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Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
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Project Gutenberg's Rob Roy, Complete, Illustrated, by Sir Walter Scott

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Title: Rob Roy, Complete, Illustrated

Author: Sir Walter Scott

Release Date: October 25, 2006 [EBook #7025]

Language: English

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*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ROB ROY, COMPLETE, ILLUSTRATED ***




Produced by David Widger





ROB ROY

COMPLETE

BY SIR WALTER SCOTT



[Illustration: Frontispiece]


[Illustration: Titlepage]



               For why? Because the good old rule
                     Sufficeth them; the simple plan,
               That they should take who have the power,
                     And they should keep who can.

                             _Rob Roy's Grave_--Wordsworth




ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION

When the Editor of the following volumes published, about two years
since, the work called the "Antiquary," he announced that he was, for the
last time, intruding upon the public in his present capacity. He might
shelter himself under the plea that every anonymous writer is, like the
celebrated Junius, only a phantom, and that therefore, although an
apparition, of a more benign, as well as much meaner description, he
cannot be bound to plead to a charge of inconsistency. A better apology
may be found in the imitating the confession of honest Benedict, that,
when he said he would die a bachelor, he did not think he should live to
be married. The best of all would be, if, as has eminently happened in
the case of some distinguished contemporaries, the merit of the work
should, in the reader's estimation, form an excuse for the Author's
breach of promise. Without presuming to hope that this may prove the
case, it is only further necessary to mention, that his resolution, like
that of Benedict, fell a sacrifice, to temptation at least, if not to
stratagem.

It is now about six months since the Author, through the medium of his
respectable Publishers, received a parcel of Papers, containing the
Outlines of this narrative, with a permission, or rather with a request,
couched in highly flattering terms, that they might be given to the
Public, with such alterations as should be found suitable.*

* As it maybe necessary, in the present Edition(1829), to speak upon the
square, the Author thinks it proper to own, that the communication
alluded to is entirely imaginary.

These were of course so numerous, that, besides the suppression of names,
and of incidents approaching too much to reality, the work may in a great
measure be, said to be new written. Several anachronisms have probably
crept in during the course of these changes; and the mottoes for the
Chapters have been selected without any reference to the supposed date of
the incidents. For these, of course, the Editor is responsible. Some
others occurred in the original materials, but they are of little
consequence. In point of minute accuracy, it may be stated, that the
bridge over the Forth, or rather the Avondhu (or Black River), near the
hamlet of Aberfoil, had not an existence thirty years ago. It does not,
however, become the Editor to be the first to point out these errors; and
he takes this public opportunity to thank the unknown and nameless
correspondent, to whom the reader will owe the principal share of any
amusement which he may derive from the following pages.

1st December 1817.




INTRODUCTION---(1829)

When the author projected this further encroachment on the patience of an
indulgent public, he was at some loss for a title; a good name being very
nearly of as much consequence in literature as in life. The title of _Rob
Roy_ was suggested by the late Mr. Constable, whose sagacity and
experience foresaw the germ of popularity which it included.

No introduction can be more appropriate to the work than some account of
the singular character whose name is given to the title-page, and who,
through good report and bad report, has maintained a wonderful degree of
importance in popular recollection. This cannot be ascribed to the
distinction of his birth, which, though that of a gentleman, had in it
nothing of high destination, and gave him little right to command in his
clan. Neither, though he lived a busy, restless, and enterprising life,
were his feats equal to those of other freebooters, who have been less
distinguished. He owed his fame in a great measure to his residing on the
very verge of the Highlands, and playing such pranks in the beginning of
the 18th century, as are usually ascribed to Robin Hood in the middle
ages,--and that within forty miles of Glasgow, a great commercial city,
the seat of a learned university. Thus a character like his, blending the
wild virtues, the subtle policy, and unrestrained license of an American
Indian, was flourishing in Scotland during the Augustan age of Queen Anne
and George I. Addison, it is probable, or Pope, would have been
considerably surprised if they had known that there, existed in the same
island with them a personage of Rob Roy's peculiar habits and profession.
It is this strong contrast betwixt the civilised and cultivated mode of
life on the one side of the Highland line, and the wild and lawless
adventures which were habitually undertaken and achieved by one who dwelt
on the opposite side of that ideal boundary, which creates the interest
attached to his name. Hence it is that even yet,


                  Far and near, through vale and hill,
                      Are faces that attest the same,
                  And kindle like a fire new stirr'd,
                      At sound of Rob Roy's name.

There were several advantages which Rob Roy enjoyed for sustaining to
advantage the character which he assumed.

The most prominent of these was his descent from, and connection with,
the clan MacGregor, so famous for their misfortunes, and the indomitable
spirit with which they maintained themselves as a clan, linked and banded
together in spite of the most severe laws, executed with unheard-of
rigour against those who bore this forbidden surname. Their history was
that of several others of the original Highland clans, who were
suppressed by more powerful neighbours, and either extirpated, or forced
to secure themselves by renouncing their own family appellation, and
assuming that of the conquerors. The peculiarity in the story of the
MacGregors, is their retaining, with such tenacity, their separate
existence and union as a clan under circumstances of the utmost urgency.
The history of the tribe is briefly as follows--But we must premise that
the tale depends in some degree on tradition; therefore, excepting when
written documents are, quoted, it must be considered as in some degree
dubious.

The sept of MacGregor claimed a descent from Gregor, or Gregorius, third
son, it is said, of Alpin King of Scots, who flourished about 787. Hence
their original patronymic is MacAlpine, and they are usually termed the
Clan Alpine. An individual tribe of them retains the same name. They are
accounted one of the most ancient clans in the Highlands, and it is
certain they were a people of original Celtic descent, and occupied at
one period very extensive possessions in Perthshire and Argyleshire,
which they imprudently continued to hold by the _coir a glaive,_ that is,
the right of the sword. Their neighbours, the Earls of Argyle and
Breadalbane, in the meanwhile, managed to leave the lands occupied by the
MacGregors engrossed in those charters which they easily obtained from
the Crown; and thus constituted a legal right in their own favour,
without much regard to its justice. As opportunity occurred of annoying
or extirpating their neighbours, they gradually extended their own
domains, by usurping, under the pretext of such royal grants, those of
their more uncivilised neighbours. A Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochow, known
in the Highlands by the name of _Donacha Dhu nan Churraichd,_ that is,
Black Duncan with the Cowl, it being his pleasure to wear such a
head-gear, is said to have been peculiarly successful in those acts of
spoliation upon the clan MacGregor.

The devoted sept, ever finding themselves iniquitously driven from their
possessions, defended themselves by force, and occasionally gained
advantages, which they used cruelly enough. This conduct, though natural,
considering the country and time, was studiously represented at the
capital as arising from an untameable and innate ferocity, which nothing,
it was said, could remedy, save cutting off the tribe of MacGregor root
and branch.

In an act of Privy Council at Stirling, 22d September 1563, in the reign
of Queen Mary, commission is granted to the most powerful nobles, and
chiefs of the clans, to pursue the clan Gregor with fire and sword. A
similar warrant in 1563, not only grants the like powers to Sir John
Campbell of Glenorchy, the descendant of Duncan with the Cowl, but
discharges the lieges to receive or assist any of the clan Gregor, or
afford them, under any colour whatever, meat, drink, or clothes.

An atrocity which the clan Gregor committed in 1589, by the murder of
John Drummond of Drummond-ernoch, a forester of the royal forest of
Glenartney, is elsewhere given, with all its horrid circumstances. The
clan swore upon the severed head of the murdered man, that they would
make common cause in avowing the deed. This led to an act of the Privy
Council, directing another crusade against the "wicked clan Gregor, so
long continuing in blood, slaughter, theft, and robbery," in which
letters of fire and sword are denounced against them for the space of
three years. The reader will find this particular fact illustrated in the
Introduction to the Legend of Montrose in the present edition of these
Novels.

Other occasions frequently occurred, in which the MacGregors testified
contempt for the laws, from which they had often experienced severity,
but never protection. Though they were gradually deprived of their
possessions, and of all ordinary means of procuring subsistence, they
could not, nevertheless, be supposed likely to starve for famine, while
they had the means of taking from strangers what they considered as
rightfully their own. Hence they became versed in predatory forays, and
accustomed to bloodshed. Their passions were eager, and, with a little
management on the part of some of their most powerful neighbours, they
could easily be _hounded out,_ to use an expressive Scottish phrase, to
commit violence, of which the wily instigators took the advantage, and
left the ignorant MacGregors an undivided portion of blame and
punishment. This policy of pushing on the fierce clans of the Highlands
and Borders to break the peace of the country, is accounted by the
historian one of the most dangerous practices of his own period, in which
the MacGregors were considered as ready agents.

Notwithstanding these severe denunciations,---which were acted upon in
the same spirit in which they were conceived, some of the clan still
possessed property, and the chief of the name in 1592 is designed
Allaster MacGregor of Glenstrae. He is said to have been a brave and
active man; but, from the tenor of his confession at his death, appears
to have been engaged in many and desperate feuds, one of which finally
proved fatal to himself and many of his followers. This was the
celebrated conflict at Glenfruin, near the southwestern extremity of Loch
Lomond, in the vicinity of which the MacGregors continued to exercise
much authority by the _coir a glaive,_ or right of the strongest, which
we have already mentioned.

There had been a long and bloody feud betwixt the MacGregors and the
Laird of Luss, head of the family of Colquhoun, a powerful race on the
lower part of Loch Lomond. The MacGregors' tradition affirms that the
quarrel began on a very trifling subject. Two of the MacGregors being
benighted, asked shelter in a house belonging to a dependant of the
Colquhouns, and were refused. They then retreated to an out-house, took a
wedder from the fold, killed it, and supped off the carcass, for which
(it is said) they offered payment to the proprietor. The Laird of Luss
seized on the offenders, and, by the summary process which feudal barons
had at their command, had them both condemned and executed. The
MacGregors verify this account of the feud by appealing to a proverb
current amongst them, execrating the hour _(Mult dhu an Carbail ghil)_
that the black wedder with the white tail was ever lambed. To avenge this
quarrel, the Laird of MacGregor assembled his clan, to the number of
three or four hundred men, and marched towards Luss from the banks of
Loch Long, by a pass called _Raid na Gael,_ or the Highlandman's Pass.

Sir Humphrey Colquhoun received early notice of this incursion, and
collected a strong force, more than twice the number of that of the
invaders. He had with him the gentlemen of the name of Buchanan, with the
Grahams, and other gentry of the Lennox, and a party of the citizens of
Dumbarton, under command of Tobias Smollett, a magistrate, or bailie, of
that town, and ancestor of the celebrated author.

The parties met in the valley of Glenfruin, which signifies the Glen of
Sorrow---a name that seemed to anticipate the event of the day, which,
fatal to the conquered party, was at least equally so to the victors, the
"babe unborn" of Clan Alpine having reason to repent it. The MacGregors,
somewhat discouraged by the appearance of a force much superior to their
own, were cheered on to the attack by a Seer, or second-sighted person,
who professed that he saw the shrouds of the dead wrapt around their
principal opponents. The clan charged with great fury on the front of the
enemy, while John MacGregor, with a strong party, made an unexpected
attack on the flank. A great part of the Colquhouns' force consisted in
cavalry, which could not act in the boggy ground. They were said to have
disputed the field manfully, but were at length completely routed, and a
merciless slaughter was exercised on the fugitives, of whom betwixt two
and three hundred fell on the field and in the pursuit. If the MacGregors
lost, as is averred, only two men slain in the action, they had slight
provocation for an indiscriminate massacre. It is said that their fury
extended itself to a party of students for clerical orders, who had
imprudently come to see the battle. Some doubt is thrown on this fact,
from the indictment against the chief of the clan Gregor being silent on
the subject, as is the historian Johnston, and a Professor Ross, who
wrote an account of the battle twenty-nine years after it was fought. It
is, however, constantly averred by the tradition of the country, and a
stone where the deed was done is called _Leck-a-Mhinisteir,_ the Minister
or Clerk's Flagstone. The MacGregors, by a tradition which is now found
to be inaccurate, impute this cruel action to the ferocity of a single
man of their tribe, renowned for size and strength, called Dugald, _Ciar
Mhor,_ or the great Mouse-coloured Man. He was MacGregor's
foster-brother, and the chief committed the youths to his charge, with
directions to keep them safely till the affray was over. Whether fearful
of their escape, or incensed by some sarcasms which they threw on his
tribe, or whether out of mere thirst of blood, this savage, while the
other MacGregors were engaged in the pursuit, poniarded his helpless and
defenceless prisoners. When the chieftain, on his return, demanded where
the youths were, the _Ciar_ (pronounced Kiar) _Mhor_ drew out his bloody
dirk, saying in Gaelic, "Ask that, and God save me!" The latter words
allude to the exclamation which his victims used when he was murdering
them. It would seem, therefore, that this horrible part of the story is
founded on fact, though the number of the youths so slain is probably
exaggerated in the Lowland accounts. The common people say that the blood
of the Ciar Mhor's victims can never be washed off the stone. When
MacGregor learnt their fate, he expressed the utmost horror at the deed,
and upbraided his foster-brother with having done that which would
occasion the destruction of him and his clan. This supposed homicide was
the ancestor of Rob Roy, and the tribe from which he was descended. He
lies buried at the church of Fortingal, where his sepulchre, covered with
a large stone,* is still shown, and where his great strength and courage
are the theme of many traditions.*

* Note A. The Grey Stone of MacGregor.

** Note B. Dugald Ciar Mhor.

MacGregor's brother was one of the very few of the tribe who was slain.
He was buried near the field of battle, and the place is marked by a rude
stone, called the Grey Stone of MacGregor.

Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, being well mounted, escaped for the time to the
castle of Banochar, or Benechra. It proved no sure defence, however, for
he was shortly after murdered in a vault of the castle,---the family
annals say by the MacGregors, though other accounts charge the deed upon
the MacFarlanes.

This battle of Glenfruin, and the severity which the victors exercised in
the pursuit, was reported to King James VI. in a manner the most
unfavourable to the clan Gregor, whose general character, being that of
lawless though brave men, could not much avail them in such a case. That
James might fully understand the extent of the slaughter, the widows of
the slain, to the number of eleven score, in deep mourning, riding upon
white palfreys, and each bearing her husband's bloody shirt on a spear,
appeared at Stirling, in presence of a monarch peculiarly accessible to
such sights of fear and sorrow, to demand vengeance for the death of
their husbands, upon those by whom they had been made desolate.

The remedy resorted to was at least as severe as the cruelties which it
was designed to punish. By an Act of the Privy Council, dated 3d April
1603, the name of MacGregor was expressly abolished, and those who had
hitherto borne it were commanded to change it for other surnames, the
pain of death being denounced against those who should call themselves
Gregor or MacGregor, the names of their fathers. Under the same penalty,
all who had been at the conflict of Glenfruin, or accessory to other
marauding parties charged in the act, were prohibited from carrying
weapons, except a pointless knife to eat their victuals. By a subsequent
act of Council, 24th June 1613, death was denounced against any persons
of the tribe formerly called MacGregor, who should presume to assemble in
greater numbers than four. Again, by an Act of Parliament, 1617, chap.
26, these laws were continued, and extended to the rising generation, in
respect that great numbers of the children of those against whom the acts
of Privy Council had been directed, were stated to be then approaching to
maturity, who, if permitted to resume the name of their parents, would
render the clan as strong as it was before.

The execution of those severe acts was chiefly intrusted in the west to
the Earl of Argyle and the powerful clan of Campbell, and to the Earl of
Athole and his followers in the more eastern Highlands of Perthshire. The
MacGregors failed not to resist with the most determined courage; and
many a valley in the West and North Highlands retains memory of the
severe conflicts, in which the proscribed clan sometimes obtained
transient advantages, and always sold their lives dearly. At length the
pride of Allaster MacGregor, the chief of the clan, was so much lowered
by the sufferings of his people, that he resolved to surrender himself to
the Earl of Argyle, with his principal followers, on condition that they
should be sent out of Scotland. If the unfortunate chief's own account be
true, he had more reasons than one for expecting some favour from the
Earl, who had in secret advised and encouraged him to many of the
desperate actions for which he was now called to so severe a reckoning.
But Argyle, as old Birrell expresses himself, kept a Highlandman's
promise with them, fulfilling it to the ear, and breaking it to the
sense. MacGregor was sent under a strong guard to the frontier of
England, and being thus, in the literal sense, sent out of Scotland,
Argyle was judged to have kept faith with him, though the same party
which took him there brought him back to Edinburgh in custody.

MacGregor of Glenstrae was tried before the Court of Justiciary, 20th
January 1604, and found guilty. He appears to have been instantly
conveyed from the bar to the gallows; for Birrell, of the same date,
reports that he was hanged at the Cross, and, for distinction sake, was
suspended higher by his own height than two of his kindred and friends.

On the 18th of February following, more men of the MacGregors were
executed, after a long imprisonment, and several others in the beginning
of March.

The Earl of Argyle's service, in conducting to the surrender of the
insolent and wicked race and name of MacGregor, notorious common
malefactors, and in the in-bringing of MacGregor, with a great many of
the leading men of the clan, worthily executed to death for their
offences, is thankfully acknowledged by an Act of Parliament, 1607, chap.
16, and rewarded with a grant of twenty chalders of victual out of the
lands of Kintire.

The MacGregors, notwithstanding the letters of fire and sword, and orders
for military execution repeatedly directed against them by the Scottish
legislature, who apparently lost all the calmness of conscious dignity
and security, and could not even name the outlawed clan without
vituperation, showed no inclination to be blotted out of the roll of
clanship. They submitted to the law, indeed, so far as to take the names
of the neighbouring families amongst whom they happened to live,
nominally becoming, as the case might render it most convenient,
Drummonds, Campbells, Grahams, Buchanans, Stewarts, and the like; but to
all intents and purposes of combination and mutual attachment, they
remained the clan Gregor, united together for right or wrong, and
menacing with the general vengeance of their race, all who committed
aggressions against any individual of their number.

They continued to take and give offence with as little hesitation as
before the legislative dispersion which had been attempted, as appears
from the preamble to statute 1633, chapter 30, setting forth, that the
clan Gregor, which had been suppressed and reduced to quietness by the
great care of the late King James of eternal memory, had nevertheless
broken out again, in the counties of Perth, Stirling, Clackmannan,
Monteith, Lennox, Angus, and Mearns; for which reason the statute
re-establishes the disabilities attached to the clan, and, grants a new
commission for enforcing the laws against that wicked and rebellious
race.

Notwithstanding the extreme severities of King James I. and Charles I.
against this unfortunate people, who were rendered furious by
proscription, and then punished for yielding to the passions which had
been wilfully irritated, the MacGregors to a man attached themselves
during the civil war to the cause of the latter monarch. Their bards have
ascribed this to the native respect of the MacGregors for the crown of
Scotland, which their ancestors once wore, and have appealed to their
armorial bearings, which display a pine-tree crossed saltire wise with a
naked sword, the point of which supports a royal crown. But, without
denying that such motives may have had their weight, we are disposed to
think, that a war which opened the low country to the raids of the clan
Gregor would have more charms for them than any inducement to espouse the
cause of the Covenanters, which would have brought them into contact with
Highlanders as fierce as themselves, and having as little to lose.
Patrick MacGregor, their leader, was the son of a distinguished chief,
named Duncan Abbarach, to whom Montrose wrote letters as to his trusty
and special friend, expressing his reliance on his devoted loyalty, with
an assurance, that when once his Majesty's affairs were placed upon a
permanent footing, the grievances of the clan MacGregor should be
redressed.

At a subsequent period of these melancholy times, we find the clan Gregor
claiming the immunities of other tribes, when summoned by the Scottish
Parliament to resist the invasion of the Commonwealth's army, in 1651. On
the last day of March in that year, a supplication to the King and
Parliament, from Calum MacCondachie Vich Euen, and Euen MacCondachie
Euen, in their own name, and that of the whole name of MacGregor, set
forth, that while, in obedience to the orders of Parliament, enjoining
all clans to come out in the present service under their chieftains, for
the defence of religion, king, and kingdoms, the petitioners were drawing
their men to guard the passes at the head of the river Forth, they were
interfered with by the Earl of Athole and the Laird of Buchanan, who had
required the attendance of many of the clan Gregor upon their arrays.
This interference was, doubtless, owing to the change of name, which
seems to have given rise to the claim of the Earl of Athole and the Laird
of Buchanan to muster the MacGregors under their banners, as Murrays or
Buchanans. It does not appear that the petition of the MacGregors, to be
permitted to come out in a body, as other clans, received any answer. But
upon the Restoration, King Charles, in the first Scottish Parliament of
his reign (statute 1661, chap. 195), annulled the various acts against
the clan Gregor, and restored them to the full use of their family name,
and the other privileges of liege subjects, setting forth, as a reason
for this lenity, that those who were formerly designed MacGregors had,
during the late troubles, conducted themselves with such loyalty and
affection to his Majesty, as might justly wipe off all memory of former
miscarriages, and take away all marks of reproach for the same.

It is singular enough, that it seems to have aggravated the feelings of
the non-conforming Presbyterians, when the penalties which were most
unjustly imposed upon themselves were relaxed towards the poor
MacGregors;--so little are the best men, any more than the worst, able to
judge with impartiality of the same measures, as applied to themselves,
or to others. Upon the Restoration, an influence inimical to this
unfortunate clan, said to be the same with that which afterwards dictated
the massacre of Glencoe, occasioned the re-enaction of the penal statutes
against the MacGregors. There are no reasons given why these highly penal
acts should have been renewed; nor is it alleged that the clan had been
guilty of late irregularities. Indeed, there is some reason to think that
the clause was formed of set purpose, in a shape which should elude
observation; for, though containing conclusions fatal to the rights of so
many Scottish subjects, it is neither mentioned in the title nor the
rubric of the Act of Parliament in which it occurs, and is thrown briefly
in at the close of the statute 1693, chap. 61, entitled, an Act for the
Justiciary in the Highlands.

It does not, however, appear that after the Revolution the acts against
the clan were severely enforced; and in the latter half of the eighteenth
century, they were not enforced at all. Commissioners of supply were
named in Parliament by the proscribed title of MacGregor, and decrees of
courts of justice were pronounced, and legal deeds entered into, under
the same appellative. The MacGregors, however, while the laws continued
in the statute-book, still suffered under the deprivation of the name
which was their birthright, and some attempts were made for the purpose
of adopting another, MacAlpine or Grant being proposed as the title of
the whole clan in future. No agreement, however, could be entered into;
and the evil was submitted to as a matter of necessity, until full
redress was obtained from the British Parliament, by an act abolishing
for ever the penal statutes which had been so long imposed upon this
ancient race. This statute, well merited by the services of many a
gentleman of the clan in behalf of their King and country, was passed,
and the clan proceeded to act upon it with the same spirit of ancient
times, which had made them suffer severely under a deprivation that would
have been deemed of little consequence by a great part of their
fellow-subjects.

They entered into a deed recognising John Murray of Lanrick, Esq.
(afterwards Sir John MacGregor, Baronet), representative of the family of
Glencarnock, as lawfully descended from the ancient stock and blood of
the Lairds and Lords of MacGregor, and therefore acknowledged him as
their chief on all lawful occasions and causes whatsoever. The deed was
subscribed by eight hundred and twenty-six persons of the name of
MacGregor, capable of bearing arms. A great many of the clan during the
last war formed themselves into what was called the Clan Alpine Regiment,
raised in 1799, under the command of their Chief and his brother Colonel
MacGregor.

Having briefly noticed the history of this clan, which presents a rare
and interesting example of the indelible character of the patriarchal
system, the author must now offer some notices of the individual who
gives name to these volumes.

In giving an account of a Highlander, his pedigree is first to be
considered. That of Rob Roy was deduced from Ciar Mhor, the great
mouse-coloured man, who is accused by tradition of having slain the young
students at the battle of Glenfruin.

Without puzzling ourselves and our readers with the intricacies of
Highland genealogy, it is enough to say, that after the death of Allaster
MacGregor of Glenstrae, the clan, discouraged by the unremitting
persecution of their enemies, seem not to have had the means of placing
themselves under the command of a single chief. According to their places
of residence and immediate descent, the several families were led and
directed by _Chieftains,_ which, in the Highland acceptation, signifies
the head of a particular branch of a tribe, in opposition to _Chief,_ who
is the leader and commander of the whole name.

The family and descendants of Dugald Ciar Mhor lived chiefly in the
mountains between Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine, and occupied a good deal
of property there--whether by sufferance, by the right of the sword,
which it was never safe to dispute with them, or by legal titles of
various kinds, it would be useless to inquire and unnecessary to detail.
Enough;--there they certainly were--a people whom their most powerful
neighbours were desirous to conciliate, their friendship in peace being
very necessary to the quiet of the vicinage, and their assistance in war
equally prompt and effectual.

Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell, which last name he bore in consequence of the
Acts of Parliament abolishing his own, was the younger son of Donald
MacGregor of Glengyle, said to have been a Lieutenant-Colonel (probably
in the service of James II.), by his wife, a daughter of Campbell of
Glenfalloch. Rob's own designation was of Inversnaid; but he appears to
have acquired a right of some kind or other to the property or possession
of Craig Royston, a domain of rock and forest, lying on the east side of
Loch Lomond, where that beautiful lake stretches into the dusky mountains
of Glenfalloch.

The time of his birth is uncertain. But he is said to have been active in
the scenes of war and plunder which succeeded the Revolution; and
tradition affirms him to have been the leader in a predatory incursion
into the parish of Kippen, in the Lennox, which took place in the year
1691. It was of almost a bloodless character, only one person losing his
life; but from the extent of the depredation, it was long distinguished
by the name of the Her'-ship, or devastation, of Kippen.* The time of his
death is also uncertain, but as he is said to have survived the year
1733, and died an aged man, it is probable he may have been twenty-five
about the time of the Her'-ship of Kippen, which would assign his birth
to the middle of the 17th century.

* See _Statistcal Account of Scotland,_ 1st edition, vol. xviii. p. 332.
Parish of * Kippen.

In the more quiet times which succeeded the Revolution, Rob Roy, or Red
Robert, seems to have exerted his active talents, which were of no mean
order, as a drover, or trader in cattle, to a great extent. It may well
be supposed that in those days no Lowland, much less English drovers,
ventured to enter the Highlands. The cattle, which were the staple
commodity of the mountains, were escorted down to fairs, on the borders
of the Lowlands, by a party of Highlanders, with their arms rattling
around them; and who dealt, however, in all honour and good faith with
their Southern customers. A fray, indeed, would sometimes arise, when the
Lowlandmen, chiefly Borderers, who had to supply the English market, used
to dip their bonnets in the next brook, and wrapping them round their
hands, oppose their cudgels to the naked broadswords, which had not
always the superiority. I have heard from aged persons who had been
engaged in such affrays, that the Highlanders used remarkably fair play,
never using the point of the sword, far less their pistols or daggers; so
that

               With many a stiff thwack and many a bang,
                   Hard crabtree and cold iron rang.

A slash or two, or a broken head, was easily accommodated, and as the
trade was of benefit to both parties, trifling skirmishes were not
allowed to interrupt its harmony. Indeed it was of vital interest to the
Highlanders, whose income, so far as derived from their estates, depended
entirely on the sale of black cattle; and a sagacious and experienced
dealer benefited not only himself, but his friends and neighbours, by his
speculations. Those of Rob Roy were for several years so successful as to
inspire general confidence, and raise him in the estimation of the
country in which he resided.

His importance was increased by the death of his father, in consequence
of which he succeeded to the management of his nephew Gregor MacGregor of
Glengyle's property, and, as his tutor, to such influence with the clan
and following as was due to the representative of Dugald Ciar. Such
influence was the more uncontrolled, that this family of the MacGregors
seemed to have refused adherence to MacGregor of Glencarnock, the
ancestor of the present Sir Ewan MacGregor, and asserted a kind of
independence.

It was at this time that Rob Roy acquired an interest by purchase,
wadset, or otherwise, to the property of Craig Royston already mentioned.
He was in particular favour, during this prosperous period of his life,
with his nearest and most powerful neighbour, James, first Duke of
Montrose, from whom he received many marks of regard. His Grace consented
to give his nephew and himself a right of property on the estates of
Glengyle and Inversnaid, which they had till then only held as kindly
tenants. The Duke also, with a view to the interest of the country and
his own estate, supported our adventurer by loans of money to a
considerable amount, to enable him to carry on his speculations in the
cattle trade.

Unfortunately that species of commerce was and is liable to sudden
fluctuations; and Rob Roy was, by a sudden depression of markets, and, as
a friendly tradition adds, by the bad faith of a partner named MacDonald,
whom he had imprudently received into his confidence, and intrusted with
a considerable sum of money, rendered totally insolvent. He absconded, of
course--not empty-handed, if it be true, as stated in an advertisement
for his apprehension, that he had in his possession sums to the amount of
L1000 sterling, obtained from several noblemen and gentlemen under
pretence of purchasing cows for them in the Highlands. This advertisement
appeared in June 1712, and was several times repeated. It fixes the
period when Rob Roy exchanged his commercial adventures for speculations
of a very different complexion.*

* See Appendix, No. I.

He appears at this period first to have removed from his ordinary
dwelling at Inversnaid, ten or twelve Scots miles (which is double the
number of English) farther into the Highlands, and commenced the lawless
sort of life which he afterwards followed. The Duke of Montrose, who
conceived himself deceived and cheated by MacGregor's conduct, employed
legal means to recover the money lent to him. Rob Roy's landed property
was attached by the regular form of legal procedure, and his stock and
furniture made the subject of arrest and sale.

It is said that this diligence of the law, as it is called in Scotland,
which the English more bluntly term distress, was used in this case with
uncommon severity, and that the legal satellites, not usually the
gentlest persons in the world, had insulted MacGregor's wife, in a manner
which would have aroused a milder man than he to thoughts of unbounded
vengeance. She was a woman of fierce and haughty temper, and is not
unlikely to have disturbed the officers in the execution of their duty,
and thus to have incurred ill treatment, though, for the sake of
humanity, it is to be hoped that the story sometimes told is a popular
exaggeration. It is certain that she felt extreme anguish at being
expelled from the banks of Loch Lomond, and gave vent to her feelings in
a fine piece of pipe-music, still well known to amateurs by the name of
"Rob Roy's Lament."

The fugitive is thought to have found his first place of refuge in Glen
Dochart, under the Earl of Breadalbane's protection; for, though that
family had been active agents in the destruction of the MacGregors in
former times, they had of late years sheltered a great many of the name
in their old possessions. The Duke of Argyle was also one of Rob Roy's
protectors, so far as to afford him, according to the Highland phrase,
wood and water--the shelter, namely, that is afforded by the forests and
lakes of an inaccessible country.

The great men of the Highlands in that time, besides being anxiously
ambitious to keep up what was called their Following, or military
retainers, were also desirous to have at their disposal men of resolute
character, to whom the world and the world's law were no friends, and who
might at times ravage the lands or destroy the tenants of a feudal enemy,
without bringing responsibility on their patrons. The strife between the
names of Campbell and Graham, during the civil wars of the seventeenth
century, had been stamped with mutual loss and inveterate enmity. The
death of the great Marquis of Montrose on the one side, the defeat at
Inverlochy, and cruel plundering of Lorn, on the other, were reciprocal
injuries not likely to be forgotten. Rob Roy was, therefore, sure of
refuge in the country of the Campbells, both as having assumed their
name, as connected by his mother with the family of Glenfalloch, and as
an enemy to the rival house of Montrose. The extent of Argyle's
possessions, and the power of retreating thither in any emergency, gave
great encouragement to the bold schemes of revenge which he had adopted.

This was nothing short of the maintenance of a predatory war against the
Duke of Montrose, whom he considered as the author of his exclusion from
civil society, and of the outlawry to which he had been sentenced by
letters of horning and caption (legal writs so called), as well as the
seizure of his goods, and adjudication of his landed property. Against
his Grace, therefore, his tenants, friends, allies, and relatives, he
disposed himself to employ every means of annoyance in his power; and
though this was a circle sufficiently extensive for active depredation,
Rob, who professed himself a Jacobite, took the liberty of extending his
sphere of operations against all whom he chose to consider as friendly to
the revolutionary government, or to that most obnoxious of measures--the
Union of the Kingdoms. Under one or other of these pretexts, all his
neighbours of the Lowlands who had anything to lose, or were unwilling to
compound for security by paying him an annual sum for protection or
forbearance, were exposed to his ravages.

The country in which this private warfare, or system of depredation, was
to be carried on, was, until opened up by roads, in the highest degree
favourable for his purpose. It was broken up into narrow valleys, the
habitable part of which bore no proportion to the huge wildernesses of
forest, rocks, and precipices by which they were encircled, and which
was, moreover, full of inextricable passes, morasses, and natural
strengths, unknown to any but the inhabitants themselves, where a few men
acquainted with the ground were capable, with ordinary address, of
baffling the pursuit of numbers.

The opinions and habits of the nearest neighbours to the Highland line
were also highly favourable to Rob Roy's purpose. A large proportion of
them were of his own clan of MacGregor, who claimed the property of
Balquhidder, and other Highland districts, as having been part of the
ancient possessions of their tribe; though the harsh laws, under the
severity of which they had suffered so deeply, had assigned the ownership
to other families. The civil wars of the seventeenth century had
accustomed these men to the use of arms, and they were peculiarly brave
and fierce from remembrance of their sufferings. The vicinity of a
comparatively rich Lowland district gave also great temptations to
incursion. Many belonging to other clans, habituated to contempt of
industry, and to the use of arms, drew towards an unprotected frontier
which promised facility of plunder; and the state of the country, now so
peaceable and quiet, verified at that time the opinion which Dr. Johnson
heard with doubt and suspicion, that the most disorderly and lawless
districts of the Highlands were those which lay nearest to the Lowland
line. There was, therefore, no difficulty in Rob Roy, descended of a
tribe which was widely dispersed in the country we have described,
collecting any number of followers whom he might be able to keep in
action, and to maintain by his proposed operations.

He himself appears to have been singularly adapted for the profession
which he proposed to exercise. His stature was not of the tallest, but
his person was uncommonly strong and compact. The greatest peculiarities
of his frame were the breadth of his shoulders, and the great and almost
disproportionate length of his arms; so remarkable, indeed, that it was
said he could, without stooping, tie the garters of his Highland hose,
which are placed two inches below the knee. His countenance was open,
manly, stern at periods of danger, but frank and cheerful in his hours of
festivity. His hair was dark red, thick, and frizzled, and curled short
around the face. His fashion of dress showed, of course, the knees and
upper part of the leg, which was described to me, as resembling that of a
Highland bull, hirsute, with red hair, and evincing muscular strength
similar to that animal. To these personal qualifications must be added a
masterly use of the Highland sword, in which his length of arm gave him
great advantage--and a perfect and intimate knowledge of all the recesses
of the wild country in which he harboured, and the character of the
various individuals, whether friendly or hostile, with whom he might come
in contact.

His mental qualities seem to have been no less adapted to the
circumstances in which he was placed. Though the descendant of the
blood-thirsty Ciar Mhor, he inherited none of his ancestor's ferocity. On
the contrary, Rob Roy avoided every appearance of cruelty, and it is not
averred that he was ever the means of unnecessary bloodshed, or the actor
in any deed which could lead the way to it. His schemes of plunder were
contrived and executed with equal boldness and sagacity, and were almost
universally successful, from the skill with which they were laid, and the
secrecy and rapidity with which they were executed. Like Robin Hood of
England, he was a kind and gentle robber,--and, while he took from the
rich, was liberal in relieving the poor. This might in part be policy;
but the universal tradition of the country speaks it to have arisen from
a better motive. All whom I have conversed with, and I have in my youth
seen some who knew Rob Roy personally, give him the character of a
benevolent and humane man "in his way."

His ideas of morality were those of an Arab chief, being such as
naturally arose out of his wild education. Supposing Rob Roy to have
argued on the tendency of the life which he pursued, whether from choice
or from necessity, he would doubtless have assumed to himself the
character of a brave man, who, deprived of his natural rights by the
partiality of laws, endeavoured to assert them by the strong hand of
natural power; and he is most felicitously described as reasoning thus,
in the high-toned poetry of my gifted friend Wordsworth:

                 Say, then, that he was wise as brave,
                 As wise in thought as bold in deed;
                     For in the principles of things
                      _He_ sought his moral creed.

                 Said generous Rob, "What need of Books?
                 Burn all the statutes and their shelves!
                     They stir us up against our kind,
                     And worse, against ourselves.

                    "We have a passion, make a law,
                    Too false to guide us or control;
                    And for the law itself we fight
                    In bitterness of soul.

                "And puzzled, blinded, then we lose
                 Distinctions that are plain and few;
                       These find I graven on my heart,
                       That tells me what to do.

                "The creatures see of flood and field,
                     And those that travel on the wind
                 With them no strife can last; they live
                    In peace, and peace of mind.

                "For why? Because the good old rule
                    Sufficeth them; the simple plan,
                That they should take who have the power,
                    And they should keep who can.

                "A lesson which is quickly learn'd,
                    A signal through which all can see;
                Thus, nothing here provokes the strong
                           To wanton cruelty.

                "And freakishness of mind is check'd,
                    He tamed who foolishly aspires,
                While to the measure of his might
                       Each fashions his desires.

                "All kinds and creatures stand and fall
                    By strength of prowess or of wit;
               'Tis God's appointment who must sway,
                         And who is to submit.

              "Since then," said Robin, "right is plain,
                    And longest life is but a day,
               To have my ends, maintain my rights,
                      I'll take the shortest way."

               And thus among these rocks he lived,
               Through summer's heat and winter's snow

                        The eagle, he was lord above,
                        And Rob was lord below.

We are not, however, to suppose the character of this distinguished
outlaw to be that of an actual hero, acting uniformly and consistently on
such moral principles as the illustrious bard who, standing by his grave,
has vindicated his fame. On the contrary, as is common with barbarous
chiefs, Rob Roy appears to have mixed his professions of principle with a
large alloy of craft and dissimulation, of which his conduct during the
civil war is sufficient proof. It is also said, and truly, that although
his courtesy was one of his strongest characteristics, yet sometimes he
assumed an arrogance of manner which was not easily endured by the
high-spirited men to whom it was addressed, and drew the daring outlaw
into frequent disputes, from which he did not always come off with
credit. From this it has been inferred, that Rob Roy w as more of a bully
than a hero, or at least that he had, according to the common phrase, his
fighting days. Some aged men who knew him well, have described him also
as better at a _taich-tulzie,_ or scuffle within doors, than in mortal
combat. The tenor of his life may be quoted to repel this charge; while,
at the same time, it must be allowed, that the situation in which he was
placed rendered him prudently averse to maintaining quarrels, where
nothing was to be had save blows, and where success would have raised up
against him new and powerful enemies, in a country where revenge was
still considered as a duty rather than a crime. The power of commanding
his passions on such occasions, far from being inconsistent with the part
which MacGregor had to perform, was essentially necessary, at the period
when he lived, to prevent his career from being cut short.

I may here mention one or two occasions on which Rob Roy appears to have
given way in the manner alluded to. My late venerable friend, John Ramsay
of Ochtertyre, alike eminent as a classical scholar and as an authentic
register of the ancient history and manners of Scotland, informed me,
that on occasion of a public meeting at a bonfire in the town of Doune,
Rob Roy gave some offence to James Edmondstone of Newton, the same
gentleman who was unfortunately concerned in the slaughter of Lord Rollo
(see Maclaurin's Criminal Trials, No. IX.), when Edmondstone compelled
MacGregor to quit the town on pain of being thrown by him into the
bonfire. "I broke one off your ribs on a former occasion," said he, "and
now, Rob, if you provoke me farther, I will break your neck." But it must
be remembered that Edmondstone was a man of consequence in the Jacobite
party, as he carried the royal standard of James VII. at the battle of
Sheriffmuir, and also, that he was near the door of his own
mansion-house, and probably surrounded by his friends and adherents. Rob
Roy, however, suffered in reputation for retiring under such a threat.

Another well-vouched case is that of Cunningham of Boquhan.

Henry Cunningham, Esq. of Boquhan, was a gentleman of Stirlingshire, who,
like many _exquisites_ of our own time, united a natural high spirit and
daring character with an affectation of delicacy of address and manners
amounting to foppery.*

* His courage and affectation of foppery were united, which is less
frequently the case, with a spirit of innate modesty. He is thus
described in Lord Binning's satirical verses, entitled "Argyle's Levee:"

                   "Six times had Harry bowed unseen,
                        Before he dared advance;
                   The Duke then, turning round well pleased,
                        Said, 'Sure you've been in France!
                   A more polite and jaunty man
                        I never saw before:'
                   Then Harry bowed, and blushed, and bowed,
                        And strutted to the door."

See a Collection of original Poems, by Scotch Gentlemen, vol. ii. p. 125.

He chanced to be in company with Rob Roy, who, either in contempt of
Boquhan's supposed effeminacy, or because he thought him a safe person to
fix a quarrel on (a point which Rob's enemies alleged he was wont to
consider), insulted him so grossly that a challenge passed between them.
The goodwife of the clachan had hidden Cunningham's sword, and while he
rummaged the house in quest of his own or some other, Rob Roy went to the
Shieling Hill, the appointed place of combat, and paraded there with
great majesty, waiting for his antagonist. In the meantime, Cunningham
had rummaged out an old sword, and, entering the ground of contest in all
haste, rushed on the outlaw with such unexpected fury that he fairly
drove him off the field, nor did he show himself in the village again for
some time. Mr. MacGregor Stirling has a softened account of this anecdote
in his new edition of Nimmo's Stirlingshire; still he records Rob Roy's
discomfiture.

Occasionally Rob Roy suffered disasters, and incurred great personal
danger. On one remarkable occasion he was saved by the coolness of his
lieutenant, Macanaleister or Fletcher, the _Little John_ of his band--a
fine active fellow, of course, and celebrated as a marksman. It happened
that MacGregor and his party had been surprised and dispersed by a
superior force of horse and foot, and the word was given to "split and
squander." Each shifted for himself, but a bold dragoon attached himself
to pursuit of Rob, and overtaking him, struck at him with his broadsword.
A plate of iron in his bonnet saved the MacGregor from being cut down to
the teeth; but the blow was heavy enough to bear him to the ground,
crying as he fell, "Oh, Macanaleister, is there naething in her?" (_i.e._
in the gun). The trooper, at the same time, exclaiming, "D--n ye, your
mother never wrought your night-cap!" had his arm raised for a second
blow, when Macanaleister fired, and the ball pierced the dragoon's heart.

Such as he was, Rob Roy's progress in his occupation is thus described by
a gentleman of sense and talent, who resided within the circle of his
predatory wars, had probably felt their effects, and speaks of them, as
might be expected, with little of the forbearance with which, from their
peculiar and romantic character, they are now regarded.

"This man (Rob Roy MacGregor) was a person of sagacity, and neither
wanted stratagem nor address; and having abandoned himself to all
licentiousness, set himself at the head of all the loose, vagrant, and
desperate people of that clan, in the west end of Perth and Stirling
shires, and infested those whole countries with thefts, robberies, and
depredations. Very few who lived within his reach (that is, within the
distance of a nocturnal expedition) could promise to themselves security,
either for their persons or effects, without subjecting themselves to pay
him a heavy and shameful tax of _black-mail._ He at last proceeded to
such a degree of audaciousness that he committed robberies, raised
contributions, and resented quarrels, at the head of a very considerable
body of armed men, in open day, and in the face of the government."*

* Mr. Grahame of Gartmore's Causes of the Disturbances in the Highlands.
See Jamieson's edition of Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland,
Appendix, vol. ii. p. 348.

The extent and success of these depredations cannot be surprising, when
we consider that the scene of them was laid in a country where the
general law was neither enforced nor respected.

Having recorded that the general habit of cattle-stealing had blinded
even those of the better classes to the infamy of the practice, and that
as men's property consisted entirely in herds, it was rendered in the
highest degree precarious, Mr. Grahame adds--

"On these accounts there is no culture of ground, no improvement of
pastures, and from the same reasons, no manufactures, no trade; in short,
no industry. The people are extremely prolific, and therefore so
numerous, that there is not business in that country, according to its
present order and economy, for the one-half of them. Every place is full
of idle people, accustomed to arms, and lazy in everything but rapines
and depredations. As _buddel_ or _aquavitae_ houses are to be found
everywhere through the country, so in these they saunter away their time,
and frequently consume there the returns of their illegal purchases. Here
the laws have never been executed, nor the authority of the magistrate
ever established. Here the officer of the law neither dare nor can
execute his duty, and several places are about thirty miles from lawful
persons. In short, here is no order, no authority, no government."

The period of the rebellion, 1715, approached soon after Rob Roy had
attained celebrity. His Jacobite partialities were now placed in
opposition to his sense of the obligations which he owed to the indirect
protection of the Duke of Argyle. But the desire of "drowning his
sounding steps amid the din of general war" induced him to join the
forces of the Earl of Mar, although his patron the Duke of Argyle was at
the head of the army opposed to the Highland insurgents.

The MacGregors, a large sept of them at least, that of Ciar Mhor, on this
occasion were not commanded by Rob Roy, but by his nephew already
mentioned, Gregor MacGregor, otherwise called James Grahame of Glengyle,
and still better remembered by the Gaelic epithet of _Ghlune Dhu, i.e._
Black Knee, from a black spot on one of his knees, which his Highland
garb rendered visible. There can be no question, however, that being then
very young, Glengyle must have acted on most occasions by the advice and
direction of so experienced a leader as his uncle.

The MacGregors assembled in numbers at that period, and began even to
threaten the Lowlands towards the lower extremity of Loch Lomond. They
suddenly seized all the boats which were upon the lake, and, probably
with a view to some enterprise of their own, drew them overland to
Inversnaid, in order to intercept the progress of a large body of
west-country whigs who were in arms for the government, and moving in
that direction.

The whigs made an excursion for the recovery of the boats. Their forces
consisted of volunteers from Paisley, Kilpatrick, and elsewhere, who,
with the assistance of a body of seamen, were towed up the river Leven in
long-boats belonging to the ships of war then lying in the Clyde. At Luss
they were joined by the forces of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, and James
Grant, his son-in-law, with their followers, attired in the Highland
dress of the period, which is picturesquely described.* The whole party
crossed to Craig-Royston, but the MacGregors did not offer combat.

* "At night they arrived at Luss, where they were joined by Sir Humphrey
Colquhoun of Luss, and James Grant of Plascander, his son-in-law,
followed by forty or fifty stately fellows in their short hose and belted
plaids, armed each of them with a well-fixed gun on his shoulder, a
strong handsome target, with a sharp-pointed steel of above half an ell
in length screwed into the navel of it, on his left arm, a sturdy
claymore by his side, and a pistol or two, with a dirk and knife, in his
belt."--_Rae's History of the Rebellion,_ 4to, p. 287.

If we are to believe the account of the expedition given by the historian
Rae, they leapt on shore at Craig-Royston with the utmost intrepidity, no
enemy appearing to oppose them, and by the noise of their drums, which
they beat incessantly, and the discharge of their artillery and small
arms, terrified the MacGregors, whom they appear never to have seen, out
of their fastnesses, and caused them to fly in a panic to the general
camp of the Highlanders at Strath-Fillan.* The low-country men succeeded
in getting possession of the boats at a great expenditure of noise and
courage, and little risk of danger.

* Note C. The Loch Lomond Expedition.

After this temporary removal from his old haunts, Rob Roy was sent by the
Earl of Mar to Aberdeen, to raise, it is believed, a part of the clan
Gregor, which is settled in that country. These men were of his own
family (the race of the Ciar Mhor). They were the descendants of about
three hundred MacGregors whom the Earl of Murray, about the year 1624,
transported from his estates in Menteith to oppose against his enemies
the MacIntoshes, a race as hardy and restless as they were themselves.

But while in the city of Aberdeen, Rob Roy met a relation of a very
different class and character from those whom he was sent to summon to
arms. This was Dr. James Gregory (by descent a MacGregor), the patriarch
of a dynasty of professors distinguished for literary and scientific
talent, and the grandfather of the late eminent physician and
accomplished scholar, Professor Gregory of Edinburgh. This gentleman was
at the time Professor of Medicine in King's College, Aberdeen, and son of
Dr. James Gregory, distinguished in science as the inventor of the
reflecting telescope. With such a family it may seem our friend Rob could
have had little communion. But civil war is a species of misery which
introduces men to strange bed-fellows. Dr. Gregory thought it a point of
prudence to claim kindred, at so critical a period, with a man so
formidable and influential. He invited Rob Roy to his house, and treated
him with so much kindness, that he produced in his generous bosom a
degree of gratitude which seemed likely to occasion very inconvenient
effects.

The Professor had a son about eight or nine years old,--a lively, stout
boy of his age,--with whose appearance our Highland Robin Hood was much
taken. On the day before his departure from the house of his learned
relative, Rob Roy, who had pondered deeply how he might requite his
cousin's kindness, took Dr. Gregory aside, and addressed him to this
purport:--"My dear kinsman, I have been thinking what I could do to show
my sense of your hospitality. Now, here you have a fine spirited boy of a
son, whom you are ruining by cramming him with your useless
book-learning, and I am determined, by way of manifesting my great
good-will to you and yours, to take him with me and make a man of him."
The learned Professor was utterly overwhelmed when his warlike kinsman
announced his kind purpose in language which implied no doubt of its
being a proposal which, would be, and ought to be, accepted with the
utmost gratitude. The task of apology or explanation was of a most
delicate description; and there might have been considerable danger in
suffering Rob Roy to perceive that the promotion with which he threatened
the son was, in the father's eyes, the ready road to the gallows. Indeed,
every excuse which he could at first think of--such as regret for putting
his friend to trouble with a youth who had been educated in the Lowlands,
and so on--only strengthened the chieftain's inclination to patronise his
young kinsman, as he supposed they arose entirely from the modesty of the
father. He would for a long time take no apology, and even spoke of
carrying off the youth by a certain degree of kindly violence, whether
his father consented, or not. At length the perplexed Professor pleaded
that his son was very young, and in an infirm state of health, and not
yet able to endure the hardships of a mountain life; but that in another
year or two he hoped his health would be firmly established, and he would
be in a fitting condition to attend on his brave kinsman, and follow out
the splendid destinies to which he opened the way. This agreement being
made, the cousins parted,--Rob Roy pledging his honour to carry his young
relation to the hills with him on his next return to Aberdeenshire, and
Dr. Gregory, doubtless, praying in his secret soul that he might never
see Rob's Highland face again.

James Gregory, who thus escaped being his kinsman's recruit, and in all
probability his henchman, was afterwards Professor of Medicine in the
College, and, like most of his family, distinguished by his scientific
acquirements. He was rather of an irritable and pertinacious disposition;
and his friends were wont to remark, when he showed any symptom of these
foibles, "Ah! this comes of not having been educated by Rob Roy."

The connection between Rob Roy and his classical kinsman did not end with
the period of Rob's transient power. At a period considerably subsequent
to the year 1715, he was walking in the Castle Street of Aberdeen, arm in
arm with his host, Dr. James Gregory, when the drums in the barracks
suddenly beat to arms, and soldiers were seen issuing from the barracks.
"If these lads are turning out," said Rob, taking leave of his cousin
with great composure, "it is time for me to look after my safety." So
saying, he dived down a close, and, as John Bunyan says, "went upon his
way and was seen no more."*

* The first of these anecdotes, which brings the highest pitch of
civilisation so  closely in contact with the half-savage state of
society, I have heard told by the late distinguished Dr. Gregory; and the
members of his family have had the kindness to collate the story with
their recollections and family documents, and furnish the authentic
particulars. The second rests on the recollection of an old man, who was
present when Rob took French leave of his literary cousin on hearing the
drums beat, and communicated the circumstance to Mr. Alexander Forbes, a
connection of Dr. Gregory by marriage, who is still alive.

We have already stated that Rob Roy's conduct during the insurrection of
1715 was very equivocal. His person and followers were in the Highland
army, but his heart seems to have been with the Duke of Argyle's. Yet the
insurgents were constrained to trust to him as their only guide, when
they marched from Perth towards Dunblane, with the view of crossing the
Forth at what are called the Fords of Frew, and when they themselves said
he could not be relied upon.

This movement to the westward, on the part of the insurgents, brought on
the battle of Sheriffmuir--indecisive, indeed, in its immediate results,
but of which the Duke of Argyle reaped the whole advantage. In this
action, it will be recollected that the right wing of the Highlanders
broke and cut to pieces Argyle's left wing, while the clans on the left
of Mar's army, though consisting of Stewarts, Mackenzies, and Camerons,
were completely routed. During this medley of flight and pursuit, Rob Roy
retained his station on a hill in the centre of the Highland position;
and though it is said his attack might have decided the day, he could not
be prevailed upon to charge. This was the more unfortunate for the
insurgents, as the leading of a party of the Macphersons had been
committed to MacGregor. This, it is said, was owing to the age and
infirmity of the chief of that name, who, unable to lead his clan in
person, objected to his heir-apparent, Macpherson of Nord, discharging
his duty on that occasion; so that the tribe, or a part of them, were
brigaded with their allies the MacGregors. While the favourable moment
for action was gliding away unemployed, Mar's positive orders reached Rob
Roy that he should presently attack. To which he coolly replied, "No, no!
if they cannot do it without me, they cannot do it with me." One of the
Macphersons, named Alexander, one of Rob's original profession,
_videlicet,_ a drover, but a man of great strength and spirit, was so
incensed at the inactivity of this temporary leader, that he threw off
his plaid, drew his sword, and called out to his clansmen, "Let us endure
this no longer! if he will not lead you I will." Rob Roy replied, with
great coolness, "Were the question about driving Highland stots or
kyloes, Sandie, I would yield to your superior skill; but as it respects
the leading of men, I must be allowed to be the better judge."--"Did the
matter respect driving Glen-Eigas stots," answered the Macpherson, "the
question with Rob would not be, which was to be last, but which was to be
foremost." Incensed at this sarcasm, MacGregor drew his sword, and they
would have fought upon the spot if their friends on both sides had not
interfered. But the moment of attack was completely lost. Rob did not,
however, neglect his own private interest on the occasion. In the
confusion of an undecided field of battle, he enriched his followers by
plundering the baggage and the dead on both sides.

The fine old satirical ballad on the battle of Sheriffmuir does not
forget to stigmatise our hero's conduct on this memorable occasion--

                        Rob Roy he stood watch
                        On a hill for to catch
                 The booty for aught that I saw, man;
                         For he ne'er advanced
                 From the place where he stanced,
                 Till nae mair was to do there at a', man.

Notwithstanding the sort of neutrality which Rob Roy had continued to
observe during the progress of the Rebellion, he did not escape some of
its penalties. He was included in the act of attainder, and the house in
Breadalbane, which was his place of retreat, was burned by General Lord
Cadogan, when, after the conclusion of the insurrection, he marched
through the Highlands to disarm and punish the offending clans. But upon
going to Inverary with about forty or fifty of his followers, Rob
obtained favour, by an apparent surrender of their arms to Colonel
Patrick Campbell of Finnah, who furnished them and their leader with
protections under his hand. Being thus in a great measure secured from
the resentment of government, Rob Roy established his residence at
Craig-Royston, near Loch Lomond, in the midst of his own kinsmen, and
lost no time in resuming his private quarrel with the Duke of Montrose.
For this purpose he soon got on foot as many men, and well armed too, as
he had yet commanded. He never stirred without a body-guard of ten or
twelve picked followers, and without much effort could increase them to
fifty or sixty.

The Duke was not wanting in efforts to destroy this troublesome
adversary. His Grace applied to General Carpenter, commanding the forces
in Scotland, and by his orders three parties of soldiers were directed
from the three different points of Glasgow, Stirling, and Finlarig near
Killin. Mr. Graham of Killearn, the Duke of Montrose's relation and
factor, Sheriff-depute also of Dumbartonshire, accompanied the troops,
that they might act under the civil authority, and have the assistance of
a trusty guide well acquainted with the hills. It was the object of these
several columns to arrive about the same time in the neighbourhood of Rob
Roy's residence, and surprise him and his followers. But heavy rains, the
difficulties of the country, and the good intelligence which the Outlaw
was always supplied with, disappointed their well-concerted combination.
The troops, finding the birds were flown, avenged themselves by
destroying the nest. They burned Rob Roy's house,--though not with
impunity; for the MacGregors, concealed among the thickets and cliffs,
fired on them, and killed a grenadier.

Rob Roy avenged himself for the loss which he sustained on this occasion
by an act of singular audacity. About the middle of November 1716, John
Graham of Killearn, already mentioned as factor of the Montrose family,
went to a place called Chapel Errock, where the tenants of the Duke were
summoned to appear with their termly rents. They appeared accordingly,
and the factor had received ready money to the amount of about L300, when
Rob Roy entered the room at the head of an armed party. The Steward
endeavoured to protect the Duke's property by throwing the books of
accounts and money into a garret, trusting they might escape notice. But
the experienced freebooter was not to be baffled where such a prize was
at stake. He recovered the books and cash, placed himself calmly in the
receipt of custom, examined the accounts, pocketed the money, and gave
receipts on the Duke's part, saying he would hold reckoning with the Duke
of Montrose out of the damages which he had sustained by his Grace's
means, in which he included the losses he had suffered, as well by the
burning of his house by General Cadogan, as by the later expedition
against Craig-Royston. He then requested Mr. Graham to attend him; nor
does it appear that he treated him with any personal violence, or even
rudeness, although he informed him he regarded him as a hostage, and
menaced rough usage in case he should be pursued, or in danger of being
overtaken. Few more audacious feats have been performed. After some rapid
changes of place (the fatigue attending which was the only annoyance that
Mr. Graham seems to have complained of), he carried his prisoner to an
island on Loch Katrine, and caused him to write to the Duke, to state
that his ransom was fixed at L3400 merks, being the balance which
MacGregor pretended remained due to him, after deducting all that he owed
to the Duke of Montrose.

However, after detaining Mr. Graham five or six days in custody on the
island, which is still called Rob Roy's Prison, and could be no
comfortable dwelling for November nights, the Outlaw seems to have
despaired of attaining further advantage from his bold attempt, and
suffered his prisoner to depart uninjured, with the account-books, and
bills granted by the tenants, taking especial care to retain the cash.*

* The reader will find two original letters of the Duke of Montrose, with
that which Mr. Graham of Killearn despatched from his prison-house by the
Outlaw's command, in the Appendix, No. II.

About 1717, our Chieftain had the dangerous adventure of falling into the
hands of the Duke of Athole, almost as much his enemy as the Duke of
Montrose himself; but his cunning and dexterity again freed him from
certain death. See a contemporary account of this curious affair in the
Appendix, No. V.

Other pranks are told of Rob, which argue the same boldness and sagacity
as the seizure of Killearn. The Duke of Montrose, weary of his insolence,
procured a quantity of arms, and distributed them among his tenantry, in
order that they might defend themselves against future violences. But
they fell into different hands from those they were intended for. The
MacGregors made separate attacks on the houses of the tenants, and
disarmed them all one after another, not, as was supposed, without the
consent of many of the persons so disarmed.

As a great part of the Duke's rents were payable in kind, there were
girnels (granaries) established for storing up the corn at Moulin, and
elsewhere on the Buchanan estate. To these storehouses Rob Roy used to
repair with a sufficient force, and of course when he was least expected,
and insist upon the delivery of quantities of grain--sometimes for his
own use, and sometimes for the assistance of the country people; always
giving regular receipts in his own name, and pretending to reckon with
the Duke for what sums he received.

In the meanwhile a garrison was established by Government, the ruins of
which may be still seen about half-way betwixt Loch Lomond and Loch
Katrine, upon Rob Roy's original property of Inversnaid. Even this
military establishment could not bridle the restless MacGregor. He
contrived to surprise the little fort, disarm the soldiers, and destroy
the fortification. It was afterwards re-established, and again taken by
the MacGregors under Rob Roy's nephew Ghlune Dhu, previous to the
insurrection of 1745-6. Finally, the fort of Inversnaid was a third time
repaired after the extinction of civil discord; and when we find the
celebrated General Wolfe commanding in it, the imagination is strongly
affected by the variety of time and events which the circumstance brings
simultaneously to recollection. It is now totally dismantled.*

* About 1792, when the author chanced to pass that way while on a tour
through the Highlands, a garrison, consisting of a single veteran, was
still maintained at Inversnaid. The venerable warder was reaping his
barley croft in all peace and tranquillity and when we asked admittance
to repose ourselves, he told us we would find the key of the Fort under
the door.

It was not, strictly speaking, as a professed depredator that Rob Roy now
conducted his operations, but as a sort of contractor for the police; in
Scottish phrase, a lifter of black-mail. The nature of this contract has
been described in the Novel of Waverley, and in the notes on that work.
Mr. Grahame of Gartmore's description of the character may be here
transcribed:--

"The confusion and disorders of the country were so great, and the
Government go absolutely neglected it, that the sober people were obliged
to purchase some security to their effects by shameful and ignominious
contracts of _black-mail._ A person who had the greatest correspondence
with the thieves was agreed with to preserve the lands contracted for
from thefts, for certain sums to be paid yearly. Upon this fund he
employed one half of the thieves to recover stolen cattle, and the other
half of them to steal, in order to make this agreement and black-mail
contract necessary. The estates of those gentlemen who refused to
contract, or give countenance to that pernicious practice, are plundered
by the thieving part of the watch, in order to force them to purchase
their protection. Their leader calls himself the _Captain_ of the
_Watch,_ and his banditti go by that name. And as this gives them a kind
of authority to traverse the country, so it makes them capable of doing
any mischief. These corps through the Highlands make altogether a very
considerable body of men, inured from their infancy to the greatest
fatigues, and very capable, to act in a military way when occasion
offers.

"People who are ignorant and enthusiastic, who are in absolute dependence
upon their chief or landlord, who are directed in their consciences by
Roman Catholic priests, or nonjuring clergymen, and who are not masters
of any property, may easily be formed into any mould. They fear no
dangers, as they have nothing to lose, and so can with ease be induced to
attempt anything. Nothing can make their condition worse: confusions and
troubles do commonly indulge them in such licentiousness, that by these
they better it."*

* Letters from the North of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 344, 345.

As the practice of contracting for black-mail was an obvious
encouragement to rapine, and a great obstacle to the course of justice,
it was, by the statute 1567, chap. 21, declared a capital crime both on
the part of him who levied and him who paid this sort of tax. But the
necessity of the case prevented the execution of this severe law, I
believe, in any one instance; and men went on submitting to a certain
unlawful imposition rather than run the risk of utter ruin--just as it is
now found difficult or impossible to prevent those who have lost a very
large sum of money by robbery, from compounding with the felons for
restoration of a part of their booty.

At what rate Rob Roy levied black-mail I never heard stated; but there is
a formal contract by which his nephew, in 1741, agreed with various
landholders of estates in the counties of Perth, Stirling, and Dumbarton,
to recover cattle stolen from them, or to pay the value within six months
of the loss being intimated, if such intimation were made to him with
sufficient despatch, in consideration of a payment of L5 on each L100 of
valued rent, which was not a very heavy insurance. Petty thefts were not
included in the contract; but the theft of one horse, or one head of
black cattle, or of sheep exceeding the number of six, fell under the
agreement.

Rob Roy's profits upon such contracts brought him in a considerable
revenue in money or cattle, of which he made a popular use; for he was
publicly liberal as well as privately beneficent. The minister of the
parish of Balquhidder, whose name was Robertson, was at one time
threatening to pursue the parish for an augmentation of his stipend. Rob
Roy took an opportunity to assure him that he would do well to abstain
from this new exaction--a hint which the minister did not fail to
understand. But to make him some indemnification, MacGregor presented him
every year with a cow and a fat sheep; and no scruples as to the mode in
which the donor came by them are said to have affected the reverend
gentleman's conscience.

The following amount of the proceedings of Rob Roy, on an application to
him from one of his contractors, had in it something very interesting to
me, as told by an old countryman in the Lennox who was present on the
expedition. But as there is no point or marked incident in the story, and
as it must necessarily be without the half-frightened, half-bewildered
look with which the narrator accompanied his recollections, it may
possibly lose, its effect when transferred to paper.

My informant stated himself to have been a lad of fifteen, living with
his father on the estate of a gentleman in the Lennox, whose name I have
forgotten, in the capacity of herd. On a fine morning in the end of
October, the period when such calamities were almost always to be
apprehended, they found the Highland thieves had been down upon them, and
swept away ten or twelve head of cattle. Rob Roy was sent for, and came
with a party of seven or eight armed men. He heard with great gravity all
that could be told him of the circumstances of the _creagh,_ and
expressed his confidence that the _herd-widdiefows_* could not have
carried their booty far, and that he should be able to recover them.

* Mad herdsmen--a name given to cattle-stealers [properly one who
deserves to fill a _widdie,_ or halter].

He desired that two Lowlanders should be sent on the party, as it was not
to be expected that any of his gentlemen would take the trouble of
driving the cattle when he should recover possession of them. My
informant and his father were despatched on the expedition. They had no
good will to the journey; nevertheless, provided with a little food, and
with a dog to help them to manage the cattle, they set off with
MacGregor. They travelled a long day's journey in the direction of the
mountain Benvoirlich, and slept for the night in a ruinous hut or bothy.
The next morning they resumed their journey among the hills, Rob Roy
directing their course by signs and marks on the heath which my informant
did not understand.

About noon Rob commanded the armed party to halt, and to lie couched in
the heather where it was thickest. "Do you and your son," he said to the
oldest Lowlander, "go boldly over the hill;--you will see beneath you, in
a glen on the other side, your master's cattle, feeding, it may be, with
others; gather your own together, taking care to disturb no one else, and
drive them to this place. If any one speak to or threaten you, tell them
that I am here, at the head of twenty men."--"But what if they abuse us,
or kill us?" said the Lowland, peasant, by no means delighted at finding
the embassy imposed on him and his son. "If they do you any wrong," said
Rob, "I will never forgive them as long as I live." The Lowlander was by
no means content with this security, but did not think it safe to dispute
Rob's injunctions.


[Illustration: Cattle Lifting--000]


He and his son climbed the hill therefore, found a deep valley, where
there grazed, as Rob had predicted, a large herd of cattle. They
cautiously selected those which their master had lost, and took measures
to drive them over the hill. As soon as they began to remove them, they
were surprised by hearing cries and screams; and looking around in fear
and trembling they saw a woman seeming to have started out of the earth,
who _flyted_ at them, that is, scolded them, in Gaelic. When they
contrived, however, in the best Gaelic they could muster, to deliver the
message Rob Roy told them, she became silent, and disappeared without
offering them any further annoyance. The chief heard their story on their
return, and spoke with great complacency of the art which he possessed of
putting such things to rights without any unpleasant bustle. The party
were now on their road home, and the danger, though not the fatigue, of
the expedition was at an end.

They drove on the cattle with little repose until it was nearly dark,
when Rob proposed to halt for the night upon a wide moor, across which a
cold north-east wind, with frost on its wing, was whistling to the tune
of the Pipers of Strath-Dearn.*

* The winds which sweep a wild glen in Badenoch are so called.

The Highlanders, sheltered by their plaids, lay down on the heath
comfortably enough, but the Lowlanders had no protection whatever. Rob
Roy observing this, directed one of his followers to afford the old man a
portion of his plaid; "for the callant (boy), he may," said the
freebooter, "keep himself warm by walking about and watching the cattle."
My informant heard this sentence with no small distress; and as the frost
wind grew more and more cutting, it seemed to freeze the very blood in
his young veins. He had been exposed to weather all his life, he said,
but never could forget the cold of that night; insomuch that, in the
bitterness of his heart, he cursed the bright moon for giving no heat
with so much light. At length the sense of cold and weariness became so
intolerable that he resolved to desert his watch to seek some repose and
shelter. With that purpose he couched himself down behind one of the most
bulky of the Highlanders, who acted as lieutenant to the party. Not
satisfied with having secured the shelter of the man's large person, he
coveted a share of his plaid, and by imperceptible degrees drew a corner
of it round him. He was now comparatively in paradise, and slept sound
till daybreak, when he awoke, and was terribly afraid on observing that
his nocturnal operations had altogether uncovered the dhuiniewassell's
neck and shoulders, which, lacking the plaid which should have protected
them, were covered with _cranreuch_ (_i.e._ hoar frost). The lad rose in
great dread of a beating, at least, when it should be found how
luxuriously he had been accommodated at the expense of a principal person
of the party. Good Mr. Lieutenant, however, got up and shook himself,
rubbing off the hoar frost with his plaid, and muttering something of a
_cauld neight._ They then drove on the cattle, which were restored to
their owner without farther adventure--The above can hardly be termed a
tale, but yet it contains materials both for the poet and artist.

It was perhaps about the same time that, by a rapid march into the
Balquhidder hills at the head of a body of his own tenantry, the Duke of
Montrose actually surprised Rob Roy, and made him prisoner. He was
mounted behind one of the Duke's followers, named James Stewart, and made
fast to him by a horse-girth. The person who had him thus in charge was
grandfather of the intelligent man of the same name, now deceased, who
lately kept the inn in the vicinity of Loch Katrine, and acted as a guide
to visitors through that beautiful scenery. From him I learned the story
many years before he was either a publican, or a guide, except to
moorfowl shooters.--It was evening (to resume the story), and the Duke
was pressing on to lodge his prisoner, so long sought after in vain, in
some place of security, when, in crossing the Teith or Forth, I forget
which, MacGregor took an opportunity to conjure Stewart, by all the ties
of old acquaintance and good neighbourhood, to give him some chance of an
escape from an assured doom. Stewart was moved with compassion, perhaps
with fear. He slipt the girth-buckle, and Rob, dropping down from behind
the horse's croupe, dived, swam, and escaped, pretty much as described in
the Novel. When James Stewart came on shore, the Duke hastily demanded
where his prisoner was; and as no distinct answer was returned, instantly
suspected Stewart's connivance at the escape of the Outlaw; and, drawing
a steel pistol from his belt, struck him down with a blow on the head,
from the effects of which, his descendant said, he never completely
recovered.

In the success of his repeated escapes from the pursuit of his powerful
enemy, Rob Roy at length became wanton and facetious. He wrote a mock
challenge to the Duke, which he circulated among his friends to amuse
them over a bottle. The reader will find this document in the Appendix.*
It is written in a good hand, and not particularly deficient in grammar
or spelling.

* Appendix, No. III.

Our Southern readers must be given to understand that it was a piece of
humour,--a _quiz,_ in short,--on the part of the Outlaw, who was too
sagacious to propose such a rencontre in reality. This letter was written
in the year 1719.

In the following year Rob Roy composed another epistle, very little to
his own reputation, as he therein confesses having played booty during
the civil war of 1715. It is addressed to General Wade, at that time
engaged in disarming the Highland clans, and making military roads
through the country. The letter is a singular composition. It sets out
the writer's real and unfeigned desire to have offered his service to
King George, but for his liability to be thrown into jail for a civil
debt, at the instance of the Duke of Montrose. Being thus debarred from
taking the right side, he acknowledged he embraced the wrong one, upon
Falstaff's principle, that since the King wanted men and the rebels
soldiers, it were worse shame to be idle in such a stirring world, than
to embrace the worst side, were it as black as rebellion could make it.
The impossibility of his being neutral in such a debate, Rob seems to lay
down as an undeniable proposition. At the same time, while he
acknowledges having been forced into an unnatural rebellion against King
George, he pleads that he not only avoided acting offensively against his
Majesty's forces on all occasions, but, on the contrary, sent to them
what intelligence he could collect from time to time; for the truth of
which he refers to his Grace the Duke of Argyle. What influence this plea
had on General Wade, we have no means of knowing.

Rob Roy appears to have continued to live very much as usual. His fame,
in the meanwhile, passed beyond the narrow limits of the country in which
he resided. A pretended history of him appeared in London during his
lifetime, under the title of the Highland Rogue. It is a catch-penny
publication, bearing in front the effigy of a species of ogre, with a
beard of a foot in length; and his actions are as much exaggerated as his
personal appearance. Some few of the best known adventures of the hero
are told, though with little accuracy; but the greater part of the
pamphlet is entirely fictitious. It is great pity so excellent a theme
for a narrative of the kind had not fallen into the hands of De Foe, who
was engaged at the time on subjects somewhat similar, though inferior in
dignity and interest.

As Rob Roy advanced in years, he became more peaceable in his habits, and
his nephew Ghlune Dhu, with most of his tribe, renounced those peculiar
quarrels with the Duke of Montrose, by which his uncle had been
distinguished. The policy of that great family had latterly been rather
to attach this wild tribe by kindness than to follow the mode of violence
which had been hitherto ineffectually resorted to. Leases at a low rent
were granted to many of the MacGregors, who had heretofore held
possessions in the Duke's Highland property merely by occupancy; and
Glengyle (or Black-knee), who continued to act as collector of
black-mail, managed his police, as a commander of the Highland watch
arrayed at the charge of Government. He is said to have strictly
abstained from the open and lawless depredations which his kinsman had
practised,

It was probably after this state of temporary quiet had been obtained,
that Rob Roy began to think of the concerns of his future state. He had
been bred, and long professed himself, a Protestant; but in his later
years he embraced the Roman Catholic faith,--perhaps on Mrs. Cole's
principle, that it was a comfortable religion for one of his calling. He
is said to have alleged as the cause of his conversion, a desire to
gratify the noble family of Perth, who were then strict Catholics.
Having, as he observed, assumed the name of the Duke of Argyle, his first
protector, he could pay no compliment worth the Earl of Perth's
acceptance save complying with his mode of religion. Rob did not pretend,
when pressed closely on the subject, to justify all the tenets of
Catholicism, and acknowledged that extreme unction always appeared to him
a great waste of _ulzie,_ or oil.*

* Such an admission is ascribed to the robber Donald Bean Lean in
Waverley, chap. lxii,

 In the last years of Rob Roy's life, his clan was involved in a dispute
with one more powerful than themselves. Stewart of Appin, a chief of the
tribe so named, was proprietor of a hill-farm in the Braes of
Balquhidder, called Invernenty. The MacGregors of Rob Roy's tribe claimed
a right to it by ancient occupancy, and declared they would oppose to the
uttermost the settlement of any person upon the farm not being of their
own name. The Stewarts came down with two hundred men, well armed, to do
themselves justice by main force. The MacGregors took the field, but were
unable to muster an equal strength. Rob Roy, fending himself the weaker
party, asked a parley, in which he represented that both clans were
friends to the _King,_ and, that he was unwilling they should be weakened
by mutual conflict, and thus made a merit of surrendering to Appin the
disputed territory of Invernenty. Appin, accordingly, settled as tenants
there, at an easy quit-rent, the MacLarens, a family dependent on the
Stewarts, and from whose character for strength and bravery, it was
expected that they would make their right good if annoyed by the
MacGregors. When all this had been amicably adjusted, in presence of the
two clans drawn up in arms near the Kirk of Balquhidder, Rob Roy,
apparently fearing his tribe might be thought to have conceded too much
upon the occasion, stepped forward and said, that where so many gallant
men were met in arms, it would be shameful to part without it trial of
skill, and therefore he took the freedom to invite any gentleman of the
Stewarts present to exchange a few blows with him for the honour of their
respective clans. The brother-in-law of Appin, and second chieftain of
the clan, Alaster Stewart of Invernahyle, accepted the challenge, and
they encountered with broadsword and target before their respective
kinsmen.*

* Some accounts state that Appin himself was Rob Roy's antagonist on this
occasion. My recollection, from the account of Invernahyle himself, was
as stated in the text. But the period when I received the information is
now so distant, that it is possible I may be mistaken. Invernahyle was
rather of low stature, but very well made, athletic, and an excellent
swordsman.

The combat lasted till Rob received a slight wound in the arm, which was
the usual termination of such a combat when fought for honour only, and
not with a mortal purpose. Rob Roy dropped his point, and congratulated
his adversary on having been the first man who ever drew blood from him.
The victor generously acknowledged, that without the advantage of youth,
and the agility accompanying it, he probably could not have come off with
advantage.

This was probably one of Rob Roy's last exploits in arms. The time of his
death is not known with certainty, but he is generally said to have
survived 1738, and to have died an aged man. When he found himself
approaching his final change, he expressed some contrition for particular
parts of his life. His wife laughed at these scruples of conscience, and
exhorted him to die like a man, as he had lived. In reply, he rebuked her
for her violent passions, and the counsels she had given him. "You have
put strife," he said, "betwixt me and the best men of the country, and
now you would place enmity between me and my God."

There is a tradition, no way inconsistent with the former, if the
character of Rob Roy be justly considered, that while on his deathbed, he
learned that a person with whom he was at enmity proposed to visit him.
"Raise me from my bed," said the invalid; "throw my plaid around me, and
bring me my claymore, dirk, and pistols--it shall never be said that a
foeman saw Rob Roy MacGregor defenceless and unarmed." His foeman,
conjectured to be one of the MacLarens before and after mentioned,
entered and paid his compliments, inquiring after the health of his
formidable neighbour. Rob Roy maintained a cold haughty civility during
their short conference, and so soon as he had left the house. "Now," he
said, "all is over--let the piper play, _Ha til mi tulidh_" (we return no
more); and he is said to have expired before the dirge was finished.

This singular man died in bed in his own house, in the parish of
Balquhidder. He was buried in the churchyard of the same parish, where
his tombstone is only distinguished by a rude attempt at the figure of a
broadsword.

The character of Rob Roy is, of course, a mixed one. His sagacity,
boldness, and prudence, qualities so highly necessary to success in war,
became in some degree vices, from the manner in which they were employed.
The circumstances of his education, however, must be admitted as some
extenuation of his habitual transgressions against the law; and for his
political tergiversations, he might in that distracted period plead the
example of men far more powerful, and less excusable in becoming the
sport of circumstances, than the poor and desperate outlaw. On the other
hand, he was in the constant exercise of virtues, the more meritorious as
they seem inconsistent with his general character. Pursuing the
occupation of a predatory chieftain,--in modern phrase a captain of
banditti,--Rob Roy was moderate in his revenge, and humane in his
successes. No charge of cruelty or bloodshed, unless in battle, is
brought against his memory. In like manner, the formidable outlaw was the
friend of the poor, and, to the utmost of his ability, the support of the
widow and the orphan--kept his word when pledged--and died lamented in
his own wild country, where there were hearts grateful for his
beneficence, though their minds were not sufficiently instructed to
appreciate his errors.

The author perhaps ought to stop here; but the fate of a part of Rob
Roy's family was so extraordinary, as to call for a continuation of this
somewhat prolix account, as affording an interesting chapter, not on
Highland manners alone, but on every stage of society in which the people
of a primitive and half-civilised tribe are brought into close contact
with a nation, in which civilisation and polity have attained a complete
superiority.

Rob had five sons,--Coll, Ronald, James, Duncan, and Robert. Nothing
occurs worth notice concerning three of them; but James, who was a very
handsome man, seems to have had a good deal of his father's spirit, and
the mantle of Dougal Ciar Mhor had apparently descended on the shoulders
of Robin Oig, that is, young Robin. Shortly after Rob Roy's death, the
ill-will which the MacGregors entertained against the MacLarens again
broke out, at the instigation, it was said, of Rob's widow, who seems
thus far to have deserved the character given to her by her husband, as
an Ate' stirring up to blood and strife. Robin Oig, under her
instigation, swore that as soon as he could get back a certain gun which
had belonged to his father, and had been lately at Doune to be repaired,
he would shoot MacLaren, for having presumed to settle on his mother's
land.*

* This fatal piece was taken from Robin Oig, when he was seized many
years afterwards. It remained in possession of the magistrates before
whom he was brought for examination, and now makes part of a small
collection of arms belonging to the Author. It is a Spanish-barrelled
gun, marked with the letters R. M. C., for Robert MacGregor Campbell.

He was as good as his word, and shot MacLaren when between the stilts of
his plough, wounding him mortally.

The aid of a Highland leech was procured, who probed the wound with a
probe made out of a castock; _i.e._, the stalk of a colewort or cabbage.
This learned gentleman declared he would not venture to prescribe, not
knowing with what shot the patient had been wounded. MacLaren died, and
about the same time his cattle were houghed, and his live stock destroyed
in a barbarous manner.

Robin Oig, after this feat--which one of his biographers represents as
the unhappy discharge of a gun--retired to his mother's house, to boast
that he had drawn the first blood in the quarrel aforesaid. On the
approach of troops, and a body of the Stewarts, who were bound to take up
the cause of their tenant, Robin Oig absconded, and escaped all search.

The doctor already mentioned, by name Callam MacInleister, with James and
Ronald, brothers to the actual perpetrator of the murder, were brought to
trial. But as they contrived to represent the action as a rash deed
committed by "the daft callant Rob," to which they were not accessory,
the jury found their accession to the crime was Not Proven. The alleged
acts of spoil and violence on the MacLarens' cattle, were also found to
be unsupported by evidence. As it was proved, however, that the two
brothers, Ronald and James, were held and reputed thieves, they were
appointed to find caution to the extent of L200, for their good behaviour
for seven years.*

* Note D. Author's expedition against the MacLarens.

The spirit of clanship was at that time, so strong--to which must be
added the wish to secure the adherence of stout, able-bodied, and, as the
Scotch phrase then went, _pretty_ men--that the representative of the
noble family of Perth condescended to act openly as patron of the
MacGregors, and appeared as such upon their trial. So at least the author
was informed by the late Robert MacIntosh, Esq., advocate. The
circumstance may, however, have occurred later than 1736--the year in
which this first trial took place.

Robin Oig served for a time in the 42d regiment, and was present at the
battle of Fontenoy, where he was made prisoner and wounded. He was
exchanged, returned to Scotland, and obtained his discharge. He
afterwards appeared openly in the MacGregor's country; and,
notwithstanding his outlawry, married a daughter of Graham of Drunkie, a
gentleman of some property. His wife died a few years afterwards.

The insurrection of 1745 soon afterwards called the MacGregors to arms.
Robert MacGregor of Glencarnoch, generally regarded as the chief of the
whole name, and grandfather of Sir John, whom the clan received in that
character, raised a MacGregor regiment, with which he joined the standard
of the Chevalier. The race of Ciar Mhor, however, affecting independence,
and commanded by Glengyle and his cousin James Roy MacGregor, did not
join this kindred corps, but united themselves to the levies of the
titular Duke of Perth, until William MacGregor Drummond of Bolhaldie,
whom they regarded as head of their branch, of Clan Alpine, should come
over from France. To cement the union after the Highland fashion, James
laid down the name of Campbell, and assumed that of Drummond, in
compliment to Lord Perth. He was also called James Roy, after his father,
and James Mhor, or Big James, from his height. His corps, the relics of
his father Rob's band, behaved with great activity; with only twelve men
he succeeded in surprising and burning, for the second time, the fort at
Inversnaid, constructed for the express purpose of bridling the country
of the MacGregors.

What rank or command James MacGregor had, is uncertain. He calls himself
Major; and Chevalier Johnstone calls him Captain. He must have held rank
under Ghlune Dhu, his kinsman, but his active and audacious character
placed him above the rest of his brethren. Many of his followers were
unarmed; he supplied the want of guns and swords with scythe-blades set
straight upon their handles.

At the battle of Prestonpans, James Roy distinguished himself. "His
company," says Chevalier Johnstone, "did great execution with their
scythes." They cut the legs of the horses in two--the riders through the
middle of their bodies. MacGregor was brave and intrepid, but at the same
time, somewhat whimsical and singular. When advancing to the charge with
his company, he received five wounds, two of them from balls that pierced
his body through and through. Stretched on the ground, with his head
resting on his hand, he called out loudly to the Highlanders of his
company, "My lads, I am not dead. By G--, I shall see if any of you does
not do his duty." The victory, as is well known, was instantly obtained.

In some curious letters of James Roy,* it appears that his thigh-bone was
broken on this occasion, and that he, nevertheless, rejoined the army
with six companies, and was present at the battle of Culloden.

* Published in Blackwood's Magazine, vol. ii. p. 228.

