by the name of Herries, Redgauntlet, and the Laird of the Lochs; and that it was matter of life and
death to deliver them early.
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                        197

'I dare say, Sister Angelica,' said the elder Miss Arthuret, that the gentleman is honest; and if he is really a
relation of Father Fairford, we can run no risk.'

'Jesu Maria!' exclaimed the younger. 'Oh, fie, Sister Seraphina! Fie, fie!--'VADE RETRO--get thee behind

'Well, well; but, sister--Sister Angelica--let me speak with you in the gallery.'

So out the ladies rustled in their silks and tissues, and it was a good half-hour ere they rustled in again, with
importance and awe on their countenances.

'To tell you the truth, Mr. Fairford, the cause of our desire to delay you is--there is a religious gentleman in
this house at present'--

'A most excellent person indeed'--said the sister Angelica.

'An anointed of his Master!' echoed Seraphina,--'and we should be glad that, for conscience' sake, you would
hold some discourse with him before your departure.'

'Oho!' thought Fairford, 'the murder is out--here is a design of conversion! I must not affront the good ladies,
but I shall soon send off the priest, I think.' He then answered aloud, 'that he should be happy to converse with
any friend of theirs--that in religious matters he had the greatest respect for every modification of Christianity,
though, he must say, his belief was made up to that in which he had been educated; nevertheless, if his seeing
the religious person they recommended could in the least show his respect'--

'It is not quite that,' said Sister Seraphina, 'although I am sure the day is too short to hear him--Father
Buonaventure, I mean--speak upon the concerns of our souls; but'--

'Come, come, Sister Seraphina,' said the younger, 'it is needless to talk so much about it. His--his Eminence--I
mean Father Buonaventure--will himself explain what he wants this gentleman to know.'

'His Eminence!' said Fairford, surprised--'is this gentleman so high in the Catholic Church? The title is given
only to Cardinals, I think.'

'He is not a Cardinal as yet,' answered Seraphina; 'but I assure you, Mr. Fairford, he is as high in rank as he is
eminently endowed with good gifts, and'--

'Come away,' said Sister Angelica. 'Holy Virgin, how you do talk! What has Mr. Fairford to do with Father
Buonaventure's rank? Only, sir, you will remember that the Father has been always accustomed to be treated
with the most profound deference; indeed'--

'Come away, sister,' said Sister Seraphina, in her turn; 'who talks now, I pray you? Mr. Fairford will know
how to comport himself.'

'And we had best both leave the room,' said the younger lady, 'for here his Eminence comes.'

She lowered her voice to a whisper as she pronounced the last words; and as Fairford was about to reply, by
assuring her that any friend of hers should be treated by him with all the ceremony he could expect, she
imposed silence on him, by holding up her finger.

A solemn and stately step was now heard in the gallery; it might have proclaimed the approach not merely of
a bishop or cardinal, but of the Sovereign Pontiff himself. Nor could the sound have been more respectfully
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                 198

listened to by the two ladies, had it announced that the Head of the Church was approaching in person. They
drew themselves, like sentinels on duty, one on each side of the door by which the long gallery communicated
with Fairford's apartment, and stood there immovable, and with countenances expressive of the deepest

The approach of Father Buonaventure was so slow, that Fairford had time to notice all this, and to marvel in
his mind what wily and ambitious priest could have contrived to subject his worthy but simple-minded
hostesses to such superstitious trammels. Father Buonaventure's entrance and appearance in some degree
accounted for the whole.

He was a man of middle life, about forty or upwards; but either care, or fatigue, or indulgence, had brought on
the appearance of premature old age, and given to his fine features a cast of seriousness or even sadness. A
noble countenance, however, still remained; and though his complexion was altered, and wrinkles stamped
upon his brow in many a melancholy fold, still the lofty forehead, the full and well-opened eye, and the
well-formed nose, showed how handsome in better days he must have been. He was tall, but lost the
advantage of his height by stooping; and the cane which he wore always in his hand, and occasionally used, as
well as his slow though majestic gait, seemed to intimate that his form and limbs felt already some touch of
infirmity. The colour of his hair could not be discovered, as, according to the fashion, he wore a periwig. He
was handsomely, though gravely dressed in a secular habit, and had a cockade in his hat; circumstances which
did not surprise Fairford, who knew that a military disguise was very often assumed by the seminary priests,
whose visits to England, or residence there, subjected them to legal penalties.

As this stately person entered the apartment, the two ladies facing inward, like soldiers on their post when
about to salute a superior officer, dropped on either hand of the father a curtsy so profound that the hoop
petticoats which performed the feat seemed to sink down to the very floor, nay, through it, as if a trap-door
had opened for the descent of the dames who performed this act of reverence.

The father seemed accustomed to such homage, profound as it was; he turned his person a little way first
towards one sister, and then towards the other, while, with a gracious inclination of his person, which
certainly did not amount to a bow, he acknowledged their curtsy. But he passed forward without addressing
them, and seemed by doing so to intimate that their presence in the apartment was unnecessary.

They accordingly glided out of the room, retreating backwards, with hands clasped and eyes cast upwards, as
if imploring blessings on the religious man whom they venerated so highly. The door of the apartment was
shut after them, but not before Fairford had perceived that there were one or two men in the gallery, and that,
contrary to what he had before observed, the door, though shut, was not locked on the outside.

'Can the good souls apprehend danger from me to this god of their idolatry?' thought Fairford. But he had no
time to make further observations, for the stranger had already reached the middle of his apartment.

Fairford rose to receive him respectfully, but as he fixed his eyes on the visitor, he thought that the father
avoided his looks. His reasons for remaining incognito were cogent enough to account for this, and Fairford
hastened to relieve him, by looking downwards in his turn; but when again he raised his face, he found the
broad light eye of the stranger so fixed on him that he was almost put out of countenance by the steadiness of
his gaze. During this time they remained standing,

'Take your seat, sir,' said the father; 'you have been an invalid.'

He spoke with the tone of one who desires an inferior to be seated in his presence, and his voice was full and

Fairford, somewhat surprised to find himself overawed by the airs of superiority, which could be only
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                      199

properly exercised towards one over whom religion gave the speaker influence, sat down at his bidding, as if
moved by springs, and was at a loss how to assert the footing of equality on which he felt that they ought to
stand. The stranger kept the advantage which he had obtained.

'Your name, sir, I am informed, is Fairford?' said the father.

Alan answered by a bow.

'Called to the Scottish bar,' continued his visitor, 'There is, I believe, in the West, a family of birth and rank
called Fairford of Fairford.'

Alan thought this a strange observation from a foreign ecclesiastic, as his name intimated Father
Buonaventure to be; but only answered he believed there was such, a family,

'Do you count kindred with them, Mr. Fairford?' continued the inquirer.

'I have not the honour to lay such a claim,' said Fairford.

'My father's industry has raised his family from a low and obscure situation--I have no hereditary claim to
distinction of any kind. May I ask the cause of these inquiries?'

'You will learn it presently,' said Father Buonaventure, who had given a dry and dissatisfied HEM at the
young man's acknowledging a plebeian descent. He then motioned to him to be silent, and proceeded with his

'Although not of condition, you are, doubtless, by sentiments and education, a man of honour and a

'I hope so, sir,' said Alan, colouring with displeasure. 'I have not been accustomed to have it questioned.'

'Patience, young man,' said the unperturbed querist--'we are on serious business, and no idle etiquette must
prevent its being discussed seriously. You are probably aware that you speak to a person proscribed by the
severe and unjust laws of the present government?'