After that defeat, the clan MacGregor kept together in a body, and did
not disperse till they had returned into their own country. They brought
James Roy with them in a litter; and, without being particularly
molested, he was permitted to reside in the MacGregor's country along
with his brothers.

James MacGregor Drummond was attainted for high treason with persons of
more importance. But it appears he had entered into some communication
with Government, as, in the letters quoted, he mentions having obtained a
pass from the Lord Justice-Clerk in 1747, which was a sufficient
protection to him from the military. The circumstance is obscurely stated
in one of the letters already quoted, but may perhaps, joined to
subsequent incidents, authorise the suspicion that James, like his
father, could look at both sides of the cards. As the confusion of the
country subsided, the MacGregors, like foxes which had baffled the
hounds, drew back to their old haunts, and lived unmolested. But an
atrocious outrage, in which the sons of Rob Roy were concerned, brought
at length on the family the full vengeance of the law.

James Roy was a married man, and had fourteen children. But his brother,
Robin Oig, was now a widower; and it was resolved, if possible, that he
should make his fortune by carrying off and marrying, by force if
necessary, some woman of fortune from the Lowlands.

The imagination of the half-civilised Highlanders was less shocked at the
idea of this particular species of violence, than might be expected from
their general kindness to the weaker sex when they make part of their own
families. But all their views were tinged with the idea that they lived
in a state of war; and in such a state, from the time of the siege of
Troy to "the moment when Previsa fell,"* the female captives are, to
uncivilised victors, the most valuable part of the booty--

* Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto II.

          "The wealthy are slaughtered, the lovely are spared."

We need not refer to the rape of the Sabines, or to a similar instance in
the Book of Judges, for evidence that such deeds of violence have been
committed upon a large scale. Indeed, this sort of enterprise was so
common along the Highland line as to give rise to a variety of songs and
ballads.*

* See Appendix, No. VI.

The annals of Ireland, as well as those of Scotland, prove the crime to
have been common in the more lawless parts of both countries; and any
woman who happened to please a man of spirit who came of a good house,
and possessed a few chosen friends, and a retreat in the mountains, was
not permitted the alternative of saying him nay. What is more, it would
seem that the women themselves, most interested in the immunities of
their sex, were, among the lower classes, accustomed to regard such
marriages as that which is presently to be detailed as "pretty Fanny's
way," or rather, the way of Donald with pretty Fanny. It is not a great
many years since a respectable woman, above the lower rank of life,
expressed herself very warmly to the author on his taking the freedom to
censure the behaviour of the MacGregors on the occasion in question. She
said "that there was no use in giving a bride too much choice upon such
occasions; that the marriages were the happiest long syne which had been
done offhand." Finally, she averred that her "own mother had never seen
her father till the night he brought her up from the Lennox, with ten
head of black cattle, and there had not been a happier couple in the
country."

James Drummond and his brethren having similar opinions with the author's
old acquaintance, and debating how they might raise the fallen fortunes
of their clan, formed a resolution to settle their brother's fortune by
striking up an advantageous marriage betwixt Robin Oig and one Jean Key,
or Wright, a young woman scarce twenty years old, and who had been left
about two months a widow by the death of her husband. Her property was
estimated at only from 16,000 to 18,000 merks, but it seems to have been
sufficient temptation to these men to join in the commission of a great
crime.

This poor young victim lived with her mother in her own house at
Edinbilly, in the parish of Balfron and shire of Stirling. At this place,
in the night of 3d December 1750, the sons of Rob Roy, and particularly
James Mhor and Robin Oig, rushed into the house where the object of their
attack was resident, presented guns, swords, and pistols to the males of
the family, and terrified the women by threatening to break open the
doors if Jean Key was not surrendered, as, said James Roy, "his brother
was a young fellow determined to make his fortune." Having, at length,
dragged the object of their lawless purpose from her place of
concealment, they tore her from her mother's arms, mounted her on a horse
before one of the gang, and carried her off in spite, of her screams and
cries, which were long heard after the terrified spectators of the
outrage could no longer see the party retreat through the darkness. In
her attempts to escape, the poor young woman threw herself from the horse
on which they had placed her, and in so doing wrenched her side. They
then laid her double over the pummel of the saddle, and transported her
through the mosses and moors till the pain of the injury she had suffered
in her side, augmented by the uneasiness of her posture, made her consent
to sit upright. In the execution of this crime they stopped at more
houses than one, but none of the inhabitants dared interrupt their
proceedings. Amongst others who saw them was that classical and
accomplished scholar the late Professor William Richardson of Glasgow,
who used to describe as a terrible dream their violent and noisy entrance
into the house where he was then residing. The Highlanders filled the
little kitchen, brandishing their arms, demanding what they pleased, and
receiving whatever they demanded. James Mhor, he said, was a tall, stern,
and soldier-like man. Robin Oig looked more gentle; dark, but yet ruddy
in complexion--a good-looking young savage. Their victim was so
dishevelled in her dress, and forlorn in her appearance and demeanour,
that he could hardly tell whether she was alive or dead.

The gang carried the unfortunate woman to Rowardennan, where they had a
priest unscrupulous enough to read the marriage service, while James Mhor
forcibly held the bride up before him; and the priest declared the couple
man and wife, even while she protested against the infamy of his conduct.
Under the same threats of violence, which had been all along used to
enforce their scheme, the poor victim was compelled to reside with the
pretended husband who was thus forced upon her. They even dared to carry
her to the public church of Balquhidder, where the officiating clergyman
(the same who had been Rob Roy's pensioner) only asked them if they were
married persons. Robert MacGregor answered in the affirmative; the
terrified female was silent.

The country was now too effectually subjected to the law for this vile
outrage to be followed by the advantages proposed by the actors, Military
parties were sent out in every direction to seize the MacGregors, who
were for two or three weeks compelled to shift from one place to another
in the mountains, bearing the unfortunate Jean Key along with them. In
the meanwhile, the Supreme Civil Court issued a warrant, sequestrating
the property of Jean Key, or Wright, which removed out of the reach of
the actors in the violence the prize which they expected. They had,
however, adopted a belief of the poor woman's spirit being so far broken
that she would prefer submitting to her condition, and adhering to Robin
Oig as her husband, rather than incur the disgrace, of appearing in such
a cause in an open court. It was, indeed, a delicate experiment; but
their kinsman Glengyle, chief of their immediate family, was of a temper
averse to lawless proceedings;* and the captive's friends having had
recourse to his advice, they feared that he would withdraw his protection
if they refused to place the prisoner at liberty.

* Such, at least, was his general character; for when James Mhor, while
perpetrating the violence at Edinbilly, called out, in order to overawe
opposition, that Glengyle was lying in the moor with a hundred men to
patronise his enterprise, Jean Key told him he lied, since she was
confident Glengyle would never countenance so scoundrelly a business.

The brethren resolved, therefore, to liberate the unhappy woman, but
previously had recourse to every measure which should oblige her, either
from fear or otherwise, to own her marriage with Robin Oig. The
cailliachs (old Highland hags) administered drugs, which were designed to
have the effect of philtres, but were probably deleterious. James Mhor at
one time threatened, that if she did not acquiesce in the match she would
find that there were enough of men in the Highlands to bring the heads of
two of her uncles who were pursuing the civil lawsuit. At another time he
fell down on his knees, and confessed he had been accessory to wronging
her, but begged she would not ruin his innocent wife and large family.
She was made to swear she would not prosecute the brethren for the
offence they had committed; and she was obliged by threats to subscribe
papers which were tendered to her, intimating that she was carried off in
consequence of her own previous request.

James Mhor Drummond accordingly brought his pretended sister-in-law to
Edinburgh, where, for some little time, she was carried about from one
house to another, watched by those with whom she was lodged, and never
permitted to go out alone, or even to approach the window. The Court of
Session, considering the peculiarity of the case, and regarding Jean Key
as being still under some forcible restraint, took her person under their
own special charge, and appointed her to reside in the family of Mr.
Wightman of Mauldsley, a gentleman of respectability, who was married to
one of her near relatives. Two sentinels kept guard on the house day and
night--a precaution not deemed superfluous when the MacGregors were in
question. She was allowed to go out whenever she chose, and to see
whomsoever she had a mind, as well as the men of law employed in the
civil suit on either side. When she first came to Mr. Wightman's house
she seemed broken down with affright and suffering, so changed in
features that her mother hardly knew her, and so shaken in mind that she
scarce could recognise her parent. It was long before she could be
assured that she was in perfect safely. But when she at length received
confidence in her situation, she made a judicial declaration, or
affidavit, telling the full history of her wrongs, imputing to fear her
former silence on the subject, and expressing her resolution not to
prosecute those who had injured her, in respect of the oath she had been
compelled to take. From the possible breach of such an oath, though a
compulsory one, she was relieved by the forms of Scottish jurisprudence,
in that respect more equitable than those of England, prosecutions for
crimes being always conducted at the expense and charge of the King,
without inconvenience or cost to the private party who has sustained the
wrong. But the unhappy sufferer did not live to be either accuser or
witness against those who had so deeply injured her.

James Mhor Drummond had left Edinburgh so soon as his half-dead prey had
been taken from his clutches. Mrs. Key, or Wright, was released from her
species of confinement there, and removed to Glasgow, under the escort of
Mr. Wightman. As they passed the Hill of Shotts, her escort chanced to
say, "this is a very wild spot; what if the MacGregors should come upon
us?"--"God forbid!" was her immediate answer, "the very sight of them
would kill me." She continued to reside at Glasgow, without venturing to
return to her own house at Edinbilly. Her pretended husband made some
attempts to obtain an interview with her, which she steadily rejected.
She died on the 4th October 1751. The information for the Crown hints
that her decease might be the consequence of the usage she received. But
there is a general report that she died of the small-pox. In the
meantime, James Mhor, or Drummond, fell into the hands of justice. He was
considered as the instigator of the whole affair. Nay, the deceased had
informed her friends that on the night of her being carried off, Robin
Oig, moved by her cries and tears, had partly consented to let her
return, when James came up with a pistol in his hand, and, asking whether
he was such a coward as to relinquish an enterprise in which he had
risked everything to procure him a fortune, in a manner compelled his
brother to persevere. James's trial took place on 13th July 1752, and was
conducted with the utmost fairness and impartiality. Several witnesses,
all of the MacGregor family, swore that the marriage was performed with
every appearance of acquiescence on the woman's part; and three or four
witnesses, one of them sheriff-substitute of the county, swore she might
have made her escape if she wished, and the magistrate stated that he
offered her assistance if she felt desirous to do so. But when asked why
he, in his official capacity, did not arrest the MacGregors, he could
only answer, that he had not force sufficient to make the attempt.

The judicial declarations of Jean Key, or Wright, stated the violent
manner in which she had been carried off, and they were confirmed by many
of her friends, from her private communications with them, which the
event of her death rendered good evidence. Indeed, the fact of her
abduction (to use a Scottish law term) was completely proved by impartial
witnesses. The unhappy woman admitted that she had pretended acquiescence
in her fate on several occasions, because she dared not trust such as
offered to assist her to escape, not even the sheriff-substitute.

The jury brought in a special verdict, finding that Jean Key, or Wright,
had been forcibly carried off from her house, as charged in the
indictment, and that the accused had failed to show that she was herself
privy and consenting to this act of outrage. But they found the forcible
marriage, and subsequent violence, was not proved; and also found, in
alleviation of the panel's guilt in the premises, that Jean Key did
afterwards acquiesce in her condition. Eleven of the jury, using the
names of other four who were absent, subscribed a letter to the Court,
stating it was their purpose and desire, by such special verdict, to take
the panel's case out of the class of capital crimes.

Learned informations (written arguments) on the import of the verdict,
which must be allowed a very mild one in the circumstances, were laid
before the High Court of Justiciary. This point is very learnedly debated
in these pleadings by Mr. Grant, Solicitor for the Crown, and the
celebrated Mr. Lockhart, on the part of the prisoner; but James Mhor did
not wait the event of the Court's decision.

He had been committed to the Castle of Edinburgh on some reports that an
escape would be attempted. Yet he contrived to achieve his liberty even
from that fortress. His daughter had the address to enter the prison,
disguised as a cobbler, bringing home work, as she pretended. In this
cobbler's dress her father quickly arrayed himself. The wife and daughter
of the prisoner were heard by the sentinels scolding the supposed cobbler
for having done his work ill, and the man came out with his hat slouched
over his eyes, and grumbling, as if at the manner in which they had
treated him. In this way the prisoner passed all the guards without
suspicion, and made his escape to France. He was afterwards outlawed by
the Court of Justiciary, which proceeded to the trial of Duncan
MacGregor, or Drummond, his brother, 15th January 1753. The accused had
unquestionably been with the party which carried off Jean Key; but no
evidence being brought which applied to him individually and directly,
the jury found him not guilty--and nothing more is known of his fate.

That of James MacGregor, who, from talent and activity, if not by
seniority, may be considered as head of the family, has been long
misrepresented; as it has been generally averred in Law Reports, as well
as elsewhere, that his outlawry was reversed, and that he returned and
died in Scotland. But the curious letters published in Blackwood's
Magazine for December 1817, show this to be an error. The first of these
documents is a petition to Charles Edward. It is dated 20th September
1753, and pleads his service to the cause of the Stuarts, ascribing his
exile to the persecution of the Hanoverian Government, without any
allusion to the affair of Jean Key, or the Court of Justiciary. It is
stated to be forwarded by MacGregor Drummond of Bohaldie, whom, as before
mentioned, James Mhor acknowledged as his chief.

The effect which this petition produced does not appear. Some temporary
relief was perhaps obtained. But, soon after, this daring adventurer was
engaged in a very dark intrigue against an exile of his own country, and
placed pretty nearly in his own circumstances. A remarkable Highland
story must be here briefly alluded to. Mr. Campbell of Glenure, who had
been named factor for Government on the forfeited estates of Stewart of
Ardshiel, was shot dead by an assassin as he passed through the wood of
Lettermore, after crossing the ferry of Ballachulish. A gentleman, named
James Stewart, a natural brother of Ardshiel, the forfeited person, was
tried as being accessory to the murder, and condemned and executed upon
very doubtful evidence; the heaviest part of which only amounted to the
accused person having assisted a nephew of his own, called Allan Breck
Stewart, with money to escape after the deed was done. Not satisfied with
this vengeance, which was obtained in a manner little to the honour of
the dispensation of justice at the time, the friends of the deceased
Glenure were equally desirous to obtain possession of the person of Allan
Breck Stewart, supposed to be the actual homicide. James Mhor Drummond
was secretly applied to to trepan Stewart to the sea-coast, and bring him
over to Britain, to almost certain death. Drummond MacGregor had kindred
connections with the slain Glenure; and, besides, the MacGregors and
Campbells had been friends of late, while the former clan and the
Stewarts had, as we have seen, been recently at feud; lastly, Robert Oig
was now in custody at Edinburgh, and James was desirous to do some
service by which his brother might be saved. The joint force of these
motives may, in James's estimation of right and wrong, have been some
vindication for engaging in such an enterprise, although, as must be
necessarily supposed, it could only be executed by treachery of a gross
description. MacGregor stipulated for a license to return to England,
promising to bring Allan Breck thither along with him. But the intended
victim was put upon his guard by two countrymen, who suspected James's
intentions towards him. He escaped from his kidnapper, after, as
MacGregor alleged, robbing his portmanteau of some clothes and four
snuff-boxes. Such a charge, it may be observed, could scarce have been
made unless the parties had been living on a footing of intimacy, and had
access to each other's baggage.

Although James Drummond had thus missed his blow in the matter of Allan
Breck Stewart, he used his license to make a journey to London, and had
an interview, as he avers, with Lord Holdernesse. His Lordship, and the
Under-Secretary, put many puzzling questions to him; and, as he says,
offered him a situation, which would bring him bread, in the Government's
service. This office was advantageous as to emolument; but in the opinion
of James Drummond, his acceptance of it would have been a disgrace to his
birth, and have rendered him a scourge to his country. If such a tempting
offer and sturdy rejection had any foundation in fact, it probably
relates to some plan of espionage on the Jacobites, which the Government
might hope to carry on by means of a man who, in the matter of Allan
Breck Stewart, had shown no great nicety of feeling. Drummond MacGregor
was so far accommodating as to intimate his willingness to act in any
station in which other gentlemen of honour served, but not otherwise;--an
answer which, compared with some passages of his past life, may remind
the reader of Ancient Pistol standing upon his reputation.

Having thus proved intractable, as he tells the story, to the proposals
of Lord Holdernesse, James Drummond was ordered instantly to quit
England.

On his return to France, his condition seems to have been utterly
disastrous. He was seized with fever and gravel--ill, consequently, in
body, and weakened and dispirited in mind. Allan Breck Stewart threatened
to put him to death in revenge of the designs he had harboured against
him.*

* Note E. Allan Breck Stewart.

The Stewart clan were in the highest degree unfriendly to him: and his
late expedition to London had been attended with many suspicious
circumstances, amongst which it was not the slightest that he had kept
his purpose secret from his chief Bohaldie. His intercourse with Lord
Holdernesse was suspicious. The Jacobites were probably, like Don Bernard
de Castel Blaze, in Gil Blas, little disposed to like those who kept
company with Alguazils. Mac-Donnell of Lochgarry, a man of unquestioned
honour, lodged an information against James Drummond before the High
Bailie of Dunkirk, accusing him of being a spy, so that he found himself
obliged to leave that town and come to Paris, with only the sum of
thirteen livres for his immediate subsistence, and with absolute beggary
staring him in the face.

We do not offer the convicted common thief, the accomplice in MacLaren's
assassination, or the manager of the outrage against Jean Key, as an
object of sympathy; but it is melancholy to look on the dying struggles
even of a wolf or a tiger, creatures of a species directly hostile to our
own; and, in like manner, the utter distress of this man, whose faults
may have sprung from a wild system of education, working on a haughty
temper, will not be perused without some pity. In his last letter to
Bohaldie, dated Paris, 25th September 1754, he describes his state of
destitution as absolute, and expresses himself willing to exercise his
talents in breaking or breeding horses, or as a hunter or fowler, if he
could only procure employment in such an inferior capacity till something
better should occur. An Englishman may smile, but a Scotchman will sigh
at the postscript, in which the poor starving exile asks the loan of his
patron's bagpipes that he might play over some of the melancholy tunes of
his own land. But the effect of music arises, in a great degree, from
association; and sounds which might jar the nerves of a Londoner or
Parisian, bring back to the Highlander his lofty mountain, wild lake, and
the deeds of his fathers of the glen. To prove MacGregor's claim to our
reader's compassion, we here insert the last part of the letter alluded
to.

"By all appearance I am born to suffer crosses, and it seems they're not
at an end; for such is my wretched case at present, that I do not know
earthly where to go or what to do, as I have no subsistence to keep body
and soul together. All that I have carried here is about 13 livres, and
have taken a room at my old quarters in Hotel St. Pierre, Rue de Cordier.
I send you the bearer, begging of you to let me know if you are to be in
town soon, that I may have the pleasure of seeing you, for I have none to
make application to but you alone; and all I want is, if it was possible
you could contrive where I could be employed without going to entire
beggary. This probably is a difficult point, yet unless it's attended
with some difficulty, you might think nothing of it, as your long head
can bring about matters of much more difficulty and consequence than
this. If you'd disclose this matter to your friend Mr. Butler, it's
possible he might have some employ wherein I could be of use, as I
pretend to know as much of breeding and riding of horse as any in France,
besides that I am a good hunter either on horseback or by footing. You
may judge my reduction, as I propose the meanest things to lend a turn
till better cast up. I am sorry that I am obliged to give you so much
trouble, but I hope you are very well assured that I am grateful for what
you have done for me, and I leave you to judge of my present wretched
case. I am, and shall for ever continue, dear Chief, your own to command,
Jas. MacGregor.

"P. S.--If you'd send your pipes by the bearer, and all the other little
trinkims belonging to it, I would put them in order, and play some
melancholy tunes, which I may now with safety, and in real truth. Forgive
my not going directly to you, for if I could have borne the seeing of
yourself, I could not choose to be seen by my friends in my wretchedness,
nor by any of my acquaintance."

While MacGregor wrote in this disconsolate manner, Death, the sad but
sure remedy for mortal evils, and decider of all doubts and
uncertainties, was hovering near him. A memorandum on the back of the
letter says the writer died about a week after, in October 1754.

It now remains to mention the fate of Robin Oig--for the other sons of
Rob Roy seem to have been no way distinguished. Robin was apprehended by
a party of military from the fort of Inversnaid, at the foot of Gartmore,
and was conveyed to Edinburgh 26th May 1753. After a delay, which may
have been protracted by the negotiations of James for delivering up Allan
Breck Stewart upon promise of his brother's life, Robin Oig, on the 24th
of December 1753, was brought to the bar of the High Court of Justiciary,
and indicted by the name of Robert MacGregor, alias Campbell, alias
Drummond, alias Robert Oig; and the evidence led against him resembled
exactly that which was brought by the Crown on the former trial. Robert's
case was in some degree more favourable than his brother's;--for, though
the principal in the forcible marriage, he had yet to plead that he had
shown symptoms of relenting while they were carrying Jean Key off, which
were silenced by the remonstrances and threats of his harder natured
brother James. A considerable space of time had also elapsed since the
poor woman died, which is always a strong circumstance in favour of the
accused; for there is a sort of perspective in guilt, and crimes of an
old date seem less odious than those of recent occurrence. But
notwithstanding these considerations, the jury, in Robert's case, did not
express any solicitude to save his life as they had done that of James.
They found him guilty of being art and part in the forcible abduction of
Jean Key from her own dwelling.*

* The Trials of the Sons of Rob Roy, with anecdotes of Himself and his
Family, were published at Edinburgh, 1818, in 12mo.

Robin Oig was condemned to death, and executed on the 14th February 1754.
At the place of execution he behaved with great decency; and professing
himself a Catholic, imputed all his misfortunes to his swerving from the
true church two or three years before. He confessed the violent methods
he had used to gain Mrs. Key, or Wright, and hoped his fate would stop
further proceedings against his brother James.*

* James died near three months before, but his family might easily remain
a long time without the news of that event.

The newspapers observed that his body, after hanging the usual time, was
delivered to his friends to be carried to the Highlands. To this the
recollection of a venerable friend, recently taken from us in the fulness
of years, then a schoolboy at Linlithgow, enables the author to add, that
a much larger body of MacGregors than had cared to advance to Edinburgh
received the corpse at that place with the coronach and other wild
emblems of Highland mourning, and so escorted it to Balquhidder. Thus we
may conclude this long account of Rob Roy and his family with the classic
phrase,

                          Ite. Conclamatum est.

I have only to add, that I have selected the above from many anecdotes of
Rob Roy which were, and may still be, current among the mountains where
he flourished; but I am far from warranting their exact authenticity.
Clannish partialities were very apt to guide the tongue and pen, as well
as the pistol and claymore, and the features of an anecdote are
wonderfully softened or exaggerated as the story is told by a MacGregor
or a Campbell.




APPENDIX TO INTRODUCTION.


No. I.--ADVERTISEMENT
FOR THE APPREHENSION OF ROB ROY.

(From the Edinburgh Evening Courant, June 18 to June 21, A.D. 1732. No.
1058.)

"That Robert Campbell, commonly known by the name of Rob Roy MacGregor,
being lately intrusted by several noblemen and gentlemen with
considerable sums for buying cows for them in the Highlands, has
treacherously gone off with the money, to the value of L1000 sterling,
which he carries along with him. All Magistrates and Officers of his
Majesty's forces are intreated to seize upon the said Rob Roy, and the
money which he carries with him, until the persons concerned in the money
be heard against him; and that notice be given, when he is apprehended,
to the keepers of the Exchange Coffee-house at Edinburgh, and the keeper
of the Coffee-house at Glasgow, where the parties concerned will be
advertised, and the seizers shall be very reasonably rewarded for their
pains."

It is unfortunate that this Hue and Cry, which is afterwards repeated in
the same paper, contains no description of Rob Roy's person, which, of
course, we must suppose to have been pretty generally known. As it is
directed against Rob Roy personally, it would seem to exclude the idea of
the cattle being carried off by his partner, MacDonald, who would
certainly have been mentioned in the advertisement, if the creditors
concerned had supposed him to be in possession of the money.




No. II.--LETTERS
FROM AND TO THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
RESPECTING ROB ROY'S ARREST OF MR. GRAHAME OF KILLEARN.

_The Duke of Montrose to--_*

* It does not appear to whom this letter was addressed. Certainly, from
its style and tenor, It was designed for some person high in rank and
office--perhaps the King's Advocate for the time.


"Glasgow, the 21st November, 1716.

"My Lord,--I was surprised last night with the account of a very
remarkable instance of the insolence of that very notorious rogue Rob
Roy, whom your lordship has often heard named. The honour of his
Majesty's Government being concerned in it, I thought it my duty to
acquaint your lordship of the particulars by an express.

"Mr. Grahame of Killearn (whom I have had occasion to mention frequently
to you, for the good service he did last winter during the rebellion)
having the charge of my Highland estate, went to Monteath, which is a
part of it, on Monday last, to bring in my rents, it being usual for him
to be there for two or three nights together at this time of the year, in
a country house, for the conveniency of meeting the tenants, upon that
account. The same night, about 9 of the clock, Rob Roy, with a party of
those ruffians whom he has still kept about him since the late rebellion,
surrounded the house where Mr. Grahame was with some of my tenants doing
his business, ordered his men to present their guns in att the windows of
the room where he was sitting, while he himself at the same time with
others entered at the door, with cocked pistols, and made Mr. Grahame
prisoner, carrying him away to the hills with the money he had got, his
books and papers, and my tenants' bonds for their fines, amounting to
above a thousand pounds sterling, whereof the one-half had been paid last
year, and the other was to have been paid now; and att the same time had
the insolence to cause him to write a letter to me (the copy of which is
enclosed) offering me terms of a treaty.

"That your Lordship may have the better view of this matter, it will be
necessary that I should inform you, that this fellow has now, of a long
time, put himself at the head of the Clan M'Gregor, a race of people who
in all ages have distinguished themselves beyond others, by robberies,
depredations, and murders, and have been the constant harbourers and
entertainers of vagabonds and loose people. From the time of the
Revolution he has taken every opportunity to appear against the
Government, acting rather as a robber than doing any real service to
those whom he pretended to appear for, and has really done more mischief
to the countrie than all the other Highlanders have done.

"Some three or four years before the last rebellion broke out, being
overburdened with debts, he quitted his ordinary residence, and removed
some twelve or sixteen miles farther into the Highlands, putting himself
under the protection of the Earl of Bredalbin. When my Lord Cadogan was
in the Highlands, he ordered his house att this place to be burnt, which
your Lordship sees he now places to my account.

"This obliges him to return to the same countrie he went from, being a
most rugged inaccessible place, where he took up his residence anew
amongst his own friends and relations; but well judging that it was
possible to surprise him, he, with about forty-five of his followers,
went to Inverary, and made a sham surrender of their arms to Coll.
Campbell of Finab, Commander of one of the Independent Companies, and
returned home with his men, each of them having the Coll.'s protection.
This happened in the beginning of summer last; yet not long after he
appeared with his men twice in arms, in opposition to the King's troops:
and one of those times attackt them, rescued a prisoner from them, and
all this while sent abroad his party through the countrie, plundering the
countrie people, and amongst the rest some of my tenants.

"Being informed of these disorders after I came to Scotland, I applied to
Lieut.-Genll. Carpenter, who ordered three parties from Glasgow,
Stirling, and Finlarig, to march in the night by different routes, in
order to surprise him and his men in their houses, which would have its
effect certainly, if the great rains that happened to fall that verie
night had not retarded the march of the troops, so as some of the parties
came too late to the stations that they were ordered for. All that could
be done upon the occasion was to burn a countrie house, where Rob Roy
then resided, after some of his clan had, from the rocks, fired upon the
king's troops, by which a grenadier was killed.

"Mr. Grahame of Killearn, being my deputy-sheriff in that countrie, went
along with the party that marched from Stirling; and doubtless will now
meet with the worse treatment from that barbarous people on that account.
Besides, that he is my relation, and that they know how active he has
been in the service of the Government--all which, your Lordship may
believe, puts me under very great concern for the gentleman, while, at
the same time, I can foresee no manner of way how to relieve him, other
than to leave him to chance and his own management.

"I had my thoughts before of proposing to Government the building of some
barracks as the only expedient for suppressing these rebels, and securing
the peace of the countrie; and in that view I spoke to Genll. Carpenter,
who has now a scheme of it in his hands; and I am persuaded that will be
the true method for restraining them effectually; but, in the meantime,
it will be necessary to lodge some of the troops in those places, upon
which I intend to write to the Generall.

"I am sensible I have troubled your Lordship with a very long letter,
which I should be ashamed of, were I myself singly concerned; but where
the honour of the King's Government is touched, I need make no apologie,
and I shall only beg leave to add, that I am, with great respect, and
truth,

"My Lord,
"yr. Lords most humble and obedient servant,
"MONTROSE"




COPY OF GRAHAME OF KILLEARN'S LETTER, ENCLOSED IN THE PRECEDING.

"Chappellarroch, Nov. 19th, 1716.

"May it please your Grace,--I am obliged to give your Grace the trouble
of this, by Robert Roy's commands, being so unfortunate at present as to
be his prisoner. I refer the way and manner I was apprehended, to the
bearer, and shall only, in short, acquaint your Grace with the demands,
which are, that your Grace shall discharge him of all soumes he owes your
Grace, and give him the soume of 3400 merks for his loss and damages
sustained by him, both at Craigrostown and at his house, Auchinchisallen;
and that your Grace shall give your word not to trouble or prosecute him
afterwards; till which time he carries me, all the money I received this
day, my books and bonds for entress, not yet paid, along with him, with
assurance of hard usage, if any party are sent after him. The soume I
received this day, conform to the nearest computation I can make before
several of the gentlemen, is 3227L. 2sh. 8d. Scots, of which I gave them
notes. I shall wait your Grace's return, and ever am,

"Your Grace's most obedient, faithful,
"humble servant,
_Sic subscribitur,_
"John Grahame."




THE DUKE OF MONTROSE TO ----

28_th Nov._ 1716--_Killearn's Release._

"Glasgow, 28th Nov. 1716.

"Sir,--Having acquainted you by my last, of the 21st instant, of what had
happened to my friend, Mr. Grahame of Killearn, I'm very glad now to tell
you, that last night I was very agreeably surprised with Mr. Grahame's
coming here himself, and giving me the first account I had had of him
from the time of his being carried away. It seems Rob Roy, when he came
to consider a little better of it, found that, he could not mend his
matters by retaining Killearn his prisoner, which could only expose him
still the more to the justice of the Government; and therefore thought
fit to dismiss him on Sunday evening last, having kept him from the
Monday night before, under a very uneasy kind of restraint, being obliged
to change continually from place to place. He gave him back the books,
papers, and bonds, but kept the money.

"I am, with great truth, Sir,
"your most humble servant,
"MONTROSE."

[Some papers connected with Rob Roy Macgregor, signed "Ro. Campbell," in
1711, were lately presented to the Society of Antiquaries. One of these
is a kind of contract between the Duke of Montrose and Rob Roy, by which
the latter undertakes to deliver within a given time "Sixtie good and
sufficient Kintaill highland Cowes, betwixt the age of five and nine
years, at fourtene pounds Scotts per peice, with ane bull to the bargane,
and that at the head dykes of Buchanan upon the twenty-eight day of May
next."--Dated December 1711.--See _Proceedings,_ vol. vii. p. 253.]




No. III.--CHALLENGE BY ROB ROY.

"Rob Roy _to ain hie and mighty Prince,_ James Duke of Montrose.

"In charity to your Grace's couradge and conduct, please know, the only
way to retrive both is to treat Rob Roy like himself, in appointing tyme,
place, and choice of arms, that at once you may extirpate your inveterate
enemy, or put a period to your punny (puny?) life in falling gloriously
by his hands. That impertinent criticks or flatterers may not brand me
for challenging a man that's repute of a poor dastardly soul, let such
know that I admit of the two great supporters of his character and the
captain of his bands to joyne with him in the combat. Then sure your
Grace wont have the impudence to clamour att court for multitudes to hunt
me like a fox, under pretence that I am not to be found above ground.
This saves your Grace and the troops any further trouble of searching;
that is, if your ambition of glory press you to embrace this unequald
venture offerd of Rob's head. But if your Grace's piety, prudence, and
cowardice, forbids hazarding this gentlemanly expedient, then let your
desire of peace restore what you have robed from me by the tyranny of
your present cituation, otherwise your overthrow as a man is determined;
and advertise your friends never more to look for the frequent civility
payed them, of sending them home without their arms only. Even their
former cravings wont purchase that favour; so your Grace by this has
peace in your offer, if the sound of wax be frightful, and chuse you
whilk, your good friend or mortal enemy."

This singular rhodomontade is enclosed in a letter to a friend of Rob
Roy, probably a retainer of the Duke of Argyle in Isle, which is in these
words:--

"Sir,--Receive the enclosd paper, qn you are takeing yor Botle it will
divert yorself and comrad's. I gote noe news since I seed you, only qt
wee had before about the Spainyard's is like to continue. If I'll get any
further account about them I'll be sure to let you know of it, and till
then I will not write any more till I'll have more sure account, and I am

"Sir, your most affectionate Cn [cousin],
"and most humble servant,
"Ro: Roy."


"_Apryle_ 16_th,_ 1719.

"To Mr. Patrick Anderson, at Hay--These.'

The seal, _a stag_--no bad emblem of a wild cateran.

It appears from the envelope that Rob Roy still continued to act as
Intelligencer to the Duke of Argyle, and his agents. The war he alludes
to is probably some vague report of invasion from Spain. Such rumours
were likely enough to be afloat, in consequence of the disembarkation of
the troops who were taken at Glensheal in the preceding year, 1718.




No. IV.--LETTER

FROM ROBERT CAMPBELL, _alias_ M'GREGOR,
COMMONLY CALLED ROB ROY, TO FIELD-MARSHAL WADE,

Then receiving the submission of disaffected Chieftains and Clans.*

* This curious epistle is copied from an authentic narrative of Marshal
Wade's proceedings in the Highlands, communicated by the late eminent
antiquary, George Chalmers, Esq., to Mr. Robert Jamieson, of the Register
House, Edinburgh, and  published in the Appendix to an Edition of Burt's
Letters from the North of Scotland, 2 vols. 8vo, Edinburgh, 1818.

Sir,--The great humanity with which you have constantly acted in the
discharge of the trust reposed in you, and your ever having made use of
the great powers with which you were vested as the means of doing good
and charitable offices to such as ye found proper objects of compassion,
will, I hope, excuse my importunity in endeavouring to approve myself not
absolutely unworthy of that mercy and favour which your Excellency has so
generously procured from his Majesty for others in my unfortunate
circumstances. I am very sensible nothing can be alledged sufficient to
excuse so great a crime as I have been guilty of it, that of Rebellion.
But I humbly beg leave to lay before your Excellency some particulars in
the circumstance of my guilt, which, I hope, will extenuate it in some
measure. It was my misfortune, at the time the Rebellion broke out, to be
liable to legal diligence and caption, at the Duke of Montrose's
instance, for debt alledged due to him. To avoid being flung into prison,
as I must certainly have been, had I followed my real inclinations in
joining the King's troops at Stirling, I was forced to take party with
the adherents of the Pretender; for the country being all in arms, it was
neither safe nor indeed possible for me to stand neuter. I should not,
however, plead my being forced into that unnatural rebellion against his
Majesty, King George, if I could not at the same time assure your
Excellency, that I not only avoided acting offensively against his
Majesty's forces upon all occasions, but on the contrary, sent his Grace
the Duke of Argyle all the intelligence I could from time to time, of the
strength and situation of the rebels; which I hope his Grace will do me
the justice to acknowledge. As to the debt to the Duke of Montrose, I
have discharged it to the utmost farthing. I beg your Excellency would be
persuaded that, had it been in my power, as it was in my inclination, I
should always have acted for the service of his Majesty King George, and
that one reason of my begging the favour of your intercession with his
Majesty for the pardon of my life, is the earnest desire I have to employ
it in his service, whose goodness, justice, and humanity, are so
conspicuous to all mankind.--I am, with all duty and respect, your
Excellency's most, &c.,

"Robert Campbell."




No. IVa.--LETTER.

ESCAPE OF ROB ROY FROM THE DUKE OF ATHOLE.

The following copy of a letter which passed from one clergyman of the
Church of Scotland to another, was communicated to me by John Gregorson,
Esq. of Ardtornish. The escape of Rob Roy is mentioned, like other
interesting news of the time with which it is intermingled. The
disagreement between the Dukes of Athole and Argyle seems to have
animated the former against Rob Roy, as one of Argyle's partisans.

"Rev. and dear Brother,

Yrs of the 28th Jun I had by the bearer. Im pleased yo have got back
again yr Delinquent which may probably safe you of the trouble of her
child. I'm sory I've yet very little of certain news to give you from
Court tho' I've seen all the last weekes prints, only I find in them a
pasage which is all the account I can give you of the Indemnity yt when
the estates of forfaulted Rebells Comes to be sold all Just debts
Documented are to be preferred to Officers of the Court of enquiry. The
Bill in favours of that Court against the Lords of Session in Scotland in
past the house of Commons and Come before the Lords which is thought to
be considerably more ample yn formerly wt respect to the Disposeing of
estates Canvassing and paying of Debts. It's said yt the examinations of
Cadugans accounts is droped but it wants Confirmations here as yet.
Oxford's tryals should be entered upon Saturday last. We hear that the
Duchess of Argyle is wt child. I doe not hear yt the Divisions at Court
are any thing abated or of any appearance of the Dukes having any thing
of his Maj: favour. I heartily wish the present humours at Court may not
prove an encouragmt to watchfull and restles enemies.

My accounts of Rob Roy his escape are yt after severall Embassies between
his Grace (who I hear did Correspond wt some at Court about it) and Rob
he at length upon promise of protectione Came to waite upon the Duke &
being presently secured his Grace sent post to Edr to acquent the Court
of his being aprehended & call his friends at Edr and to desire a party
from Gen Carpinter to receive and bring him to Edr which party came the
length of Kenross in Fife, he was to be delivered to them by a party his
Grace had demanded from the Governour at Perth, who when upon their march
towards Dunkell to receive him, were mete wt and returned by his Grace
having resolved to deliver him by a party of his own men and left Rob at
Logierate under a strong guard till yt party should be ready to receive
him. This space of time Rob had Imployed in taking the other dram
heartily wt the Guard & qn all were pretty hearty, Rob is delivering a
letter for his wife to a servant to whom he most needs deliver some
private instructions at the Door (for his wife) where he's attended wt on
the Guard. When serious in this privat Conversations he is making some
few steps carelessly from the Door about the house till he comes close by
this horse which he soon mounted and made off. This is no small
mortifican to the guard because of the delay it give to there hopes of a
Considerable additionall charge agt John Roy.* my wife was upon Thursday
last delivered of a Son after sore travell of which she still continues
very weak.

* _i.e._ John the Red--John Duke of Argyle, so called from his
complexion, more commonly styled "Red John the Warriour."

I give yl Lady hearty thanks for the Highland plaid. It's good cloath but
it does not answer the sett I sent some time agae wt McArthur & tho it
had I told in my last yt my wife was obliged to provid herself to finish
her bed before she was lighted but I know yt letr came not timely to yr
hand--I'm sory I had not mony to send by the bearer having no thought of
it & being exposed to some little expenses last week but I expect some
sure occasion when order by a letter to receive it excuse this freedom
from &c.

"_Manse of Comrie, July_ 2_d,_ 1717.
"I salute yr lady I wish my ............ her Daughter much Joy."




No. V.--HIGHLAND WOOING.

There are many productions of the Scottish Ballad Poets upon the
lion-like mode of wooing practised by the ancient Highlanders when they
had a fancy for the person (or property) of a Lowland damsel. One example
is found in Mr. Robert Jamieson's Popular Scottish Songs:--

                        Bonny Babby Livingstone
                        Gaed out to see the kye,
                        And she has met with Glenlyon,
                        Who has stolen her away.

                        He took free her her sattin coat,
                        But an her silken gown,
                        Syne roud her in his tartan plaid,
                        And happd her round and roun'.

In another ballad we are told how--

                       Four-and-twenty Hieland men,
                       Came doun by Fiddoch Bide,
                       And they have sworn a deadly aith,
                       Jean Muir suld be a bride:

                       And they have sworn a deadly aith,
                       Ilke man upon his durke,
                       That she should wed with Duncan Ger,
                       Or they'd make bloody works.

This last we have from tradition, but there are many others in the
collections of Scottish Ballads to the same purpose.

The achievement of Robert Oig, or young Rob Roy, as the Lowlanders called
him, was celebrated in a ballad, of which there are twenty different and
various editions. The tune is lively and wild, and we select the
following words from memory:--

                  Rob Roy is frae the Hielands come,
                      Down to the Lowland border;
                   And he has stolen that lady away,
                      To haud his house in order.

                   He set her on a milk-white steed,
                       Of none he stood in awe;
                   Untill they reached the Hieland hills,
                             Aboon the Balmaha'!*

* A pass on the eastern margin of Loch Lomond, and an entrance to the
Highlands.


                      Saying, Be content, be content,
                       Be content with me, lady;
                      Where will ye find in Lennox land,
                      Sae braw a man as me, lady?

                      Rob Roy he was my father called,
                      MacGregor was his name, lady;
                      A' the country, far and near,
                      Have heard MacGregor's fame, lady.

                      He was a hedge about his friends,
                      A heckle to his foes, lady;
                      If any man did him gainsay,
                      He felt his deadly blows, lady.

                      I am as bold, I am as bold,
                      I am as bold and more, lady;
                      Any man that doubts my word,
                      May try my gude claymore, lady.

                       Then be content, be content.
                       Be content with me, lady;
                       For now you are my wedded wife,
                       Until the day you die, lady.




No. VI--GHLUNE DHU.

The following notices concerning this Chief fell under the Author's eye
while the sheets were in the act of going through the press. They occur
in manuscript memoirs, written by a person intimately acquainted with the
incidents of 1745.

This Chief had the important task intrusted to him of defending the
Castle of Doune, in which the Chevalier placed a garrison to protect his
communication with the Highlands, and to repel any sallies which might be
made from Stirling Castle--Ghlune Dhu distinguished himself by his good
conduct in this charge.

Ghlune Dhu is thus described:--"Glengyle is, in person, a tall handsome
man, and has more of the mien of the ancient heroes than our modern fine
gentlemen are possessed of. He is honest and disinterested to a
proverb--extremely modest--brave and intrepid--and born one of the best
partisans in Europe. In short, the whole people of that country declared
that never did men live under so mild a government as Glengyle's, not a
man having so much as lost a chicken while he continued there."

It would appear from this curious passage, that Glengyle--not Stewart of
Balloch, as averred in a note on Waverley--commanded the garrison of
Doune. Balloch might, no doubt, succeed MacGregor in the situation.




EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION TO ROB ROY

In the magnum opus, the author's final edition of the Waverley Novels,
"Rob Roy" appears out of its chronological order, and comes next after
"The Antiquary." In this, as in other matters, the present edition
follows that of 1829. "The Antiquary," as we said, contained in its
preface the author's farewell to his art. This valediction was meant as
prelude to a fresh appearance in a new disguise. Constable, who had
brought out the earlier works, did not publish the "Tales of my Landlord"
("The Black Dwarf" and "Old Mortality "), which Scott had nearly finished
by November 12, 1816. The four volumes appeared from the houses of Mr.
Murray and Mr. Blackwood, on December 1, 1816. Within less than a month
came out "Harold the Dauntless," by the author of "The Bridal of
Triermain." Scott's work on the historical part of the "Annual Register"
had also been unusually arduous. At Abbotsford, or at Ashiestiel, his
mode of life was particularly healthy; in Edinburgh, between the claims
of the courts, of literature, and of society, he was scarcely ever in the
open air. Thus hard sedentary work caused, between the publication
of "Old Mortality" and that of "Rob Roy," the first of those alarming
illnesses which overshadowed the last fifteen years of his life. The
earliest attack of cramp in the stomach occurred on March 5, 1817, when
he "retired from the room with a scream of agony which electrified his
guests."

Living on "parritch," as he tells Miss Baillie (for his national spirit
rejected arrowroot), Scott had yet energy enough to plan a dramatic piece
for Terry, "The Doom of Devorgoil." But in April he announced to John
Ballantyne "a good subject" for a novel, and on May 6, John, after a
visit to Abbotsford with Constable, proclaimed to James Ballantyne the
advent of "Rob Roy."

The anecdote about the title is well known. Constable suggested it, and
Scott was at first wisely reluctant to "write up to a title." Names like
Rob Roy, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, Cleopatra, and so forth, tell the
reader too much, and, Scott imagined, often excite hopes which cannot be
fulfilled. However, in the geniality of an after-dinner hour in the
gardens of Abbotsford, Scott allowed Constable to be sponsor. Many things
had lately brought Rob into his mind. In 1812 Scott had acquired Rob
Roy's gun--"a long Spanish-barrelled piece, with his initials R. M. C.,"
C standing for Campbell, a name assumed in compliment to the Argyll
family.

Rob's spleuchan had also been presented by Mr. Train to Sir Walter, in
1816, and may have directed his thoughts to this popular freebooter.
Though Rob flourished in the '15, he was really a character very near
Scott, whose friend Invernahyle had fought Rob with broadsword and
target--a courteous combat like that between Ajax and Hector.

At Tullibody Scott had met, in 1793, a gentleman who once visited Rob,
and arranged to pay him blackmail.

Mr. William Adam had mentioned to Scott in 1816 the use of the word
"curlie-wurlies" for highly decorated architecture, and recognised the
phrase, next year, in the mouth of Andrew Fairservice.

In the meeting at Abbotsford (May 2, 1817) Scott was very communicative,
sketched Bailie Nicol Jarvie, and improvised a dialogue between Rob and
the magistrate. A week later he quoted to Southey, Swift's lines--
Too bad for a blessing, too good for a curse,--which probably suggested
Andrew Fairservice's final estimate of Scott's hero,--"over bad for
blessing, and ower gude for banning."

These are the trifles which show the bent of Scott's mind at this period.
The summer of 1817 he spent in working at the "Annual Register" and at
the "Border Antiquities." When the courts rose, he visited Rob's cave at
the head of Loch Lomond; and this visit seems to have been gossiped
about, as literary people, hearing of the new novel, expected the cave to
be a very prominent feature. He also went to Glasgow, and refreshed his
memory of the cathedral; nor did he neglect old books, such as "A Tour
through Great Britain, by a Gentleman" (4th Edition, 1748). This yielded
him the Bailie's account of Glasgow commerce "in Musselburgh stuffs and
Edinburgh shalloons," and the phrase "sortable cargoes."

Hence, too, Scott took the description of the rise of Glasgow. Thus Scott
was taking pains with his preparations. The book was not written in
post-haste. Announced to Constable early in May, the last sheet was not
corrected till about December 21, when Scott wrote to Ballantyne:--

DEAR JAMES,--

                        With great joy I send you Roy.
                          'T was a tough job,
                        But we're done with Rob.

"Rob Roy" was published on the last day of 1817. The toughness of the job
was caused by constant pain, and by struggles with "the lassitude of
opium." So seldom sentimental, so rarely given to expressing his
melancholy moods in verse, Scott, while composing "Rob Roy," wrote the
beautiful poem "The sun upon the Weirdlaw Hill," in which, for this once,
"pity of self through all makes broken moan."

Some stress may be laid on the state of Sir Walter's health at this
moment, because a living critic has tried to show that, in his case,
"every pang of the stomach paralyses the brain;" that he "never had a fit
of the cramp without spoiling a chapter."--[Mr. Ruskin's "Fiction Fair
and Foul," "Nineteenth Century," 1880, p. 955.]--"Rob Roy" is a
sufficient answer to these theories. The mind of Scott was no slave to
his body.

The success of the story is pleasantly proved by a sentence in a review
of the day: "It is an event unprecedented in the annals either of
literature or of the custom-house that the entire cargo of a packet, or
smack, bound from Leith to London, should be the impression of a novel,
for which the public curiosity was so much upon the alert as to require
this immense importation to satisfy."

Ten thousand copies of a three-volume novel are certainly a ponderous
cargo, and Constable printed no fewer in his first edition. Scott was
assured of his own triumph in February 1819, when a dramatised version of
his novel was acted in Edinburgh by the company of Mr. William Murray, a
descendant of the traitor Murray of Broughton. Mr. Charles Mackay made a
capital Bailie, and the piece remains a favourite with Scotch audiences.
It is plain, from the reviews, that in one respect "Rob Roy" rather
disappointed the world. They had expected Rob to be a much more imposing
and majestic cateran, and complained that his foot was set too late on
his native heather. They found too much of the drover and intriguer, too
little of the traditional driver of the spoil. This was what Scott
foresaw when he objected to "writing up to a title." In fact, he did not
write up to, it, and, as the "Scots Magazine" said, "shaped his story in
such a manner as to throw busybodies out in their chase, with a slight
degree of malicious finesse." "All the expeditions to the wonderful cave
have been thrown away, for the said cave is not once, we think, mentioned
from beginning to end."

"Rob Roy" equals "Waverley" in its pictures of Highland and Lowland
society and character. Scott had clearly set himself to state his
opinions about the Highlands as they were under the patriarchal system of
government. The Highlanders were then a people, not lawless, indeed, but
all their law was the will of their chief. Bailie Nicol Jarvie makes a
statement of their economic and military condition as accurate as it is
humorous. The modern "Highland Question" may be studied as well in the
Bailie's words as in volumes of history and wildernesses of blue-books.
A people patriarchal and military as the Arabs of the desert were
suddenly dragged into modern commercial and industrial society. All old
bonds were snapped in a moment; emigration (at first opposed by some of
the chiefs) and the French wars depleted the country of its "lang-leggit
callants, gaun wanting the breeks." Cattle took the place of men, sheep
of cattle, deer of sheep, and, in the long peace, a population grew up
again--a population destitute of employment even more than of old,
because war and robbery had ceased to be outlets for its energy. Some
chiefs, as Dr. Johnson said, treated their lands as an attorney treats
his row of cheap houses in a town. Hence the Highland Question,--a
question in which Scott's sympathies were with the Highlanders.
"Rob Roy," naturally, is no mere "novel with a purpose," no economic
tract in disguise. Among Scott's novels it stands alone as regards its
pictures of passionate love. The love of Diana Vernon is no less
passionate for its admirable restraint. Here Scott displays, without
affectation, a truly Greek reserve in his art. The deep and strong
affection of Diana Vernon would not have been otherwise handled by him
who drew the not more immortal picture of Antigone. Unlike modern
novelists, Sir Walter deals neither in analysis nor in rapturous
effusions. We can, unfortunately, imagine but too easily how some writers
would peep and pry into the concealed emotions of that maiden heart; how
others would revel in tears, kisses, and caresses. In place of all these
Scott writes:--

     She extended her hand, but I clasped her to my bosom. She sighed as
     she extricated herself from the embrace which she permitted, escaped
     to the door which led to her own apartment, and I saw her no more.

Months pass, in a mist of danger and intrigue, before the lovers meet
again in the dusk and the solitude.

     "Mr. Francis Osbaldistone," cries the girl's voice through the
     moonlight, "should not whistle his favourite airs when he wishes to
     remain undiscovered."

     And Diana Vernon--for she, wrapped in a horseman's cloak, was the
     last speaker--whistled in playful mimicry the second part of the
     tune, which was on my lips when they came up.

Surely there was never, in story or in song, a lady so loving and so
light of heart, save Rosalind alone. Her face touches Frank's, as she
says goodbye for ever "It was a moment never to be forgotten,
inexpressibly bitter, yet mixed with a sensation of pleasure so deeply
soothing and affecting as at once to unlock all the floodgates of the
heart."

She rides into the night, her lover knows the _hysterica passio_ of poor
Lear, but "I had scarce given vent to my feelings in this paroxysm ere I
was ashamed of my weakness."

These were men and women who knew how to love, and how to live.
All men who read "Rob Roy" are innocent rivals of Frank Osbaldistone.
Di Vernon holds her place in our hearts with Rosalind, and these airy
affections, like the actual emotions which they mimic, are not matters
for words. This lady, so gay, so brave, so witty and fearless, so tender
and true, who "endured trials which might have dignified the history of a
martyr, . . . who spent the day in darkness and the night in vigil, and
never breathed a murmur of weakness or complaint," is as immortal in
men's memories as the actual heroine of the White Rose, Flora Macdonald.
Her place is with Helen and Antigone, with Rosalind and Imogen, the
deathless daughters of dreams. She brightens the world as she passes, and
our own hearts tell us all the story when Osbaldistone says, "You know
how I lamented her."

In the central interest, which, for once, is the interest of love, "Rob
Roy" attains the nobility, the reserve, the grave dignity of the highest
art. It is not easy to believe that Frank Osbaldistone is worthy of his
lady; but here no man is a fair judge. In the four novels--"Waverley,"
"Guy Mannering," "The Antiquary," and "Rob Roy"--which we have studied,
the hero has always been a young poet. Waverley versified; so did
Mannering; Lovel "had attempted a few lyrical pieces;" and, in
Osbaldistone's rhymes, Scott parodied his own

                           blast of that dread horn
                       On Fontarabian echoes borne.

All the heroes, then, have been poets, and Osbaldistone's youth may have
been suggested by Scott's memories of his own, and of the father who
"feared that he would never be better than a gangrel scrapegut." Like
Henry Morton, in "Old Mortality," Frank Osbaldistone is on the political
side taken by Scott's judgment, not by his emotions. To make Di Vernon
convert him to Jacobitism would have been to repeat the story of
Waverley. Still, he would have been more sympathetic if he had been
converted. He certainly does not lack spirit, as a sportsman, or "on an
occasion," as Sir William Hope says in "The Scots' Fencing Master," when
he encounters Rashleigh in the college gardens. Frank, in short, is all
that a hero should be, and is glorified by his affection.

Of the other characters, perhaps Rob Roy is too sympathetically drawn.
The materials for a judgment are afforded by Scott's own admirable
historical introduction. The Rob Roy who so calmly "played booty," and
kept a foot in either camp, certainly falls below the heroic. His
language has been criticised in late years, and it has been insisted that
the Highlanders never talked Lowland Scotch. But Scott has anticipated
these cavils in the eighteenth chapter of the second volume. Certainly no
Lowlander knew the Highlanders better than he did, and his ear for
dialect was as keen as his musical ear was confessedly obtuse.
Scott had the best means of knowing whether Helen MacGregor would be
likely to soar into heroics as she is apt to do. In fact, here "we may
trust the artist."

The novel is as rich as any in subordinate characters full of life and
humour. Morris is one of the few utter cowards in Scott. He has none of
the passionate impulses towards courage of the hapless hero in "The Fair
Maid of Perth." The various Osbaldistones are nicely discriminated by
Diana Vernon, in one of those "Beatrix moods" which Scott did not always
admire, when they were displayed by "Lady Anne" and other girls of flesh
and blood. Rashleigh is of a nature unusual in Scott. He is, perhaps, Sir
Walter's nearest approach, for malignant egotism, to an Iago. Of Bailie
Nicol Jarvie commendation were impertinent. All Scotland arose, called
him hers, laughed at and applauded her civic child. Concerning Andrew
Fairservice, the first edition tells us what the final edition leaves us
to guess--that Tresham "may recollect him as gardener at Osbaldistone
Hall." Andrew was not a friend who could be shaken off. Diana may have
ruled the hall, but Andrew must have remained absolute in the gardens,
with "something to maw that he would like to see mawn, or something to
saw that he would like to see sawn, or something to ripe that he would
like to see ripen, and sae he e'en daikered on wi' the family frae year's
end to year's end," and life's end. His master "needed some carefu' body
to look after him."

Only Shakspeare and Scott could have given us medicines to make us like
this cowardly, conceited "jimp honest" fellow, Andrew Fairservice, who
just escapes being a hypocrite by dint of some sincere old Covenanting
leaven in his veins. We make bold to say that the creator of Parolles and
Lucie, and many another lax and lovable knave, would, had he been a Scot,
have drawn Andrew Fairservice thus, and not otherwise.

The critics of the hour censured, as they were certain to censure, the
construction, and especially the conclusion, of "Rob Roy." No doubt the
critics were right. In both Scott and Shakspeare there is often seen a
perfect disregard of the denouement. Any moderately intelligent person
can remark on the huddled-up ends and hasty marriages in many of
Shakspeare's comedies; Moliere has been charged with the same offence;
and, if blame there be, Scott is almost always to blame. Thackeray is
little better. There must be some reason that explains why men of genius
go wrong where every newspaper critic, every milliner's girl acquainted
with circulating libraries, can detect the offence.

In the closing remarks of "Old Mortality" Scott expresses himself
humorously on this matter of the denouement. His schoolmaster author
takes his proofsheets to Miss Martha Buskbody, who was the literary set
in Gandercleugh, having read through the whole stock of three circulating
libraries. Miss Buskbody criticises the Dominic as Lady Louisa Stuart
habitually criticised Sir Walter. "Your plan of omitting a formal
conclusion will never do!" The Dominie replies, "Really, madam, you must
be aware that every volume of a narrative turns less and less interesting
as the author draws to a conclusion,--just like your tea, which, though
excellent hyson, is necessarily weaker and more insipid in the last cup."
He compares the orthodox happy ending to "the luscious lump of
half-dissolved sugar" usually found at the bottom of the cup. This topic
might be discussed, and indeed has been discussed, endlessly. In our
actual lives it is probable that most of us have found ourselves living
for a year, or a month, or a week, in a chapter or half a volume of a
novel, and these have been our least happy experiences. But we have also
found that the romance vanishes away like a ghost, dwindles out, closes
with ragged ends, has no denouement. Then the question presents itself,
As art is imitation, should not novels, as a rule, close thus? The
experiment has frequently been tried, especially by the modern geniuses
who do not conceal their belief that their art is altogether finer than
Scott's, or, perhaps, than Shakspeare's.

In his practice, and in his Dominie's critical remarks, Sir Walter
appears inclined to agree with them. He was just as well aware as his
reviewers, or as Lady Louisa Stuart, that the conclusion of "Rob Roy" is
"huddled up," that the sudden demise of all the young Baldistones is a
high-handed measure. He knew that, in real life, Frank and Di Vernon
would never have met again after that farewell on the moonlit road. But
he yielded to Miss Buskbody's demand for "a glimpse of sunshine in the
last chapter;" he understood the human liking for the final lump of
sugar. After all, fiction is not, any more than any other art, a mere
imitation of life: it is an arrangement, a selection. Scott was too kind,
too humane, to disappoint us, the crowd of human beings who find much of
our happiness in dreams. He could not keep up his own interest in his
characters after he had developed them; he could take pleasure in giving
them life,--he had little pleasure in ushering them into an earthly
paradise; so that part of his business he did carelessly, as his only
rivals in literature have also done it.

The critics censured, not unjustly, the "machinery" of the story,--these
mysterious "assets" of Osbaldistone and Tresham, whose absence was to
precipitate the Rising of 1715. The "Edinburgh Review" lost its heart
(Jeffrey's heart was always being lost) to Di Vernon. But it pronounces
that "a king with legs of marble, or a youth with an ivory shoulder,"
heroes of the "Arabian Nights" and of Pindar, was probable, compared with
the wit and accomplishments of Diana. This is hypercriticism. Diana's
education, under Rashleigh, had been elaborate; her acquaintance with
Shakspeare, her main strength, is unusual in women, but not beyond the
limits of belief. Here she is in agreeable contrast to Rose Bradwardine,
who had never heard of "Romeo and Juliet." In any case, Diana compels
belief as well as wins affection, while we are fortunate enough to be in
her delightful company.

As long as we believe in her, it is not of moment to consider whether her
charms are incompatible with probability.

"Rob Roy" was finished in spite of "a very bad touch of the cramp for
about three weeks in November, which, with its natural attendants of
dulness and, weakness, made me unable to get our matters forward till
last week," says Scott to Constable. "But," adds the unconquerable
author, "I am resting myself here a few days before commencing my new
labours, which will be untrodden ground, and, I think, pretty likely to
succeed." The "new labours" were "The Heart of Mid-Lothian."

ANDREW LANG.




ROB ROY

VOLUME ONE



CHAPTER FIRST.

                How have I sinn'd, that this affliction
            Should light so heavy on me? I have no more sons,
                And this no more mine own.--My grand curse
            Hang o'er his head that thus transformed thee!--
                Travel? I'll send my horse to travel next.
                                               Monsieur Thomas.

You have requested me, my dear friend, to bestow some of that leisure,
with which Providence has blessed the decline of my life, in registering
the hazards and difficulties which attended its commencement. The
recollection of those adventures, as you are pleased to term them, has
indeed left upon my mind a chequered and varied feeling of pleasure and
of pain, mingled, I trust, with no slight gratitude and veneration to the
Disposer of human events, who guided my early course through much risk
and labour, that the ease with which he has blessed my prolonged life
might seem softer from remembrance and contrast. Neither is it possible
for me to doubt, what you have often affirmed, that the incidents which
befell me among a people singularly primitive in their government and
manners, have something interesting and attractive for those who love to
hear an old man's stories of a past age.

Still, however, you must remember, that the tale told by one friend, and
listened to by another, loses half its charms when committed to paper;
and that the narratives to which you have attended with interest, as
heard from the voice of him to whom they occurred, will appear less
deserving of attention when perused in the seclusion of your study. But
your greener age and robust constitution promise longer life than will,
in all human probability, be the lot of your friend. Throw, then, these
sheets into some secret drawer of your escritoire till we are separated
from each other's society by an event which may happen at any moment, and
which must happen within the course of a few--a very few years. When we
are parted in this world, to meet, I hope, in a better, you will, I am
well aware, cherish more than it deserves the memory of your departed
friend, and will find in those details which I am now to commit to paper,
matter for melancholy, but not unpleasing reflection. Others bequeath to
the confidants of their bosom portraits of their external features--I put
into your hands a faithful transcript of my thoughts and feelings, of my
virtues and of my failings, with the assured hope, that the follies and
headstrong impetuosity of my youth will meet the same kind construction
and forgiveness which have so often attended the faults of my matured
age.

One advantage, among the many, of addressing my Memoirs (if I may give
these sheets a name so imposing) to a dear and intimate friend, is, that
I may spare some of the details, in this case unnecessary, with which I
must needs have detained a stranger from what I have to say of greater
interest. Why should I bestow all my tediousness upon you, because I have
you in my power, and have ink, paper, and time before me? At the same
time, I dare not promise that I may not abuse the opportunity so
temptingly offered me, to treat of myself and my own concerns, even
though I speak of circumstances as well known to you as to myself. The
seductive love of narrative, when we ourselves are the heroes of the
events which we tell, often disregards the attention due to the time and
patience of the audience, and the best and wisest have yielded to its
fascination. I need only remind you of the singular instance evinced by
the form of that rare and original edition of Sully's Memoirs, which you
(with the fond vanity of a book-collector) insist upon preferring to that
which is reduced to the useful and ordinary form of Memoirs, but which I
think curious, solely as illustrating how far so great a man as the
author was accessible to the foible of self-importance. If I recollect
rightly, that venerable peer and great statesman had appointed no fewer
than four gentlemen of his household to draw up the events of his life,
under the title of Memorials of the Sage and Royal Affairs of State,
Domestic, Political, and Military, transacted by Henry IV., and so forth.
These grave recorders, having made their compilation, reduced the Memoirs
containing all the remarkable events of their master's life into a
narrative, addressed to himself in _propria persona._ And thus, instead
of telling his own story, in the third person, like Julius Caesar, or in
the first person, like most who, in the hall, or the study, undertake to
be the heroes of their own tale, Sully enjoyed the refined, though
whimsical pleasure, of having the events of his life told over to him by
his secretaries, being himself the auditor, as he was also the hero, and
probably the author, of the whole book. It must have been a great sight
to have seen the ex-minister, as bolt upright as a starched ruff and
laced cassock could make him, seated in state beneath his canopy, and
listening to the recitation of his compilers, while, standing bare in his
presence, they informed him gravely, "Thus said the duke--so did the duke
infer--such were your grace's sentiments upon this important
point--such were your secret counsels to the king on that other
emergency,"--circumstances, all of which must have been much better
known to their hearer than to themselves, and most of which could only
be derived from his own special communication.

My situation is not quite so ludicrous as that of the great Sully, and
yet there would be something whimsical in Frank Osbaldistone giving Will
Tresham a formal account of his birth, education, and connections in the
world. I will, therefore, wrestle with the tempting spirit of P. P.,
Clerk of our Parish, as I best may, and endeavour to tell you nothing
that is familiar to you already. Some things, however, I must recall to
your memory, because, though formerly well known to you, they may have
been forgotten through lapse of time, and they afford the ground-work of
my destiny.

You must remember my father well; for, as your own was a member of the
mercantile house, you knew him from infancy. Yet you hardly saw him in
his best days, before age and infirmity had quenched his ardent spirit of
enterprise and speculation. He would have been a poorer man, indeed, but
perhaps as happy, had he devoted to the extension of science those active
energies, and acute powers of observation, for which commercial pursuits
found occupation. Yet, in the fluctuations of mercantile speculation,
there is something captivating to the adventurer, even independent of the
hope of gain. He who embarks on that fickle sea, requires to possess the
skill of the pilot and the fortitude of the navigator, and after all may
be wrecked and lost, unless the gales of fortune breathe in his favour.
This mixture of necessary attention and inevitable hazard,--the frequent
and awful uncertainty whether prudence shall overcome fortune, or fortune
baffle the schemes of prudence, affords full occupation for the powers,
as well as for the feelings of the mind, and trade has all the
fascination of gambling without its moral guilt.

Early in the 18th century, when I (Heaven help me) was a youth of some
twenty years old, I was summoned suddenly from Bourdeaux to attend my
father on business of importance. I shall never forget our first
interview. You recollect the brief, abrupt, and somewhat stern mode in
which he was wont to communicate his pleasure to those around him.
Methinks I see him even now in my mind's eye;--the firm and upright
figure,--the step, quick and determined,--the eye, which shot so keen and
so penetrating a glance,--the features, on which care had already planted
wrinkles,--and hear his language, in which he never wasted word in vain,
expressed in a voice which had sometimes an occasional harshness, far
from the intention of the speaker.

When I dismounted from my post-horse, I hastened to my father's
apartment. He was traversing it with an air of composed and steady
deliberation, which even my arrival, although an only son unseen for four
years, was unable to discompose. I threw myself into his arms. He was a
kind, though not a fond father, and the tear twinkled in his dark eye,
but it was only for a moment.

"Dubourg writes to me that he is satisfied with you, Frank."

"I am happy, sir"--

"But I have less reason to be so" he added, sitting down at his bureau.

"I am sorry, sir"--

"Sorry and happy, Frank, are words that, on most occasions, signify
little or nothing--Here is your last letter."

He took it out from a number of others tied up in a parcel of red tape,
and curiously labelled and filed. There lay my poor epistle, written on
the subject the nearest to my heart at the time, and couched in words
which I had thought would work compassion if not conviction,--there, I
say, it lay, squeezed up among the letters on miscellaneous business in
which my father's daily affairs had engaged him. I cannot help smiling
internally when I recollect the mixture of hurt vanity, and wounded
feeling, with which I regarded my remonstrance, to the penning of which
there had gone, I promise you, some trouble, as I beheld it extracted
from amongst letters of advice, of credit, and all the commonplace
lumber, as I then thought them, of a merchant's correspondence. Surely,
thought I, a letter of such importance (I dared not say, even to myself,
so well written) deserved a separate place, as well as more anxious
consideration, than those on the ordinary business of the counting-house.

But my father did not observe my dissatisfaction, and would not have
minded it if he had. He proceeded, with the letter in his hand. "This,
Frank, is yours of the 21st ultimo, in which you advise me (reading from
my letter), that in the most important business of forming a plan, and
adopting a profession for life, you trust my paternal goodness will hold
you entitled to at least a negative voice; that you have insuperable--ay,
insuperable is the word--I wish, by the way, you would write a more
distinct current hand--draw a score through the tops of your t's, and
open the loops of your l's--insuperable objections to the arrangements
which I have proposed to you. There is much more to the same effect,
occupying four good pages of paper, which a little attention to
perspicuity and distinctness of expression might have comprised within as
many lines. For, after all, Frank, it amounts but to this, that you will
not do as I would have you."

"That I cannot, sir, in the present instance, not that I will not."

"Words avail very little with me, young man," said my father, whose
inflexibility always possessed the air of the most perfect calmness of
self-possession. "_Can not_ may be a more civil phrase than _will not,_
but the expressions are synonymous where there is no moral impossibility.
But I am not a friend to doing business hastily; we will talk this matter
over after dinner.--Owen!"

Owen appeared, not with the silver locks which you were used to venerate,
for he was then little more than fifty; but he had the same, or an
exactly similar uniform suit of light-brown clothes,--the same pearl-grey
silk stockings,--the same stock, with its silver buckle,--the same
plaited cambric ruffles, drawn down over his knuckles in the parlour, but
in the counting-house carefully folded back under the sleeves, that they
might remain unstained by the ink which he daily consumed;--in a word,
the same grave, formal, yet benevolent cast of features, which continued
to his death to distinguish the head clerk of the great house of
Osbaldistone and Tresham.

"Owen," said my father, as the kind old man shook me affectionately by
the hand, "you must dine with us to-day, and hear the news Frank has
brought us from our friends in Bourdeaux."

Owen made one of his stiff bows of respectful gratitude; for, in those
days, when the distance between superiors and inferiors was enforced in a
manner to which the present times are strangers, such an invitation was a
favour of some little consequence.

I shall long remember that dinner-party. Deeply affected by feelings of
anxiety, not unmingled with displeasure, I was unable to take that active
share in the conversation which my father seemed to expect from me; and I
too frequently gave unsatisfactory answers to the questions with which he
assailed me. Owen, hovering betwixt his respect for his patron, and his
love for the youth he had dandled on his knee in childhood, like the
timorous, yet anxious ally of an invaded nation, endeavoured at every
blunder I made to explain my no-meaning, and to cover my retreat;
manoeuvres which added to my father's pettish displeasure, and brought a
share of it upon my kind advocate, instead of protecting me. I had not,
while residing in the house of Dubourg, absolutely conducted myself like

             A clerk condemn'd his father's soul to cross,
             Who penn'd a stanza when he should engross;--

but, to say truth, I had frequented the counting-house no more than I had
thought absolutely necessary to secure the good report of the Frenchman,
long a correspondent of our firm, to whom my father had trusted for
initiating me into the mysteries of commerce. In fact, my principal
attention had been dedicated to literature and manly exercises. My father
did not altogether discourage such acquirements, whether mental or
personal. He had too much good sense not to perceive, that they sate
gracefully upon every man, and he was sensible that they relieved and
dignified the character to which he wished me to aspire. But his chief
ambition was, that I should succeed not merely to his fortune, but to the
views and plans by which he imagined he could extend and perpetuate the
wealthy inheritance which he designed for me.

Love of his profession was the motive which he chose should be most
ostensible, when he urged me to tread the same path; but he had others
with which I only became acquainted at a later period. Impetuous in his
schemes, as well as skilful and daring, each new adventure, when
successful, became at once the incentive, and furnished the means, for
farther speculation. It seemed to be necessary to him, as to an ambitious
conqueror, to push on from achievement to achievement, without stopping
to secure, far less to enjoy, the acquisitions which he made. Accustomed
to see his whole fortune trembling in the scales of chance, and dexterous
at adopting expedients for casting the balance in his favour, his health
and spirits and activity seemed ever to increase with the animating
hazards on which he staked his wealth; and he resembled a sailor,
accustomed to brave the billows and the foe, whose confidence rises on
the eve of tempest or of battle. He was not, however, insensible to the
changes which increasing age or supervening malady might make in his own
constitution; and was anxious in good time to secure in me an assistant,
who might take the helm when his hand grew weary, and keep the vessel's
way according to his counsel and instruction. Paternal affection, as well
as the furtherance of his own plans, determined him to the same
conclusion. Your father, though his fortune was vested in the house, was
only a sleeping partner, as the commercial phrase goes; and Owen, whose
probity and skill in the details of arithmetic rendered his services
invaluable as a head clerk, was not possessed either of information or
talents sufficient to conduct the mysteries of the principal management.
If my father were suddenly summoned from life, what would become of the
world of schemes which he had formed, unless his son were moulded into a
commercial Hercules, fit to sustain the weight when relinquished by the
falling Atlas? and what would become of that son himself, if, a stranger
to business of this description, he found himself at once involved in the
labyrinth of mercantile concerns, without the clew of knowledge necessary
for his extraction? For all these reasons, avowed and secret, my father
was determined I should embrace his profession; and when he was
determined, the resolution of no man was more immovable. I, however, was
also a party to be consulted, and, with something of his own pertinacity,
I had formed a determination precisely contrary. It may, I hope, be some
palliative for the resistance which, on this occasion, I offered to my
father's wishes, that I did not fully understand upon what they were
founded, or how deeply his happiness was involved in them. Imagining
myself certain of a large succession in future, and ample maintenance in
the meanwhile, it never occurred to me that it might be necessary, in
order to secure these blessings, to submit to labour and limitations
unpleasant to my taste and temper. I only saw in my father's proposal for
my engaging in business, a desire that I should add to those heaps of
wealth which he had himself acquired; and imagining myself the best judge
of the path to my own happiness, I did not conceive that I should
increase that happiness by augmenting a fortune which I believed was
already sufficient, and more than sufficient, for every use, comfort, and
elegant enjoyment.

Accordingly, I am compelled to repeat, that my time at Bourdeaux had not
been spent as my father had proposed to himself. What he considered as
the chief end of my residence in that city, I had postponed for every
other, and would (had I dared) have neglected altogether. Dubourg, a
favoured and benefited correspondent of our mercantile house, was too
much of a shrewd politician to make such reports to the head of the firm
concerning his only child, as would excite the displeasure of both; and
he might also, as you will presently hear, have views of selfish
advantage in suffering me to neglect the purposes for which I was placed
under his charge. My conduct was regulated by the bounds of decency and
good order, and thus far he had no evil report to make, supposing him so
disposed; but, perhaps, the crafty Frenchman would have been equally
complaisant, had I been in the habit of indulging worse feelings than
those of indolence and aversion to mercantile business. As it was, while
I gave a decent portion of my time to the commercial studies he
recommended, he was by no means envious of the hours which I dedicated to
other and more classical attainments, nor did he ever find fault with me
for dwelling upon Corneille and Boileau, in preference to Postlethwayte
(supposing his folio to have then existed, and Monsieur Dubourg able to
have pronounced his name), or Savary, or any other writer on commercial
economy. He had picked up somewhere a convenient expression, with which
he rounded off every letter to his correspondent,--"I was all," he said,
"that a father could wish."

My father never quarrelled with a phrase, however frequently repeated,
provided it seemed to him distinct and expressive; and Addison himself
could not have found expressions so satisfactory to him as, "Yours
received, and duly honoured the bills enclosed, as per margin."

Knowing, therefore, very well what he desired me to, be, Mr. Osbaldistone
made no doubt, from the frequent repetition of Dubourg's favourite
phrase, that I was the very thing he wished to see me; when, in an evil
hour, he received my letter, containing my eloquent and detailed apology
for declining a place in the firm, and a desk and stool in the corner of
the dark counting-house in Crane Alley, surmounting in height those of
Owen, and the other clerks, and only inferior to the tripod of my father
himself. All was wrong from that moment. Dubourg's reports became as
suspicious as if his bills had been noted for dishonour. I was summoned
home in all haste, and received in the manner I have already communicated
to you.





CHAPTER SECOND.

     I begin shrewdly to suspect the young man of a terrible
     taint--Poetry; with which idle disease if he be infected,
     there's no hope of him in astate course. _Actum est_ of him
     for a commonwealth's man, if he goto't in rhyme once.
                                        Ben Jonson's _Bartholomew Fair._

My father had, generally speaking, his temper under complete
self-command, and his anger rarely indicated itself by words, except in
a sort of dry testy manner, to those who had displeased him. He never
used threats, or expressions of loud resentment. All was arranged with
him on system, and it was his practice to do "the needful" on every
occasion, without wasting words about it. It was, therefore, with a
bitter smile that he listened to my imperfect answers concerning the
state of commerce in France, and unmercifully permitted me to involve
myself deeper and deeper in the mysteries of agio, tariffs, tare and
tret; nor can I charge my memory with his having looked positively
angry, until he found me unable to explain the exact effect which the
depreciation of the louis d'or had produced on the negotiation of bills
of exchange. "The most remarkable national occurrence in my time," said
my father (who nevertheless had seen the Revolution)--"and he knows no
more of it than a post on the quay!"

"Mr. Francis," suggested Owen, in his timid and conciliatory manner,
"cannot have forgotten, that by an _arret_ of the King of France, dated
1st May 1700, it was provided that the _porteur,_ within ten days after
due, must make demand"--

"Mr. Francis," said my father, interrupting him, "will, I dare say,
recollect for the moment anything you are so kind as hint to him. But,
body o' me! how Dubourg could permit him! Hark ye, Owen, what sort of a
youth is Clement Dubourg, his nephew there, in the office, the
black-haired lad?"

"One of the cleverest clerks, sir, in the house; a prodigious young man
for his time," answered Owen; for the gaiety and civility of the young
Frenchman had won his heart.

"Ay, ay, I suppose _he_ knows something of the nature of exchange.
Dubourg was determined I should have one youngster at least about my hand
who understood business. But I see his drift, and he shall find that I do
so when he looks at the balance-sheet. Owen, let Clement's salary be paid
up to next quarter-day, and let him ship himself back to Bourdeaux in his
father's ship, which is clearing out yonder."

"Dismiss Clement Dubourg, sir?" said Owen, with a faltering voice.

"Yes, sir, dismiss him instantly; it is enough to have a stupid
Englishman in the counting-house to make blunders, without keeping a
sharp Frenchman there to profit by them."

I had lived long enough in the territories of the _Grand Monarque_ to
contract a hearty aversion to arbitrary exertion of authority, even if it
had not been instilled into me with my earliest breeding; and I could not
refrain from interposing, to prevent an innocent and meritorious young
man from paying the penalty of having acquired that proficiency which my
father had desired for me.

"I beg pardon, sir," when Mr. Osbaldistone had done speaking; "but I
think it but just, that if I have been negligent of my studies, I should
pay the forfeit myself. I have no reason to charge Monsieur Dubourg with
having neglected to give me opportunities of improvement, however little
I may have profited by them; and with respect to Monsieur Clement
Dubourg"--

"With respect to him, and to you, I shall take the measures which I see
needful," replied my father; "but it is fair in you, Frank, to take your
own blame on your own shoulders--very fair, that cannot be denied.--I
cannot acquit old Dubourg," he said, looking to Owen, "for having merely
afforded Frank the means of useful knowledge, without either seeing that
he took advantage of them or reporting to me if he did not. You see,
Owen, he has natural notions of equity becoming a British merchant."

"Mr. Francis," said the head-clerk, with his usual formal inclination of
the head, and a slight elevation of his right hand, which he had acquired
by a habit of sticking his pen behind his ear before he spoke--"Mr.
Francis seems to understand the fundamental principle of all moral
accounting, the great ethic rule of three. Let A do to B, as he would
have B do to him; the product will give the rule of conduct required."

My father smiled at this reduction of the golden rule to arithmetical
form, but instantly proceeded.

"All this signifies nothing, Frank; you have been throwing away your time
like a boy, and in future you must learn to live like a man. I shall put
you under Owen's care for a few months, to recover the lost ground."

I was about to reply, but Owen looked at me with such a supplicatory and
warning gesture, that I was involuntarily silent.

"We will then," continued my father, "resume the subject of mine of the
1st ultimo, to which you sent me an answer which was unadvised and
unsatisfactory. So now, fill your glass, and push the bottle to Owen."

Want of courage--of audacity if you will--was never my failing. I
answered firmly, "I was sorry that my letter was unsatisfactory,
unadvised it was not; for I had given the proposal his goodness had made
me, my instant and anxious attention, and it was with no small pain that
I found myself obliged to decline it."

My father bent his keen eye for a moment on me, and instantly withdrew
it. As he made no answer, I thought myself obliged to proceed, though
with some hesitation, and he only interrupted me by monosyllables.--"It
is impossible, sir, for me to have higher respect for any character than
I have for the commercial, even were it not yours."

"Indeed!"

"It connects nation with nation, relieves the wants, and contributes to
the wealth of all; and is to the general commonwealth of the civilised
world what the daily intercourse of ordinary life is to private society,
or rather, what air and food are to our bodies."

"Well, sir?"

"And yet, sir, I find myself compelled to persist in declining to adopt a
character which I am so ill qualified to support."

"I will take care that you acquire the qualifications necessary. You are
no longer the guest and pupil of Dubourg."

"But, my dear sir, it is no defect of teaching which I plead, but my own
inability to profit by instruction."

"Nonsense.--Have you kept your journal in the terms I desired?"

"Yes, sir."

"Be pleased to bring it here."

The volume thus required was a sort of commonplace book, kept by my
father's recommendation, in which I had been directed to enter notes of
the miscellaneous information which I had acquired in the course of my
studies. Foreseeing that he would demand inspection of this record, I had
been attentive to transcribe such particulars of information as he would
most likely be pleased with, but too often the pen had discharged the
task without much correspondence with the head. And it had also happened,
that, the book being the receptacle nearest to my hand, I had
occasionally jotted down memoranda which had little regard to traffic. I
now put it into my father's hand, devoutly hoping he might light on
nothing that would increase his displeasure against me. Owen's face,
which had looked something blank when the question was put, cleared up at
my ready answer, and wore a smile of hope, when I brought from my
apartment, and placed before my father, a commercial-looking volume,
rather broader than it was long, having brazen clasps and a binding of
rough calf. This looked business-like, and was encouraging to my
benevolent well-wisher. But he actually smiled with pleasure as he heard
my father run over some part of the contents, muttering his critical
remarks as he went on.

"_--Brandies--Barils and barricants, also tonneaux.--At Nantz 29--Velles
to the barique at Cognac and Rochelle 27--At Bourdeaux 32_--Very right,
Frank--_Duties on tonnage and custom-house, see Saxby's Tables_--That's
not well; you should have transcribed the passage; it fixes the thing in
the memory--_Reports outward and inward--Corn debentures--Over-sea
Cockets--Linens--Isingham--Gentish--Stock-fish--Titling--Cropling--
Lub-fish._ You should have noted that they are all, nevertheless to be
entered as titlings.--How many inches long is a titling?"

Owen, seeing me at fault, hazarded a whisper, of which I fortunately
caught the import.

"Eighteen inches, sir."--

"And a lub-fish is twenty-four--very right. It is important to remember
this, on account of the Portuguese trade--But what have we here?--
_Bourdeaux founded in the year--Castle of the Trompette--Palace of
Gallienus_--Well, well, that's very right too.--This is a kind of
waste-book, Owen, in which all the transactions of the day,--emptions,
orders, payments, receipts, acceptances, draughts, commissions, and
advices,--are entered miscellaneously."

"That they may be regularly transferred to the day-book and ledger,"
answered Owen: "I am glad Mr. Francis is so methodical."

I perceived myself getting so fast into favour, that I began to fear the
consequence would be my father's more obstinate perseverance in his
resolution that I must become a merchant; and as I was determined on the
contrary, I began to wish I had not, to use my friend Mr. Owen's phrase,
been so methodical. But I had no reason for apprehension on that score;
for a blotted piece of paper dropped out of the book, and, being taken up
by my father, he interrupted a hint from Owen, on the propriety of
securing loose memoranda with a little paste, by exclaiming, "To the
memory of Edward the Black Prince--What's all this?--verses!--By Heaven,
Frank, you are a greater blockhead than I supposed you!"