'I am aware of the statute 1700, chapter 3,' said Alan, 'banishing from the realm priests and trafficking Papists,
and punishing by death, on summary conviction, any such person who being so banished may return. But I
have no means of knowing you, sir, to be one of those persons; and I think your prudence may recommend to
you to keep your own counsel.'

'It is sufficient, sir; and I have no apprehensions of disagreeable consequences from your having seen me in
this house,' said the priest.

'Assuredly no,' said Alan. 'I consider myself as indebted for my life to the mistresses of Fairladies; and it
would be a vile requital on my part to pry into or make known what I may have seen or heard under this
hospitable roof. If I were to meet the Pretender himself in such a situation, he should, even at the risk of a
little stretch to my loyalty, be free from any danger from my indiscretion.'

'The Pretender!' said the priest, with some angry emphasis; but immediately softened his tone and added, 'No
doubt, however, that person is a pretender; and some people think his pretensions are not ill founded. But,
before running into politics, give me leave to say, that I am surprised to find a gentleman of your opinions in
habits of intimacy with Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees and Mr. Redgauntlet, and the medium of conducting the
intercourse betwixt them.'
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                  200

'Pardon me, sir,' replied Alan Fairford; 'I do not aspire to the honour of being reputed their confidant or
go-between. My concern with those gentlemen is limited to one matter of business, dearly interesting to me,
because it concerns the safety--perhaps the life--of my dearest friend.'

'Would you have any objection to entrust me with the cause of your journey?' said Father Buonaventure. 'My
advice may be of service to you, and my influence with one or both these gentlemen is considerable.'

Fairford hesitated a moment, and, hastily revolving all circumstances, concluded that he might perhaps
receive some advantage from propitiating this personage; while, on the other hand, he endangered nothing by
communicating to him the occasion of his journey. He, therefore, after stating shortly that he hoped Mr.
Buonaventure would render him the same confidence which he required on his part, gave a short account of
Darsie Latimer-- of the mystery which hung over his family--and of the disaster which had befallen him.
Finally, of his own resolution to seek for his friend, and to deliver him, at the peril of his own life.

The Catholic priest, whose manner it seemed to be to avoid all conversation which did not arise from his own
express motion, made no remarks upon what he had heard, but only asked one or two abrupt questions, where
Alan's narrative appeared less clear to him; then rising from his seat, he took two turns through the apartment,
muttering between his teeth, with emphasis, the word 'madman!' But apparently he was in the habit of keeping
all violent emotions under restraint; for he presently addressed Fairford with the most perfect indifference.

'If,' said he, 'you thought you could do so without breach of confidence, I wish you would have the goodness
to show me the letter of Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees. I desire to look particularly at the address.'

Seeing no cause to decline this extension of his confidence, Alan, without hesitation, put the letter into his
hand. Having turned it round as old Trumbull and Nanty Ewart had formerly done, and, like them, having
examined the address with much minuteness, he asked whether he had observed these words, pointing to a
pencil-writing upon the under side of the letter. Fairford answered in the negative, and, looking at the letter,
read with surprise, 'CAVE NE LITERAS BELLEROPHONTIS ADFERRES'; a caution which coincided so
exactly with the provost's admonition, that he would do well to inspect the letter of which he was bearer, that
he was about to spring up and attempt an escape, he knew not wherefore, or from whom.

'Sit still, young man,' said the father, with the same tone of authority which reigned in his whole manner,
although mingled with stately courtesy. 'You are in no danger--my character shall be a pledge for your safety.
By whom do you suppose these words have been written?'

Fairford could have answered, 'By Nanty Ewart,' for he remembered seeing that person scribble something
with a pencil, although he was not well enough to observe with accuracy where or upon what. But not
knowing what suspicions, or what worse consequences the seamen's interest in his affairs might draw upon
him, he judged it best to answer that he knew not the hand.

Father Buonaventure was again silent for a moment or two, which he employed in surveying the letter with
the strictest attention; then stepped to the window, as if to examine the address and writing of the envelope
with the assistance of a stronger light, and Alan Fairford beheld him, with no less amazement than high
displeasure, coolly and deliberately break the seal, open the letter, and peruse the contents.

'Stop, sir, hold!' he exclaimed, so soon as his astonishment permitted him to express his resentment in words;
'by what right do you dare'--

'Peace, young gentleman,' said the father, repelling him with a wave of his hand; 'be assured I do not act
without warrant-- nothing can pass betwixt Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Redgauntlet that I am not fully entitled to
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                     201

'It may be so,' said Alan, extremely angry; 'but though you may be these gentlemen's father confessor, you are
not mine; and in breaking the seal of a letter entrusted to my care, you have done me'--

'No injury, I assure you,' answered the unperturbed priest; 'on the contrary, it may be a service.'

'I desire no advantage at such a rate, or to be obtained in such a manner,' answered Fairford; 'restore me the
letter instantly, or'--

'As you regard your own safety,' said the priest, 'forbear all injurious expressions, and all menacing gestures. I
am not one who can be threatened or insulted with impunity; and there are enough within hearing to chastise
any injury or affront offered to me, in case I may think it unbecoming to protect or avenge myself with my
own hand.'

In saying this, the father assumed an air of such fearlessness and calm authority, that the young lawyer,
surprised and overawed, forbore, as he had intended, to snatch the letter from his hand, and confined himself
to bitter complaints of the impropriety of his conduct, and of the light in which he himself must be placed to
Redgauntlet should he present him a letter with a broken seal.

'That,' said Father Buonaventure, 'shall be fully cared for. I will myself write to Redgauntlet, and enclose
Maxwell's letter, provided always you continue to desire to deliver it, after perusing the contents.'

He then restored the letter to Fairford, and, observing that he hesitated to peruse it, said emphatically, 'Read it,
for it concerns you.'

This recommendation, joined to what Provost Crosbie had formerly recommended, and to the warning which
he doubted not that Nanty intended to convey by his classical allusion, decided Fairford's resolution. 'If these
correspondents,' he thought, 'are conspiring against my person, I have a right to counterplot them;
self-preservation, as well as my friend's safety, require that I should not be too scrupulous.'

So thinking, he read the letter, which was in the following words:--

'DEAR RUGGED AND DANGEROUS, 'Will you never cease meriting your old nick-name? You have
springed your dottrel, I find, and what is the consequence?--why, that there will be hue and cry after you
presently. The bearer is a pert young lawyer, who has brought a formal complaint against you, which, luckily,
he has preferred in a friendly court. Yet, favourable as the judge was disposed to be, it was with the utmost
difficulty that cousin Jenny and I could keep him to his tackle. He begins to be timid, suspicious, and
untractable, and I fear Jenny will soon bend her brows on him in vain. I know not what to advise--the lad who
carries this is a good lad--active for his friend--and I have pledged my honour he shall have no personal
ill-usage. Pledged my honour, remark these words, and remember I can be rugged and dangerous as well, as
my neighbours. But I have not ensured him against a short captivity, and as he is a stirring active fellow, I see
no remedy but keeping him out of the way till this business of the good Father B-- is safely blown over, which
God send it were!--Always thine, even should I be once more CRAIG-IN-PERIL.'

'What think you, young man, of the danger you have been about to encounter so willingly?'

'As strangely,' replied Alan Fairford, 'as of the extraordinary means which you have been at present pleased to
use for the discovery of Mr. Maxwell's purpose.

'Trouble not yourself to account for my conduct,' said the father; 'I have a warrant for what I do, and fear no
responsibility. But tell me what is your present purpose.'

'I should not perhaps name it to you, whose own safety may be implicated.'
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                   202

'I understand you,' answered the father; 'you would appeal to the existing government? That can at no rate be
permitted--we will rather detain you at Fairladies by compulsion.'

'You will probably,' said Fairford, 'first weigh the risk of such a proceeding in a free country.'

'I have incurred more formidable hazard,' said the priest, smiling; 'yet I am willing to find a milder expedient.
Come; let us bring the matter to a compromise.' And he assumed a conciliating graciousness of manner, which
struck Fairford as being rather too condescending for the occasion; 'I presume you will be satisfied to remain
here in seclusion for a day or two longer, provided I pass my solemn word to you that you shall meet with the
person whom you seek after--meet with him in perfect safety, and, I trust, in good health, and be afterwards
both at liberty to return to Scotland, or dispose of yourselves as each of you may be minded?'

'I respect the VERBUM SACERDOTIS as much as can reasonably be expected from a Protestant,' answered
Fairford; 'but methinks, you can scarce expect me to repose so much confidence in the word of an unknown
person as is implied in the guarantee which you offer me.'

'I am not accustomed, sir,' said the father, in a very haughty tone, 'to have my word disputed. But,' he added,
while the angry hue passed from his cheek, after a moment's reflection, 'you know me not, and ought to be
excused. I will repose more confidence in your honour than you seem willing to rest upon mine; and, since we
are so situated that one must rely upon the other's faith, I will cause you to be set presently at liberty, and
furnished with the means of delivering your letter as addressed, provided that now, knowing the contents, you
think it safe for yourself to execute the commission.'

Alan Fairford paused. 'I cannot see,' he at length replied, 'how I can proceed with respect to the
accomplishment of my sole purpose, which is the liberation of my friend, without appealing to the law and
obtaining the assistance of a magistrate. If I present this singular letter of Mr. Maxwell, with the contents of
which I have become so unexpectedly acquainted, I shall only share his captivity.'

'And if you apply to a magistrate, young man, you will bring ruin on these hospitable ladies, to whom, in all
human probability, you owe your life. You cannot obtain a warrant for your purpose, without giving a clear
detail of all the late scenes through which you have passed. A magistrate would oblige you to give a complete
account of yourself, before arming you with his authority against a third party; and in giving such an account,
the safety of these ladies will necessarily be compromised. A hundred spies have had, and still have, their eyes
upon this mansion; but God will protect his own.'--He crossed himself devoutly, and then proceeded,--'You
can take an hour to think of your best plan, and I will pledge myself to forward it thus far, provided it be not
asking you to rely more on my word than your prudence can warrant. You shall go to Redgauntlet,--I name
him plainly, to show my confidence in you,--and you shall deliver him this letter of Mr. Maxwell's, with one
from me, in which I will enjoin him to set your friend at liberty, or at least to make no attempts upon your
own person, either by detention or otherwise. If you can trust me thus far,' he said, with a proud emphasis on
the words 'I will on my side see you depart from this place with the most perfect confidence that you will not
return armed with powers to drag its inmates to destruction. You are young and inexperienced--bred to a
profession also which sharpens suspicion, and gives false views of human nature. I have seen much of the
world, and have known better than most men how far mutual confidence is requisite in managing affairs of

He spoke with an air of superiority, even of authority, by which Fairford, notwithstanding his own internal
struggles, was silenced and overawed so much, that it was not till the father had turned to leave the apartment
that he found words to ask him what the consequences would be, should he decline to depart on the terms

'You must then, for the safety of all parties, remain for some days an inhabitant of Fairladies, where we have
the means of detaining you, which self-preservation will in that case compel us to make use of. Your captivity
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                    203
will be short; for matters cannot long remain as they are. The cloud must soon rise, or it must sink upon us for

With these words he left the apartment.

Fairford, upon his departure, felt himself much at a loss what course to pursue. His line of education, as well
as his father's tenets in matters of church and state, had taught him a holy horror for Papists, and a devout
belief in whatever had been said of the Punic faith of Jesuits, and of the expedients of mental reservation by
which the Catholic priests in general were supposed to evade keeping faith with heretics. Yet there was
something of majesty, depressed indeed and overclouded, but still grand and imposing, in the manner and
words of Father Buonaventure, which it was difficult to reconcile with those preconceived opinions which
imputed subtlety and fraud to his sect and order. Above all, Alan was aware that if he accepted not his
freedom upon the terms offered him, he was likely to be detained by force; so that, in every point of view, he
was a gainer by accepting them.

A qualm, indeed, came across him, when he considered, as a lawyer, that this father was probably, in the eye
of law, a traitor; and that there was an ugly crime on the Statute Book, called misprision of treason. On the
other hand, whatever he might think or suspect, he could not take upon him to say that the man was a priest,
whom he had never seen in the dress of his order, or in the act of celebrating mass; so that he felt himself at
liberty to doubt of that respecting which he possessed no legal proof. He therefore arrived at the conclusion,
that he would do well to accept his liberty, and proceed to Redgauntlet under the guarantee of Father
Buonaventure, which he scarce doubted would be sufficient to save him from personal inconvenience. Should
he once obtain speech of that gentleman, he felt the same confidence as formerly, that he might be able to
convince him of the rashness of his conduct, should he not consent to liberate Darsie Latimer. At all events, he
should learn where his friend was, and how circumstanced.

Having thus made up his mind, Alan waited anxiously for the expiration of the hour which had been allowed
him for deliberation. He was not kept on the tenter-hooks of impatience an instant longer than the appointed
moment arrived, for, even as the clock struck, Ambrose appeared at the door of the gallery, and made a sign
that Alan should follow him. He did so, and after passing through some of the intricate avenues common in
old houses, was ushered into a small apartment, commodiously fitted up, in which he found Father
Buonaventure reclining on a couch, in the attitude of a man exhausted by fatigue or indisposition. On a small
table beside him, a silver embossed salver sustained a Catholic book of prayer, a small flask of medicine, a
cordial, and a little tea-cup of old china. Ambrose did not enter the room--he only bowed profoundly, and
closed the door with the least possible noise, so soon as Fairford had entered.

'Sit down, young man,' said the father, with the same air of condescension which had before surprised, and
rather offended Fairford. 'You have been ill, and I know too well by my own case that indisposition requires
indulgence. Have you,' he continued, so soon as he saw him seated, 'resolved to remain, or to depart?'

'To depart,' said Alan, 'under the agreement that you will guarantee my safety with the extraordinary person
who has conducted himself in such a lawless manner toward my friend, Darsie Latimer.'

'Do not judge hastily, young man,' replied the father. 'Redgauntlet has the claims of a guardian over his ward,
in respect to the young gentleman, and a right to dictate his place of residence, although he may have been
injudicious in selecting the means by which he thinks to enforce his authority.'

'His situation as an attainted person abrogates such rights,' said Fairford, hastily.

'Surely,' replied the priest, smiling at the young lawyer's readiness; 'in the eye of those who acknowledge the
justice of the attainder--but that do not I. However, sir, here is the guarantee--look at its contents, and do not
again carry the letters of Uriah.'
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                      204
Fairford read these words:--

'GOOD FRIEND, 'We send you hither a young man desirous to know the situation of your ward, since he
came under your paternal authority, and hopeful of dealing with you for having your relative put at large. This
we recommend to your prudence, highly disapproving, at the same time, of any force or coercion when such
can be avoided, and wishing, therefore, that the bearer's negotiation may be successful. At all rates, however,
the bearer hath our pledged word for his safety and freedom, which, therefore, you are to see strictly observed,
as you value our honour and your own. We further wish to converse with you, with as small loss of time as
may be, having matters of the utmost confidence to impart. For this purpose we desire you to repair hither
with all haste, and thereupon we bid you heartily farewell. P. B.'

'You will understand, sir,' said the father, when he saw that Alan had perused his letter, 'that, by accepting
charge of this missive, you bind yourself to try the effect of it before having recourse to any legal means, as
you term them, for your friend's release.'