My father, you must recollect, as a man of business, looked upon the
labour of poets with contempt; and as a religious man, and of the
dissenting persuasion, he considered all such pursuits as equally trivial
and profane. Before you condemn him, you must recall to remembrance how
too many of the poets in the end of the seventeenth century had led their
lives and employed their talents. The sect also to which my father
belonged, felt, or perhaps affected, a puritanical aversion to the
lighter exertions of literature. So that many causes contributed to
augment the unpleasant surprise occasioned by the ill-timed discovery of
this unfortunate copy of verses. As for poor Owen, could the bob-wig
which he then wore have uncurled itself, and stood on end with horror, I
am convinced the morning's labour of the friseur would have been undone,
merely by the excess of his astonishment at this enormity. An inroad on
the strong-box, or an erasure in the ledger, or a mis-summation in a
fitted account, could hardly have surprised him more disagreeably. My
father read the lines sometimes with an affectation of not being able to
understand the sense--sometimes in a mouthing tone of mock heroic--always
with an emphasis of the most bitter irony, most irritating to the nerves
of an author.

                    "O for the voice of that wild horn,
                     On Fontarabian echoes borne,
                           The dying hero's call,
                     That told imperial Charlemagne,
                     How Paynim sons of swarthy Spain
                     Had wrought his champion's fall.

"_Fontarabian echoes!_" continued my father, interrupting himself; "the
Fontarabian Fair would have been more to the purpose--_Paynim!_--What's
Paynim?--Could you not say Pagan as well, and write English at least, if
you must needs write nonsense?--


                    "Sad over earth and ocean sounding.
                And England's distant cliffs astounding.
                     Such are the notes should say
                How Britain's hope, and France's fear,
                     Victor of Cressy and Poitier,
                          In Bordeaux dying lay."

"Poitiers, by the way, is always spelt with an _s,_ and I know no reason
why orthography should give place to rhyme.--


                 "'Raise my faint head, my squires,' he said,
                  'And let the casement be display'd,
                       That I may see once more
                   The splendour of the setting sun
                   Gleam on thy mirrored wave, Garonne,
                       And Blaye's empurpled shore.

"_Garonne_ and _sun_ is a bad rhyme. Why, Frank, you do not even
understand the beggarly trade you have chosen.

                 "'Like me, he sinks to Glory's sleep,
                  His fall the dews of evening steep,
                         As if in sorrow shed,
                  So soft shall fall the trickling tear,
                  When England's maids and matrons hear
                        Of their Black Edward dead.

                      "'And though my sun of glory set,
                 Nor France, nor England, shall forget
                        The terror of my name;
                 And oft shall Britain's heroes rise,
                 New planets in these southern skies,
                       Through clouds of blood and flame.'

"A cloud of flame is something new--Good-morrow, my masters all, and a
merry Christmas to you!--Why, the bellman writes better lines." He then
tossed the paper from him with an air of superlative contempt, and
concluded--"Upon my credit, Frank, you are a greater blockhead than I
took you for."

What could I say, my dear Tresham? There I stood, swelling with indignant
mortification, while my father regarded me with a calm but stern look of
scorn and pity; and poor Owen, with uplifted hands and eyes, looked as
striking a picture of horror as if he had just read his patron's name in
the Gazette. At length I took courage to speak, endeavouring that my tone
of voice should betray my feelings as little as possible.

"I am quite aware, sir, how ill qualified I am to play the conspicuous
part in society you have destined for me; and, luckily, I am not
ambitious of the wealth I might acquire. Mr. Owen would be a much more
effective assistant." I said this in some malice, for I considered Owen
as having deserted my cause a little too soon.

"Owen!" said my father--"The boy is mad--actually insane. And, pray, sir,
if I may presume to inquire, having coolly turned me over to Mr. Owen
(although I may expect more attention from any one than from my son),
what may your own sage projects be?"

"I should wish, sir," I replied, summoning up my courage, "to travel for
two or three years, should that consist with your pleasure; otherwise,
although late, I would willingly spend the same time at Oxford or
Cambridge."

"In the name of common sense! was the like ever heard?--to put yourself
to school among pedants and Jacobites, when you might be pushing your
fortune in the world! Why not go to Westminster or Eton at once, man, and
take to Lilly's Grammar and Accidence, and to the birch, too, if you like
it?"

"Then, sir, if you think my plan of improvement too late, I would
willingly return to the Continent."

"You have already spent too much time there to little purpose, Mr.
Francis."

"Then I would choose the army, sir, in preference to any other active
line of life."

"Choose the d--l!" answered my father, hastily, and then checking
himself--"I profess you make me as great a fool as you are yourself. Is
he not enough to drive one mad, Owen?"--Poor Owen shook his head, and
looked down. "Hark ye, Frank," continued my father, "I will cut all this
matter very short. I was at your age when my father turned me out of
doors, and settled my legal inheritance on my younger brother. I left
Osbaldistone Hall on the back of a broken-down hunter, with ten guineas
in my purse. I have never crossed the threshold again, and I never will.
I know not, and I care not, if my fox-hunting brother is alive, or has
broken his neck; but he has children, Frank, and one of them shall be my
son if you cross me farther in this matter."

"You will do your pleasure," I answered--rather, I fear, with more sullen
indifference than respect, "with what is your own."

"Yes, Frank, what I have _is_ my own, if labour in getting, and care in
augmenting, can make a right of property; and no drone shall feed on my
honeycomb. Think on it well: what I have said is not without reflection,
and what I resolve upon I will execute."

"Honoured sir!--dear sir!" exclaimed Owen, tears rushing into his eyes,
"you are not wont to be in such a hurry in transacting business of
importance. Let Mr. Francis run up the balance before you shut the
account; he loves you, I am sure; and when he puts down his filial
obedience to the _per contra,_ I am sure his objections will disappear."

"Do you think I will ask him twice," said my father, sternly, "to be my
friend, my assistant, and my confidant?--to be a partner of my cares and
of my fortune?--Owen, I thought you had known me better."

He looked at me as if he meant to add something more, but turned
instantly away, and left the room abruptly. I was, I own, affected by
this view of the case, which had not occurred to me; and my father would
probably have had little reason to complain of me, had he commenced the
discussion with this argument.

But it was too late. I had much of his own obduracy of resolution, and
Heaven had decreed that my sin should be my punishment, though not to the
extent which my transgression merited. Owen, when we were left alone,
continued to look at me with eyes which tears from time to time
moistened, as if to discover, before attempting the task of intercessor,
upon what point my obstinacy was most assailable. At length he began,
with broken and disconcerted accents,--"O L--d, Mr. Francis!--Good
Heavens, sir!--My stars, Mr. Osbaldistone!--that I should ever have seen
this day--and you so young a gentleman, sir!--For the love of Heaven!
look at both sides of the account--think what you are going to lose--a
noble fortune, sir--one of the finest houses in the City, even under the
old firm of Tresham and Trent, and now Osbaldistone and Tresham--You
might roll in gold, Mr. Francis--And, my dear young Mr. Frank, if there
was any particular thing in the business of the house which you disliked,
I would" (sinking his voice to a whisper) "put it in order for you
termly, or weekly, or daily, if you will--Do, my dear Mr. Francis, think
of the honour due to your father, that your days may be long in the
land."

"I am much obliged to you, Mr. Owen," said I--"very much obliged indeed;
but my father is best judge how to bestow his money. He talks of one of
my cousins: let him dispose of his wealth as he pleases--I will never
sell my liberty for gold."

"Gold, sir?--I wish you saw the balance-sheet of profits at last term--It
was in five figures--five figures to each partner's sum total, Mr.
Frank--And all this is to go to a Papist, and a north-country booby, and
a disaffected person besides--It will break my heart, Mr. Francis, that
have been toiling more like a dog than a man, and all for love of
the firm. Think how it will sound, Osbaldistone, Tresham, and
Osbaldistone--or perhaps, who knows" (again lowering his voice),
"Osbaldistone, Osbaldistone, and Tresham, for our Mr. Osbaldistone can
buy them all out."

"But, Mr. Owen, my cousin's name being also Osbaldistone, the name of the
company will sound every bit as well in your ears."

"O fie upon you, Mr. Francis, when you know how well I love you--Your
cousin, indeed!--a Papist, no doubt, like his father, and a disaffected
person to the Protestant succession--that's another item, doubtless."

"There are many very good men Catholics, Mr. Owen," rejoined I.

As Owen was about to answer with unusual animation, my father re-entered
the apartment.

"You were right," he said, "Owen, and I was wrong; we will take more time
to think over this matter.--Young man, you will prepare to give me an
answer on this important subject this day month."

I bowed in silence, sufficiently glad of a reprieve, and trusting it
might indicate some relaxation in my father's determination.

The time of probation passed slowly, unmarked by any accident whatever. I
went and came, and disposed of my time as I pleased, without question or
criticism on the part of my father. Indeed, I rarely saw him, save at
meal-times, when he studiously avoided a discussion which you may well
suppose I was in no hurry to press onward. Our conversation was of the
news of the day, or on such general topics as strangers discourse upon to
each other; nor could any one have guessed, from its tenor, that there
remained undecided betwixt us a dispute of such importance. It haunted
me, however, more than once, like the nightmare. Was it possible he would
keep his word, and disinherit his only son in favour of a nephew whose
very existence he was not perhaps quite certain of? My grandfather's
conduct, in similar circumstances, boded me no good, had I considered the
matter rightly. But I had formed an erroneous idea of my father's
character, from the importance which I recollected I maintained with him
and his whole family before I went to France. I was not aware that there
are men who indulge their children at an early age, because to do so
interests and amuses them, and who can yet be sufficiently severe when
the same children cross their expectations at a more advanced period. On
the contrary, I persuaded myself, that all I had to apprehend was some
temporary alienation of affection--perhaps a rustication of a few weeks,
which I thought would rather please me than otherwise, since it would
give me an opportunity of setting about my unfinished version of Orlando
Furioso, a poem which I longed to render into English verse. I suffered
this belief to get such absolute possession of my mind, that I had
resumed my blotted papers, and was busy in meditation on the
oft-recurring rhymes of the Spenserian stanza, when I heard a low and
cautious tap at the door of my apartment. "Come in," I said, and Mr. Owen
entered. So regular were the motions and habits of this worthy man, that
in all probability this was the first time he had ever been in the second
story of his patron's house, however conversant with the first; and I am
still at a loss to know in what manner he discovered my apartment.

"Mr. Francis," he said, interrupting my expression of surprise and
pleasure at seeing, him, "I do not know if I am doing well in what I am
about to say--it is not right to speak of what passes in the
compting-house out of doors--one should not tell, as they say, to the
post in the warehouse, how many lines there are in the ledger. But young
Twineall has been absent from the house for a fortnight and more, until
two days since."

"Very well, my dear sir, and how does that concern us?"

"Stay, Mr. Francis;--your father gave him a private commission; and I am
sure he did not go down to Falmouth about the pilchard affair; and the
Exeter business with Blackwell and Company has been settled; and the
mining people in Cornwall, Trevanion and Treguilliam, have paid all they
are likely to pay; and any other matter of business must have been put
through my books:--in short, it's my faithful belief that Twineall has
been down in the north."

"Do you really suppose?" so said I, somewhat startled.

"He has spoken about nothing, sir, since he returned, but his new boots,
and his Ripon spurs, and a cockfight at York--it's as true as the
multiplication-table. Do, Heaven bless you, my dear child, make up your
mind to please your father, and to be a man and a merchant at once."

I felt at that instant a strong inclination to submit, and to make Owen
happy by requesting him to tell my father that I resigned myself to his
disposal. But pride--pride, the source of so much that is good and so
much that is evil in our course of life, prevented me. My acquiescence
stuck in my throat; and while I was coughing to get it up, my father's
voice summoned Owen. He hastily left the room, and the opportunity was
lost.

My father was methodical in everything. At the very same time of the day,
in the same apartment, and with the same tone and manner which he had
employed an exact month before, he recapitulated the proposal he had made
for taking me into partnership, and assigning me a department in the
counting-house, and requested to have my final decision. I thought at the
time there was something unkind in this; and I still think that my
father's conduct was injudicious. A more conciliatory treatment would, in
all probability, have gained his purpose. As it was, I stood fast, and,
as respectfully as I could, declined the proposal he made to me.
Perhaps--for who can judge of their own heart?--I felt it unmanly to
yield on the first summons, and expected farther solicitation, as at
least a pretext for changing my mind. If so, I was disappointed; for my
father turned coolly to Owen, and only said, "You see it is as I told
you.--Well, Frank" (addressing me), "you are nearly of age, and as well
qualified to judge of what will constitute your own happiness as you
ever are like to be; therefore, I say no more. But as I am not bound to
give in to your plans, any more than you are compelled to submit to
mine, may I ask to know if you have formed any which depend on my
assistance?"

I answered, not a little abashed, "That being bred to no profession, and
having no funds of my own, it was obviously impossible for me to subsist
without some allowance from my father; that my wishes were very moderate;
and that I hoped my aversion for the profession to which he had designed
me, would not occasion his altogether withdrawing his paternal support
and protection."

"That is to say, you wish to lean on my arm, and yet to walk your own
way? That can hardly be, Frank;--however, I suppose you mean to obey my
directions, so far as they do not cross your own humour?"

I was about to speak--"Silence, if you please," he continued. "Supposing
this to be the case, you will instantly set out for the north of England,
to pay your uncle a visit, and see the state of his family. I have chosen
from among his sons (he has six, I believe) one who, I understand, is
most worthy to fill the place I intended for you in the counting-house.
But some farther arrangements may be necessary, and for these your
presence may be requisite. You shall have farther instructions at
Osbaldistone Hall, where you will please to remain until you hear from
me. Everything will be ready for your departure to-morrow morning."

With these words my father left the apartment.

"What does all this mean, Mr. Owen?" said I to my sympathetic friend,
whose countenance wore a cast of the deepest dejection.

"You have ruined yourself, Mr. Frank, that's all. When your father talks
in that quiet determined manner, there will be no more change in him than
in a fitted account."

And so it proved; for the next morning, at five o'clock, I found myself
on the road to York, mounted on a reasonably good horse, and with fifty
guineas in my pocket; travelling, as it would seem, for the purpose of
assisting in the adoption of a successor to myself in my father's house
and favour, and, for aught I knew, eventually in his fortune also.





CHAPTER THIRD.


                  The slack sail shifts from side to side,
                  The boat, untrimm'd, admits the tide,
                  Borne down, adrift, at random tost,
                  The oar breaks short, the rudder's lost.
                                        Gay's _Fables._

I have tagged with rhyme and blank verse the subdivisions of this
important narrative, in order to seduce your continued attention by
powers of composition of stronger attraction than my own. The preceding
lines refer to an unfortunate navigator, who daringly unloosed from its
moorings a boat, which he was unable to manage, and thrust it off into
the full tide of a navigable river. No schoolboy, who, betwixt frolic and
defiance, has executed a similar rash attempt, could feel himself, when
adrift in a strong current, in a situation more awkward than mine, when I
found myself driving, without a compass, on the ocean of human life.
There had been such unexpected ease in the manner in which my father
slipt a knot, usually esteemed the strongest which binds society
together, and suffered me to depart as a sort of outcast from his family,
that it strangely lessened the confidence in my own personal
accomplishments, which had hitherto sustained me. Prince Prettyman, now a
prince, and now a fisher's son, had not a more awkward sense of his
degradation. We are so apt, in our engrossing egotism, to consider all
those accessories which are drawn around us by prosperity, as pertaining
and belonging to our own persons, that the discovery of our unimportance,
when left to our own proper resources, becomes inexpressibly mortifying.
As the hum of London died away on my ear, the distant peal of her
steeples more than once sounded to my ears the admonitory "Turn again,"
erst heard by her future Lord Mayor; and when I looked back from Highgate
on her dusky magnificence, I felt as if I were leaving behind me comfort,
opulence, the charms of society, and all the pleasures of cultivated
life.

But the die was cast. It was, indeed, by no means probable that a late
and ungracious compliance with my father's wishes would have reinstated
me in the situation which I had lost. On the contrary, firm and strong of
purpose as he himself was, he might rather have been disgusted than
conciliated by my tardy and compulsory acquiescence in his desire that I
should engage in commerce. My constitutional obstinacy came also to my
aid, and pride whispered how poor a figure I should make, when an airing
of four miles from London had blown away resolutions formed during a
month's serious deliberation. Hope, too, that never forsakes the young
and hardy, lent her lustre to my future prospects. My father could not be
serious in the sentence of foris-familiation, which he had so
unhesitatingly pronounced. It must be but a trial of my disposition,
which, endured with patience and steadiness on my part, would raise me in
his estimation, and lead to an amicable accommodation of the point in
dispute between us. I even settled in my own mind how far I would concede
to him, and on what articles of our supposed treaty I would make a firm
stand; and the result was, according to my computation, that I was to be
reinstated in my full rights of filiation, paying the easy penalty of
some ostensible compliances to atone for my past rebellion.

In the meanwhile, I was lord of my person, and experienced that feeling
of independence which the youthful bosom receives with a thrilling
mixture of pleasure and apprehension. My purse, though by no means amply
replenished, was in a situation to supply all the wants and wishes of a
traveller. I had been accustomed, while at Bourdeaux, to act as my own
valet; my horse was fresh, young, and active, and the buoyancy of my
spirits soon surmounted the melancholy reflections with which my journey
commenced.

I should have been glad to have journeyed upon a line of road better
calculated to afford reasonable objects of curiosity, or a more
interesting country, to the traveller. But the north road was then, and
perhaps still is, singularly deficient in these respects; nor do I
believe you can travel so far through Britain in any other direction
without meeting more of what is worthy to engage the attention. My mental
ruminations, notwithstanding my assumed confidence, were not always of an
unchequered nature. The Muse too,--the very coquette who had led me into
this wilderness,--like others of her sex, deserted me in my utmost need,
and I should have been reduced to rather an uncomfortable state of
dulness, had it not been for the occasional conversation of strangers who
chanced to pass the same way. But the characters whom I met with were of
a uniform and uninteresting description. Country parsons, jogging
homewards after a visitation; farmers, or graziers, returning from a
distant market; clerks of traders, travelling to collect what was due to
their masters, in provincial towns; with now and then an officer going
down into the country upon the recruiting service, were, at this period,
the persons by whom the turnpikes and tapsters were kept in exercise. Our
speech, therefore, was of tithes and creeds, of beeves and grain, of
commodities wet and dry, and the solvency of the retail dealers,
occasionally varied by the description of a siege, or battle, in
Flanders, which, perhaps, the narrator only gave me at second hand.
Robbers, a fertile and alarming theme, filled up every vacancy; and the
names of the Golden Farmer, the Flying Highwayman, Jack Needham, and
other Beggars' Opera heroes, were familiar in our mouths as household
words. At such tales, like children closing their circle round the fire
when the ghost story draws to its climax, the riders drew near to each
other, looked before and behind them, examined the priming of their
pistols, and vowed to stand by each other in case of danger; an
engagement which, like other offensive and defensive alliances, sometimes
glided out of remembrance when there was an appearance of actual peril.

Of all the fellows whom I ever saw haunted by terrors of this nature, one
poor man, with whom I travelled a day and a half, afforded me most
amusement. He had upon his pillion a very small, but apparently a very
weighty portmanteau, about the safety of which he seemed particularly
solicitous; never trusting it out of his own immediate care, and
uniformly repressing the officious zeal of the waiters and ostlers, who
offered their services to carry it into the house. With the same
precaution he laboured to conceal, not only the purpose of his journey,
and his ultimate place of destination, but even the direction of each
day's route. Nothing embarrassed him more than to be asked by any one,
whether he was travelling upwards or downwards, or at what stage he
intended to bait. His place of rest for the night he scrutinised with the
most anxious care, alike avoiding solitude, and what he considered as bad
neighbourhood; and at Grantham, I believe, he sate up all night to avoid
sleeping in the next room to a thick-set squinting fellow, in a black
wig, and a tarnished gold-laced waistcoat. With all these cares on his
mind, my fellow traveller, to judge by his thews and sinews, was a man
who might have set danger at defiance with as much impunity as most men.
He was strong and well built; and, judging from his gold-laced hat and
cockade, seemed to have served in the army, or, at least, to belong to
the military profession in one capacity or other. His conversation also,
though always sufficiently vulgar, was that of a man of sense, when the
terrible bugbears which haunted his imagination for a moment ceased to
occupy his attention. But every accidental association recalled them. An
open heath, a close plantation, were alike subjects of apprehension; and
the whistle of a shepherd lad was instantly converted into the signal of
a depredator. Even the sight of a gibbet, if it assured him that one
robber was safely disposed of by justice, never failed to remind him how
many remained still unhanged.

I should have wearied of this fellow's company, had I not been still more
tired of my own thoughts. Some of the marvellous stories, however, which
he related, had in themselves a cast of interest, and another whimsical
point of his peculiarities afforded me the occasional opportunity of
amusing myself at his expense. Among his tales, several of the
unfortunate travellers who fell among thieves, incurred that calamity
from associating themselves on the road with a well-dressed and
entertaining stranger, in whose company they trusted to find protection
as well as amusement; who cheered their journey with tale and song,
protected them against the evils of over-charges and false reckonings,
until at length, under pretext of showing a near path over a desolate
common, he seduced his unsuspicious victims from the public road into
some dismal glen, where, suddenly blowing his whistle, he assembled his
comrades from their lurking-place, and displayed himself in his true
colours--the captain, namely, of the band of robbers to whom his unwary
fellow-travellers had forfeited their purses, and perhaps their lives.
Towards the conclusion of such a tale, and when my companion had wrought
himself into a fever of apprehension by the progress of his own
narrative, I observed that he usually eyed me with a glance of doubt and
suspicion, as if the possibility occurred to him, that he might, at that
very moment, be in company with a character as dangerous as that which
his tale described. And ever and anon, when such suggestions pressed
themselves on the mind of this ingenious self-tormentor, he drew off from
me to the opposite side of the high-road, looked before, behind, and
around him, examined his arms, and seemed to prepare himself for flight
or defence, as circumstances might require.

The suspicion implied on such occasions seemed to me only momentary, and
too ludicrous to be offensive. There was, in fact, no particular
reflection on my dress or address, although I was thus mistaken for a
robber. A man in those days might have all the external appearance of a
gentleman, and yet turn out to be a highwayman. For the division of
labour in every department not having then taken place so fully as since
that period, the profession of the polite and accomplished adventurer,
who nicked you out of your money at White's, or bowled you out of it at
Marylebone, was often united with that of the professed ruffian, who on
Bagshot Heath, or Finchley Common, commanded his brother beau to stand
and deliver. There was also a touch of coarseness and hardness about the
manners of the times, which has since, in a great degree, been softened
and shaded away. It seems to me, on recollection, as if desperate men had
less reluctance then than now to embrace the most desperate means of
retrieving their fortune. The times were indeed past, when Anthony-a-Wood
mourned over the execution of two men, goodly in person, and of
undisputed courage and honour, who were hanged without mercy at Oxford,
merely because their distress had driven them to raise contributions on
the highway. We were still farther removed from the days of "the mad
Prince and Poins." And yet, from the number of unenclosed and extensive
heaths in the vicinity of the metropolis, and from the less populous
state of remote districts, both were frequented by that species of
mounted highwaymen, that may possibly become one day unknown, who carried
on their trade with something like courtesy; and, like Gibbet in the
Beaux Stratagem, piqued themselves on being the best behaved men on the
road, and on conducting themselves with all appropriate civility in the
exercise of their vocation. A young man, therefore, in my circumstances
was not entitled to be highly indignant at the mistake which confounded
him with this worshipful class of depredators.

Neither was I offended. On the contrary, I found amusement in alternately
exciting, and lulling to sleep, the suspicions of my timorous companion,
and in purposely so acting as still farther to puzzle a brain which
nature and apprehension had combined to render none of the clearest. When
my free conversation had lulled him into complete security, it required
only a passing inquiry concerning the direction of his journey, or the
nature of the business which occasioned it, to put his suspicions once
more in arms. For example, a conversation on the comparative strength and
activity of our horses, took such a turn as follows:--

"O sir," said my companion, "for the gallop I grant you; but allow me to
say, your horse (although he is a very handsome gelding--that must be
owned,) has too little bone to be a good roadster. The trot, sir"
(striking his Bucephalus with his spurs),--"the trot is the true pace for
a hackney; and, were we near a town, I should like to try that
daisy-cutter of yours upon a piece of level road (barring canter) for a
quart of claret at the next inn."

"Content, sir," replied I; "and here is a stretch of ground very
favourable."

"Hem, ahem," answered my friend with hesitation; "I make it a rule of
travelling never to blow my horse between stages; one never knows what
occasion he may have to put him to his mettle: and besides, sir, when I
said I would match you, I meant with even weight; you ride four stone
lighter than I."

"Very well; but I am content to carry weight. Pray, what may that
portmanteau of yours weigh?"

"My p-p-portmanteau?" replied he, hesitating--"O very little--a
feather--just a few shirts and stockings."

"I should think it heavier, from its appearance. I'll hold you the quart
of claret it makes the odds betwixt our weight."

"You're mistaken, sir, I assure you--quite mistaken," replied my friend,
edging off to the side of the road, as was his wont on these alarming
occasions.

"Well, I am willing to venture the wine; or, I will bet you ten pieces to
five, that I carry your portmanteau on my croupe, and out-trot you into
the bargain."

This proposal raised my friend's alarm to the uttermost. His nose changed
from the natural copper hue which it had acquired from many a comfortable
cup of claret or sack, into a palish brassy tint, and his teeth chattered
with apprehension at the unveiled audacity of my proposal, which seemed
to place the barefaced plunderer before him in full atrocity. As he
faltered for an answer, I relieved him in some degree by a question
concerning a steeple, which now became visible, and an observation that
we were now so near the village as to run no risk from interruption on
the road. At this his countenance cleared up: but I easily perceived that
it was long ere he forgot a proposal which seemed to him so fraught with
suspicion as that which I had now hazarded. I trouble you with this
detail of the man's disposition, and the manner in which I practised upon
it, because, however trivial in themselves, these particulars were
attended by an important influence on future incidents which will occur
in this narrative. At the time, this person's conduct only inspired me
with contempt, and confirmed me in an opinion which I already
entertained, that of all the propensities which teach mankind to torment
themselves, that of causeless fear is the most irritating, busy, painful,
and pitiable.





CHAPTER FOURTH.


             The Scots are poor, cries surly English pride.
             True is the charge; nor by themselves denied.
             Are they not, then, in strictest reason clear,
             Who wisely come to mend their fortunes here?
                                             Churchill.

There was, in the days of which I write, an old-fashioned custom on the
English road, which I suspect is now obsolete, or practised only by the
vulgar. Journeys of length being made on horseback, and, of course, by
brief stages, it was usual always to make a halt on the Sunday in some
town where the traveller might attend divine service, and his horse have
the benefit of the day of rest, the institution of which is as humane to
our brute labourers as profitable to ourselves. A counterpart to this
decent practice, and a remnant of old English hospitality, was, that the
landlord of a principal inn laid aside his character of a publican on the
seventh day, and invited the guests who chanced to be within his walls to
take a part of his family beef and pudding. This invitation was usually
complied with by all whose distinguished rank did not induce them to
think compliance a derogation; and the proposal of a bottle of wine after
dinner, to drink the landlord's health, was the only recompense ever
offered or accepted.

I was born a citizen of the world, and my inclination led me into all
scenes where my knowledge of mankind could be enlarged; I had, besides,
no pretensions to sequester myself on the score of superior dignity, and
therefore seldom failed to accept of the Sunday's hospitality of mine
host, whether of the Garter, Lion, or Bear. The honest publican, dilated
into additional consequence by a sense of his own importance, while
presiding among the guests on whom it was his ordinary duty to attend,
was in himself an entertaining, spectacle; and around his genial orbit,
other planets of inferior consequence performed their revolutions. The
wits and humorists, the distinguished worthies of the town or village,
the apothecary, the attorney, even the curate himself, did not disdain to
partake of this hebdomadal festivity. The guests, assembled from
different quarters, and following different professions, formed, in
language, manners, and sentiments, a curious contrast to each other, not
indifferent to those who desired to possess a knowledge of mankind in its
varieties.

It was on such a day, and such an occasion, that my timorous acquaintance
and I were about to grace the board of the ruddy-faced host of the Black
Bear, in the town of Darlington, and bishopric of Durham, when our
landlord informed us, with a sort of apologetic tone, that there was a
Scotch gentleman to dine with us.

"A gentleman!--what sort of a gentleman?" said my companion somewhat
hastily--his mind, I suppose, running on gentlemen of the pad, as they
were then termed.

"Why, a Scotch sort of a gentleman, as I said before," returned mine
host; "they are all gentle, ye mun know, though they ha' narra shirt to
back; but this is a decentish hallion--a canny North Briton as e'er
cross'd Berwick Bridge--I trow he's a dealer in cattle."

"Let us have his company, by all means," answered my companion; and then,
turning to me, he gave vent to the tenor of his own reflections. "I
respect the Scotch, sir; I love and honour the nation for their sense of
morality. Men talk of their filth and their poverty: but commend me to
sterling honesty, though clad in rags, as the poet saith. I have been
credibly assured, sir, by men on whom I can depend, that there was never
known such a thing in Scotland as a highway robbery."

"That's because they have nothing to lose," said mine host, with the
chuckle of a self-applauding wit.

"No, no, landlord," answered a strong deep voice behind him, "it's e'en
because your English gaugers and supervisors,* that you have sent down
benorth the Tweed, have taen up the trade of thievery over the heads of
the native professors."

* The introduction of gaugers, supervisors, and examiners, was one of the
great complaints of the Scottish nation, though a natural consequence of
the Union.

"Well said, Mr. Campbell," answered the landlord; "I did not think
thoud'st been sae near us, mon. But thou kens I'm an outspoken Yorkshire
tyke. And how go markets in the south?"

"Even in the ordinar," replied Mr. Campbell; "wise folks buy and sell,
and fools are bought and sold."

"But wise men and fools both eat their dinner," answered our jolly
entertainer; "and here a comes--as prime a buttock of beef as e'er hungry
men stuck fork in."

So saying, he eagerly whetted his knife, assumed his seat of empire at
the head of the board, and loaded the plates of his sundry guests with
his good cheer.

This was the first time I had heard the Scottish accent, or, indeed, that
I had familiarly met with an individual of the ancient nation by whom it
was spoken. Yet, from an early period, they had occupied and interested
my imagination. My father, as is well known to you, was of an ancient
family in Northumberland, from whose seat I was, while eating the
aforesaid dinner, not very many miles distant. The quarrel betwixt him
and his relatives was such, that he scarcely ever mentioned the race from
which he sprung, and held as the most contemptible species of vanity, the
weakness which is commonly termed family pride. His ambition was only to
be distinguished as William Osbaldistone, the first, at least one of the
first, merchants on Change; and to have proved him the lineal
representative of William the Conqueror would have far less flattered his
vanity than the hum and bustle which his approach was wont to produce
among the bulls, bears, and brokers of Stock-alley. He wished, no doubt,
that I should remain in such ignorance of my relatives and descent as
might insure a correspondence between my feelings and his own on this
subject. But his designs, as will happen occasionally to the wisest,
were, in some degree at least, counteracted by a being whom his pride
would never have supposed of importance adequate to influence them in any
way. His nurse, an old Northumbrian woman, attached to him from his
infancy, was the only person connected with his native province for whom
he retained any regard; and when fortune dawned upon him, one of the
first uses which he made of her favours, was to give Mabel Rickets a
place of residence within his household. After the death of my mother,
the care of nursing me during my childish illnesses, and of rendering all
those tender attentions which infancy exacts from female affection,
devolved on old Mabel. Interdicted by her master from speaking to him on
the subject of the heaths, glades, and dales of her beloved
Northumberland, she poured herself forth to my infant ear in descriptions
of the scenes of her youth, and long narratives of the events which
tradition declared to have passed amongst them. To these I inclined my
ear much more seriously than to graver, but less animated instructors.
Even yet, methinks I see old Mabel, her head slightly agitated by the
palsy of age, and shaded by a close cap, as white as the driven
snow,--her face wrinkled, but still retaining the healthy tinge which it
had acquired in rural labour--I think I see her look around on the brick
walls and narrow street which presented themselves before our windows,
as she concluded with a sigh the favourite old ditty, which I then
preferred, and--why should I not tell the truth?--which I still prefer
to all the opera airs ever minted by the capricious brain of an Italian
Mus. D.--

             Oh, the oak, the ash, and the bonny ivy tree,
             They flourish best at home in the North Countrie!

Now, in the legends of Mabel, the Scottish nation was ever freshly
remembered, with all the embittered declamation of which the narrator was
capable. The inhabitants of the opposite frontier served in her
narratives to fill up the parts which ogres and giants with seven-leagued
boots occupy in the ordinary nursery tales. And how could it be
otherwise? Was it not the Black Douglas who slew with his own hand the
heir of the Osbaldistone family the day after he took possession of his
estate, surprising him and his vassals while solemnizing a feast suited
to the occasion? Was it not Wat the Devil, who drove all the year-old
hogs off the braes of Lanthorn-side, in the very recent days of my
grandfather's father? And had we not many a trophy, but, according to old
Mabel's version of history, far more honourably gained, to mark our
revenge of these wrongs? Did not Sir Henry Osbaldistone, fifth baron of
the name, carry off the fair maid of Fairnington, as Achilles did his
Chryseis and Briseis of old, and detain her in his fortress against all
the power of her friends, supported by the most mighty Scottish chiefs of
warlike fame? And had not our swords shone foremost at most of those
fields in which England was victorious over her rival? All our family
renown was acquired--all our family misfortunes were occasioned--by the
northern wars.

Warmed by such tales, I looked upon the Scottish people during my
childhood, as a race hostile by nature to the more southern inhabitants
of this realm; and this view of the matter was not much corrected by the
language which my father sometimes held with respect to them. He had
engaged in some large speculations concerning oak-woods, the property of
Highland proprietors, and alleged, that he found them much more ready to
make bargains, and extort earnest of the purchase-money, than punctual in
complying on their side with the terms of the engagements. The Scottish
mercantile men, whom he was under the necessity of employing as a sort of
middle-men on these occasions, were also suspected by my father of having
secured, by one means or other, more than their own share of the profit
which ought to have accrued. In short, if Mabel complained of the
Scottish arms in ancient times, Mr. Osbaldistone inveighed no less
against the arts of these modern Sinons; and between them, though without
any fixed purpose of doing so, they impressed my youthful mind with a
sincere aversion to the northern inhabitants of Britain, as a people
bloodthirsty in time of war, treacherous during truce, interested,
selfish, avaricious, and tricky in the business of peaceful life, and
having few good qualities, unless there should be accounted such, a
ferocity which resembled courage in martial affairs, and a sort of wily
craft which supplied the place of wisdom in the ordinary commerce of
mankind. In justification, or apology, for those who entertained such
prejudices, I must remark, that the Scotch of that period were guilty of
similar injustice to the English, whom they branded universally as a race
of purse-proud arrogant epicures. Such seeds of national dislike remained
between the two countries, the natural consequences of their existence as
separate and rival states. We have seen recently the breath of a
demagogue blow these sparks into a temporary flame, which I sincerely
hope is now extinguished in its own ashes. *

* This seems to have been written about the time of Wilkes and Liberty.

It was, then, with an impression of dislike, that I contemplated the
first Scotchman I chanced to meet in society. There was much about him
that coincided with my previous conceptions. He had the hard features and
athletic form said to be peculiar to his country, together with the
national intonation and slow pedantic mode of expression, arising from a
desire to avoid peculiarities of idiom or dialect. I could also observe
the caution and shrewdness of his country in many of the observations
which he made, and the answers which he returned. But I was not prepared
for the air of easy self-possession and superiority with which he seemed
to predominate over the company into which he was thrown, as it were by
accident. His dress was as coarse as it could be, being still decent;
and, at a time when great expense was lavished upon the wardrobe, even of
the lowest who pretended to the character of gentleman, this indicated
mediocrity of circumstances, if not poverty. His conversation intimated
that he was engaged in the cattle trade, no very dignified professional
pursuit. And yet, under these disadvantages, he seemed, as a matter of
course, to treat the rest of the company with the cool and condescending
politeness which implies a real, or imagined, superiority over those
towards whom it is used. When he gave his opinion on any point, it was
with that easy tone of confidence used by those superior to their society
in rank or information, as if what he said could not be doubted, and was
not to be questioned. Mine host and his Sunday guests, after an effort or
two to support their consequence by noise and bold averment, sunk
gradually under the authority of Mr. Campbell, who thus fairly possessed
himself of the lead in the conversation. I was tempted, from curiosity,
to dispute the ground with him myself, confiding in my knowledge of the
world, extended as it was by my residence abroad, and in the stores with
which a tolerable education had possessed my mind. In the latter respect
he offered no competition, and it was easy to see that his natural powers
had never been cultivated by education. But I found him much better
acquainted than I was myself with the present state of France, the
character of the Duke of Orleans, who had just succeeded to the regency
of that kingdom, and that of the statesmen by whom he was surrounded; and
his shrewd, caustic, and somewhat satirical remarks, were those of a man
who had been a close observer of the affairs of that country.

On the subject of politics, Campbell observed a silence and moderation
which might arise from caution. The divisions of Whig and Tory then shook
England to her very centre, and a powerful party, engaged in the Jacobite
interest, menaced the dynasty of Hanover, which had been just established
on the throne. Every alehouse resounded with the brawls of contending
politicians, and as mine host's politics were of that liberal description
which quarrelled with no good customer, his hebdomadal visitants were
often divided in their opinion as irreconcilably as if he had feasted the
Common Council. The curate and the apothecary, with a little man, who
made no boast of his vocation, but who, from the flourish and snap of his
fingers, I believe to have been the barber, strongly espoused the cause
of high church and the Stuart line. The excise-man, as in duty bound, and
the attorney, who looked to some petty office under the Crown, together
with my fellow-traveller, who seemed to enter keenly into the contest,
staunchly supported the cause of King George and the Protestant
succession. Dire was the screaming--deep the oaths! Each party appealed
to Mr. Campbell, anxious, it seemed, to elicit his approbation.

"You are a Scotchman, sir; a gentleman of your country must stand up for
hereditary right," cried one party.

"You are a Presbyterian," assumed the other class of disputants; "you
cannot be a friend to arbitrary power."

"Gentlemen," said our Scotch oracle, after having gained, with some
difficulty, a moment's pause, "I havena much dubitation that King George
weel deserves the predilection of his friends; and if he can haud the
grip he has gotten, why, doubtless, he may made the gauger, here, a
commissioner of the revenue, and confer on our friend, Mr. Quitam, the
preferment of solicitor-general; and he may also grant some good deed or
reward to this honest gentleman who is sitting upon his portmanteau,
which he prefers to a chair: And, questionless, King James is also a
grateful person, and when he gets his hand in play, he may, if he be so
minded, make this reverend gentleman archprelate of Canterbury, and Dr.
Mixit chief physician to his household, and commit his royal beard to the
care of my friend Latherum. But as I doubt mickle whether any of the
competing sovereigns would give Rob Campbell a tass of aquavitae, if he
lacked it, I give my vote and interest to Jonathan Brown, our landlord,
to be the King and Prince of Skinkers, conditionally that he fetches us
another bottle as good as the last."

This sally was received with general applause, in which the landlord
cordially joined; and when he had given orders for fulfilling the
condition on which his preferment was to depend, he failed not to
acquaint them, "that, for as peaceable a gentleman as Mr. Campbell was,
he was, moreover, as bold as a lion--seven highwaymen had he defeated
with his single arm, that beset him as he came from Whitson-Tryste."

"Thou art deceived, friend Jonathan," said Campbell, interrupting him;
"they were but barely two, and two cowardly loons as man could wish to
meet withal."

"And did you, sir, really," said my fellow-traveller, edging his chair (I
should have said his portmanteau) nearer to Mr. Campbell, "really and
actually beat two highwaymen yourself alone?"

"In troth did I, sir," replied Campbell; "and I think it nae great thing
to make a sang about."

"Upon my word, sir," replied my acquaintance, "I should be happy to have
the pleasure of your company on my journey--I go northward, sir."

This piece of gratuitous information concerning the route he proposed to
himself, the first I had heard my companion bestow upon any one, failed
to excite the corresponding confidence of the Scotchman.

"We can scarce travel together," he replied, drily. "You, sir, doubtless,
are well mounted, and I for the present travel on foot, or on a Highland
shelty, that does not help me much faster forward."

So saying, he called for a reckoning for the wine, and throwing down the
price of the additional bottle which he had himself introduced, rose as
if to take leave of us. My companion made up to him, and taking him by
the button, drew him aside into one of the windows. I could not help
overhearing him pressing something--I supposed his company upon the
journey, which Mr. Campbell seemed to decline.

"I will pay your charges, sir," said the traveller, in a tone as if he
thought the argument should bear down all opposition.

"It is quite impossible," said Campbell, somewhat contemptuously; "I have
business at Rothbury."

"But I am in no great hurry; I can ride out of the way, and never miss a
day or so for good company."

"Upon my faith, sir," said Campbell, "I cannot render you the service you
seem to desiderate. I am," he added, drawing himself up haughtily,
"travelling on my own private affairs, and if ye will act by my
advisement, sir, ye will neither unite yourself with an absolute stranger
on the road, nor communicate your line of journey to those who are asking
ye no questions about it." He then extricated his button, not very
ceremoniously, from the hold which detained him, and coming up to me as
the company were dispersing, observed, "Your friend, sir, is too
communicative, considering the nature of his trust."

"That gentleman," I replied, looking towards the traveller, "is no friend
of mine, but an acquaintance whom I picked up on the road. I know neither
his name nor business, and you seem to be deeper in his confidence than I
am."

"I only meant," he replied hastily, "that he seems a thought rash in
conferring the honour of his company on those who desire it not."

"The gentleman," replied I, "knows his own affairs best, and I should be
sorry to constitute myself a judge of them in any respect."

Mr. Campbell made no farther observation, but merely wished me a good
journey, and the party dispersed for the evening.

Next day I parted company with my timid companion, as I left the great
northern road to turn more westerly in the direction of Osbaldistone
Manor, my uncle's seat. I cannot tell whether he felt relieved or
embarrassed by my departure, considering the dubious light in which he
seemed to regard me. For my own part, his tremors ceased to amuse me,
and, to say the truth, I was heartily glad to get rid of him.





CHAPTER FIFTH.


                How melts my beating heart as I behold
           Each lovely nymph, our island's boast and pride,
                Push on the generous steed, that sweeps along
           O'er rough, o'er smooth, nor heeds the steepy hill,
                Nor falters in the extended vale below!
                                               The Chase.

I approached my native north, for such I esteemed it, with that
enthusiasm which romantic and wild scenery inspires in the lovers of
nature. No longer interrupted by the babble of my companion, I could now
remark the difference which the country exhibited from that through which
I had hitherto travelled. The streams now more properly deserved the
name, for, instead of slumbering stagnant among reeds and willows, they
brawled along beneath the shade of natural copsewood; were now hurried
down declivities, and now purled more leisurely, but still in active
motion, through little lonely valleys, which, opening on the road from
time to time, seemed to invite the traveller to explore their recesses.
The Cheviots rose before me in frowning majesty; not, indeed, with the
sublime variety of rock and cliff which characterizes mountains of the
primary class but huge, round-headed, and clothed with a dark robe of
russet, gaining, by their extent and desolate appearance, an influence
upon the imagination, as a desert district possessing a character of its
own.

The abode of my fathers, which I was now approaching, was situated in a
glen, or narrow valley, which ran up among those hills. Extensive
estates, which once belonged to the family of Osbaldistone, had been long
dissipated by the misfortunes or misconduct of my ancestors; but enough
was still attached to the old mansion, to give my uncle the title of a
man of large property. This he employed (as I was given to understand by
some inquiries which I made on the road) in maintaining the prodigal
hospitality of a northern squire of the period, which he deemed essential
to his family dignity.

From the summit of an eminence I had already had a distant view of
Osbaldistone Hall, a large and antiquated edifice, peeping out from a
Druidical grove of huge oaks; and I was directing my course towards it,
as straightly and as speedily as the windings of a very indifferent road
would permit, when my horse, tired as he was, pricked up his ears at the
enlivening notes of a pack of hounds in full cry, cheered by the
occasional bursts of a French horn, which in those days was a constant
accompaniment to the chase. I made no doubt that the pack was my uncle's,
and drew up my horse with the purpose of suffering the hunters to pass
without notice, aware that a hunting-field was not the proper scene to
introduce myself to a keen sportsman, and determined when they had passed
on, to proceed to the mansion-house at my own pace, and there to await
the return of the proprietor from his sport. I paused, therefore, on a
rising ground, and, not unmoved by the sense of interest which that
species of silvan sport is so much calculated to inspire (although my
mind was not at the moment very accessible to impressions of this
nature), I expected with some eagerness the appearance of the huntsmen.

The fox, hard run, and nearly spent, first made his appearance from the
copse which clothed the right-hand side of the valley. His drooping
brush, his soiled appearance, and jaded trot, proclaimed his fate
impending; and the carrion crow, which hovered over him, already
considered poor Reynard as soon to be his prey. He crossed the stream
which divides the little valley, and was dragging himself up a ravine on
the other side of its wild banks, when the headmost hounds, followed by
the rest of the pack in full cry, burst from the coppice, followed by the
huntsman and three or four riders. The dogs pursued the trace of Reynard
with unerring instinct; and the hunters followed with reckless haste,
regardless of the broken and difficult nature of the ground. They were
tall, stout young men, well mounted, and dressed in green and red, the
uniform of a sporting association, formed under the auspices of old Sir
Hildebrand Osbaldistone.--"My cousins!" thought I, as they swept past me.
The next reflection was, what is my reception likely to be among these
worthy successors of Nimrod? and how improbable is it that I, knowing
little or nothing of rural sports, shall find myself at ease, or happy,
in my uncle's family. A vision that passed me interrupted these
reflections.

It was a young lady, the loveliness of whose very striking features was
enhanced by the animation of the chase and the glow of the exercise,
mounted on a beautiful horse, jet black, unless where he was flecked by
spots of the snow-white foam which embossed his bridle. She wore, what
was then somewhat unusual, a coat, vest, and hat, resembling those of a
man, which fashion has since called a riding habit. The mode had been
introduced while I was in France, and was perfectly new to me. Her long
black hair streamed on the breeze, having in the hurry of the chase
escaped from the ribbon which bound it. Some very broken ground, through
which she guided her horse with the most admirable address and presence
of mind, retarded her course, and brought her closer to me than any of
the other riders had passed. I had, therefore, a full view of her
uncommonly fine face and person, to which an inexpressible charm was
added by the wild gaiety of the scene, and the romance of her singular
dress and unexpected appearance. As she passed me, her horse made, in his
impetuosity, an irregular movement, just while, coming once more upon
open ground, she was again putting him to his speed. It served as an
apology for me to ride close up to her, as if to her assistance. There
was, however, no cause for alarm; it was not a stumble, nor a false step;
and, if it had, the fair Amazon had too much self-possession to have been
deranged by it. She thanked my good intentions, however, by a smile, and
I felt encouraged to put my horse to the same pace, and to keep in her
immediate neighbourhood. The clamour of "Whoop! dead! dead!"--and the
corresponding flourish of the French horn, soon announced to us that
there was no more occasion for haste, since the chase was at a close. One
of the young men whom we had seen approached us, waving the brush of the
fox in triumph, as if to upbraid my fair companion,

"I see," she replied,--"I see; but make no noise about it: if Phoebe,"
she said, patting the neck of the beautiful animal on which she rode,
"had not got among the cliffs, you would have had little cause for
boasting."

They met as she spoke, and I observed them both look at me, and converse
a moment in an under-tone, the young lady apparently pressing the
sportsman to do something which he declined shyly, and with a sort of
sheepish sullenness. She instantly turned her horse's head towards me,
saying,--"Well, well, Thornie, if you won't, I must, that's all.--Sir,"
she continued, addressing me, "I have been endeavouring to persuade this
cultivated young gentleman to make inquiry of you whether, in the course
of your travels in these parts, you have heard anything of a friend of
ours, one Mr. Francis Osbaldistone, who has been for some days expected
at Osbaldistone Hall?"

I was too happy to acknowledge myself to be the party inquired after, and
to express my thanks for the obliging inquiries of the young lady.

"In that case, sir," she rejoined, "as my kinsman's politeness seems to
be still slumbering, you will permit me (though I suppose it is highly
improper) to stand mistress of ceremonies, and to present to you young
Squire Thorncliff Osbaldistone, your cousin, and Die Vernon, who has also
the honour to be your accomplished cousin's poor kinswoman."

There was a mixture of boldness, satire, and simplicity in the manner in
which Miss Vernon pronounced these words. My knowledge of life was
sufficient to enable me to take up a corresponding tone as I expressed my
gratitude to her for her condescension, and my extreme pleasure at having
met with them. To say the truth, the compliment was so expressed, that
the lady might easily appropriate the greater share of it, for Thorncliff
seemed an arrant country bumpkin, awkward, shy, and somewhat sulky
withal. He shook hands with me, however, and then intimated his intention
of leaving me that he might help the huntsman and his brothers to couple
up the hounds,--a purpose which he rather communicated by way of
information to Miss Vernon than as apology to me.

"There he goes," said the young lady, following him with eyes in which
disdain was admirably painted--"the prince of grooms and cock-fighters,
and blackguard horse-coursers. But there is not one of them to mend
another.--Have you read Markham?" said Miss Vernon.

"Read whom, ma'am?--I do not even remember the author's name."

"O lud! on what a strand are you wrecked!" replied the young lady. "A
poor forlorn and ignorant stranger, unacquainted with the very Alcoran of
the savage tribe whom you are come to reside among--Never to have heard
of Markham, the most celebrated author on farriery! then I fear you are
equally a stranger to the more modern names of Gibson and Bartlett?"

"I am, indeed, Miss Vernon."

"And do you not blush to own it?" said Miss Vernon. "Why, we must
forswear your alliance. Then, I suppose, you can neither give a ball, nor
a mash, nor a horn!"

"I confess I trust all these matters to an ostler, or to my groom."

"Incredible carelessness!--And you cannot shoe a horse, or cut his mane
and tail; or worm a dog, or crop his ears, or cut his dew-claws; or
reclaim a hawk, or give him his casting-stones, or direct his diet when
he is sealed; or"--

"To sum up my insignificance in one word," replied I, "I am profoundly
ignorant in all these rural accomplishments."

"Then, in the name of Heaven, Mr. Francis Osbaldistone, what _can_ you
do?"

"Very little to the purpose, Miss Vernon; something, however, I can
pretend to--When my groom has dressed my horse I can ride him, and when
my hawk is in the field, I can fly him."

"Can you do this?" said the young lady, putting her horse to a canter.

There was a sort of rude overgrown fence crossed the path before us, with
a gate composed of pieces of wood rough from the forest; I was about to
move forward to open it, when Miss Vernon cleared the obstruction at a
flying leap. I was bound in point of honour to follow, and was in a
moment again at her side. "There are hopes of you yet," she said. "I was
afraid you had been a very degenerate Osbaldistone. But what on earth
brings you to Cub-Castle?--for so the neighbours have christened this
hunting-hall of ours. You might have stayed away, I suppose, if you
would?"

I felt I was by this time on a very intimate footing with my beautiful
apparition, and therefore replied, in a confidential under-tone--"Indeed,
my dear Miss Vernon, I might have considered it as a sacrifice to be a
temporary resident in Osbaldistone Hall, the inmates being such as you
describe them; but I am convinced there is one exception that will make
amends for all deficiencies."

"O, you mean Rashleigh?" said Miss Vernon.

"Indeed I do not; I was thinking--forgive me--of some person much nearer
me."

"I suppose it would be proper not to understand your civility?--But that
is not my way--I don't make a courtesy for it because I am sitting on
horseback. But, seriously, I deserve your exception, for I am the only
conversable being about the Hall, except the old priest and Rashleigh."

"And who is Rashleigh, for Heaven's sake?"

"Rashleigh is one who would fain have every one like him for his own
sake. He is Sir Hildebrand's youngest son--about your own age, but not
so--not well looking, in short. But nature has given him a mouthful of
common sense, and the priest has added a bushelful of learning; he is
what we call a very clever man in this country, where clever men are
scarce. Bred to the church, but in no hurry to take orders."

"To the Catholic Church?"

"The Catholic Church? what Church else?" said the young lady. "But I
forgot--they told me you are a heretic. Is that true, Mr. Osbaldistone?"

"I must not deny the charge."

"And yet you have been abroad, and in Catholic countries?"

"For nearly four years."

"You have seen convents?"

"Often; but I have not seen much in them which recommended the Catholic
religion."

"Are not the inhabitants happy?"

"Some are unquestionably so, whom either a profound sense of devotion, or
an experience of the persecutions and misfortunes of the world, or a
natural apathy of temper, has led into retirement. Those who have adopted
a life of seclusion from sudden and overstrained enthusiasm, or in hasty
resentment of some disappointment or mortification, are very miserable.
The quickness of sensation soon returns, and like the wilder animals in a
menagerie, they are restless under confinement, while others muse or
fatten in cells of no larger dimensions than theirs."

"And what," continued Miss Vernon, "becomes of those victims who are
condemned to a convent by the will of others? what do they resemble?
especially, what do they resemble, if they are born to enjoy life, and
feel its blessings?"

"They are like imprisoned singing-birds," replied I, "condemned to wear
out their lives in confinement, which they try to beguile by the exercise
of accomplishments which would have adorned society had they been left at
large."

"I shall be," returned Miss Vernon--"that is," said she, correcting
herself--"I should be rather like the wild hawk, who, barred the free
exercise of his soar through heaven, will dash himself to pieces against
the bars of his cage. But to return to Rashleigh," said she, in a more
lively tone, "you will think him the pleasantest man you ever saw in your
life, Mr. Osbaldistone,--that is, for a week at least. If he could find
out a blind mistress, never man would be so secure of conquest; but the
eye breaks the spell that enchants the ear.--But here we are in the court
of the old hall, which looks as wild and old-fashioned as any of its
inmates. There is no great toilette kept at Osbaldistone Hall, you must
know; but I must take off these things, they are so unpleasantly
warm,--and the hat hurts my forehead, too," continued the lively girl,
taking it off, and shaking down a profusion of sable ringlets, which,
half laughing, half blushing, she separated with her white slender
fingers, in order to clear them away from her beautiful face and
piercing hazel eyes. If there was any coquetry in the action, it was
well disguised by the careless indifference of her manner. I could not
help saying, "that, judging of the family from what I saw, I should
suppose the toilette a very unnecessary care."

"That's very politely said--though, perhaps, I ought not to understand in
what sense it was meant," replied Miss Vernon; "but you will see a better
apology for a little negligence when you meet the Orsons you are to live
amongst, whose forms no toilette could improve. But, as I said before,
the old dinner-bell will clang, or rather clank, in a few minutes--it
cracked of its own accord on the day of the landing of King Willie, and
my uncle, respecting its prophetic talent, would never permit it to be
mended. So do you hold my palfrey, like a duteous knight, until I send
some more humble squire to relieve you of the charge."

She threw me the rein as if we had been acquainted from our childhood,
jumped from her saddle, tripped across the courtyard, and entered at a
side-door, leaving me in admiration of her beauty, and astonished with
the over-frankness of her manners, which seemed the more extraordinary at
a time when the dictates of politeness, flowing from the court of the
Grand Monarque Louis XIV., prescribed to the fair sex an unusual severity
of decorum. I was left awkwardly enough stationed in the centre of the
court of the old hall, mounted on one horse, and holding another in my
hand.

The building afforded little to interest a stranger, had I been disposed
to consider it attentively; the sides of the quadrangle were of various
architecture, and with their stone-shafted latticed windows, projecting
turrets, and massive architraves, resembled the inside of a convent, or
of one of the older and less splendid colleges of Oxford. I called for a
domestic, but was for some time totally unattended to; which was the more
provoking, as I could perceive I was the object of curiosity to several
servants, both male and female, from different parts of the building, who
popped out their heads and withdrew them, like rabbits in a warren,
before I could make a direct appeal to the attention of any individual.
The return of the huntsmen and hounds relieved me from my embarrassment,
and with some difficulty I got one down to relieve me of the charge of
the horses, and another stupid boor to guide me to the presence of Sir
Hildebrand. This service he performed with much such grace and good-will,
as a peasant who is compelled to act as guide to a hostile patrol; and in
the same manner I was obliged to guard against his deserting me in the
labyrinth of low vaulted passages which conducted to "Stun Hall," as he
called it, where I was to be introduced to the gracious presence of my
uncle.

We did, however, at length reach a long vaulted room, floored with stone,
where a range of oaken tables, of a weight and size too massive ever to
be moved aside, were already covered for dinner. This venerable
apartment, which had witnessed the feasts of several generations of the
Osbaldistone family, bore also evidence of their success in field sports.
Huge antlers of deer, which might have been trophies of the hunting of
Chevy Chace, were ranged around the walls, interspersed with the stuffed
skins of badgers, otters, martins, and other animals of the chase. Amidst
some remnants of old armour, which had, perhaps, served against the
Scotch, hung the more valued weapons of silvan war, cross-bows, guns of
various device and construction, nets, fishing-rods, otter-spears,
hunting-poles, with many other singular devices, and engines for taking
or killing game. A few old pictures, dimmed with smoke, and stained with
March beer, hung on the walls, representing knights and ladies, honoured,
doubtless, and renowned in their day; those frowning fearfully from huge
bushes of wig and of beard; and these looking delightfully with all their
might at the roses which they brandished in their hands.

I had just time to give a glance at these matters, when about twelve
blue-coated servants burst into the hall with much tumult and talk, each
rather employed in directing his comrades than in discharging his own
duty. Some brought blocks and billets to the fire, which roared, blazed,
and ascended, half in smoke, half in flame, up a huge tunnel, with an
opening wide enough to accommodate a stone seat within its ample vault,
and which was fronted, by way of chimney-piece, with a huge piece of
heavy architecture, where the monsters of heraldry, embodied by the art
of some Northumbrian chisel, grinned and ramped in red free-stone, now
japanned by the smoke of centuries. Others of these old-fashioned
serving-men bore huge smoking dishes, loaded with substantial fare;
others brought in cups, flagons, bottles, yea barrels of liquor. All
tramped, kicked, plunged, shouldered, and jostled, doing as little
service with as much tumult as could well be imagined. At length, while
the dinner was, after various efforts, in the act of being arranged upon
the board, "the clamour much of men and dogs," the cracking of whips,
calculated for the intimidation of the latter, voices loud and high,
steps which, impressed by the heavy-heeled boots of the period, clattered
like those in the statue of the _Festin de Pierre,_* announced the
arrival of those for whose benefit the preparations were made.

* Now called Don Juan.

The hubbub among the servants rather increased than diminished as this
crisis approached. Some called to make haste,--others to take
time,--some exhorted to stand out of the way, and make room for Sir
Hildebrand and the young squires,--some to close round the table and be
_in_ the way,--some bawled to open, some to shut, a pair of
folding-doors which divided the hall from a sort of gallery, as I
afterwards learned, or withdrawing-room, fitted up with black wainscot.
Opened the doors were at length, and in rushed curs and men,--eight
dogs, the domestic chaplain, the village doctor, my six cousins, and my
uncle.





CHAPTER SIXTH.


                The rude hall rocks--they come, they come,--
                   The din of voices shakes the dome;--
                In stalk the various forms, and, drest
                   In varying morion, varying vest,
       All march with haughty step--all proudly shake the crest.
                                               Penrose.

If Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone was in no hurry to greet his nephew, of
whose arrival he must have been informed for some time, he had important
avocations to allege in excuse. "Had seen thee sooner, lad," he
exclaimed, after a rough shake of the hand, and a hearty welcome to
Osbaldistone Hall, "but had to see the hounds kennelled first. Thou art
welcome to the Hall, lad--here is thy cousin Percie, thy cousin Thornie,
and thy cousin John--your cousin Dick, your cousin Wilfred, and--stay,
where's Rashleigh?--ay, here's Rashleigh--take thy long body aside
Thornie, and let's see thy brother a bit--your cousin Rashleigh. So, thy
father has thought on the old Hall, and old Sir Hildebrand at
last--better late than never--Thou art welcome, lad, and there's enough.
Where's my little Die?--ay, here she comes--this is my niece Die, my
wife's brother's daughter--the prettiest girl in our dales, be the other
who she may--and so now let's to the sirloin."--

To gain some idea of the person who held this language, you must suppose,
my dear Tresham, a man aged about sixty, in a hunting suit which had once
been richly laced, but whose splendour had been tarnished by many a
November and December storm. Sir Hildebrand, notwithstanding the
abruptness of his present manner, had, at one period of his life, known
courts and camps; had held a commission in the army which encamped on
Hounslow Heath previous to the Revolution--and, recommended perhaps by
his religion, had been knighted about the same period by the unfortunate
and ill-advised James II. But the Knight's dreams of further preferment,
if he ever entertained any, had died away at the crisis which drove his
patron from the throne, and since that period he had spent a sequestered
life upon his native domains. Notwithstanding his rusticity, however, Sir
Hildebrand retained much of the exterior of a gentleman, and appeared
among his sons as the remains of a Corinthian pillar, defaced and
overgrown with moss and lichen, might have looked, if contrasted with the
rough unhewn masses of upright stones in Stonhenge, or any other
Druidical temple. The sons were, indeed, heavy unadorned blocks as the
eye would desire to look upon. Tall, stout, and comely, all and each of
the five eldest seemed to want alike the Promethean fire of intellect,
and the exterior grace and manner, which, in the polished world,
sometimes supply mental deficiency. Their most valuable moral quality
seemed to be the good-humour and content which was expressed in their
heavy features, and their only pretence to accomplishment was their
dexterity in field sports, for which alone they lived. The strong Gyas,
and the strong Cloanthus, are not less distinguished by the poet, than
the strong Percival, the strong Thorncliff, the strong John, Richard, and
Wilfred Osbaldistones, were by outward appearance.

But, as if to indemnify herself for a uniformity so uncommon in her
productions, Dame Nature had rendered Rashleigh Osbaldistone a striking
contrast in person and manner, and, as I afterwards learned, in temper
and talents, not only to his brothers, but to most men whom I had
hitherto met with. When Percie, Thornie, and Co. had respectively nodded,
grinned, and presented their shoulder rather than their hand, as their
father named them to their new kinsman, Rashleigh stepped forward, and
welcomed me to Osbaldistone Hall, with the air and manner of a man of the
world. His appearance was not in itself prepossessing. He was of low
stature, whereas all his brethren seemed to be descendants of Anak; and
while they were handsomely formed, Rashleigh, though strong in person,
was bull-necked and cross-made, and from some early injury in his youth
had an imperfection in his gait, so much resembling an absolute halt,
that many alleged that it formed the obstacle to his taking orders; the
Church of Rome, as is well known, admitting none to the clerical
profession who labours under any personal deformity. Others, however,
ascribed this unsightly defect to a mere awkward habit, and contended
that it did not amount to a personal disqualification from holy orders.

The features of Rashleigh were such, as, having looked upon, we in vain
wish to banish from our memory, to which they recur as objects of painful
curiosity, although we dwell upon them with a feeling of dislike, and
even of disgust. It was not the actual plainness of his face, taken
separately from the meaning, which made this strong impression. His
features were, indeed, irregular, but they were by no means vulgar; and
his keen dark eyes, and shaggy eyebrows, redeemed his face from the
charge of commonplace ugliness. But there was in these eyes an expression
of art and design, and, on provocation, a ferocity tempered by caution,
which nature had made obvious to the most ordinary physiognomist, perhaps
with the same intention that she has given the rattle to the poisonous
snake. As if to compensate him for these disadvantages of exterior,
Rashleigh Osbaldistone was possessed of a voice the most soft, mellow,
and rich in its tones that I ever heard, and was at no loss for language
of every sort suited to so fine an organ. His first sentence of welcome
was hardly ended, ere I internally agreed with Miss Vernon, that my new
kinsman would make an instant conquest of a mistress whose ears alone
were to judge his cause. He was about to place himself beside me at
dinner, but Miss Vernon, who, as the only female in the family, arranged
all such matters according to her own pleasure, contrived that I should
sit betwixt Thorncliff and herself; and it can scarce be doubted that I
favoured this more advantageous arrangement.

"I want to speak with you," she said, "and I have placed honest Thornie
betwixt Rashleigh and you on purpose. He will be like--

                    Feather-bed 'twixt castle wall
                    And heavy brunt of cannon ball,

while I, your earliest acquaintance in this intellectual family, ask of
you how you like us all?"

"A very comprehensive question, Miss Vernon, considering how short while
I have been at Osbaldistone Hall."

"Oh, the philosophy of our family lies on the surface--there are minute
shades distinguishing the individuals, which require the eye of an
intelligent observer; but the species, as naturalists I believe call it,
may be distinguished and characterized at once."

"My five elder cousins, then, are I presume of pretty nearly the same
character."

"Yes, they form a happy compound of sot, gamekeeper, bully, horse-jockey,
and fool; but as they say there cannot be found two leaves on the same
tree exactly alike, so these happy ingredients, being mingled in somewhat
various proportions in each individual, make an agreeable variety for
those who like to study character."

"Give me a sketch, if you please, Miss Vernon."

"You shall have them all in a family-piece, at full length--the favour is
too easily granted to be refused. Percie, the son and heir, has more of
the sot than of the gamekeeper, bully, horse-jockey, or fool--My precious
Thornie is more of the bully than the sot, gamekeeper, jockey, or
fool--John, who sleeps whole weeks amongst the hills, has most of the
gamekeeper--The jockey is powerful with Dickon, who rides two hundred
miles by day and night to be bought and sold at a horse-race--And the
fool predominates so much over Wilfred's other qualities, that he may be
termed a fool positive."

"A goodly collection, Miss Vernon, and the individual varieties belong to
a most interesting species. But is there no room on the canvas for Sir
Hildebrand?"

"I love my uncle," was her reply: "I owe him some kindness (such it was
meant for at least), and I will leave you to draw his picture yourself,
when you know him better."

"Come," thought I to myself, "I am glad there is some forbearance. After
all, who would have looked for such bitter satire from a creature so
young, and so exquisitely beautiful?"

"You are thinking of me," she said, bending her dark eyes on me, as if
she meant to pierce through my very soul.

"I certainly was," I replied, with some embarrassment at the determined
suddenness of the question, and then, endeavouring to give a
complimentary turn to my frank avowal--"How is it possible I should think
of anything else, seated as I have the happiness to be?"

She smiled with such an expression of concentrated haughtiness as she
alone could have thrown into her countenance. "I must inform you at once,
Mr. Osbaldistone, that compliments are entirely lost upon me; do not,
therefore, throw away your pretty sayings--they serve fine gentlemen who
travel in the country, instead of the toys, beads, and bracelets, which
navigators carry to propitiate the savage inhabitants of newly-discovered
lands. Do not exhaust your stock in trade;--you will find natives in
Northumberland to whom your fine things will recommend you--on me they
would be utterly thrown away, for I happen to know their real value."

I was silenced and confounded.

"You remind me at this moment," said the young lady, resuming her lively
and indifferent manner, "of the fairy tale, where the man finds all the
money which he had carried to market suddenly changed into pieces of
slate. I have cried down and ruined your whole stock of complimentary
discourse by one unlucky observation. But come, never mind it--You are
belied, Mr. Osbaldistone, unless you have much better conversation than
these _fadeurs,_ which every gentleman with a toupet thinks himself
obliged to recite to an unfortunate girl, merely because she is dressed
in silk and gauze, while he wears superfine cloth with embroidery. Your
natural paces, as any of my five cousins might say, are far preferable to
your complimentary amble. Endeavour to forget my unlucky sex; call me Tom
Vernon, if you have a mind, but speak to me as you would to a friend and
companion; you have no idea how much I shall like you."

"That would be a bribe indeed," returned I.

"Again!" replied Miss Vernon, holding up her finger; "I told you I would
not bear the shadow of a compliment. And now, when you have pledged my
uncle, who threatens you with what he calls a brimmer, I will tell you
what you think of me."

The bumper being pledged by me, as a dutiful nephew, and some other
general intercourse of the table having taken place, the continued and
business-like clang of knives and forks, and the devotion of cousin
Thorncliff on my right hand, and cousin Dickon, who sate on Miss Vernon's
left, to the huge quantities of meat with which they heaped their plates,
made them serve as two occasional partitions, separating us from the rest
of the company, and leaving us to our _tete-a-tete._ "And now," said
I, "give me leave to ask you frankly, Miss Vernon, what you suppose I am
thinking of you!--I could tell you what I really _do_ think, but you have
interdicted praise."

"I do not want your assistance. I am conjuror enough to tell your
thoughts without it. You need not open the casement of your bosom; I see
through it. You think me a strange bold girl, half coquette, half romp;
desirous of attracting attention by the freedom of her manners and
loudness of her conversation, because she is ignorant of what the
Spectator calls the softer graces of the sex; and perhaps you think I
have some particular plan of storming you into admiration. I should be
sorry to shock your self-opinion, but you were never more mistaken. All
the confidence I have reposed in you, I would have given as readily to
your father, if I thought he could have understood me. I am in this happy
family as much secluded from intelligent listeners as Sancho in the
Sierra Morena, and when opportunity offers, I must speak or die. I assure
you I would not have told you a word of all this curious intelligence,
had I cared a pin who knew it or knew it not."

"It is very cruel in you, Miss Vernon, to take away all particular marks
of favour from your communications, but I must receive them on your own
terms.--You have not included Mr. Rashleigh Osbaldistone in your domestic
sketches."

She shrunk, I thought, at this remark, and hastily answered, in a much
lower tone, "Not a word of Rashleigh! His ears are so acute when his
selfishness is interested, that the sounds would reach him even through
the mass of Thorncliff's person, stuffed as it is with beef,
venison-pasty, and pudding."

"Yes," I replied; "but peeping past the living screen which divides us,
before I put the question, I perceived that Mr. Rashleigh's chair was
empty--he has left the table."

"I would not have you be too sure of that," Miss Vernon replied. "Take my
advice, and when you speak of Rashleigh, get up to the top of
Otterscope-hill, where you can see for twenty miles round you in every
direction--stand on the very peak, and speak in whispers; and, after all,
don't be too sure that the bird of the air will not carry the matter,
Rashleigh has been my tutor for four years; we are mutually tired of each
other, and we shall heartily rejoice at our approaching separation."

"Mr. Rashleigh leaves Osbaldistone Hall, then?"

"Yes, in a few days;--did you not know that?--your father must keep his
resolutions much more secret than Sir Hildebrand. Why, when my uncle was
informed that you were to be his guest for some time, and that your
father desired to have one of his hopeful sons to fill up the lucrative
situation in his counting-house which was vacant by your obstinacy, Mr.
Francis, the good knight held a _cour ple'nie're_ of all his family,
including the butler, housekeeper, and gamekeeper. This reverend assembly
of the peers and household officers of Osbaldistone Hall was not
convoked, as you may suppose, to elect your substitute, because, as
Rashleigh alone possessed more arithmetic than was necessary to calculate
the odds on a fighting cock, none but he could be supposed qualified for
the situation. But some solemn sanction was necessary for transforming
Rashleigh's destination from starving as a Catholic priest to thriving as
a wealthy banker; and it was not without some reluctance that the
acquiescence of the assembly was obtained to such an act of degradation."

"I can conceive the scruples--but how were they got over?"

"By the general wish, I believe, to get Rashleigh out of the house,"
replied Miss Vernon. "Although youngest of the family, he has somehow or
other got the entire management of all the others; and every one is
sensible of the subjection, though they cannot shake it off. If any one
opposes him, he is sure to rue having done so before the year goes about;
and if you do him a very important service, you may rue it still more."

"At that rate," answered I, smiling, "I should look about me; for I have
been the cause, however unintentionally, of his change of situation."

"Yes; and whether he regards it as an advantage or disadvantage, he will
owe you a grudge for it--But here comes cheese, radishes, and a bumper to
church and king, the hint for chaplains and ladies to disappear; and I,
the sole representative of womanhood at Osbaldistone Hall, retreat, as in
duty bound."

She vanished as she spoke, leaving me in astonishment at the mingled
character of shrewdness, audacity, and frankness, which her conversation
displayed. I despair conveying to you the least idea of her manner,
although I have, as nearly as I can remember, imitated her language. In
fact, there was a mixture of untaught simplicity, as well as native
shrewdness and haughty boldness, in her manner, and all were modified and
recommended by the play of the most beautiful features I had ever beheld.
It is not to be thought that, however strange and uncommon I might think
her liberal and unreserved communications, a young man of two-and-twenty
was likely to be severely critical on a beautiful girl of eighteen, for
not observing a proper distance towards him. On the contrary, I was
equally diverted and flattered by Miss Vernon's confidence, and that
notwithstanding her declaration of its being conferred on me solely
because I was the first auditor who occurred, of intelligence enough to
comprehend it. With the presumption of my age, certainly not diminished
by my residence in France, I imagined that well-formed features, and a
handsome person, both which I conceived myself to possess, were not
unsuitable qualifications for the confidant of a young beauty. My vanity
thus enlisted in Miss Vernon's behalf, I was far from judging her with
severity, merely for a frankness which I supposed was in some degree
justified by my own personal merit; and the feelings of partiality, which
her beauty, and the singularity of her situation, were of themselves
calculated to excite, were enhanced by my opinion of her penetration and
judgment in her choice of a friend.

After Miss Vernon quitted the apartment, the bottle circulated, or rather
flew, around the table in unceasing revolution. My foreign education had
given me a distaste to intemperance, then and yet too common a vice among
my countrymen. The conversation which seasoned such orgies was as little
to my taste, and if anything could render it more disgusting, it was the
relationship of the company. I therefore seized a lucky opportunity, and
made my escape through a side door, leading I knew not whither, rather
than endure any longer the sight of father and sons practising the same
degrading intemperance, and holding the same coarse and disgusting
conversation. I was pursued, of course, as I had expected, to be
reclaimed by force, as a deserter from the shrine of Bacchus. When I
heard the whoop and hollo, and the tramp of the heavy boots of my
pursuers on the winding stair which I was descending, I plainly foresaw I
should be overtaken unless I could get into the open air. I therefore
threw open a casement in the staircase, which looked into an
old-fashioned garden, and as the height did not exceed six feet, I jumped
out without hesitation, and soon heard far behind the "hey whoop! stole
away! stole away!" of my baffled pursuers. I ran down one alley, walked
fast up another; and then, conceiving myself out of all danger of
pursuit, I slackened my pace into a quiet stroll, enjoying the cool air
which the heat of the wine I had been obliged to swallow, as well as that
of my rapid retreat, rendered doubly grateful.

As I sauntered on, I found the gardener hard at his evening employment,
and saluted him, as I paused to look at his work.

"Good even, my friend."

"Gude e'en--gude e'en t'ye," answered the man, without looking up, and in
a tone which at once indicated his northern extraction.

"Fine weather for your work, my friend."

"It's no that muckle to be compleened o'," answered the man, with that
limited degree of praise which gardeners and farmers usually bestow on
the very best weather. Then raising his head, as if to see who spoke to
him, he touched his Scotch bonnet with an air of respect, as he observed,
"Eh, gude safe us!--it's a sight for sair een, to see a gold-laced
jeistiecor in the Ha'garden sae late at e'en."

"A gold-laced what, my good friend?"

"Ou, a jeistiecor*--that's a jacket like your ain, there. They

* Perhaps from the French _Juste-au-corps._

hae other things to do wi' them up yonder--unbuttoning them to make room
for the beef and the bag-puddings, and the claret-wine, nae doubt--that's
the ordinary for evening lecture on this side the border."

"There's no such plenty of good cheer in your country, my good friend," I
replied, "as to tempt you to sit so late at it."

"Hout, sir, ye ken little about Scotland; it's no for want of gude
vivers--the best of fish, flesh, and fowl hae we, by sybos, ingans,
turneeps, and other garden fruit. But we hae mense and discretion, and
are moderate of our mouths;--but here, frae the kitchen to the ha', it's
fill and fetch mair, frae the tae end of the four-and-twenty till the
tother. Even their fast days--they ca' it fasting when they hae the best
o' sea-fish frae Hartlepool and Sunderland by land carriage, forbye
trouts, grilses, salmon, and a' the lave o't, and so they make their very
fasting a kind of luxury and abomination; and then the awfu' masses and
matins of the puir deceived souls--But I shouldna speak about them, for
your honour will be a Roman, I'se warrant, like the lave."

"Not I, my friend; I was bred an English presbyterian, or dissenter."

"The right hand of fellowship to your honour, then," quoth the gardener,
with as much alacrity as his hard features were capable of expressing,
and, as if to show that his good-will did not rest on words, he plucked
forth a huge horn snuff-box, or mull, as he called it, and proffered a
pinch with a most fraternal grin.

Having accepted his courtesy, I asked him if he had been long a domestic
at Osbaldistone Hall.

"I have been fighting with wild beasts at Ephesus," said he, looking
towards the building, "for the best part of these four-and-twenty years,
as sure as my name's Andrew Fairservice."

"But, my excellent friend, Andrew Fairservice, if your religion and your
temperance are so much offended by Roman rituals and southern
hospitality, it seems to me that you must have been putting yourself to
an unnecessary penance all this while, and that you might have found a
service where they eat less, and are more orthodox in their worship. I
dare say it cannot be want of skill which prevented your being placed
more to your satisfaction."

"It disna become me to speak to the point of my qualifications," said
Andrew, looking round him with great complacency; "but nae doubt I should
understand my trade of horticulture, seeing I was bred in the parish of
Dreepdaily, where they raise lang-kale under glass, and force the early
nettles for their spring kale. And, to speak truth, I hae been flitting
every term these four-and-twenty years; but when the time comes, there's
aye something to saw that I would like to see sawn,--or something to maw
that I would like to see mawn,--or something to ripe that I would like to
see ripen,--and sae I e'en daiker on wi' the family frae year's end to
year's end. And I wad say for certain, that I am gaun to quit at
Cannlemas, only I was just as positive on it twenty years syne, and I
find mysell still turning up the mouls here, for a' that. Forbye that, to
tell your honour the evendown truth, there's nae better place ever
offered to Andrew. But if your honour wad wush me to ony place where I
wad hear pure doctrine, and hae a free cow's grass, and a cot, and a
yard, and mair than ten punds of annual fee, and where there's nae leddy
about the town to count the apples, I'se hold mysell muckle indebted
t'ye."

"Bravo, Andrew! I perceive you'll lose no preferment for want of asking
patronage."

"I canna see what for I should," replied Andrew; "it's no a generation to
wait till ane's worth's discovered, I trow."

"But you are no friend, I observe, to the ladies."

"Na, by my troth, I keep up the first gardener's quarrel to them. They're
fasheous bargains--aye crying for apricocks, pears, plums, and apples,
summer and winter, without distinction o' seasons; but we hae nae slices
o' the spare rib here, be praised for't! except auld Martha, and she's
weel eneugh pleased wi' the freedom o' the berry-bushes to her sister's
weans, when they come to drink tea in a holiday in the housekeeper's
room, and wi' a wheen codlings now and then for her ain private supper."

"You forget your young mistress."

"What mistress do I forget?--whae's that?"

"Your young mistress, Miss Vernon."

"What! the lassie Vernon?--She's nae mistress o' mine, man. I wish she
was her ain mistress; and I wish she mayna be some other body's mistress
or it's lang--She's a wild slip that."

"Indeed!" said I, more interested than I cared to own to myself, or to
show to the fellow--"why, Andrew, you know all the secrets of this
family."

"If I ken them, I can keep them," said Andrew; "they winna work in my
wame like harm in a barrel, I'se warrant ye. Miss Die is--but it's
neither beef nor brose o' mine."

And he began to dig with a great semblance of assiduity.

"What is Miss Vernon, Andrew? I am a friend of the family, and should
like to know."

"Other than a gude ane, I'm fearing," said Andrew, closing one eye hard,
and shaking his head with a grave and mysterious look--"something
glee'd--your honour understands me?"

"I cannot say I do," said I, "Andrew; but I should like to hear you
explain yourself;" and therewithal I slipped a crown-piece into Andrew's
horn-hard hand. The touch of the silver made him grin a ghastly smile, as
he nodded slowly, and thrust it into his breeches pocket; and then, like
a man who well understood that there was value to be returned, stood up,
and rested his arms on his spade, with his features composed into the
most important gravity, as for some serious communication.

"Ye maun ken, then, young gentleman, since it imports you to know, that
Miss Vernon is"--

Here breaking off, he sucked in both his cheeks, till his lantern jaws
and long chin assumed the appearance of a pair of nut-crackers; winked
hard once more, frowned, shook his head, and seemed to think his
physiognomy had completed the information which his tongue had not fully
told.

"Good God!" said I--"so young, so beautiful, so early lost!"

"Troth ye may say sae--she's in a manner lost, body and saul; forby being
a Papist, I'se uphaud her for"--and his northern caution prevailed, and
he was again silent.

"For what, sir?" said I sternly. "I insist on knowing the plain meaning
of all this."

"On, just for the bitterest Jacobite in the haill shire."

"Pshaw! a Jacobite?--is that all?"

Andrew looked at me with some astonishment, at hearing his information
treated so lightly; and then muttering, "Aweel, it's the warst thing I
ken aboot the lassie, howsoe'er," he resumed his spade, like the king of
the Vandals, in Marmontel's late novel.





CHAPTER SEVENTH.

    _Bardolph._--The sheriff, with a monstrous watch, is at the door.
                          Henry IV. _First Part._

I found out with some difficulty the apartment which was destined for my
accommodation; and having secured myself the necessary good-will and
attention from my uncle's domestics, by using the means they were most
capable of comprehending, I secluded myself there for the remainder of
the evening, conjecturing, from the fair way in which I had left my new
relatives, as well as from the distant noise which continued to echo from
the stone-hall (as their banqueting-room was called), that they were not
likely to be fitting company for a sober man.

"What could my father mean by sending me to be an inmate in this strange
family?" was my first and most natural reflection. My uncle, it was
plain, received me as one who was to make some stay with him, and his
rude hospitality rendered him as indifferent as King Hal to the number of
those who fed at his cost. But it was plain my presence or absence would
be of as little importance in his eyes as that of one of his blue-coated
serving-men. My cousins were mere cubs, in whose company I might, if I
liked it, unlearn whatever decent manners, or elegant accomplishments, I
had acquired, but where I could attain no information beyond what
regarded worming dogs, rowelling horses, and following foxes. I could
only imagine one reason, which was probably the true one. My father
considered the life which was led at Osbaldistone Hall as the natural and
inevitable pursuits of all country gentlemen, and he was desirous, by
giving me an opportunity of seeing that with which he knew I should be
disgusted, to reconcile me, if possible, to take an active share in his
own business. In the meantime, he would take Rashleigh Osbaldistone into
the counting-house. But he had an hundred modes of providing for him, and
that advantageously, whenever he chose to get rid of him. So that,
although I did feel a certain qualm of conscience at having been the
means of introducing Rashleigh, being such as he was described by Miss
Vernon, into my father's business--perhaps into his confidence--I subdued
it by the reflection that my father was complete master of his own
affairs--a man not to be imposed upon, or influenced by any one--and that
all I knew to the young gentleman's prejudice was through the medium of a
singular and giddy girl, whose communications were made with an
injudicious frankness, which might warrant me in supposing her
conclusions had been hastily or inaccurately formed. Then my mind
naturally turned to Miss Vernon herself; her extreme beauty; her very
peculiar situation, relying solely upon her reflections, and her own
spirit, for guidance and protection; and her whole character offering
that variety and spirit which piques our curiosity, and engages our
attention in spite of ourselves. I had sense enough to consider the
neighbourhood of this singular young lady, and the chance of our being
thrown into very close and frequent intercourse, as adding to the
dangers, while it relieved the dulness, of Osbaldistone Hall; but I could
not, with the fullest exertion of my prudence, prevail upon myself to
regret excessively this new and particular hazard to which I was to be
exposed. This scruple I also settled as young men settle most
difficulties of the kind--I would be very cautious, always on my guard,
consider Miss Vernon rather as a companion than an intimate; and all
would do well enough. With these reflections I fell asleep, Miss Vernon,
of course, forming the last subject of my contemplation.