'There are a few ciphers added to this letter,' said Fairford, when he had perused the paper attentively,--'may I
inquire what their import is?'

'They respect my own affairs,' answered the father, briefly; 'and have no concern whatever with yours.'

'It seems to me, however,' replied Alan, 'natural to suppose'--

'Nothing must be supposed incompatible with my honour,' replied the priest, interrupting him; 'when such as I
am confer favours, we expect that they shall be accepted with gratitude, or declined with thankful respect--not
questioned or discussed.'

'I will accept your letter, then,' said Fairford, after a minute's consideration, 'and the thanks you expect shall be
most liberally paid, if the result answer what you teach me to expect.'

'God only commands the issue,' said Father Buonaventure. 'Man uses means. You understand that, by
accepting this commission, you engage yourself in honour to try the effect of my letter upon Mr. Redgauntlet,
before you have recourse to informations or legal warrants?'

'I hold myself bound, as a man of good faith and honour, to do so,' said Fairford.

'Well, I trust you,' said the father. 'I will now tell you that an express, dispatched by me last night, has, I hear,
brought Redgauntlet to a spot many miles nearer this place, where he will not find it safe to attempt any
violence on your friend, should he be rash enough to follow the advice of Mr. Maxwell of Summertrees rather
than my commands. We now understand each other.'

He extended his hand towards Alan, who was about to pledge his faith in the usual form by grasping it with
his own, when the father drew back hastily. Ere Alan had time to comment upon this repulse, a small
side-door, covered with tapestry, was opened; the hangings were drawn aside, and a lady, as if by sudden
apparition, glided into the apartment. It was neither of the Misses Arthuret, but a woman in the prime of life,
and in the full-blown expansion of female beauty, tall, fair, and commanding in her aspect. Her locks, of paly
gold, were taught to fall over a brow, which, with the stately glance of the large, open, blue eyes, might have
become Juno herself; her neck and bosom were admirably formed, and of a dazzling whiteness. She was
rather inclined to EMBONPOINT, but not more than became her age, of apparently thirty years. Her step was
that of a queen, but it was of Queen Vashti, not Queen Esther--the bold and commanding, not the retiring

Father Buonaventure raised himself on the couch, angrily, as if displeased by this intrusion. 'How now,
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                     205

madam,' he said, with some sternness; 'why have we the honour of your company?'

'Because it is my pleasure,' answered the lady, composedly.

'Your pleasure, madam!' he repeated in the same angry tone.

'My pleasure, sir,' she continued, 'which always keeps exact pace with my duty. I had heard you were
unwell--let me hope it is only business which produces this seclusion.'

'I am well,' he replied; 'perfectly well, and I thank you for your care--but we are not alone, and this young

'That young man?' she said, bending her large and serious eye on Alan Fairford, as if she had been for the first
time aware of his presence,--'may I ask who he is?'

'Another time, madam; you shall learn his history after he is gone. His presence renders it impossible for me
to explain further.'

'After he is gone may be too late,' said the lady; 'and what is his presence to me, when your safety is at stake?
He is the heretic lawyer whom those silly fools, the Arthurets, admitted into this house at a time when they
should have let their own father knock at the door in vain, though the night had been a wild one. You will not
surely dismiss him?'

'Your own impatience can alone make that step perilous,' said the father; 'I have resolved to take it--do not let
your indiscreet zeal, however excellent its motive, add any unnecessary risk to the transaction.'

'Even so?' said the lady, in a tone of reproach, yet mingled with respect and apprehension. 'And thus you will
still go forward, like a stag upon the hunter's snares, with undoubting confidence, after all that has happened?'

'Peace, madam,' said Father Buonaventure, rising up; 'be silent, or quit the apartment; my designs do not admit
of female criticism.'

To this peremptory command the lady seemed about to make a sharp reply; but she checked herself, and
pressing her lips strongly together, as if to secure the words from bursting from them which were already
formed upon her tongue, she made a deep reverence, partly as it seemed in reproach, partly in respect, and left
the room as suddenly as she had entered it.

The father looked disturbed at this incident, which he seemed sensible could not but fill Fairford's imagination
with an additional throng of bewildering suspicions; he bit his lip and muttered something to himself as he
walked through the apartment; then suddenly turned to his visitor with a smile of much sweetness, and a
countenance in which every rougher expression was exchanged for those of courtesy and kindness.

'The visit we have been just honoured with, my young friend, has given you,' he said, 'more secrets to keep
than I would have wished you burdened with. The lady is a person of condition--of rank and fortune--but
nevertheless is so circumstanced that the mere fact of her being known to be in this country would occasion
many evils. I should wish you to observe secrecy on this subject, even to Redgauntlet or Maxwell, however
much I trust them in all that concerns my own affairs.'

'I can have no occasion,' replied Fairford, 'for holding any discussion with these gentlemen, or with any
others, on the circumstance which I have just witnessed--it could only have become the subject of my
conversation by mere accident, and I will now take care to avoid the subject entirely.'
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                  206

'You will do well, sir, and I thank you,' said the father, throwing much dignity into the expression of
obligation which he meant to convey. 'The time may perhaps come when you will learn what it is to have
obliged one of my condition. As to the lady, she has the highest merit, and nothing can be said of her justly
which would not redound to her praise. Nevertheless--in short, sir, we wander at present as in a morning
mist--the sun will, I trust, soon rise and dispel it, when all that now seems mysterious will be fully
revealed--or it will sink into rain,' he added, in a solemn tone, 'and then explanation will be of little
consequence.--Adieu, sir; I wish you well.'

He made a graceful obeisance, and vanished through the same side- door by which the lady had entered; and
Alan thought he heard their voices high in dispute in the adjoining apartment.

Presently afterwards, Ambrose entered, and told him that a horse and guide waited him beneath the terrace.

'The good Father Buonaventure,' added the butler, 'has been graciously pleased to consider your situation, and
desired me to inquire whether you have any occasion for a supply of money?'

'Make my respects to his reverence,' answered Fairford, 'and assure him I am provided in that particular. I beg
you also to make my acknowledgements to the Misses Arthuret, and assure them that their kind hospitality, to
which I probably owe my life, shall be remembered with gratitude as long as that life lasts. You yourself, Mr.
Ambrose, must accept of my kindest thanks for your skill and attention.'

Mid these acknowledgements they left the house, descended the terrace, and reached the spot where the
gardener, Fairford's old acquaintance, waited for him, mounted upon one horse and leading another.

Bidding adieu to Ambrose, our young lawyer mounted, and rode down the avenue, often looking back to the
melancholy and neglected dwelling in which he had witnessed such strange scenes, and musing upon the
character of its mysterious inmates, especially the noble and almost regal-seeming priest, and the beautiful but
capricious dame, who, if she was really Father Buonaventure's penitent, seemed less docile to the authority of
the church than, as Alan conceived, the Catholic discipline permitted. He could not indeed help being sensible
that the whole deportment of these persons differed much from his preconceived notions of a priest and
devotee. Father Buonaventure, in particular, had more natural dignify and less art and affectation in his
manner, than accorded with the idea which Calvinists were taught to entertain of that wily and formidable
person, a Jesuitical missionary.

While reflecting on these things, he looked back so frequently at the house, that Dick Gardener, a forward,
talkative fellow, who began to tire of silence, at length said to him, 'I think you will know Fairladies when you
see it again, sir?'

'I dare say I shall, Richard,' answered Fairford good-humouredly. 'I wish I knew as well where I am to go
next. But you can tell me, perhaps?'

'Your worship should know better than I,' said Dick Gardener; 'nevertheless, I have a notion you are going
where all you Scotsmen should be sent, whether you will or no.'