Whether I dreamed of her or not, I cannot satisfy you, for I was tired
and slept soundly. But she was the first person I thought of in the
morning, when waked at dawn by the cheerful notes of the hunting horn. To
start up, and direct my horse to be saddled, was my first movement; and
in a few minutes I was in the court-yard, where men, dogs, and horses,
were in full preparation. My uncle, who, perhaps, was not entitled to
expect a very alert sportsman in his nephew, bred as he had been in
foreign parts, seemed rather surprised to see me, and I thought his
morning salutation wanted something of the hearty and hospitable tone
which distinguished his first welcome. "Art there, lad?--ay, youth's aye
rathe--but look to thysell--mind the old song, lad--

             He that gallops his horse on Blackstone edge
                      May chance to catch a fall."

I believe there are few young men, and those very sturdy moralists, who
would not rather be taxed with some moral peccadillo than with want of
knowledge in horsemanship. As I was by no means deficient either in skill
or courage, I resented my uncle's insinuation accordingly, and assured
him he would find me up with the hounds.

"I doubtna, lad," was his reply; "thou'rt a rank rider, I'se warrant
thee--but take heed. Thy father sent thee here to me to be bitted, and I
doubt I must ride thee on the curb, or we'll hae some one to ride thee on
the halter, if I takena the better heed."

As this speech was totally unintelligible to me--as, besides, it did not
seem to be delivered for my use, or benefit, but was spoken as it were
aside, and as if expressing aloud something which was passing through the
mind of my much-honoured uncle, I concluded it must either refer to my
desertion of the bottle on the preceding evening, or that my uncle's
morning hours being a little discomposed by the revels of the night
before, his temper had suffered in proportion. I only made the passing
reflection, that if he played the ungracious landlord, I would remain the
shorter while his guest, and then hastened to salute Miss Vernon, who
advanced cordially to meet me. Some show of greeting also passed between
my cousins and me; but as I saw them maliciously bent upon criticising my
dress and accoutrements, from the cap to the stirrup-irons, and sneering
at whatever had a new or foreign appearance, I exempted myself from the
task of paying them much attention; and assuming, in requital of their
grins and whispers, an air of the utmost indifference and contempt, I
attached myself to Miss Vernon, as the only person in the party whom I
could regard as a suitable companion. By her side, therefore, we sallied
forth to the destined cover, which was a dingle or copse on the side of
an extensive common. As we rode thither, I observed to Diana, "that I did
not see my cousin Rashleigh in the field;" to which she replied,--"O
no--he's a mighty hunter, but it's after the fashion of Nimrod, and his
game is man."

The dogs now brushed into the cover, with the appropriate encouragement
from the hunters--all was business, bustle, and activity. My cousins were
soon too much interested in the business of the morning to take any
further notice of me, unless that I overheard Dickon the horse-jockey
whisper to Wilfred the fool--"Look thou, an our French cousin be nat off
a' first burst."

To which Wilfred answered, "Like enow, for he has a queer outlandish
binding on's castor."

Thorncliff, however, who in his rude way seemed not absolutely insensible
to the beauty of his kinswoman, appeared determined to keep us company
more closely than his brothers,--perhaps to watch what passed betwixt
Miss Vernon and me--perhaps to enjoy my expected mishaps in the chase. In
the last particular he was disappointed. After beating in vain for the
greater part of the morning, a fox was at length found, who led us a
chase of two hours, in the course of which, notwithstanding the
ill-omened French binding upon my hat, I sustained my character as a
horseman to the admiration of my uncle and Miss Vernon, and the secret
disappointment of those who expected me to disgrace it. Reynard, however,
proved too wily for his pursuers, and the hounds were at fault. I could
at this time observe in Miss Vernon's manner an impatience of the close
attendance which we received from Thorncliff Osbaldistone; and, as that
active-spirited young lady never hesitated at taking the readiest means
to gratify any wish of the moment, she said to him, in a tone of
reproach--"I wonder, Thornie, what keeps you dangling at my horse's
crupper all this morning, when you know the earths above Woolverton-mill
are not stopt."

"I know no such an thing then, Miss Die, for the miller swore himself as
black as night, that he stopt them at twelve o'clock midnight that was."

"O fie upon you, Thornie! would you trust to a miller's word?--and these
earths, too, where we lost the fox three times this season! and you on
your grey mare, that can gallop there and back in ten minutes!"

"Well, Miss Die, I'se go to Woolverton then, and if the earths are not
stopt, I'se raddle Dick the miller's bones for him."

"Do, my dear Thornie; horsewhip the rascal to purpose--via--fly away, and
about it;"--Thorncliff went off at the gallop--"or get horsewhipt
yourself, which will serve my purpose just as well.--I must teach them
all discipline and obedience to the word of command. I am raising a
regiment, you must know. Thornie shall be my sergeant-major, Dickon my
riding-master, and Wilfred, with his deep dub-a-dub tones, that speak but
three syllables at a time, my kettle-drummer."

"And Rashleigh?"

"Rashleigh shall be my scout-master." "And will you find no employment
for me, most lovely colonel?"

"You shall have the choice of being pay-master, or plunder-master, to the
corps. But see how the dogs puzzle about there. Come, Mr. Frank, the
scent's cold; they won't recover it there this while; follow me, I have a
view to show you."

And in fact, she cantered up to the top of a gentle hill, commanding an
extensive prospect. Casting her eyes around, to see that no one was near
us, she drew up her horse beneath a few birch-trees, which screened us
from the rest of the hunting-field--"Do you see yon peaked, brown, heathy
hill, having something like a whitish speck upon the side?"

"Terminating that long ridge of broken moorish uplands?--I see it
distinctly."

"That whitish speck is a rock called Hawkesmore-crag, and Hawkesmore-crag
is in Scotland."

"Indeed! I did not think we had been so near Scotland."

"It is so, I assure you, and your horse will carry you there in two
hours."

"I shall hardly give him the trouble; why, the distance must be eighteen
miles as the crow flies."

"You may have my mare, if you think her less blown--I say, that in two
hours you may be in Scotland."

"And I say, that I have so little desire to be there, that if my horse's
head were over the Border, I would not give his tail the trouble of
following. What should I do in Scotland?"

"Provide for your safety, if I must speak plainly. Do you understand me
now, Mr. Frank?"

"Not a whit; you are more and more oracular."

"Then, on my word, you either mistrust me most unjustly, and are a better
dissembler than Rashleigh Osbaldistone himself, or you know nothing of
what is imputed to you; and then no wonder you stare at me in that grave
manner, which I can scarce see without laughing."

"Upon my word of honour, Miss Vernon," said I, with an impatient feeling
of her childish disposition to mirth, "I have not the most distant
conception of what you mean. I am happy to afford you any subject of
amusement, but I am quite ignorant in what it consists."

"Nay, there's no sound jest after all," said the young lady, composing
herself; "only one looks so very ridiculous when he is fairly perplexed.
But the matter is serious enough. Do you know one Moray, or Morris, or
some such name?"

"Not that I can at present recollect."

"Think a moment. Did you not lately travel with somebody of such a name?"

"The only man with whom I travelled for any length of time was a fellow
whose soul seemed to lie in his portmanteau."

"Then it was like the soul of the licentiate Pedro Garcias, which lay
among the ducats in his leathern purse. That man has been robbed, and he
has lodged an information against you, as connected with the violence
done to him."

"You jest, Miss Vernon!"

"I do not, I assure you--the thing is an absolute fact."

"And do you," said I, with strong indignation, which I did not attempt to
suppress, "do you suppose me capable of meriting such a charge?"

"You would call me out for it, I suppose, had I the advantage of being a
man--You may do so as it is, if you like it--I can shoot flying, as well
as leap a five-barred gate."

"And are colonel of a regiment of horse besides," replied I, reflecting
how idle it was to be angry with her--"But do explain the present jest to
me."

"There's no jest whatever," said Diana; "you are accused of robbing this
man, and my uncle believes it as well as I did."

"Upon my honour, I am greatly obliged to my friends for their good
opinion!"

"Now do not, if you can help it, snort, and stare, and snuff the wind,
and look so exceedingly like a startled horse--There's no such offence as
you suppose--you are not charged with any petty larceny or vulgar
felony--by no means. This fellow was carrying money from Government, both
specie and bills, to pay the troops in the north; and it is said he has
been also robbed of some despatches of great consequence."

"And so it is high treason, then, and not simple robbery, of which I am
accused!"

"Certainly--which, you know, has been in all ages accounted the crime of
a gentleman. You will find plenty in this country, and one not far from
your elbow, who think it a merit to distress the Hanoverian government by
every means possible."

"Neither my politics nor my morals, Miss Vernon, are of a description so
accommodating."

"I really begin to believe that you are a Presbyterian and Hanoverian in
good earnest. But what do you propose to do?"

"Instantly to refute this atrocious calumny.--Before whom," I asked, "was
this extraordinary accusation laid."

"Before old Squire Inglewood, who had sufficient unwillingness to receive
it. He sent tidings to my uncle, I suppose, that he might smuggle you
away into Scotland, out of reach of the warrant. But my uncle is sensible
that his religion and old predilections render him obnoxious to
Government, and that, were he caught playing booty, he would be disarmed,
and probably dismounted (which would be the worse evil of the two), as a
Jacobite, papist, and suspected person."*

* On occasions of public alarm, in the beginning of the eighteenth
century, the horses of the Catholics were often seized upon, as they were
always supposed to be on the eve of rising in rebellion.

"I can conceive that, sooner than lose his hunters, he would give up his
nephew."

"His nephew, nieces, sons--daughters, if he had them, and whole
generation," said Diana;--"therefore trust not to him, even for a single
moment, but make the best of your way before they can serve the warrant."

"That I shall certainly do; but it shall be to the house of this Squire
Inglewood--Which way does it lie?"

"About five miles off, in the low ground, behind yonder plantations--you
may see the tower of the clock-house."

"I will be there in a few minutes," said I, putting my horse in motion.

"And I will go with you, and show you the way," said Diana, putting her
palfrey also to the trot.

"Do not think of it, Miss Vernon," I replied. "It is not--permit me the
freedom of a friend--it is not proper, scarcely even delicate, in you to
go with me on such an errand as I am now upon."

"I understand your meaning," said Miss Vernon, a slight blush crossing
her haughty brow;--"it is plainly spoken;" and after a moment's pause she
added, "and I believe kindly meant."

"It is indeed, Miss Vernon. Can you think me insensible of the interest
you show me, or ungrateful for it?" said I, with even more earnestness
than I could have wished to express. "Yours is meant for true kindness,
shown best at the hour of need. But I must not, for your own sake--for
the chance of misconstruction--suffer you to pursue the dictates of your
generosity; this is so public an occasion--it is almost like venturing
into an open court of justice."

"And if it were not almost, but altogether entering into an open court of
justice, do you think I would not go there if I thought it right, and
wished to protect a friend? You have no one to stand by you--you are a
stranger; and here, in the outskirts of the kingdom, country justices do
odd things. My uncle has no desire to embroil himself in your affair;
Rashleigh is absent, and were he here, there is no knowing which side he
might take; the rest are all more stupid and brutal one than another. I
will go with you, and I do not fear being able to serve you. I am no fine
lady, to be terrified to death with law-books, hard words, or big wigs."

"But my dear Miss Vernon"--

"But my dear Mr. Francis, be patient and quiet, and let me take my own
way; for when I take the bit between my teeth, there is no bridle will
stop me."

Flattered with the interest so lovely a creature seemed to take in my
fate, yet vexed at the ridiculous appearance I should make, by carrying a
girl of eighteen along with me as an advocate, and seriously concerned
for the misconstruction to which her motives might be exposed, I
endeavoured to combat her resolution to accompany me to Squire
Inglewood's. The self-willed girl told me roundly, that my dissuasions
were absolutely in vain; that she was a true Vernon, whom no
consideration, not even that of being able to do but little to assist
him, should induce to abandon a friend in distress; and that all I could
say on the subject might be very well for pretty, well-educated,
well-behaved misses from a town boarding-school, but did not apply to
her, who was accustomed to mind nobody's opinion but her own.

While she spoke thus, we were advancing hastily towards Inglewood Place,
while, as if to divert me from the task of further remonstrance, she drew
a ludicrous picture of the magistrate and his clerk.--Inglewood
was--according to her description--a white-washed Jacobite; that is, one
who, having been long a non-juror, like most of the other gentlemen of the
country, had lately qualified himself to act as a justice, by taking the
oaths to Government. "He had done so," she said, "in compliance with the
urgent request of most of his brother squires, who saw, with regret, that
the palladium of silvan sport, the game-laws, were likely to fall into
disuse for want of a magistrate who would enforce them; the nearest
acting justice being the Mayor of Newcastle, and he, as being rather
inclined to the consumption of the game when properly dressed, than to
its preservation when alive, was more partial, of course, to the cause of
the poacher than of the sportsman. Resolving, therefore, that it was
expedient some one of their number should sacrifice the scruples of
Jacobitical loyalty to the good of the community, the Northumbrian
country gentlemen imposed the duty on Inglewood, who, being very inert in
most of his feelings and sentiments, might, they thought, comply with any
political creed without much repugnance. Having thus procured the body of
justice, they proceeded," continued Miss Vernon, "to attach to it a
clerk, by way of soul, to direct and animate its movements. Accordingly
they got a sharp Newcastle attorney, called Jobson, who, to vary my
metaphor, finds it a good thing enough to retail justice at the sign of
Squire Inglewood, and, as his own emoluments depend on the quantity of
business which he transacts, he hooks in his principal for a great deal
more employment in the justice line than the honest squire had ever
bargained for; so that no apple-wife within the circuit of ten miles can
settle her account with a costermonger without an audience of the
reluctant Justice and his alert clerk, Mr. Joseph Jobson. But the most
ridiculous scenes occur when affairs come before him, like our business
of to-day, having any colouring of politics. Mr. Joseph Jobson (for
which, no doubt, he has his own very sufficient reasons) is a prodigious
zealot for the Protestant religion, and a great friend to the present
establishment in church and state. Now, his principal, retaining a sort
of instinctive attachment to the opinions which he professed openly until
he relaxed his political creed with the patriotic view of enforcing the
law against unauthorized destroyers of black-game, grouse, partridges,
and hares, is peculiarly embarrassed when the zeal of his assistant
involves him in judicial proceedings connected with his earlier faith;
and, instead of seconding his zeal, he seldom fails to oppose to it a
double dose of indolence and lack of exertion. And this inactivity does
not by any means arise from actual stupidity. On the contrary, for one
whose principal delight is in eating and drinking, he is an alert,
joyous, and lively old soul, which makes his assumed dulness the more
diverting. So you may see Jobson on such occasions, like a bit of a
broken down blood-tit condemned to drag an overloaded cart, puffing,
strutting, and spluttering, to get the Justice put in motion, while,
though the wheels groan, creak, and revolve slowly, the great and
preponderating weight of the vehicle fairly frustrates the efforts of the
willing quadruped, and prevents its being brought into a state of actual
progression. Nay more, the unfortunate pony, I understand, has been heard
to complain that this same car of justice, which he finds it so hard to
put in motion on some occasions, can on others run fast enough down hill
of its own accord, dragging his reluctant self backwards along with it,
when anything can be done of service to Squire Inglewood's quondam
friends. And then Mr. Jobson talks big about reporting his principal to
the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if it were not for his
particular regard and friendship for Mr. Inglewood and his family."

As Miss Vernon concluded this whimsical description, we found ourselves
in front of Inglewood Place, a handsome, though old-fashioned building.
which showed the consequence of the family.





CHAPTER EIGHTH.


               "Sir," quoth the Lawyer, "not to flatter ye,
                   You have as good and fair a battery
                As heart could wish, and need not shame
                   The proudest man alive to claim."
                                              Butler.

Our horses were taken by a servant in Sir Hildebrand's livery, whom we
found in the court-yard, and we entered the house. In the entrance-hall I
was somewhat surprised, and my fair companion still more so, when we met
Rashleigh Osbaldistone, who could not help showing equal wonder at our
rencontre.

"Rashleigh," said Miss Vernon, without giving him time to ask any
question, "you have heard of Mr. Francis Osbaldistone's affair, and you
have been talking to the Justice about it?"

"Certainly," said Rashleigh, composedly--"it has been my business here.--
I have been endeavouring," he said, with a bow to me, "to render my
cousin what service I can. But I am sorry to meet him here."

"As a friend and relation, Mr. Osbaldistone, you ought to have been sorry
to have met me anywhere else, at a time when the charge of my reputation
required me to be on this spot as soon as possible."

"True; but judging from what my father said, I should have supposed a
short retreat into Scotland--just till matters should be smoothed over in
a quiet way"--

I answered with warmth, "That I had no prudential measures to observe,
and desired to have nothing smoothed over;--on the contrary, I was come
to inquire into a rascally calumny, which I was determined to probe to
the bottom."

"Mr. Francis Osbaldistone is an innocent man, Rashleigh," said Miss
Vernon, "and he demands an investigation of the charge against him, and I
intend to support him in it."

"You do, my pretty cousin?--I should think, now, Mr. Francis Osbaldistone
was likely to be as effectually, and rather more delicately, supported by
my presence than by yours."

"Oh, certainly; but two heads are better than one, you know."

"Especially such a head as yours, my pretty Die," advancing and taking
her hand with a familiar fondness, which made me think him fifty times
uglier than nature had made him. She led him, however, a few steps aside;
they conversed in an under voice, and she appeared to insist upon some
request which he was unwilling or unable to comply with. I never saw so
strong a contrast betwixt the expression of two faces. Miss Vernon's,
from being earnest, became angry; her eyes and cheeks became more
animated, her colour mounted, she clenched her little hand, and stamping
on the ground with her tiny foot, seemed to listen with a mixture of
contempt and indignation to the apologies, which, from his look of civil
deference, his composed and respectful smile, his body rather drawing
back than advanced, and other signs of look and person, I concluded him
to be pouring out at her feet. At length she flung away from him, with "I
_will_ have it so."

"It is not in my power--there is no possibility of it.--Would you think
it, Mr. Osbaldistone?" said he, addressing me--

"You are not mad?" said she, interrupting him.

"Would you think it?" said he, without attending to her hint--"Miss
Vernon insists, not only that I know your innocence (of which, indeed, it
is impossible for any one to be more convinced), but that I must also be
acquainted with the real perpetrators of the outrage on this fellow--if
indeed such an outrage has been committed. Is this reasonable, Mr.
Osbaldistone?"

"I will not allow any appeal to Mr. Osbaldistone, Rashleigh," said the
young lady; "he does not know, as I do, the incredible extent and
accuracy of your information on all points."

"As I am a gentleman, you do me more honour than I deserve."

"Justice, Rashleigh--only justice:--and it is only justice which I expect
at your hands."

"You are a tyrant, Diana," he answered, with a sort of sigh--"a
capricious tyrant, and rule your friends with a rod of iron. Still,
however, it shall be as you desire. But you ought not to be here--you
know you ought not;--you must return with me."

Then turning from Diana, who seemed to stand undecided, he came up to me
in the most friendly manner, and said, "Do not doubt my interest in what
regards you, Mr. Osbaldistone. If I leave you just at this moment, it is
only to act for your advantage. But you must use your influence with your
cousin to return; her presence cannot serve you, and must prejudice
herself."

"I assure you, sir," I replied, "you cannot be more convinced of this
than I; I have urged Miss Vernon's return as anxiously as she would
permit me to do."

 "I have thought on it," said Miss Vernon after a pause, "and I will not
go till I see you safe out of the hands of the Philistines. Cousin
Rashleigh, I dare say, means well; but he and I know each other well.
Rashleigh, I will not go;--I know," she added, in a more soothing tone,
"my being here will give you more motive for speed and exertion."

"Stay then, rash, obstinate girl," said Rashleigh; "you know but too well
to whom you trust;" and hastening out of the hall, we heard his horse's
feet a minute afterwards in rapid motion.

"Thank Heaven he is gone!" said Diana. "And now let us seek out the
Justice."

"Had we not better call a servant?"

"Oh, by no means; I know the way to his den--we must burst on him
suddenly--follow me."

I did follow her accordingly, as she tripped up a few gloomy steps,
traversed a twilight passage, and entered a sort of ante-room, hung round
with old maps, architectural elevations, and genealogical trees. A pair
of folding-doors opened from this into Mr. Inglewood's sitting apartment,
from which was heard the fag-end of an old ditty, chanted by a voice
which had been in its day fit for a jolly bottle-song.

                       "O, in Skipton-in-Craven
                           Is never a haven,
                        But many a day foul weather;
                           And he that would say
                           A pretty girl nay,
                        I wish for his cravat a tether."

"Heyday!" said Miss Vernon, "the genial Justice must have dined
already--I did not think it had been so late."

It was even so. Mr. Inglewood's appetite having been sharpened by his
official investigations, he had antedated his meridian repast, having
dined at twelve instead of one o'clock, then the general dining hour in
England. The various occurrences of the morning occasioned our arriving
some time after this hour, to the Justice the most important of the
four-and-twenty, and he had not neglected the interval.

"Stay you here," said Diana. "I know the house, and I will call a
servant; your sudden appearance might startle the old gentleman even to
choking;" and she escaped from me, leaving me uncertain whether I ought
to advance or retreat. It was impossible for me not to hear some part of
what passed within the dinner apartment, and particularly several
apologies for declining to sing, expressed in a dejected croaking voice,
the tones of which, I conceived, were not entirely new to me.

"Not sing, sir? by our Lady! but you must--What! you have cracked my
silver-mounted cocoa-nut of sack, and tell me that you cannot sing!--Sir,
sack will make a cat sing, and speak too; so up with a merry stave, or
trundle yourself out of my doors!--Do you think you are to take up all my
valuable time with your d-d declarations, and then tell me you cannot
sing?"

"Your worship is perfectly in rule," said another voice, which, from its
pert conceited accent, might be that of the cleric, "and the party must
be conformable; he hath _canet_ written on his face in court hand."

"Up with it then," said the Justice, "or by St. Christopher, you shall
crack the cocoa-nut full of salt-and-water, according to the statute for
such effect made and provided."

Thus exhorted and threatened, my quondam fellow-traveller, for I could no
longer doubt that he was the recusant in question, uplifted, with a voice
similar to that of a criminal singing his last psalm on the scaffold, a
most doleful stave to the following effect:--

                   "Good people all, I pray give ear,
                    A woeful story you shall hear,
                   'Tis of a robber as stout as ever
                    Bade a true man stand and deliver.
                       With his foodle doo fa loodle loo.

                   "This knave, most worthy of a cord,
                    Being armed with pistol and with sword,
                   'Twixt Kensington and Brentford then
                    Did boldly stop six honest men.
                       With his foodle doo, etc.

                  "These honest men did at Brentford dine,
                   Having drank each man his pint of wine,
                   When this bold thief, with many curses,
                   Did say, You dogs, your lives or purses.
                       With his foodle doo," etc.

I question if the honest men, whose misfortune is commemorated in this
pathetic ditty, were more startled at the appearance of the bold thief
than the songster was at mine; for, tired of waiting for some one to
announce me, and finding my situation as a listener rather awkward, I
presented myself to the company just as my friend Mr. Morris, for such,
it seems, was his name, was uplifting the fifth stave of his doleful
ballad. The high tone with which the tune started died away in a quaver
of consternation on finding himself so near one whose character he
supposed to be little less suspicious than that of the hero of his
madrigal, and he remained silent, with a mouth gaping as if I had brought
the Gorgon's head in my hand.

The Justice, whose eyes had closed under the influence of the somniferous
lullaby of the song, started up in his chair as it suddenly ceased, and
stared with wonder at the unexpected addition which the company had
received while his organs of sight were in abeyance. The clerk, as I
conjectured him to be from his appearance, was also commoved; for,
sitting opposite to Mr. Morris, that honest gentleman's terror
communicated itself to him, though he wotted not why.


[Illustration: Frank at Judge Inglewood's--104]


I broke the silence of surprise occasioned by my abrupt entrance.--"My
name, Mr. Inglewood, is Francis Osbaldistone; I understand that some
scoundrel has brought a complaint before you, charging me with being
concerned in a loss which he says he has sustained."

"Sir," said the Justice, somewhat peevishly, "these are matters I never
enter upon after dinner;--there is a time for everything, and a justice
of peace must eat as well as other folks."

The goodly person of Mr. Inglewood, by the way, seemed by no means to
have suffered by any fasts, whether in the service of the law or of
religion.

"I beg pardon for an ill-timed visit, sir; but as my reputation is
concerned, and as the dinner appears to be concluded"--

"It is not concluded, sir," replied the magistrate; "man requires
digestion as well as food, and I protest I cannot have benefit from my
victuals unless I am allowed two hours of quiet leisure, intermixed with
harmless mirth, and a moderate circulation of the bottle."

"If your honour will forgive me," said Mr. Jobson, who had produced and
arranged his writing implements in the brief space that our conversation
afforded; "as this is a case of felony, and the gentleman seems something
impatient, the charge is _contra pacem domini regis_"--

"D--n _dominie regis!_" said the impatient Justice--"I hope it's no
treason to say so; but it's enough to made one mad to be worried in this
way. Have I a moment of my life quiet for warrants, orders, directions,
acts, bails, bonds, and recognisances?--I pronounce to you, Mr. Jobson,
that I shall send you and the justiceship to the devil one of these
days."

"Your honour will consider the dignity of the office one of the quorum
and custos rotulorum, an office of which Sir Edward Coke wisely saith,
The whole Christian world hath not the like of it, so it be duly
executed."

"Well," said the Justice, partly reconciled by this eulogium on the
dignity of his situation, and gulping down the rest of his
dissatisfaction in a huge bumper of claret, "let us to this gear then,
and get rid of it as fast as we can.--Here you, sir--you, Morris--you,
knight of the sorrowful countenance--is this Mr. Francis Osbaldistone the
gentleman whom you charge with being art and part of felony?"

"I, sir?" replied Morris, whose scattered wits had hardly yet reassembled
themselves; "I charge nothing--I say nothing against the gentleman,"

"Then we dismiss your complaint, sir, that's all, and a good riddance--
Push about the bottle--Mr. Osbaldistone, help yourself."

Jobson, however, was determined that Morris should not back out of the
scrape so easily. "What do you mean, Mr. Morris?--Here is your own
declaration--the ink scarce dried--and you would retract it in this
scandalous manner!"

"How do I know," whispered the other in a tremulous tone, "how many
rogues are in the house to back him? I have read of such things in
Johnson's Lives of the Highwaymen. I protest the door opens"--

And it did open, and Diana Vernon entered--"You keep fine order here,
Justice--not a servant to be seen or heard of."

"Ah!" said the Justice, starting up with an alacrity which showed that he
was not so engrossed by his devotions to Themis or Comus, as to forget
what was due to beauty--"Ah, ha! Die Vernon, the heath-bell of Cheviot,
and the blossom of the Border, come to see how the old bachelor keeps
house? Art welcome, girl, as flowers in May."

"A fine, open, hospitable house you do keep, Justice, that must be
allowed--not a soul to answer a visitor."

"Ah, the knaves! they reckoned themselves secure of me for a couple of
hours--But why did you not come earlier?--Your cousin Rashleigh dined
here, and ran away like a poltroon after the first bottle was out--But
you have not dined--we'll have something nice and ladylike--sweet and
pretty like yourself, tossed up in a trice."

"I may eat a crust in the ante-room before I set out," answered Miss
Vernon--"I have had a long ride this morning; but I can't stay long,
Justice--I came with my cousin, Frank Osbaldistone, there, and I must
show him the way back again to the Hall, or he'll lose himself in the
wolds."

"Whew! sits the wind in that quarter?" inquired the Justice--

           "She showed him the way, she showed him the way,
                     She showed him the way to woo.

What! no luck for old fellows, then, my sweet bud of the wilderness?"

"None whatever, Squire Inglewood; but if you will be a good kind Justice,
and despatch young Frank's business, and let us canter home again, I'll
bring my uncle to dine with you next week, and we'll expect merry
doings."

"And you shall find them, my pearl of the Tyne--Zookers, lass, I never
envy these young fellows their rides and scampers, unless when you come
across me. But I must not keep you just now, I suppose?--I am quite
satisfied with Mr. Francis Osbaldistone's explanation--here has been some
mistake, which can be cleared at greater leisure."

"Pardon me, sir," said I; "but I have not heard the nature of the
accusation yet."

"Yes, sir," said the clerk, who, at the appearance of Miss Vernon, had
given up the matter in despair, but who picked up courage to press
farther investigation on finding himself supported from a quarter whence
assuredly he expected no backing--"Yes, sir, and Dalton saith, That he
who is apprehended as a felon shall not be discharged upon any man's
discretion, but shall be held either to bail or commitment, paying to the
clerk of the peace the usual fees for recognisance or commitment."

The Justice, thus goaded on, gave me at length a few words of
explanation.

It seems the tricks which I had played to this man Morris had made a
strong impression on his imagination; for I found they had been arrayed
against me in his evidence, with all the exaggerations which a timorous
and heated imagination could suggest. It appeared also, that on the day
he parted from me, he had been stopped on a solitary spot and eased of
his beloved travelling-companion, the portmanteau, by two men, well
mounted and armed, having their faces covered with vizards.

One of them, he conceived, had much of my shape and air, and in a
whispering conversation which took place betwixt the freebooters, he
heard the other apply to him the name of Osbaldistone. The declaration
farther set forth, that upon inquiring into the principles of the family
so named, he, the said declarant, was informed that they were of the
worst description, the family, in all its members, having been Papists
and Jacobites, as he was given to understand by the dissenting clergyman
at whose house he stopped after his rencontre, since the days of William
the Conqueror.

Upon all and each of these weighty reasons, he charged me with being
accessory to the felony committed upon his person; he, the said
declarant, then travelling in the special employment of Government, and
having charge of certain important papers, and also a large sum in
specie, to be paid over, according to his instructions, to certain
persons of official trust and importance in Scotland.

Having heard this extraordinary accusation, I replied to it, that the
circumstances on which it was founded were such as could warrant no
justice, or magistrate, in any attempt on my personal liberty. I admitted
that I had practised a little upon the terrors of Mr. Morris, while we
travelled together, but in such trifling particulars as could have
excited apprehension in no one who was one whit less timorous and jealous
than himself. But I added, that I had never seen him since we parted, and
if that which he feared had really come upon him, I was in nowise
accessory to an action so unworthy of my character and station in life.
That one of the robbers was called Osbaldistone, or that such a name was
mentioned in the course of the conversation betwixt them, was a trifling
circumstance, to which no weight was due. And concerning the disaffection
alleged against me, I was willing to prove, to the satisfaction of the
Justice, the clerk, and even the witness himself, that I was of the same
persuasion as his friend the dissenting clergyman; had been educated as a
good subject in the principles of the Revolution, and as such now
demanded the personal protection of the laws which had been assured by
that great event.

The Justice fidgeted, took snuff, and seemed considerably embarrassed,
while Mr. Attorney Jobson, with all the volubility of his profession, ran
over the statute of the 34 Edward III., by which justices of the peace
are allowed to arrest all those whom they find by indictment or
suspicion, and to put them into prison. The rogue even turned my own
admissions against me, alleging, "that since I had confessedly, upon my
own showing, assumed the bearing or deportment of a robber or malefactor,
I had voluntarily subjected myself to the suspicions of which I
complained, and brought myself within the compass of the act, having
wilfully clothed my conduct with all the colour and livery of guilt."

I combated both his arguments and his jargon with much indignation and
scorn, and observed, "That I should, if necessary, produce the bail of my
relations, which I conceived could not be refused, without subjecting the
magistrate in a misdemeanour."

"Pardon me, my good sir--pardon me," said the insatiable clerk; "this is
a case in which neither bail nor mainprize can be received, the felon who
is liable to be committed on heavy grounds of suspicion, not being
replevisable under the statute of the 3d of King Edward, there being in
that act an express exception of such as be charged of commandment, or
force, and aid of felony done;" and he hinted that his worship would do
well to remember that such were no way replevisable by common writ, nor
without writ.

At this period of the conversation a servant entered, and delivered a
letter to Mr. Jobson. He had no sooner run it hastily over, than he
exclaimed, with the air of one who wished to appear much vexed at the
interruption, and felt the consequence attached to a man of multifarious
avocations--"Good God!--why, at this rate, I shall have neither time to
attend to the public concerns nor my own--no rest--no quiet--I wish to
Heaven another gentleman in our line would settle here!"

"God forbid!" said the Justice in a tone of _sotto-voce_ deprecation;
"some of us have enough of one of the tribe."

"This is a matter of life and death, if your worship pleases."

"In God's name! no more justice business, I hope," said the alarmed
magistrate.

"No--no," replied Mr. Jobson, very consequentially; "old Gaffer Rutledge
of Grime's-hill is subpoenaed for the next world; he has sent an express
for Dr. Kill-down to put in bail--another for me to arrange his worldly
affairs."

"Away with you, then," said Mr. Inglewood, hastily; "his may not be a
replevisable case under the statute, you know, or Mr. Justice Death may
not like the doctor for a _main pernor,_ or bailsman."

"And yet," said Jobson, lingering as he moved towards the door, "if my
presence here be necessary--I could make out the warrant for committal in
a moment, and the constable is below--And you have heard," he said,
lowering his voice, "Mr. Rashleigh's opinion"--the rest was lost in a
whisper.

The Justice replied aloud, "I tell thee no, man, no--we'll do nought till
thou return, man; 'tis but a four-mile ride--Come, push the bottle, Mr.
Morris--Don't be cast down, Mr. Osbaldistone--And you, my rose of the
wilderness--one cup of claret to refresh the bloom of your cheeks."

Diana started, as if from a reverie, in which she appeared to have been
plunged while we held this discussion. "No, Justice--I should be afraid
of transferring the bloom to a part of my face where it would show to
little advantage; but I will pledge you in a cooler beverage;" and
filling a glass with water, she drank it hastily, while her hurried
manner belied her assumed gaiety.

I had not much leisure to make remarks upon her demeanour, however, being
full of vexation at the interference of fresh obstacles to an instant
examination of the disgraceful and impertinent charge which was brought
against me. But there was no moving the Justice to take the matter up in
absence of his clerk, an incident which gave him apparently as much
pleasure as a holiday to a schoolboy. He persisted in his endeavours to
inspire jollity into a company, the individuals of which, whether
considered with reference to each other, or to their respective
situations, were by no means inclined to mirth. "Come, Master Morris,
you're not the first man that's been robbed, I trow--grieving ne'er
brought back loss, man. And you, Mr. Frank Osbaldistone, are not the
first bully-boy that has said stand to a true man. There was Jack
Winterfield, in my young days, kept the best company in the land--at
horse-races and cock-fights who but he--hand and glove was I with Jack.
Push the bottle, Mr. Morris, it's dry talking--Many quart bumpers have I
cracked, and thrown many a merry main with poor Jack--good family--ready
wit--quick eye--as honest a fellow, barring the deed he died for--we'll
drink to his memory, gentlemen--Poor Jack Winterfield--And since we talk
of him, and of those sort of things, and since that d--d clerk of mine
has taken his gibberish elsewhere, and since we're snug among ourselves,
Mr. Osbaldistone, if you will have my best advice, I would take up this
matter--the law's hard--very severe--hanged poor Jack Winterfield at
York, despite family connections and great interest, all for easing a fat
west-country grazier of the price of a few beasts--Now, here is honest
Mr. Morris, has been frightened, and so forth--D--n it, man, let the poor
fellow have back his portmanteau, and end the frolic at once."

Morris's eyes brightened up at this suggestion, and he began to hesitate
forth an assurance that he thirsted for no man's blood, when I cut the
proposed accommodation short, by resenting the Justice's suggestion as an
insult, that went directly to suppose me guilty of the very crime which I
had come to his house with the express intention of disavowing. We were
in this awkward predicament when a servant, opening the door, announced,
"A strange gentleman to wait upon his honour;" and the party whom he thus
described entered the room without farther ceremony.


[Illustration: Die Vernon at Judge Inglewood's--112]




CHAPTER NINTH.

             One of the thieves come back again! I'll stand close,
             He dares not wrong me now, so near the house,
             And call in vain 'tis, till I see him offer it.
                                          The Widow.

"A stranger!" echoed the Justice--"not upon business, I trust, for I'll
be"--

His protestation was cut short by the answer of the man himself. "My
business is of a nature somewhat onerous and particular," said my
acquaintance, Mr. Campbell--for it was he, the very Scotchman whom I had
seen at Northallerton--"and I must solicit your honour to give instant
and heedful consideration to it.--I believe, Mr. Morris," he added,
fixing his eye on that person with a look of peculiar firmness and almost
ferocity--"I believe ye ken brawly what I am--I believe ye cannot have
forgotten what passed at our last meeting on the road?" Morris's jaw
dropped--his countenance became the colour of tallow--his teeth
chattered, and he gave visible signs of the utmost consternation. "Take
heart of grace, man," said Campbell, "and dinna sit clattering your jaws
there like a pair of castanets! I think there can be nae difficulty in
your telling Mr. Justice, that ye have seen me of yore, and ken me to be
a cavalier of fortune, and a man of honour. Ye ken fu' weel ye will be
some time resident in my vicinity, when I may have the power, as I will
possess the inclination, to do you as good a turn."

"Sir--sir--I believe you to be a man of honour, and, as you say, a man of
fortune. Yes, Mr. Inglewood," he added, clearing his voice, "I really
believe this gentleman to be so."

"And what are this gentleman's commands with me?" said the Justice,
somewhat peevishly. "One man introduces another, like the rhymes in the
'house that Jack built,' and I get company without either peace or
conversation!"

"Both shall be yours, sir," answered Campbell, "in a brief period of
time. I come to release your mind from a piece of troublesome duty, not
to make increment to it."

"Body o' me! then you are welcome as ever Scot was to England, and that's
not saying much. But get on, man--let's hear what you have got to say at
once."

"I presume, this gentleman," continued the North Briton, "told you there
was a person of the name of Campbell with him, when he had the mischance
to lose his valise?"

"He has not mentioned such a name, from beginning to end of the matter,"
said the Justice.

"Ah! I conceive--I conceive," replied Mr. Campbell;--"Mr. Morris was
kindly afeared of committing a stranger into collision wi' the judicial
forms of the country; but as I understand my evidence is necessary to the
compurgation of one honest gentleman here, Mr. Francis Osbaldistone, wha
has been most unjustly suspected, I will dispense with the precaution. Ye
will therefore" (he added addressing Morris with the same determined look
and accent) "please tell Mr. Justice Inglewood, whether we did not travel
several miles together on the road, in consequence of your own anxious
request and suggestion, reiterated ance and again, baith on the evening
that we were at Northallerton, and there declined by me, but afterwards
accepted, when I overtook ye on the road near Cloberry Allers, and was
prevailed on by you to resign my ain intentions of proceeding to
Rothbury; and, for my misfortune, to accompany you on your proposed
route."

"It's a melancholy truth," answered Morris, holding down his head, as he
gave this general assent to the long and leading question which Campbell
put to him, and seemed to acquiesce in the statement it contained with
rueful docility.

"And I presume you can also asseverate to his worship, that no man is
better qualified than I am to bear testimony in this case, seeing that I
was by you, and near you, constantly during the whole occurrence."

"No man better qualified, certainly," said Morris, with a deep and
embarrassed sigh.

"And why the devil did you not assist him, then," said the Justice,
"since, by Mr. Morris's account, there were but two robbers; so you were
two to two, and you are both stout likely men?"

"Sir, if it please your worship," said Campbell, "I have been all my life
a man of peace and quietness, noways given to broils or batteries. Mr.
Morris, who belongs, as I understand, or hath belonged, to his Majesty's
army, might have used his pleasure in resistance, he travelling, as I
also understand, with a great charge of treasure; but, for me, who had
but my own small peculiar to defend, and who am, moreover, a man of a
pacific occupation, I was unwilling to commit myself to hazard in the
matter."

I looked at Campbell as he muttered these words, and never recollect to
have seen a more singular contrast than that between the strong daring
sternness expressed in his harsh features, and the air of composed
meekness and simplicity which his language assumed. There was even a
slight ironical smile lurking about the corners of his mouth, which
seemed, involuntarily as it were, to intimate his disdain of the quiet
and peaceful character which he thought proper to assume, and which led
me to entertain strange suspicions that his concern in the violence done
to Morris had been something very different from that of a
fellow-sufferer, or even of a mere spectator.

Perhaps some suspicious crossed the Justice's mind at the moment, for he
exclaimed, as if by way of ejaculation, "Body o' me! but this is a
strange story."

The North Briton seemed to guess at what was passing in his mind; for he
went on, with a change of manner and tone, dismissing from his
countenance some part of the hypocritical affectation of humility which
had made him obnoxious to suspicion, and saying, with a more frank and
unconstrained air, "To say the truth, I am just ane o' those canny folks
wha care not to fight but when they hae gotten something to fight for,
which did not chance to be my predicament when I fell in wi' these loons.
But that your worship may know that I am a person of good fame and
character, please to cast your eye over that billet."

Mr. Inglewood took the paper from his hand, and read, half aloud, "These
are to certify, that the bearer, Robert Campbell of--of some place which
I cannot pronounce," interjected the Justice--"is a person of good
lineage, and peaceable demeanour, travelling towards England on his own
proper affairs, &c. &c. &c. Given under our hand, at our Castle of
Inver--Invera--rara--Argyle."

"A slight testimonial, sir, which I thought fit to impetrate from that
worthy nobleman" (here he raised his hand to his head, as if to touch his
hat), "MacCallum More."

"MacCallum who, sir?" said the Justice.

"Whom the Southern call the Duke of Argyle."

"I know the Duke of Argyle very well to be a nobleman of great worth and
distinction, and a true lover of his country. I was one of those that
stood by him in 1714, when he unhorsed the Duke of Marlborough out of his
command. I wish we had more noblemen like him. He was an honest Tory in
those days, and hand and glove with Ormond. And he has acceded to the
present Government, as I have done myself, for the peace and quiet of his
country; for I cannot presume that great man to have been actuated, as
violent folks pretend, with the fear of losing his places and regiment.
His testimonial, as you call it, Mr. Campbell, is perfectly satisfactory;
and now, what have you got to say to this matter of the robbery?"

"Briefly this, if it please your worship,--that Mr. Morris might as weel
charge it against the babe yet to be born, or against myself even, as
against this young gentleman, Mr. Osbaldistone; for I am not only free to
depone that the person whom he took for him was a shorter man, and a
thicker man, but also, for I chanced to obtain a glisk of his visage, as
his fause-face slipped aside, that he was a man of other features and
complexion than those of this young gentleman, Mr. Osbaldistone. And I
believe," he added, turning round with a natural, yet somewhat sterner
air, to Mr. Morris, "that the gentleman will allow I had better
opportunity to take cognisance wha were present on that occasion than he,
being, I believe, much the cooler o' the twa."

"I agree to it, sir--I agree to it perfectly," said Morris, shrinking
back as Campbell moved his chair towards him to fortify his appeal--"And
I incline, sir," he added, addressing Mr. Inglewood, "to retract my
information as to Mr. Osbaldistone; and I request, sir, you will permit
him, sir, to go about his business, and me to go about mine also; your
worship may have business to settle with Mr. Campbell, and I am rather in
haste to be gone."

"Then, there go the declarations," said the Justice, throwing them into
the fire--"And now you are at perfect liberty, Mr Osbaldistone. And you,
Mr. Morris, are set quite at your ease."

"Ay," said Campbell, eyeing Morris as he assented with a rueful grin to
the Justice's observations, "much like the ease of a tod under a pair of
harrows--But fear nothing, Mr. Morris; you and I maun leave the house
thegither. I will see you safe--I hope you will not doubt my honour, when
I say sae--to the next highway, and then we part company; and if we do
not meet as friends in Scotland, it will be your ain fault."

With such a lingering look of terror as the condemned criminal throws,
when he is informed that the cart awaits him, Morris arose; but when on
his legs, appeared to hesitate. "I tell thee, man, fear nothing,"
reiterated Campbell; "I will keep my word with you--Why, thou sheep's
heart, how do ye ken but we may can pick up some speerings of your
valise, if ye will be amenable to gude counsel?--Our horses are ready.
Bid the Justice fareweel, man, and show your Southern breeding."

Morris, thus exhorted and encouraged, took his leave, under the escort of
Mr. Campbell; but, apparently, new scruples and terrors had struck him
before they left the house, for I heard Campbell reiterating assurances
of safety and protection as they left the ante-room--"By the soul of my
body, man, thou'rt as safe as in thy father's kailyard--Zounds! that a
chield wi' sic a black beard should hae nae mair heart than a
hen-partridge!--Come on wi' ye, like a frank fallow, anes and for aye."

The voices died away, and the subsequent trampling of their horses
announced to us that they had left the mansion of Justice Inglewood.

The joy which that worthy magistrate received at this easy conclusion of
a matter which threatened him with some trouble in his judicial capacity,
was somewhat damped by reflection on what his clerk's views of the
transaction might be at his return. "Now, I shall have Jobson on my
shoulders about these d--d papers--I doubt I should not have destroyed
them, after all--But hang it! it is only paying his fees, and that will
make all smooth--And now, Miss Die Vernon, though I have liberated all
the others, I intend to sign a writ for committing you to the custody of
Mother Blakes, my old housekeeper, for the evening, and we will send for
my neighbour Mrs. Musgrave, and the Miss Dawkins, and your cousins, and
have old Cobs the fiddler, and be as merry as the maids; and Frank
Osbaldistone and I will have a carouse that will make us fit company for
you in half-an-hour."

"Thanks, most worshipful," returned Miss Vernon; "but, as matters stand,
we must return instantly to Osbaldistone Hall, where they do not know
what has become of us, and relieve my uncle of his anxiety on my cousin's
account, which is just the same as if one of his own sons were
concerned."

"I believe it truly," said the Justice; "for when his eldest son, Archie,
came to a bad end, in that unlucky affair of Sir John Fenwick's, old
Hildebrand used to hollo out his name as readily as any of the remaining
six, and then complain that he could not recollect which of his sons had
been hanged. So, pray hasten home, and relieve his paternal solicitude,
since go you must. But hark thee hither, heath-blossom," he said, pulling
her towards him by the hand, and in a good-humoured tone of admonition,
"another time let the law take its course, without putting your pretty
finger into her old musty pie, all full of fragments of law
gibberish--French and dog-Latin--And, Die, my beauty, let young fellows
show each other the way through the moors, in case you should lose your
own road, while you are pointing out theirs, my pretty Will o' the
Wisp."

With this admonition, he saluted and dismissed Miss Vernon, and took an
equally kind farewell of me.

"Thou seems to be a good tight lad, Mr. Frank, and I remember thy father
too--he was my playfellow at school. Hark thee, lad,--ride early at
night, and don't swagger with chance passengers on the king's highway.
What, man! all the king's liege subjects are not bound to understand
joking, and it's ill cracking jests on matters of felony. And here's poor
Die Vernon too--in a manner alone and deserted on the face of this wide
earth, and left to ride, and run, and scamper, at her own silly pleasure.
Thou must be careful of Die, or, egad, I will turn a young fellow again
on purpose, and fight thee myself, although I must own it would be a
great deal of trouble. And now, get ye both gone, and leave me to my pipe
of tobacco, and my meditations; for what says the song--

                  The Indian leaf doth briefly burn;
                  So doth man's strength to weakness turn
                  The fire of youth extinguished quite,
                  Comes age, like embers, dry and white.
                  Think of this as you take tobacco."*

* [The lines here quoted belong to or were altered from a set of verses
at one time very popular in England, beginning, _Tobacco that is withered
quite._ In Scotland, the celebrated Ralph Erskine, author of the _Gospel
Sonnets,_ published what he called "_Smoking Spiritualized,_ in two
parts. The first part being an Old Meditation upon Smoking Tobacco." It
begins--*

                  This Indian weed now withered quite,
                  Tho' green at noon, cut down at night,
                            Shows thy decay;
                            All flesh is hay.
                      Thus thank, and smoke tobacco.]

I was much pleased with the gleams of sense and feeling which escaped
from the Justice through the vapours of sloth and self-indulgence,
assured him of my respect to his admonitions, and took a friendly
farewell of the honest magistrate and his hospitable mansion.

We found a repast prepared for us in the ante-room, which we partook of
slightly, and rejoined the same servant of Sir Hildebrand who had taken
our horses at our entrance, and who had been directed, as he informed
Miss Vernon, by Mr. Rashleigh, to wait and attend upon us home. We rode a
little way in silence, for, to say truth, my mind was too much bewildered
with the events of the morning, to permit me to be the first to break it.
At length Miss Vernon exclaimed, as if giving vent to her own
reflections, "Well, Rashleigh is a man to be feared and wondered at, and
all but loved; he does whatever he pleases, and makes all others his
puppets--has a player ready to perform every part which he imagines, and
an invention and readiness which supply expedients for every emergency."

"You think, then," said I, answering rather to her meaning, than to the
express words she made use of, "that this Mr. Campbell, whose appearance
was so opportune, and who trussed up and carried off my accuser as a
falcon trusses a partridge, was an agent of Mr. Rashleigh
Osbaldistone's?"

"I do guess as much," replied Diana; "and shrewdly suspect, moreover,
that he would hardly have appeared so very much in the nick of time, if I
had not happened to meet Rashleigh in the hall at the Justice's."

"In that case, my thanks are chiefly due to you, my fair preserver."

"To be sure they are," returned Diana; "and pray, suppose them paid, and
accepted with a gracious smile, for I do not care to be troubled with
hearing them in good earnest, and am much more likely to yawn than to
behave becoming. In short, Mr. Frank, I wished to serve you, and I have
fortunately been able to do so, and have only one favour to ask in
return, and that is, that you will say no more about it.--But who comes
here to meet us, 'bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste?' It is the
subordinate man of law, I think--no less than Mr. Joseph Jobson."

And Mr. Joseph Jobson it proved to be, in great haste, and, as it
speedily appeared, in most extreme bad humour. He came up to us, and
stopped his horse, as we were about to pass with a slight salutation.

"So, sir--so, Miss Vernon--ay, I see well enough how it is--bail put in
during my absence, I suppose--I should like to know who drew the
recognisance, that's all. If his worship uses this form of procedure
often, I advise him to get another clerk, that's all, for I shall
certainly demit."

"Or suppose he get this present clerk stitched to his sleeve, Mr.
Jobson," said Diana; "would not that do as well? And pray, how does
Farmer Rutledge, Mr. Jobson? I hope you found him able to sign, seal, and
deliver?"

This question seemed greatly to increase the wrath of the man of law. He
looked at Miss Vernon with such an air of spite and resentment, as laid
me under a strong temptation to knock him off his horse with the butt-end
of my whip, which I only suppressed in consideration of his
insignificance.

"Farmer Rutledge, ma'am?" said the clerk, as soon as his indignation
permitted him to articulate, "Farmer Rutledge is in as handsome enjoyment
of his health as you are--it's all a bam, ma'am--all a bamboozle and a
bite, that affair of his illness; and if you did not know as much before,
you know it now, ma'am."

"La you there now!" replied Miss Vernon, with an affectation of extreme
and simple wonder, "sure you don't say so, Mr. Jobson?"

"But I _do_ say so, ma'am," rejoined the incensed scribe; "and
moreover I say, that the old miserly clod-breaker called me
pettifogger--pettifogger, ma'am--and said I came to hunt for a job,
ma'am--which I have no more right to have said to me than any other
gentleman of my profession, ma'am--especially as I am clerk to the
peace, having and holding said office under _Trigesimo Septimo Henrici
Octavi_ and _Primo Gulielmi,_ the first of King William, ma'am, of
glorious and immortal memory--our immortal deliverer from papists and
pretenders, and wooden shoes and warming pans, Miss Vernon."

"Sad things, these wooden shoes and warming pans," retorted the young
lady, who seemed to take pleasure in augmenting his wrath;--"and it is a
comfort you don't seem to want a warming pan at present, Mr. Jobson. I am
afraid Gaffer Rutledge has not confined his incivility to language--Are
you sure he did not give you a beating?"

"Beating, ma'am!--no"--(very shortly)--"no man alive shall beat me, I
promise you, ma'am."

"That is according as you happen to merit, sir," said I: "for your mode
of speaking to this young lady is so unbecoming, that, if you do not
change your tone, I shall think it worth while to chastise you myself."

"Chastise, sir? and--me, sir?--Do you know whom you speak to, sir?"

"Yes, sir," I replied; "you say yourself you are clerk of peace to the
county; and Gaffer Rutledge says you are a pettifogger; and in neither
capacity are you entitled to be impertinent to a young lady of fashion."

Miss Vernon laid her hand on my arm, and exclaimed, "Come, Mr.
Osbaldistone, I will have no assaults and battery on Mr. Jobson; I am
not in sufficient charity with him to permit a single touch of your
whip--why, he would live on it for a term at least. Besides, you have
already hurt his feelings sufficiently--you have called him
impertinent."

"I don't value his language, Miss," said the clerk, somewhat crestfallen:
"besides, impertinent is not an actionable word; but pettifogger is
slander in the highest degree, and that I will make Gaffer Rutledge know
to his cost, and all who maliciously repeat the same, to the breach of
the public peace, and the taking away of my private good name."

"Never mind that, Mr. Jobson," said Miss Vernon; "you know, where there
is nothing, your own law allows that the king himself must lose his
rights; and for the taking away of your good name, I pity the poor fellow
who gets it, and wish you joy of losing it with all my heart."

"Very well, ma'am--good evening, ma'am--I have no more to say--only there
are laws against papists, which it would be well for the land were they
better executed. There's third and fourth Edward VI., of antiphoners,
missals, grailes, professionals, manuals, legends, pies, portuasses, and
those that have such trinkets in their possession, Miss Vernon--and
there's summoning of papists to take the oaths--and there are popish
recusant convicts under the first of his present Majesty--ay, and there
are penalties for hearing mass--See twenty-third of Queen Elizabeth, and
third James First, chapter twenty-fifth. And there are estates to be
registered, and deeds and wills to be enrolled, and double taxes to be
made, according to the acts in that case made and provided"--

"See the new edition of the Statutes at Large, published under the
careful revision of Joseph Jobson, Gent., Clerk of the Peace," said Miss
Vernon.

"Also, and above all," continued Jobson,--"for I speak to your
warning--you, Diana Vernon, spinstress, not being a _femme couverte,_
and being a convict popish recusant, are bound to repair to your own
dwelling, and that by the nearest way, under penalty of being held felon
to the king--and diligently to seek for passage at common ferries, and
to tarry there but one ebb and flood; and unless you can have it in such
places, to walk every day into the water up to the knees, assaying to
pass over."

"A sort of Protestant penance for my Catholic errors, I suppose," said
Miss Vernon, laughing.--"Well, I thank you for the information, Mr.
Jobson, and will hie me home as fast as I can, and be a better
housekeeper in time coming. Good-night, my dear Mr. Jobson, thou mirror
of clerical courtesy."

"Good-night, ma'am, and remember the law is not to be trifled with."

And we rode on our separate ways.

"There he goes for a troublesome mischief-making tool," said Miss Vernon,
as she gave a glance after him; "it is hard that persons of birth and rank
and estate should be subjected to the official impertinence of such a
paltry pickthank as that, merely for believing as the whole world
believed not much above a hundred years ago--for certainly our Catholic
Faith has the advantage of antiquity at least."

"I was much tempted to have broken the rascal's head," I replied.

"You would have acted very like a hasty young man," said Miss Vernon;
"and yet, had my own hand been an ounce heavier than it is, I think I
should have laid its weight upon him. Well, it does not signify
complaining, but there are three things for which I am much to be pitied,
if any one thought it worth while to waste any compassion upon me."

"And what are these three things, Miss Vernon, may I ask?"

"Will you promise me your deepest sympathy, if I tell you?"

"Certainly;--can you doubt it?" I replied, closing my horse nearer to
hers as I spoke, with an expression of interest which I did not attempt
to disguise.

"Well, it is very seducing to be pitied, after all; so here are my three
grievances: In the first place, I am a girl, and not a young fellow, and
would be shut up in a mad-house if I did half the things that I have a
mind to;--and that, if I had your happy prerogative of acting as you
list, would make all the world mad with imitating and applauding me."

"I can't quite afford you the sympathy you expect upon this score," I
replied; "the misfortune is so general, that it belongs to one half of
the species; and the other half"--

"Are so much better cared for, that they are jealous of their
prerogatives," interrupted Miss Vernon--"I forgot you were a party
interested. Nay," she said, as I was going to speak, "that soft smile is
intended to be the preface of a very pretty compliment respecting the
peculiar advantages which Die Vernon's friends and kinsmen enjoy, by her
being born one of their Helots; but spare me the utterance, my good
friend, and let us try whether we shall agree better on the second count
of my indictment against fortune, as that quill-driving puppy would call
it. I belong to an oppressed sect and antiquated religion, and, instead
of getting credit for my devotion, as is due to all good girls beside, my
kind friend, Justice Inglewood, may send me to the house of correction,
merely for worshipping God in the way of my ancestors, and say, as old
Pembroke did to the Abbess of Wilton,* when he usurped her convent and
establishment, 'Go spin, you jade,--Go spin.'"

* Note F. The Abbess of Wilton.

"This is not a cureless evil," said I gravely. "Consult some of our
learned divines, or consult your own excellent understanding, Miss
Vernon; and surely the particulars in which our religious creed differs
from that in which you have been educated"--

"Hush!" said Diana, placing her fore-finger on her mouth,--"Hush! no more
of that. Forsake the faith of my gallant fathers! I would as soon, were I
a man, forsake their banner when the tide of battle pressed hardest
against it, and turn, like a hireling recreant, to join the victorious
enemy."

"I honour your spirit, Miss Vernon; and as to the inconveniences to which
it exposes you, I can only say, that wounds sustained for the sake of
conscience carry their own balsam with the blow."

"Ay; but they are fretful and irritating, for all that. But I see, hard
of heart as you are, my chance of beating hemp, or drawing out flax into
marvellous coarse thread, affects you as little as my condemnation to
coif and pinners, instead of beaver and cockade; so I will spare myself
the fruitless pains of telling my third cause of vexation."

"Nay, my dear Miss Vernon, do not withdraw your confidence, and I will
promise you, that the threefold sympathy due to your very unusual causes
of distress shall be all duly and truly paid to account of the third,
providing you assure me, that it is one which you neither share with all
womankind, nor even with every Catholic in England, who, God bless you,
are still a sect more numerous than we Protestants, in our zeal for
church and state, would desire them to be."

"It is indeed," said Diana, with a manner greatly altered, and more
serious than I had yet seen her assume, "a misfortune that well merits
compassion. I am by nature, as you may easily observe, of a frank and
unreserved disposition--a plain true-hearted girl, who would willingly
act openly and honestly by the whole world, and yet fate has involved me
in such a series of nets and toils, and entanglements, that I dare hardly
speak a word for fear of consequences--not to myself, but to others."

"That is indeed a misfortune, Miss Vernon, which I do most sincerely
compassionate, but which I should hardly have anticipated."

"O, Mr. Osbaldistone, if you but knew--if any one knew, what difficulty I
sometimes find in hiding an aching heart with a smooth brow, you would
indeed pity me. I do wrong, perhaps, in speaking to you even thus far on
my own situation; but you are a young man of sense and penetration--you
cannot but long to ask me a hundred questions on the events of this
day--on the share which Rashleigh has in your deliverance from this petty
scrape--upon many other points which cannot but excite your attention;
and I cannot bring myself to answer with the necessary falsehood and
finesse--I should do it awkwardly, and lose your good opinion, if I have
any share of it, as well as my own. It is best to say at once, Ask me no
questions,--I have it not in my power to reply to them."

Miss Vernon spoke these words with a tone of feeling which could not but
make a corresponding impression upon me. I assured her she had neither to
fear my urging her with impertinent questions, nor my misconstruing her
declining to answer those which might in themselves be reasonable, or at
least natural.

"I was too much obliged," I said, "by the interest she had taken in my
affairs, to misuse the opportunity her goodness had afforded me of prying
into hers--I only trusted and entreated, that if my services could at any
time be useful, she would command them without doubt or hesitation."

"Thank you--thank you," she replied; "your voice does not ring the cuckoo
chime of compliment, but speaks like that of one who knows to what he
pledges himself. If--but it is impossible--but yet, if an opportunity
should occur, I will ask you if you remember this promise; and I assure
you, I shall not be angry if I find you have forgotten it, for it is
enough that you are sincere in your intentions just now--much may occur
to alter them ere I call upon you, should that moment ever come, to
assist Die Vernon, as if you were Die Vernon's brother."

"And if I were Die Vernon's brother," said I, "there could not be less
chance that I should refuse my assistance--And now I am afraid I must not
ask whether Rashleigh was willingly accessory to my deliverance?"

"Not of me; but you may ask it of himself, and depend upon it, he will
say _yes;_ for rather than any good action should walk through the world
like an unappropriated adjective in an ill-arranged sentence, he is
always willing to stand noun substantive to it himself."

"And I must not ask whether this Campbell be himself the party who eased
Mr. Morris of his portmanteau,--or whether the letter, which our friend
the attorney received, was not a finesse to withdraw him from the scene
of action, lest he should have marred the happy event of my deliverance?
And I must not ask"--

"You must ask nothing of me," said Miss Vernon; "so it is quite in vain
to go on putting cases. You are to think just as well of me as if I had
answered all these queries, and twenty others besides, as glibly as
Rashleigh could have done; and observe, whenever I touch my chin just so,
it is a sign that I cannot speak upon the topic which happens to occupy
your attention. I must settle signals of correspondence with you, because
you are to be my confidant and my counsellor, only you are to know
nothing whatever of my affairs."

"Nothing can be more reasonable," I replied, laughing; "and the extent of
your confidence will, you may rely upon it, only be equalled by the
sagacity of my counsels."

This sort of conversation brought us, in the highest good-humour with
each other, to Osbaldistone Hall, where we found the family far advanced
in the revels of the evening.

"Get some dinner for Mr. Osbaldistone and me in the library," said Miss
Vernon to a servant.--"I must have some compassion upon you," she added,
turning to me, "and provide against your starving in this mansion of
brutal abundance; otherwise I am not sure that I should show you my
private haunts. This same library is my den--the only corner of the
Hall-house where I am safe from the Ourang-Outangs, my cousins. They
never venture there, I suppose for fear the folios should fall down and
crack their skulls; for they will never affect their heads in any other
way--So follow me."

And I followed through hall and bower, vaulted passage and winding stair,
until we reached the room where she had ordered our refreshments.





CHAPTER TENTH.


                In the wide pile, by others heeded not,
                    Hers was one sacred solitary spot,
                Whose gloomy aisles and bending shelves contain
                For moral hunger food, and cures for moral pain.
                                            Anonymous.

The library at Osbaldistone Hall was a gloomy room, whose antique oaken
shelves bent beneath the weight of the ponderous folios so dear to the
seventeenth century, from which, under favour be it spoken, we have
distilled matter for our quartos and octavos, and which, once more
subjected to the alembic, may, should our sons be yet more frivolous than
ourselves, be still farther reduced into duodecimos and pamphlets. The
collection was chiefly of the classics, as well foreign as ancient
history, and, above all, divinity. It was in wretched order. The priests,
who in succession had acted as chaplains at the Hall, were, for many
years, the only persons who entered its precincts, until Rashleigh's
thirst for reading had led him to disturb the venerable spiders, who had
muffled the fronts of the presses with their tapestry. His destination
for the church rendered his conduct less absurd in his father's eyes,
than if any of his other descendants had betrayed so strange a
propensity, and Sir Hildebrand acquiesced in the library receiving some
repairs, so as to fit it for a sitting-room. Still an air of
dilapidation, as obvious as it was uncomfortable, pervaded the large
apartment, and announced the neglect from which the knowledge which its
walls contained had not been able to exempt it. The tattered tapestry,
the worm-eaten shelves, the huge and clumsy, yet tottering, tables,
desks, and chairs, the rusty grate, seldom gladdened by either sea-coal
or faggots, intimated the contempt of the lords of Osbaldistone Hall for
learning, and for the volumes which record its treasures.

"You think this place somewhat disconsolate, I suppose?" said Diana, as I
glanced my eye round the forlorn apartment; "but to me it seems like a
little paradise, for I call it my own, and fear no intrusion. Rashleigh
was joint proprietor with me, while we were friends."

"And are you no longer so?" was my natural question. Her fore-finger
immediately touched her dimpled chin, with an arch look of prohibition.

"We are still _allies,_" she continued, "bound, like other confederate
powers, by circumstances of mutual interest; but I am afraid, as will
happen in other cases, the treaty of alliance has survived the amicable
dispositions in which it had its origin. At any rate, we live less
together; and when he comes through that door there, I vanish through
this door here; and so, having made the discovery that we two were one
too many for this apartment, as large as it seems, Rashleigh, whose
occasions frequently call him elsewhere, has generously made a cession of
his rights in my favour; so that I now endeavour to prosecute alone the
studies in which he used formerly to be my guide."

"And what are those studies, if I may presume to ask?"

"Indeed you may, without the least fear of seeing my fore-finger raised
to my chin. Science and history are my principal favourites; but I also
study poetry and the classics."

"And the classics? Do you read them in the original?"

"Unquestionably. Rashleigh, who is no contemptible scholar, taught me
Greek and Latin, as well as most of the languages of modern Europe. I
assure you there has been some pains taken in my education, although I
can neither sew a tucker, nor work cross-stitch, nor make a pudding,
nor--as the vicar's fat wife, with as much truth as elegance, good-will,
and politeness, was pleased to say in my behalf--do any other useful
thing in the varsal world."

"And was this selection of studies Rashleigh's choice, or your own, Miss
Vernon?" I asked.

"Um!" said she, as if hesitating to answer my question,--"It's not worth
while lifting my finger about, after all. Why, partly his and partly
mine. As I learned out of doors to ride a horse, and bridle and saddle
him in cue of necessity, and to clear a five-barred gate, and fire a gun
without winking, and all other of those masculine accomplishments that my
brute cousins run mad after, I wanted, like my rational cousin, to read
Greek and Latin within doors, and make my complete approach to the tree
of knowledge, which you men-scholars would engross to yourselves, in
revenge, I suppose, for our common mother's share in the great original
transgression."

"And Rashleigh indulged your propensity to learning?"

"Why, he wished to have me for his scholar, and he could but teach me
that which he knew himself--he was not likely to instruct me in the
mysteries of washing lace-ruffles, or hemming cambric handkerchiefs, I
suppose."

"I admit the temptation of getting such a scholar, and have no doubt that
it made a weighty consideration on the tutor's part."

"Oh, if you begin to investigate Rashleigh's motives, my finger touches
my chin once more. I can only be frank where my own are inquired into.
But to resume--he has resigned the library in my favour, and never enters
without leave had and obtained; and so I have taken the liberty to make
it the place of deposit for some of my own goods and chattels, as you may
see by looking round you."

"I beg pardon, Miss Vernon, but I really see nothing around these walls
which I can distinguish as likely to claim you as mistress."

"That is, I suppose, because you neither see a shepherd or shepherdess
wrought in worsted, and handsomely framed in black ebony, or a stuffed
parrot,--or a breeding-cage, full of canary birds,--or a housewife-case,
broidered with tarnished silver,--or a toilet-table with a nest of
japanned boxes, with as many angles as Christmas minced-pies,--or a
broken-backed spinet,--or a lute with three strings,--or rock-work,--or
shell-work,--or needle-work, or work of any kind,--or a lap-dog with a
litter of blind puppies--None of these treasures do I possess," she
continued, after a pause, in order to recover the breath she had lost in
enumerating them--"But there stands the sword of my ancestor Sir Richard
Vernon, slain at Shrewsbury, and sorely slandered by a sad fellow called
Will Shakspeare, whose Lancastrian partialities, and a certain knack at
embodying them, has turned history upside down, or rather inside
out;--and by that redoubted weapon hangs the mail of the still older
Vernon, squire to the Black Prince, whose fate is the reverse of his
descendant's, since he is more indebted to the bard who took the trouble
to celebrate him, for good-will than for talents,--

                 Amiddes the route you may discern one
          Brave knight, with pipes on shield, ycleped Vernon
                 Like a borne fiend along the plain he thundered,
          Prest to be carving throtes, while others plundered.

"Then there is a model of a new martingale, which I invented myself--a
great improvement on the Duke of Newcastle's; and there are the hood and
bells of my falcon Cheviot, who spitted himself on a heron's bill at
Horsely-moss--poor Cheviot, there is not a bird on the perches below, but
are kites and riflers compared to him; and there is my own light
fowling-piece, with an improved firelock; with twenty other treasures,
each more valuable than another--And there, that speaks for itself."

She pointed to the carved oak frame of a full-length portrait by Vandyke,
on which were inscribed, in Gothic letters, the words _Vernon semper
viret._ I looked at her for explanation. "Do you not know," said she,
with some surprise, "our motto--the Vernon motto, where,

                    Like the solemn vice iniquity,
                    We moralise two meanings in one word

And do you not know our cognisance, the pipes?" pointing to the armorial
bearings sculptured on the oaken scutcheon, around which the legend was
displayed.

"Pipes!--they look more like penny-whistles--But, pray, do not be angry
with my ignorance," I continued, observing the colour mount to her
cheeks, "I can mean no affront to your armorial bearings, for I do not
even know my own."

"You an Osbaldistone, and confess so much!" she exclaimed. "Why, Percie,
Thornie, John, Dickon--Wilfred himself, might be your instructor. Even
ignorance itself is a plummet over you."

"With shame I confess it, my dear Miss Vernon, the mysteries couched
under the grim hieroglyphics of heraldry are to me as unintelligible as
those of the pyramids of Egypt."

"What! is it possible?--Why, even my uncle reads Gwillym sometimes of a
winter night--Not know the figures of heraldry!--of what could your
father be thinking?"

"Of the figures of arithmetic," I answered; "the most insignificant unit
of which he holds more highly than all the blazonry of chivalry. But,
though I am ignorant to this inexpressible degree, I have knowledge and
taste enough to admire that splendid picture, in which I think I can
discover a family likeness to you. What ease and dignity in the
attitude!--what richness of colouring--what breadth and depth of shade!"

"Is it really a fine painting?" she asked.

"I have seen many works of the renowned artist," I replied, "but never
beheld one more to my liking!"

"Well, I know as little of pictures as you do of heraldry," replied Miss
Vernon; "yet I have the advantage of you, because I have always admired
the painting without understanding its value."

"While I have neglected pipes and tabors, and all the whimsical
combinations of chivalry, still I am informed that they floated in the
fields of ancient fame. But you will allow their exterior appearance is
not so peculiarly interesting to the uninformed spectator as that of a
fine painting.--Who is the person here represented?"

"My grandfather. He shared the misfortunes of Charles I., and, I am sorry
to add, the excesses of his son. Our patrimonial estate was greatly
impaired by his prodigality, and was altogether lost by his successor, my
unfortunate father. But peace be with them who have got it!--it was lost
in the cause of loyalty."

"Your father, I presume, suffered in the political dissensions of the
period?"

"He did indeed;--he lost his all. And hence is his child a dependent
orphan--eating the bread of others--subjected to their caprices, and
compelled to study their inclinations; yet prouder of having had such a
father, than if, playing a more prudent but less upright part, he had
left me possessor of all the rich and fair baronies which his family once
possessed."

As she thus spoke, the entrance of the servants with dinner cut off all
conversation but that of a general nature.

When our hasty meal was concluded, and the wine placed on the table, the
domestic informed us, "that Mr. Rashleigh had desired to be told when our
dinner was removed."

"Tell him," said Miss Vernon, "we shall be happy to see him if he will
step this way--place another wineglass and chair, and leave the room.--
You must retire with him when he goes away," she continued, addressing
herself to me; "even _my_ liberality cannot spare a gentleman above eight
hours out of the twenty-four; and I think we have been together for at
least that length of time."

"The old scythe-man has moved so rapidly," I answered, "that I could not
count his strides."

"Hush!" said Miss Vernon, "here comes Rashleigh;" and she drew off her
chair, to which I had approached mine rather closely, so as to place a
greater distance between us. A modest tap at the door,--a gentle manner
of opening when invited to enter,--a studied softness and humility of
step and deportment, announced that the education of Rashleigh
Osbaldistone at the College of St. Omers accorded well with the ideas I
entertained of the manners of an accomplished Jesuit. I need not add,
that, as a sound Protestant, these ideas were not the most favourable.
"Why should you use the ceremony of knocking," said Miss Vernon, "when
you knew that I was not alone?"

This was spoken with a burst of impatience, as if she had felt that
Rashleigh's air of caution and reserve covered some insinuation of
impertinent suspicion. "You have taught me the form of knocking at this
door so perfectly, my fair cousin," answered Rashleigh, without change of
voice or manner, "that habit has become a second nature."

"I prize sincerity more than courtesy, sir, and you know I do," was Miss
Vernon's reply.

"Courtesy is a gallant gay, a courtier by name and by profession,"
replied Rashleigh, "and therefore most fit for a lady's bower."

"But Sincerity is the true knight," retorted Miss Vernon, "and therefore
much more welcome, cousin. But to end a debate not over amusing to your
stranger kinsman, sit down, Rashleigh, and give Mr. Francis Osbaldistone
your countenance to his glass of wine. I have done the honours of the
dinner, for the credit of Osbaldistone Hall."

Rashleigh sate down, and filled his glass, glancing his eye from Diana to
me, with an embarrassment which his utmost efforts could not entirely
disguise. I thought he appeared to be uncertain concerning the extent of
confidence she might have reposed in me, and hastened to lead the
conversation into a channel which should sweep away his suspicion that
Diana might have betrayed any secrets which rested between them. "Miss
Vernon," I said, "Mr. Rashleigh, has recommended me to return my thanks
to you for my speedy disengagement from the ridiculous accusation of
Morris; and, unjustly fearing my gratitude might not be warm enough to
remind me of this duty, she has put my curiosity on its side, by
referring me to you for an account, or rather explanation, of the events
of the day."

"Indeed?" answered Rashleigh; "I should have thought" (looking keenly at
Miss Vernon) "that the lady herself might have stood interpreter;" and
his eye, reverting from her face, sought mine, as if to search, from the
expression of my features, whether Diana's communication had been as
narrowly limited as my words had intimated. Miss Vernon retorted his
inquisitorial glance with one of decided scorn; while I, uncertain
whether to deprecate or resent his obvious suspicion, replied, "If it is
your pleasure, Mr. Rashleigh, as it has been Miss Vernon's, to leave me
in ignorance, I must necessarily submit; but, pray, do not withhold your
information from me on the ground of imagining that I have already
obtained any on the subject. For I tell you, as a man of honour, I am as
ignorant as that picture of anything relating to the events I have
witnessed to-day, excepting that I understand from Miss Vernon, that you
have been kindly active in my favour."

"Miss Vernon has overrated my humble efforts," said Rashleigh, "though I
claim full credit for my zeal. The truth is, that as I galloped back to
get some one of our family to join me in becoming your bail, which was
the most obvious, or, indeed, I may say, the only way of serving you
which occurred to my stupidity, I met the man Cawmil--Colville--Campbell,
or whatsoever they call him. I had understood from Morris that he was
present when the robbery took place, and had the good fortune to prevail
on him (with some difficulty, I confess) to tender his evidence in your
exculpation--which I presume was the means of your being released from an
unpleasant situation."

"Indeed?--I am much your debtor for procuring such a seasonable evidence
in my behalf. But I cannot see why (having been, as he said, a
fellow-sufferer with Morris) it should have required much trouble to
persuade him to step forth and bear evidence, whether to convict the
actual robber, or free an innocent person."

"You do not know the genius of that man's country, sir," answered
Rashleigh;--"discretion, prudence, and foresight, are their leading
qualities; these are only modified by a narrow-spirited, but yet ardent
patriotism, which forms as it were the outmost of the concentric bulwarks
with which a Scotchman fortifies himself against all the attacks of a
generous philanthropical principle. Surmount this mound, you find an
inner and still dearer barrier--the love of his province, his village,
or, most probably, his clan; storm this second obstacle, you have a
third--his attachment to his own family--his father, mother, sons,
daughters, uncles, aunts, and cousins, to the ninth generation. It is
within these limits that a Scotchman's social affection expands itself,
never reaching those which are outermost, till all means of discharging
itself in the interior circles have been exhausted. It is within these
circles that his heart throbs, each pulsation being fainter and fainter,
till, beyond the widest boundary, it is almost unfelt. And what is worst
of all, could you surmount all these concentric outworks, you have an
inner citadel, deeper, higher, and more efficient than them all--a
Scotchman's love for himself."

"All this is extremely eloquent and metaphorical, Rashleigh," said Miss
Vernon, who listened with unrepressed impatience; "there are only two
objections to it: first, it is _not_ true; secondly, if true, it is
nothing to the purpose."

"It _is_ true, my fairest Diana," returned Rashleigh; "and moreover, it
is most instantly to the purpose. It is true, because you cannot deny
that I know the country and people intimately, and the character is drawn
from deep and accurate consideration--and it is to the purpose, because
it answers Mr. Francis Osbaldistone's question, and shows why this same
wary Scotchman, considering our kinsman to be neither his countryman, nor
a Campbell, nor his cousin in any of the inextricable combinations by
which they extend their pedigree; and, above all, seeing no prospect of
personal advantage, but, on the contrary, much hazard of loss of time and
delay of business"--

"With other inconveniences, perhaps, of a nature yet more formidable,"
interrupted Miss Vernon.

"Of which, doubtless, there might be many," said Rashleigh, continuing in
the same tone--"In short, my theory shows why this man, hoping for no
advantage, and afraid of some inconvenience, might require a degree of
persuasion ere he could be prevailed on to give his testimony in favour
of Mr. Osbaldistone."

"It seems surprising to me," I observed, "that during the glance I cast
over the declaration, or whatever it is termed, of Mr. Morris, he should
never have mentioned that Campbell was in his company when he met the
marauders."

"I understood from Campbell, that he had taken his solemn promise not to
mention that circumstance," replied Rashleigh: "his reason for exacting
such an engagement you may guess from what I have hinted--he wished to
get back to his own country, undelayed and unembarrassed by any of the
judicial inquiries which he would have been under the necessity of
attending, had the fact of his being present at the robbery taken air
while he was on this side of the Border. But let him once be as distant
as the Forth, Morris will, I warrant you, come forth with all he knows
about him, and, it may be, a good deal more. Besides, Campbell is a very
extensive dealer in cattle, and has often occasion to send great droves
into Northumberland; and, when driving such a trade, he would be a great
fool to embroil himself with our Northumbrian thieves, than whom no men
who live are more vindictive."

"I dare be sworn of that," said Miss Vernon, with a tone which implied
something more than a simple acquiescence in the proposition.

"Still," said I, resuming the subject, "allowing the force of the reasons
which Campbell might have for desiring that Morris should be silent with
regard to his promise when the robbery was committed, I cannot yet see
how he could attain such an influence over the man, as to make him
suppress his evidence in that particular, at the manifest risk of
subjecting his story to discredit."

Rashleigh agreed with me, that it was very extraordinary, and seemed to
regret that he had not questioned the Scotchman more closely on that
subject, which he allowed looked extremely mysterious. "But," he asked,
immediately after this acquiescence, "are you very sure the circumstance
of Morris's being accompanied by Campbell is really not alluded to in his
examination?"

"I read the paper over hastily," said I; "but it is my strong impression
that no such circumstance is mentioned;--at least, it must have been
touched on very slightly, since it failed to catch my attention."

"True, true," answered Rashleigh, forming his own inference while he
adopted my words; "I incline to think with you, that the circumstance
must in reality have been mentioned, but so slightly that it failed to
attract your attention. And then, as to Campbell's interest with Morris,
I incline to suppose that it must have been gained by playing upon his
fears. This chicken-hearted fellow, Morris, is bound, I understand, for
Scotland, destined for some little employment under Government; and,
possessing the courage of the wrathful dove, or most magnanimous mouse,
he may have been afraid to encounter the ill-will of such a kill-cow as
Campbell, whose very appearance would be enough to fright him out of his
little wits. You observed that Mr. Campbell has at times a keen and
animated manner--something of a martial cast in his tone and bearing."

"I own," I replied, "that his expression struck me as being occasionally
fierce and sinister, and little adapted to his peaceable professions. Has
he served in the army?"

"Yes--no--not, strictly speaking, _served;_ but he has been, I believe,
like most of his countrymen, trained to arms. Indeed, among the hills,
they carry them from boyhood to the grave. So, if you know anything of
your fellow-traveller, you will easily judge, that, going to such a
country, he will take cue to avoid a quarrel, if he can help it, with any
of the natives. But, come, I see you decline your wine--and I too am a
degenerate Osbaldistone, so far as respects the circulation of the
bottle. If you will go to my room, I will hold you a hand at piquet."

We rose to take leave of Miss Vernon, who had from time to time
suppressed, apparently with difficulty, a strong temptation to break in
upon Rashleigh's details. As we were about to leave the room, the
smothered fire broke forth.

"Mr. Osbaldistone," she said, "your own observation will enable you to
verify the justice, or injustice, of Rashleigh's suggestions concerning
such individuals as Mr. Campbell and Mr. Morris. But, in slandering
Scotland, he has borne false witness against a whole country; and I
request you will allow no weight to his evidence."

"Perhaps," I answered, "I may find it somewhat difficult to obey your
injunction, Miss Vernon; for I must own I was bred up with no very
favourable idea of our northern neighbours."

"Distrust that part of your education, sir," she replied, "and let the
daughter of a Scotchwoman pray you to respect the land which gave her
parent birth, until your own observation has proved them to be unworthy
of your good opinion. Preserve your hatred and contempt for
dissimulation, baseness, and falsehood, wheresoever they are to be met
with. You will find enough of all without leaving England.--Adieu,
gentlemen, I wish you good evening."

And she signed to the door, with the manner of a princess dismissing her
train.

We retired to Rashleigh's apartment, where a servant brought us coffee
and cards. I had formed my resolution to press Rashleigh no farther on
the events of the day. A mystery, and, as I thought, not of a favourable
complexion, appeared to hang over his conduct; but to ascertain if my
suspicions were just, it was necessary to throw him off his guard. We cut
for the deal, and were soon earnestly engaged in our play. I thought I
perceived in this trifling for amusement (for the stake which Rashleigh
proposed was a mere trifle) something of a fierce and ambitious temper.
He seemed perfectly to understand the beautiful game at which he played,
but preferred, as it were on principle, the risking bold and precarious
strokes to the ordinary rules of play; and neglecting the minor and
better-balanced chances of the game, he hazarded everything for the
chance of piqueing, repiqueing, or capoting his adversary. So soon as the
intervention of a game or two at piquet, like the music between the acts
of a drama, had completely interrupted our previous course of
conversation, Rashleigh appeared to tire of the game, and the cards were
superseded by discourse, in which he assumed the lead.

More learned than soundly wise--better acquainted with men's minds than
with the moral principles that ought to regulate them, he had still
powers of conversation which I have rarely seen equalled, never excelled.
Of this his manner implied some consciousness; at least, it appeared to
me that he had studied hard to improve his natural advantages of a
melodious voice, fluent and happy expression, apt language, and fervid
imagination. He was never loud, never overbearing, never so much occupied
with his own thoughts as to outrun either the patience or the
comprehension of those he conversed with. His ideas succeeded each other
with the gentle but unintermitting flow of a plentiful and bounteous
spring; while I have heard those of others, who aimed at distinction in
conversation, rush along like the turbid gush from the sluice of a
mill-pond, as hurried, and as easily exhausted. It was late at night ere
I could part from a companion so fascinating; and, when I gained my own
apartment, it cost me no small effort to recall to my mind the character
of Rashleigh, such as I had pictured him previous to this
_tete-a-tete._

So effectual, my dear Tresham, does the sense of being pleased and amused
blunt our faculties of perception and discrimination of character, that I
can only compare it to the taste of certain fruits, at once luscious and
poignant, which renders our palate totally unfit for relishing or
distinguishing the viands which are subsequently subjected to its
criticism.





CHAPTER ELEVENTH.

                  What gars ye gaunt, my merrymen a'?
                      What gars ye look sae dreary?
                  What gars ye hing your head sae sair
                      In the castle of Balwearie?
                                      Old Scotch Ballad.

The next morning chanced to be Sunday, a day peculiarly hard to be got
rid of at Osbaldistone Hall; for after the formal religious service of
the morning had been performed, at which all the family regularly
attended, it was hard to say upon which individual, Rashleigh and Miss
Vernon excepted, the fiend of ennui descended with the most abundant
outpouring of his spirit. To speak of my yesterday's embarrassment amused
Sir Hildebrand for several minutes, and he congratulated me on my
deliverance from Morpeth or Hexham jail, as he would have done if I had
fallen in attempting to clear a five-barred gate, and got up without
hurting myself.

"Hast had a lucky turn, lad; but do na be over venturous again. What,
man! the king's road is free to all men, be they Whigs, be they Tories."

"On my word, sir, I am innocent of interrupting it; and it is the most
provoking thing on earth, that every person will take it for granted that
I am accessory to a crime which I despise and detest, and which would,
moreover, deservedly forfeit my life to the laws of my country."

"Well, well, lad; even so be it; I ask no questions--no man bound to tell
on himsell--that's fair play, or the devil's in't."

Rashleigh here came to my assistance; but I could not help thinking that
his arguments were calculated rather as hints to his father to put on a
show of acquiescence in my declaration of innocence, than fully to
establish it.

"In your own house, my dear sir--and your own nephew--you will not surely
persist in hurting his feelings by seeming to discredit what he is so
strongly interested in affirming. No doubt, you are fully deserving of
all his confidence, and I am sure, were there anything you could do to
assist him in this strange affair, he would have recourse to your
goodness. But my cousin Frank has been dismissed as an innocent man, and
no one is entitled to suppose him otherwise. For my part, I have not the
least doubt of his innocence; and our family honour, I conceive, requires
that we should maintain it with tongue and sword against the whole
country."

"Rashleigh," said his father, looking fixedly at him, "thou art a sly
loon--thou hast ever been too cunning for me, and too cunning for most
folks. Have a care thou provena too cunning for thysell--two faces under
one hood is no true heraldry. And since we talk of heraldry, I'll go and
read Gwillym."

This resolution he intimated with a yawn, resistless as that of the
Goddess in the Dunciad, which was responsively echoed by his giant sons,
as they dispersed in quest of the pastimes to which their minds severally
inclined them--Percie to discuss a pot of March beer with the steward in
the buttery,--Thorncliff to cut a pair of cudgels, and fix them in their
wicker hilts,--John to dress May-flies,--Dickon to play at pitch and toss
by himself, his right hand against his left,--and Wilfred to bite his
thumbs and hum himself into a slumber which should last till dinner-time,
if possible. Miss Vernon had retired to the library.

Rashleigh and I were left alone in the old hall, from which the servants,
with their usual bustle and awkwardness, had at length contrived to hurry
the remains of our substantial breakfast. I took the opportunity to
upbraid him with the manner in which he had spoken of my affair to his
father, which I frankly stated was highly offensive to me, as it seemed
rather to exhort Sir Hildebrand to conceal his suspicions, than to root
them out.

"Why, what can I do, my dear friend?" replied Rashleigh "my father's
disposition is so tenacious of suspicions of all kinds, when once they
take root (which, to do him justice, does not easily happen), that I have
always found it the best way to silence him upon such subjects, instead
of arguing with him. Thus I get the better of the weeds which I cannot
eradicate, by cutting them over as often as they appear, until at length
they die away of themselves. There is neither wisdom nor profit in
disputing with such a mind as Sir Hildebrand's, which hardens itself
against conviction, and believes in its own inspirations as firmly as we
good Catholics do in those of the Holy Father of Rome."

"It is very hard, though, that I should live in the house of a man, and
he a near relation too, who will persist in believing me guilty of a
highway robbery."

"My father's foolish opinion, if one may give that epithet to any opinion
of a father's, does not affect your real innocence; and as to the
disgrace of the fact, depend on it, that, considered in all its bearings,
political as well as moral, Sir Hildebrand regards it as a meritorious
action--a weakening of the enemy--a spoiling of the Amalekites; and you
will stand the higher in his regard for your supposed accession to it."

"I desire no man's regard, Mr. Rashleigh, on such terms as must sink me
in my own; and I think these injurious suspicions will afford a very good
reason for quitting Osbaldistone Hall, which I shall do whenever I can
communicate on the subject with my father."

The dark countenance of Rashleigh, though little accustomed to betray its
master's feelings, exhibited a suppressed smile, which he instantly
chastened by a sigh. "You are a happy man, Frank--you go and come, as the
wind bloweth where it listeth. With your address, taste, and talents, you
will soon find circles where they will be more valued, than amid the dull
inmates of this mansion; while I--" he paused.

"And what is there in your lot that can make you or any one envy
mine,--an outcast, as I may almost term myself, from my father's house
and favour?"

"Ay, but," answered Rashleigh, "consider the gratified sense of
independence which you must have attained by a very temporary
sacrifice,--for such I am sure yours will prove to be; consider the
power of acting as a free agent, of cultivating your own talents in the
way to which your taste determines you, and in which you are well
qualified to distinguish yourself. Fame and freedom are cheaply
purchased by a few weeks' residence in the North, even though your place
of exile be Osbaldistone Hall. A second Ovid in Thrace, you have not his
reasons for writing Tristia."

"I do not know," said I, blushing as became a young scribbler, "how you
should be so well acquainted with my truant studies."

"There was an emissary of your father's here some time since, a young
coxcomb, one Twineall, who informed me concerning your secret sacrifices
to the muses, and added, that some of your verses had been greatly
admired by the best judges."

Tresham, I believe you are guiltless of having ever essayed to build the
lofty rhyme; but you must have known in your day many an apprentice and
fellow-craft, if not some of the master-masons, in the temple of Apollo.
Vanity is their universal foible, from him who decorated the shades of
Twickenham, to the veriest scribbler whom he has lashed in his Dunciad. I
had my own share of this common failing, and without considering how
little likely this young fellow Twineall was, by taste and habits, either
to be acquainted with one or two little pieces of poetry, which I had at
times insinuated into Button's coffee-house, or to report the opinion of
the critics who frequented that resort of wit and literature, I almost
instantly gorged the bait; which Rashleigh perceiving, improved his
opportunity by a diffident, yet apparently very anxious request to be
permitted to see some of my manuscript productions.

"You shall give me an evening in my own apartment," he continued; "for I
must soon lose the charms of literary society for the drudgery of
commerce, and the coarse every-day avocations of the world. I repeat it,
that my compliance with my father's wishes for the advantage of my
family, is indeed a sacrifice, especially considering the calm and
peaceful profession to which my education destined me."

I was vain, but not a fool, and this hypocrisy was too strong for me to
swallow. "You would not persuade me," I replied, "that you really regret
to exchange the situation of an obscure Catholic priest, with all its
privations, for wealth and society, and the pleasures of the world?"

Rashleigh saw that he had coloured his affectation of moderation too
highly, and, after a second's pause, during which, I suppose, he
calculated the degree of candour which it was necessary to use with me
(that being a quality of which he was never needlessly profuse), he
answered, with a smile--"At my age, to be condemned, as you say, to
wealth and the world, does not, indeed, sound so alarming as perhaps it
ought to do. But, with pardon be it spoken, you have mistaken my
destination--a Catholic priest, if you will, but not an obscure one. No,
sir,--Rashleigh Osbaldistone will be more obscure, should he rise to be
the richest citizen in London, than he might have been as a member of a
church, whose ministers, as some one says, 'set their sandall'd feet on
princes.' My family interest at a certain exiled court is high, and the
weight which that court ought to possess, and does possess, at Rome is
yet higher--my talents not altogether inferior to the education I have
received. In sober judgment, I might have looked forward to high eminence
in the church--in the dream of fancy, to the very highest. Why might
not"--(he added, laughing, for it was part of his manner to keep much of
his discourse apparently betwixt jest and earnest)--"why might not
Cardinal Osbaldistone have swayed the fortunes of empires, well-born and
well-connected, as well as the low-born Mazarin, or Alberoni, the son of
an Italian gardener?"

"Nay, I can give you no reason to the contrary; but in your place I
should not much regret losing the chance of such precarious and invidious
elevation."

"Neither would I," he replied, "were I sure that my present establishment
was more certain; but that must depend upon circumstances which I can
only learn by experience--the disposition of your father, for example."

"Confess the truth without finesse, Rashleigh; you would willingly know
something of him from me?"

"Since, like Die Vernon, you make a point of following the banner of the
good knight Sincerity, I reply--certainly."

"Well, then, you will find in my father a man who has followed the paths
of thriving more for the exercise they afforded to his talents, than for
the love of the gold with which they are strewed. His active mind would
have been happy in any situation which gave it scope for exertion, though
that exertion had been its sole reward. But his wealth has accumulated,
because, moderate and frugal in his habits, no new sources of expense
have occurred to dispose of his increasing income. He is a man who hates
dissimulation in others; never practises it himself; and is peculiarly
alert in discovering motives through the colouring of language. Himself
silent by habit, he is readily disgusted by great talkers; the rather,
that the circumstances by which he is most interested, afford no great
scope for conversation. He is severely strict in the duties of religion;
but you have no reason to fear his interference with yours, for he
regards toleration as a sacred principle of political economy. But if you
have any Jacobitical partialities, as is naturally to be supposed, you
will do well to suppress them in his presence, as well as the least
tendency to the highflying or Tory principles; for he holds both in utter
detestation. For the rest, his word is his own bond, and must be the law
of all who act under him. He will fail in his duty to no one, and will
permit no one to fail towards him; to cultivate his favour, you must
execute his commands, instead of echoing his sentiments. His greatest
failings arise out of prejudices connected with his own profession, or
rather his exclusive devotion to it, which makes him see little worthy of
praise or attention, unless it be in some measure connected with
commerce."

"O rare-painted portrait!" exclaimed Rashleigh, when I was
silent--"Vandyke was a dauber to you, Frank. I see thy sire before me in
all his strength and weakness; loving and honouring the King as a sort
of lord mayor of the empire, or chief of the board of trade--venerating
the Commons, for the acts regulating the export trade--and respecting
the Peers, because the Lord Chancellor sits on a woolsack."

"Mine was a likeness, Rashleigh; yours is a caricature. But in return for
the _carte du pays_ which I have unfolded to you, give me some lights on
the geography of the unknown lands"--

"On which you are wrecked," said Rashleigh. "It is not worth while; it is
no Isle of Calypso, umbrageous with shade and intricate with silvan
labyrinth--but a bare ragged Northumbrian moor, with as little to
interest curiosity as to delight the eye; you may descry it in all its
nakedness in half an hour's survey, as well as if I were to lay it down
before you by line and compass."

"O, but something there is, worthy a more attentive survey--What say you
to Miss Vernon? Does not she form an interesting object in the landscape,
were all round as rude as Iceland's coast?"

I could plainly perceive that Rashleigh disliked the topic now presented
to him; but my frank communication had given me the advantageous title to
make inquiries in my turn. Rashleigh felt this, and found himself obliged
to follow my lead, however difficult he might find it to play his cards
successfully. "I have known less of Miss Vernon," he said, "for some
time, than I was wont to do formerly. In early age I was her tutor; but
as she advanced towards womanhood, my various avocations,--the gravity of
the profession to which I was destined,--the peculiar nature of her
engagements,--our mutual situation, in short, rendered a close and
constant intimacy dangerous and improper. I believe Miss Vernon might
consider my reserve as unkindness, but it was my duty; I felt as much as
she seemed to do, when compelled to give way to prudence. But where was
the safety in cultivating an intimacy with a beautiful and susceptible
girl, whose heart, you are aware, must be given either to the cloister or
to a betrothed husband?"

"The cloister or a betrothed husband?" I echoed--"Is that the alternative
destined for Miss Vernon?"

"It is indeed," said Rashleigh, with a sigh. "I need not, I suppose,
caution you against the danger of cultivating too closely the friendship
of Miss Vernon;--you are a man of the world, and know how far you can
indulge yourself in her society with safety to yourself, and justice to
her. But I warn you, that, considering her ardent temper, you must let
your experience keep guard over her as well as yourself, for the specimen
of yesterday may serve to show her extreme thoughtlessness and neglect of
decorum."

There was something, I was sensible, of truth, as well as good sense, in
all this; it seemed to be given as a friendly warning, and I had no right
to take it amiss; yet I felt I could with pleasure have run Rashleigh
Osbaldistone through the body all the time he was speaking.

"The deuce take his insolence!" was my internal meditation. "Would he
wish me to infer that Miss Vernon had fallen in love with that
hatchet-face of his, and become degraded so low as to require his shyness
to cure her of an imprudent passion? I will have his meaning from him,"
was my resolution, "if I should drag it out with cart-ropes."

For this purpose, I placed my temper under as accurate a guard as I
could, and observed, "That, for a lady of her good sense and acquired
accomplishments, it was to be regretted that Miss Vernon's manners were
rather blunt and rustic."

"Frank and unreserved, at least, to the extreme," replied Rashleigh:
"yet, trust me, she has an excellent heart. To tell you the truth, should
she continue her extreme aversion to the cloister, and to her destined
husband, and should my own labours in the mine of Plutus promise to
secure me a decent independence, I shall think of reviewing our
acquaintance and sharing it with Miss Vernon."

"With all his fine voice, and well-turned periods," thought I, "this same
Rashleigh Osbaldistone is the ugliest and most conceited coxcomb I ever
met with!"

"But," continued Rashleigh, as if thinking aloud, "I should not like to
supplant Thorncliff."

"Supplant Thorncliff!--Is your brother Thorncliff," I inquired, with
great surprise, "the destined husband of Diana Vernon?"

"Why, ay, her father's commands, and a certain family-contract, destined
her to marry one of Sir Hildebrand's sons. A dispensation has been
obtained from Rome to Diana Vernon to marry _Blank_ Osbaldistone, Esq.,
son of Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone, of Osbaldistone Hall, Bart., and so
forth; and it only remains to pitch upon the happy man whose name shall
fill the gap in the manuscript. Now, as Percie is seldom sober, my father
pitched on Thorncliff, as the second prop of the family, and therefore
most proper to carry on the line of the Osbaldistones."

"The young lady," said I, forcing myself to assume an air of pleasantry,
which, I believe, became me extremely ill, "would perhaps have been
inclined to look a little lower on the family-tree, for the branch to
which she was desirous of clinging."

"I cannot say," he replied. "There is room for little choice in our
family; Dick is a gambler, John a boor, and Wilfred an ass. I believe my
father really made the best selection for poor Die, after all."

"The present company," said I, "being always excepted."

"Oh, my destination to the church placed me out of the question;
otherwise I will not affect to say, that, qualified by my education both
to instruct and guide Miss Vernon, I might not have been a more
creditable choice than any of my elders."

"And so thought the young lady, doubtless?"

"You are not to suppose so," answered Rashleigh, with an affectation of
denial which was contrived to convey the strongest affirmation the case
admitted of: "friendship--only friendship--formed the tie betwixt us, and
the tender affection of an opening mind to its only instructor--Love came
not near us--I told you I was wise in time."

I felt little inclination to pursue this conversation any farther, and
shaking myself clear of Rashleigh, withdrew to my own apartment, which I
recollect I traversed with much vehemence of agitation, repeating aloud
the expressions which had most offended me.--"Susceptible--ardent--tender
affection--Love--Diana Vernon, the most beautiful creature I ever beheld,
in love with him, the bandy-legged, bull-necked, limping scoundrel!
Richard the Third in all but his hump-back!--And yet the opportunities he
must have had during his cursed course of lectures; and the fellow's
flowing and easy strain of sentiment; and her extreme seclusion from
every one who spoke and acted with common sense; ay, and her obvious
pique at him, mixed with admiration of his talents, which looked as like
the result of neglected attachment as anything else--Well, and what is it
to me, that I should storm and rage at it? Is Diana Vernon the first
pretty girl that has loved and married an ugly fellow? And if she were
free of every Osbaldistone of them, what concern is it of mine?--a
Catholic--a Jacobite--a termagant into the boot--for me to look that way
were utter madness."

By throwing such reflections on the flame of my displeasure, I subdued it
into a sort of smouldering heart-burning, and appeared at the
dinner-table in as sulky a humour as could well be imagined.





CHAPTER TWELFTH.

          Drunk?--and speak parrot?--and squabble?--swagger?--
          Swear?--and discourse fustian with one's own shadow?
                                           Othello.

I have already told you, my dear Tresham, what probably was no news to
you, that my principal fault was an unconquerable pitch of pride, which
exposed me to frequent mortification. I had not even whispered to myself
that I loved Diana Vernon; yet no sooner did I hear Rashleigh talk of her
as a prize which he might stoop to carry off, or neglect, at his
pleasure, than every step which the poor girl had taken, in the innocence
and openness of her heart, to form a sort of friendship with me, seemed
in my eyes the most insulting coquetry.--"Soh! she would secure me as a
_pis aller,_ I suppose, in case Mr. Rashleigh Osbaldistone should not
take compassion upon her! But I will satisfy her that I am not a person
to be trepanned in that manner--I will make her sensible that I see
through her arts, and that I scorn them."

I did not reflect for a moment, that all this indignation, which I had no
right whatever to entertain, proved that I was anything but indifferent
to Miss Vernon's charms; and I sate down to table in high ill-humour with
her and all the daughters of Eve.

Miss Vernon heard me, with surprise, return ungracious answers to one or
two playful strokes of satire which she threw out with her usual freedom
of speech; but, having no suspicion that offence was meant, she only
replied to my rude repartees with jests somewhat similar, but polished by
her good temper, though pointed by her wit. At length she perceived I was
really out of humour, and answered one of my rude speeches thus:--

"They say, Mr. Frank, that one may gather sense from fools--I heard
cousin Wilfred refuse to play any longer at cudgels the other day with
cousin Thornie, because cousin Thornie got angry, and struck harder than
the rules of amicable combat, it seems, permitted. 'Were I to break your
head in good earnest,' quoth honest Wilfred, 'I care not how angry you
are, for I should do it so much the more easily but it's hard I should
get raps over the costard, and only pay you back in make-believes'--Do
you understand the moral of this, Frank?"

"I have never felt myself under the necessity, madam, of studying how to
extract the slender portion of sense with which this family season their
conversation."

"Necessity! and madam!--You surprise me, Mr. Osbaldistone."

"I am unfortunate in doing so."

"Am I to suppose that this capricious tone is serious? or is it only
assumed, to make your good-humour more valuable?"

"You have a right to the attention of so many gentlemen in this family,
Miss Vernon, that it cannot be worth your while to inquire into the cause
of my stupidity and bad spirits."

"What!" she said, "am I to understand, then, that you have deserted my
faction, and gone over to the enemy?"

Then, looking across the table, and observing that Rashleigh, who was
seated opposite, was watching us with a singular expression of interest
on his harsh features, she continued--

             "Horrible thought!--Ay, now I see 'tis true,
              For the grim-visaged Rashleigh smiles on me,
                     And points at thee for his!--

Well, thank Heaven, and the unprotected state which has taught me
endurance, I do not take offence easily; and that I may not be forced to
quarrel, whether I like it or no, I have the honour, earlier than usual,
to wish you a happy digestion of your dinner and your bad humour."

And she left the table accordingly.

Upon Miss Vernon's departure, I found myself very little satisfied with
my own conduct. I had hurled back offered kindness, of which
circumstances had but lately pointed out the honest sincerity, and I had
but just stopped short of insulting the beautiful, and, as she had said
with some emphasis, the unprotected being by whom it was proffered. My
conduct seemed brutal in my own eyes. To combat or drown these painful
reflections, I applied myself more frequently than usual to the wine
which circulated on the table.

The agitated state of my feelings combined with my habits of temperance
to give rapid effect to the beverage. Habitual topers, I believe, acquire
the power of soaking themselves with a quantity of liquor that does
little more than muddy those intellects which in their sober state are
none of the clearest; but men who are strangers to the vice of
drunkenness as a habit, are more powerfully acted upon by intoxicating
liquors. My spirits, once aroused, became extravagant; I talked a great
deal, argued upon what I knew nothing of, told stories of which I forgot
the point, then laughed immoderately at my own forgetfulness; I accepted
several bets without having the least judgment; I challenged the giant
John to wrestle with me, although he had kept the ring at Hexham for a
year, and I never tried so much as a single fall.

My uncle had the goodness to interpose and prevent this consummation of
drunken folly, which, I suppose, would have otherwise ended in my neck
being broken.

It has even been reported by maligners, that I sung a song while under
this vinous influence; but, as I remember nothing of it, and never
attempted to turn a tune in all my life before or since, I would
willingly hope there is no actual foundation for the calumny. I was
absurd enough without this exaggeration. Without positively losing my
senses, I speedily lost all command of my temper, and my impetuous
passions whirled me onward at their pleasure. I had sate down sulky and
discontented, and disposed to be silent--the wine rendered me loquacious,
disputatious, and quarrelsome. I contradicted whatever was asserted, and
attacked, without any respect to my uncle's table, both his politics and
his religion. The affected moderation of Rashleigh, which he well knew
how to qualify with irritating ingredients, was even more provoking to me
than the noisy and bullying language of his obstreperous brothers. My
uncle, to do him justice, endeavoured to bring us to order; but his
authority was lost amidst the tumult of wine and passion. At length,
frantic at some real or supposed injurious insinuation, I actually struck
Rashleigh with my fist. No Stoic philosopher, superior to his own passion
and that of others, could have received an insult with a higher degree of
scorn. What he himself did not think it apparently worth while to resent,
Thorncliff resented for him. Swords were drawn, and we exchanged one or
two passes, when the other brothers separated us by main force; and I
shall never forget the diabolical sneer which writhed Rashleigh's wayward
features, as I was forced from the apartment by the main strength of two
of these youthful Titans. They secured me in my apartment by locking the
door, and I heard them, to my inexpressible rage, laugh heartily as they
descended the stairs. I essayed in my fury to break out; but the
window-grates, and the strength of a door clenched with iron, resisted my
efforts. At length I threw myself on my bed, and fell asleep amidst vows
of dire revenge to be taken in the ensuing day.

But with the morning cool repentance came. I felt, in the keenest manner,
the violence and absurdity of my conduct, and was obliged to confess that
wine and passion had lowered my intellects even below those of Wilfred
Osbaldistone, whom I held in so much contempt. My uncomfortable
reflections were by no means soothed by meditating the necessity of an
apology for my improper behaviour, and recollecting that Miss Vernon must
be a witness of my submission. The impropriety and unkindness of my
conduct to her personally, added not a little to these galling
considerations, and for this I could not even plead the miserable excuse
of intoxication.

Under all these aggravating feelings of shame and degradation, I
descended to the breakfast hall, like a criminal to receive sentence. It
chanced that a hard frost had rendered it impossible to take out the
hounds, so that I had the additional mortification to meet the family,
excepting only Rashleigh and Miss Vernon, in full divan, surrounding the
cold venison pasty and chine of beef. They were in high glee as I
entered, and I could easily imagine that the jests were furnished at my
expense. In fact, what I was disposed to consider with serious pain, was
regarded as an excellent good joke by my uncle, and the greater part of
my cousins. Sir Hildebrand, while he rallied me on the exploits of the
preceding evening, swore he thought a young fellow had better be thrice
drunk in one day, than sneak sober to bed like a Presbyterian, and leave
a batch of honest fellows, and a double quart of claret. And to back this
consolatory speech, he poured out a large bumper of brandy, exhorting me
to swallow "a hair of the dog that had bit me."

"Never mind these lads laughing, nevoy," he continued; "they would have
been all as great milksops as yourself, had I not nursed them, as one may
say, on the toast and tankard."

Ill-nature was not the fault of my cousins in general; they saw I was
vexed and hurt at the recollections of the preceding evening, and
endeavoured, with clumsy kindness, to remove the painful impression they
had made on me. Thorncliff alone looked sullen and unreconciled. This
young man had never liked me from the beginning; and in the marks of
attention occasionally shown me by his brothers, awkward as they were, he
alone had never joined. If it was true, of which, however, I began to
have my doubts, that he was considered by the family, or regarded
himself, as the destined husband of Miss Vernon, a sentiment of jealousy
might have sprung up in his mind from the marked predilection which it
was that young lady's pleasure to show for one whom Thorncliff might,
perhaps, think likely to become a dangerous rival.

Rashleigh at last entered, his visage as dark as mourning weed--brooding,
I could not but doubt, over the unjustifiable and disgraceful insult I
had offered to him. I had already settled in my own mind how I was to
behave on the occasion, and had schooled myself to believe, that true
honour consisted not in defending, but in apologising for, an injury so
much disproportioned to any provocation I might have to allege.

I therefore hastened to meet Rashleigh, and to express myself in the
highest degree sorry for the violence with which I had acted on the
preceding evening. "No circumstances," I said, "could have wrung from me
a single word of apology, save my own consciousness of the impropriety of
my behaviour. I hoped my cousin would accept of my regrets so sincerely
offered, and consider how much of my misconduct was owing to the
excessive hospitality of Osbaldistone Hall."

"He shall be friends with thee, lad," cried the honest knight, in the
full effusion of his heart; "or d--n me, if I call him son more!--Why,
Rashie, dost stand there like a log? _Sorry for it_ is all a gentleman
can say, if he happens to do anything awry, especially over his claret. I
served in Hounslow, and should know something, I think, of affairs of
honour. Let me hear no more of this, and we'll go in a body and rummage
out the badger in Birkenwood-bank."

Rashleigh's face resembled, as I have already noticed, no other
countenance that I ever saw. But this singularity lay not only in the
features, but in the mode of changing their expression. Other
countenances, in altering from grief to joy, or from anger to
satisfaction, pass through some brief interval, ere the expression of the
predominant passion supersedes entirely that of its predecessor. There is
a sort of twilight, like that between the clearing up of the darkness and
the rising of the sun, while the swollen muscles subside, the dark eye
clears, the forehead relaxes and expands itself, and the whole
countenance loses its sterner shades, and becomes serene and placid.
Rashleigh's face exhibited none of these gradations, but changed almost
instantaneously from the expression of one passion to that of the
contrary. I can compare it to nothing but the sudden shifting of a scene
in the theatre, where, at the whistle of the prompter, a cavern
disappears, and a grove arises.

My attention was strongly arrested by this peculiarity on the present
occasion. At Rashleigh's first entrance, "black he stood as night!" With
the same inflexible countenance he heard my excuse and his father's
exhortation; and it was not until Sir Hildebrand had done speaking, that
the cloud cleared away at once, and he expressed, in the kindest and most
civil terms, his perfect satisfaction with the very handsome apology I
had offered.

"Indeed," he said, "I have so poor a brain myself, when I impose on it
the least burden beyond my usual three glasses, that I have only, like
honest Cassio, a very vague recollection of the confusion of last
night--remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly--a quarrel, but
nothing wherefore--So, my dear Cousin," he continued, shaking me kindly
by the hand, "conceive how much I am relieved by finding that I have to
receive an apology, instead of having to make one--I will not have a
word said upon the subject more; I should be very foolish to institute
any scrutiny into an account, when the balance, which I expected to be
against me, has been so unexpectedly and agreeably struck in my favour.
You see, Mr. Osbaldistone, I am practising the language of Lombard
Street, and qualifying myself for my new calling."

As I was about to answer, and raised my eyes for the purpose, they
encountered those of Miss Vernon, who, having entered the room unobserved
during the conversation, had given it her close attention. Abashed and
confounded, I fixed my eyes on the ground, and made my escape to the
breakfast-table, where I herded among my busy cousins.

My uncle, that the events of the preceding day might not pass out of our
memory without a practical moral lesson, took occasion to give Rashleigh
and me his serious advice to correct our milksop habits, as he termed
them, and gradually to inure our brains to bear a gentlemanlike quantity
of liquor, without brawls or breaking of heads. He recommended that we
should begin piddling with a regular quart of claret per day, which, with
the aid of March beer and brandy, made a handsome competence for a
beginner in the art of toping. And for our encouragement, he assured us
that he had known many a man who had lived to our years without having
drunk a pint of wine at a sitting, who yet, by falling into honest
company, and following hearty example, had afterwards been numbered among
the best good fellows of the time, and could carry off their six bottles
under their belt quietly and comfortably, without brawling or babbling,
and be neither sick nor sorry the next morning.

Sage as this advice was, and comfortable as was the prospect it held out
to me, I profited but little by the exhortation--partly, perhaps,
because, as often as I raised my eyes from the table, I observed Miss
Vernon's looks fixed on me, in which I thought I could read grave
compassion blended with regret and displeasure. I began to consider how I
should seek a scene of explanation and apology with her also, when she
gave me to understand she was determined to save me the trouble of
soliciting an interview. "Cousin Francis," she said, addressing me by the
same title she used to give to the other Osbaldistones, although I had,
properly speaking, no title to be called her kinsman, "I have encountered
this morning a difficult passage in the Divina Comme'dia of Dante; will
you have the goodness to step to the library and give me your assistance?
and when you have unearthed for me the meaning of the obscure Florentine,
we will join the rest at Birkenwood-bank, and see their luck at
unearthing the badger."

I signified, of course, my readiness to wait upon her. Rashleigh made an
offer to accompany us. "I am something better skilled," he said, "at
tracking the sense of Dante through the metaphors and elisions of his
wild and gloomy poem, than at hunting the poor inoffensive hermit yonder
out of his cave."

"Pardon me, Rashleigh," said Miss Vernon, "but as you are to occupy Mr.
Francis's place in the counting-house, you must surrender to him the
charge of your pupil's education at Osbaldistone Hall. We shall call you
in, however, if there is any occasion; so pray do not look so grave upon
it. Besides, it is a shame to you not to understand field-sports--What
will you do should our uncle in Crane-Alley ask you the signs by which
you track a badger?"

"Ay, true, Die,--true," said Sir Hildebrand, with a sigh, "I misdoubt
Rashleigh will be found short at the leap when he is put to the trial. An
he would ha' learned useful knowledge like his brothers, he was bred up
where it grew, I wuss; but French antics, and book-learning, with the new
turnips, and the rats, and the Hanoverians, ha' changed the world that I
ha' known in Old England--But come along with us, Rashie, and carry my
hunting-staff, man; thy cousin lacks none of thy company as now, and I
wonna ha' Die crossed--It's ne'er be said there was but one woman in
Osbaldistone Hall, and she died for lack of her will."

Rashleigh followed his father, as he commanded, not, however, ere he had
whispered to Diana, "I suppose I must in discretion bring the courtier,
Ceremony, in my company, and knock when I approach the door of the
library?"

"No, no, Rashleigh," said Miss Vernon; "dismiss from your company the
false archimage Dissimulation, and it will better ensure your free access
to our classical consultations."

So saying, she led the way to the library, and I followed--like a
criminal, I was going to say, to execution; but, as I bethink me, I have
used the simile once, if not twice before. Without any simile at all,
then, I followed, with a sense of awkward and conscious embarrassment,
which I would have given a great deal to shake off. I thought it a
degrading and unworthy feeling to attend one on such an occasion, having
breathed the air of the Continent long enough to have imbibed the notion
that lightness, gallantry, and something approaching to well-bred
self-assurance, should distinguish the gentleman whom a fair lady selects
for her companion in a _tete-a-tete._

My English feelings, however, were too many for my French education, and
I made, I believe, a very pitiful figure, when Miss Vernon, seating
herself majestically in a huge elbow-chair in the library, like a judge
about to hear a cause of importance, signed to me to take a chair
opposite to her (which I did, much like the poor fellow who is going to
be tried), and entered upon conversation in a tone of bitter irony.





CHAPTER THIRTEENTH.


              Dire was his thought, who first in poison steeped
              The weapon formed for slaughter--direr his,
                  And worthier of damnation, who instilled
                  The mortal venom in the social cup,
              To fill the veins with death instead of life.
                                                 Anonymous.

"Upon my Word, Mr. Francis Osbaldistone," said Miss Vernon, with the air
of one who thought herself fully entitled to assume the privilege of
ironical reproach, which she was pleased to exert, "your character
improves upon us, sir--I could not have thought that it was in you.
Yesterday might be considered as your assay-piece, to prove yourself
entitled to be free of the corporation of Osbaldistone Hall. But it was a
masterpiece."

"I am quite sensible of my ill-breeding, Miss Vernon, and I can only say
for myself that I had received some communications by which my spirits
were unusually agitated. I am conscious I was impertinent and absurd."

"You do yourself great injustice," said the merciless monitor--"you have
contrived, by what I saw and have since heard, to exhibit in the course
of one evening a happy display of all the various masterly qualifications
which distinguish your several cousins;--the gentle and generous temper
of the benevolent Rashleigh,--the temperance of Percie,--the cool courage
of Thorncliff,--John's skill in dog-breaking,--Dickon's aptitude to
betting,--all exhibited by the single individual, Mr. Francis, and that
with a selection of time, place, and circumstance, worthy the taste and
sagacity of the sapient Wilfred."

"Have a little mercy, Miss Vernon," said I; for I confess I thought the
schooling as severe as the case merited, especially considering from what
quarter it came, "and forgive me if I suggest, as an excuse for follies I
am not usually guilty of, the custom of this house and country. I am far
from approving of it; but we have Shakspeare's authority for saying, that
good wine is a good familiar creature, and that any man living may be
overtaken at some time."

"Ay, Mr. Francis, but he places the panegyric and the apology in the
mouth of the greatest villain his pencil has drawn. I will not, however,
abuse the advantage your quotation has given me, by overwhelming you with
the refutation with which the victim Cassio replies to the tempter Iago.
I only wish you to know, that there is one person at least sorry to see a
youth of talents and expectations sink into the slough in which the
inhabitants of this house are nightly wallowing."

"I have but wet my shoe, I assure you, Miss Vernon, and am too sensible
of the filth of the puddle to step farther in."

"If such be your resolution," she replied, "it is a wise one. But I was
so much vexed at what I heard, that your concerns have pressed before my
own,--You behaved to me yesterday, during dinner, as if something had
been told you which lessened or lowered me in your opinion--I beg leave
to ask you what it was?"

I was stupified. The direct bluntness of the demand was much in the style
one gentleman uses to another, when requesting explanation of any part of
his conduct in a good-humoured yet determined manner, and was totally
devoid of the circumlocutions, shadings, softenings, and periphrasis,
which usually accompany explanations betwixt persons of different sexes
in the higher orders of society.

I remained completely embarrassed; for it pressed on my recollection,
that Rashleigh's communications, supposing them to be correct, ought to
have rendered Miss Vernon rather an object of my compassion than of my
pettish resentment; and had they furnished the best apology possible for
my own conduct, still I must have had the utmost difficulty in detailing
what inferred such necessary and natural offence to Miss Vernon's
feelings. She observed my hesitation, and proceeded, in a tone somewhat
more peremptory, but still temperate and civil--"I hope Mr. Osbaldistone
does not dispute my title to request this explanation. I have no relative
who can protect me; it is, therefore, just that I be permitted to protect
myself."

I endeavoured with hesitation to throw the blame of my rude behaviour
upon indisposition--upon disagreeable letters from London. She suffered
me to exhaust my apologies, and fairly to run myself aground, listening
all the while with a smile of absolute incredulity.

"And now, Mr. Francis, having gone through your prologue of excuses, with
the same bad grace with which all prologues are delivered, please to draw
the curtain, and show me that which I desire to see. In a word, let me
know what Rashleigh says of me; for he is the grand engineer and first
mover of all the machinery of Osbaldistone Hall."

"But, supposing there was anything to tell, Miss Vernon, what does he
deserve that betrays the secrets of one ally to another?--Rashleigh, you
yourself told me, remained your ally, though no longer your friend."

"I have neither patience for evasion, nor inclination for jesting, on the
present subject. Rashleigh cannot--ought not--dare not, hold any language
respecting me, Diana Vernon, but what I may demand to hear repeated. That
there are subjects of secrecy and confidence between us, is most certain;
but to such, his communications to you could have no relation; and with
such, I, as an individual, have no concern."

I had by this time recovered my presence of mind, and hastily determined
to avoid making any disclosure of what Rashleigh had told me in a sort of
confidence. There was something unworthy in retailing private
conversation; it could, I thought, do no good, and must necessarily give
Miss Vernon great pain. I therefore replied, gravely, "that nothing but
frivolous talk had passed between Mr. Rashleigh Osbaldistone and me on
the state of the family at the Hall; and I protested, that nothing had
been said which left a serious impression to her disadvantage. As a
gentleman," I said, "I could not be more explicit in reporting private
conversation."

She started up with the animation of a Camilla about to advance into
battle. "This shall not serve your turn, sir,--I must have another answer
from you." Her features kindled--her brow became flushed--her eye glanced
wild-fire as she proceeded--"I demand such an explanation, as a woman
basely slandered has a right to demand from every man who calls himself a
gentleman--as a creature, motherless, friendless, alone in the world,
left to her own guidance and protection, has a right to require from
every being having a happier lot, in the name of that God who sent _them_
into the world to enjoy, and _her_ to suffer. You shall not deny me--or,"
she added, looking solemnly upwards, "you will rue your denial, if there
is justice for wrong either on earth or in heaven."

I was utterly astonished at her vehemence, but felt, thus conjured, that
it became my duty to lay aside scrupulous delicacy, and gave her briefly,
but distinctly, the heads of the information which Rashleigh had conveyed
to me.

She sate down and resumed her composure, as soon as I entered upon the
subject, and when I stopped to seek for the most delicate turn of
expression, she repeatedly interrupted me with "Go on--pray, go on; the
first word which occurs to you is the plainest, and must be the best. Do
not think of my feelings, but speak as you would to an unconcerned third
party."

Thus urged and encouraged, I stammered through all the account which
Rashleigh had given of her early contract to marry an Osbaldistone, and
of the uncertainty and difficulty of her choice; and there I would
willingly have paused. But her penetration discovered that there was
still something behind, and even guessed to what it related.

"Well, it was ill-natured of Rashleigh to tell this tale on me. I am like
the poor girl in the fairy tale, who was betrothed in her cradle to the
Black Bear of Norway, but complained chiefly of being called Bruin's
bride by her companions at school. But besides all this, Rashleigh said
something of himself with relation to me--Did he not?"

"He certainly hinted, that were it not for the idea of supplanting his
brother, he would now, in consequence of his change of profession, be
desirous that the word Rashleigh should fill up the blank in the
dispensation, instead of the word Thorncliff."

"Ay? indeed?" she replied--"was he so very condescending?--Too much
honour for his humble handmaid, Diana Vernon--And she, I suppose, was to
be enraptured with joy could such a substitute be effected?"

"To confess the truth, he intimated as much, and even farther
insinuated"--

"What?--Let me hear it all!" she exclaimed, hastily.

"That he had broken off your mutual intimacy, lest it should have given
rise to an affection by which his destination to the church would not
permit him to profit."

"I am obliged to him for his consideration," replied Miss Vernon, every
feature of her fine countenance taxed to express the most supreme degree
of scorn and contempt. She paused a moment, and then said, with her usual
composure, "There is but little I have heard from you which I did not
expect to hear, and which I ought not to have expected; because, bating
one circumstance, it is all very true. But as there are some poisons so
active, that a few drops, it is said, will infect a whole fountain, so
there is one falsehood in Rashleigh's communication, powerful enough to
corrupt the whole well in which Truth herself is said to have dwelt. It
is the leading and foul falsehood, that, knowing Rashleigh as I have
reason too well to know him, any circumstance on earth could make me
think of sharing my lot with him. No," she continued with a sort of
inward shuddering that seemed to express involuntary horror, "any lot
rather than that--the sot, the gambler, the bully, the jockey, the
insensate fool, were a thousand times preferable to Rashleigh:--the
convent--the jail--the grave, shall be welcome before them all."

There was a sad and melancholy cadence in her voice, corresponding with
the strange and interesting romance of her situation. So young, so
beautiful, so untaught, so much abandoned to herself, and deprived of all
the support which her sex derives from the countenance and protection of
female friends, and even of that degree of defence which arises from the
forms with which the sex are approached in civilised life,--it is scarce
metaphorical to say, that my heart bled for her. Yet there was an
expression of dignity in her contempt of ceremony--of upright feeling in
her disdain of falsehood--of firm resolution in the manner in which she
contemplated the dangers by which she was surrounded, which blended my
pity with the warmest admiration. She seemed a princess deserted by her
subjects, and deprived of her power, yet still scorning those formal
regulations of society which are created for persons of an inferior rank;
and, amid her difficulties, relying boldly and confidently on the justice
of Heaven, and the unshaken constancy of her own mind.

I offered to express the mingled feelings of sympathy and admiration with
which her unfortunate situation and her high spirit combined to impress
me, but she imposed silence on me at once.

"I told you in jest," she said, "that I disliked compliments--I now tell
you in earnest, that I do not ask sympathy, and that I despise
consolation. What I have borne, I have borne--What I am to bear I will
sustain as I may; no word of commiseration can make a burden feel one
feather's weight lighter to the slave who must carry it. There is only
one human being who could have assisted me, and that is he who has rather
chosen to add to my embarrassment--Rashleigh Osbaldistone.--Yes! the time
once was that I might have learned to love that man--But, great God! the
purpose for which he insinuated himself into the confidence of one
already so forlorn--the undeviating and continued assiduity with which he
pursued that purpose from year to year, without one single momentary
pause of remorse or compassion--the purpose for which he would have
converted into poison the food he administered to my mind--Gracious
Providence! what should I have been in this world, and the next, in body
and soul, had I fallen under the arts of this accomplished villain!"

I was so much struck with the scene of perfidious treachery which these
words disclosed, that I rose from my chair hardly knowing what I did,
laid my hand on the hilt of my sword, and was about to leave the
apartment in search of him on whom I might discharge my just indignation.
Almost breathless, and with eyes and looks in which scorn and indignation
had given way to the most lively alarm, Miss Vernon threw herself between
me and the door of the apartment.

"Stay!" she said--"stay!--however just your resentment, you do not know
half the secrets of this fearful prison-house." She then glanced her eyes
anxiously round the room, and sunk her voice almost to a whisper--"He
bears a charmed life; you cannot assail him without endangering other
lives, and wider destruction. Had it been otherwise, in some hour of
justice he had hardly been safe, even from this weak hand. I told you,"
she said, motioning me back to my seat, "that I needed no comforter. I
now tell you I need no avenger."

I resumed my seat mechanically, musing on what she said, and recollecting
also, what had escaped me in my first glow of resentment, that I had no
title whatever to constitute myself Miss Vernon's champion. She paused to
let her own emotions and mine subside, and then addressed me with more
composure.

"I have already said that there is a mystery connected with Rashleigh, of
a dangerous and fatal nature. Villain as he is, and as he knows he stands
convicted in my eyes, I cannot--dare not, openly break with or defy him.
You also, Mr. Osbaldistone, must bear with him with patience, foil his
artifices by opposing to them prudence, not violence; and, above all, you
must avoid such scenes as that of last night, which cannot but give him
perilous advantages over you. This caution I designed to give you, and it
was the object with which I desired this interview; but I have extended
my confidence farther than I proposed."

I assured her it was not misplaced.

"I do not believe that it is," she replied. "You have that in your face
and manners which authorises trust. Let us continue to be friends. You
need not fear," she said, laughing, while she blushed a little, yet
speaking with a free and unembarrassed voice, "that friendship with us
should prove only a specious name, as the poet says, for another feeling.
I belong, in habits of thinking and acting, rather to your sex, with
which I have always been brought up, than to my own. Besides, the fatal
veil was wrapt round me in my cradle; for you may easily believe I have
never thought of the detestable condition under which I may remove it.
The time," she added, "for expressing my final determination is not
arrived, and I would fain have the freedom of wild heath and open air
with the other commoners of nature, as long as I can be permitted to
enjoy them. And now that the passage in Dante is made so clear, pray go
and see what has become of the badger-baiters. My head aches so much that
I cannot join the party."

I left the library, but not to join the hunters. I felt that a solitary
walk was necessary to compose my spirits before I again trusted myself in
Rashleigh's company, whose depth of calculating villany had been so
strikingly exposed to me. In Dubourg's family (as he was of the reformed
persuasion) I had heard many a tale of Romish priests who gratified, at
the expense of friendship, hospitality, and the most sacred ties of
social life, those passions, the blameless indulgence of which is denied
by the rules of their order. But the deliberate system of undertaking the
education of a deserted orphan of noble birth, and so intimately allied
to his own family, with the perfidious purpose of ultimately seducing
her, detailed as it was by the intended victim with all the glow of
virtuous resentment, seemed more atrocious to me than the worst of the
tales I had heard at Bourdeaux, and I felt it would be extremely
difficult for me to meet Rashleigh, and yet to suppress the abhorrence
with which he impressed me. Yet this was absolutely necessary, not only
on account of the mysterious charge which Diana had given me, but because
I had, in reality, no ostensible ground for quarrelling with him.

I therefore resolved, as far as possible, to meet Rashleigh's
dissimulation with equal caution on my part during our residence in the
same family; and when he should depart for London, I resolved to give
Owen at least such a hint of his character as might keep him on his guard
over my father's interests. Avarice or ambition, I thought, might have as
great, or greater charms, for a mind constituted like Rashleigh's, than
unlawful pleasure; the energy of his character, and his power of assuming
all seeming good qualities, were likely to procure him a high degree of
confidence, and it was not to be hoped that either good faith or
gratitude would prevent him from abusing it. The task was somewhat
difficult, especially in my circumstances, since the caution which I
threw out might be imputed to jealousy of my rival, or rather my
successor, in my father's favour. Yet I thought it absolutely necessary
to frame such a letter, leaving it to Owen, who, in his own line, was
wary, prudent, and circumspect, to make the necessary use of his
knowledge of Rashleigh's true character. Such a letter, therefore, I
indited, and despatched to the post-house by the first opportunity.

At my meeting with Rashleigh, he, as well as I, appeared to have taken up
distant ground, and to be disposed to avoid all pretext for collision. He
was probably conscious that Miss Vernon's communications had been
unfavourable to him, though he could not know that they extended to
discovering his meditated villany towards her. Our intercourse,
therefore, was reserved on both sides, and turned on subjects of little
interest. Indeed, his stay at Osbaldistone Hall did not exceed a few days
after this period, during which I only remarked two circumstances
respecting him. The first was the rapid and almost intuitive manner in
which his powerful and active mind seized upon and arranged the
elementary principles necessary to his new profession, which he now
studied hard, and occasionally made parade of his progress, as if to show
me how light it was for him to lift the burden which I had flung down
from very weariness and inability to carry it. The other remarkable
circumstance was, that, notwithstanding the injuries with which Miss
Vernon charged Rashleigh, they had several private interviews together of
considerable length, although their bearing towards each other in public
did not seem more cordial than usual.

When the day of Rashleigh's departure arrived, his father bade him
farewell with indifference; his brothers with the ill-concealed glee of
school-boys who see their task-master depart for a season, and feel a joy
which they dare not express; and I myself with cold politeness. When he
approached Miss Vernon, and would have saluted her she drew back with a
look of haughty disdain; but said, as she extended her hand to him,
"Farewell, Rashleigh; God reward you for the good you have done, and
forgive you for the evil you have meditated."

"Amen, my fair cousin," he replied, with an air of sanctity, which
belonged, I thought, to the seminary of Saint Omers; "happy is he whose
good intentions have borne fruit in deeds, and whose evil thoughts have
perished in the blossom."

These were his parting words. "Accomplished hypocrite!" said Miss Vernon
to me, as the door closed behind him--"how nearly can what we most
despise and hate, approach in outward manner to that which we most
venerate!"

I had written to my father by Rashleigh, and also a few lines to Owen,
besides the confidential letter which I have already mentioned, and which
I thought it more proper and prudent to despatch by another conveyance.
In these epistles, it would have been natural for me to have pointed out
to my father and my friend, that I was at present in a situation where I
could improve myself in no respect, unless in the mysteries of hunting
and hawking; and where I was not unlikely to forget, in the company of
rude grooms and horse-boys, any useful knowledge or elegant
accomplishments which I had hitherto acquired. It would also have been
natural that I should have expressed the disgust and tedium which I was
likely to feel among beings whose whole souls were centred in
field-sports or more degrading pastimes--that I should have complained of
the habitual intemperance of the family in which I was a guest, and the
difficulty and almost resentment with which my uncle, Sir Hildebrand,
received any apology for deserting the bottle. This last, indeed, was a
topic on which my father, himself a man of severe temperance, was likely
to be easily alarmed, and to have touched upon this spring would to a
certainty have opened the doors of my prison-house, and would either have
been the means of abridging my exile, or at least would have procured me
a change of residence during my rustication.

I say, my dear Tresham, that, considering how very unpleasant a prolonged
residence at Osbaldistone Hall must have been to a young man of my age,
and with my habits, it might have seemed very natural that I should have
pointed out all these disadvantages to my father, in order to obtain his
consent for leaving my uncle's mansion. Nothing, however, is more
certain, than that I did not say a single word to this purpose in my
letters to my father and Owen. If Osbaldistone Hall had been Athens in
all its pristine glory of learning, and inhabited by sages, heroes, and
poets, I could not have expressed less inclination to leave it.

If thou hast any of the salt of youth left in thee, Tresham, thou wilt be
at no loss to account for my silence on a topic seemingly so obvious.
Miss Vernon's extreme beauty, of which she herself seemed so little
conscious--her romantic and mysterious situation--the evils to which she
was exposed--the courage with which she seemed to face them--her manners,
more frank than belonged to her sex, yet, as it seemed to me,
exceeding in frankness only from the dauntless consciousness of her
innocence,--above all, the obvious and flattering distinction which she
made in my favour over all other persons, were at once calculated to
interest my best feelings, to excite my curiosity, awaken my
imagination, and gratify my vanity. I dared not, indeed, confess to
myself the depth of the interest with which Miss Vernon inspired me, or
the large share which she occupied in my thoughts. We read together,
walked together, rode together, and sate together. The studies which she
had broken off upon her quarrel with Rashleigh, she now resumed, under
the auspices of a tutor whose views were more sincere, though his
capacity was far more limited.

In truth, I was by no means qualified to assist her in the prosecution of
several profound studies which she had commenced with Rashleigh, and
which appeared to me more fitted for a churchman than for a beautiful
female. Neither can I conceive with what view he should have engaged
Diana in the gloomy maze of casuistry which schoolmen called philosophy,
or in the equally abstruse though more certain sciences of mathematics
and astronomy; unless it were to break down and confound in her mind the
difference and distinction between the sexes, and to habituate her to
trains of subtle reasoning, by which he might at his own time invest that
which is wrong with the colour of that which is right. It was in the same
spirit, though in the latter case the evil purpose was more obvious, that
the lessons of Rashleigh had encouraged Miss Vernon in setting at nought
and despising the forms and ceremonial limits which are drawn round
females in modern society. It is true, she was sequestrated from all
female company, and could not learn the usual rules of decorum, either
from example or precept; yet such was her innate modesty, and accurate
sense of what was right and wrong, that she would not of herself have
adopted the bold uncompromising manner which struck me with so much
surprise on our first acquaintance, had she not been led to conceive that
a contempt of ceremony indicated at once superiority of understanding and
the confidence of conscious innocence. Her wily instructor had, no doubt,
his own views in levelling those outworks which reserve and caution erect
around virtue. But for these, and for his other crimes, he has long since
answered at a higher tribunal.

Besides the progress which Miss Vernon, whose powerful mind readily
adopted every means of information offered to it, had made in more
abstract science, I found her no contemptible linguist, and well
acquainted both with ancient and modern literature. Were it not that
strong talents will often go farthest when they seem to have least
assistance, it would be almost incredible to tell the rapidity of Miss
Vernon's progress in knowledge; and it was still more extraordinary, when
her stock of mental acquisitions from books was compared with her total
ignorance of actual life. It seemed as if she saw and knew everything,
except what passed in the world around her;--and I believe it was this
very ignorance and simplicity of thinking upon ordinary subjects, so
strikingly contrasted with her fund of general knowledge and information,
which rendered her conversation so irresistibly fascinating, and rivetted
the attention to whatever she said or did; since it was absolutely
impossible to anticipate whether her next word or action was to display
the most acute perception, or the most profound simplicity. The degree of
danger which necessarily attended a youth of my age and keen feelings
from remaining in close and constant intimacy with an object so amiable,
and so peculiarly interesting, all who remember their own sentiments at
my age may easily estimate.





CHAPTER FOURTEENTH.


                 Yon lamp its line of quivering light
                      Shoots from my lady's bower;
                 But why should Beauty's lamp be bright
                      At midnight's lonely hour?
                                          OLD BALLAD.

The mode of life at Osbaldistone Hall was too uniform to admit of
description. Diana Vernon and I enjoyed much of our time in our mutual
studies; the rest of the family killed theirs in such sports and pastimes
as suited the seasons, in which we also took a share. My uncle was a man
of habits, and by habit became so much accustomed to my presence and mode
of life, that, upon the whole, he was rather fond of me than otherwise. I
might probably have risen yet higher in his good graces, had I employed
the same arts for that purpose which were used by Rashleigh, who,
availing himself of his father's disinclination to business, had
gradually insinuated himself into the management of his property. But
although I readily gave my uncle the advantage of my pen and my
arithmetic so often as he desired to correspond with a neighbour, or
settle with a tenant, and was, in so far, a more useful inmate in his
family than any of his sons, yet I was not willing to oblige Sir
Hildebrand by relieving him entirely from the management of his own
affairs; so that, while the good knight admitted that nevoy Frank was a
steady, handy lad, he seldom failed to remark in the same breath, that he
did not think he should ha' missed Rashleigh so much as he was like to
do.

As it is particularly unpleasant to reside in a family where we are at
variance with any part of it, I made some efforts to overcome the
ill-will which my cousins entertained against me. I exchanged my laced
hat for a jockey-cap, and made some progress in their opinion; I broke a
young colt in a manner which carried me further into their good graces. A
bet or two opportunely lost to Dickon, and an extra health pledged with
Percie, placed me on an easy and familiar footing with all the young
squires, except Thorncliff.

I have already noticed the dislike entertained against me by this young
fellow, who, as he had rather more sense, had also a much worse temper,
than any of his brethren. Sullen, dogged, and quarrelsome, he regarded my
residence at Osbaldistone Hall as an intrusion, and viewed with envious
and jealous eyes my intimacy with Diana Vernon, whom the effect proposed
to be given to a certain family-compact assigned to him as an intended
spouse. That he loved her, could scarcely be said, at least without much
misapplication of the word; but he regarded her as something appropriated
to himself, and resented internally the interference which he knew not
how to prevent or interrupt. I attempted a tone of conciliation towards
Thorncliff on several occasions; but he rejected my advances with a
manner about as gracious as that of a growling mastiff, when the animal
shuns and resents a stranger's attempts to caress him. I therefore
abandoned him to his ill-humour, and gave myself no further trouble about
the matter.

Such was the footing upon which I stood with the family at Osbaldistone
Hall; but I ought to mention another of its inmates with whom I
occasionally held some discourse. This was Andrew Fairservice, the
gardener who (since he had discovered that I was a Protestant) rarely
suffered me to pass him without proffering his Scotch mull for a social
pinch. There were several advantages attending this courtesy. In the
first place, it was made at no expense, for I never took snuff; and
secondly, it afforded an excellent apology to Andrew (who was not
particularly fond of hard labour) for laying aside his spade for several
minutes. But, above all, these brief interviews gave Andrew an
opportunity of venting the news he had collected, or the satirical
remarks which his shrewd northern humour suggested.

"I am saying, sir," he said to me one evening, with a face obviously
charged with intelligence, "I hae been down at the Trinlay-knowe."

"Well, Andrew, and I suppose you heard some news at the alehouse?"

"Na, sir; I never gang to the yillhouse--that is unless ony neighbour was
to gie me a pint, or the like o' that; but to gang there on ane's ain
coat-tail, is a waste o' precious time and hard-won siller.--But I was
doun at the Trinlay-knowe, as I was saying, about a wee bit business o'
my ain wi' Mattie Simpson, that wants a forpit or twa o' peers that will
never be missed in the Ha'-house--and when we were at the thrangest o'
our bargain, wha suld come in but Pate Macready the travelling merchant?"

"Pedlar, I suppose you mean?"

"E'en as your honour likes to ca' him; but it's a creditable calling and
a gainfu', and has been lang in use wi' our folk. Pate's a far-awa cousin
o' mine, and we were blythe to meet wi' ane anither."

"And you went and had a jug of ale together, I suppose, Andrew?--For
Heaven's sake, cut short your story."

"Bide a wee--bide a wee; you southrons are aye in sic a hurry, and
this is something concerns yourself, an ye wad tak patience to
hear't--Yill?--deil a drap o' yill did Pate offer me; but Mattie gae us
baith a drap skimmed milk, and ane o' her thick ait jannocks, that was
as wat and raw as a divot. O for the bonnie girdle cakes o' the
north!--and sae we sat doun and took out our clavers."

"I wish you would take them out just now. Pray, tell me the news, if you
have got any worth telling, for I can't stop here all night."

"Than, if ye maun hae't, the folk in Lunnun are a' clean wud about this
bit job in the north here."

"Clean wood! what's that?"

"Ou, just real daft--neither to haud nor to bind--a' hirdy-girdy--clean
through ither--the deil's ower Jock Wabster."


[Illustration: Frank and Andrew Fairservice--194]


"But what does all this mean? or what business have I with the devil or
Jack Webster?"

"Umph!" said Andrew, looking extremely knowing, "it's just because--just
that the dirdum's a' about yon man's pokmanty."

"Whose portmanteau? or what do you mean?"

"Ou, just the man Morris's, that he said he lost yonder: but if it's no
your honour's affair, as little is it mine; and I mauna lose this
gracious evening."

And, as if suddenly seized with a violent fit of industry, Andrew began
to labour most diligently.

My attention, as the crafty knave had foreseen, was now arrested, and
unwilling, at the same time, to acknowledge any particular interest in
that affair, by asking direct questions, I stood waiting till the spirit
of voluntary communication should again prompt him to resume his story.
Andrew dug on manfully, and spoke at intervals, but nothing to the
purpose of Mr. Macready's news; and I stood and listened, cursing him in
my heart, and desirous at the same time to see how long his humour of
contradiction would prevail over his desire of speaking upon the subject
which was obviously uppermost in his mind.

"Am trenching up the sparry-grass, and am gaun to saw some Misegun beans;
they winna want them to their swine's flesh, I'se warrant--muckle gude
may it do them. And siclike dung as the grieve has gien me!--it should be
wheat-strae, or aiten at the warst o't, and it's pease dirt, as
fizzenless as chuckie-stanes. But the huntsman guides a' as he likes
about the stable-yard, and he's selled the best o' the litter, I'se
warrant. But, howsoever, we mauna lose a turn o' this Saturday at e'en,
for the wather's sair broken, and if there's a fair day in seven,
Sunday's sure to come and lick it up--Howsomever, I'm no denying that it
may settle, if it be Heaven's will, till Monday morning,--and what's the
use o' my breaking my back at this rate?--I think, I'll e'en awa' hame,
for yon's the curfew, as they ca' their jowing-in bell."

Accordingly, applying both his hands to his spade, he pitched it upright
in the trench which he had been digging and, looking at me with the air
of superiority of one who knows himself possessed of important
information, which he may communicate or refuse at his pleasure, pulled
down the sleeves of his shirt, and walked slowly towards his coat, which
lay carefully folded up upon a neighbouring garden-seat.

"I must pay the penalty of having interrupted the tiresome rascal,"
thought I to myself, "and even gratify Mr. Fairservice by taking his
communication on his own terms." Then raising my voice, I addressed
him,--"And after all, Andrew, what are these London news you had from your
kinsman, the travelling merchant?"

"The pedlar, your honour means?" retorted Andrew--"but ca' him what ye
wull, they're a great convenience in a country-side that's scant o'
borough-towns like this Northumberland--That's no the case, now, in
Scotland;--there's the kingdom of Fife, frae Culross to the East Nuik,
it's just like a great combined city--sae mony royal boroughs yoked on
end to end, like ropes of ingans, with their hie-streets and their
booths, nae doubt, and their kraemes, and houses of stane and lime and
fore-stairs--Kirkcaldy, the sell o't, is langer than ony town in
England."

"I daresay it is all very splendid and very fine--but you were talking of
the London news a little while ago, Andrew."

"Ay," replied Andrew; "but I dinna think your honour cared to hear about
them--Howsoever" (he continued, grinning a ghastly smile), "Pate Macready
does say, that they are sair mistrysted yonder in their Parliament House
about this rubbery o' Mr. Morris, or whatever they ca' the chiel."

"In the House of Parliament, Andrew!--how came they to mention it there?"

"Ou, that's just what I said to Pate; if it like your honour, I'll tell
you the very words; it's no worth making a lie for the matter--'Pate,'
said I, 'what ado had the lords and lairds and gentles at Lunnun wi' the
carle and his walise?--When we had a Scotch Parliament, Pate,' says I
(and deil rax their thrapples that reft us o't!) 'they sate dousely down
and made laws for a haill country and kinrick, and never fashed their
beards about things that were competent to the judge ordinar o' the
bounds; but I think,' said I, 'that if ae kailwife pou'd aff her
neighbour's mutch they wad hae the twasome o' them into the Parliament
House o' Lunnun. It's just,' said I, 'amaist as silly as our auld daft
laird here and his gomerils o' sons, wi' his huntsmen and his hounds, and
his hunting cattle and horns, riding haill days after a bit beast that
winna weigh sax punds when they hae catched it.'"

"You argued most admirably, Andrew," said I, willing to encourage him to
get into the marrow of his intelligence; "and what said Pate?"

"Ou," he said, "what better could be expected of a wheen pock-pudding
English folk?--But as to the robbery, it's like that when they're a' at
the thrang o' their Whig and Tory wark, and ca'ing ane anither, like
unhanged blackguards--up gets ae lang-tongued chield, and he says, that
a' the north of England were rank Jacobites (and, quietly, he wasna far
wrang maybe), and that they had levied amaist open war, and a king's
messenger had been stoppit and rubbit on the highway, and that the best
bluid o' Northumberland had been at the doing o't--and mickle gowd ta'en
aff him, and mony valuable papers; and that there was nae redress to be
gotten by remeed of law for the first justice o' the peace that the
rubbit man gaed to, he had fund the twa loons that did the deed birling
and drinking wi' him, wha but they; and the justice took the word o' the
tane for the compearance o' the tither; and that they e'en gae him
leg-bail, and the honest man that had lost his siller was fain to leave
the country for fear that waur had come of it."

"Can this be really true?" said I.

"Pate swears it's as true as that his ellwand is a yard lang--(and so it
is, just bating an inch, that it may meet the English measure)--And when
the chield had said his warst, there was a terrible cry for names, and
out comes he wi' this man Morris's name, and your uncle's, and Squire
Inglewood's, and other folk's beside" (looking sly at me)--"And then
another dragon o' a chield got up on the other side, and said, wad they
accuse the best gentleman in the land on the oath of a broken
coward?--for it's like that Morris had been drummed out o' the army for
rinning awa in Flanders; and he said, it was like the story had been
made up between the minister and him or ever he had left Lunnun; and
that, if there was to be a search-warrant granted, he thought the siller
wad be fund some gate near to St. James's Palace. Aweel, they trailed up
Morris to their bar, as they ca't, to see what he could say to the job;
but the folk that were again him, gae him sic an awfu' throughgaun about
his rinnin' awa, and about a' the ill he had ever dune or said for a'
the forepart o' his life, that Patie says he looked mair like ane dead
than living; and they cou'dna get a word o' sense out o' him, for
downright fright at their growling and routing. He maun be a saft sap,
wi' a head nae better than a fozy frosted turnip--it wad hae ta'en a
hantle o' them to scaur Andrew Fairservice out o' his tale."

"And how did it all end, Andrew? did your friend happen to learn?"

"Ou, ay; for as his walk is in this country, Pate put aff his journey for
the space of a week or thereby, because it wad be acceptable to his
customers to bring down the news. It's just a' gaed aft like moonshine in
water. The fallow that began it drew in his horns, and said, that though
he believed the man had been rubbit, yet he acknowledged he might hae
been mista'en about the particulars. And then the other chield got up,
and said, he caredna whether Morris was rubbed or no, provided it wasna
to become a stain on ony gentleman's honour and reputation, especially in
the north of England; for, said he before them, I come frae the north
mysell, and I carena a boddle wha kens it. And this is what they ca'
explaining--the tane gies up a bit, and the tither gies up a bit, and a'
friends again. Aweel, after the Commons' Parliament had tuggit, and
rived, and rugged at Morris and his rubbery till they were tired o't, the
Lords' Parliament they behoved to hae their spell o't. In puir auld
Scotland's Parliament they a' sate thegither, cheek by choul, and than
they didna need to hae the same blethers twice ower again. But till't
their lordships went wi' as muckle teeth and gude-will, as if the matter
had been a' speck and span new. Forbye, there was something said about
ane Campbell, that suld hae been concerned in the rubbery, mair or less,
and that he suld hae had a warrant frae the Duke of Argyle, as a
testimonial o' his character. And this put MacCallum More's beard in a
bleize, as gude reason there was; and he gat up wi' an unco bang, and
garr'd them a' look about them, and wad ram it even doun their throats,
there was never ane o' the Campbells but was as wight, wise, warlike, and
worthy trust, as auld Sir John the Graeme. Now, if your honour's sure ye
arena a drap's bluid a-kin to a Campbell, as I am nane mysell, sae far as
I can count my kin, or hae had it counted to me, I'll gie ye my mind on
that matter."

"You may be assured I have no connection whatever with any gentleman of
the name."

"Ou, than we may speak it quietly amang oursells. There's baith gude and
bad o' the Campbells, like other names, But this MacCallum More has an
unco sway and say baith, amang the grit folk at Lunnun even now; for he
canna preceesely be said to belang to ony o' the twa sides o' them, sae
deil any o' them likes to quarrel wi' him; sae they e'en voted Morris's
tale a fause calumnious libel, as they ca't, and if he hadna gien them
leg-bail, he was likely to hae ta'en the air on the pillory for
leasing-making."

So speaking, honest Andrew collected his dibbles, spades, and hoes, and
threw them into a wheel-barrow,--leisurely, however, and allowing me full
time to put any further questions which might occur to me before he
trundled them off to the tool-house, there to repose during the ensuing
day. I thought it best to speak out at once, lest this meddling fellow
should suppose there were more weighty reasons for my silence than
actually existed.

"I should like to see this countryman of yours, Andrew and to hear his
news from himself directly. You have probably heard that I had some
trouble from the impertinent folly of this man Morris" (Andrew grinned a
most significant grin), "and I should wish to see your cousin the
merchant, to ask him the particulars of what he heard in London, if it
could be done without much trouble."

"Naething mair easy," Andrew observed; "he had but to hint to his cousin
that I wanted a pair or twa o' hose, and he wad be wi' me as fast as he
could lay leg to the grund."

"O yes, assure him I shall be a customer; and as the night is, as you
say, settled and fair, I shall walk in the garden until he comes; the
moon will soon rise over the fells. You may bring him to the little
back-gate; and I shall have pleasure, in the meanwhile, in looking on the
bushes and evergreens by the bright frosty moonlight."

"Vara right, vara right--that's what I hae aften said; a kail-blade, or a
colliflour, glances sae glegly by moonlight, it's like a leddy in her
diamonds."

So saying, off went Andrew Fairservice with great glee. He had to walk
about two miles, a labour he undertook with the greatest pleasure, in
order to secure to his kinsman the sale of some articles of his trade,
though it is probable he would not have given him sixpence to treat him
to a quart of ale. "The good will of an Englishman would have displayed
itself in a manner exactly the reverse of Andrew's," thought I, as I
paced along the smooth-cut velvet walks, which, embowered with high,
hedges of yew and of holly, intersected the ancient garden of
Osbaldistone Hall.

As I turned to retrace my steps, it was natural that I should lift up my
eyes to the windows of the old library; which, small in size, but several
in number, stretched along the second story of that side of the house
which now faced me. Light glanced from their casements. I was not
surprised at this, for I knew Miss Vernon often sat there of an evening,
though from motives of delicacy I put a strong restraint upon myself, and
never sought to join her at a time when I knew, all the rest of the
family being engaged for the evening, our interviews must necessarily
have been strictly _tete-a'-tete._ In the mornings we usually read
together in the same room; but then it often happened that one or other
of our cousins entered to seek some parchment duodecimo that could be
converted into a fishing-book, despite its gildings and illumination, or
to tell us of some "sport toward," or from mere want of knowing where
else to dispose of themselves. In short, in the mornings the library was
a sort of public room, where man and woman might meet as on neutral
ground. In the evening it was very different and bred in a country where
much attention is paid, or was at least then paid, to _biense'ance,_ I
was desirous to think for Miss Vernon concerning those points of
propriety where her experience did not afford her the means of thinking
for herself. I made her therefore comprehend, as delicately as I could,
that when we had evening lessons, the presence of a third party was
proper.

Miss Vernon first laughed, then blushed, and was disposed to be
displeased; and then, suddenly checking herself, said, "I believe you are
very right; and when I feel inclined to be a very busy scholar, I will
bribe old Martha with a cup of tea to sit by me and be my screen."

Martha, the old housekeeper, partook of the taste of the family at the
Hall. A toast and tankard would have pleased her better than all the tea
in China. However, as the use of this beverage was then confined to the
higher ranks, Martha felt some vanity in being asked to partake of it;
and by dint of a great deal of sugar, many words scarce less sweet, and
abundance of toast and butter, she was sometimes prevailed upon to give
us her countenance. On other occasions, the servants almost unanimously
shunned the library after nightfall, because it was their foolish
pleasure to believe that it lay on the haunted side of the house. The
more timorous had seen sights and heard sounds there when all the rest of
the house was quiet; and even the young squires were far from having any
wish to enter these formidable precincts after nightfall without
necessity.

That the library had at one time been a favourite resource of
Rashleigh--that a private door out of one side of it communicated with
the sequestered and remote apartment which he chose for himself, rather
increased than disarmed the terrors which the household had for the
dreaded library of Osbaldistone Hall. His extensive information as to
what passed in the world--his profound knowledge of science of every
kind--a few physical experiments which he occasionally showed off, were,
in a house of so much ignorance and bigotry, esteemed good reasons for
supposing him endowed with powers over the spiritual world. He understood
Greek, Latin, and Hebrew; and, therefore, according to the apprehension,
and in the phrase of his brother Wilfred, needed not to care "for ghaist
or bar-ghaist, devil or dobbie." Yea, the servants persisted that they
had heard him hold conversations in the library, when every varsal soul
in the family were gone to bed; and that he spent the night in watching
for bogles, and the morning in sleeping in his bed, when he should have
been heading the hounds like a true Osbaldistone.

All these absurd rumours I had heard in broken hints and imperfect
sentences, from which I was left to draw the inference; and, as easily
may be supposed, I laughed them to scorn. But the extreme solitude to
which this chamber of evil fame was committed every night after curfew
time, was an additional reason why I should not intrude on Miss Vernon
when she chose to sit there in the evening.

To resume what I was saying,--I was not surprised to see a glimmering of
light from the library windows: but I was a little struck when I
distinctly perceived the shadows of two persons pass along and intercept
the light from the first of the windows, throwing the casement for a
moment into shade. "It must be old Martha," thought I, "whom Diana has
engaged to be her companion for the evening; or I must have been
mistaken, and taken Diana's shadow for a second person. No, by Heaven! it
appears on the second window,--two figures distinctly traced; and now it
is lost again--it is seen on the third--on the fourth--the darkened forms
of two persons distinctly seen in each window as they pass along the
room, betwixt the windows and the lights. Whom can Diana have got for a
companion?"--The passage of the shadows between the lights and the
casements was twice repeated, as if to satisfy me that my observation
served me truly; after which the lights were extinguished, and the
shades, of course, were seen no more.

Trifling as this circumstance was, it occupied my mind for a considerable
time. I did not allow myself to suppose that my friendship for Miss
Vernon had any directly selfish view; yet it is incredible the
displeasure I felt at the idea of her admitting any one to private
interviews, at a time, and in a place, where, for her own sake, I had
been at some trouble to show her that it was improper for me to meet with
her.

"Silly, romping, incorrigible girl!" said I to myself, "on whom all good
advice and delicacy are thrown away! I have been cheated by the
simplicity of her manner, which I suppose she can assume just as she
could a straw bonnet, were it the fashion, for the mere sake of
celebrity. I suppose, notwithstanding the excellence of her
understanding, the society of half a dozen of clowns to play at whisk and
swabbers would give her more pleasure than if Ariosto himself were to
awake from the dead."

This reflection came the more powerfully across my mind, because, having
mustered up courage to show to Diana my version of the first books of
Ariosto, I had requested her to invite Martha to a tea-party in the
library that evening, to which arrangement Miss Vernon had refused her
consent, alleging some apology which I thought frivolous at the time. I
had not long speculated on this disagreeable subject, when the
back garden-door opened, and the figures of Andrew and his
country-man--bending under his pack--crossed the moonlight alley,
and called my attention elsewhere.

I found Mr. Macready, as I expected, a tough, sagacious, long-headed
Scotchman, and a collector of news both from choice and profession. He
was able to give me a distinct account of what had passed in the House of
Commons and House of Lords on the affair of Morris, which, it appears,
had been made by both parties a touchstone to ascertain the temper of the
Parliament. It appeared also, that, as I had learned from Andrew, by
second hand, the ministry had proved too weak to support a story
involving the character of men of rank and importance, and resting upon
the credit of a person of such indifferent fame as Morris, who was,
moreover, confused and contradictory in his mode of telling the story.
Macready was even able to supply me with a copy of a printed journal, or
News-Letter, seldom extending beyond the capital, in which the substance
of the debate was mentioned; and with a copy of the Duke of Argyle's
speech, printed upon a broadside, of which he had purchased several from
the hawkers, because, he said, it would be a saleable article on the
north of the Tweed. The first was a meagre statement, full of blanks and
asterisks, and which added little or nothing to the information I had
from the Scotchman; and the Duke's speech, though spirited and eloquent,
contained chiefly a panegyric on his country, his family, and his clan,
with a few compliments, equally sincere, perhaps, though less glowing,
which he took so favourable an opportunity of paying to himself. I could
not learn whether my own reputation had been directly implicated,
although I perceived that the honour of my uncle's family had been
impeached, and that this person Campbell, stated by Morris to have been
the most active robber of the two by whom he was assailed, was said by
him to have appeared in the behalf of a Mr. Osbaldistone, and by the
connivance of the Justice procured his liberation. In this particular,
Morris's story jumped with my own suspicions, which had attached to
Campbell from the moment I saw him appear at Justice Inglewood's. Vexed
upon the whole, as well as perplexed, with this extraordinary story, I
dismissed the two Scotchmen, after making some purchases from Macready,
and a small compliment to Fairservice, and retired to my own apartment to
consider what I ought to do in defence of my character thus publicly
attacked.





CHAPTER FIFTEENTH.

                       Whence, and what art you?
                                       Milton.

After exhausting a sleepless night in meditating on the intelligence I
had received, I was at first inclined to think that I ought, as speedily
as possible, to return to London, and by my open appearance repel the
calumny which had been spread against me. But I hesitated to take this
course on recollection of my father's disposition, singularly absolute in
his decisions as to all that concerned his family. He was most able,
certainly, from experience, to direct what I ought to do, and from his
acquaintance with the most distinguished Whigs then in power, had
influence enough to obtain a hearing for my cause. So, upon the whole, I
judged it most safe to state my whole story in the shape of a narrative,
addressed to my father; and as the ordinary opportunities of intercourse
between the Hall and the post-town recurred rarely, I determined to ride
to the town, which was about ten miles' distance, and deposit my letter
in the post-office with my own hands.

Indeed I began to think it strange that though several weeks had elapsed
since my departure from home, I had received no letter, either from my
father or Owen, although Rashleigh had written to Sir Hildebrand of his
safe arrival in London, and of the kind reception he had met with from
his uncle. Admitting that I might have been to blame, I did not deserve,
in my own opinion at least, to be so totally forgotten by my father; and
I thought my present excursion might have the effect of bringing a letter
from him to hand more early than it would otherwise have reached me. But
before concluding my letter concerning the affair of Morris, I failed not
to express my earnest hope and wish that my father would honour me with a
few lines, were it but to express his advice and commands in an affair of
some difficulty, and where my knowledge of life could not be supposed
adequate to my own guidance. I found it impossible to prevail on myself
to urge my actual return to London as a place of residence, and I
disguised my unwillingness to do so under apparent submission to my
father's will, which, as I imposed it on myself as a sufficient reason
for not urging my final departure from Osbaldistone Hall, would, I
doubted not, be received as such by my parent. But I begged permission to
come to London, for a short time at least, to meet and refute the
infamous calumnies which had been circulated concerning me in so public a
manner. Having made up my packet, in which my earnest desire to vindicate
my character was strangely blended with reluctance to quit my present
place of residence, I rode over to the post-town, and deposited my letter
in the office. By doing so, I obtained possession, somewhat earlier than
I should otherwise have done, of the following letter from my friend Mr.
Owen:--

"Dear Mr. Francis,

"Yours received per favour of Mr. R. Osbaldistone, and note the contents.
Shall do Mr. R. O. such civilities as are in my power, and have taken him
to see the Bank and Custom-house. He seems a sober, steady young
gentleman, and takes to business; so will be of service to the firm.
Could have wished another person had turned his mind that way; but God's
will be done. As cash may be scarce in those parts, have to trust you
will excuse my enclosing a goldsmith's bill at six days' sight, on
Messrs. Hooper and Girder of Newcastle, for L100, which I doubt not will
be duly honoured.--I remain, as in duty bound, dear Mr. Frank, your very
respectful and obedient servant,

"Joseph Owen.

"_Postscriptum._--Hope you will advise the above coming safe to hand. Am
sorry we have so few of yours. Your father says he is as usual, but looks
poorly."


From this epistle, written in old Owen's formal style, I was rather
surprised to observe that he made no acknowledgment of that private
letter which I had written to him, with a view to possess him of
Rashleigh's real character, although, from the course of post, it seemed
certain that he ought to have received it. Yet I had sent it by the usual
conveyance from the Hall, and had no reason to suspect that it could
miscarry upon the road. As it comprised matters of great importance both
to my father and to myself, I sat down in the post-office and again wrote
to Owen, recapitulating the heads of my former letter, and requesting to
know, in course of post, if it had reached him in safety. I also
acknowledged the receipt of the bill, and promised to make use of the
contents if I should have any occasion for money. I thought, indeed, it
was odd that my father should leave the care of supplying my necessities
to his clerk; but I concluded it was a matter arranged between them. At
any rate, Owen was a bachelor, rich in his way, and passionately attached
to me, so that I had no hesitation in being obliged to him for a small
sum, which I resolved to consider as a loan, to be returned with my
earliest ability, in case it was not previously repaid by my father; and
I expressed myself to this purpose to Mr. Owen. A shopkeeper in a little
town, to whom the post-master directed me, readily gave me in gold the
amount of my bill on Messrs. Hooper and Girder, so that I returned to
Osbaldistone Hall a good deal richer than I had set forth. This recruit
to my finances was not a matter of indifference to me, as I was
necessarily involved in some expenses at Osbaldistone Hall; and I had
seen, with some uneasy impatience, that the sum which my travelling
expenses had left unexhausted at my arrival there was imperceptibly
diminishing. This source of anxiety was for the present removed. On my
arrival at the Hall I found that Sir Hildebrand and all his offspring had
gone down to the little hamlet, called Trinlay-knowes, "to see," as
Andrew Fairservice expressed it, "a wheen midden cocks pike ilk ither's
barns out."

"It is indeed a brutal amusement, Andrew; I suppose you have none such in
Scotland?"

"Na, na," answered Andrew boldly; then shaded away his negative with,
"unless it be on Fastern's-e'en, or the like o' that--But indeed it's no
muckle matter what the folk do to the midden pootry, for they had siccan
a skarting and scraping in the yard, that there's nae getting a bean or
pea keepit for them.--But I am wondering what it is that leaves that
turret-door open;--now that Mr. Rashleigh's away, it canna be him, I
trow."

The turret-door to which he alluded opened to the garden at the bottom of
a winding stair, leading down from Mr. Rashleigh's apartment. This, as I
have already mentioned, was situated in a sequestered part of the house,
communicating with the library by a private entrance, and by another
intricate and dark vaulted passage with the rest of the house. A long
narrow turf walk led, between two high holly hedges, from the turret-door
to a little postern in the wall of the garden. By means of these
communications Rashleigh, whose movements were very independent of those
of the rest of his family, could leave the Hall or return to it at
pleasure, without his absence or presence attracting any observation. But
during his absence the stair and the turret-door were entirely disused,
and this made Andrew's observation somewhat remarkable.

"Have you often observed that door open?" was my question.

"No just that often neither; but I hae noticed it ance or twice. I'm
thinking it maun hae been the priest, Father Vaughan, as they ca' him.
Ye'll no catch ane o' the servants gauging up that stair, puir frightened
heathens that they are, for fear of bogles and brownies, and lang-nebbit
things frae the neist warld. But Father Vaughan thinks himself a
privileged person--set him up and lay him down!--I'se be caution the
warst stibbler that ever stickit a sermon out ower the Tweed yonder, wad
lay a ghaist twice as fast as him, wi' his holy water and his idolatrous
trinkets. I dinna believe he speaks gude Latin neither; at least he disna
take me up when I tell him the learned names o' the plants."

Of Father Vaughan, who divided his time and his ghostly care between
Osbaldistone Hall and about half a dozen mansions of Catholic gentlemen
in the neighbourhood, I have as yet said nothing, for I had seen but
little. He was aged about sixty--of a good family, as I was given to
understand, in the north--of a striking and imposing presence, grave in
his exterior, and much respected among the Catholics of Northumberland as
a worthy and upright man. Yet Father Vaughan did not altogether lack
those peculiarities which distinguish his order. There hung about him an
air of mystery, which, in Protestant eyes, savoured of priestcraft. The
natives (such they might be well termed) of Osbaldistone Hall looked up
to him with much more fear, or at least more awe, than affection. His
condemnation of their revels was evident, from their being discontinued
in some measure when the priest was a resident at the Hall. Even Sir
Hildebrand himself put some restraint upon his conduct at such times,
which, perhaps, rendered Father Vaughan's presence rather irksome than
otherwise. He had the well-bred, insinuating, and almost flattering
address peculiar to the clergy of his persuasion, especially in England,
where the lay Catholic, hemmed in by penal laws, and by the restrictions
of his sect and recommendation of his pastor, often exhibits a reserved,
and almost a timid manner in the society of Protestants; while the
priest, privileged by his order to mingle with persons of all creeds, is
open, alert, and liberal in his intercourse with them, desirous of
popularity, and usually skilful in the mode of obtaining it.

Father Vaughan was a particular acquaintance of Rashleigh's, otherwise,
in all probability, he would scarce have been able to maintain his
footing at Osbaldistone Hall. This gave me no desire to cultivate his
intimacy, nor did he seem to make any advances towards mine; so our
occasional intercourse was confined to the exchange of mere civility. I
considered it as extremely probable that Mr. Vaughan might occupy
Rashleigh's apartment during his occasional residence at the Hall; and
his profession rendered it likely that he should occasionally be a tenant
of the library. Nothing was more probable than that it might have been
his candle which had excited my attention on a preceding evening. This
led me involuntarily to recollect that the intercourse between Miss
Vernon and the priest was marked with something like the same mystery
which characterised her communications with Rashleigh. I had never heard
her mention Vaughan's name, or even allude to him, excepting on the
occasion of our first meeting, when she mentioned the old priest and
Rashleigh as the only conversable beings, besides herself, in
Osbaldistone Hall. Yet although silent with respect to Father Vaughan,
his arrival at the Hall never failed to impress Miss Vernon with an
anxious and fluttering tremor, which lasted until they had exchanged one
or two significant glances.