'Not to the devil, I hope, good Dick?' said Fairford.

'Why, no. That is a road which you may travel as heretics; but as Scotsmen, I would only send you
three-fourths of the way--and that is back to Scotland again--always craving your honour's pardon.'

'Does our journey lie that way?' said Fairford.

'As far as the waterside,' said Richard. 'I am to carry you to old Father Crackenthorp's, and then you are within
CHAPTER XVI                                                                                                   207

a spit and a stride of Scotland, as the saying is. But mayhap you may think twice of going thither, for all that;
for Old England is fat feeding-ground for north-country cattle.'
CHAPTER XVII                                                                                                208


Our history must now, as the old romancers wont to say, 'leave to tell' of the quest of Alan Fairford, and
instruct our readers of the adventures which befell Darsie Latimer, left as he was in the precarious custody of
his self-named tutor, the Laird of the Lochs of Solway, to whose arbitrary pleasure he found it necessary for
the present to conform himself.

In consequence of this prudent resolution, and although he did not assume such a disguise without some
sensations of shame and degradation, Darsie permitted Cristal Nixon to place over his face, and secure by a
string, one of those silk masks which ladies frequently wore to preserve their complexions, when exposed to
the air during long journeys on horseback. He remonstrated somewhat more vehemently against the long
riding- skirt, which converted his person from the waist into the female guise, but was obliged to concede this
point also.

The metamorphosis was then complete; for the fair reader must be informed, that in those rude times, the
ladies, when they honoured the masculine dress by assuming any part of it, wore just such hats, coats, and
waistcoats as the male animals themselves made use of, and had no notion of the elegant compromise betwixt
male and female attire, which has now acquired, PAR EXCELLENCE, the name of a HABIT. Trolloping
things our mothers must have looked, with long square-cut coats, lacking collars, and with waistcoats
plentifully supplied with a length of pocket, which hung far downwards from the middle. But then they had
some advantage from the splendid colours, lace, and gay embroidery which masculine attire then exhibited;
and, as happens in many similar instances, the finery of the materials made amends for the want of symmetry
and grace of form in the garments themselves. But this is a digression.

In the court of the old mansion, half manor-place, half farm- house, or rather a decayed manor-house,
converted into an abode for a Cumberland tenant, stood several saddled horses. Four or five of them were
mounted by servants or inferior retainers, all of whom were well armed with sword, pistol, and carabine. But
two had riding furniture for the use of females--the one being accoutred with a side-saddle, the other with a
pillion attached to the saddle.

Darsie's heart beat quicker within him; he easily comprehended that one of these was intended for his own
use; and his hopes suggested that the other was designed for that of the fair Green Mantle, whom, according to
his established practice, he had adopted for the queen of his affections, although his opportunities of holding
communication with her had not exceeded the length of a silent supper on one occasion, and the going down a
country-dance on another. This, however, was no unwonted mood of passion with Darsie Latimer, upon
whom Cupid was used to triumph only in the degree of a Mahratta conqueror, who overruns a province with
the rapidity of lightning, but finds it impossible to retain it beyond a very brief space. Yet this new love was
rather more serious than the scarce skinned-up wounds which his friend Fairford used to ridicule. The damsel
had shown a sincere interest in his behalf; and the air of mystery with which that interest was veiled, gave her,
to his lively imagination, the character of a benevolent and protecting spirit, as much as that of a beautiful

At former times, the romance attending his short-lived attachments had been of his own creating, and had
disappeared as soon as ever he approached more closely to the object with which he had invested it. On the
present occasion, it really flowed from external circumstances, which might have interested less susceptible
feelings, and an imagination less lively than that of Darsie Latimer, young, inexperienced, and enthusiastic as
he was.

He watched, therefore, anxiously to whose service the palfrey bearing the lady's saddle was destined. But ere
any female appeared to occupy it, he was himself summoned to take his seat on the pillion behind Cristal
CHAPTER XVII                                                                                                 209
Nixon, amid the grins of his old acquaintance Jan who helped him to horse, and the unrestrained laughter of
Cicely, who displayed on the occasion a case of teeth which might have rivalled ivory.

Latimer was at an age when being an object of general ridicule even to clowns and milkmaids was not a
matter of indifference, and he longed heartily to have laid his horse-whip across Jan's shoulders. That,
however, was a solacement of his feelings which was not at the moment to be thought of; and Cristal Nixon
presently put an end to his unpleasant situation, by ordering the riders to go on. He himself kept the centre of
the troop, two men riding before and two behind him, always, as it seemed to Darsie, having their eye upon
him, to prevent any attempt to escape. He could see from time to time, when the straight line of the road, or
the advantage of an ascent permitted him, that another troop of three or four riders followed them at about a
quarter of a mile's distance, amongst whom he could discover the tall form of Redgauntlet, and the powerful
action of his gallant black horse. He had little doubt that Green Mantle made one of the party, though he was
unable to distinguish her from the others.

In this manner they travelled from six in the morning until nearly ten of the clock, without Darsie exchanging
a word with any one; for he loathed the very idea of entering into conversation with Cristal Nixon, against
whom he seemed to feel an instinctive aversion; nor was that domestic's saturnine and sullen disposition such
as to have encouraged advances, had he thought of making them.

At length the party halted for the purpose of refreshment; but as they had hitherto avoided all villages and
inhabited places upon their route, so they now stopped at one of those large ruinous Dutch barns, which are
sometimes found in the fields, at a distance from the farm-houses to which they belong. Yet in this desolate
place some preparations had been made for their reception. There were in the end of the barn racks filled with
provender for the horses, and plenty of provisions for the party were drawn from the trusses of straw, under
which the baskets that contained them had been deposited. The choicest of these were selected and arranged
apart by Cristal Nixon, while the men of the party threw themselves upon the rest, which he abandoned to
their discretion. In a few minutes afterwards the rearward party arrived and dismounted, and Redgauntlet
himself entered the barn with the green-mantled maiden by his side. He presented her to Darsie with these

'It is time you two should know each other better. I promised you my confidence, Darsie, and the time is come
for reposing it. But first we will have our breakfast; and then, when once more in the saddle, I will tell you
that which it is necessary that you should know. Salute Lilias, Darsie.'

The command was sudden, and surprised Latimer, whose confusion was increased by the perfect ease and
frankness with which Lilias offered at once her cheek and her hand, and pressing his as she rather took it than
gave her own, said very frankly, 'Dearest Darsie, how rejoiced I am that our uncle has at last permitted us to
become acquainted!'

Darsie's head turned round; and it was perhaps well that Redgauntlet called on him to sit down, as even that
movement served to hide his confusion. There is an old song which says--

--when ladies are willing, A man can but look like a fool;

And on the same principle Darsie Latimer's looks at this unexpected frankness of reception, would have
formed an admirable vignette for illustrating the passage. 'Dearest Darsie,' and such a ready, nay, eager salute
of lip and hand! It was all very gracious, no doubt--and ought to have been received with much gratitude; but,
constituted as our friend's temper was, nothing could be more inconsistent with his tone of feeling. If a hermit
had proposed to him to club for a pot of beer, the illusion of his reverend sanctity could not have been
dispelled more effectually than the divine qualities of Green Mantle faded upon the ill-imagined
frank-heartedness of poor Lilias. Vexed with her forwardness, and affronted at having once more cheated
himself, Darsie could hardly help muttering two lines of the song we have already quoted:
CHAPTER XVII                                                                                                    210

The fruit that must fall without shaking Is rather too mellow for me.