Whatever the mystery might be which overclouded the destinies of this
beautiful and interesting female, it was clear that Father Vaughan was
implicated in it; unless, indeed, I could suppose that he was the agent
employed to procure her settlement in the cloister, in the event of her
rejecting a union with either of my cousins,--an office which would
sufficiently account for her obvious emotion at his appearance. As to the
rest, they did not seem to converse much together, or even to seek each
other's society. Their league, if any subsisted between them, was of a
tacit and understood nature, operating on their actions without any
necessity of speech. I recollected, however, on reflection, that I had
once or twice discovered signs pass betwixt them, which I had at the time
supposed to bear reference to some hint concerning Miss Vernon's
religious observances, knowing how artfully the Catholic clergy maintain,
at all times and seasons, their influence over the minds of their
followers. But now I was disposed to assign to these communications a
deeper and more mysterious import. Did he hold private meetings with Miss
Vernon in the library? was a question which occupied my thoughts; and if
so, for what purpose? And why should she have admitted an intimate of the
deceitful Rashleigh to such close confidence?

These questions and difficulties pressed on my mind with an interest
which was greatly increased by the impossibility of resolving them. I had
already begun to suspect that my friendship for Diana Vernon was not
altogether so disinterested as in wisdom it ought to have been. I had
already felt myself becoming jealous of the contemptible lout Thorncliff,
and taking more notice, than in prudence or dignity of feeling I ought to
have done, of his silly attempts to provoke me. And now I was
scrutinising the conduct of Miss Vernon with the most close and eager
observation, which I in vain endeavoured to palm on myself as the
offspring of idle curiosity. All these, like Benedick's brushing his hat
of a morning, were signs that the sweet youth was in love; and while my
judgment still denied that I had been guilty of forming an attachment so
imprudent, she resembled those ignorant guides, who, when they have led
the traveller and themselves into irretrievable error, persist in
obstinately affirming it to be impossible that they can have missed the
way.





CHAPTER SIXTEENTH.

     It happened one day about noon, going to my boat, I was exceedingly
     surprised with the print of a man's naked foot on the shore, which
     was very plain to be seen on the sand.
                                            Robinson Crusoe.

With the blended feelings of interest and jealousy which were engendered
by Miss Vernon's singular situation, my observations of her looks and
actions became acutely sharpened, and that to a degree which,
notwithstanding my efforts to conceal it, could not escape her
penetration. The sense that she was observed, or, more properly speaking,
that she was watched by my looks, seemed to give Diana a mixture of
embarrassment, pain, and pettishness. At times it seemed that she sought
an opportunity of resenting a conduct which she could not but feel as
offensive, considering the frankness with which she had mentioned the
difficulties that surrounded her. At other times she seemed prepared to
expostulate upon the subject. But either her courage failed, or some
other sentiment impeded her seeking an _e'claircissement._ Her
displeasure evaporated in repartee, and her expostulations died on her
lips. We stood in a singular relation to each other,--spending, and by
mutual choice, much of our time in close society with each other, yet
disguising our mutual sentiments, and jealous of, or offended by, each
other's actions. There was betwixt us intimacy without confidence;--on
one side, love without hope or purpose, and curiosity without any
rational or justifiable motive; and on the other, embarrassment and
doubt, occasionally mingled with displeasure. Yet I believe that this
agitation of the passions (such is the nature of the human bosom), as it
continued by a thousand irritating and interesting, though petty
circumstances, to render Miss Vernon and me the constant objects of each
other's thoughts, tended, upon the whole, to increase the attachment with
which we were naturally disposed to regard each other. But although my
vanity early discovered that my presence at Osbaldistone Hall had given
Diana some additional reason for disliking the cloister, I could by no
means confide in an affection which seemed completely subordinate to the
mysteries of her singular situation. Miss Vernon was of a character far
too formed and determined, to permit her love for me to overpower either
her sense of duty or of prudence, and she gave me a proof of this in a
conversation which we had together about this period.

We were sitting together in the library. Miss Vernon, in turning over a
copy of the Orlando Furioso, which belonged to me, shook a piece of
writing paper from between the leaves. I hastened to lift it, but she
prevented me.--"It is verse," she said, on glancing at the paper; and
then unfolding it, but as if to wait my answer before proceeding--"May I
take the liberty?--Nay, nay, if you blush and stammer, I must do violence
to your modesty, and suppose that permission is granted."

"It is not worthy your perusal--a scrap of a translation--My dear Miss
Vernon, it would be too severe a trial, that you, who understand the
original so well, should sit in judgment."

"Mine honest friend," replied Diana, "do not, if you will be guided by my
advice, bait your hook with too much humility; for, ten to one, it will
not catch a single compliment. You know I belong to the unpopular family
of Tell-truths, and would not flatter Apollo for his lyre."

She proceeded to read the first stanza, which was nearly to the following
purpose:--

            "Ladies, and knights, and arms, and love's fair flame,
                 Deeds of emprize and courtesy, I sing;
             What time the Moors from sultry Africk came,
                Led on by Agramant, their youthful king--
                He whom revenge and hasty ire did bring
             O'er the broad wave, in France to waste and war;
             Such ills from old Trojano's death did spring,
                Which to avenge he came from realms afar,
             And menaced Christian Charles, the Roman Emperor.
             Of dauntless Roland, too, my strain shall sound,
                In import never known in prose or rhyme,
             How He, the chief, of judgment deemed profound,
                For luckless love was crazed upon a time"--

"There is a great deal of it," said she, glancing along the paper, and
interrupting the sweetest sounds which mortal ears can drink in,--those
of a youthful poet's verses, namely, read by the lips which are dearest
to him.

"Much more than ought to engage your attention, Miss Vernon," I replied,
something mortified; and I took the verses from her unreluctant hand--
"And yet," I continued, "shut up as I am in this retired situation, I
have felt sometimes I could not amuse myself better than by carrying
on--merely for my own amusement, you will of course understand--the
version of this fascinating author, which I began some months since when
I was on the banks of the Garonne."

"The question would only be," said Diana, gravely, "whether you could not
spend your time to better purpose?"

"You mean in original composition?" said I, greatly flattered--"But, to
say truth, my genius rather lies in finding words and rhymes than ideas;
and therefore I am happy to use those which Ariosto has prepared to my
hand. However, Miss Vernon, with the encouragement you give"--

"Pardon me, Frank--it is encouragement not of my giving, but of your
taking. I meant neither original composition nor translation, since I
think you might employ your time to far better purpose than in either.
You are mortified," she continued, "and I am sorry to be the cause."

"Not mortified,--certainly not mortified," said I, with the best grace I
could muster, and it was but indifferently assumed; "I am too much
obliged by the interest you take in me."

"Nay, but," resumed the relentless Diana, "there is both mortification
and a little grain of anger in that constrained tone of voice; do not be
angry if I probe your feelings to the bottom--perhaps what I am about to
say will affect them still more."

I felt the childishness of my own conduct, and the superior manliness of
Miss Vernon's, and assured her, that she need not fear my wincing under
criticism which I knew to be kindly meant.

"That was honestly meant and said," she replied; "I knew full well that
the fiend of poetical irritability flew away with the little preluding
cough which ushered in the declaration. And now I must be serious--Have
you heard from your father lately?"

"Not a word," I replied; "he has not honoured me with a single line
during the several months of my residence here."

"That is strange!--you are a singular race, you bold Osbaldistones. Then
you are not aware that he has gone to Holland, to arrange some pressing
affairs which required his own immediate presence?"

"I never heard a word of it until this moment."

"And farther, it must be news to you, and I presume scarcely the most
agreeable, that he has left Rashleigh in the almost uncontrolled
management of his affairs until his return."

I started, and could not suppress my surprise and apprehension.

"You have reason for alarm," said Miss Vernon, very gravely; "and were I
you, I would endeavour to meet and obviate the dangers which arise from
so undesirable an arrangement."

"And how is it possible for me to do so?"

"Everything is possible for him who possesses courage and activity," she
said, with a look resembling one of those heroines of the age of
chivalry, whose encouragement was wont to give champions double valour at
the hour of need; "and to the timid and hesitating, everything is
impossible, because it seems so."

"And what would you advise, Miss Vernon?" I replied, wishing, yet
dreading, to hear her answer.

She paused a moment, then answered firmly--"That you instantly leave
Osbaldistone Hall, and return to London. You have perhaps already," she
continued, in a softer tone, "been here too long; that fault was not
yours. Every succeeding moment you waste here will be a crime. Yes, a
crime: for I tell you plainly, that if Rashleigh long manages your
father's affairs, you may consider his ruin as consummated."

"How is this possible?"

"Ask no questions," she said; "but believe me, Rashleigh's views extend
far beyond the possession or increase of commercial wealth: he will only
make the command of Mr. Osbaldistone's revenues and property the means of
putting in motion his own ambitious and extensive schemes. While your
father was in Britain this was impossible; during his absence, Rashleigh
will possess many opportunities, and he will not neglect to use them."

"But how can I, in disgrace with my father, and divested of all control
over his affairs, prevent this danger by my mere presence in London?"

"That presence alone will do much. Your claim to interfere is a part of
your birthright, and it is inalienable. You will have the countenance,
doubtless, of your father's head-clerk, and confidential friends and
partners. Above all, Rashleigh's schemes are of a nature that"--(she
stopped abruptly, as if fearful of saying too much)--"are, in short," she
resumed, "of the nature of all selfish and unconscientious plans, which
are speedily abandoned as soon as those who frame them perceive their
arts are discovered and watched. Therefore, in the language of your
favourite poet--

           To horse! to horse! Urge doubts to those that fear."

A feeling, irresistible in its impulse, induced me to reply--"Ah! Diana,
can _you_ give me advice to leave Osbaldistone Hall?--then indeed I have
already been a resident here too long!"

Miss Vernon coloured, but proceeded with great firmness--"Indeed, I do
give you this advice--not only to quit Osbaldistone Hall, but never to
return to it more. You have only one friend to regret here," she
continued, forcing a smile, "and she has been long accustomed to
sacrifice her friendships and her comforts to the welfare of others.
In the world you will meet a hundred whose friendship will be
as disinterested--more useful--less encumbered by untoward
circumstances--less influenced by evil tongues and evil times."

"Never!" I exclaimed, "never!--the world can afford me nothing to repay
what I must leave behind me." Here I took her hand, and pressed it to my
lips.

"This is folly!" she exclaimed--"this is madness!" and she struggled to
withdraw her hand from my grasp, but not so stubbornly as actually to
succeed until I had held it for nearly a minute. "Hear me, sir!" she
said, "and curb this unmanly burst of passion. I am, by a solemn
contract, the bride of Heaven, unless I could prefer being wedded to
villany in the person of Rashleigh Osbaldistone, or brutality in that of
his brother. I am, therefore, the bride of Heaven,--betrothed to the
convent from the cradle. To me, therefore, these raptures are
misapplied--they only serve to prove a farther necessity for your
departure, and that without delay." At these words she broke suddenly
off, and said, but in a suppressed tone of voice, "Leave me
instantly--we will meet here again, but it must be for the last time."

My eyes followed the direction of hers as she spoke, and I thought I saw
the tapestry shake, which covered the door of the secret passage from
Rashleigh's room to the library. I conceived we were observed, and turned
an inquiring glance on Miss Vernon.

"It is nothing," said she, faintly; "a rat behind the arras."

"Dead for a ducat," would have been my reply, had I dared to give way to
the feelings which rose indignant at the idea of being subjected to an
eaves-dropper on such an occasion. Prudence, and the necessity of
suppressing my passion, and obeying Diana's reiterated command of "Leave
me! leave me!" came in time to prevent my rash action. I left the
apartment in a wild whirl and giddiness of mind, which I in vain
attempted to compose when I returned to my own.

A chaos of thoughts intruded themselves on me at once, passing hastily
through my brain, intercepting and overshadowing each other, and
resembling those fogs which in mountainous countries are wont to descend
in obscure volumes, and disfigure or obliterate the usual marks by which
the traveller steers his course through the wilds. The dark and undefined
idea of danger arising to my father from the machinations of such a man
as Rashleigh Osbaldistone--the half declaration of love that I had
offered to Miss Vernon's acceptance--the acknowledged difficulties of her
situation, bound by a previous contract to sacrifice herself to a
cloister or to an ill-assorted marriage,--all pressed themselves at once
upon my recollection, while my judgment was unable deliberately to
consider any of them in their just light and bearings. But chiefly and
above all the rest, I was perplexed by the manner in which Miss Vernon
had received my tender of affection, and by her manner, which,
fluctuating betwixt sympathy and firmness, seemed to intimate that I
possessed an interest in her bosom, but not of force sufficient to
counterbalance the obstacles to her avowing a mutual affection. The
glance of fear, rather than surprise, with which she had watched the
motion of the tapestry over the concealed door, implied an apprehension
of danger which I could not but suppose well grounded; for Diana Vernon
was little subject to the nervous emotions of her sex, and totally unapt
to fear without actual and rational cause. Of what nature could those
mysteries be, with which she was surrounded as with an enchanter's spell,
and which seemed continually to exert an active influence over her
thoughts and actions, though their agents were never visible? On this
subject of doubt my mind finally rested, as if glad to shake itself free
from investigating the propriety or prudence of my own conduct, by
transferring the inquiry to what concerned Miss Vernon. I will be
resolved, I concluded, ere I leave Osbaldistone Hall, concerning the
light in which I must in future regard this fascinating being, over whose
life frankness and mystery seem to have divided their reign,--the former
inspiring her words and sentiments--the latter spreading in misty
influence over all her actions.

Joined to the obvious interests which arose from curiosity and anxious
passion, there mingled in my feelings a strong, though unavowed and
undefined, infusion of jealousy. This sentiment, which springs up with
love as naturally as the tares with the wheat, was excited by the degree
of influence which Diana appeared to concede to those unseen beings by
whom her actions were limited. The more I reflected upon her character,
the more I was internally though unwillingly convinced, that she was
formed to set at defiance all control, excepting that which arose from
affection; and I felt a strong, bitter, and gnawing suspicion, that such
was the foundation of that influence by which she was overawed.

These tormenting doubts strengthened my desire to penetrate into the
secret of Miss Vernon's conduct, and in the prosecution of this sage
adventure, I formed a resolution, of which, if you are not weary of these
details, you will find the result in the next chapter.





CHAPTER SEVENTEENTH.


                     I hear a voice you cannot hear,
                     Which says, I must not stay;
                     I see a hand you cannot see,
                           Which beckons me awry.
                                            Tickell.

I have already told you, Tresham, if you deign to bear it in remembrance,
that my evening visits to the library had seldom been made except by
appointment, and under the sanction of old Dame Martha's presence. This,
however, was entirely a tacit conventional arrangement of my own
instituting. Of late, as the embarrassments of our relative situation had
increased, Miss Vernon and I had never met in the evening at all. She had
therefore no reason to suppose that I was likely to seek a renewal of
these interviews, and especially without some previous notice or
appointment betwixt us, that Martha might, as usual, be placed upon duty;
but, on the other hand, this cautionary provision was a matter of
understanding, not of express enactment. The library was open to me, as
to the other members of the family, at all hours of the day and night,
and I could not be accused of intrusion, however suddenly and
unexpectedly I might made my appearance in it. My belief was strong, that
in this apartment Miss Vernon occasionally received Vaughan, or some
other person, by whose opinion she was accustomed to regulate her
conduct, and that at the times when she could do so with least chance of
interruption. The lights which gleamed in the library at unusual
hours--the passing shadows which I had myself remarked--the footsteps
which might be traced in the morning-dew from the turret-door to the
postern-gate in the garden--sounds and sights which some of the servants,
and Andrew Fairservice in particular, had observed, and accounted for in
their own way,--all tended to show that the place was visited by some one
different from the ordinary inmates of the hall. Connected as this
visitant probably must be with the fates of Diana Vernon, I did not
hesitate to form a plan of discovering who or what he was,--how far his
influence was likely to produce good or evil consequences to her on whom
he acted;--above all, though I endeavoured to persuade myself that this
was a mere subordinate consideration, I desired to know by what means
this person had acquired or maintained his influence over Diana, and
whether he ruled over her by fear or by affection. The proof that this
jealous curiosity was uppermost in my mind, arose from my imagination
always ascribing Miss Vernon's conduct to the influence of some one
individual agent, although, for aught I knew about the matter, her
advisers might be as numerous am Legion. I remarked this over and over to
myself; but I found that my mind still settled back in my original
conviction, that one single individual, of the masculine sex, and in all
probability young and handsome, was at the bottom of Miss Vernon's
conduct; and it was with a burning desire of discovering, or rather of
detecting, such a rival, that I stationed myself in the garden to watch
the moment when the lights should appear in the library windows.

So eager, however, was my impatience, that I commenced my watch for a
phenomenon, which could not appear until darkness, a full hour before the
daylight disappeared, on a July evening. It was Sabbath, and all the
walks were still and solitary. I walked up and down for some time,
enjoying the refreshing coolness of a summer evening, and meditating on
the probable consequences of my enterprise. The fresh and balmy air of
the garden, impregnated with fragrance, produced its usual sedative
effects on my over-heated and feverish blood. As these took place, the
turmoil of my mind began proportionally to abate, and I was led to
question the right I had to interfere with Miss Vernon's secrets, or with
those of my uncle's family. What was it to me whom my uncle might choose
to conceal in his house, where I was myself a guest only by tolerance?
And what title had I to pry into the affairs of Miss Vernon, fraught, as
she had avowed them to be, with mystery, into which she desired no
scrutiny?

Passion and self-will were ready with their answers to these questions.
In detecting this secret, I was in all probability about to do service to
Sir Hildebrand, who was probably ignorant of the intrigues carried on in
his family--and a still more important service to Miss Vernon, whose
frank simplicity of character exposed her to so many risks in maintaining
a private correspondence, perhaps with a person of doubtful or dangerous
character. If I seemed to intrude myself on her confidence, it was with
the generous and disinterested (yes, I even ventured to call it the
_disinterested_) intention of guiding, defending, and protecting her
against craft--against malice,--above all, against the secret counsellor
whom she had chosen for her confidant. Such were the arguments which my
will boldly preferred to my conscience, as coin which ought to be
current, and which conscience, like a grumbling shopkeeper, was contented
to accept, rather than come to an open breach with a customer, though
more than doubting that the tender was spurious.

While I paced the green alleys, debating these things _pro_ and _con,_ I
suddenly alighted upon Andrew Fairservice, perched up like a statue by a
range of bee-hives, in an attitude of devout contemplation--one eye,
however, watching the motions of the little irritable citizens, who were
settling in their straw-thatched mansion for the evening, and the other
fixed on a book of devotion, which much attrition had deprived of its
corners, and worn into an oval shape; a circumstance which, with the
close print and dingy colour of the volume in question, gave it an air of
most respectable antiquity.

"I was e'en taking a spell o' worthy Mess John Quackleben's Flower of a
Sweet Savour sawn on the Middenstead of this World," said Andrew, closing
his book at my appearance, and putting his horn spectacles, by way of
mark, at the place where he had been reading.

"And the bees, I observe, were dividing your attention, Andrew, with the
learned author?"

"They are a contumacious generation," replied the gardener; "they hae sax
days in the week to hive on, and yet it's a common observe that they will
aye swarm on the Sabbath-day, and keep folk at hame frae hearing the
word--But there's nae preaching at Graneagain chapel the e'en--that's aye
ae mercy."

"You might have gone to the parish church as I did, Andrew, and heard an
excellent discourse."

"Clauts o' cauld parritch--clauts o' cauld parritch," replied Andrew,
with a most supercilious sneer,--"gude aneueh for dogs, begging your
honour's pardon--Ay! I might nae doubt hae heard the curate linking awa
at it in his white sark yonder, and the musicians playing on whistles,
mair like a penny-wedding than a sermon--and to the boot of that, I might
hae gaen to even-song, and heard Daddie Docharty mumbling his
mass--muckle the better I wad hae been o' that!"

"Docharty!" said I (this was the name of an old priest, an Irishman, I
think, who sometimes officiated at Osbaldistone Hall)--"I thought Father
Vaughan had been at the Hall. He was here yesterday."

"Ay," replied Andrew; "but he left it yestreen, to gang to Greystock, or
some o' thae west-country haulds. There's an unco stir among them a'
e'enow. They are as busy as my bees are--God sain them! that I suld even
the puir things to the like o' papists. Ye see this is the second swarm,
and whiles they will swarm off in the afternoon. The first swarm set off
sune in the morning.--But I am thinking they are settled in their skeps
for the night; sae I wuss your honour good-night, and grace, and muckle
o't."

So saying, Andrew retreated, but often cast a parting glance upon the
_skeps,_ as he called the bee-hives.

I had indirectly gained from him an important piece of information, that
Father Vaughan, namely, was not supposed to be at the Hall. If,
therefore, there appeared light in the windows of the library this
evening, it either could not be his, or he was observing a very secret
and suspicious line of conduct. I waited with impatience the time of
sunset and of twilight. It had hardly arrived, ere a gleam from the
windows of the library was seen, dimly distinguishable amidst the still
enduring light of the evening. I marked its first glimpse, however, as
speedily as the benighted sailor descries the first distant twinkle of
the lighthouse which marks his course. The feelings of doubt and
propriety, which had hitherto contended with my curiosity and jealousy,
vanished when an opportunity of gratifying the former was presented to
me. I re-entered the house, and avoiding the more frequented apartments
with the consciousness of one who wishes to keep his purpose secret, I
reached the door of the library--hesitated for a moment as my hand was
upon the latch--heard a suppressed step within--opened the door--and
found Miss Vernon alone.

Diana appeared surprised,--whether at my sudden entrance, or from some
other cause, I could not guess; but there was in her appearance a degree
of flutter, which I had never before remarked, and which I knew could
only be produced by unusual emotion. Yet she was calm in a moment; and
such is the force of conscience, that I, who studied to surprise her,
seemed myself the surprised, and was certainly the embarrassed person.

"Has anything happened?" said Miss Vernon--"has any one arrived at the
Hall?"

"No one that I know of," I answered, in some confusion; "I only sought
the Orlando."

"It lies there," said Miss Vernon, pointing to the table. In removing one
or two books to get at that which I pretended to seek, I was, in truth,
meditating to make a handsome retreat from an investigation to which I
felt my assurance inadequate, when I perceived a man's glove lying upon
the table. My eyes encountered those of Miss Vernon, who blushed deeply.

"It is one of my relics," she said with hesitation, replying not to my
words but to my looks; "it is one of the gloves of my grandfather, the
original of the superb Vandyke which you admire."

As if she thought something more than her bare assertion was necessary to
prove her statement true, she opened a drawer of the large oaken table,
and taking out another glove, threw it towards me.--When a temper
naturally ingenuous stoops to equivocate, or to dissemble, the anxious
pain with which the unwonted task is laboured, often induces the hearer
to doubt the authenticity of the tale. I cast a hasty glance on both
gloves, and then replied gravely--"The gloves resemble each other,
doubtless, in form and embroidery; but they cannot form a pair, since
they both belong to the right hand."

She bit her lip with anger, and again coloured deeply.

"You do right to expose me," she replied, with bitterness: "some friends
would have only judged from what I said, that I chose to give no
particular explanation of a circumstance which calls for none--at least
to a stranger. You have judged better, and have made me feel, not only
the meanness of duplicity, but my own inadequacy to sustain the task of a
dissembler. I now tell you distinctly, that that glove is not the fellow,
as you have acutely discerned, to the one which I just now produced;--it
belongs to a friend yet dearer to me than the original of Vandyke's
picture--a friend by whose counsels I have been, and will be,
guided--whom I honour--whom I"--she paused.

I was irritated at her manner, and filled up the blank in my own way--
"Whom she _loves_, Miss Vernon would say."

"And if I do say so," she replied haughtily, "by whom shall my affection
be called to account?"


[Illustration: Die Vernon and Frank in Library--234]


"Not by me, Miss Vernon, assuredly--I entreat you to hold me acquitted of
such presumption.--_But,_" I continued, with some emphasis, for I was now
piqued in return, "I hope Miss Vernon will pardon a friend, from whom she
seems disposed to withdraw the title, for observing"--

"Observe nothing, sir," she interrupted with some vehemence, "except that
I will neither be doubted nor questioned. There does not exist one by
whom I will be either interrogated or judged; and if you sought this
unusual time of presenting yourself in order to spy upon my privacy, the
friendship or interest with which you pretend to regard me, is a poor
excuse for your uncivil curiosity."

"I relieve you of my presence," said I, with pride equal to her own; for
my temper has ever been a stranger to stooping, even in cases where my
feelings were most deeply interested--"I relieve you of my presence. I
awake from a pleasant, but a most delusive dream; and--but we understand
each other."

I had reached the door of the apartment, when Miss Vernon, whose
movements were sometimes so rapid as to seem almost instinctive, overtook
me, and, catching hold of my arm, stopped me with that air of authority
which she could so whimsically assume, and which, from the _naivete_ and
simplicity of her manner, had an effect so peculiarly interesting.

"Stop, Mr. Frank," she said, "you are not to leave me in that way
neither; I am not so amply provided with friends, that I can afford to
throw away even the ungrateful and the selfish. Mark what I say, Mr.
Francis Osbaldistone. You shall know nothing of this mysterious glove,"
and she held it up as she spoke--"nothing--no, not a single iota more
than you know already; and yet I will not permit it to be a gauntlet of
strife and defiance betwixt us. My time here," she said, sinking into a
tone somewhat softer, "must necessarily be very short; yours must be
still shorter: we are soon to part never to meet again; do not let us
quarrel, or make any mysterious miseries the pretext for farther
embittering the few hours we shall ever pass together on this side of
eternity."

I do not know, Tresham, by what witchery this fascinating creature
obtained such complete management over a temper which I cannot at all
times manage myself. I had determined on entering the library, to seek a
complete explanation with Miss Vernon. I had found that she refused it
with indignant defiance, and avowed to my face the preference of a rival;
for what other construction could I put on her declared preference of her
mysterious confidant? And yet, while I was on the point of leaving the
apartment, and breaking with her for ever, it cost her but a change of
look and tone, from that of real and haughty resentment to that of kind
and playful despotism, again shaded off into melancholy and serious
feeling, to lead me back to my seat, her willing subject, on her own hard
terms.

"What does this avail?" said I, as I sate down. "What can this avail,
Miss Vernon? Why should I witness embarrassments which I cannot relieve,
and mysteries which I offend you even by attempting to penetrate?
Inexperienced as you are in the world, you must still be aware that a
beautiful young woman can have but one male friend. Even in a male friend
I will be jealous of a confidence shared with a third party unknown and
concealed; but with _you,_ Miss Vernon"--

"You are, of course, jealous, in all the tenses and moods of that amiable
passion? But, my good friend, you have all this time spoke nothing but
the paltry gossip which simpletons repeat from play-books and romances,
till they give mere cant a real and powerful influence over their minds.
Boys and girls prate themselves into love; and when their love is like to
fall asleep, they prate and tease themselves into jealousy. But you and
I, Frank, are rational beings, and neither silly nor idle enough to talk
ourselves into any other relation than that of plain honest disinterested
friendship. Any other union is as far out of our reach as if I were man,
or you woman--To speak truth," she added, after a moment's hesitation,
"even though I am so complaisant to the decorum of my sex as to blush a
little at my own plain dealing, we cannot marry if we would; and we ought
not if we could."

And certainly, Tresham, she did blush most angelically, as she made this
cruel declaration. I was about to attack both her positions, entirely
forgetting those very suspicions which had been confirmed in the course
of the evening, but she proceeded with a cold firmness which approached
to severity--"What I say is sober and indisputable truth, on which I will
neither hear question nor explanation. We are therefore friends, Mr.
Osbaldistone--are we not?" She held out her hand, and taking mine,
added--"And nothing to each other now, or henceforward, except as
friends."

She let go my hand. I sunk it and my head at once, fairly _overcrowed,_
as Spenser would have termed it, by the mingled kindness and firmness of
her manner. She hastened to change the subject.

"Here is a letter," she said, "directed for you, Mr. Osbaldistone, very
duly and distinctly; but which, notwithstanding the caution of the person
who wrote and addressed it, might perhaps never have reached your hands,
had it not fallen into the possession of a certain Pacolet, or enchanted
dwarf of mine, whom, like all distressed damsels of romance, I retain in
my secret service."

I opened the letter and glanced over the contents. The unfolded sheet of
paper dropped from my hands, with the involuntary exclamation of
"Gracious Heaven! my folly and disobedience have ruined my father!"

Miss Vernon rose with looks of real and affectionate alarm--"You grow
pale--you are ill--shall I bring you a glass of water? Be a man, Mr.
Osbaldistone, and a firm one. Is your father--is he no more?"

"He lives," said I, "thank God! but to what distress and difficulty"--

"If that be all, despair not, May I read this letter?" she said, taking
it up.

I assented, hardly knowing what I said. She read it with great attention.

"Who is this Mr. Tresham, who signs the letter?"

"My father's partner"--(your own good father, Will)--"but he is little in
the habit of acting personally in the business of the house."

"He writes here," said Miss Vernon, "of various letters sent to you
previously."

"I have received none of them," I replied.

"And it appears," she continued, "that Rashleigh, who has taken the full
management of affairs during your father's absence in Holland, has some
time since left London for Scotland, with effects and remittances to take
up large bills granted by your father to persons in that country, and
that he has not since been heard of."

"It is but too true."

"And here has been," she added, looking at the letter, "a head-clerk, or
some such person,--Owenson--Owen--despatched to Glasgow, to find out
Rashleigh, if possible, and you are entreated to repair to the same
place, and assist him in his researches."

"It is even so, and I must depart instantly."

"Stay but one moment," said Miss Vernon. "It seems to me that the worst
which can come of this matter, will be the loss of a certain sum of
money;--and can that bring tears into your eyes? For shame, Mr.
Osbaldistone!"

"You do me injustice, Miss Vernon," I answered. "I grieve not for the
loss of the money, but for the effect which I know it will produce on the
spirits and health of my father, to whom mercantile credit is as honour;
and who, if declared insolvent, would sink into the grave, oppressed by a
sense of grief, remorse, and despair, like that of a soldier convicted of
cowardice or a man of honour who had lost his rank and character in
society. All this I might have prevented by a trifling sacrifice of the
foolish pride and indolence which recoiled from sharing the labours of
his honourable and useful profession. Good Heaven! how shall I redeem the
consequences of my error?"

"By instantly repairing to Glasgow, as you are conjured to do by the
friend who writes this letter."

"But if Rashleigh," said I, "has really formed this base and
unconscientious scheme of plundering his benefactor, what prospect is
there that I can find means of frustrating a plan so deeply laid?'

"The prospect," she replied, "indeed, may be uncertain; but, on the other
hand, there is no possibility of your doing any service to your father by
remaining here. Remember, had you been on the post destined for you, this
disaster could not have happened: hasten to that which is now pointed
out, and it may possibly be retrieved.--Yet stay--do not leave this room
until I return."

 She left me in confusion and amazement; amid which, however, I could
find a lucid interval to admire the firmness, composure, and presence of
mind which Miss Vernon seemed to possess on every crisis, however sudden.

In a few minutes she returned with a sheet of paper in her hand, folded
and sealed like a letter, but without address. "I trust you," she said,
"with this proof of my friendship, because I have the most perfect
confidence in your honour. If I understand the nature of your distress
rightly, the funds in Rashleigh's possession must be recovered by a
certain day--the 12th of September, I think is named--in order that they
may be applied to pay the bills in question; and, consequently, that if
adequate funds be provided before that period, your father's credit is
safe from the apprehended calamity."

"Certainly--I so understand Mr. Tresham"--I looked at your father's
letter again, and added, "There cannot be a doubt of it."

"Well," said Diana, "in that case my little Pacolet may be of use to you.
You have heard of a spell contained in a letter. Take this packet; do not
open it until other and ordinary means have failed. If you succeed by
your own exertions, I trust to your honour for destroying it without
opening or suffering it to be opened;--but if not, you may break the seal
within ten days of the fated day, and you will find directions which may
possibly be of service to you. Adieu, Frank; we never meet more--but
sometimes think of your friend Die Vernon."

She extended her hand, but I clasped her to my bosom. She sighed as she
extricated herself from the embrace which she permitted--escaped to the
door which led to her own apartment--and I saw her no more.

END OF VOLUME ONE.







ROB ROY

By Sir Walter Scott


VOLUME TWO


[Illustration: Helen MacGregor--Frontispiece]


CHAPTER FIRST

                   And hurry, hurry, off they rode,
                       As fast as fast might be;
                   Hurra, hurra, the dead can ride,
                       Dost fear to ride with me?
                                            Burger.

There is one advantage in an accumulation of evils, differing in cause
and character, that the distraction which they afford by their
contradictory operation prevents the patient from being overwhelmed under
either. I was deeply grieved at my separation from Miss Vernon, yet not
so much so as I should have been, had not my father's apprehended
distresses forced themselves on my attention; and I was distressed by the
news of Mr. Tresham, yet less so than if they had fully occupied my mind.
I was neither a false lover nor an unfeeling son; but man can give but a
certain portion of distressful emotions to the causes which demand them;
and if two operate at once, our sympathy, like the funds of a compounding
bankrupt, can only be divided between them. Such were my reflections when
I gained my apartment--it seems, from the illustration, they already
began to have a twang of commerce in them.

I set myself seriously to consider your father's letter. It was not very
distinct, and referred for several particulars to Owen, whom I was
entreated to meet with as soon as possible at a Scotch town called
Glasgow; being informed, moreover, that my old friend was to be heard of
at Messrs. MacVittie, MacFin, and Company, merchants in the Gallowgate of
the said town. It likewise alluded to several letters,--which, as it
appeared to me, must have miscarried or have been intercepted, and
complained of my obdurate silence, in terms which would have, been highly
unjust, had my letters reached their purposed destination. I was amazed
as I read. That the spirit of Rashleigh walked around me, and conjured up
these doubts and difficulties by which I was surrounded, I could not
doubt for one instant; yet it was frightful to conceive the extent of
combined villany and power which he must have employed in the
perpetration of his designs. Let me do myself justice in one respect. The
evil of parting from Miss Vernon, however distressing it might in other
respects and at another time have appeared to me, sunk into a subordinate
consideration when I thought of the dangers impending over my father. I
did not myself set a high estimation on wealth, and had the affectation
of most young men of lively imagination, who suppose that they can better
dispense with the possession of money, than resign their time and
faculties to the labour necessary to acquire it. But in my father's case,
I knew that bankruptcy would be considered as an utter and irretrievable
disgrace, to which life would afford no comfort, and death the speediest
and sole relief.

My mind, therefore, was bent on averting this catastrophe, with an
intensity which the interest could not have produced had it referred to
my own fortunes; and the result of my deliberation was a firm resolution
to depart from Osbaldistone Hall the next day and wend my way without
loss of time to meet Owen at Glasgow. I did not hold it expedient to
intimate my departure to my uncle, otherwise than by leaving a letter of
thanks for his hospitality, assuring him that sudden and important
business prevented my offering them in person. I knew the blunt old
knight would readily excuse ceremony; and I had such a belief in the
extent and decided character of Rashleigh's machinations, that I had some
apprehension of his having provided means to intercept a journey which
was undertaken with a view to disconcert them, if my departure were
publicly announced at Osbaldistone Hall.

I therefore determined to set off on my journey with daylight on the
ensuing morning, and to gain the neighbouring kingdom of Scotland before
any idea of my departure was entertained at the Hall. But one impediment
of consequence was likely to prevent that speed which was the soul of my
expedition. I did not know the shortest, nor indeed any road to Glasgow;
and as, in the circumstances in which I stood, despatch was of the
greatest consequence, I determined to consult Andrew Fairservice on the
subject, as the nearest and most authentic authority within my reach.
Late as it was, I set off with the intention of ascertaining this
important point, and after a few minutes' walk reached the dwelling of
the gardener.

Andrew's dwelling was situated at no great distance from the exterior
wall of the garden--a snug comfortable Northumbrian cottage, built of
stones roughly dressed with the hammer, and having the windows and doors
decorated with huge heavy architraves, or lintels, as they are called, of
hewn stone, and its roof covered with broad grey flags, instead of
slates, thatch, or tiles. A jargonelle pear-tree at one end of the
cottage, a rivulet and flower-plot of a rood in extent in front, and a
kitchen-garden behind; a paddock for a cow, and a small field, cultivated
with several crops of grain, rather for the benefit of the cottager than
for sale, announced the warm and cordial comforts which Old England, even
at her most northern extremity, extends to her meanest inhabitants.

As I approached the mansion of the sapient Andrew, I heard a noise,
which, being of a nature peculiarly solemn, nasal, and prolonged, led me
to think that Andrew, according to the decent and meritorious custom of
his countrymen, had assembled some of his neighbours to join in family
exercise, as he called evening devotion. Andrew had indeed neither wife,
child, nor female inmate in his family. "The first of his trade," he
said, "had had eneugh o'thae cattle." But, notwithstanding, he sometimes
contrived to form an audience for himself out of the neighbouring Papists
and Church-of-Englandmen--brands, as he expressed it, snatched out of the
burning, on whom he used to exercise his spiritual gifts, in defiance
alike of Father Vaughan, Father Docharty, Rashleigh, and all the world of
Catholics around him, who deemed his interference on such occasions an
act of heretical interloping. I conceived it likely, therefore, that the
well-disposed neighbours might have assembled to hold some chapel of ease
of this nature. The noise, however, when I listened to it more
accurately, seemed to proceed entirely from the lungs of the said Andrew;
and when I interrupted it by entering the house, I found Fairservice
alone, combating as he best could, with long words and hard names, and
reading aloud, for the purpose of his own edification, a volume of
controversial divinity.

"I was just taking a spell," said he, laying aside the huge folio volume
as I entered, "of the worthy Doctor Lightfoot."

"Lightfoot!" I replied, looking at the ponderous volume with some
surprise; "surely your author was unhappily named."

"Lightfoot was his name, sir; a divine he was, and another kind of a
divine than they hae now-adays. Always, I crave your pardon for keeping
ye standing at the door, but having been mistrysted (gude preserve us!)
with ae bogle the night already, I was dubious o' opening the yett till I
had gaen through the e'ening worship; and I had just finished the fifth
chapter of Nehemiah--if that winna gar them keep their distance, I wotna
what will."

"Trysted with a bogle!" said I; "what do you mean by that, Andrew?"

"I said mistrysted," replied Andrew; "that is as muckle as to say, fley'd
wi' a ghaist--Gude preserve us, I say again!"

"Flay'd by a ghost, Andrew! how am I to understand that?"

"I did not say flay'd," replied Andrew, "but _fley'd,_--that is, I got a
fleg, and was ready to jump out o' my skin, though naebody offered to
whirl it aff my body as a man wad bark a tree."

"I beg a truce to your terrors in the present case, Andrew, and I wish to
know whether you can direct me the nearest way to a town in your country
of Scotland, called Glasgow?"

"A town ca'd Glasgow!" echoed Andrew Fairservice. "Glasgow's a ceety,
man.--And is't the way to Glasgow ye were speering if I ken'd?--What suld
ail me to ken it?--it's no that dooms far frae my ain parish of
Dreepdaily, that lies a bittock farther to the west. But what may your
honour be gaun to Glasgow for?"

"Particular business," replied I.

"That's as muckle as to say, Speer nae questions, and I'll tell ye nae
lees.--To Glasgow?"--he made a short pause--"I am thinking ye wad be the
better o' some ane to show you the road."

"Certainly, if I could meet with any person going that way."

"And your honour, doubtless, wad consider the time and trouble?"

"Unquestionably--my business is pressing, and if you can find any guide
to accompany me, I'll pay him handsomely."

"This is no a day to speak o' carnal matters," said Andrew, casting his
eyes upwards; "but if it werena Sabbath at e'en, I wad speer what ye wad
be content to gie to ane that wad bear ye pleasant company on the road,
and tell ye the names of the gentlemen's and noblemen's seats and
castles, and count their kin to ye?"

"I tell you, all I want to know is the road I must travel; I will pay the
fellow to his satisfaction--I will give him anything in reason."

"Onything," replied Andrew, "is naething; and this lad that I am speaking
o' kens a' the short cuts and queer by-paths through the hills, and"--

"I have no time to talk about it, Andrew; do you make the bargain for me
your own way."

"Aha! that's speaking to the purpose," answered Andrew.--"I am thinking,
since sae be that sae it is, I'll be the lad that will guide you mysell."

"You, Andrew?--how will you get away from your employment?"

"I tell'd your honour a while syne, that it was lang that I hae been
thinking o' flitting, maybe as lang as frae the first year I came to
Osbaldistone Hall; and now I am o' the mind to gang in gude
earnest--better soon as syne--better a finger aff as aye wagging."

"You leave your service, then?--but will you not lose your wages?"

"Nae doubt there will be a certain loss; but then I hae siller o' the
laird's in my hands that I took for the apples in the auld orchyard--and
a sair bargain the folk had that bought them--a wheen green trash--and
yet Sir Hildebrand's as keen to hae the siller (that is, the steward is
as pressing about it) as if they had been a' gowden pippins--and then
there's the siller for the seeds--I'm thinking the wage will be in a
manner decently made up.--But doubtless your honour will consider my risk
of loss when we win to Glasgow--and ye'll be for setting out forthwith?"

"By day-break in the morning," I answered.

"That's something o' the suddenest--whare am I to find a naig?--Stay--I
ken just the beast that will answer me."

"At five in the morning, then, Andrew, you will meet me at the head of
the avenue."

"Deil a fear o' me (that I suld say sae) missing my tryste," replied
Andrew, very briskly; "and if I might advise, we wad be aff twa hours
earlier. I ken the way, dark or light, as weel as blind Ralph Ronaldson,
that's travelled ower every moor in the country-side, and disna ken the
colour of a heather-cowe when a's dune."

I highly approved of Andrew's amendment on my original proposal, and we
agreed to meet at the place appointed at three in the morning. At once,
however, a reflection came across the mind of my intended travelling
companion.

"The bogle! the bogle! what if it should come out upon us?--I downa
forgather wi' thae things twice in the four-and-twenty hours."

"Pooh! pooh!" I exclaimed, breaking away from him, "fear nothing from the
next world--the earth contains living fiends, who can act for themselves
without assistance, were the whole host that fell with Lucifer to return
to aid and abet them."

With these words, the import of which was suggested by my own situation,
I left Andrew's habitation, and returned to the Hall.

I made the few preparations which were necessary for my proposed journey,
examined and loaded my pistols, and then threw myself on my bed, to
obtain, if possible, a brief sleep before the fatigue of a long and
anxious journey. Nature, exhausted by the tumultuous agitations of the
day, was kinder to me than I expected, and I stink into a deep and
profound slumber, from which, however, I started as the old clock struck
two from a turret adjoining to my bedchamber. I instantly arose, struck a
light, wrote the letter I proposed to leave for my uncle, and leaving
behind me such articles of dress as were cumbrous in carriage, I
deposited the rest of my wardrobe in my valise, glided down stairs, and
gained the stable without impediment. Without being quite such a groom as
any of my cousins, I had learned at Osbaldistone Hall to dress and saddle
my own horse, and in a few minutes I was mounted and ready for my sally.

As I paced up the old avenue, on which the waning moon threw its light
with a pale and whitish tinge, I looked back with a deep and boding sigh
towards the walls which contained Diana Vernon, under the despondent
impression that we had probably parted to meet no more. It was
impossible, among the long and irregular lines of Gothic casements, which
now looked ghastly white in the moonlight, to distinguish that of the
apartment which she inhabited. "She is lost to me already," thought I, as
my eye wandered over the dim and indistinguishable intricacies of
architecture offered by the moonlight view of Osbaldistone Hall--"She is
lost to me already, ere I have left the place which she inhabits! What
hope is there of my maintaining any correspondence with her, when leagues
shall lie between?"

While I paused in a reverie of no very pleasing nature, the "iron tongue
of time told three upon the drowsy ear of night," and reminded me of the
necessity of keeping my appointment with a person of a less interesting
description and appearance--Andrew Fairservice.

At the gate of the avenue I found a horseman stationed in the shadow of
the wall, but it was not until I had coughed twice, and then called
"Andrew," that the horticulturist replied, "I'se warrant it's Andrew."

"Lead the way, then," said I, "and be silent if you can, till we are past
the hamlet in the valley."

Andrew led the way accordingly, and at a much brisker pace than I would
have recommended.--and so well did he obey my injunctions of keeping
silence, that he would return no answer to my repeated inquiries into the
cause of such unnecessary haste. Extricating ourselves by short cuts,
known to Andrew, from the numerous stony lanes and by-paths which
intersected each other in the vicinity of the Hall, we reached the open
heath and riding swiftly across it, took our course among the barren
hills which divide England from Scotland on what are called the Middle
Marches. The way, or rather the broken track which we occupied, was a
happy interchange of bog and shingles; nevertheless, Andrew relented
nothing of his speed, but trotted manfully forward at the rate of eight
or ten miles an hour. I was both surprised and provoked at the fellow's
obstinate persistence, for we made abrupt ascents and descents over
ground of a very break-neck character, and traversed the edge of
precipices, where a slip of the horse's feet would have consigned the
rider to certain death. The moon, at best, afforded a dubious and
imperfect light; but in some places we were so much under the shade of
the mountain as to be in total darkness, and then I could only trace
Andrew by the clatter of his horse's feet, and the fire which they struck
from the flints. At first, this rapid motion, and the attention which,
for the sake of personal safety, I was compelled to give to the conduct
of my horse, was of service, by forcibly diverting my thoughts from the
various painful reflections which must otherwise have pressed on my mind.
But at length, after hallooing repeatedly to Andrew to ride slower, I
became seriously incensed at his impudent perseverance in refusing either
to obey or to reply to me. My anger was, however, quite impotent. I
attempted once or twice to get up alongside of my self-willed guide, with
the purpose of knocking him off his horse with the butt-end of my whip;
but Andrew was better mounted than I, and either the spirit of the animal
which he bestrode, or more probably some presentiment of my kind
intentions towards him, induced him to quicken his pace whenever I
attempted to make up to him. On the other hand, I was compelled to exert
my spurs to keep him in sight, for without his guidance I was too well
aware that I should never find my way through the howling wilderness
which we now traversed at such an unwonted pace. I was so angry at
length, that I threatened to have recourse to my pistols, and send a
bullet after the Hotspur Andrew, which should stop his fiery-footed
career, if he did not abate it of his own accord. Apparently this threat
made some impression on the tympanum of his ear, however deaf to all my
milder entreaties; for he relaxed his pace upon hearing it, and,
suffering me to close up to him, observed, "There wasna muckle sense in
riding at sic a daft-like gate."

"And what did you mean by doing so at all, you self-willed scoundrel?"
replied I; for I was in a towering passion,--to which, by the way,
nothing contributes more than the having recently undergone a spice of
personal fear, which, like a few drops of water flung on a glowing fire,
is sure to inflame the ardour which it is insufficient to quench.

"What's your honour's wull?" replied Andrew, with impenetrable gravity.

"My will, you rascal?--I have been roaring to you this hour to ride
slower, and you have never so much as answered me--Are you drunk or mad
to behave so?"

"An it like your honour, I am something dull o' hearing; and I'll no deny
but I might have maybe taen a stirrup-cup at parting frae the auld
bigging whare I hae dwelt sae lang; and having naebody to pledge, nae
doubt I was obliged to do mysell reason, or else leave the end o' the
brandy stoup to thae papists--and that wad be a waste, as your honour
kens."

This might be all very true,--and my circumstances required that I should
be on good terms with my guide; I therefore satisfied myself with
requiring of him to take his directions from me in future concerning the
rate of travelling.

Andrew, emboldened by the mildness of my tone, elevated his own into the
pedantic, conceited octave, which was familiar to him on most occasions.

"Your honour winna persuade me, and naebody shall persuade me, that it's
either halesome or prudent to tak the night air on thae moors without a
cordial o' clow-gilliflower water, or a tass of brandy or aquavitae, or
sic-like creature-comfort. I hae taen the bent ower the Otterscrape-rigg
a hundred times, day and night, and never could find the way unless I had
taen my morning; mair by token that I had whiles twa bits o' ankers o'
brandy on ilk side o' me."--

"In other words, Andrew," said I, "you were a smuggler--how does a man of
your strict principles reconcile yourself to cheat the revenue?"

"It's a mere spoiling o' the Egyptians," replied Andrew; "puir auld
Scotland suffers eneugh by thae blackguard loons o' excisemen and
gaugers, that hae come down on her like locusts since the sad and
sorrowfu' Union; it's the part of a kind son to bring her a soup o'
something that will keep up her auld heart,--and that will they nill
they, the ill-fa'ard thieves!"

Upon more particular inquiry, I found Andrew had frequently travelled
these mountain-paths as a smuggler, both before and after his
establishment at Osbaldistone Hall--a circumstance which was so far of
importance to me, as it proved his capacity as a guide, notwithstanding
the escapade of which he had been guilty at his outset, Even now, though
travelling at a more moderate pace, the stirrup-cup, or whatever else had
such an effect in stimulating Andrew's motions, seemed not totally to
have lost its influence. He often cast a nervous and startled look behind
him; and whenever the road seemed at all practicable, showed symptoms of
a desire to accelerate his pace, as if he feared some pursuit from the
rear. These appearances of alarm gradually diminished as we reached the
top of a high bleak ridge, which ran nearly east and west for about a
mile, with a very steep descent on either side. The pale beams of the
morning were now enlightening the horizon, when Andrew cast a look behind
him, and not seeing the appearance of a living being on the moors which
he had travelled, his hard features gradually unbent, as he first
whistled, then sung, with much glee and little melody, the end of one of
his native songs--

                    "Jenny, lass! I think I hae her
                     Ower the muir amang the heather,
                     All their clan shall never get her."

He patted at the same time the neck of the horse which had carried him so
gallantly; and my attention being directed by that action to the animal,
I instantly recognised a favourite mare of Thorncliff Osbaldistone. "How
is this, sir?" said I sternly; "that is Mr. Thorncliff's mare!"

"I'll no say but she may aiblins hae been his honour's Squire
Thorncliff's in her day--but she's mine now."

"You have stolen her, you rascal."

"Na, na, sir--nae man can wyte me wi' theft. The thing stands this gate,
ye see. Squire Thorncliff borrowed ten punds o' me to gang to York
Races--deil a boddle wad he pay me back again, and spake o' raddling my
banes, as he ca'd it, when I asked him but for my ain back again;--now I
think it will riddle him or he gets his horse ower the Border
again--unless he pays me plack and bawbee, he sall never see a hair o'
her tail. I ken a canny chield at Loughmaben, a bit writer lad, that
will put me in the way to sort him. Steal the mear! na, na, far be the
sin o' theft frae Andrew Fairservice--I have just arrested her
_jurisdictionis fandandy causey._ Thae are bonny writer words--amaist
like the language o' huz gardeners and other learned men--it's a pity
they're sae dear;--thae three words were a' that Andrew got for a lang
law-plea and four ankers o' as gude brandy as was e'er coupit ower
craig--Hech, sirs! but law's a dear thing."

"You are likely to find it much dearer than you suppose, Andrew, if you
proceed in this mode of paying yourself, without legal authority."

"Hout tout, we're in Scotland now (be praised for't!) and I can find
baith friends and lawyers, and judges too, as weel as ony Osbaldistone o'
them a'. My mither's mither's third cousin was cousin to the Provost o'
Dumfries, and he winna see a drap o' her blude wranged. Hout awa! the
laws are indifferently administered here to a' men alike; it's no like on
yon side, when a chield may be whuppit awa' wi' ane o' Clerk Jobson's
warrants, afore he kens where he is. But they will hae little enough law
amang them by and by, and that is ae grand reason that I hae gi'en them
gude-day."

I was highly provoked at the achievement of Andrew, and considered it as
a hard fate, which a second time threw me into collision with a person of
such irregular practices. I determined, however, to buy the mare of him,
when he should reach the end of our journey, and send her back to my
cousin at Osbaldistone Hall; and with this purpose of reparation I
resolved to make my uncle acquainted from the next post-town. It was
needless, I thought, to quarrel with Andrew in the meantime, who had,
after all, acted not very unnaturally for a person in his circumstances.
I therefore smothered my resentment, and asked him what he meant by his
last expressions, that there would be little law in Northumberland by and
by?

"Law!" said Andrew, "hout, ay--there will be club-law eneugh. The priests
and the Irish officers, and thae papist cattle that hae been sodgering
abroad, because they durstna bide at hame, are a' fleeing thick in
Northumberland e'enow; and thae corbies dinna gather without they smell
carrion. As sure as ye live, his honour Sir Hildebrand is gaun to stick
his horn in the bog--there's naething but gun and pistol, sword and
dagger, amang them--and they'll be laying on, I'se warrant; for they're
fearless fules the young Osbaldistone squires, aye craving your honour's
pardon."

This speech recalled to my memory some suspicions that I myself had
entertained, that the Jacobites were on the eve of some desperate
enterprise. But, conscious it did not become me to be a spy on my uncle's
words and actions, I had rather avoided than availed myself of any
opportunity which occurred of remarking upon the signs of the times.--
Andrew Fairservice felt no such restraint, and doubtless spoke very truly
in stating his conviction that some desperate plots were in agitation, as
a reason which determined his resolution to leave the Hall.

"The servants," he stated, "with the tenantry and others, had been all
regularly enrolled and mustered, and they wanted me to take arms also.
But I'll ride in nae siccan troop--they little ken'd Andrew that asked
him. I'll fight when I like mysell, but it sall neither be for the hure
o' Babylon, nor any hure in England."





CHAPTER SECOND.


                 Where longs to fall yon rifted spire,
                     As weary of the insulting air,--
                 The poet's thoughts, the warrior's fire,
                     The lover's sighs, are sleeping there.
                                             Langhorne.

At the first Scotch town which we reached, my guide sought out his friend
and counsellor, to consult upon the proper and legal means of converting
into his own lawful property the "bonny creature," which was at present
his own only by one of those sleight-of-hand arrangements which still
sometimes took place in that once lawless district. I was somewhat
diverted with the dejection of his looks on his return. He had, it seems,
been rather too communicative to his confidential friend, the attorney;
and learned with great dismay, in return for his unsuspecting frankness,
that Mr. Touthope had, during his absence, been appointed clerk to the
peace of the county, and was bound to communicate to justice all such
achievements as that of his friend Mr. Andrew Fairservice. There was a
necessity, this alert member of the police stated, for arresting the
horse, and placing him in Bailie Trumbull's stable, therein to remain at
livery, at the rate of twelve shillings (Scotch) per diem, until the
question of property was duly tried and debated. He even talked as if, in
strict and rigorous execution of his duty, he ought to detain honest
Andrew himself; but on my guide's most piteously entreating his
forbearance, he not only desisted from this proposal, but made a present
to Andrew of a broken-winded and spavined pony, in order to enable him to
pursue his journey. It is true, he qualified this act of generosity by
exacting from poor Andrew an absolute cession of his right and interest
in the gallant palfrey of Thorncliff Osbaldistone--a transference which
Mr. Touthope represented as of very little consequence, since his
unfortunate friend, as he facetiously observed, was likely to get nothing
of the mare excepting the halter.

Andrew seemed woeful and disconcerted, as I screwed out of him these
particulars; for his northern pride was cruelly pinched by being
compelled to admit that attorneys were attorneys on both sides of the
Tweed; and that Mr. Clerk Touthope was not a farthing more sterling coin
than Mr. Clerk Jobson.

"It wadna hae vexed him half sae muckle to hae been cheated out o' what
might amaist be said to be won with the peril o' his craig, had it
happened amang the Inglishers; but it was an unco thing to see hawks pike
out hawks' e'en, or ae kindly Scot cheat anither. But nae doubt things
were strangely changed in his country sin' the sad and sorrowfu' Union;"
an event to which Andrew referred every symptom of depravity or
degeneracy which he remarked among his countrymen, more especially the
inflammation of reckonings, the diminished size of pint-stoups, and other
grievances, which he pointed out to me during our journey.

For my own part, I held myself, as things had turned out, acquitted of
all charge of the mare, and wrote to my uncle the circumstances under
which she was carried into Scotland, concluding with informing him that
she was in the hands of justice, and her worthy representatives, Bailie
Trumbull and Mr. Clerk Touthope, to whom I referred him for farther
particulars. Whether the property returned to the Northumbrian
fox-hunter, or continued to bear the person of the Scottish attorney, it
is unnecessary for me at present to say.

We now pursued our journey to the north-westward, at a rate much slower
than that at which we had achieved our nocturnal retreat from England.
One chain of barren and uninteresting hills succeeded another, until the
more fertile vale of Clyde opened upon us; and, with such despatch as we
might, we gained the town, or, as my guide pertinaciously termed it, the
city, of Glasgow. Of late years, I understand, it has fully deserved the
name, which, by a sort of political second sight, my guide assigned to
it. An extensive and increasing trade with the West Indies and American
colonies, has, if I am rightly informed, laid the foundation of wealth
and prosperity, which, if carefully strengthened and built upon, may one
day support an immense fabric of commercial prosperity; but in the
earlier time of which I speak, the dawn of this splendour had not arisen.
The Union had, indeed, opened to Scotland the trade of the English
colonies; but, betwixt want of capital, and the national jealousy of the
English, the merchants of Scotland were as yet excluded, in a great
measure, from the exercise of the privileges which that memorable treaty
conferred on them. Glasgow lay on the wrong side of the island for
participating in the east country or continental trade, by which the
trifling commerce as yet possessed by Scotland chiefly supported itself.
Yet, though she then gave small promise of the commercial eminence to
which, I am informed, she seems now likely one day to attain, Glasgow, as
the principal central town of the western district of Scotland, was a
place of considerable rank and importance. The broad and brimming Clyde,
which flows so near its walls, gave the means of an inland navigation of
some importance. Not only the fertile plains in its immediate
neighbourhood, but the districts of Ayr and Dumfries regarded Glasgow as
their capital, to which they transmitted their produce, and received in
return such necessaries and luxuries as their consumption required.

The dusky mountains of the western Highlands often sent forth wilder
tribes to frequent the marts of St. Mungo's favourite city. Hordes of
wild shaggy, dwarfish cattle and ponies, conducted by Highlanders, as
wild, as shaggy, and sometimes as dwarfish, as the animals they had in
charge, often traversed the streets of Glasgow. Strangers gazed with
surprise on the antique and fantastic dress, and listened to the unknown
and dissonant sounds of their language, while the mountaineers, armed,
even while engaged in this peaceful occupation, with musket and pistol,
sword, dagger, and target, stared with astonishment on the articles of
luxury of which they knew not the use, and with an avidity which seemed
somewhat alarming on the articles which they knew and valued. It is
always with unwillingness that the Highlander quits his deserts, and at
this early period it was like tearing a pine from its rock, to plant him
elsewhere. Yet even then the mountain glens were over-peopled, although
thinned occasionally by famine or by the sword, and many of their
inhabitants strayed down to Glasgow--there formed settlements--there
sought and found employment, although different, indeed, from that of
their native hills. This supply of a hardy and useful population was of
consequence to the prosperity of the place, furnished the means of
carrying on the few manufactures which the town already boasted, and laid
the foundation of its future prosperity.

The exterior of the city corresponded with these promising circumstances.
The principal street was broad and important, decorated with public
buildings, of an architecture rather striking than correct in point of
taste, and running between rows of tall houses, built of stone, the
fronts of which were occasionally richly ornamented with mason-work--a
circumstance which gave the street an imposing air of dignity and
grandeur, of which most English towns are in some measure deprived, by
the slight, insubstantial, and perishable quality and appearance of the
bricks with which they are constructed.

In the western metropolis of Scotland, my guide and I arrived on a
Saturday evening, too late to entertain thoughts of business of any kind.
We alighted at the door of a jolly hostler-wife, as Andrew called
her,--the Ostelere of old father Chaucer,--by whom we were civilly
received.

On the following morning the bells pealed from every steeple, announcing
the sanctity of the day. Notwithstanding, however, what I had heard of
the severity with which the Sabbath is observed in Scotland, my first
impulse, not unnaturally, was to seek out Owen; but on inquiry I found
that my attempt would be in vain, "until kirk time was ower." Not only
did my landlady and guide jointly assure me that "there wadna be a living
soul either in the counting-house or dwelling-house of Messrs. MacVittie,
MacFin, and Company," to which Owen's letter referred me, but, moreover,
"far less would I find any of the partners there. They were serious men,
and wad be where a' gude Christians ought to be at sic a time, and that
was in the Barony Laigh Kirk."*

* [The Laigh Kirk or Crypt of the Cathedral of Glasgow served for more *
than two centuries as the church of the Barony Parish, and, for a time,
was * converted into a burial-place. In the restorations of this grand
building * the crypt was cleared out, and is now admired as one of the
richest specimens * of Early English architecture existing in Scotland.]

Andrew Fairservice, whose disgust at the law of his country had
fortunately not extended itself to the other learned professions of his
native land, now sung forth the praises of the preacher who was to
perform the duty, to which my hostess replied with many loud amens. The
result was, that I determined to go to this popular place of worship, as
much with the purpose of learning, if possible, whether Owen had arrived
in Glasgow, as with any great expectation of edification. My hopes were
exalted by the assurance, that if Mr. Ephraim MacVittie (worthy man) were
in the land of life, he would surely honour the Barony Kirk that day with
his presence; and if he chanced to have a stranger within his gates,
doubtless he would bring him to the duty along with him. This probability
determined my motions, and under the escort of my faithful Andrew, I set
forth for the Barony Kirk.

On this occasion, however, I had little need of his guidance; for the
crowd, which forced its way up a steep and rough-paved street, to hear
the most popular preacher in the west of Scotland, would of itself have
swept me along with it. On attaining the summit of the hill, we turned to
the left, and a large pair of folding doors admitted us, amongst others,
into the open and extensive burying-place which surrounds the Minster or
Cathedral Church of Glasgow. The pile is of a gloomy and massive, rather
than of an elegant, style of Gothic architecture; but its peculiar
character is so strongly preserved, and so well suited with the
accompaniments that surround it, that the impression of the first view
was awful and solemn in the extreme. I was indeed so much struck, that I
resisted for a few minutes all Andrew's efforts to drag me into the
interior of the building, so deeply was I engaged in surveying its
outward character.

Situated in a populous and considerable town, this ancient and massive
pile has the appearance of the most sequestered solitude. High walls
divide it from the buildings of the city on one side; on the other it is
bounded by a ravine, at the bottom of which, and invisible to the eye,
murmurs a wandering rivulet, adding, by its gentle noise, to the imposing
solemnity of the scene. On the opposite side of the ravine rises a steep
bank, covered with fir-trees closely planted, whose dusky shade extends
itself over the cemetery with an appropriate and gloomy effect. The
churchyard itself had a peculiar character; for though in reality
extensive, it is small in proportion to the number of respectable
inhabitants who are interred within it, and whose graves are almost all
covered with tombstones. There is therefore no room for the long rank
grass, which, in most cases, partially clothes the surface of those
retreats where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at
rest. The broad flat monumental stones are placed so close to each other,
that the precincts appear to be flagged with them, and, though roofed
only by the heavens, resemble the floor of one of our old English
churches, where the pavement is covered with sepulchral inscriptions. The
contents of these sad records of mortality, the vain sorrows which they
preserve, the stern lesson which they teach of the nothingness of
humanity, the extent of ground which they so closely cover, and their
uniform and melancholy tenor, reminded me of the roll of the prophet,
which was "written within and without, and there was written therein
lamentations and mourning and woe."

The Cathedral itself corresponds in impressive majesty with these
accompaniments. We feel that its appearance is heavy, yet that the effect
produced would be destroyed were it lighter or more ornamental. It is the
only metropolitan church in Scotland, excepting, as I am informed, the
Cathedral of Kirkwall, in the Orkneys, which remained uninjured at the
Reformation; and Andrew Fairservice, who saw with great pride the effect
which it produced upon my mind, thus accounted for its preservation--"Ah!
it's a brave kirk--nane o' yere whig-maleeries and curliewurlies and
opensteek hems about it--a' solid, weel-jointed mason-wark, that will
stand as lang as the warld, keep hands and gunpowther aff it. It had
amaist a douncome lang syne at the Reformation, when they pu'd doun the
kirks of St. Andrews and Perth, and thereawa', to cleanse them o' Papery,
and idolatry, and image worship, and surplices, and sic like rags o' the
muckle hure that sitteth on seven hills, as if ane wasna braid eneugh for
her auld hinder end. Sae the commons o' Renfrew, and o' the Barony, and
the Gorbals and a' about, they behoved to come into Glasgow no fair
morning, to try their hand on purging the High Kirk o' Popish
nick-nackets. But the townsmen o' Glasgow, they were feared their auld
edifice might slip the girths in gaun through siccan rough physic, sae
they rang the common bell, and assembled the train-bands wi' took o'
drum. By good luck, the worthy James Rabat was Dean o' Guild that
year--(and a gude mason he was himself, made him the keener to keep up
the auld bigging)--and the trades assembled, and offered downright
battle to the commons, rather than their kirk should coup the crans as
others had done elsewhere. It wasna for luve o' Paperie--na, na!--nane
could ever say that o' the trades o' Glasgow--Sae they sune came to an
agreement to take a' the idolatrous statues of sants (sorrow be on them)
out o' their neuks--and sae the bits o' stane idols were broken in
pieces by Scripture warrant, and flung into the Molendinar burn, and the
auld kirk stood as crouse as a cat when the flaes are kaimed aff her,
and a' body was alike pleased. And I hae heard wise folk say, that if
the same had been done in ilka kirk in Scotland, the Reform wad just hae
been as pure as it is e'en now, and we wad hae mair Christian-like
kirks; for I hae been sae lang in England, that naething will drived out
o' my head, that the dog-kennel at Osbaldistone Hall is better than mony
a house o' God in Scotland."

Thus saying, Andrew led the way into the place of worship.





CHAPTER THIRD.

                          --It strikes an awe
               And terror on my aching sight; the tombs
               And monumental caves of death look cold,
               And shoot a chillness to the trembling heart.
                                           Mourning Bride.

Notwithstanding the impatience of my conductor, I could not forbear to
pause and gaze for some minutes on the exterior of the building, rendered
more impressively dignified by the solitude which ensued when its
hitherto open gates were closed, after having, as it were, devoured the
multitude which had lately crowded the churchyard, but now, enclosed
within the building, were engaged, as the choral swell of voices from
within announced to us, in the solemn exercises of devotion. The sound of
so many voices united by the distance into one harmony, and freed from
those harsh discordances which jar the ear when heard more near,
combining with the murmuring brook, and the wind which sung among the old
firs, affected me with a sense of sublimity. All nature, as invoked by
the Psalmist whose verses they chanted, seemed united in offering that
solemn praise in which trembling is mixed with joy as she addressed her
Maker. I had heard the service of high mass in France, celebrated with
all the _e'clat_ which the choicest music, the richest dresses, the most
imposing ceremonies, could confer on it; yet it fell short in effect of
the simplicity of the Presbyterian worship. The devotion in which every
one took a share seemed so superior to that which was recited by
musicians as a lesson which they had learned by rote, that it gave the
Scottish worship all the advantage of reality over acting.

As I lingered to catch more of the solemn sound, Andrew, whose impatience
became ungovernable, pulled me by the sleeve--"Come awa', sir--come awa';
we maunna be late o' gaun in to disturb the worship; if we bide here the
searchers will be on us, and carry us to the guard-house for being idlers
in kirk-time."

Thus admonished, I followed my guide, but not, as I had supposed, into
the body of the cathedral. "This gate--this gate, sir," he exclaimed,
dragging me off as I made towards the main entrance of the
building--"There's but cauldrife law-work gaun on yonder--carnal
morality, as dow'd and as fusionless as rue leaves at Yule--Here's the
real savour of doctrine."

So saying, we entered a small low-arched door, secured by a wicket, which
a grave-looking person seemed on the point of closing, and descended
several steps as if into the funeral vaults beneath the church. It was
even so; for in these subterranean precincts,--why chosen for such a
purpose I knew not,--was established a very singular place of worship.

Conceive, Tresham, an extensive range of low-browed, dark, and twilight
vaults, such as are used for sepulchres in other countries, and had long
been dedicated to the same purpose in this, a portion of which was seated
with pews, and used as a church. The part of the vaults thus occupied,
though capable of containing a congregation of many hundreds, bore a
small proportion to the darker and more extensive caverns which yawned
around what may be termed the inhabited space. In those waste regions of
oblivion, dusky banners and tattered escutcheons indicated the graves of
those who were once, doubtless, "princes in Israel." Inscriptions, which
could only be read by the painful antiquary, in language as obsolete as
the act of devotional charity which they employed, invited the passengers
to pray for the souls of those whose bodies rested beneath. Surrounded by
these receptacles of the last remains of mortality, I found a numerous
congregation engaged in the act of prayer. The Scotch perform this duty
in a standing instead of a kneeling posture--more, perhaps, to take as
broad a distinction as possible from the ritual of Rome than for any
better reason; since I have observed, that in their family worship, as
doubtless in their private devotions, they adopt, in their immediate
address to the Deity, that posture which other Christians use as the
humblest and most reverential. Standing, therefore, the men being
uncovered, a crowd of several hundreds of both sexes, and all ages,
listened with great reverence and attention to the extempore, at least
the unwritten, prayer of an aged clergyman,* who was very popular in the
city.

* I have in vain laboured to discover this gentleman's name, and the
period of his incumbency. I do not, however, despair to see these points,
with some others which may elude my sagacity, satisfactorily elucidated
by one or other of the periodical publications which have devoted their
pages to explanatory commentaries on my former volumes; and whose
research and ingenuity claim my peculiar gratitude, for having discovered
many persons and circumstances connected with my narratives, of which I
myself never so much as dreamed.

Educated in the same religious persuasion, I seriously bent my mind to
join in the devotion of the day; and it was not till the congregation
resumed their seats, that my attention was diverted to the consideration
of the appearance of all around me.

At the conclusion of the prayer, most of the men put on their hats or
bonnets, and all who had the happiness to have seats sate down. Andrew
and I were not of this number, having been too late of entering the
church to secure such accommodation. We stood among a number of other
persons in the same situation, forming a sort of ring around the seated
part of the congregation. Behind and around us were the vaults I have
already described; before us the devout audience, dimly shown by the
light which streamed on their faces through one or two low Gothic
windows, such as give air and light to charnel-houses. By this were seen
the usual variety of countenances which are generally turned towards a
Scotch pastor on such occasions, almost all composed to attention, unless
where a father or mother here and there recalls the wandering eyes of a
lively child, or disturbs the slumbers of a dull one. The high-boned and
harsh countenance of the nation, with the expression of intelligence and
shrewdness which it frequently exhibits, is seen to more advantage in the
act of devotion, or in the ranks of war, than on lighter and more
cheerful occasions of assemblage. The discourse of the preacher was well
qualified to call forth the various feelings and faculties of his
audience.

Age and infirmities had impaired the powers of a voice originally strong
and sonorous. He read his text with a pronunciation somewhat
inarticulate; but when he closed the Bible, and commenced his sermon, his
tones gradually strengthened, as he entered with vehemence into the
arguments which he maintained. They related chiefly to the abstract
points of the Christian faith,--subjects grave, deep, and fathomless by
mere human reason, but for which, with equal ingenuity and propriety, he
sought a key in liberal quotations from the inspired writings. My mind
was unprepared to coincide in all his reasoning, nor was I sure that in
some instances I rightly comprehended his positions. But nothing could be
more impressive than the eager enthusiastic manner of the good old man,
and nothing more ingenious than his mode of reasoning. The Scotch, it is
well known, are more remarkable for the exercise of their intellectual
powers, than for the keenness of their feelings; they are, therefore,
more moved by logic than by rhetoric, and more attracted by acute and
argumentative reasoning on doctrinal points, than influenced by the
enthusiastic appeals to the heart and to the passions, by which popular
preachers in other countries win the favour of their hearers.

Among the attentive group which I now saw, might be distinguished various
expressions similar to those of the audience in the famous cartoon of
Paul preaching at Athens. Here sat a zealous and intelligent Calvinist,
with brows bent just as much as to indicate profound attention; lips
slightly compressed; eyes fixed on the minister with an expression of
decent pride, as if sharing the triumph of his argument; the forefinger
of the right hand touching successively those of the left, as the
preacher, from argument to argument, ascended towards his conclusion.
Another, with fiercer and sterner look, intimated at once his contempt of
all who doubted the creed of his pastor, and his joy at the appropriate
punishment denounced against them. A third, perhaps belonging to a
different congregation, and present only by accident or curiosity, had
the appearance of internally impeaching some link of the reasoning; and
you might plainly read, in the slight motion of his head, his doubts as
to the soundness of the preacher's argument. The greater part listened
with a calm, satisfied countenance, expressive of a conscious merit in
being present, and in listening to such an ingenious discourse, although
perhaps unable entirely to comprehend it. The women in general belonged
to this last division of the audience; the old, however, seeming more
grimly intent upon the abstract doctrines laid before them; while the
younger females permitted their eyes occasionally to make a modest
circuit around the congregation; and some of them, Tresham (if my vanity
did not greatly deceive me), contrived to distinguish your friend and
servant, as a handsome young stranger and an Englishman. As to the rest
of the congregation, the stupid gaped, yawned, or slept, till awakened by
the application of their more zealous neighbours' heels to their shins;
and the idle indicated their inattention by the wandering of their eyes,
but dared give no more decided token of weariness. Amid the Lowland
costume of coat and cloak, I could here and there discern a Highland
plaid, the wearer of which, resting on his basket-hilt, sent his eyes
among the audience with the unrestrained curiosity of savage wonder; and
who, in all probability, was inattentive to the sermon for a very
pardonable reason--because he did not understand the language in which it
was delivered. The martial and wild look, however, of these stragglers,
added a kind of character which the congregation could not have exhibited
without them. They were more numerous, Andrew afterwards observed, owing
to some cattle-fair in the neighbourhood.

Such was the group of countenances, rising tier on tier, discovered to my
critical inspection by such sunbeams as forced their way through the
narrow Gothic lattices of the Laigh Kirk of Glasgow; and, having
illuminated the attentive congregation, lost themselves in the vacuity of
the vaults behind, giving to the nearer part of their labyrinth a sort of
imperfect twilight, and leaving their recesses in an utter darkness,
which gave them the appearance of being interminable.

I have already said that I stood with others in the exterior circle, with
my face to the preacher, and my back to those vaults which I have so
often mentioned. My position rendered me particularly obnoxious to any
interruption which arose from any slight noise occurring amongst these
retiring arches, where the least sound was multiplied by a thousand
echoes. The occasional sound of rain-drops, which, admitted through some
cranny in the ruined roof, fell successively, and splashed upon the
pavement beneath, caused me to turn my head more than once to the place
from whence it seemed to proceed, and when my eyes took that direction, I
found it difficult to withdraw them; such is the pleasure our imagination
receives from the attempt to penetrate as far as possible into an
intricate labyrinth, imperfectly lighted, and exhibiting objects which
irritate our curiosity, only because they acquire a mysterious interest
from being undefined and dubious. My eyes became habituated to the gloomy
atmosphere to which I directed them, and insensibly my mind became more
interested in their discoveries than in the metaphysical subtleties which
the preacher was enforcing.

My father had often checked me for this wandering mood of mind, arising
perhaps from an excitability of imagination to which he was a stranger;
and the finding myself at present solicited by these temptations to
inattention, recalled the time when I used to walk, led by his hand, to
Mr. Shower's chapel, and the earnest injunctions which he then laid on me
to redeem the time, because the days were evil. At present, the picture
which my thoughts suggested, far from fixing my attention, destroyed the
portion I had yet left, by conjuring up to my recollection the peril in
which his affairs now stood. I endeavoured, in the lowest whisper I could
frame, to request Andrew to obtain information, whether any of the
gentlemen of the firm of MacVittie & Co. were at present in the
congregation. But Andrew, wrapped in profound attention to the sermon,
only replied to my suggestion by hard punches with his elbow, as signals
to me to remain silent. I next strained my eyes, with equally bad
success, to see if, among the sea of up-turned faces which bent their
eyes on the pulpit as a common centre, I could discover the sober and
business-like physiognomy of Owen. But not among the broad beavers of the
Glasgow citizens, or the yet broader brimmed Lowland bonnets of the
peasants of Lanarkshire, could I see anything resembling the decent
periwig, starched ruffles, or the uniform suit of light-brown garments
appertaining to the head-clerk of the establishment of Osbaldistone and
Tresham. My anxiety now returned on me with such violence as to overpower
not only the novelty of the scene around me, by which it had hitherto
been diverted, but moreover my sense of decorum. I pulled Andrew hard by
the sleeve, and intimated my wish to leave the church, and pursue my
investigation as I could. Andrew, obdurate in the Laigh Kirk of Glasgow
as on the mountains of Cheviot, for some time deigned me no answer; and
it was only when he found I could not otherwise be kept quiet, that he
condescended to inform me, that, being once in the church, we could not
leave it till service was over, because the doors were locked so soon as
the prayers began. Having thus spoken in a brief and peevish whisper,
Andrew again assumed the air of intelligent and critical importance, and
attention to the preacher's discourse.

While I endeavoured to make a virtue of necessity, and recall my
attention to the sermon, I was again disturbed by a singular
interruption. A voice from behind whispered distinctly in my ear, "You
are in danger in this city."--I turned round, as if mechanically.

One or two starched and ordinary-looking mechanics stood beside and
behind me,--stragglers, who, like ourselves, had been too late in
obtaining entrance. But a glance at their faces satisfied me, though I
could hardly say why, that none of these was the person who had spoken to
me. Their countenances seemed all composed to attention to the sermon,
and not one of them returned any glance of intelligence to the
inquisitive and startled look with which I surveyed them. A massive round
pillar, which was close behind us, might have concealed the speaker the
instant he uttered his mysterious caution; but wherefore it was given in
such a place, or to what species of danger it directed my attention, or
by whom the warning was uttered, were points on which my imagination lost
itself in conjecture. It would, however, I concluded, be repeated, and I
resolved to keep my countenance turned towards the clergyman, that the
whisperer might be tempted to renew his communication under the idea that
the first had passed unobserved.

My plan succeeded. I had not resumed the appearance of attention to the
preacher for five minutes, when the same voice whispered, "Listen, but do
not look back." I kept my face in the same direction. "You are in danger
in this place," the voice proceeded; "so am I--meet me to-night on the
Brigg, at twelve preceesely--keep at home till the gloaming, and avoid
observation."

Here the voice ceased, and I instantly turned my head. But the speaker
had, with still greater promptitude, glided behind the pillar, and
escaped my observation. I was determined to catch a sight of him, if
possible, and extricating myself from the outer circle of hearers, I also
stepped behind the column. All there was empty; and I could only see a
figure wrapped in a mantle, whether a Lowland cloak, or Highland plaid, I
could not distinguish, which traversed, like a phantom, the dreary
vacuity of vaults which I have described.

I made a mechanical attempt to pursue the mysterious form, which glided
away and vanished in the vaulted cemetery, like the spectre of one of the
numerous dead who rested within its precincts. I had little chance of
arresting the course of one obviously determined not to be spoken with;
but that little chance was lost by my stumbling and falling before I had
made three steps from the column. The obscurity which occasioned my
misfortune, covered my disgrace; which I accounted rather lucky, for the
preacher, with that stern authority which the Scottish ministers assume
for the purpose of keeping order in their congregations, interrupted his
discourse, to desire the "proper officer" to take into custody the causer
of this disturbance in the place of worship. As the noise, however, was
not repeated, the beadle, or whatever else he was called, did not think
it necessary to be rigorous in searching out the offender, so that I was
enabled, without attracting farther observation, to place myself by
Andrew's side in my original position. The service proceeded, and closed
without the occurrence of anything else worthy of notice.

As the congregation departed and dispersed, my friend Andrew exclaimed,
"See, yonder is worthy Mr. MacVittie, and Mrs. MacVittie, and Miss Alison
MacVittie, and Mr. Thamas MacFin, that they say is to marry Miss Alison,
if a' bowls row right--she'll hae a hantle siller, if she's no that
bonny."

My eyes took the direction he pointed out. Mr. MacVittie was a tall,
thin, elderly man, with hard features, thick grey eyebrows, light eyes,
and, as I imagined, a sinister expression of countenance, from which my
heart recoiled. I remembered the warning I had received in the church,
and hesitated to address this person, though I could not allege to myself
any rational ground of dislike or suspicion.

I was yet in suspense, when Andrew, who mistook my hesitation for
bashfulness, proceeded to exhort me to lay it aside. "Speak till
him--speak till him, Mr. Francis--he's no provost yet, though they say
he'll be my lord neist year. Speak till him, then--he'll gie ye a decent
answer for as rich as he is, unless ye were wanting siller frae
him--they say he's dour to draw his purse."

It immediately occurred to me, that if this merchant were really of the
churlish and avaricious disposition which Andrew intimated, there might
be some caution necessary in making myself known, as I could not tell how
accounts might stand between my father and him. This consideration came
in aid of the mysterious hint which I had received, and the dislike which
I had conceived at the man's countenance. Instead of addressing myself
directly to him, as I had designed to have done, I contented myself with
desiring Andrew to inquire at Mr. MacVittie's house the address of Mr.
Owen, an English gentleman; and I charged him not to mention the person
from whom he received the commission, but to bring me the result to the
small inn where we lodged. This Andrew promised to do. He said something
of the duty of my attending the evening service; but added with a
causticity natural to him, that "in troth, if folk couldna keep their
legs still, but wad needs be couping the creels ower through-stanes, as
if they wad raise the very dead folk wi' the clatter, a kirk wi' a
chimley in't was fittest for them."





CHAPTER FOURTH.

                 On the Rialto, every night at twelve,
                 I take my evening's walk of meditation:
                         There we two will meet.
                                        Venice Preserved.

Full of sinister augury, for which, however, I could assign no
satisfactory cause, I shut myself up in my apartment at the inn, and
having dismissed Andrew, after resisting his importunity to accompany him
to St. Enoch's Kirk,* where, he said, "a soul-searching divine was to haud
forth," I set myself seriously to consider what were best to be done.

* This I believe to be an anachronism, as Saint Enoch's Church was not
built at the date of the story. [It was founded in 1780, and has since
been rebuilt.]

I never was what is properly called superstitious; but I suppose that all
men, in situations of peculiar doubt and difficulty, when they have
exercised their reason to little purpose, are apt, in a sort of despair,
to abandon the reins to their imagination, and be guided altogether by
chance, or by those whimsical impressions which take possession of the
mind, and to which we give way as if to involuntary impulses. There was
something so singularly repulsive in the hard features of the Scotch
trader, that I could not resolve to put myself into his hands without
transgressing every caution which could be derived from the rules of
physiognomy; while, at the same time, the warning voice, the form which
flitted away like a vanishing shadow through those vaults, which might be
termed "the valley of the shadow of death," had something captivating for
the imagination of a young man, who, you will farther please to remember,
was also a young poet.

If danger was around me, as the mysterious communication intimated, how
could I learn its nature, or the means of averting it, but by meeting my
unknown counsellor, to whom I could see no reason for imputing any other
than kind intentions. Rashleigh and his machinations occurred more than
once to my remembrance;--but so rapid had my journey been, that I could
not suppose him apprised of my arrival in Glasgow, much less prepared to
play off any stratagem against my person. In my temper also I was bold
and confident, strong and active in person, and in some measure
accustomed to the use of arms, in which the French youth of all kinds
were then initiated. I did not fear any single opponent; assassination
was neither the vice of the age nor of the country; the place selected
for our meeting was too public to admit any suspicion of meditated
violence. In a word, I resolved to meet my mysterious counsellor on the
bridge, as he had requested, and to be afterwards guided by
circumstances. Let me not conceal from you, Tresham, what at the time I
endeavoured to conceal from myself--the subdued, yet secretly-cherished
hope, that Diana Vernon might--by what chance I knew not--through what
means I could not guess--have some connection with this strange and
dubious intimation conveyed at a time and place, and in a manner so
surprising. She alone--whispered this insidious thought--she alone knew
of my journey; from her own account, she possessed friends and influence
in Scotland; she had furnished me with a talisman, whose power I was to
invoke when all other aid failed me; who then but Diana Vernon possessed
either means, knowledge, or inclination, for averting the dangers, by
which, as it seemed, my steps were surrounded? This flattering view of my
very doubtful case pressed itself upon me again and again. It insinuated
itself into my thoughts, though very bashfully, before the hour of
dinner; it displayed its attractions more boldly during the course of my
frugal meal, and became so courageously intrusive during the succeeding
half-hour (aided perhaps by the flavour of a few glasses of most
excellent claret), that, with a sort of desperate attempt to escape from
a delusive seduction, to which I felt the danger of yielding, I pushed my
glass from me, threw aside my dinner, seized my hat, and rushed into the
open air with the feeling of one who would fly from his own thoughts. Yet
perhaps I yielded to the very feelings from which I seemed to fly, since
my steps insensibly led me to the bridge over the Clyde, the place
assigned for the rendezvous by my mysterious monitor.

Although I had not partaken of my repast until the hours of evening
church-service were over,--in which, by the way, I complied with the
religious scruples of my landlady, who hesitated to dress a hot dinner
between sermons, and also with the admonition of my unknown friend, to
keep my apartment till twilight,--several hours had still to pass away
betwixt the time of my appointment and that at which I reached the
assigned place of meeting. The interval, as you will readily credit, was
wearisome enough; and I can hardly explain to you how it passed away.
Various groups of persons, all of whom, young and old, seemed impressed
with a reverential feeling of the sanctity of the day, passed along the
large open meadow which lies on the northern bank of the Clyde, and
serves at once as a bleaching-field and pleasure-walk for the
inhabitants, or paced with slow steps the long bridge which communicates
with the southern district of the county. All that I remember of them was
the general, yet not unpleasing, intimation of a devotional character
impressed on each little party--formally assumed perhaps by some, but
sincerely characterising the greater number--which hushed the petulant
gaiety of the young into a tone of more quiet, yet more interesting,
interchange of sentiments, and suppressed the vehement argument and
protracted disputes of those of more advanced age. Notwithstanding the
numbers who passed me, no general sound of the human voice was heard; few
turned again to take some minutes' voluntary exercise, to which the
leisure of the evening, and the beauty of the surrounding scenery, seemed
to invite them: all hurried to their homes and resting-places. To one
accustomed to the mode of spending Sunday evenings abroad, even among the
French Calvinists, there seemed something Judaical, yet, at the same time
striking and affecting, in this mode of keeping the Sabbath holy.
Insensibly I felt my mode of sauntering by the side of the river, and
crossing successively the various persons who were passing homeward, and
without tarrying or delay, must expose me to observation at least, if not
to censure; and I slunk out of the frequented path, and found a trivial
occupation for my mind in marshalling my revolving walk in such a manner
as should least render me obnoxious to observation. The different alleys
lined out through this extensive meadow, and which are planted with
trees, like the Park of St. James's in London, gave me facilities for
carrying into effect these childish manoeuvres.

As I walked down one of these avenues, I heard, to my surprise, the sharp
and conceited voice of Andrew Fairservice, raised by a sense of
self-consequence to a pitch somewhat higher than others seemed to think
consistent with the solemnity of the day. To slip behind the row of trees
under which I walked was perhaps no very dignified proceeding; but it was
the easiest mode of escaping his observation, and perhaps his impertinent
assiduity, and still more intrusive curiosity. As he passed, I heard him
communicate to a grave-looking man, in a black coat, a slouched hat, and
Geneva cloak, the following sketch of a character, which my self-love,
while revolting against it as a caricature, could not, nevertheless,
refuse to recognise as a likeness.

"Ay, ay, Mr. Hammorgaw, it's e'en as I tell ye. He's no a'thegither sae
void o' sense neither; he has a gloaming sight o' what's reasonable--that
is anes and awa'--a glisk and nae mair; but he's crack-brained and
cockle-headed about his nipperty-tipperty poetry nonsense--He'll glowr at
an auld-warld barkit aik-snag as if it were a queezmaddam in full
bearing; and a naked craig, wi' a bum jawing ower't, is unto him as a
garden garnisht with flowering knots and choice pot-herbs. Then he wad
rather claver wi' a daft quean they ca' Diana Vernon (weel I wet they
might ca' her Diana of the Ephesians, for she's little better than a
heathen--better? she's waur--a Roman, a mere Roman)--he'll claver wi'
her, or any ither idle slut, rather than hear what might do him gude a'
the days of his life, frae you or me, Mr. Hammorgaw, or ony ither sober
and sponsible person. Reason, sir, is what he canna endure--he's a' for
your vanities and volubilities; and he ance tell'd me (puir blinded
creature!) that the Psalms of David were excellent poetry! as if the holy
Psalmist thought o' rattling rhymes in a blether, like his ain silly
clinkum-clankum things that he ca's verse. Gude help him!--twa lines o'
Davie Lindsay would ding a' he ever clerkit."

While listening to this perverted account of my temper and studies, you
will not be surprised if I meditated for Mr. Fairservice the unpleasant
surprise of a broken pate on the first decent opportunity. His friend
only intimated his attention by "Ay, ay!" and "Is't e'en sae?" and
suchlike expressions of interest, at the proper breaks in Mr.
Fairservice's harangue, until at length, in answer to some observation of
greater length, the import of which I only collected from my trusty
guide's reply, honest Andrew answered, "Tell him a bit o'my mind, quoth
ye? Wha wad be fule then but Andrew? He's a red-wad deevil, man--He's
like Giles Heathertap's auld boar;--ye need but shake a clout at him to
make him turn and gore. Bide wi' him, say ye?--Troth, I kenna what for I
bide wi' him mysell. But the lad's no a bad lad after a'; and he needs
some carefu' body to look after him. He hasna the right grip o' his
hand--the gowd slips through't like water, man; and it's no that ill a
thing to be near him when his purse is in his hand, and it's seldom out
o't. And then he's come o' guid kith and kin--My heart warms to the poor
thoughtless callant, Mr. Hammorgaw--and then the penny fee"--

In the latter part of this instructive communication, Mr. Fairservice
lowered his voice to a tone better beseeming the conversation in a place
of public resort on a Sabbath evening, and his companion and he were soon
beyond my hearing. My feelings of hasty resentment soon subsided, under
the conviction that, as Andrew himself might have said, "A harkener
always hears a bad tale of himself," and that whoever should happen to
overhear their character discussed in their own servants'-hall, must
prepare to undergo the scalpel of some such anatomist as Mr. Fairservice.
The incident was so far useful, as, including the feelings to which it
gave rise, it sped away a part of the time which hung so heavily on my
hand.

Evening had now closed, and the growing darkness gave to the broad,
still, and deep expanse of the brimful river, first a hue sombre and
uniform--then a dismal and turbid appearance, partially lighted by a
waning and pallid moon. The massive and ancient bridge which stretches
across the Clyde was now but dimly visible, and resembled that which
Mirza, in his unequalled vision, has described as traversing the valley
of Bagdad. The low-browed arches, seen as imperfectly as the dusky
current which they bestrode, seemed rather caverns which swallowed up the
gloomy waters of the river, than apertures contrived for their passage.
With the advancing night the stillness of the scene increased. There was
yet a twinkling light occasionally seen to glide along by the stream,
which conducted home one or two of the small parties, who, after the
abstinence and religious duties of the day, had partaken of a social
supper--the only meal at which the rigid Presbyterians made some advance
to sociality on the Sabbath. Occasionally, also, the hoofs of a horse
were heard, whose rider, after spending the Sunday in Glasgow, was
directing his steps towards his residence in the country. These sounds
and sights became gradually of more rare occurrence; at length they
altogether ceased, and I was left to enjoy my solitary walk on the shores
of the Clyde in solemn silence, broken only by the tolling of the
successive hours from the steeples of the churches.

But as the night advanced my impatience at the uncertainty of the
situation in which I was placed increased every moment, and became nearly
ungovernable. I began to question whether I had been imposed upon by the
trick of a fool, the raving of a madman, or the studied machinations of a
villain, and paced the little quay or pier adjoining the entrance to the
bridge, in a state of incredible anxiety and vexation. At length the hour
of twelve o'clock swung its summons over the city from the belfry of the
metropolitan church of St. Mungo, and was answered and vouched by all the
others like dutiful diocesans. The echoes had scarcely ceased to repeat
the last sound, when a human form--the first I had seen for two
hours--appeared passing along the bridge from the southern shore of the
river. I advanced to meet him with a feeling as if my fate depended on
the result of the interview, so much had my anxiety been wound up by
protracted expectation. All that I could remark of the passenger as we
advanced towards each other, was that his frame was rather beneath than
above the middle size, but apparently strong, thick-set, and muscular;
his dress a horseman's wrapping coat. I slackened my pace, and almost
paused as I advanced in expectation that he would address me. But to my
inexpressible disappointment he passed without speaking, and I had no
pretence for being the first to address one who, notwithstanding his
appearance at the very hour of appointment, might nevertheless be an
absolute stranger. I stopped when he had passed me, and looked after
him, uncertain whether I ought not to follow him. The stranger walked on
till near the northern end of the bridge, then paused, looked back, and
turning round, again advanced towards me. I resolved that this time he
should not have the apology for silence proper to apparitions, who, it
is vulgarly supposed, cannot speak until they are spoken to. "You walk
late, sir," said I, as we met a second time.

"I bide tryste," was the reply; "and so I think do you, Mr.
Osbaldistone."

"You are then the person who requested to meet me here at this unusual
hour?"

"I am," he replied. "Follow me, and you shall know my reasons."

"Before following you, I must know your name and purpose," I answered.

"I am a man," was the reply; "and my purpose is friendly to you."

"A man!" I repeated;--"that is a very brief description."

"It will serve for one who has no other to give," said the stranger. "He
that is without name, without friends, without coin, without country, is
still at least a man; and he that has all these is no more."

"Yet this is still too general an account of yourself, to say the least
of it, to establish your credit with a stranger."

"It is all I mean to give, howsoe'er; you may choose to follow me, or to
remain without the information I desire to afford you."

"Can you not give me that information here?" I demanded.

"You must receive it from your eyes, not from my tongue--you must follow
me, or remain in ignorance of the information which I have to give you."

There was something short, determined, and even stern, in the man's
manner, not certainly well calculated to conciliate undoubting
confidence.

"What is it you fear?" he said impatiently. "To whom, think ye, is your
life of such consequence, that they should seek to bereave ye of it?"

"I fear nothing," I replied firmly, though somewhat hastily. "Walk on--I
attend you."

We proceeded, contrary to my expectation, to re-enter the town, and
glided like mute spectres, side by side, up its empty and silent streets.
The high and gloomy stone fronts, with the variegated ornaments and
pediments of the windows, looked yet taller and more sable by the
imperfect moonshine. Our walk was for some minutes in perfect silence. At
length my conductor spoke.

"Are you afraid?"

"I retort your own words," I replied: "wherefore should I fear?"

"Because you are with a stranger--perhaps an enemy, in a place where you
have no friends and many enemies."

"I neither fear you nor them; I am young, active, and armed."

"I am not armed," replied my conductor: "but no matter, a willing hand
never lacked weapon. You say you fear nothing; but if you knew who was by
your side, perhaps you might underlie a tremor."

"And why should I?" replied I. "I again repeat, I fear nought that you
can do."

"Nought that I can do?--Be it so. But do you not fear the consequences of
being found with one whose very name whispered in this lonely street
would make the stones themselves rise up to apprehend him--on whose head
half the men in Glasgow would build their fortune as on a found treasure,
had they the luck to grip him by the collar--the sound of whose
apprehension were as welcome at the Cross of Edinburgh as ever the news
of a field stricken and won in Flanders?"

"And who then are you, whose name should create so deep a feeling of
terror?" I replied.

"No enemy of yours, since I am conveying you to a place, where, were I
myself recognised and identified, iron to the heels and hemp to the craig
would be my brief dooming."

I paused and stood still on the pavement, drawing back so as to have the
most perfect view of my companion which the light afforded me, and which
was sufficient to guard against any sudden motion of assault.

"You have said," I answered, "either too much or too little--too much to
induce me to confide in you as a mere stranger, since you avow yourself a
person amenable to the laws of the country in which we are--and too
little, unless you could show that you are unjustly subjected to their
rigour."

As I ceased to speak, he made a step towards me. I drew back
instinctively, and laid my hand on the hilt of my sword.

"What!" said he--"on an unarmed man, and your friend?"

"I am yet ignorant if you are either the one or the other," I replied;
"and to say the truth, your language and manner might well entitle me to
doubt both."

"It is manfully spoken," replied my conductor; "and I respect him whose
hand can keep his head.--I will be frank and free with you--I am
conveying you to prison."

"To prison!" I exclaimed--"by what warrant or for what offence?--You
shall have my life sooner than my liberty--I defy you, and I will not
follow you a step farther."

"I do not," he said, "carry you there as a prisoner; I am," he added,
drawing himself haughtily up, "neither a messenger nor sheriff's officer.
I carry you to see a prisoner from whose lips you will learn the risk in
which you presently stand. Your liberty is little risked by the visit;
mine is in some peril; but that I readily encounter on your account, for
I care not for risk, and I love a free young blood, that kens no
protector but the cross o' the sword."

While he spoke thus, we had reached the principal street, and were
pausing before a large building of hewn stone, garnished, as I thought I
could perceive, with gratings of iron before the windows.

"Muckle," said the stranger, whose language became more broadly national
as he assumed a tone of colloquial freedom--"Muckle wad the provost and
bailies o' Glasgow gie to hae him sitting with iron garters to his hose
within their tolbooth that now stands wi' his legs as free as the
red-deer's on the outside on't. And little wad it avail them; for an if
they had me there wi' a stane's weight o' iron at every ankle, I would
show them a toom room and a lost lodger before to-morrow--But come on,
what stint ye for?"

As he spoke thus, he tapped at a low wicket, and was answered by a sharp
voice, as of one awakened from a dream or reverie,--"Fa's tat?--Wha's
that, I wad say?--and fat a deil want ye at this hour at e'en?--Clean
again rules--clean again rules, as they ca' them."

The protracted tone in which the last words were uttered, betokened that
the speaker was again composing himself to slumber. But my guide spoke in
a loud whisper--"Dougal, man! hae ye forgotten Ha nun Gregarach?"

"Deil a bit, deil a bit," was the ready and lively response, and I heard
the internal guardian of the prison-gate bustle up with great alacrity. A
few words were exchanged between my conductor and the turnkey in a
language to which I was an absolute stranger. The bolts revolved, but
with a caution which marked the apprehension that the noise might be
overheard, and we stood within the vestibule of the prison of Glasgow,--a
small, but strong guard-room, from which a narrow staircase led upwards,
and one or two low entrances conducted to apartments on the same level
with the outward gate, all secured with the jealous strength of wickets,
bolts, and bars. The walls, otherwise naked, were not unsuitably
garnished with iron fetters, and other uncouth implements, which might be
designed for purposes still more inhuman, interspersed with partisans,
guns, pistols of antique manufacture, and other weapons of defence and
offence.

At finding myself so unexpectedly, fortuitously, and, as it were, by
stealth, introduced within one of the legal fortresses of Scotland, I
could not help recollecting my adventure in Northumberland, and fretting
at the strange incidents which again, without any demerits of my own,
threatened to place me in a dangerous and disagreeable collision with the
laws of a country which I visited only in the capacity of a stranger.





CHAPTER FIFTH.


            Look round thee, young Astolpho: Here's the place
            Which men (for being poor) are sent to starve in;
                Rude remedy, I trow, for sore disease.
            Within these walls, stifled by damp and stench,
            Doth Hope's fair torch expire; and at the snuff,
            Ere yet 'tis quite extinct, rude, wild, and way-ward,
                The desperate revelries of wild despair,
            Kindling their hell-born cressets, light to deeds
            That the poor captive would have died ere practised,
                Till bondage sunk his soul to his condition.
                                  The Prison, _Scene III. Act I._

At my first entrance I turned an eager glance towards my conductor; but
the lamp in the vestibule was too low in flame to give my curiosity any
satisfaction by affording a distinct perusal of his features. As the
turnkey held the light in his hand, the beams fell more full on his own
scarce less interesting figure. He was a wild shock-headed looking
animal, whose profusion of red hair covered and obscured his features,
which were otherwise only characterised by the extravagant joy that
affected him at the sight of my guide. In my experience I have met
nothing so absolutely resembling my idea of a very uncouth, wild, and
ugly savage, adoring the idol of his tribe. He grinned, he shivered, he
laughed, he was near crying, if he did not actually cry. He had a "Where
shall I go?--What can I do for you?" expression of face; the complete,
surrendered, and anxious subservience and devotion of which it is
difficult to describe, otherwise than by the awkward combination which I
have attempted. The fellow's voice seemed choking in his ecstasy, and
only could express itself in such interjections as "Oigh! oigh!--Ay!
ay!--it's lang since she's seen ye!" and other exclamations equally brief,
expressed in the same unknown tongue in which he had communicated with my
conductor while we were on the outside of the jail door. My guide
received all this excess of joyful gratulation much like a prince too
early accustomed to the homage of those around him to be much moved by
it, yet willing to requite it by the usual forms of royal courtesy. He
extended his hand graciously towards the turnkey, with a civil inquiry of
"How's a' wi' you, Dougal?"

"Oigh! oigh!" exclaimed Dougal, softening the sharp exclamations of his
surprise as he looked around with an eye of watchful alarm--"Oigh! to see
you here--to see you here!--Oigh!--what will come o' ye gin the bailies
suld come to get witting--ta filthy, gutty hallions, tat they are?"

My guide placed his finger on his lip, and said, "Fear nothing, Dougal;
your hands shall never draw a bolt on me."

"Tat sall they no," said Dougal; "she suld--she wad--that is, she wishes
them hacked aff by the elbows first--But when are ye gaun yonder again?
and ye'll no forget to let her ken--she's your puir cousin, God kens,
only seven times removed."

"I will let you ken, Dougal, as soon as my plans are settled."

"And, by her sooth, when you do, an it were twal o' the Sunday at e'en,
she'll fling her keys at the provost's head or she gie them anither turn,
and that or ever Monday morning begins--see if she winna."

My mysterious stranger cut his acquaintance's ecstasies short by again
addressing him, in what I afterwards understood to be the Irish, Earse,
or Gaelic, explaining, probably, the services which he required at his
hand. The answer, "Wi' a' her heart--wi' a' her soul," with a good deal
of indistinct muttering in a similar tone, intimated the turnkey's
acquiescence in what he proposed. The fellow trimmed his dying lamp, and
made a sign to me to follow him.

"Do you not go with us?" said I, looking to my conductor.

"It is unnecessary," he replied; "my company may be inconvenient for you,
and I had better remain to secure our retreat."

"I do not suppose you mean to betray me to danger," said I.

"To none but what I partake in doubly," answered the stranger, with a
voice of assurance which it was impossible to mistrust.

I followed the turnkey, who, leaving the inner wicket unlocked behind
him, led me up a _turnpike_ (so the Scotch call a winding stair), then
along a narrow gallery--then opening one of several doors which led into
the passage, he ushered me into a small apartment, and casting his eye on
the pallet-bed which occupied one corner, said with an under voice, as he
placed the lamp on a little deal table, "She's sleeping."

"She!--who?--can it be Diana Vernon in this abode of misery?"

I turned my eye to the bed, and it was with a mixture of disappointment
oddly mingled with pleasure, that I saw my first suspicion had deceived
me. I saw a head neither young nor beautiful, garnished with a grey beard
of two days' growth, and accommodated with a red nightcap. The first
glance put me at ease on the score of Diana Vernon; the second, as the
slumberer awoke from a heavy sleep, yawned, and rubbed his eyes,
presented me with features very different indeed--even those of my poor
friend Owen. I drew back out of view an instant, that he might have time
to recover himself; fortunately recollecting that I was but an intruder
on these cells of sorrow, and that any alarm might be attended with
unhappy consequences.

Meantime, the unfortunate formalist, raising himself from the pallet-bed
with the assistance of one hand, and scratching his cap with the other,
exclaimed in a voice in which as much peevishness as he was capable of
feeling, contended with drowsiness, "I'll tell you what, Mr. Dug-well, or
whatever your name may be, the sum-total of the matter is, that if my
natural rest is to be broken in this manner, I must complain to the lord
mayor."

"Shentlemans to speak wi' her," replied Dougal, resuming the true dogged
sullen tone of a turnkey, in exchange for the shrill clang of Highland
congratulation with which he had welcomed my mysterious guide; and,
turning on his heel, he left the apartment.

It was some time before I could prevail upon the unfortunate sleeper
awakening to recognise me; and when he did so, the distress of the worthy
creature was extreme, at supposing, which he naturally did, that I had
been sent thither as a partner of his captivity.

"O, Mr. Frank, what have you brought yourself and the house to?--I think
nothing of myself, that am a mere cipher, so to speak; but you, that was
your father's sum-total--his omnium,--you that might have been the first
man in the first house in the first city, to be shut up in a nasty Scotch
jail, where one cannot even get the dirt brushed off their clothes!"

He rubbed, with an air of peevish irritation, the once stainless brown
coat, which had now shared some of the impurities of the floor of his
prison-house,--his habits of extreme punctilious neatness acting
mechanically to increase his distress.--"O Heaven be gracious to us!" he
continued. "What news this will be on 'Change! There has not the like
come there since the battle of Almanza, where the total of the British
loss was summed up to five thousand men killed and wounded, besides a
floating balance of missing--but what will that be to the news that
Osbaldistone and Tresham have stopped!"

I broke in on his lamentations to acquaint him that I was no prisoner,
though scarce able to account for my being in that place at such an hour.
I could only silence his inquiries by persisting in those which his own
situation suggested; and at length obtained from him such information as
he was able to give me. It was none of the most distinct; for, however
clear-headed in his own routine of commercial business, Owen, you are
well aware, was not very acute in comprehending what lay beyond that
sphere.

The sum of his information was, that of two correspondents of my father's
firm at Glasgow, where, owing to engagements in Scotland formerly alluded
to, he transacted a great deal of business, both my father and Owen had
found the house of MacVittie, MacFin, and Company, the most obliging and
accommodating. They had deferred to the great English house on every
possible occasion; and in their bargains and transactions acted, without
repining, the part of the jackall, who only claims what the lion is
pleased to leave him. However small the share of profit allotted to them,
it was always, as they expressed it, "enough for the like of them;"
however large the portion of trouble, "they were sensible they could not
do too much to deserve the continued patronage and good opinion of their
honoured friends in Crane Alley."

The dictates of my father were to MacVittie and MacFin the laws of the
Medes and Persians, not to be altered, innovated, or even discussed; and
the punctilios exacted by Owen in their business transactions, for he was
a great lover of form, more especially when he could dictate it _ex
cathedra,_ seemed scarce less sanctimonious in their eyes. This tone of
deep and respectful observance went all currently down with Owen; but my
father looked a little closer into men's bosoms, and whether suspicious
of this excess of deference, or, as a lover of brevity and simplicity in
business, tired with these gentlemen's long-winded professions of regard,
he had uniformly resisted their desire to become his sole agents in
Scotland. On the contrary, he transacted many affairs through a
correspondent of a character perfectly different--a man whose good
opinion of himself amounted to self-conceit, and who, disliking the
English in general as much as my father did the Scotch, would hold no
communication but on a footing of absolute equality; jealous, moreover;
captious occasionally; as tenacious of his own opinions in point of form
as Owen could be of his; and totally indifferent though the authority of
all Lombard Street had stood against his own private opinion.

As these peculiarities of temper rendered it difficult to transact
business with Mr. Nicol Jarvie,--as they occasioned at times disputes and
coldness between the English house and their correspondent, which were
only got over by a sense of mutual interest,--as, moreover, Owen's
personal vanity sometimes suffered a little in the discussions to which
they gave rise, you cannot be surprised, Tresham, that our old friend
threw at all times the weight of his influence in favour of the civil,
discreet, accommodating concern of MacVittie and MacFin, and spoke of
Jarvie as a petulant, conceited Scotch pedlar, with whom there was no
dealing.

It was also not surprising, that in these circumstances, which I only
learned in detail some time afterwards, Owen, in the difficulties to
which the house was reduced by the absence of my father, and the
disappearance of Rashleigh, should, on his arrival in Scotland, which
took place two days before mine, have recourse to the friendship of those
correspondents, who had always professed themselves obliged, gratified,
and devoted to the service of his principal. He was received at Messrs.
MacVittie and MacFin's counting-house in the Gallowgate, with something
like the devotion a Catholic would pay to his tutelar saint. But, alas!
this sunshine was soon overclouded, when, encouraged by the fair hopes
which it inspired, he opened the difficulties of the house to his
friendly correspondents, and requested their counsel and assistance.
MacVittie was almost stunned by the communication; and MacFin, ere it was
completed, was already at the ledger of their firm, and deeply engaged in
the very bowels of the multitudinous accounts between their house and
that of Osbaldistone and Tresham, for the purpose of discovering on which
side the balance lay. Alas! the scale depressed considerably against the
English firm; and the faces of MacVittie and MacFin, hitherto only blank
and doubtful, became now ominous, grim, and lowering. They met Mr. Owen's
request of countenance and assistance with a counter-demand of instant
security against imminent hazard of eventual loss; and at length,
speaking more plainly, required that a deposit of assets, destined for
other purposes, should be placed in their hands for that purpose. Owen
repelled this demand with great indignation, as dishonourable to his
constituents, unjust to the other creditors of Osbaldistone and Tresham,
and very ungrateful on the part of those by whom it was made.

The Scotch partners gained, in the course of this controversy, what is
very convenient to persons who are in the wrong, an opportunity and
pretext for putting themselves in a violent passion, and for taking,
under the pretext of the provocation they had received, measures to which
some sense of decency, if not of conscience, might otherwise have
deterred them from resorting.

Owen had a small share, as I believe is usual, in the house to which he
acted as head-clerk, and was therefore personally liable for all its
obligations. This was known to Messrs. MacVittie and MacFin; and, with a
view of making him feel their power, or rather in order to force him, at
this emergency, into those measures in their favour, to which he had
expressed himself so repugnant, they had recourse to a summary process of
arrest and imprisonment,--which it seems the law of Scotland (therein
surely liable to much abuse) allows to a creditor, who finds his
conscience at liberty to make oath that the debtor meditates departing
from the realm. Under such a warrant had poor Owen been confined to
durance on the day preceding that when I was so strangely guided to his
prison-house.

Thus possessed of the alarming outline of facts, the question remained,
what was to be done and it was not of easy determination. I plainly
perceived the perils with which we were surrounded, but it was more
difficult to suggest any remedy. The warning which I had already received
seemed to intimate, that my own personal liberty might be endangered by
an open appearance in Owen's behalf. Owen entertained the same
apprehension, and, in the exaggeration of his terror, assured me that a
Scotchman, rather than run the risk of losing a farthing by an
Englishman, would find law for arresting his wife, children, man-servant,
maidservant, and stranger within his household. The laws concerning debt,
in most countries, are so unmercifully severe, that I could not
altogether disbelieve his statement; and my arrest, in the present
circumstances, would have been a _coup-de-grace_ to my father's affairs.
In this dilemma, I asked Owen if he had not thought of having recourse to
my father's other correspondent in Glasgow, Mr. Nicol Jarvie?

"He had sent him a letter," he replied, "that morning; but if the
smooth-tongued and civil house in the Gallowgate* had used him thus, what
was to be expected from the cross-grained crab-stock in the Salt-Market?

* [A street in the old town of Glasgow.]

You might as well ask a broker to give up his percentage, as expect a
favour from him without the _per contra._ He had not even," Owen said,
"answered his letter though it was put into his hand that morning as he
went to church." And here the despairing man-of-figures threw himself
down on his pallet, exclaiming,--"My poor dear master! My poor dear
master! O Mr. Frank, Mr. Frank, this is all your obstinacy!--But God
forgive me for saying so to you in your distress! It's God's disposing,
and man must submit."

My philosophy, Tresham, could not prevent my sharing in the honest
creature's distress, and we mingled our tears,--the more bitter on my
part, as the perverse opposition to my father's will, with which the
kind-hearted Owen forbore to upbraid me, rose up to my conscience as the
cause of all this affliction.

In the midst of our mingled sorrow, we were disturbed and surprised by a
loud knocking at the outward door of the prison. I ran to the top of the
staircase to listen, but could only hear the voice of the turnkey,
alternately in a high tone, answering to some person without, and in a
whisper, addressed to the person who had guided me hither--"She's
coming--she's coming," aloud; then in a low key, "O hon-a-ri! O hon-a-ri!
what'll she do now?--Gang up ta stair, and hide yourself ahint ta
Sassenach shentleman's ped.--She's coming as fast as she can.--Ahellanay!
it's my lord provosts, and ta pailies, and ta guard--and ta captain's
coming toon stairs too--Got press her! gang up or he meets her.--She's
coming--she's coming--ta lock's sair roosted."

While Dougal, unwillingly, and with as much delay as possible, undid the
various fastenings to give admittance to those without, whose impatience
became clamorous, my guide ascended the winding stair, and sprang into
Owen's apartment, into which I followed him. He cast his eyes hastily
round, as if looking for a place of concealment; then said to me, "Lend
me your pistols--yet it's no matter, I can do without them--Whatever you
see, take no heed, and do not mix your hand in another man's feud--This
gear's mine, and I must manage it as I dow; but I have been as hard
bested, and worse, than I am even now."

As the stranger spoke these words, he stripped from his person the
cumbrous upper coat in which he was wrapt, confronted the door of the
apartment, on which he fixed a keen and determined glance, drawing his
person a little back to concentrate his force, like a fine horse brought
up to the leaping-bar. I had not a moment's doubt that he meant to
extricate himself from his embarrassment, whatever might be the cause of
it, by springing full upon those who should appear when the doors opened,
and forcing his way through all opposition into the street;--and such was
the appearance of strength and agility displayed in his frame, and of
determination in his look and manner, that I did not doubt a moment but
that he might get clear through his opponents, unless they employed fatal
means to stop his purpose. It was a period of awful suspense betwixt the
opening of the outward gate and that of the door of the apartment, when
there appeared--no guard with bayonets fixed, or watch with clubs, bills,
or partisans, but a good-looking young woman, with grogram petticoats,
tucked up for trudging through the streets, and holding a lantern in her
hand. This female ushered in a more important personage, in form, stout,
short, and somewhat corpulent; and by dignity, as it soon appeared, a
magistrate, bob-wigged, bustling, and breathless with peevish impatience.
My conductor, at his appearance, drew back as if to escape observation;
but he could not elude the penetrating twinkle with which this dignitary
reconnoitered the whole apartment.

"A bonny thing it is, and a beseeming, that I should be kept at the door
half an hour, Captain Stanchells," said he, addressing the principal
jailor, who now showed himself at the door as if in attendance on the
great man, "knocking as hard to get into the tolbooth as onybody else wad
to get out of it, could that avail them, poor fallen creatures!--And
how's this?--how's this?--strangers in the jail after lock-up hours, and
on the Sabbath evening!--I shall look after this, Stanchells, you may
depend on't--Keep the door locked, and I'll speak to these gentlemen in a
gliffing--But first I maun hae a crack wi' an auld acquaintance here.--
Mr. Owen, Mr. Owen, how's a' wi' ye, man?"

"Pretty well in body, I thank you, Mr. Jarvie," drawled out poor Owen,
"but sore afflicted in spirit."

"Nae doubt, nae doubt--ay, ay--it's an awfu' whummle--and for ane that
held his head sae high too--human nature, human nature--Ay ay, we're a'
subject to a downcome. Mr. Osbaldistone is a gude honest gentleman; but I
aye said he was ane o' them wad make a spune or spoil a horn, as my
father the worthy deacon used to say. The deacon used to say to me,
'Nick--young Nick' (his name was Nicol as weel as mine; sae folk ca'd us
in their daffin', young Nick and auld Nick)--'Nick,' said he, 'never put
out your arm farther than ye can draw it easily back again.' I hae said
sae to Mr. Osbaldistone, and he didna seem to take it a'thegither sae
kind as I wished--but it was weel meant--weel meant."

This discourse, delivered with prodigious volubility, and a great
appearance of self-complacency, as he recollected his own advice and
predictions, gave little promise of assistance at the hands of Mr.
Jarvie. Yet it soon appeared rather to proceed from a total want of
delicacy than any deficiency of real kindness; for when Owen expressed
himself somewhat hurt that these things should be recalled to memory in
his present situation, the Glaswegian took him by the hand, and bade him
"Cheer up a gliff! D'ye think I wad hae comed out at twal o'clock at
night, and amaist broken the Lord's day, just to tell a fa'en man o' his
backslidings? Na, na, that's no Bailie Jarvie's gate, nor was't his
worthy father's the deacon afore him. Why, man! it's my rule never to
think on warldly business on the Sabbath, and though I did a' I could to
keep your note that I gat this morning out o' my head, yet I thought mair
on it a' day, than on the preaching--And it's my rule to gang to my bed
wi' the yellow curtains preceesely at ten o'clock--unless I were eating a
haddock wi' a neighbour, or a neighbour wi' me--ask the lass-quean there,
if it isna a fundamental rule in my household; and here hae I sitten up
reading gude books, and gaping as if I wad swallow St. Enox Kirk, till it
chappit twal, whilk was a lawfu' hour to gie a look at my ledger, just to
see how things stood between us; and then, as time and tide wait for no
man, I made the lass get the lantern, and came slipping my ways here to
see what can be dune anent your affairs. Bailie Jarvie can command
entrance into the tolbooth at ony hour, day or night;--sae could my
father the deacon in his time, honest man, praise to his memory."

Although Owen groaned at the mention of the ledger, leading me grievously
to fear that here also the balance stood in the wrong column; and
although the worthy magistrate's speech expressed much self-complacency,
and some ominous triumph in his own superior judgment, yet it was blended
with a sort of frank and blunt good-nature, from which I could not help
deriving some hopes. He requested to see some papers he mentioned,
snatched them hastily from Owen's hand, and sitting on the bed, to "rest
his shanks," as he was pleased to express the accommodation which that
posture afforded him, his servant girl held up the lantern to him, while,
pshawing, muttering, and sputtering, now at the imperfect light, now at
the contents of the packet, he ran over the writings it contained.

Seeing him fairly engaged in this course of study, the guide who had
brought me hither seemed disposed to take an unceremonious leave. He made
a sign to me to say nothing, and intimated, by his change of posture, an
intention to glide towards the door in such a manner as to attract the
least possible observation. But the alert magistrate (very different from
my old acquaintance, Mr. Justice Inglewood) instantly detected and
interrupted his purposes. "I say, look to the door, Stanchells--shut and
lock it, and keep watch on the outside."

The stranger's brow darkened, and he seemed for an instant again to
meditate the effecting his retreat by violence; but ere he had
determined, the door closed, and the ponderous bolt revolved. He muttered
an exclamation in Gaelic, strode across the floor, and then, with an air
of dogged resolution, as if fixed and prepared to see the scene to an
end, sate himself down on the oak table, and whistled a strathspey.

Mr. Jarvie, who seemed very alert and expeditious in going through
business, soon showed himself master of that which he had been
considering, and addressed himself to Mr. Owen in the following strain:--
"Weel, Mr. Owen, weel--your house are awin' certain sums to Messrs.
MacVittie and MacFin (shame fa' their souple snouts! they made that and
mair out o' a bargain about the aik-woods at Glen-Cailziechat, that they
took out atween my teeth--wi' help o' your gude word, I maun needs say,
Mr. Owen--but that makes nae odds now)--Weel, sir, your house awes them
this siller; and for this, and relief of other engagements they stand in
for you, they hae putten a double turn o' Stanchells' muckle key on ye.--
Weel, sir, ye awe this siller--and maybe ye awe some mair to some other
body too--maybe ye awe some to myself, Bailie Nicol Jarvie."

"I cannot deny, sir, but the balance may of this date be brought out
against us, Mr. Jarvie," said Owen; "but you'll please to consider"--

"I hae nae time to consider e'enow, Mr. Owen--Sae near Sabbath at e'en,
and out o' ane's warm bed at this time o' night, and a sort o' drow in
the air besides--there's nae time for considering--But, sir, as I was
saying, ye awe me money--it winna deny--ye awe me money, less or mair,
I'll stand by it. But then, Mr. Owen, I canna see how you, an active man
that understands business, can redd out the business ye're come down
about, and clear us a' aff--as I have gritt hope ye will--if ye're keepit
lying here in the tolbooth of Glasgow. Now, sir, if you can find caution
_judicio sisti,_--that is, that ye winna flee the country, but appear and
relieve your caution when ca'd for in our legal courts, ye may be set at
liberty this very morning."

"Mr. Jarvie," said Owen, "if any friend would become surety for me to
that effect, my liberty might be usefully employed, doubtless, both for
the house and all connected with it."

"Aweel, sir," continued Jarvie, "and doubtless such a friend wad expect
ye to appear when ca'd on, and relieve him o' his engagement."

"And I should do so as certainly, bating sickness or death, as that two
and two make four."

"Aweel, Mr. Owen," resumed the citizen of Glasgow, "I dinna misdoubt ye,
and I'll prove it, sir--I'll prove it. I am a carefu' man, as is weel
ken'd, and industrious, as the hale town can testify; and I can win my
crowns, and keep my crowns, and count my crowns, wi' onybody in the Saut
Market, or it may be in the Gallowgate. And I'm a prudent man, as my
father the deacon was before me;--but rather than an honest civil
gentleman, that understands business, and is willing to do justice to all
men, should lie by the heels this gate, unable to help himsell or onybody
else--why, conscience, man! I'll be your bail myself--But ye'll mind it's
a bail _judicio sisti,_ as our town-clerk says, not _judicatum solvi;_
ye'll mind that, for there's muckle difference."

Mr. Owen assured him, that as matters then stood, he could not expect any
one to become surety for the actual payment of the debt, but that there
was not the most distant cause for apprehending loss from his failing to
present himself when lawfully called upon.

"I believe ye--I believe ye. Eneugh said--eneugh said. We'se hae your
legs loose by breakfast-time.--And now let's hear what thir chamber
chiels o' yours hae to say for themselves, or how, in the name of unrule,
they got here at this time o' night."


[Illustration: Rob Roy in Prison--68]





CHAPTER SIXTH.

                        Hame came our gudeman at e'en,
                           And hame came he,
                        And there he saw a man
                           Where a man suldna be.
                       "How's this now, kimmer?
                           How's this?" quo he,--
                       "How came this carle here
                           Without the leave o' me?"
                                           Old Song.

The magistrate took the light out of the servant-maid's hand, and
advanced to his scrutiny, like Diogenes in the street of Athens,
lantern-in-hand, and probably with as little expectation as that of the
cynic, that he was likely to encounter any especial treasure in the
course of his researches. The first whom he approached was my mysterious
guide, who, seated on a table as I have already described him, with his
eyes firmly fixed on the wall, his features arranged into the utmost
inflexibility of expression, his hands folded on his breast with an air
betwixt carelessness and defiance, his heel patting against the foot of
the table, to keep time with the tune which he continued to whistle,
submitted to Mr. Jarvie's investigation with an air of absolute
confidence and assurance which, for a moment, placed at fault the memory
and sagacity of the acute investigator.

"Ah!--Eh!--Oh!" exclaimed the Bailie. "My conscience!--it's
impossible!--and yet--no!--Conscience!--it canna be!--and yet
again--Deil hae me, that I suld say sae!--Ye robber--ye cateran--ye born
deevil that ye are, to a' bad ends and nae gude ane!--can this be you?"

"E'en as ye see, Bailie," was the laconic answer.

"Conscience! if I am na clean bumbaized--_you_, ye cheat-the-wuddy
rogue--_you_ here on your venture in the tolbooth o' Glasgow?--What d'ye
think's the value o' your head?"

"Umph!--why, fairly weighed, and Dutch weight, it might weigh down one
provost's, four bailies', a town-clerk's, six deacons', besides
stent-masters'"--

"Ah, ye reiving villain!" interrupted Mr. Jarvie. "But tell ower your
sins, and prepare ye, for if I say the word"--

"True, Bailie," said he who was thus addressed, folding his hands behind
him with the utmost _nonchalance,_ "but ye will never say that word."

"And why suld I not, sir?" exclaimed the magistrate--"Why suld I not?
Answer me that--why suld I not?"

"For three sufficient reasons, Bailie Jarvie.--First, for auld langsyne;
second, for the sake of the auld wife ayont the fire at Stuckavrallachan,
that made some mixture of our bluids, to my own proper shame be it
spoken! that has a cousin wi' accounts, and yarn winnles, and looms and
shuttles, like a mere mechanical person; and lastly, Bailie, because if I
saw a sign o' your betraying me, I would plaster that wa' with your harns
ere the hand of man could rescue you!"

"Ye're a bauld desperate villain, sir," retorted the undaunted Bailie;
"and ye ken that I ken ye to be sae, and that I wadna stand a moment for
my ain risk."

"I ken weel," said the other, "ye hae gentle bluid in your veins, and I
wad be laith to hurt my ain kinsman. But I'll gang out here as free as I
came in, or the very wa's o' Glasgow tolbooth shall tell o't these ten
years to come."

"Weel, weel," said Mr. Jarvie, "bluid's thicker than water; and it liesna
in kith, kin, and ally, to see motes in ilka other's een if other een see
them no. It wad be sair news to the auld wife below the Ben of
Stuckavrallachan, that you, ye Hieland limmer, had knockit out my harns,
or that I had kilted you up in a tow. But ye'll own, ye dour deevil, that
were it no your very sell, I wad hae grippit the best man in the
Hielands."

"Ye wad hae tried, cousin," answered my guide, "that I wot weel; but I
doubt ye wad hae come aff wi' the short measure; for we gang-there-out
Hieland bodies are an unchancy generation when you speak to us o'
bondage. We downa bide the coercion of gude braid-claith about our
hinderlans, let a be breeks o' free-stone, and garters o' iron."

"Ye'll find the stane breeks and the airn garters--ay, and the hemp
cravat, for a' that, neighbour," replied the Bailie.

"Nae man in a civilised country ever played the pliskies ye hae done--but
e'en pickle in your ain pock-neuk--I hae gi'en ye wanting."

"Well, cousin," said the other, "ye'll wear black at my burial."

"Deil a black cloak will be there, Robin, but the corbies and the
hoodie-craws, I'se gie ye my hand on that. But whar's the gude thousand
pund Scots that I lent ye, man, and when am I to see it again?"

"Where it is," replied my guide, after the affectation of considering for
a moment, "I cannot justly tell--probably where last year's snaw is."

"And that's on the tap of Schehallion, ye Hieland dog," said Mr. Jarvie;
"and I look for payment frae you where ye stand."

"Ay," replied the Highlander, "but I keep neither snaw nor dollars in my
sporran. And as to when you'll see it--why, just when the king enjoys his
ain again, as the auld sang says."

"Warst of a', Robin," retorted the Glaswegian,--"I mean, ye disloyal
traitor--Warst of a'!--Wad ye bring popery in on us, and arbitrary power,
and a foist and a warming-pan, and the set forms, and the curates, and
the auld enormities o' surplices and cerements? Ye had better stick
to your auld trade o' theft-boot, black-mail, spreaghs, and
gillravaging--better stealing nowte than ruining nations."

"Hout, man--whisht wi' your whiggery," answered the Celt; "we hae ken'd
ane anither mony a lang day. I'se take care your counting-room is no
cleaned out when the Gillon-a-naillie* come to redd up the Glasgow
buiths, and clear them o' their auld shop-wares.

* The lads with the kilts or petticoats.

And, unless it just fa' in the preceese way o' your duty, ye maunna see
me oftener, Nicol, than I am disposed to be seen."

"Ye are a dauring villain, Rob," answered the Bailie; "and ye will be
hanged, that will be seen and heard tell o'; but I'se ne'er be the ill
bird and foul my nest, set apart strong necessity and the skreigh of
duty, which no man should hear and be inobedient. And wha the deevil's
this?" he continued, turning to me--"Some gillravager that ye hae listed,
I daur say. He looks as if he had a bauld heart to the highway, and a
lang craig for the gibbet."

"This, good Mr. Jarvie," said Owen, who, like myself, had been struck
dumb during this strange recognition, and no less strange dialogue, which
took place betwixt these extraordinary kinsmen--"This, good Mr. Jarvie,
is young Mr. Frank Osbaldistone, only child of the head of our house, who
should have been taken into our firm at the time Mr. Rashleigh
Osbaldistone, his cousin, had the luck to be taken into it"--(Here Owen
could not suppress a groan)--"But howsoever"--

"Oh, I have heard of that smaik," said the Scotch merchant, interrupting
him; "it is he whom your principal, like an obstinate auld fule, wad make
a merchant o', wad he or wad he no,--and the lad turned a strolling
stage-player, in pure dislike to the labour an honest man should live by.
Weel, sir, what say you to your handiwork? Will Hamlet the Dane, or
Hamlet's ghost, be good security for Mr. Owen, sir?"

"I don't deserve your taunt," I replied, "though I respect your motive,
and am too grateful for the assistance you have afforded Mr. Owen, to
resent it. My only business here was to do what I could (it is perhaps
very little) to aid Mr. Owen in the management of my father's affairs. My
dislike of the commercial profession is a feeling of which I am the best
and sole judge."

"I protest," said the Highlander, "I had some respect for this callant
even before I ken'd what was in him; but now I honour him for his
contempt of weavers and spinners, and sic-like mechanical persons and
their pursuits."

"Ye're mad, Rob," said the Bailie--"mad as a March hare--though wherefore
a hare suld be mad at March mair than at Martinmas, is mair than I can
weel say. Weavers! Deil shake ye out o' the web the weaver craft made.
Spinners! ye'll spin and wind yourself a bonny pirn. And this young
birkie here, that ye're hoying and hounding on the shortest road to the
gallows and the deevil, will his stage-plays and his poetries help him
here, dye think, ony mair than your deep oaths and drawn dirks, ye
reprobate that ye are?--Will _Tityre tu patulae,_ as they ca' it, tell
him where Rashleigh Osbaldistone is? or Macbeth, and all his kernes and
galla-glasses, and your awn to boot, Rob, procure him five thousand
pounds to answer the bills which fall due ten days hence, were they a'
rouped at the Cross,--basket-hilts, Andra-Ferraras, leather targets,
brogues, brochan, and sporrans?"

"Ten days," I answered, and instinctively drew out Diana Vernon's packet;
and the time being elapsed during which I was to keep the seal sacred, I
hastily broke it open. A sealed letter fell from a blank enclosure, owing
to the trepidation with which I opened the parcel. A slight current of
wind, which found its way through a broken pane of the window, wafted the
letter to Mr. Jarvie's feet, who lifted it, examined the address with
unceremonious curiosity, and, to my astonishment, handed itto his
Highland kinsman, saying, "Here's a wind has blown a letter to its right
owner, though there were ten thousand chances against its coming to
hand."

The Highlander, having examined the address, broke the letter open
without the least ceremony. I endeavoured to interrupt his proceeding.

"You must satisfy me, sir," said I, "that the letter is intended for you
before I can permit you to peruse it."

"Make yourself quite easy, Mr. Osbaldistone," replied the mountaineer
with great composure.--"remember Justice Inglewood, Clerk Jobson, Mr.
Morris--above all, remember your vera humble servant, Robert Cawmil, and
the beautiful Diana Vernon. Remember all this, and doubt no longer that
the letter is for me."

I remained astonished at my own stupidity.--Through the whole night, the
voice, and even the features of this man, though imperfectly seen,
haunted me with recollections to which I could assign no exact local or
personal associations. But now the light dawned on me at once; this man
was Campbell himself. His whole peculiarities flashed on me at once,--the
deep strong voice--the inflexible, stern, yet considerate cast of
features--the Scottish brogue, with its corresponding dialect and
imagery, which, although he possessed the power at times of laying them
aside, recurred at every moment of emotion, and gave pith to his sarcasm,
or vehemence to his expostulation. Rather beneath the middle size than
above it, his limbs were formed upon the very strongest model that is
consistent with agility, while from the remarkable ease and freedom of
his movements, you could not doubt his possessing the latter quality in a
high degree of perfection. Two points in his person interfered with the
rules of symmetry; his shoulders were so broad in proportion to his
height, as, notwithstanding the lean and lathy appearance of his frame,
gave him something the air of being too square in respect to his stature;
and his arms, though round, sinewy, and strong, were so very long as to
be rather a deformity. I afterwards heard that this length of arm was a
circumstance on which he prided himself; that when he wore his native
Highland garb, he could tie the garters of his hose without stooping; and
that it gave him great advantage in the use of the broad-sword, at which
he was very dexterous. But certainly this want of symmetry destroyed the
claim he might otherwise have set up, to be accounted a very handsome
man; it gave something wild, irregular, and, as it were, unearthly, to
his appearance, and reminded me involuntarily of the tales which Mabel
used to tell of the old Picts who ravaged Northumberland in ancient
times, who, according to her tradition, were a sort of half-goblin
half-human beings, distinguished, like this man, for courage, cunning,
ferocity, the length of their arms, and the squareness of their
shoulders.

When, however, I recollected the circumstances in which we formerly met,
I could not doubt that the billet was most probably designed for him. He
had made a marked figure among those mysterious personages over whom
Diana seemed to exercise an influence, and from whom she experienced an
influence in her turn. It was painful to think that the fate of a being
so amiable was involved in that of desperadoes of this man's
description;--yet it seemed impossible to doubt it. Of what use, however,
could this person be to my father's affairs?--I could think only of one.
Rashleigh Osbaldistone had, at the instigation of Miss Vernon, certainly
found means to produce Mr. Campbell when his presence was necessary to
exculpate me from Morris's accusation--Was it not possible that her
influence, in like manner, might prevail on Campbell to produce
Rashleigh? Speaking on this supposition, I requested to know where my
dangerous kinsman was, and when Mr. Campbell had seen him. The answer was
indirect.

"It's a kittle cast she has gien me to play; but yet it's fair play, and
I winna baulk her. Mr. Osbaldistone, I dwell not very far from hence--my
kinsman can show you the way--Leave Mr. Owen to do the best he can in
Glasgow--do you come and see me in the glens, and it's like I may
pleasure you, and stead your father in his extremity. I am but a poor
man; but wit's better than wealth--and, cousin" (turning from me to
address Mr. Jarvie), "if ye daur venture sae muckle as to eat a dish of
Scotch collops, and a leg o' red-deer venison wi' me, come ye wi' this
Sassenach gentleman as far as Drymen or Bucklivie,--or the Clachan of
Aberfoil will be better than ony o' them,--and I'll hae somebody waiting
to weise ye the gate to the place where I may be for the time--What say
ye, man? There's my thumb, I'll ne'er beguile thee."

"Na, na, Robin," said the cautious burgher, "I seldom like to leave the
Gorbals;* I have nae freedom to gang among your wild hills, Robin, and
your kilted red-shanks--it disna become my place, man."

* [The _Gorbals_ or "suburbs" are situate on the south side of the
River.]

"The devil damn your place and you baith!" reiterated Campbell. "The only
drap o' gentle bluid that's in your body was our great-grand-uncle's that
was justified* at Dumbarton, and you set yourself up to say ye wad
derogate frae your place to visit me!

* [Executed for treason.]

Hark thee, man--I owe thee a day in harst--I'll pay up your thousan pund
Scots, plack and bawbee, gin ye'll be an honest fallow for anes, and just
daiker up the gate wi' this Sassenach."

"Hout awa' wi' your gentility," replied the Bailie; "carry your gentle
bluid to the Cross, and see what ye'll buy wi't. But, if I _were_ to
come, wad ye really and soothfastly pay me the siller?"

"I swear to ye," said the Highlander, "upon the halidome of him that
sleeps beneath the grey stane at Inch-Cailleach."*

* Inch-Cailleach is an island in Lochlomond, where the clan of MacGregor
were wont to be interred, and where their sepulchres may still be seen.
It formerly contained a nunnery: hence the name of Inch-Cailleach, or the
island of Old Women.

"Say nae mair, Robin--say nae mair--We'll see what may be dune. But ye
maunna expect me to gang ower the Highland line--I'll gae beyond the line
at no rate. Ye maun meet me about Bucklivie or the Clachan of
Aberfoil,--and dinna forget the needful."

"Nae fear--nae fear," said Campbell; "I'll be as true as the steel blade
that never failed its master. But I must be budging, cousin, for the air
o' Glasgow tolbooth is no that ower salutary to a Highlander's
constitution."

"Troth," replied the merchant, "and if my duty were to be dune, ye
couldna change your atmosphere, as the minister ca's it, this ae wee
while.--Ochon, that I sud ever be concerned in aiding and abetting an
escape frae justice! it will be a shame and disgrace to me and mine, and
my very father's memory, for ever."

"Hout tout, man! let that flee stick in the wa'," answered his kinsman;
"when the dirt's dry it will rub out--Your father, honest man, could look
ower a friend's fault as weel as anither."

"Ye may be right, Robin," replied the Bailie, after a moment's
reflection; "he was a considerate man the deacon; he ken'd we had a' our
frailties, and he lo'ed his friends--Ye'll no hae forgotten him, Robin?"
This question he put in a softened tone, conveying as much at least of
the ludicrous as the pathetic.

"Forgotten him!" replied his kinsman--"what suld ail me to forget him?--a
wapping weaver he was, and wrought my first pair o' hose.--But come awa',
kinsman,

              Come fill up my cap, come fill up my cann,
              Come saddle my horses, and call up my man;
              Come open your gates, and let me gae free,
                   I daurna stay langer in bonny Dundee."

"Whisht, sir!" said the magistrate, in an authoritative tone--"lilting
and singing sae near the latter end o' the Sabbath! This house may hear
ye sing anither tune yet--Aweel, we hae a' backslidings to answer
for--Stanchells, open the door."

The jailor obeyed, and we all sallied forth. Stanchells looked with some
surprise at the two strangers, wondering, doubtless, how they came into
these premises without his knowledge; but Mr. Jarvie's "Friends o' mine,
Stanchells--friends o' mine," silenced all disposition to inquiries. We
now descended into the lower vestibule, and hallooed more than once for
Dougal, to which summons no answer was returned; when Campbell observed
with a sardonic smile, "That if Dougal was the lad he kent him, he would
scarce wait to get thanks for his ain share of the night's wark, but was
in all probability on the full trot to the pass of Ballamaha"--

"And left us--and, abune a', me, mysell, locked up in the tolbooth a'
night!" exclaimed the Bailie, in ire and perturbation. "Ca' for
forehammers, sledge-hammers, pinches, and coulters; send for Deacon
Yettlin, the smith, an let him ken that Bailie Jarvie's shut up in the
tolbooth by a Highland blackguard, whom he'll hang up as high as Haman"--

"When ye catch him," said Campbell, gravely; "but stay--the door is
surely not locked."

Indeed, on examination, we found that the door was not only left open,
but that Dougal in his retreat had, by carrying off the keys along with
him, taken care that no one should exercise his office of porter in a
hurry.

"He has glimmerings o' common sense now, that creature Dougal," said
Campbell.--"he ken'd an open door might hae served me at a pinch."

We were by this time in the street.

"I tell you, Robin," said the magistrate, "in my puir mind, if ye live
the life ye do, ye suld hae ane o' your gillies door-keeper in every jail
in Scotland, in case o' the warst."

"Ane o' my kinsmen a bailie in ilka burgh will just do as weel, cousin
Nicol--So, gude-night or gude-morning to ye; and forget not the Clachan
of Aberfoil."

And without waiting for an answer, he sprung to the other side of the
street, and was lost in darkness. Immediately on his disappearance, we
heard him give a low whistle of peculiar modulation, which was instantly
replied to.

"Hear to the Hieland deevils," said Mr. Jarvie; "they think themselves on
the skirts of Benlomond already, where they may gang whewingand whistling
about without minding Sunday or Saturday." Here he was interrupted by
something which fell with a heavy clash on the street before us--"Gude
guide us what's this mair o't?--Mattie, haud up the lantern--Conscience
if it isna the keys!--Weel, that's just as weel--they cost the burgh
siller, and there might hae been some clavers about the loss o' them. O,
an Bailie Grahame were to get word o' this night's job, it would be a
sair hair in my neck!"

As we were still but a few steps from the tolbooth door, we carried back
these implements of office, and consigned them to the head jailor, who,
in lieu of the usual mode of making good his post by turning the keys,
was keeping sentry in the vestibule till the arrival of some assistant,
whom he had summoned in order to replace the Celtic fugitive Dougal.

Having discharged this piece of duty to the burgh, and my road lying the
same way with the honest magistrate's, I profited by the light of his
lantern, and he by my arm, to find our way through the streets, which,
whatever they may now be, were then dark, uneven, and ill-paved. Age is
easily propitiated by attentions from the young. The Bailie expressed
himself interested in me, and added, "That since I was nane o' that
play-acting and play-ganging generation, whom his saul hated, he wad be
glad if I wad eat a reisted haddock or a fresh herring, at breakfast wi'
him the morn, and meet my friend, Mr. Owen, whom, by that time, he would
place at liberty."

"My dear sir," said I, when I had accepted of the invitation with thanks,
"how could you possibly connect me with the stage?"

"I watna," replied Mr. Jarvie;--"it was a bletherin' phrasin' chield they
ca' Fairservice, that cam at e'en to get an order to send the crier
through the toun for ye at skreigh o' day the morn. He tell't me whae ye
were, and how ye were sent frae your father's house because ye wadna be a
dealer, and that ye mightna disgrace your family wi' ganging on the
stage. Ane Hammorgaw, our precentor, brought him here, and said he was an
auld acquaintance; but I sent them both away wi' a flae in their lug for
bringing me sic an errand, on sic a night. But I see he's a fule-creature
a'thegither, and clean mistaen about ye. I like ye, man," he continued;
"I like a lad that will stand by his friends in trouble--I aye did it
mysell, and sae did the deacon my father, rest and bless him! But ye
suldna keep ower muckle company wi' Hielandmen and thae wild cattle. Can
a man touch pitch and no be defiled?--aye mind that. Nae doubt, the best
and wisest may err--Once, twice, and thrice have I backslidden, man, and
dune three things this night--my father wadna hae believed his een if he
could hae looked up and seen me do them."

He was by this time arrived at the door of his own dwelling. He paused,
however, on the threshold, and went on in a solemn tone of deep
contrition,--"Firstly, I hae thought my ain thoughts on the
Sabbath--secondly, I hae gi'en security for an Englishman--and, in the
third and last place, well-a-day! I hae let an ill-doer escape from the
place of imprisonment--But there's balm in Gilead, Mr. Osbaldistone--
Mattie, I can let mysell in--see Mr. Osbaldistone to Luckie Flyter's, at
the corner o' the wynd.--Mr. Osbaldistone"--in a whisper--"ye'll offer
nae incivility to Mattie--she's an honest man's daughter, and a near
cousin o' the Laird
o' Limmerfield's."





CHAPTER SEVENTH.

     "Will it please your worship to accept of my poor service? I beseech
     that I may feed upon your bread, though it be the brownest, and
     drink of your drink, though it be of the smallest; for I will do
     your Worship as much service for forty shillings as another man
     shall for three pounds."
                                     Greene's _Tu Quoque._

I remembered the honest Bailie's parting charge, but did not conceive
there was any incivility in adding a kiss to the half-crown with which I
remunerated Mattie's attendance;--nor did her "Fie for shame, sir!"
express any very deadly resentment of the affront. Repeated knocking at
Mrs. Flyter's gate awakened in due order, first, one or two stray dogs,
who began to bark with all their might; next two or three night-capped
heads, which were thrust out of the neighbouring windows to reprehend me
for disturbing the solemnity of the Sunday night by that untimely noise.
While I trembled lest the thunders of their wrath might dissolve in
showers like that of Xantippe, Mrs. Flyter herself awoke, and began, in a
tone of objurgation not unbecoming the philosophical spouse of Socrates,
to scold one or two loiterers in her kitchen, for not hastening to the
door to prevent a repetition of my noisy summons.

These worthies were, indeed, nearly concerned in the fracas which their
laziness occasioned, being no other than the faithful Mr. Fairservice,
with his friend Mr. Hammorgaw, and another person, whom I afterwards
found to be the town-crier, who were sitting over a cog of ale, as they
called it (at my expense, as my bill afterwards informed me), in order to
devise the terms and style of a proclamation to be made through the
streets the next day, in order that "the unfortunate young gentleman," as
they had the impudence to qualify me, might be restored to his friends
without farther delay. It may be supposed that I did not suppress my
displeasure at this impertinent interference with my affairs; but Andrew
set up such ejaculations of transport at my arrival, as fairly drowned my
expressions of resentment. His raptures, perchance, were partly
political; and the tears of joy which he shed had certainly their source
in that noble fountain of emotion, the tankard. However, the tumultuous
glee which he felt, or pretended to feel, at my return, saved Andrew the
broken head which I had twice destined him;--first, on account of the
colloquy he had held with the precentor on my affairs; and secondly, for
the impertinent history he had thought proper to give of me to Mr.
Jarvie. I however contented myself with slapping the door of my bedroom
in his face as he followed me, praising Heaven for my safe return, and
mixing his joy with admonitions to me to take care how I walked my own
ways in future. I then went to bed, resolving my first business in the
morning should be to discharge this troublesome, pedantic, self-conceited
coxcomb, who seemed so much disposed to constitute himself rather a
preceptor than a domestic.

Accordingly in the morning I resumed my purpose, and calling Andrew into
my apartment, requested to know his charge for guiding and attending me
as far as Glasgow. Mr. Fairservice looked very blank at this demand,
justly considering it as a presage to approaching dismission.

"Your honour," he said, after some hesitation, "wunna think--wunna
think"--

"Speak out, you rascal, or I'll break your head," said I, as Andrew,
between the double risk of losing all by asking too much, or a part, by
stating his demand lower than what I might be willing to pay, stood
gasping in the agony of doubt and calculation.

Out it came with a bolt, however, at my threat; as the kind violence of a
blow on the back sometimes delivers the windpipe from an intrusive
morsel.--"Aughteen pennies sterling per diem--that is, by the day--your
honour wadna think unconscionable."

"It is double what is usual, and treble what you merit, Andrew; but
there's a guinea for you, and get about your business."

"The Lord forgi'e us! Is your honour mad?" exclaimed Andrew.

"No; but I think you mean to make me so--I give you a third above your
demand, and you stand staring and expostulating there as if I were
cheating you. Take your money, and go about your business."

"Gude safe us!" continued Andrew, "in what can I hae offended your
honour? Certainly a' flesh is but as the flowers of the field; but if a
bed of camomile hath value in medicine, of a surety the use of Andrew
Fairservice to your honour is nothing less evident--it's as muckle as
your life's worth to part wi' me."

"Upon my honour," replied I, "it is difficult to say whether you are more
knave or fool. So you intend then to remain with me whether I like it or
no?"

"Troth, I was e'en thinking sae," replied Andrew, dogmatically; "for if
your honour disna ken when ye hae a gude servant, I ken when I hae a gude
master, and the deil be in my feet gin I leave ye--and there's the brief
and the lang o't besides I hae received nae regular warning to quit my
place."

"Your place, sir!" said I;--"why, you are no hired servant of mine,--you
are merely a guide, whose knowledge of the country I availed myself of on
my road."

"I am no just a common servant, I admit, sir," remonstrated Mr.
Fairservice; "but your honour kens I quitted a gude place at an hour's
notice, to comply wi' your honour's solicitations. A man might make
honestly, and wi' a clear conscience, twenty sterling pounds per annum,
weel counted siller, o' the garden at Osbaldistone Hall, and I wasna
likely to gi'e up a' that for a guinea, I trow--I reckoned on staying wi'
your honour to the term's end at the least o't; and I account my wage,
board-wage, fee and bountith,--ay, to that length o't at the least."

"Come, come, sir," replied I, "these impudent pretensions won't serve
your turn; and if I hear any more of them, I shall convince you that
Squire Thorncliff is not the only one of my name that can use his
fingers."

While I spoke thus, the whole matter struck me as so ridiculous, that,
though really angry, I had some difficulty to forbear laughing at the
gravity with which Andrew supported a plea so utterly extravagant. The
rascal, aware of the impression he had made on my muscles, was encouraged
to perseverance. He judged it safer, however, to take his pretensions a
peg lower, in case of overstraining at the same time both his plea and my
patience.

"Admitting that my honour could part with a faithful servant, that had
served me and mine by day and night for twenty years, in a strange place,
and at a moment's warning, he was weel assured," he said, "it wasna in my
heart, nor in no true gentleman's, to pit a puir lad like himself, that
had come forty or fifty, or say a hundred miles out o' his road purely to
bear my honour company, and that had nae handing but his penny-fee, to
sic a hardship as this comes to."

I think it was you, Will, who once told me, that, to be an obstinate man,
I am in certain things the most gullable and malleable of mortals. The
fact is, that it is only contradiction which makes me peremptory, and
when I do not feel myself called on to give battle to any proposition, I
am always willing to grant it, rather than give myself much trouble. I
knew this fellow to be a greedy, tiresome, meddling coxcomb; still,
however, I must have some one about me in the quality of guide and
domestic, and I was so much used to Andrew's humour, that on some
occasions it was rather amusing. In the state of indecision to which
these reflections led me, I asked Fairservice if he knew the roads,
towns, etc., in the north of Scotland, to which my father's concerns with
the proprietors of Highland forests were likely to lead me. I believe if
I had asked him the road to the terrestrial paradise, he would have at
that moment undertaken to guide me to it; so that I had reason afterwards
to think myself fortunate in finding that his actual knowledge did not
fall very much short of that which he asserted himself to possess. I
fixed the amount of his wages, and reserved to myself the privilege of
dismissing him when I chose, on paying him a week in advance. I gave him
finally a severe lecture on his conduct of the preceding day, and then
dismissed him rejoicing at heart, though somewhat crestfallen in
countenance, to rehearse to his friend the precentor, who was taking his
morning draught in the kitchen, the mode in which he had "cuitled up the
daft young English squire."

Agreeable to appointment, I went next to Bailie Nicol Jarvie's, where a
comfortable morning's repast was arranged in the parlour, which served as
an apartment of all hours, and almost all work, to that honest gentleman.
The bustling and benevolent magistrate had been as good as his word. I
found my friend Owen at liberty, and, conscious of the refreshments and
purification of brush and basin, was of course a very different person
from Owen a prisoner, squalid, heart-broken, and hopeless. Yet the sense
of pecuniary difficulties arising behind, before, and around him, had
depressed his spirit, and the almost paternal embrace which the good man
gave me, was embittered by a sigh of the deepest anxiety. And when he
sate down, the heaviness in his eye and manner, so different from the
quiet composed satisfaction which they usually exhibited, indicated that
he was employing his arithmetic in mentally numbering up the days, the
hours, the minutes, which yet remained as an interval between the
dishonour of bills and the downfall of the great commercial establishment
of Osbaldistone and Tresham. It was left to me, therefore, to do honour
to our landlord's hospitable cheer--to his tea, right from China, which
he got in a present from some eminent ship's-husband at Wapping--to his
coffee, from a snug plantation of his own, as he informed us with a wink,
called Saltmarket Grove, in the island of Jamaica--to his English toast
and ale, his Scotch dried salmon, his Lochfine herrings, and even to the
double-damask table-cloth, "wrought by no hand, as you may guess," save
that of his deceased father the worthy Deacon Jarvie.

Having conciliated our good-humoured host by those little attentions
which are great to most men, I endeavoured in my turn to gain from him
some information which might be useful for my guidance, as well as for
the satisfaction of my curiosity. We had not hitherto made the least
allusion to the transactions of the preceding night, a circumstance which
made my question sound somewhat abrupt, when, without any previous
introduction of the subject, I took advantage of a pause when the history
of the table-cloth ended, and that of the napkins was about to commence,
to inquire, "Pray, by the by, Mr. Jarvie, who may this Mr. Robert
Campbell be, whom we met with last night?"

The interrogatory seemed to strike the honest magistrate, to use the
vulgar phrase, "all of a heap," and instead of answering, he returned the
question--"Whae's Mr. Robert Campbell?--ahem! ahay! Whae's Mr. Robert
Campbell, quo' he?"

"Yes," said I, "I mean who and what is he?"

"Why, he's--ahay!--he's--ahem!--Where did ye meet with Mr. Robert
Campbell, as ye ca' him?"

"I met him by chance," I replied, "some months ago in the north of
England."

"Ou then, Mr. Osbaldistone," said the Bailie, doggedly, "ye'll ken as
muckle about him as I do."

"I should suppose not, Mr. Jarvie," I replied;--"you are his relation, it
seems, and his friend."

"There is some cousin-red between us, doubtless," said the Bailie
reluctantly; "but we hae seen little o' ilk other since Rob gae tip the
cattle-line o' dealing, poor fallow! he was hardly guided by them might
hae used him better--and they haena made their plack a bawbee o't
neither. There's mony ane this day wad rather they had never chased puir
Robin frae the Cross o' Glasgow--there's mony ane wad rather see him
again at the tale o' three hundred kyloes, than at the head o' thirty
waur cattle."

"All this explains nothing to me, Mr. Jarvie, of Mr. Campbell's rank,
habits of life, and means of subsistence," I replied.

"Rank?" said Mr. Jarvie; "he's a Hieland gentleman, nae doubt--better
rank need nane to be;--and for habit, I judge he wears the Hieland habit
amang the hills, though he has breeks on when he comes to Glasgow;--and
as for his subsistence, what needs we care about his subsistence, sae
lang as he asks naething frae us, ye ken? But I hae nae time for
clavering about him e'en now, because we maun look into your father's
concerns wi' all speed."

So saying, he put on his spectacles, and sate down to examine Mr. Owen's
states, which the other thought it most prudent to communicate to him
without reserve. I knew enough of business to be aware that nothing could
be more acute and sagacious than the views which Mr. Jarvie entertained
of the matters submitted to his examination; and, to do him justice, it
was marked by much fairness, and even liberality. He scratched his ear
indeed repeatedly on observing the balance which stood at the debit of
Osbaldistone and Tresham in account with himself personally.

"It may be a dead loss," he observed; "and, conscience! whate'er ane o'
your Lombard Street goldsmiths may say to it, it's a snell ane in the
Saut-Market* o' Glasgow. It will be a heavy deficit--a staff out o' my
bicker, I trow.

* [The Saltmarket. This ancient street, situate in the heart of Glasgow,
has of late been almost entirely renovated.]

But what then?--I trust the house wunna coup the crane for a' that's come
and gane yet; and if it does, I'll never bear sae base a mind as thae
corbies in the Gallowgate--an I am to lose by ye, I'se ne'er deny I hae
won by ye mony a fair pund sterling--Sae, an it come to the warst, I'se
een lay the head o' the sow to the tail o' the grice."*

* _Anglice,_ the head of the sow to the tail of the pig.

I did not altogether understand the proverbial arrangement with which Mr.
Jarvie consoled himself, but I could easily see that he took a kind and
friendly interest in the arrangement of my father's affairs, suggested
several expedients, approved several plans proposed by Owen, and by his
countenance and counsel greatly abated the gloom upon the brow of that
afflicted delegate of my father's establishment.

As I was an idle spectator on this occasion, and, perhaps, as I showed
some inclination more than once to return to the prohibited, and
apparently the puzzling subject of Mr. Campbell, Mr. Jarvie dismissed me
with little formality, with an advice to "gang up the gate to the
college, where I wad find some chields could speak Greek and Latin
weel--at least they got plenty o' siller for doing deil haet else, if they
didna do that; and where I might read a spell o' the worthy Mr. Zachary
Boyd's translation o' the Scriptures--better poetry need nane to be, as
he had been tell'd by them that ken'd or suld hae ken'd about sic
things." But he seasoned this dismission with a kind and hospitable
invitation "to come back and take part o' his family-chack at ane
preceesely--there wad be a leg o' mutton, and, it might be, a tup's head,
for they were in season;" but above all, I was to return at "ane o'clock
preceesely--it was the hour he and the deacon his father aye dined
at--they pat it off for naething nor for naebody."





CHAPTER EIGHTH.


              So stands the Thracian herdsman with his spear
              Full in the gap, and hopes the hunted bear;
              And hears him in the rustling wood, and sees
              His course at distance by the bending trees,
                  And thinks--Here comes my mortal enemy,
                  And either he must fall in fight, or I.
                                         Palamon and Arcite.

I took the route towards the college, as recommended by Mr. Jarvie, less
with the intention of seeking for any object of interest or amusement,
than to arrange my own ideas, and meditate on my future conduct. I
wandered from one quadrangle of old-fashioned buildings to another, and
from thence to the College-yards, or walking ground, where, pleased with
the solitude of the place, most of the students being engaged in their
classes, I took several turns, pondering on the waywardness of my own
destiny.

I could not doubt, from the circumstances attending my first meeting with
this person Campbell, that he was engaged in some strangely desperate
courses; and the reluctance with which Mr. Jarvie alluded to his person
or pursuits, as well as all the scene of the preceding night, tended to
confirm these suspicions. Yet to this man Diana Vernon had not, it would
seem, hesitated to address herself in my behalf; and the conduct of the
magistrate himself towards him showed an odd mixture of kindness, and
even respect, with pity and censure. Something there must be uncommon in
Campbell's situation and character; and what was still more
extraordinary, it seemed that his fate was doomed to have influence over,
and connection with, my own. I resolved to bring Mr. Jarvie to close
quarters on the first proper opportunity, and learn as much as was
possible on the subject of this mysterious person, in order that I might
judge whether it was possible for me, without prejudice to my reputation,
to hold that degree of farther correspondence with him to which he seemed
to invite.

While I was musing on these subjects, my attention was attracted by three
persons who appeared at the upper end of the walk through which I was
sauntering, seemingly engaged in very earnest conversation. That
intuitive impression which announces to us the approach of whomsoever we
love or hate with intense vehemence, long before a more indifferent eye
can recognise their persons, flashed upon my mind the sure conviction
that the midmost of these three men was Rashleigh Osbaldistone. To
address him was my first impulse;--my second was, to watch him until he
was alone, or at least to reconnoitre his companions before confronting
him. The party was still at such distance, and engaged in such deep
discourse, that I had time to step unobserved to the other side of a
small hedge, which imperfectly screened the alley in which I was walking.
It was at this period the fashion of the young and gay to wear, in their
morning walks, a scarlet cloak, often laced and embroidered, above their
other dress, and it was the trick of the time for gallants occasionally
to dispose it so as to muffle a part of the face. The imitating this
fashion, with the degree of shelter which I received from the hedge,
enabled me to meet my cousin, unobserved by him or the others, except
perhaps as a passing stranger. I was not a little startled at recognising
in his companions that very Morris on whose account I had been summoned
before Justice Inglewood, and Mr. MacVittie the merchant, from whose
starched and severe aspect I had recoiled on the preceding day.

A more ominous conjunction to my own affairs, and those of my father,
could scarce have been formed. I remembered Morris's false accusation
against me, which he might be as easily induced to renew as he had been
intimidated to withdraw; I recollected the inauspicious influence of
MacVittie over my father's affairs, testified by the imprisonment of
Owen;--and I now saw both these men combined with one, whose talent for
mischief I deemed little inferior to those of the great author of all
ill, and my abhorrence of whom almost amounted to dread.

When they had passed me for some paces, I turned and followed them
unobserved. At the end of the walk they separated, Morris and MacVittie
leaving the gardens, and Rashleigh returning alone through the walks. I
was now determined to confront him, and demand reparation for the
injuries he had done my father, though in what form redress was likely to
be rendered remained to be known. This, however, I trusted to chance; and
flinging back the cloak in which I was muffled, I passed through a gap of
the low hedge, and presented myself before Rashleigh, as, in a deep
reverie, he paced down the avenue.

Rashleigh was no man to be surprised or thrown off his guard by sudden
occurrences. Yet he did not find me thus close to him, wearing
undoubtedly in my face the marks of that indignation which was glowing in
my bosom, without visibly starting at an apparition so sudden and
menacing.

"You are well met, sir," was my commencement; "I was about to take a long
and doubtful journey in quest of you."

"You know little of him you sought then," replied Rashleigh, with his
usual undaunted composure. "I am easily found by my friends--still more
easily by my foes;--your manner compels me to ask in which class I must
rank Mr. Francis Osbaldistone?"

"In that of your foes, sir," I answered--"in that of your mortal foes,
unless you instantly do justice to your benefactor, my father, by
accounting for his property."

"And to whom, Mr. Osbaldistone," answered Rashleigh, "am I, a member of
your father's commercial establishment, to be compelled to give any
account of my proceedings in those concerns, which are in every respect
identified with my own?--Surely not to a young gentleman whose exquisite
taste for literature would render such discussions disgusting and
unintelligible."

"Your sneer, sir, is no answer; I will not part with you until I have
full satisfaction concerning the fraud you meditate--you shall go with me
before a magistrate."

"Be it so," said Rashleigh, and made a step or two as if to accompany me;
then pausing, proceeded--"Were I inclined to do so as you would have me,
you should soon feel which of us had most reason to dread the presence of
a magistrate. But I have no wish to accelerate your fate. Go, young man!
amuse yourself in your world of poetical imaginations, and leave the
business of life to those who understand and can conduct it."

His intention, I believe, was to provoke me, and he succeeded. "Mr.
Osbaldistone," I said, "this tone of calm insolence shall not avail you.
You ought to be aware that the name we both bear never submitted to
insult, and shall not in my person be exposed to it."

"You remind me," said Rashleigh, with one of his blackest looks, "that it
was dishonoured in my person!--and you remind me also by whom! Do you
think I have forgotten the evening at Osbaldistone Hall when you cheaply
and with impunity played the bully at my expense? For that insult--never
to be washed out but by blood!--for the various times you have crossed my
path, and always to my prejudice--for the persevering folly with which
you seek to traverse schemes, the importance of which you neither know
nor are capable of estimating,--for all these, sir, you owe me a long
account, for which there shall come an early day of reckoning."

"Let it come when it will," I replied, "I shall be willing and ready to
meet it. Yet you seem to have forgotten the heaviest article--that I had
the pleasure to aid Miss Vernon's good sense and virtuous feeling in
extricating her from your infamous toils."

I think his dark eyes flashed actual fire at this home-taunt, and yet his
voice retained the same calm expressive tone with which he had hitherto
conducted the conversation.

"I had other views with respect to you, young man," was his answer: "less
hazardous for you, and more suitable to my present character and former
education. But I see you will draw on yourself the personal chastisement
your boyish insolence so well merits. Follow me to a more remote spot,
where we are less likely to be interrupted."

I followed him accordingly, keeping a strict eye on his motions, for I
believed him capable of the very worst actions. We reached an open spot
in a sort of wilderness, laid out in the Dutch taste, with clipped
hedges, and one or two statues. I was on my guard, and it was well with
me that I was so; for Rashleigh's sword was out and at my breast ere I
could throw down my cloak, or get my weapon unsheathed, so that I only
saved my life by springing a pace or two backwards. He had some advantage
in the difference of our weapons; for his sword, as I recollect, was
longer than mine, and had one of those bayonet or three-cornered blades
which are now generally worn; whereas mine was what we then called a
Saxon blade--narrow, flat, and two-edged, and scarcely so manageable as
that of my enemy. In other respects we were pretty equally matched: for
what advantage I might possess in superior address and agility, was fully
counterbalanced by Rashleigh's great strength and coolness. He fought,
indeed, more like a fiend than a man--with concentrated spite and desire
of blood, only allayed by that cool consideration which made his worst
actions appear yet worse from the air of deliberate premeditation which
seemed to accompany them. His obvious malignity of purpose never for a
moment threw him off his guard, and he exhausted every feint and
stratagem proper to the science of defence; while, at the same time, he
meditated the most desperate catastrophe to our rencounter.

On my part, the combat was at first sustained with more moderation. My
passions, though hasty, were not malevolent; and the walk of two or three
minutes' space gave me time to reflect that Rashleigh was my father's
nephew, the son of an uncle, who after his fashion had been kind to me,
and that his falling by my hand could not but occasion much family
distress. My first resolution, therefore, was to attempt to disarm my
antagonist--a manoeuvre in which, confiding in my superiority of skill
and practice, I anticipated little difficulty. I found, however, I had
met my match; and one or two foils which I received, and from the
consequences of which I narrowly escaped, obliged me to observe more
caution in my mode of fighting. By degrees I became exasperated at the
rancour with which Rashleigh sought my life, and returned his passes with
an inveteracy resembling in some degree his own; so that the combat had
all the appearance of being destined to have a tragic issue. That issue
had nearly taken place at my expense. My foot slipped in a full lounge
which I made at my adversary, and I could not so far recover myself as
completely to parry the thrust with which my pass was repaid. Yet it took
but partial effect, running through my waistcoat, grazing my ribs, and
passing through my coat behind. The hilt of Rashleigh's sword, so great
was the vigour of his thrust, struck against my breast with such force as
to give me great pain, and confirm me in the momentary belief that I was
mortally wounded. Eager for revenge, I grappled with my enemy, seizing
with my left hand the hilt of his sword, and shortening my own with the
purpose of running him through the body. Our death-grapple was
interrupted by a man who forcibly threw himself between us, and pushing
us separate from each other, exclaimed, in a loud and commanding voice,
"What! the sons of those fathers who sucked the same breast shedding each
others bluid as it were strangers'!--By the hand of my father, I will
cleave to the brisket the first man that mints another stroke!"

I looked up in astonishment. The speaker was no other than Campbell. He
had a basket-hilted broadsword drawn in his hand, which he made to
whistle around his head as he spoke, as if for the purpose of enforcing
his mediation. Rashleigh and I stared in silence at this unexpected
intruder, who proceeded to exhort us alternately:--"Do you, Maister
Francis, opine that ye will re-establish your father's credit by cutting
your kinsman's thrapple, or getting your ain sneckit instead thereof in
the College-yards of Glasgow?--Or do you, Mr Rashleigh, think men will
trust their lives and fortunes wi' ane, that, when in point of trust and
in point of confidence wi' a great political interest, gangs about
brawling like a drunken gillie?--Nay, never look gash or grim at me,
man--if ye're angry, ye ken how to turn the buckle o' your belt behind
you."

"You presume on my present situation," replied Rashleigh, "or you would
have hardly dared to interfere where my honour is concerned."


[Illustration: Rob Roy Parting the Duelists--100]


"Hout! tout! tout!--Presume? And what for should it be presuming?--Ye may
be the richer man, Mr. Osbaldistone, as is maist likely; and ye may be
the mair learned man, whilk I dispute not: but I reckon ye are neither a
prettier man nor a better gentleman than mysell--and it will be news to
me when I hear ye are as gude. And _dare_ too? Muckle daring there's
about it--I trow, here I stand, that hae slashed as het a haggis as ony
o' the twa o' ye, and thought nae muckle o' my morning's wark when it was
dune. If my foot were on the heather as it's on the causeway, or this
pickle gravel, that's little better, I hae been waur mistrysted than if I
were set to gie ye baith your ser'ing o't."

Rashleigh had by this time recovered his temper completely. "My kinsman,"
he said, "will acknowledge he forced this quarrel on me. It was none of
my seeking. I am glad we are interrupted before I chastised his
forwardness more severely."

"Are ye hurt, lad?" inquired Campbell of me, with some appearance of
interest.

"A very slight scratch," I answered, "which my kind cousin would not long
have boasted of had not you come between us."