And yet it was pity for her too--she was a very pretty young woman--his fancy had scarcely overrated her in
that respect--and the slight derangement of the beautiful brown locks which escaped in natural ringlets from
under her riding-hat, with the bloom which exercise had brought into her cheek, made her even more than
usually fascinating. Redgauntlet modified the sternness of his look when it was turned towards her, and in
addressing her, used a softer tone than his usual deep bass. Even the grim features of Cristal Nixon relaxed
when he attended on her, and it was then, if ever, that his misanthropical visage expressed some sympathy
with the rest of humanity.

'How can she,' thought Latimer, 'look so like an angel, yet be so mere a mortal after all? How could so much
seeming modesty have so much forwardness of manner, when she ought to have been most reserved? How
can her conduct be reconciled to the grace and ease of her general deportment?'

The confusion of thoughts which occupied Darsie's imagination, gave to his looks a disordered appearance,
and his inattention to the food which was placed before him, together with his silence and absence of mind,
induced Lilias solicitously to inquire, whether he did not feel some return of the disorder under which he had
suffered so lately. This led Mr. Redgauntlet, who seemed also lost in his own contemplations, to raise his
eyes, and join in the same inquiry with some appearance of interest. Latimer explained to both that he was
perfectly well.

'It is well it is so,' answered Redgauntlet; 'for we have that before us which will brook no delay from
indisposition--we have not, as Hotspur says, leisure to be sick.'

Lilias, on her part, endeavoured to prevail upon Darsie to partake of the food which she offered him, with a
kindly and affectionate courtesy corresponding to the warmth of the interest she had displayed at their
meeting; but so very natural, innocent, and pure in its character, that it would have been impossible for the
vainest coxcomb to have mistaken it for coquetry, or a desire of captivating a prize so valuable as his
affection. Darsie, with no more than the reasonable share of self-opinion common to most youths when they
approach twenty-one, knew not how to explain her conduct.

Sometimes he was tempted to think that his own merits had, even during the short intervals when they had
seen each other, secured such a hold of the affections of a young person who had probably been bred up in
ignorance of the world and its forms that she was unable to conceal her partiality. Sometimes he suspected
that she acted by her guardian's order, who, aware that he, Darsie, was entitled to a considerable fortune,
might have taken this bold stroke to bring about a marriage betwixt him and so near a relative.

But neither of these suppositions was applicable to the character of the parties. Miss Lilias's manners,
however soft and natural, displayed in their ease and versatility considerable acquaintance with the habits of
the world, and in the few words she said during the morning repast, there were mingled a shrewdness and
good sense, which could scarce belong to a miss capable of playing the silly part of a love-smitten maiden so
broadly. As for Redgauntlet, with his stately bearing, his fatal frown, his eye of threat and of command, it was
impossible, Darsie thought, to suspect him of a scheme having private advantage for its object; he could as
soon have imagined Cassius picking Caesar's pocket, instead of drawing his poniard on the dictator.

While he thus mused, unable either to eat, drink, or answer to the courtesy of Lilias, she soon ceased to speak
to him, and sat silent as himself.

They had remained nearly an hour in their halting-place, when Redgauntlet said aloud, 'Look out, Cristal
Nixon. If we hear nothing from Fairladies, we must continue our journey.'

Cristal went to the door, and presently returned and said to his master, in a voice as harsh as his features,
CHAPTER XVII                                                                                                   211

'Gilbert Gregson is coming, his horse as white with foam as if a fiend had ridden him.'

Redgauntlet threw from him the plate on which he had been eating, and hastened towards the door of the barn,
which the courier at that moment entered; a smart jockey with a black velvet hunting- cap, and a broad belt
drawn tight round his waist, to which was secured his express-bag. The variety of mud with which he was
splashed from cap to spur showed he had had a rough and rapid ride. He delivered a letter to Mr. Redgauntlet,
with an obeisance, and then retired to the end of the barn, where the other attendants were sitting or lying
upon the straw, in order to get some refreshment.

Redgauntlet broke the letter open with haste, and read it with anxious and discomposed looks. On a second
perusal, his displeasure seemed to increase, his brow darkened, and was distinctly marked with the fatal sign
peculiar to his family and house. Darsie had never before observed his frown bear such a close resemblance to
the shape which tradition assigned it.

Redgauntlet held out the open letter with one hand, and struck it with the forefinger of the other, as, in a
suppressed and displeased tone, he said to Cristal Nixon, 'Countermanded-- ordered northward once more!
'Northward, when all our hopes lie to the south--a second Derby direction, when we turned our back on glory,
and marched in quest of ruin!'

Cristal Nixon took the letter and ran it over, then returned it to his master with the cold observation, 'A female
influence predominates.'

'But it shall predominate no longer,' said Redgauntlet; 'it shall wane as ours rises in the horizon. Meanwhile, I
will on before-- and you, Cristal, will bring the party to the place assigned in the letter. You may now permit
the young persons to have unreserved communication together; only mark that you watch the young man
closely enough to prevent his escape, if he should be idiot enough to attempt it, but not approaching so close
as to watch their free conversation.'

'I care naught about their conversation,' said Nixon, surlily.

'You hear my commands, Lilias,' said the laird, turning to the young lady. 'You may use my permission and
authority to explain so much of our family matters as you yourself know. At our next meeting I will complete
the task of disclosure, and I trust I shall restore one Redgauntlet more to the bosom of our ancient family. Let
Latimer, as be calls himself, have a horse to himself; he must for some time retain his disguise.--My
horse--my horse!'

In two minutes they heard him ride off from the door of the barn, followed at speed by two of the armed men
of his party.

The commands of Cristal Nixon, in the meanwhile, put all the remainder of the party in motion, but the laird
himself was long out of sight ere they were in readiness to resume their journey. When at length they set out,
Darsie was accommodated with a horse and side-saddle, instead of being obliged to resume his place on the
pillion behind the detestable Nixon. He was obliged, however, to retain his riding-skirt, and to reassume his
mask. Yet, notwithstanding this disagreeable circumstance, and although he observed that they gave him the
heaviest and slowest horse of the party, and that, as a further precaution against escape, he was closely
watched on every side, yet riding in company with the pretty Lilias was an advantage which overbalanced
these inconveniences.

It is true that this society, to which that very morning he would have looked forward as a glimpse of heaven,
had, now that it was thus unexpectedly indulged, something much less rapturous than he had expected.

It was in vain that, in order to avail himself of a situation so favourable for indulging his romantic disposition,
CHAPTER XVII                                                                                                   212
he endeavoured to coax back, if I may so express myself, that delightful dream of ardent and tender passion;
he felt only such a confusion of ideas at the difference between the being whom he had imagined, and her
with whom he was now in contact, that it seemed to him like the effect of witchcraft. What most surprised him
was, that this sudden flame should have died away so rapidly, notwithstanding that the maiden's personal
beauty was even greater than he had expected--her demeanour, unless it should be deemed over kind towards
himself, as graceful and becoming as he could have fancied if, even in his gayest dreams. It were judging
hardly of him to suppose that the mere belief of his having attracted her affections more easily than he
expected was the cause of his ungratefully undervaluing a prize too lightly won, or that his transient passion
played around his heart with the hitting radiance of a wintry sunbeam flashing against an icicle, which may
brighten it for a moment, but cannot melt it. Neither of these was precisely the ease, though such fickleness of
disposition might also have some influence in the change.

The truth is, perhaps, the lover's pleasure, like that of the hunter, is in the chase; and that the brightest beauty
loses half its merit, as the fairest flower its perfume, when the willing hand can reach it too easily. There must
be doubt--there must be danger--there must be difficulty; and if, as the poet says, the course of ardent
affection never does run smooth, it is perhaps because, without some intervening obstacle, that which is called
the romantic passion of love, in its high poetical character and colouring can hardly have an existence--any
more than there can be a current in a river without the stream being narrowed by steep banks, or checked by
opposing rocks.

Let not those, however, who enter into a union for life without those embarrassments which delight a Darsie
Latimer, or a Lydia Languish, and which are perhaps necessary to excite an enthusiastic passion in breasts
more firm than theirs, augur worse of their future happiness because their own alliance is formed under calmer
auspices. Mutual esteem, an intimate knowledge of each other's character, seen, as in their case, undisguised
by the mists of too partial passion--a suitable proportion of parties in rank and fortune, in taste and pursuits
--are more frequently found in a marriage of reason, than in a union of romantic attachment; where the
imagination, which probably created the virtues and accomplishments with which it invested the beloved
object, is frequently afterwards employed in magnifying the mortifying consequences of its own delusion, and
exasperating all the stings of disappointment. Those who follow the banners of Reason are like the
well-disciplined battalion, which, wearing a more sober uniform and making a less dazzling show than the
light troops commanded by imagination, enjoy more safety, and even more honour, in the conflicts of human
life. All this, however, is foreign to our present purpose.

Uncertain in what manner to address her whom he had been lately so anxious to meet with, and embarrassed
by a TETE-A-TETE to which his own timid inexperience, gave some awkwardness, the party had proceeded
more than a hundred yards before Darsie assumed courage to accost, or even to look at, his companion.
Sensible, however, of the impropriety of his silence, he turned to speak to her; and observing that, although
she wore her mask, there was something like disappointment and dejection in her manner, he was moved by
self-reproach for his own coldness, and hastened to address her in the kindest tone he could assume.

'You must think me cruelly deficient in gratitude, Miss Lilias, that I have been thus long in your company,
without thanking you for the interest which you have deigned to take in my unfortunate affairs?'

'I am glad you have at length spoken,' she said, 'though I owe it is more coldly than I expected. MISS Lilias!
DEIGN to take interest! In whom, dear Darsie, CAN I take interest but in you; and why do you put this barrier
of ceremony betwixt us, whom adverse circumstances have already separated for such a length of time?'

Darsie was again confounded at the extra candour, if we may use the term, of this frank avowal. 'One must
love partridge very well,' thought he, 'to accept it when thrown in one's face--if this is not plain speaking, there
is no such place as downright Dunstable in being!'

Embarrassed with these reflections, and himself of a nature fancifully, almost fastidiously, delicate, he could
CHAPTER XVII                                                                                                   213

only in reply stammer forth an acknowledgement of his companion's goodness, and his own gratitude. She
answered in a tone partly sorrowful and partly impatient, repeating, with displeased emphasis, the only
distinct words he had been able to bring forth--'Goodness-- gratitude!--O Darsie! should these be the phrases
between you and me? Alas! I am too sure you are displeased with me, though I cannot even guess on what
account. Perhaps you think I have been too free in venturing upon my visit to your friend. But then remember,
it was in your behalf, and that I knew no better way to put you on your guard against the misfortunes and
restraint which you have been subjected to, and are still enduring.'

'Dear Lady'--said Darsie, rallying his recollection, and suspicious of some error in apprehension,--a suspicion
which his mode of address seemed at once to communicate to Lilias, for she interrupted him,--

'LADY! dear LADY! For whom, or for what, in Heaven's name, do you take me, that you address me so

Had the question been asked in that enchanted hall in fairyland, where all interrogations must be answered
with absolute sincerity, Darsie had certainly replied, that he took her for the most frank-hearted and
ultra-liberal lass that had ever lived since Mother Eve eat the pippin without paring. But as he was still on
middle-earth, and free to avail himself of a little polite deceit, he barely answered that he believed he had the
honour of speaking to the niece of Mr. Redgauntlet,

'Surely,' she replied; 'but were it not as easy for you to have said, to your own only sister?'

Darsie started in his saddle, as if he had received a pistol- shot.

'My sister!' he exclaimed.

'And you did NOT know it, then?' said she. 'I thought your reception of me was cold and indifferent!'

A kind and cordial embrace took place betwixt the relatives; and so light was Darsie's spirit, that he really felt
himself more relieved, by getting quit of the embarrassments of the last half- hour, during which he conceived
himself in danger of being persecuted by the attachment of a forward girl, than disappointed by the vanishing
of so many day-dreams as he had been in the habit of encouraging during the time when the green-mantled
maiden was goddess of his idolatry. He had been already flung from his romantic Pegasus, and was too happy
at length to find himself with bones unbroken, though with his back on the ground. He was, besides, with all
his whims and follies, a generous, kind-hearted youth, and was delighted to acknowledge so beautiful and
amiable a relative, and to assure her in the warmest terms of his immediate affection and future protection, so
soon as they should be extricated from their present situation. Smiles and tears mingled on Lilias's cheeks, like
showers and sunshine in April weather.

'Out on me,' she said, 'that I should be so childish as to cry at what makes me so sincerely happy! since, God
knows, family-love is what my heart has most longed after, and to which it has been most a stranger. My
uncle says that you and I, Darsie, are but half Redgauntlets, and that the metal of which our father's family
was made, has been softened to effeminacy in our mother's offspring.'

'Alas!' said Darsie, 'I know so little of our family story, that I almost doubted that I belonged to the House of
Redgauntlet, although the chief of the family himself intimated so much to me.'

'The chief of the family!' said Lilias. 'You must know little of your own descent indeed, if you mean my uncle
by that expression. You yourself, my dear Darsie, are the heir and representative of our ancient House, for our
father was the elder brother--that brave and unhappy Sir Henry Darsie Redgauntlet, who suffered at Carlisle in
the year 1746. He took the name of Darsie, in conjunction with his own, from our mother, heiress to a
Cumberland family of great wealth and antiquity, of whose large estates you are the undeniable heir, although
CHAPTER XVII                                                                                                  214

those of your father have been involved in the general doom of forfeiture. But all this must be necessarily
unknown to you.'

'Indeed I hear it for the first time in my life,' answered Darsie.

'And you knew not that I was your sister?' said Lilias. 'No wonder you received me so coldly. What a strange,
wild, forward young person you must have thought me--mixing myself in the fortunes of a stranger whom I
had only once spoken to-- corresponding with him by signs--Good Heaven! what can you have supposed me?'

'And how should I have come to the knowledge of our connexion?' said Darsie. 'You are aware I was not
acquainted with it when we danced together at Brokenburn.'

'I saw that with concern, and fain I would have warned you,' answered Lilias; 'but I was closely watched, and
before I could find or make an opportunity of coming to a full explanation with you on a subject so agitating, I
was forced to leave the room. What I did say was, you may remember, a caution to leave the southern border,
for I foresaw what has since happened. But since my uncle has had you in his power, I never doubted he had
communicated to you our whole family history.'

'He has left me to learn it from you, Lilias; and assure yourself that I will hear it with more pleasure from your
lips than from his. I have no reason to be pleased with his conduct towards me.'

'Of that,' said Lilias, 'you will judge better when you have heard what I have to tell you;' and she began her
communication in the following manner.
CHAPTER XVIII                                                                                                  215


'The House of Redgauntlet,' said the young lady, 'has for centuries been supposed to lie under a doom, which
has rendered vain their courage, their talents, their ambition, and their wisdom. Often making a figure in
history, they have been ever in the situation of men striving against both wind and tide, who distinguish
themselves by their desperate exertions of strength, and their persevering endurance of toil, but without being
able to advance themselves upon their course by either vigour or resolution. They pretend to trace this fatality
to a legendary history, which I may tell you at a less busy moment.'

Darsie intimated that he had already heard the tragic story of Sir Alberick Redgauntlet.

'I need only say, then,' proceeded Lilias, 'that our father and uncle felt the family doom in its full extent. They
were both possessed of considerable property, which was largely increased by our father's marriage, and were
both devoted to the service of the unhappy House of Stuart; but (as our mother at least supposed) family
considerations might have withheld her husband from joining openly in the affair of 1745, had not the high
influence which the younger brother possessed over the elder, from his more decided energy of character,
hurried him along with himself into that undertaking.

'When, therefore, the enterprise came to the fatal conclusion which bereaved our father of his life and
consigned his brother to exile, Lady Redgauntlet fled from the north of England, determined to break off all
communication with her late husband's family, particularly his brother, whom she regarded as having, by their
insane political enthusiasm, been the means of his untimely death; and determined that you, my brother, an
infant, and that I, to whom she had just given birth, should be brought up as adherents of the present dynasty.
Perhaps she was too hasty in this determination--too timidly anxious to exclude, if possible, from the
knowledge of the very spot where we existed, a relation so nearly connected with us as our father's only
brother. But you must make allowance for what she had suffered. See, brother,' she said, pulling her glove off,
'these five blood- specks on my arm are a mark by which mysterious Nature has impressed, on an unborn
infant, a record of its father's violent death and its mother's miseries.' [Several persons have brought down to
these days the impressions which Nature had thus recorded, when they were yet babes unborn. One lady of
quality, whose father was long under sentence of death previous to the Rebellion, was marked on the back of
the neck by the sign of a broad axe. Another whose kinsmen had been slain in battle and died on the scaffold
to the number of seven, bore a child spattered on the right shoulder and down the arm with scarlet drops, as if
of blood. Many other instances might be quoted.]

'You were not, then, born when my father suffered?' said Darsie.

'Alas, no!' she replied; 'nor were you a twelvemonth old. It was no wonder that my mother, after going
through such scenes of agony, became irresistibly anxious for the sake of her children --of her son in
particular; the more especially as the late Sir Henry, her husband, had, by a settlement of his affairs, confided
the custody of the persons of her children, as well as the estates which descended to them, independently of
those which fell under his forfeiture, to his brother Hugh, in whom he placed unlimited confidence.'

'But my mother had no reason to fear the operation of such a deed, conceived in favour of an attainted man,'
said Darsie.

'True,' replied Lilias; 'but our uncle's attainder might have been reversed, like that of so many other persons,
and our mother, who both feared and hated him, lived in continual terror that this would be the case, and that
she should see the author, as she thought him, of her husband's death come armed with legal powers, and in a
capacity to use them for the purpose of tearing her children from her protection. Besides, she feared, even in
his incapacitated condition, the adventurous and pertinacious spirit of her brother-in-law, Hugh Redgauntlet,
CHAPTER XVIII                                                                                               216
and felt assured that he would make some attempt to possess himself of the persons of the children. On the
other hand, our uncle, whose proud disposition might, perhaps, have been soothed by the offer of her
confidence, revolted against the distrustful and suspicious manner in which Lady Darsie Redgauntlet acted
towards him. She basely abused, he said, the unhappy circumstances in which he was placed, in order to
deprive him of his natural privilege of protecting and educating the infants, whom nature and law, and the will
of their father, had committed to his charge, and he swore solemnly he would not submit to such an injury.
Report of his threats was made to Lady Redgauntlet, and tended to increase those fears which proved but too
well founded. While you and I, children at that time of two or three years old, were playing together in a
walled orchard, adjacent to our mother's residence which she had fixed somewhere in Devonshire, my uncle
suddenly scaled the wall with several men, and I was snatched up; and carried off to a boat which waited for
them. My mother, however, flew to your rescue, and as she seized on and held you fast, my uncle could not,
as he has since told me, possess himself of your person, without using unmanly violence to his brother's
widow. Of this he was incapable; and, as people began to assemble upon my mother's screaming, he
withdrew, after darting upon you and her one of those fearful looks, which, it is said, remain with our family,
as a fatal bequest of Sir Alberick, our ancestor.'

'I have some recollection of the scuffle which you mention,' said Darsie; 'and I think it was my uncle himself
(since my uncle he is) who recalled the circumstance to my mind on a late occasion. I can now account for the
guarded seclusion under which my poor mother lived--for her frequent tears, her starts of hysterical alarm, and
her constant and deep melancholy. Poor lady! what a lot was hers, and what must have been her feelings when
it approached to a close!'

'It was then that she adopted,' said Lilias, 'every precaution her ingenuity could suggest, to keep your very
existence concealed from the person whom she feared--nay, from yourself; for she dreaded, as she is said
often to have expressed herself, that the wildfire blood of Redgauntlet would urge you to unite your fortunes
to those of your uncle, who was well known still to carry on political intrigues, which most other persons had
considered as desperate. It was also possible that he, as well as others, might get his pardon, as government
showed every year more lenity towards the remnant of the Jacobites, and then he might claim the custody of
your person, as your legal guardian. Either of these events she considered as the direct road to your

'I wonder she had not claimed the protection of Chancery for me,' said Darsie; 'or confided me to the care of
some powerful friend.'

'She was on indifferent terms with her relations, on account of her marriage with our father,' said Lilias, 'and
trusted more to secreting you from your uncle's attempts, than to any protection which law might afford
against them. Perhaps she judged unwisely, but surely not unnaturally, for one rendered irritable by so many
misfortunes and so many alarms. Samuel Griffiths, an eminent banker, and a worthy clergyman now dead
were, I believe, the only persons whom she intrusted with the execution of her last will; and my uncle believes
that she made them both swear to observe profound secrecy concerning your birth and pretensions, until you
should come to the age of majority, and, in the meantime, to breed you up in the most private way possible,
and that which was most likely to withdraw you from my uncle's observation.'

'And I have no doubt,' said Darsie, 'that betwixt change of name and habitation, they might have succeeded
perfectly, but for the accident--lucky or unlucky, I know not which to term it--which brought me to
Brokenburn, and into contact with Mr. Redgauntlet. I see also why I was warned against England, for in

'In England alone, if I understand rightly,' said Miss Redgauntlet, 'the claims of your uncle to the custody of
your person could have been enforced, in case of his being replaced in the ordinary rights of citizenship, either
by the lenity of the government or by some change in it. In Scotland, where you possess no property, I
understand his authority might; have been resisted, and measures taken to put you under the protection of the
CHAPTER XVIII                                                                                                217

law. But, pray, think it not unlucky that you have taken the step of visiting Brokenburn--I feel confident that
the consequences must be ultimately fortunate, for have they not already brought us into contact with each

So saying, she held out her hand to her brother, who grasped it with a fondness of pressure very different from
the manner in which they first clasped hands that morning. There was a moment's pause, while the hearts of
both were overflowing with a feeling of natural affection, to which circumstances had hitherto rendered them

At length Darsie broke silence; 'I am ashamed,' he said, 'my dearest Lilias, that I have suffered you to talk so
long about matters concerning myself only, while I remain ignorant of your story, and your present situation.'

'The former is none of the most interesting, nor the latter the most safe or agreeable,' answered Lilias; 'but
now, my dearest brother, I shall have the inestimable support of your countenance and affection; and were I
but sure that we could weather the formidable crisis which I find so close at hand, I should have little
apprehensions for the future.'

'Let me know,' said Darsie, 'what our present situation is; and rely upon my utmost exertions both in your
defence and my own. For what reason can my uncle desire to detain me a prisoner? If in mere opposition to
the will of my mother, she has long been no more; and I see not why he should wish, at so much trouble and
risk, to interfere with the free will of one, to whom a few months will give a privilege of acting for himself,
with which he will have no