"In troth, and that's true, Maister Rashleigh," said Campbell; "for the
cauld iron and your best bluid were like to hae become acquaint when I
mastered Mr. Frank's right hand. But never look like a sow playing upon a
trump for the luve of that, man--come and walk wi' me. I hae news to tell
ye, and ye'll cool and come to yourself, like MacGibbon's crowdy, when he
set it out at the window-bole."

"Pardon me, sir," said I. "Your intentions have seemed friendly to me on
more occasions than one; but I must not, and will not, quit sight of this
person until he yields up to me those means of doing justice to my
father's engagements, of which he has treacherously possessed himself."

"Ye're daft, man," replied Campbell; "it will serve ye naething to follow
us e'enow; ye hae just enow o' ae man--wad ye bring twa on your head, and
might bide quiet?"

"Twenty," I replied, "if it be necessary."

I laid my hand on Rashleigh's collar, who made no resistance, but said,
with a sort of scornful smile, "You hear him, MacGregor! he rushes on his
fate--will it be my fault if he falls into it?--The warrants are by this
time ready, and all is prepared."

The Scotchman was obviously embarrassed. He looked around, and before,
and behind him, and then said--"The ne'er a bit will I yield my consent
to his being ill-guided for standing up for the father that got him--and
I gie God's malison and mine to a' sort o' magistrates, justices,
bailies., sheriffs, sheriff-officers, constables, and sic-like black
cattle, that hae been the plagues o' puir auld Scotland this hunder
year.--it was a merry warld when every man held his ain gear wi' his ain
grip, and when the country side wasna fashed wi' warrants and poindings
and apprizings, and a' that cheatry craft. And ance mair I say it, my
conscience winna see this puir thoughtless lad ill-guided, and especially
wi' that sort o' trade. I wad rather ye fell till't again, and fought it
out like douce honest men."

"Your conscience, MacGregor!" said Rashleigh; "you forget how long you
and I have known each other."

"Yes, my conscience," reiterated Campbell, or MacGregor, or whatever was
his name; "I hae such a thing about me, Maister Osbaldistone; and therein
it may weel chance that I hae the better o' you. As to our knowledge of
each other,--if ye ken what I am, ye ken what usage it was made me what I
am; and, whatever you may think, I would not change states with the
proudest of the oppressors that hae driven me to tak the heather-bush for
a beild. What _you_ are, Maister Rashleigh, and what excuse ye hae for
being _what_ you are, is between your ain heart and the lang day.--And
now, Maister Francis, let go his collar; for he says truly, that ye are
in mair danger from a magistrate than he is, and were your cause as
straight as an arrow, he wad find a way to put you wrang--So let go his
craig, as I was saying."

He seconded his words with an effort so sudden and unexpected, that he
freed Rashleigh from my hold, and securing me, notwithstanding my
struggles, in his own Herculean gripe, he called out--"Take the bent, Mr.
Rashleigh--Make ae pair o' legs worth twa pair o' hands; ye hae dune that
before now."

"You may thank this gentleman, kinsman," said Rashleigh, "if I leave any
part of my debt to you unpaid; and if I quit you now, it is only in the
hope we shall soon meet again without the possibility of interruption."

He took up his sword, wiped it, sheathed it, and was lost among the
bushes.

The Scotchman, partly by force, partly by remonstrance, prevented my
following him; indeed I began to be of opinion my doing so would be to
little purpose.

"As I live by bread," said Campbell, when, after one or two struggles in
which he used much forbearance towards me, he perceived me inclined to
stand quiet, "I never saw sae daft a callant! I wad hae gien the best man
in the country the breadth o' his back gin he had gien me sic a kemping
as ye hae dune. What wad ye do?--Wad ye follow the wolf to his den? I
tell ye, man, he has the auld trap set for ye--He has got the
collector-creature Morris to bring up a' the auld story again,
and ye maun look for nae help frae me here, as ye got at Justice
Inglewood's;--it isna good for my health to come in the gate o' the
whigamore bailie bodies. Now gang your ways hame, like a gude
bairn--jouk and let the jaw gae by--Keep out o' sight o' Rashleigh, and
Morris, and that MacVittie animal--Mind the Clachan of Aberfoil, as I
said before, and by the word of a gentleman, I wunna see ye wranged. But
keep a calm sough till we meet again--I maun gae and get Rashleigh out
o' the town afore waur comes o't, for the neb o' him's never out o'
mischief--Mind the Clachan of Aberfoil."

He turned upon his heel, and left me to meditate on the singular events
which had befallen me. My first care was to adjust my dress and reassume
my cloak, disposing it so as to conceal the blood which flowed down my
right side. I had scarcely accomplished this, when, the classes of the
college being dismissed, the gardens began to be filled with parties of
the students. I therefore left them as soon as possible; and in my way
towards Mr. Jarvie's, whose dinner hour was now approaching, I stopped at
a small unpretending shop, the sign of which intimated the indweller to
be Christopher Neilson, surgeon and apothecary. I requested of a little
boy who was pounding some stuff in a mortar, that he would procure me an
audience of this learned pharmacopolist. He opened the door of the back
shop, where I found a lively elderly man, who shook his head
incredulously at some idle account I gave him of having been wounded
accidentally by the button breaking off my antagonist's foil while I was
engaged in a fencing match. When he had applied some lint and somewhat
else he thought proper to the trifling wound I had received, he
observed--"There never was button on the foil that made this hurt. Ah!
young blood! young blood!--But we surgeons are a secret generation--If
it werena for hot blood and ill blood, what wad become of the twa
learned faculties?"

With which moral reflection he dismissed me; and I experienced very
little pain or inconvenience afterwards from the scratch I had received.






CHAPTER NINTH.


              An iron race the mountain-cliffs maintain,
                  Foes to the gentler genius of the plain.
                                *******
              Who while their rocky ramparts round they see,
                  The rough abode of want and liberty,
              As lawless force from confidence will grow,
                 Insult the plenty of the vales below.
                                                   Gray.

"What made ye sae late?" said Mr. Jarvie, as I entered the dining-parlour
of that honest gentleman; "it is chappit ane the best feek o' five
minutes by-gane. Mattie has been twice at the door wi' the dinner, and
weel for you it was a tup's head, for that canna suffer by delay. A
sheep's head ower muckle boiled is rank poison, as my worthy father used
to say--he likit the lug o' ane weel, honest man."

I made a suitable apology for my breach of punctuality, and was soon
seated at table, where Mr. Jarvie presided with great glee and
hospitality, compelling, however, Owen and myself to do rather more
justice to the Scottish dainties with which his board was charged, than
was quite agreeable to our southern palates. I escaped pretty well, from
having those habits of society which enable one to elude this species of
well-meant persecution. But it was ridiculous enough to see Owen, whose
ideas of politeness were more rigorous and formal, and who was willing,
in all acts of lawful compliance, to evince his respect for the friend of
the firm, eating with rueful complaisance mouthful after mouthful of
singed wool, and pronouncing it excellent, in a tone in which disgust
almost overpowered civility.

When the cloth was removed, Mr. Jarvie compounded with his own hands a
very small bowl of brandy-punch, the first which I had ever the fortune
to see.

"The limes," he assured us, "were from his own little farm yonder-awa"
(indicating the West Indies with a knowing shrug of his shoulders), "and
he had learned the art of composing the liquor from auld Captain
Coffinkey, who acquired it," he added in a whisper, "'as maist folk
thought, among the Buccaniers. But it's excellent liquor," said he,
helping us round; "and good ware has aften come frae a wicked market. And
as for Captain Coffinkey, he was a decent man when I kent him, only he
used to swear awfully--But he's dead, and gaen to his account, and I
trust he's accepted--I trust he's accepted."

We found the liquor exceedingly palatable, and it led to a long
conversation between Owen and our host on the opening which the Union had
afforded to trade between Glasgow and the British Colonies in America and
the West Indies, and on the facilities which Glasgow possessed of making
up sortable cargoes for that market. Mr. Jarvie answered some objection
which Owen made on the difficulty of sorting a cargo for America, without
buying from England, with vehemence and volubility.

"Na, na, sir, we stand on our ain bottom--we pickle in our ain
pock-neuk--We hae our Stirling serges, Musselburgh stuffs, Aberdeen hose,
Edinburgh shalloons, and the like, for our woollen or worsted goods--and
we hae linens of a' kinds better and cheaper than you hae in Lunnon
itsell--and we can buy your north o' England wares, as Manchester wares,
Sheffield wares, and Newcastle earthenware, as cheap as you can at
Liverpool--And we are making a fair spell at cottons and muslins--Na, na!
let every herring hing by its ain head, and every sheep by its ain shank,
and ye'll find, sir, us Glasgow folk no sae far ahint but what we may
follow.--This is but poor entertainment for you, Mr. Osbaldistone"
(observing that I had been for some time silent); "but ye ken cadgers
maun aye be speaking about cart-saddles."

I apologised, alleging the painful circumstances of my own situation, and
the singular adventures of the morning, as the causes of my abstraction
and absence of mind. In this manner I gained what I sought--an
opportunity of telling my story distinctly and without interruption. I
only omitted mentioning the wound I had received, which I did not think
worthy of notice. Mr. Jarvie listened with great attention and apparent
interest, twinkling his little grey eyes, taking snuff, and only
interrupting me by brief interjections. When I came to the account of the
rencounter, at which Owen folded his hands and cast up his eyes to
Heaven, the very image of woeful surprise, Mr. Jarvie broke in upon the
narration with "Wrang now--clean wrang--to draw a sword on your kinsman
is inhibited by the laws o' God and man; and to draw a sword on the
streets of a royal burgh is punishable by fine and imprisonment--and the
College-yards are nae better privileged--they should be a place of peace
and quietness, I trow. The College didna get gude L600 a year out o'
bishops' rents (sorrow fa' the brood o' bishops and their rents too!),
nor yet a lease o' the archbishopric o' Glasgow the sell o't, that they
suld let folk tuilzie in their yards, or the wild callants bicker there
wi' snaw-ba's as they whiles do, that when Mattie and I gae through, we
are fain to make a baik and a bow, or run the risk o' our harns being
knocked out--it suld be looked to.*--But come awa'wi' your tale--what
fell neist?"

* The boys in Scotland used formerly to make a sort of Saturnalia in a
snow-storm, by pelting passengers with snowballs. But those exposed to
that annoyance were excused from it on the easy penalty of a baik
(courtesy) from a female, or a bow from a man. It was only the refractory
who underwent the storm.

On my mentioning the appearance of Mr. Campbell, Jarvie arose in great
surprise, and paced the room, exclaiming, "Robin again!--Robert's
mad--clean wud, and waur--Rob will be hanged, and disgrace a' his
kindred, and that will be seen and heard tell o'. My father the deacon
wrought him his first hose--Od, I am thinking Deacon Threeplie, the
rape-spinner, will be twisting his last cravat. Ay, ay, puir Robin is in
a fair way o' being hanged--But come awa', come awa'--let's hear the
lave o't."

I told the whole story as pointedly as I could; but Mr. Jarvie still
found something lacking to make it clear, until I went back, though with
considerable reluctance, on the whole story of Morris, and of my meeting
with Campbell at the house of Justice Inglewood. Mr. Jarvie inclined a
serious ear to all this, and remained silent for some time after I had
finished my narrative.

"Upon all these matters I am now to ask your advice, Mr. Jarvie, which, I
have no doubt, will point out the best way to act for my father's
advantage and my own honour."

"Ye're right, young man--ye're right," said the Bailie. "Aye take the
counsel of those who are aulder and wiser than yourself, and binna like
the godless Rehoboam, who took the advice o' a wheen beardless callants,
neglecting the auld counsellors who had sate at the feet o' his father
Solomon, and, as it was weel put by Mr. Meiklejohn, in his lecture on the
chapter, were doubtless partakers of his sapience. But I maun hear
naething about honour--we ken naething here but about credit. Honour is a
homicide and a bloodspiller, that gangs about making frays in the street;
but Credit is a decent honest man, that sits at hame and makes the pat
play."

"Assuredly, Mr. Jarvie," said our friend Owen, "credit is the sum total;
and if we can but save that, at whatever discount"--

"Ye are right, Mr. Owen--ye are right; ye speak weel and wisely; and I
trust bowls will row right, though they are a wee ajee e'enow. But
touching Robin, I am of opinion he will befriend this young man if it is
in his power. He has a gude heart, puir Robin; and though I lost a matter
o' twa hundred punds wi' his former engagements, and haena muckle
expectation ever to see back my thousand punds Scots that he promises me
e'enow, yet I will never say but what Robin means fair by men."

"I am then to consider him," I replied, "as an honest man?"

"Umph!" replied Jarvie, with a precautionary sort of cough--"Ay, he has a
kind o' Hieland honesty--he's honest after a sort, as they say. My father
the deacon used aye to laugh when he tauld me how that by-word came up.
Ane Captain Costlett was cracking crouse about his loyalty to King
Charles, and Clerk Pettigrew (ye'll hae heard mony a tale about him)
asked him after what manner he served the king, when he was fighting
again him at Wor'ster in Cromwell's army; and Captain Costlett was a
ready body, and said that he served him _after a sort._ My honest father
used to laugh weel at that sport--and sae the by-word came up."

"But do you think," I said, "that this man will be able to serve me after
a sort, or should I trust myself to this place of rendezvous which he has
given me?"

"Frankly and fairly, it's worth trying. Ye see yourself there's some risk
in your staying here. This bit body Morris has gotten a custom-house
place doun at Greenock--that's a port on the Firth doun by here; and tho'
a' the world kens him to be but a twa-leggit creature, wi' a goose's head
and a hen's heart, that goes about on the quay plaguing folk about
permits, and cockits, and dockits, and a' that vexatious trade, yet if he
lodge an information--ou, nae doubt a man in magisterial duty maun attend
to it, and ye might come to be clapped up between four wa's, whilk wad be
ill-convenient to your father's affairs."

"True," I observed; "yet what service am I likely to render him by
leaving Glasgow, which, it is probable, will be the principal scene of
Rashleigh's machinations, and committing myself to the doubtful faith of
a man of whom I know little but that he fears justice, and has doubtless
good reasons for doing so; and that, for some secret, and probably
dangerous purpose, he is in close league and alliance with the very
person who is like to be the author of our ruin?"

"Ah, but ye judge Rob hardly," said the Bailie, "ye judge him hardly,
puir chield; and the truth is, that ye ken naething about our hill
country, or Hielands, as we ca' them. They are clean anither set frae the
like o' huz;--there's nae bailie-courts amang them--nae magistrates that
dinna bear the sword in vain, like the worthy deacon that's awa', and, I
may say't, like mysell and other present magistrates in this city--But
it's just the laird's command, and the loon maun loup; and the never
another law hae they but the length o' their dirks--the broadsword's
pursuer, or plaintiff, as you Englishers ca' it, and the target is
defender; the stoutest head bears langest out;--and there's a Hieland
plea for ye."

Owen groaned deeply; and I allow that the description did not greatly
increase my desire to trust myself in a country so lawless as he
described these Scottish mountains.

"Now, sir," said Jarvie, "we speak little o' thae things, because they
are familiar to oursells; and where's the use o' vilifying ane's country,
and bringing a discredit on ane's kin, before southrons and strangers?
It's an ill bird that files its ain nest."

"Well, sir, but as it is no impertinent curiosity of mine, but real
necessity, that obliges me to make these inquiries, I hope you will not
be offended at my pressing for a little farther information. I have to
deal, on my father's account, with several gentlemen of these wild
countries, and I must trust your good sense and experience for the
requisite lights upon the subject."

This little morsel of flattery was not thrown out in vain. "Experience!"
said the Bailie--"I hae had experience, nae doubt, and I hae made some
calculations--Ay, and to speak quietly amang oursells, I hae made some
perquisitions through Andrew Wylie, my auld clerk; he's wi' MacVittie &
Co. now--but he whiles drinks a gill on the Saturday afternoons wi' his
auld master. And since ye say ye are willing to be guided by the Glasgow
weaver-body's advice, I am no the man that will refuse it to the son of
an auld correspondent, and my father the deacon was nane sic afore me. I
have whiles thought o' letting my lights burn before the Duke of Argyle,
or his brother Lord Ilay (for wherefore should they be hidden under a
bushel?), but the like o' thae grit men wadna mind the like o' me, a puir
wabster body--they think mair o' wha says a thing, than o' what the thing
is that's said. The mair's the pity--mair's the pity. Not that I wad
speak ony ill of this MacCallum More--'Curse not the rich in your
bedchamber,' saith the son of Sirach, 'for a bird of the air shall carry
the clatter, and pint-stoups hae lang lugs.'"

I interrupted these prolegomena, in which Mr. Jarvie was apt to be
somewhat diffuse, by praying him to rely upon Mr. Owen and myself as
perfectly secret and safe confidants.

"It's no for that," he replied, "for I fear nae man--what for suld I?--I
speak nae treason--Only thae Hielandmen hae lang grips, and I whiles gang
a wee bit up the glens to see some auld kinsfolks, and I wadna willingly
be in bad blude wi' ony o' their clans. Howsumever, to proceed--ye maun
understand I found my remarks on figures, whilk as Mr. Owen here weel
kens, is the only true demonstrable root of human knowledge."

Owen readily assented to a proposition so much in his own way, and our
orator proceeded.

"These Hielands of ours, as we ca' them, gentlemen, are but a wild kind
of warld by themsells, full of heights and howes, woods, caverns, lochs,
rivers, and mountains, that it wad tire the very deevil's wings to flee
to the tap o' them. And in this country, and in the isles, whilk are
little better, or, to speak the truth, rather waur than the mainland,
there are about twa hunder and thirty parochines, including the Orkneys,
where, whether they speak Gaelic or no I wotna, but they are an
uncivilised people. Now, sirs, I sall haud ilk parochine at the moderate
estimate of eight hunder examinable persons, deducting children under
nine years of age, and then adding one-fifth to stand for bairns of nine
years auld, and under, the whole population will reach to the sum of--let
us add one-fifth to 800 to be the multiplier, and 230 being the
multiplicand"--

"The product," said Mr. Owen, who entered delightedly into these
statistics of Mr. Jarvie, "will be 230,000."

"Right, sir--perfectly right; and the military array of this Hieland
country, were a' the men-folk between aughteen and fifty-six brought out
that could bear arms, couldna come weel short of fifty-seven thousand
five hundred men. Now, sir, it's a sad and awfu' truth, that there is
neither wark, nor the very fashion nor appearance of wark, for the tae
half of thae puir creatures; that is to say, that the agriculture, the
pasturage, the fisheries, and every species of honest industry about the
country, cannot employ the one moiety of the population, let them work as
lazily as they like, and they do work as if a pleugh or a spade burnt
their fingers. Aweel, sir, this moiety of unemployed bodies, amounting
to"--

"To one hundred and fifteen thousand souls," said Owen, "being the half
of the above product."

"Ye hae't, Mr. Owen--ye hae't--whereof there may be twenty-eight thousand
seven hundred able-bodied gillies fit to bear arms, and that do bear
arms, and will touch or look at nae honest means of livelihood even if
they could get it--which, lack-a-day! they cannot."

"But is it possible," said I, "Mr. Jarvie, that this can be a just
picture of so large a portion of the island of Britain?"

"Sir, I'll make it as plain as Peter Pasley's pike-staff. I will allow
that ilk parochine, on an average, employs fifty pleughs, whilk is a
great proportion in sic miserable soil as thae creatures hae to labour,
and that there may be pasture enough for pleugh-horses, and owsen, and
forty or fifty cows; now, to take care o' the pleughs and cattle, we'se
allow seventy-five families of six lives in ilk family, and we'se add
fifty mair to make even numbers, and ye hae five hundred souls, the tae
half o' the population, employed and maintained in a sort o' fashion, wi'
some chance of sour-milk and crowdie; but I wad be glad to ken what the
other five hunder are to do?"

"In the name of God!" said I, "what _do_ they do, Mr. Jarvie? It makes me
shudder to think of their situation."

"Sir," replied the Bailie, "ye wad maybe shudder mair if ye were living
near hand them. For, admitting that the tae half of them may make some
little thing for themsells honestly in the Lowlands by shearing in harst,
droving, hay-making, and the like; ye hae still mony hundreds and
thousands o' lang-legged Hieland gillies that will neither work nor want,
and maun gang thigging and sorning* about on their acquaintance, or live
by doing the laird's bidding, be't right or be't wrang.

* _Thigging_ and _sorning_ was a kind of genteel begging, or rather
something between begging and robbing, by which the needy in Scotland
used to extort cattle, or the means of subsistence, from those who had
any to give.

And mair especially, mony hundreds o' them come down to the borders of
the low country, where there's gear to grip, and live by stealing,
reiving, lifting cows, and the like depredations--a thing deplorable in
ony Christian country!--the mair especially, that they take pride in it,
and reckon driving a spreagh (whilk is, in plain Scotch, stealing a herd
of nowte) a gallant, manly action, and mair befitting of pretty* men (as
sic reivers will ca' themselves), than to win a day's wage by ony honest
thrift.

* The word _pretty_ is or was used in Scotch, in the sense of the German
_prachtig,_ and meant a gallant, alert fellow, prompt and ready at his
weapons.

And the lairds are as bad as the loons; for if they dinna bid them gae
reive and harry, the deil a bit they forbid them; and they shelter them,
or let them shelter themselves, in their woods and mountains, and
strongholds, whenever the thing's dune. And every ane o' them will
maintain as mony o' his ane name, or his clan, as we say, as he can rap
and rend means for; or, whilk's the same thing, as mony as can in ony
fashion, fair or foul, mainteen themsells. And there they are wi' gun and
pistol, dirk and dourlach, ready to disturb the peace o' the country
whenever the laird likes; and that's the grievance of the Hielands, whilk
are, and hae been for this thousand years by-past, a bike o' the maist
lawless unchristian limmers that ever disturbed a douce, quiet,
God-fearing neighbourhood, like this o' ours in the west here."

"And this kinsman of yours, and friend of mine, is he one of those great
proprietors who maintain the household troops you speak of?" I inquired.

"Na, na," said Bailie Jarvie; "he's nane o' your great grandees o'
chiefs, as they ca' them, neither. Though he is weel born, and lineally
descended frae auld Glenstrae--I ken his lineage--indeed he is a near
kinsman, and, as I said, of gude gentle Hieland blude, though ye may
think weel that I care little about that nonsense--it's a' moonshine in
water--waste threads and thrums, as we say--But I could show ye letters
frae his father, that was the third aff Glenstrae, to my father Deacon
Jarvie (peace be wi' his memory!) beginning, Dear Deacon, and ending,
your loving kinsman to command,--they are amaist a' about borrowed
siller, sae the gude deacon, that's dead and gane, keepit them as
documents and evidents--He was a carefu' man."

"But if he is not," I resumed, "one of their chiefs or patriarchal
leaders, whom I have heard my father talk of, this kinsman of yours has,
at least, much to say in the Highlands, I presume?"

"Ye may say that--nae name better ken'd between the Lennox and
Breadalbane. Robin was ance a weel-doing, painstaking drover, as ye wad
see amang ten thousand--It was a pleasure to see him in his belted plaid
and brogues, wi' his target at his back, and claymore and dirk at his
belt, following a hundred Highland stots, and a dozen o' the gillies, as
rough and ragged as the beasts they drave. And he was baith civil and
just in his dealings; and if he thought his chapman had made a hard
bargain, he wad gie him a luck-penny to the mends. I hae ken'd him gie
back five shillings out o' the pund sterling."

"Twenty-five per cent," said Owen--"a heavy discount."

"He wad gie it though, sir, as I tell ye; mair especially if he thought
the buyer was a puir man, and couldna stand by a loss. But the times cam
hard, and Rob was venturesome. It wasna my faut--it wasna my faut; he
canna wyte me--I aye tauld him o't--And the creditors, mair especially
some grit neighbours o' his, gripped to his living and land; and they say
his wife was turned out o' the house to the hill-side, and sair misguided
to the boot. Shamefu'! shamefu'!--I am a peacefu' man and a magistrate,
but if ony ane had guided sae muckle as my servant quean, Mattie, as it's
like they guided Rob's wife, I think it suld hae set the shabble* that my
father the deacon had at Bothwell brig a-walking again.

* Cutlass.

Weel, Rob cam hame, and fand desolation, God pity us! where he left
plenty; he looked east, west, south, north, and saw neither hauld nor
hope--neither beild nor shelter; sae he e'en pu'd the bonnet ower his
brow, belted the broadsword to his side, took to the brae-side, and
became a broken man."*

* An outlaw.

The voice of the good citizen was broken by his contending feelings. He
obviously, while he professed to contemn the pedigree of his Highland
kinsman, attached a secret feeling of consequence to the connection, and
he spoke of his friend in his prosperity with an overflow of affection,
which deepened his sympathy for his misfortunes, and his regret for their
consequences.

"Thus tempted and urged by despair," said I, seeing Mr. Jarvie did not
proceed in his narrative, "I suppose your kinsman became one of those
depredators you have described to us?"

"No sae bad as that," said the Glaswegian,--"no a'thegither and outright
sae bad as that; but he became a levier of black-mail, wider and farther
than ever it was raised in our day, a through the Lennox and Menteith,
and up to the gates o' Stirling Castle."

"Black-mail?--I do not understand the phrase," I remarked.

"Ou, ye see, Rob soon gathered an unco band o' blue-bonnets at his back,
for he comes o' a rough name when he's kent by his ain, and a name that's
held its ain for mony a lang year, baith again king and parliament, and
kirk too, for aught I ken--an auld and honourable name, for as sair as it
has been worried and hadden down and oppressed. My mother was a
MacGregor--I carena wha kens it--And Rob had soon a gallant band; and as
it grieved him (he said) to see sic _hership_ and waste and depredation
to the south o' the Hieland line, why, if ony heritor or farmer wad pay
him four punds Scots out of each hundred punds of valued rent, whilk
was doubtless a moderate consideration, Rob engaged to keep them
scaithless;--let them send to him if they lost sae muckle as a single
cloot by thieving, and Rob engaged to get them again, or pay the
value--and he aye keepit his word--I canna deny but he keepit his
word--a' men allow Rob keeps his word."

"This is a very singular contract of assurance," said Mr. Owen.

"It's clean again our statute law, that must be owned," said Jarvie,
"clean again law; the levying and the paying black-mail are baith
punishable: but if the law canna protect my barn and byre, whatfor suld I
no engage wi' a Hieland gentleman that can?--answer me that."

"But," said I, "Mr. Jarvie, is this contract of black-mail, as you call
it, completely voluntary on the part of the landlord or farmer who pays
the insurance? or what usually happens, in case any one refuses payment
of this tribute?"

"Aha, lad!" said the Bailie, laughing, and putting his finger to his
nose, "ye think ye hae me there. Troth, I wad advise ony friends o' mine
to gree wi' Rob; for, watch as they like, and do what they like, they are
sair apt to be harried* when the lang nights come on.

* Plundered.

Some o' the Grahame and Cohoon gentry stood out; but what then?--they
lost their haill stock the first winter; sae maist folks now think it
best to come into Rob's terms. He's easy wi' a' body that will be easy
wi' him; but if ye thraw him, ye had better thraw the deevil."

"And by his exploits in these vocations," I continued, "I suppose he has
rendered himself amenable to the laws of the country?"

"Amenable?--ye may say that; his craig wad ken the weight o' his hurdies
if they could get haud o' Rob. But he has gude friends amang the grit
folks; and I could tell ye o' ae grit family that keeps him up as far as
they decently can, to be a them in the side of another. And then he's sic
an auld-farran lang-headed chield as never took up the trade o' cateran
in our time; mony a daft reik he has played--mair than wad fill a book,
and a queer ane it wad be--as gude as Robin Hood, or William Wallace--a'
fu' o' venturesome deeds and escapes, sic as folk tell ower at a winter
ingle in the daft days. It's a queer thing o' me, gentlemen, that am a
man o' peace mysell, and a peacefu man's son--for the deacon my father
quarrelled wi' nane out o the town-council--it's a queer thing, I say,
but I think the Hieland blude o' me warms at thae daft tales, and whiles
I like better to hear them than a word o' profit, gude forgie me! But
they are vanities--sinfu' vanities--and, moreover, again the statute
law--again the statute and gospel law."

I now followed up my investigation, by inquiring what means of influence
this Mr. Robert Campbell could possibly possess over my affairs, or those
of my father.

"Why, ye are to understand," said Mr. Jarvie in a very subdued tone--"I
speak amang friends, and under the rose--Ye are to understand, that the
Hielands hae been keepit quiet since the year aughty-nine--that was
Killiecrankie year. But how hae they been keepit quiet, think ye? By
siller, Mr. Owen--by siller, Mr. Osbaldistone. King William caused
Breadalbane distribute twenty thousand oude punds sterling amang them,
and it's said the auld Hieland Earl keepit a lang lug o't in his ain
sporran. And then Queen Anne, that's dead, gae the chiefs bits o'
pensions, sae they had wherewith to support their gillies and caterans
that work nae wark, as I said afore; and they lay by quiet eneugh, saying
some spreagherie on the Lowlands, whilk is their use and wont, and some
cutting o' thrapples amang themsells, that nae civilised body kens or
cares onything anent.--Weel, but there's a new warld come up wi' this
King George (I say, God bless him, for ane)--there's neither like to be
siller nor pensions gaun amang them; they haena the means o' mainteening
the clans that eat them up, as ye may guess frae what I said before;
their credit's gane in the Lowlands; and a man that can whistle ye up a
thousand or feifteen hundred linking lads to do his will, wad hardly get
fifty punds on his band at the Cross o' Glasgow--This canna stand
lang--there will be an outbreak for the Stuarts--there will be an
outbreak--they will come down on the low country like a flood, as they
did in the waefu' wars o' Montrose, and that will be seen and heard tell
o' ere a twalmonth gangs round."

"Yet still," I said, "I do not see how this concerns Mr. Campbell, much
less my father's affairs."

"Rob can levy five hundred men, sir, and therefore war suld concern him
as muckle as maist folk," replied the Bailie; "for it is a faculty that
is far less profitable in time o' peace. Then, to tell ye the truth, I
doubt he has been the prime agent between some o' our Hieland chiefs and
the gentlemen in the north o' England. We a' heard o' the public money
that was taen frae the chield Morris somewhere about the fit o' Cheviot
by Rob and ane o' the Osbaldistone lads; and, to tell ye the truth, word
gaed that it was yoursell Mr. Francis,--and sorry was I that your
father's son suld hae taen to sic practices--Na, ye needna say a word
about it--I see weel I was mistaen; but I wad believe onything o' a
stage-player, whilk I concluded ye to be. But now, I doubtna, it has been
Rashleigh himself or some other o' your cousins--they are a' tarred wi'
the same stick--rank Jacobites and papists, and wad think the government
siller and government papers lawfu' prize. And the creature Morris is sic
a cowardly caitiff, that to this hour he daurna say that it was Rob took
the portmanteau aff him; and troth he's right, for your custom-house and
excise cattle are ill liket on a' sides, and Rob might get a back-handed
lick at him, before the Board, as they ca't, could help him."

"I have long suspected this, Mr. Jarvie," said I, "and perfectly agree
with you. But as to my father's affairs"--

"Suspected it?--it's certain--it's certain--I ken them that saw some of
the papers that were taen aff Morris--it's needless to say where. But to
your father's affairs--Ye maun think that in thae twenty years by-gane,
some o' the Hieland lairds and chiefs hae come to some sma' sense o'
their ain interest--your father and others hae bought the woods of
Glen-Disseries, Glen Kissoch, Tober-na-Kippoch, and mony mair besides,
and your father's house has granted large bills in payment,--and as the
credit o' Osbaldistone and Tresham was gude--for I'll say before Mr.
Owen's face, as I wad behind his back, that, bating misfortunes o' the
Lord's sending, nae men could be mair honourable in business--the Hieland
gentlemen, holders o' thae bills, hae found credit in Glasgow and
Edinburgh--(I might amaist say in Glasgow wholly, for it's little the
pridefu' Edinburgh folk do in real business)--for all, or the greater
part of the contents o' thae bills. So that--Aha! d'ye see me now?"

I confessed I could not quite follow his drift.

"Why," said he, "if these bills are not paid, the Glasgow merchant comes
on the Hieland lairds, whae hae deil a boddle o' siller, and will like
ill to spew up what is item a' spent--They will turn desperate--five
hundred will rise that might hae sitten at hame--the deil will gae ower
Jock Wabster--and the stopping of your father's house will hasten the
outbreak that's been sae lang biding us."

"You think, then," said I, surprised at this singular view of the case,
"that Rashleigh Osbaldistone has done this injury to my father, merely to
accelerate a rising in the Highlands, by distressing the gentlemen to whom
these bills were originally granted?"

"Doubtless--doubtless--it has been one main reason, Mr. Osbaldistone. I
doubtna but what the ready money he carried off wi' him might be another.
But that makes comparatively but a sma' part o' your father's loss,
though it might make the maist part o' Rashleigh's direct gain. The
assets he carried off are of nae mair use to him than if he were to light
his pipe wi' them. He tried if MacVittie & Co. wad gie him siller on
them--that I ken by Andro Wylie--but they were ower auld cats to draw
that strae afore them--they keepit aff, and gae fair words. Rashleigh
Osbaldistone is better ken'd than trusted in Glasgow, for he was here
about some jacobitical papistical troking in seventeen hundred and seven,
and left debt ahint him. Na, na--he canna pit aff the paper here; folk
will misdoubt him how he came by it. Na, na--he'll hae the stuff safe at
some o' their haulds in the Hielands, and I daur say my cousin Rob could
get at it gin he liked."

"But would he be disposed to serve us in this pinch, Mr. Jarvie?" said I.
"You have described him as an agent of the Jacobite party, and deeply
connected in their intrigues: will he be disposed for my sake, or, if you
please, for the sake of justice, to make an act of restitution, which,
supposing it in his power, would, according to your view of the case,
materially interfere with their plans?"

"I canna preceesely speak to that: the grandees among them are doubtfu'
o' Rob, and he's doubtfu' o' them.--And he's been weel friended wi' the
Argyle family, wha stand for the present model of government. If he was
freed o' his hornings and captions, he would rather be on Argyle's side
than he wad be on Breadalbane's, for there's auld ill-will between the
Breadalbane family and his kin and name. The truth is, that Rob is for
his ain hand, as Henry Wynd feught*--he'll take the side that suits him
best; if the deil was laird, Rob wad be for being tenant; and ye canna
blame him, puir fallow, considering his circumstances.

* Two great clans fought out a quarrel with thirty men of a side, in
presence ot the king, on the North Inch of Perth, on or about the year
1392; a man was amissing on one side, whose room was filled by a little
bandy-legged citizen of Perth. This substitute, Henry Wynd--or, as the
Highlanders called him, _Gow Chrom,_ that is, the bandy-legged
smith--fought well, and contributed greatly to the fate of the battle,
without knowing which side he fought on;--so, "To fight for your own
hand, like Henry Wynd," passed into a proverb. [This incident forms a
conspicuous part of the subsequent novel, "The Fair Maid of Perth."]

"But there's ae thing sair again ye--Rob has a grey mear in his stable at
hame."

"A grey mare?" said I. "What is that to the purpose?"

"The wife, man--the wife,--an awfu' wife she is. She downa bide the sight
o' a kindly Scot, if he come frae the Lowlands, far less of an Inglisher,
and she'll be keen for a' that can set up King James, and ding down King
George."

"It is very singular," I replied, "that the mercantile transactions of
London citizens should become involved with revolutions and rebellions."

"Not at a', man--not at a'," returned Mr. Jarvie; "that's a' your silly
prejudications. I read whiles in the lang dark nights, and I hae read in
Baker's Chronicle* that the merchants o'London could gar the Bank of
Genoa break their promise to advance a mighty sum to the King o' Spain,
whereby the sailing of the Grand Spanish Armada was put aff for a haill
year--What think you of that, sir?"

* [_The Chronicle of the Kings of England,_ by Sir Richard Baker, with
continuations, passed through several editions between 1641 and 1733.
Whether any of them contain the passage alluded to is doubtful.]

"That the merchants did their country golden service, which ought to be
honourably remembered in our histories."

"I think sae too; and they wad do weel, and deserve weal baith o' the
state and o' humanity, that wad save three or four honest Hieland
gentlemen frae louping heads ower heels into destruction, wi' a' their
puir sackless* followers, just because they canna pay back the siller
they had reason to count upon as their ain--and save your father's
credit--and my ain gude siller that Osbaldistone and Tresham awes me into
the bargain.

* Sackless, that is, innocent.

I say, if ane could manage a' this, I think it suld be done and said unto
him, even if he were a puir ca'-the-shuttle body, as unto one whom the
king delighteth to honour."

"I cannot pretend to estimate the extent of public gratitude," I replied;
"but our own thankfulness, Mr. Jarvie, would be commensurate with the
extent of the obligation."

"Which," added Mr. Owen, "we would endeavour to balance with a _per
contra,_ the instant our Mr. Osbaldistone returns from Holland."

"I doubtna--I doubtna--he is a very worthy gentleman, and a sponsible,
and wi' some o' my lights might do muckle business in Scotland--Weel,
sir, if these assets could be redeemed out o' the hands o' the
Philistines, they are gude paper--they are the right stuff when they are
in the right hands, and that's yours, Mr. Owen. And I'se find ye three
men in Glasgow, for as little as ye may think o' us, Mr. Owen--that's
Sandie Steenson in the Trade's-Land, and John Pirie in Candleriggs, and
another that sall be nameless at this present, sall advance what soums
are sufficient to secure the credit of your house, and seek nae better
security."

Owen's eyes sparkled at this prospect of extrication; but his countenance
instantly fell on recollecting how improbable it was that the recovery of
the assets, as he technically called them, should be successfully
achieved.

"Dinna despair, sir--dinna despair," said Mr. Jarvie; "I hae taen sae
muckle concern wi' your affairs already, that it maun een be ower shoon
ower boots wi' me now. I am just like my father the deacon (praise be wi'
him!) I canna meddle wi' a friend's business, but I aye end wi' making it
my ain--Sae, I'll e'en pit on my boots the morn, and be jogging ower
Drymen Muir wi' Mr. Frank here; and if I canna mak Rob hear reason, and
his wife too, I dinna ken wha can--I hae been a kind freend to them afore
now, to say naething o' ower-looking him last night, when naming his name
wad hae cost him his life--I'll be hearing o' this in the council maybe
frae Bailie Grahame and MacVittie, and some o' them. They hae coost up
my kindred to Rob to me already--set up their nashgabs! I tauld them I
wad vindicate nae man's faults; but set apart what he had done again the
law o' the country, and the hership o' the Lennox, and the misfortune o'
some folk losing life by him, he was an honester man than stood on ony o'
their shanks--And whatfor suld I mind their clavers? If Rob is an outlaw,
to himsell be it said--there is nae laws now about reset of
inter-communed persons, as there was in the ill times o' the last
Stuarts--I trow I hae a Scotch tongue in my head--if they speak, I'se
answer."

It was with great pleasure that I saw the Bailie gradually surmount the
barriers of caution, under the united influence of public spirit and
good-natured interest in our affairs, together with his natural wish to
avoid loss and acquire gain, and not a little harmless vanity. Through
the combined operation of these motives, he at length arrived at the
doughty resolution of taking the field in person, to aid in the recovery
of my father's property. His whole information led me to believe, that if
the papers were in possession of this Highland adventurer, it might be
possible to induce him to surrender what he could not keep with any
prospect of personal advantage; and I was conscious that the presence of
his kinsman was likely to have considerable weight with him. I therefore
cheerfully acquiesced in Mr. Jarvie's proposal that we should set out
early next morning.

That honest gentleman was indeed as vivacious and alert in preparing to
carry his purpose into execution, as he had been slow and cautious in
forming it. He roared to Mattie to "air his trot-cosey, to have his
jack-boots greased and set before the kitchen-fire all night, and to see
that his beast be corned, and a' his riding gear in order." Having agreed
to meet him at five o'clock next morning, and having settled that Owen,
whose presence could be of no use to us upon this expedition, should
await our return at Glasgow, we took a kind farewell of this unexpectedly
zealous friend. I installed Owen in an apartment in my lodgings,
contiguous to my own, and, giving orders to Andrew Fairservice to attend
me next morning at the hour appointed, I retired to rest with better
hopes than it had lately been my fortune to entertain.





CHAPTER TENTH.

             Far as the eye could reach no tree was seen,
             Earth, clad in russet, scorned the lively green;
                No birds, except as birds of passage flew;
                No bee was heard to hum, no dove to coo;
                No streams, as amber smooth-as amber clear,
                Were seen to glide, or heard to warble here.
                                             Prophecy of Famine.

It was in the bracing atmosphere of a harvest morning, that I met by
appointment Fairservice, with the horses, at the door of Mr. Jarvie's
house, which was but little space distant from Mrs. Flyter's hotel. The
first matter which caught my attention was, that whatever were the
deficiencies of the pony which Mr. Fairservice's legal adviser, Clerk
Touthope, generously bestowed upon him in exchange for Thorncliff's mare,
he had contrived to part with it, and procure in its stead an animal with
so curious and complete a lameness, that it seemed only to make use of
three legs for the purpose of progression, while the fourth appeared as
if meant to be flourished in the air by way of accompaniment. "What do
you mean by bringing such a creature as that here, sir? and where is the
pony you rode to Glasgow upon?" were my very natural and impatient
inquiries.

"I sell't it, sir. It was a slink beast, and wad hae eaten its head aff,
standing at Luckie Flyter's at livery. And I hae bought this on your
honour's account. It's a grand bargain--cost but a pund sterling the
foot--that's four a'thegither. The stringhalt will gae aff when it's gaen
a mile; it's a weel-ken'd ganger; they call it Souple Tam."

"On my soul, sir," said I, "you will never rest till my supple-jack and
your shoulders become acquainted, If you do not go instantly and procure
the other brute, you shall pay the penalty of your ingenuity."

Andrew, notwithstanding my threats, continued to battle the point, as he
said it would cost him a guinea of rue-bargain to the man who had bought
his pony, before he could get it back again. Like a true Englishman,
though sensible I was duped by the rascal, I was about to pay his
exaction rather than lose time, when forth sallied Mr. Jarvie, cloaked,
mantled, hooded, and booted, as if for a Siberian winter, while two
apprentices, under the immediate direction of Mattie, led forth the
decent ambling steed which had the honour on such occasions to support
the person of the Glasgow magistrate. Ere he "clombe to the saddle," an
expression more descriptive of the Bailie's mode of mounting than that of
the knights-errant to whom Spenser applies it, he inquired the cause of
the dispute betwixt my servant and me. Having learned the nature of
honest Andrew's manoeuvre he instantly cut short all debate, by
pronouncing, that if Fairservice did not forthwith return the
three-legged palfrey, and produce the more useful quadruped which he had
discarded, he would send him to prison, and amerce him in half his wages.
"Mr. Osbaldistone," said he, "contracted for the service of both your
horse and you--twa brutes at ance--ye unconscionable rascal!--but I'se
look weel after you during this journey."

"It will be nonsense fining me," said Andrew, doughtily, "that hasna a
grey groat to pay a fine wi'--it's ill taking the breeks aff a
Hielandman."

"If ye hae nae purse to fine, ye hae flesh to pine," replied the Bailie,
"and I will look weel to ye getting your deserts the tae way or the
tither."

To the commands of Mr. Jarvie, therefore, Andrew was compelled to submit,
only muttering between his teeth, "Ower mony maisters,--ower mony
maisters, as the paddock said to the harrow, when every tooth gae her a
tig."

Apparently he found no difficulty in getting rid of Supple Tam, and
recovering possession of his former Bucephalus, for he accomplished the
exchange without being many minutes absent; nor did I hear further of his
having paid any smart-money for breach of bargain.

We now set forward, but had not reached the top of the street in which
Mr. Jarvie dwelt, when a loud hallooing and breathless call of "Stop,
stop!" was heard behind us. We stopped accordingly, and were overtaken by
Mr. Jarvie's two lads, who bore two parting tokens of Mattie's care for
her master. The first was conveyed in the form of a voluminous silk
handkerchief, like the mainsail of one of his own West-Indiamen, which
Mrs. Mattie particularly desired he would put about his neck, and which,
thus entreated, he added to his other integuments. The second youngster
brought only a verbal charge (I thought I saw the rogue disposed to laugh
as he delivered it) on the part of the housekeeper, that her master would
take care of the waters. "Pooh! pooh! silly hussy," answered Mr. Jarvie;
but added, turning to me, "it shows a kind heart though--it shows a kind
heart in sae young a quean--Mattie's a carefu' lass." So speaking, he
pricked the sides of his palfrey, and we left the town without farther
interruption.

While we paced easily forward, by a road which conducted us
north-eastward from the town, I had an opportunity to estimate and admire
the good qualities of my new friend. Although, like my father, he
considered commercial transactions the most important objects of human
life, he was not wedded to them so as to undervalue more general
knowledge. On the contrary, with much oddity and vulgarity of
manner,--with a vanity which he made much more ridiculous by disguising
it now and then under a thin veil of humility, and devoid as he was of
all the advantages of a learned education, Mr. Jarvie's conversation
showed tokens of a shrewd, observing, liberal, and, to the extent of its
opportunities, a well-improved mind. He was a good local antiquary, and
entertained me, as we passed along, with an account of remarkable events
which had formerly taken place in the scenes through which we passed.
And as he was well acquainted with the ancient history of his district,
he saw with the prospective eye of an enlightened patriot, the buds of
many of those future advantages which have only blossomed and ripened
within these few years. I remarked also, and with great pleasure, that
although a keen Scotchman, and abundantly zealous for the honour of his
country, he was disposed to think liberally of the sister kingdom. When
Andrew Fairservice (whom, by the way, the Bailie could not abide) chose
to impute the accident of one of the horses casting his shoe to the
deteriorating influence of the Union, he incurred a severe rebuke from
Mr. Jarvie.

"Whisht, sir!--whisht! it's ill-scraped tongues like yours, that make
mischief atween neighbourhoods and nations. There's naething sae gude on
this side o' time but it might hae been better, and that may be said o'
the Union. Nane were keener against it than the Glasgow folk, wi' their
rabblings and their risings, and their mobs, as they ca' them now-a-days.
But it's an ill wind blaws naebody gude--Let ilka ane roose the ford as
they find it--I say let Glasgow flourish! whilk is judiciously and
elegantly putten round the town's arms, by way of by-word.--Now, since
St. Mungo catched herrings in the Clyde, what was ever like to gar us
flourish like the sugar and tobacco trade? Will onybody tell me that, and
grumble at the treaty that opened us a road west-awa' yonder?"

Andrew Fairservice was far from acquiescing in these arguments of
expedience, and even ventured to enter a grumbling protest, "That it was
an unco change to hae Scotland's laws made in England; and that, for his
share, he wadna for a' the herring-barrels in Glasgow, and a' the
tobacco-casks to boot, hae gien up the riding o' the Scots Parliament, or
sent awa' our crown, and our sword, and our sceptre, and Mons Meg,* to be
keepit by thae English pock-puddings in the Tower o' Lunnon.

* Note G. Mons Meg.

What wad Sir William Wallace, or auld Davie Lindsay, hae said to the
Union, or them that made it?"

The road which we travelled, while diverting the way with these
discussions, had become wild and open, as soon as we had left Glasgow a
mile or two behind us, and was growing more dreary as we advanced. Huge
continuous heaths spread before, behind, and around us, in hopeless
barrenness--now level and interspersed with swamps, green with
treacherous verdure, or sable with turf, or, as they call them in
Scotland, peat-bogs,--and now swelling into huge heavy ascents, which
wanted the dignity and form of hills, while they were still more toilsome
to the passenger. There were neither trees nor bushes to relieve the eye
from the russet livery of absolute sterility. The very heath was of that
stinted imperfect kind which has little or no flower, and affords the
coarsest and meanest covering, which, as far as my experience enables me
to judge, mother Earth is ever arrayed in. Living thing we saw none,
except occasionally a few straggling sheep of a strange diversity of
colours, as black, bluish, and orange. The sable hue predominated,
however, in their faces and legs. The very birds seemed to shun these
wastes, and no wonder, since they had an easy method of escaping from
them;--at least I only heard the monotonous and plaintive cries of the
lapwing and curlew, which my companions denominated the peasweep and
whaup.

At dinner, however, which we took about noon, at a most miserable
alehouse, we had the good fortune to find that these tiresome screamers
of the morass were not the only inhabitants of the moors. The goodwife
told us, that "the gudeman had been at the hill;" and well for us that he
had been so, for we enjoyed the produce of his _chasse_ in the shape of
some broiled moor-game,--a dish which gallantly eked out the ewe-milk
cheese, dried salmon, and oaten bread, being all besides that the house
afforded. Some very indifferent two-penny ale, and a glass of excellent
brandy, crowned our repast; and as our horses had, in the meantime,
discussed their corn, we resumed our journey with renovated vigour.

I had need of all the spirits a good dinner could give, to resist the
dejection which crept insensibly on my mind, when I combined the strange
uncertainty of my errand with the disconsolate aspect of the country
through which it was leading me. Our road continued to be, if possible,
more waste and wild than that we had travelled in the forenoon. The few
miserable hovels that showed some marks of human habitation, were now of
still rarer occurrence; and at length, as we began to ascend an
uninterrupted swell of moorland, they totally disappeared. The only
exercise which my imagination received was, when some particular turn of
the road gave us a partial view, to the left, of a large assemblage of
dark-blue mountains stretching to the north and north-west, which
promised to include within their recesses a country as wild perhaps, but
certainly differing greatly in point of interest, from that which we now
travelled. The peaks of this screen of mountains were as wildly varied
and distinguished, as the hills which we had seen on the right were tame
and lumpish; and while I gazed on this Alpine region, I felt a longing to
explore its recesses, though accompanied with toil and danger, similar to
that which a sailor feels when he wishes for the risks and animation of a
battle or a gale, in exchange for the insupportable monotony of a
protracted calm. I made various inquiries of my friend Mr. Jarvie
respecting the names and positions of these remarkable mountains; but it
was a subject on which he had no information, or did not choose to be
communicative. "They're the Hieland hills--the Hieland hills--Ye'll see
and hear eneugh about them before ye see Glasgow Cross again--I downa
look at them--I never see them but they gar me grew. It's no for fear--no
for fear, but just for grief, for the puir blinded half-starved creatures
that inhabit them--but say nae mair about it--it's ill speaking o'
Hielandmen sae near the line. I hae ken'd mony an honest man wadna hae
ventured this length without he had made his last will and
testament--Mattie had ill-will to see me set awa' on this ride, and grat
awee, the sillie tawpie; but it's nae mair ferlie to see a woman greet
than to see a goose gang barefit."

I next attempted to lead the discourse on the character and history of
the person whom we were going to visit; but on this topic Mr. Jarvie was
totally inaccessible, owing perhaps in part to the attendance of Mr.
Andrew Fairservice, who chose to keep so close in our rear that his ears
could not fail to catch every word which was spoken, while his tongue
assumed the freedom of mingling in our conversation as often as he saw an
opportunity. For this he occasionally incurred Mr. Jarvie's reproof.

"Keep back, sir, as best sets ye," said the Bailie, as Andrew pressed
forward to catch the answer to some question I had asked about Campbell.
--"ye wad fain ride the fore-horse, an ye wist how.--That chield's aye
for being out o' the cheese-fat he was moulded in.--Now, as for your
questions, Mr. Osbaldistone, now that chield's out of ear-shot, I'll just
tell you it's free to you to speer, and it's free to me to answer, or
no--Gude I canna say muckle o' Rob, puir chield; ill I winna say o' him,
for, forby that he's my cousin, we're coming near his ain country, and
there may be ane o' his gillies ahint every whin-bush, for what I
ken--And if ye'll be guided by my advice, the less ye speak about him, or
where we are gaun, or what we are gaun to do, we'll be the mair likely to
speed us in our errand. For it's like we may fa' in wi' some o' his
unfreends--there are e'en ower mony o' them about--and his bonnet sits
even on his brow yet for a' that; but I doubt they'll be upsides wi' Rob
at the last--air day or late day, the fox's hide finds aye the flaying
knife."

"I will certainly," I replied, "be entirely guided by your experience."

"Right, Mr. Osbaldistone--right. But I maun speak to this gabbling skyte
too, for bairns and fules speak at the Cross what they hear at the
ingle-side.--D'ye hear, you, Andrew--what's your name?--Fairservice!"

Andrew, who at the last rebuff had fallen a good way behind, did not
choose to acknowledge the summons.

"Andrew, ye scoundrel!" repeated Mr. Jarvie; "here, sir here!"

"Here is for the dog." said Andrew, coming up sulkily.

"I'll gie you dog's wages, ye rascal, if ye dinna attend to what I say
t'ye--We are gaun into the Hielands a bit"--

"I judged as muckle," said Andrew.

"Haud your peace, ye knave, and hear what I have to say till ye--We are
gaun a bit into the Hielands"--

"Ye tauld me sae already," replied the incorrigible Andrew.

"I'll break your head," said the Bailie, rising in wrath, "if ye dinna
haud your tongue."

"A hadden tongue," replied Andrew, "makes a slabbered mouth."

It was now necessary I should interfere, which I did by commanding
Andrew, with an authoritative tone, to be silent at his peril.

"I am silent," said Andrew. "I'se do a' your lawfu' bidding without a
nay-say. My puir mother used aye to tell me,

                      Be it better, be it worse,
                      Be ruled by him that has the purse.

Sae ye may e'en speak as lang as ye like, baith the tane and the tither
o' you, for Andrew."

Mr. Jarvie took the advantage of his stopping after quoting the above
proverb, to give him the requisite instructions. "Now, sir, it's as
muckle as your life's worth--that wad be dear o' little siller, to be
sure--but it is as muckle as a' our lives are worth, if ye dinna mind
what I sae to ye. In this public whar we are gaun to, and whar it is like
we may hae to stay a' night, men o' a' clans and kindred--Hieland and
Lawland--tak up their quarters--And whiles there are mair drawn dirks
than open Bibles amang them, when the usquebaugh gets uppermost. See ye
neither meddle nor mak, nor gie nae offence wi' that clavering tongue o'
yours, but keep a calm sough, and let ilka cock fight his ain battle."

"Muckle needs to tell me that," said Andrew, contemptuously, "as if I had
never seen a Hielandman before, and ken'd nae how to manage them. Nae man
alive can cuitle up Donald better than mysell--I hae bought wi' them,
sauld wi' them, eaten wi' them, drucken wi' them"--

"Did ye ever fight wi' them?" said Mr. Jarvie.

"Na, na," answered Andrew, "I took care o' that: it wad ill hae set me,
that am an artist and half a scholar to my trade, to be fighting amang a
wheen kilted loons that dinna ken the name o' a single herb or flower in
braid Scots, let abee in the Latin tongue."

"Then," said Mr. Jarvie, "as ye wad keep either your tongue in your
mouth, or your lugs in your head (and ye might miss them, for as saucy
members as they are), I charge ye to say nae word, gude or bad, that ye
can weel get by, to onybody that may be in the Clachan. And ye'll
specially understand that ye're no to be bleezing and blasting about your
master's name and mine, or saying that this is Mr. Bailie Nicol Jarvie o'
the Saut Market, son o' the worthy Deacon Nicol Jarvie, that a' body has
heard about; and this is Mr. Frank Osbaldistone, son of the managing
partner of the great house of Osbaldistone and Tresham, in the City."

"Eneueh said," answered Andrew--"eneueh said. What need ye think I wad be
speaking about your names for?--I hae mony things o' mair importance to
speak about, I trow."

"It's thae very things of importance that I am feared for, ye blethering
goose; ye maunna speak ony thing, gude or bad, that ye can by any
possibility help."

"If ye dinna think me fit," replied Andrew, in a huff, "to speak like
ither folk, gie me my wages and my board-wages, and I'se gae back to
Glasgow--There's sma' sorrow at our parting, as the auld mear said to the
broken cart."

Finding Andrew's perverseness again rising to a point which threatened to
occasion me inconvenience, I was under the necessity of explaining to
him, that he might return if he thought proper, but that in that case I
would not pay him a single farthing for his past services. The argument
_ad crumenam,_ as it has been called by jocular logicians, has weight
with the greater part of mankind, and Andrew was in that particular far
from affecting any trick of singularity. He "drew in his horns," to use
the Bailie's phrase, on the instant, professed no intention whatever to
disoblige, and a resolution to be guided by my commands, whatever they
might be.

Concord being thus happily restored to our small party, we continued to
pursue our journey. The road, which had ascended for six or seven English
miles, began now to descend for about the same space, through a country
which neither in fertility nor interest could boast any advantage over
that which we had passed already, and which afforded no variety, unless
when some tremendous peak of a Highland mountain appeared at a distance.
We continued, however, to ride on without pause and even when night fell
and overshadowed the desolate wilds which we traversed, we were, as I
understood from Mr. Jarvie, still three miles and a bittock distant from
the place where we were to spend the night.





CHAPTER ELEVENTH.

                          Baron of Bucklivie,
                       May the foul fiend drive ye,
                          And a' to pieces rive ye,
                          For building sic a town,
                       Where there's neither horse meat,
                          Nor man's meat,
                       Nor a chair to sit down.
                                Scottish Popular Rhymes on a bad Inn.

The night was pleasant, and the moon afforded us good light for our
journey. Under her rays, the ground over which we passed assumed a more
interesting appearance than during the broad daylight, which discovered
the extent of its wasteness. The mingled light and shadows gave it an
interest which naturally did not belong to it; and, like the effect of a
veil flung over a plain woman, irritated our curiosity on a subject which
had in itself nothing gratifying.

The descent, however, still continued, turned, winded, left the more open
heaths, and got into steeper ravines, which promised soon to lead us to
the banks of some brook or river, and ultimately made good their presage.
We found ourselves at length on the bank of a stream, which rather
resembled one of my native English rivers than those I had hitherto seen
in Scotland. It was narrow, deep, still, and silent; although the
imperfect light, as it gleamed on its placid waters, showed also that we
were now among the lofty mountains which formed its cradle. "That's the
Forth," said the Bailie, with an air of reverence, which I have observed
the Scotch usually pay to their distinguished rivers. The Clyde, the
Tweed, the Forth, the Spey, are usually named by those who dwell on their
banks with a sort of respect and pride, and I have known duels occasioned
by any word of disparagement. I cannot say I have the least quarrel with
this sort of harmless enthusiasm. I received my friend's communication
with the importance which he seemed to think appertained to it. In fact,
I was not a little pleased, after so long and dull a journey, to approach
a region which promised to engage the imagination. My faithful squire,
Andrew, did not seem to be quite of the same opinion, for he received the
solemn information, "That is the Forth," with a "Umph!--an he had said
that's the public-house, it wad hae been mair to the purpose."

The Forth, however, as far as the imperfect light permitted me to judge,
seemed to merit the admiration of those who claimed an interest in its
stream. A beautiful eminence of the most regular round shape, and clothed
with copsewood of hazels, mountain-ash, and dwarf-oak, intermixed with a
few magnificent old trees, which, rising above the underwood, exposed
their forked and bared branches to the silver moonshine, seemed to
protect the sources from which the river sprung. If I could trust the
tale of my companion, which, while professing to disbelieve every word of
it, he told under his breath, and with an air of something like
intimidation, this hill, so regularly formed, so richly verdant, and
garlanded with such a beautiful variety of ancient trees and thriving
copsewood, was held by the neighbourhood to contain, within its unseen
caverns, the palaces of the fairies--a race of airy beings, who formed an
intermediate class between men and demons, and who, if not positively
malignant to humanity, were yet to be avoided and feared, on account of
their capricious, vindictive, and irritable disposition.*

* Note H. Fairy Superstition.

"They ca' them," said Mr. Jarvie, in a whisper, "_Daoine Schie,_--whilk
signifies, as I understand, men of peace; meaning thereby to make their
gudewill. And we may e'en as weel ca' them that too, Mr. Osbaldistone,
for there's nae gude in speaking ill o' the laird within his ain bounds."
But he added presently after, on seeing one or two lights which twinkled
before us, "It's deceits o' Satan, after a', and I fearna to say it--for
we are near the manse now, and yonder are the lights in the Clachan of
Aberfoil."

I own I was well pleased at the circumstance to which Mr. Jarvie alluded;
not so much that it set his tongue at liberty, in his opinion, with all
safety to declare his real sentiments with respect to the _Daoine Schie,_
or fairies, as that it promised some hours' repose to ourselves and our
horses, of which, after a ride of fifty miles and upwards, both stood in
some need.

We crossed the infant Forth by an old-fashioned stone bridge, very high
and very narrow. My conductor, however, informed me, that to get through
this deep and important stream, and to clear all its tributary
dependencies, the general pass from the Highlands to the southward lay by
what was called the Fords of Frew, at all times deep and difficult of
passage, and often altogether unfordable. Beneath these fords, there was
no pass of general resort until so far east as the bridge of Stirling; so
that the river of Forth forms a defensible line between the Highlands and
Lowlands of Scotland, from its source nearly to the Firth, or inlet of
the ocean, in which it terminates. The subsequent events which we
witnessed led me to recall with attention what the shrewdness of Bailie
Jarvie suggested in his proverbial expression, that "Forth bridles the
wild Highlandman."

About half a mile's riding, after we crossed the bridge, placed us at the
door of the public-house where we were to pass the evening. It was a
hovel rather worse than better than that in which we had dined; but its
little windows were lighted up, voices were heard from within, and all
intimated a prospect of food and shelter, to which we were by no means
indifferent. Andrew was the first to observe that there was a peeled
willow-wand placed across the half-open door of the little inn. He hung
back and advised us not to enter. "For," said Andrew, "some of their
chiefs and grit men are birling at the usquebaugh in by there, and dinna
want to be disturbed; and the least we'll get, if we gang ramstam in on
them, will be a broken head, to learn us better havings, if we dinna come
by the length of a cauld dirk in our wame, whilk is just as likely."

I looked at the Bailie, who acknowledged, in a whisper, "that the gowk
had some reason for singing, ance in the year."

Meantime a staring half-clad wench or two came out of the inn and the
neighbouring cottages, on hearing the sound of our horses' feet. No one
bade us welcome, nor did any one offer to take our horses, from which we
had alighted; and to our various inquiries, the hopeless response of "Ha
niel Sassenach," was the only answer we could extract. The Bailie,
however, found (in his experience) a way to make them speak English. "If
I gie ye a bawbee," said he to an urchin of about ten years old, with a
fragment of a tattered plaid about him, "will you understand Sassenach?"

"Ay, ay, that will I," replied the brat, in very decent English. "Then
gang and tell your mammy, my man, there's twa Sassenach gentlemen come to
speak wi' her."

The landlady presently appeared, with a lighted piece of split fir
blazing in her hand. The turpentine in this species of torch (which is
generally dug from out the turf-bogs) makes it blaze and sparkle readily,
so that it is often used in the Highlands in lieu of candles. On this
occasion such a torch illuminated the wild and anxious features of a
female, pale, thin, and rather above the usual size, whose soiled and
ragged dress, though aided by a plaid or tartan screen, barely served the
purposes of decency, and certainly not those of comfort. Her black hair,
which escaped in uncombed elf-locks from under her coif, as well as the
strange and embarrassed look with which she regarded us, gave me the idea
of a witch disturbed in the midst of her unlawful rites. She plainly
refused to admit us into the house. We remonstrated anxiously, and
pleaded the length of our journey, the state of our horses, and the
certainty that there was not another place where we could be received
nearer than Callander, which the Bailie stated to be seven Scots miles
distant. How many these may exactly amount to in English measurement, I
have never been able to ascertain, but I think the double _ratio_ may be
pretty safely taken as a medium computation. The obdurate hostess treated
our expostulation with contempt. "Better gang farther than fare waur,"
she said, speaking the Scottish Lowland dialect, and being indeed a
native of the Lennox district--"Her house was taen up wi' them wadna like
to be intruded on wi' strangers. She didna ken wha mair might be
there--red-coats, it might be, frae the garrison." (These last words she
spoke under her breath, and with very strong emphasis.) "The night," she
said, "was fair abune head--a night amang the heather wad caller our
bloods--we might sleep in our claes, as mony a gude blade does in the
scabbard--there wasna muckle flowmoss in the shaw, if we took up our
quarters right, and we might pit up our horses to the hill, naebody wad
say naething against it."

"But, my good woman," said I, while the Bailie groaned and remained
undecided, "it is six hours since we dined, and we have not taken a
morsel since. I am positively dying with hunger, and I have no taste for
taking up my abode supperless among these mountains of yours. I
positively must enter; and make the best apology you can to your guests
for adding a stranger or two to their number. Andrew, you will see the
horses put up."

The Hecate looked at me with surprise, and then ejaculated--"A wilfu' man
will hae his way--them that will to Cupar maun to Cupar!--To see thae
English belly-gods! he has had ae fu' meal the day already, and he'll
venture life and liberty, rather than he'll want a het supper! Set
roasted beef and pudding on the opposite side o' the pit o' Tophet, and
an Englishman will mak a spang at it--But I wash my hands o't--Follow me
sir" (to Andrew), "and I'se show ye where to pit the beasts."

I own I was somewhat dismayed at my landlady's expressions, which seemed
to be ominous of some approaching danger. I did not, however, choose to
shrink back after having declared my resolution, and accordingly I boldly
entered the house; and after narrowly escaping breaking my shins over a
turf back and a salting tub, which stood on either side of the narrow
exterior passage, I opened a crazy half-decayed door, constructed not of
plank, but of wicker, and, followed by the Bailie, entered into the
principal apartment of this Scottish caravansary.

The interior presented a view which seemed singular enough to southern
eyes. The fire, fed with blazing turf and branches of dried wood, blazed
merrily in the centre; but the smoke, having no means to escape but
through a hole in the roof, eddied round the rafters of the cottage, and
hung in sable folds at the height of about five feet from the floor. The
space beneath was kept pretty clear by innumerable currents of air which
rushed towards the fire from the broken panel of basket-work which served
as a door--from two square holes, designed as ostensible windows, through
one of which was thrust a plaid, and through the other a tattered
great-coat--and moreover, through various less distinguishable apertures
in the walls of the tenement, which, being built of round stones and
turf, cemented by mud, let in the atmosphere at innumerable crevices.

At an old oaken table, adjoining to the fire, sat three men, guests
apparently, whom it was impossible to regard with indifference. Two were
in the Highland dress; the one, a little dark-complexioned man, with a
lively, quick, and irritable expression of features, wore the trews, or
close pantaloons wove out of a sort of chequered stocking stuff. The
Bailie whispered me, that "he behoved to be a man of some consequence,
for that naebody but their Duinhe'wassels wore the trews--they were ill
to weave exactly to their Highland pleasure."

The other mountaineer was a very tall, strong man, with a quantity of
reddish hair, freckled face, high cheek-bones, and long chin--a sort of
caricature of the national features of Scotland. The tartan which he wore
differed from that of his companion, as it had much more scarlet in it,
whereas the shades of black and dark-green predominated in the chequers
of the other. The third, who sate at the same table, was in the Lowland
dress,--a bold, stout-looking man, with a cast of military daring in his
eye and manner, his riding-dress showily and profusely laced, and his
cocked hat of formidable dimensions. His hanger and a pair of pistols lay
on the table before him. Each of the Highlanders had their naked dirks
stuck upright in the board beside him,--an emblem, I was afterwards
informed, but surely a strange one, that their computation was not to be
interrupted by any brawl. A mighty pewter measure, containing about an
English quart of usquebaugh, a liquor nearly as strong as brandy, which
the Highlanders distil from malt, and drink undiluted in excessive
quantities, was placed before these worthies. A broken glass, with a
wooden foot, served as a drinking cup to the whole party, and circulated
with a rapidity, which, considering the potency of the liquor, seemed
absolutely marvellous. These men spoke loudly and eagerly together,
sometimes in Gaelic, at other times in English. Another Highlander, wrapt
in his plaid, reclined on the floor, his head resting on a stone, from
which it was only separated by a wisp of straw, and slept or seemed to
sleep, without attending to what was going on around him, He also was
probably a stranger, for he lay in full dress, and accoutred with the
sword and target, the usual arms of his countrymen when on a journey.
Cribs there were of different dimensions beside the walls, formed, some
of fractured boards, some of shattered wicker-work or plaited boughs, in
which slumbered the family of the house, men, women, and children, their
places of repose only concealed by the dusky wreaths of vapour which
arose above, below, and around them.

Our entrance was made so quietly, and the carousers I have described were
so eagerly engaged in their discussions, that we escaped their notice for
a minute or two. But I observed the Highlander who lay beside the fire
raise himself on his elbow as we entered, and, drawing his plaid over the
lower part of his face, fix his look on us for a few seconds, after which
he resumed his recumbent posture, and seemed again to betake himself to
the repose which our entrance had interrupted,

We advanced to the fire, which was an agreeable spectacle after our late
ride, during the chillness of an autumn evening among the mountains, and
first attracted the attention of the guests who had preceded us, by
calling for the landlady. She approached, looking doubtfully and timidly,
now at us, now at the other party, and returned a hesitating and doubtful
answer to our request to have something to eat.

"She didna ken," she said, "she wasna sure there was onything in the
house," and then modified her refusal with the qualification--"that is,
onything fit for the like of us."

I assured her we were indifferent to the quality of our supper; and
looking round for the means of accommodation, which were not easily to be
found, I arranged an old hen-coop as a seat for Mr. Jarvie, and turned
down a broken tub to serve for my own. Andrew Fairservice entered
presently afterwards, and took a place in silence behind our backs. The
natives, as I may call them, continued staring at us with an air as if
confounded by our assurance, and we, at least I myself, disguised as well
as we could, under an appearance of indifference, any secret anxiety we
might feel concerning the mode in which we were to be received by those
whose privacy we had disturbed.

At length, the lesser Highlander, addressing himself to me said, in very
good English, and in a tone of great haughtiness, "Ye make yourself at
home, sir, I see."

"I usually do so," I replied, "when I come into a house of public
entertainment."

"And did she na see," said the taller man, "by the white wand at the
door, that gentlemans had taken up the public-house on their ain
business?"

"I do not pretend to understand the customs of this country but I am yet
to learn," I replied, "how three persons should be entitled to exclude
all other travellers from the only place of shelter and refreshment for
miles round."

"There's nae reason for't, gentlemen," said the Bailie; "we mean nae
offence--but there's neither law nor reason for't; but as far as a stoup
o' gude brandy wad make up the quarrel, we, being peaceable folk, wad be
willing."

"Damn your brandy, sir!" said the Lowlander, adjusting his cocked hat
fiercely upon his head; "we desire neither your brandy nor your company,"
and up he rose from his seat. His companions also arose, muttering to
each other, drawing up their plaids, and snorting and snuffing the air
after the mariner of their countrymen when working themselves into a
passion.

"I tauld ye what wad come, gentlemen," said the landlady, "an ye wad hae
been tauld:--get awa' wi' ye out o' my house, and make nae disturbance
here--there's nae gentleman be disturbed at Jeanie MacAlpine's an she can
hinder. A wheen idle English loons, gaun about the country under cloud o'
night, and disturbing honest peaceable gentlemen that are drinking their
drap drink at the fireside!"

At another time I should have thought of the old Latin adage,


"Dat veniam corvis, vexat censure columbas"--

But I had not any time for classical quotation, for there was obviously a
fray about to ensue, at which, feeling myself indiginant at the
inhospitable insolence with which I was treated, I was totally
indifferent, unless on the Bailie's account, whose person and qualities
were ill qualified for such an adventure. I started up, however, on
seeing the others rise, and dropped my cloak from my shoulders, that I
might be ready to stand on the defensive.

"We are three to three," said the lesser Highlander, glancing his eyes at
our party: "if ye be pretty men, draw!" and unsheathing his broadsword,
he advanced on me. I put myself in a posture of defence, and aware of the
superiority of my weapon, a rapier or small-sword, was little afraid of
the issue of the contest. The Bailie behaved with unexpected mettle. As
he saw the gigantic Highlander confront him with his weapon drawn, he
tugged for a second or two at the hilt of his _shabble,_ as he called it;
but finding it loth to quit the sheath, to which it had long been secured
by rust and disuse, he seized, as a substitute, on the red-hot coulter of
a plough which had been employed in arranging the fire by way of a poker,
and brandished it with such effect, that at the first pass he set the
Highlander's plaid on fire, and compelled him to keep a respectful
distance till he could get it extinguished. Andrew, on the contrary, who
ought to have faced the Lowland champion, had, I grieve to say it,
vanished at the very commencement of the fray. But his antagonist, crying
"Fair play, fair play!" seemed courteously disposed to take no share in
the scuffle. Thus we commenced our rencontre on fair terms as to numbers.
My own aim was, to possess myself, if possible, of my antagonist's
weapon; but I was deterred from closing, for fear of the dirk which he
held in his left hand, and used in parrying the thrusts of my rapier.
Meantime the Bailie, notwithstanding the success of his first onset, was
sorely bested. The weight of his weapon, the corpulence of his person,
the very effervescence of his own passions, were rapidly exhausting both
his strength and his breath, and he was almost at the mercy of his
antagonist, when up started the sleeping Highlander from the floor on
which he reclined, with his naked sword and target in his hand, and threw
himself between the discomfited magistrate and his assailant, exclaiming,
"Her nainsell has eaten the town pread at the Cross o' Glasgow, and py
her troth she'll fight for Bailie Sharvie at the Clachan of Aberfoil--tat
will she e'en!" And seconding his words with deeds, this unexpected
auxiliary made his sword whistle about the ears of his tall countryman,
who, nothing abashed, returned his blows with interest. But being both
accoutred with round targets made of wood, studded with brass, and
covered with leather, with which they readily parried each other's
strokes, their combat was attended with much more noise and clatter than
serious risk of damage. It appeared, indeed, that there was more of
bravado than of serious attempt to do us any injury; for the Lowland
gentleman, who, as I mentioned, had stood aside for want of an antagonist
when the brawl commenced, was now pleased to act the part of moderator
and peacemaker.


[Illustration: Fray at Jeannie MacAlpine's--154]


"Hand your hands! haud your hands!--eneugh done!--eneugh done! the
quarrel's no mortal. The strange gentlemen have shown themselves men of
honour, and gien reasonable satisfaction. I'll stand on mine honour as
kittle as ony man, but I hate unnecessary bloodshed."

It was not, of course, my wish to protract the fray--my adversary seemed
equally disposed to sheathe his sword--the Bailie, gasping for breath,
might be considered as _hors de combat,_ and our two sword-and-buckler
men gave up their contest with as much indifference as they had entered
into it.

"And now," said the worthy gentleman who acted as umpire, "let us drink
and gree like honest fellows--The house will haud us a'. I propose that
this good little gentleman, that seems sair forfoughen, as I may say, in
this tuilzie, shall send for a tass o' brandy and I'll pay for another,
by way of archilowe,* and then we'll birl our bawbees a' round about,
like brethren."

"And fa's to pay my new ponnie plaid," said the larger Highlander, "wi' a
hole burnt in't ane might put a kail-pat through? Saw ever onybody a
decent gentleman fight wi' a firebrand before?"

"Let that be nae hinderance," said the Bailie, who had now recovered his
breath, and was at once disposed to enjoy the triumph of having behaved
with spirit, and avoid the necessity of again resorting to such hard and
doubtful arbitrament--"Gin I hae broken the head," he said, "I sall find
the plaister. A new plaid sall ye hae, and o' the best--your ain
clan-colours, man,--an ye will tell me where it can be sent t'ye frae
Glasco."

"I needna name my clan--I am of a king's clan, as is weel ken'd," said
the Highlander; "but ye may tak a bit o' the plaid--figh! she smells like
a singit sheep's head!--and that'll learn ye the sett--and a gentleman,
that's a cousin o' my ain, that carries eggs doun frae Glencroe, will ca'
for't about Martimas, an ye will tell her where ye bide. But, honest
gentleman, neist time ye fight, an ye hae ony respect for your
athversary, let it be wi' your sword, man, since ye wear ane, and no wi'
thae het culters and fireprands, like a wild Indian."

"Conscience!" replied the Bailie, "every man maun do as he dow. My sword
hasna seen the light since Bothwell Brigg, when my father that's dead and
gane, ware it; and I kenna weel if it was forthcoming then either, for
the battle was o' the briefest--At ony rate, it's glued to the scabbard
now beyond my power to part them; and, finding that, I e'en grippit at
the first thing I could make a fend wi'. I trow my fighting days is done,
though I like ill to take the scorn, for a' that.--But where's the honest
lad that tuik my quarrel on himself sae frankly?--I'se bestow a gill o'
aquavitae on him, an I suld never ca' for anither."

* Archilowe, of unknown derivation, signifies a peace-offering.

The champion for whom he looked around was, however, no longer to be
seen. He had escaped unobserved by the Bailie, immediately when the brawl
was ended, yet not before I had recognised, in his wild features and
shaggy red hair, our acquaintance Dougal, the fugitive turnkey of the
Glasgow jail. I communicated this observation in a whisper to the Bailie,
who answered in the same tone, "Weel, weel,--I see that him that ye ken
o' said very right; there _is_ some glimmering o' common sense about that
creature Dougal; I maun see and think o' something will do him some
gude."

Thus saying, he sat down, and fetching one or two deep aspirations, by
way of recovering his breath, called to the landlady--"I think, Luckie,
now that I find that there's nae hole in my wame, whilk I had muckle
reason to doubt frae the doings o' your house, I wad be the better o'
something to pit intill't."

The dame, who was all officiousness so soon as the storm had blown over,
immediately undertook to broil something comfortable for our supper.
Indeed, nothing surprised me more, in the course of the whole matter,
than the extreme calmness with which she and her household seemed to
regard the martial tumult that had taken place. The good woman was only
heard to call to some of her assistants--"Steek the door! steek the door!
kill or be killed, let naebody pass out till they hae paid the lawin."
And as for the slumberers in those lairs by the wall, which served the
family for beds, they only raised their shirtless bodies to look at the
fray, ejaculated, "Oigh! oigh!" in the tone suitable to their respective
sex and ages, and were, I believe, fast asleep again, ere our swords were
well returned to their scabbards.

Our landlady, however, now made a great bustle to get some victuals
ready, and, to my surprise, very soon began to prepare for us in the
frying-pan a savoury mess of venison collops, which she dressed in a
manner that might well satisfy hungry men, if not epicures. In the
meantime the brandy was placed on the table, to which the Highlanders,
however partial to their native strong waters, showed no objection, but
much the contrary; and the Lowland gentleman, after the first cup had
passed round, became desirous to know our profession, and the object of
our journey.

"We are bits o' Glasgow bodies, if it please your honour," said the
Bailie, with an affectation of great humility, "travelling to Stirling to
get in some siller that is awing us."

I was so silly as to feel a little disconcerted at the unassuming account
which he chose to give of us; but I recollected my promise to be silent,
and allow the Bailie to manage the matter his own way. And really, when I
recollected, Will, that I had not only brought the honest man a long
journey from home, which even in itself had been some inconvenience (if I
were to judge from the obvious pain and reluctance with which he took his
seat, or arose from it), but had also put him within a hair's-breadth of
the loss of his life, I could hardly refuse him such a compliment. The
spokesman of the other party, snuffing up his breath through his nose,
repeated the words with a sort of sneer;--"You Glasgow tradesfolks hae
naething to do but to gang frae the tae end o' the west o' Scotland to
the ither, to plague honest folks that may chance to be awee ahint the
hand, like me."

"If our debtors were a' sic honest gentlemen as I believe you to be,
Garschattachin," replied the Bailie, "conscience! we might save ourselves
a labour, for they wad come to seek us."

"Eh! what! how!" exclaimed the person whom he had addressed,--"as I shall
live by bread (not forgetting beef and brandy), it's my auld friend Nicol
Jarvie, the best man that ever counted doun merks on a band till a
distressed gentleman. Were ye na coming up my way?--were ye na coming up
the Endrick to Garschattachin?"

"Troth no, Maister Galbraith," replied the Bailie, "I had other eggs on
the spit--and I thought ye wad be saying I cam to look about the annual
rent that's due on the bit heritable band that's between us."

"Damn the annual rent!" said the laird, with an appearance of great
heartiness--"Deil a word o' business will you or I speak, now that ye're
so near my country. To see how a trot-cosey and a joseph can disguise a
man--that I suldna ken my auld feal friend the deacon!"

"The Bailie, if ye please," resumed my companion; "but I ken what gars ye
mistak--the band was granted to my father that's happy, and he was
deacon; but his name was Nicol as weel as mine. I dinna mind that there's
been a payment of principal sum or annual rent on it in my day, and
doubtless that has made the mistake."

"Weel, the devil take the mistake and all that occasioned it!" replied
Mr. Galbraith. "But I am glad ye are a bailie. Gentlemen, fill a
brimmer--this is my excellent friend, Bailie Nicol Jarvie's health--I
ken'd him and his father these twenty years. Are ye a' cleared kelty
aff?--Fill anither. Here's to his being sune provost--I say
provost--Lord Provost Nicol Jarvie!--and them that affirms there's a man
walks the Hie-street o' Glasgow that's fitter for the office, they will
do weel not to let me, Duncan Galbraith of Garschattachin, hear them say
sae--that's all." And therewith Duncan Galbraith martially cocked his
hat, and placed it on one side of his head with an air of defiance.

The brandy was probably the best recommendation of there complimentary
toasts to the two Highlanders, who drank them without appearing anxious
to comprehend their purport. They commenced a conversation with Mr.
Galbraith in Gaelic, which he talked with perfect fluency, being, as I
afterwards learned, a near neighbour to the Highlands.

"I ken'd that Scant-o'-grace weel eneugh frae the very outset," said the
Bailie, in a whisper to me; "but when blude was warm, and swords were out
at ony rate, wha kens what way he might hae thought o' paying his debts?
it will be lang or he does it in common form. But he's an honest lad, and
has a warm heart too; he disna come often to the Cross o' Glasgow, but
mony a buck and blackcock he sends us doun frae the hills. And I can want
my siller weel eneugh. My father the deacon had a great regard for the
family of Garschattachin."

Supper being now nearly ready, I looked round for Andrew Fairservice; but
that trusty follower had not been seen by any one since the beginning of
the rencontre. The hostess, however, said that she believed our servant
had gone into the stable, and offered to light me to the place, saying
that "no entreaties of the bairns or hers could make him give any answer;
and that truly she caredna to gang into the stable herself at this hour.
She was a lone woman, and it was weel ken'd how the Brownie of
Ben-ye-gask guided the gudewife of Ardnagowan; and it was aye judged
there was a Brownie in our stable, which was just what garr'd me gie ower
keeping an hostler."

As, however, she lighted me towards the miserable hovel into which they
had crammed our unlucky steeds, to regale themselves on hay, every fibre
of which was as thick as an ordinary goose-quill, she plainly showed me
that she had another reason for drawing me aside from the company than
that which her words implied. "Read that," she said, slipping a piece of
paper into my hand, as we arrived at the door of the shed; "I bless God I
am rid o't. Between sogers and Saxons, and caterans and cattle-lifters,
and hership and bluidshed, an honest woman wad live quieter in hell than
on the Hieland line."

So saying, she put the pine-torch into my hand, and returned into the
house,




CHAPTER TWELFTH.


              Bagpipes, not lyres, the Highland hills adorn,
              MacLean's loud hollo, and MacGregor's horn.
                          John Cooper's Reply to Allan Ramsay.

I stopped in the entrance of the stable, if indeed a place be entitled to
that name where horses were stowed away along with goats, poultry, pigs,
and cows, under the same roof with the mansion-house; although, by a
degree of refinement unknown to the rest of the hamlet, and which I
afterwards heard was imputed to an overpride on the part of Jeanie
MacAlpine, our landlady, the apartment was accommodated with an entrance
different from that used by her biped customers. By the light of my
torch, I deciphered the following billet, written on a wet, crumpled, and
dirty piece of paper, and addressed--"For the honoured hands of Mr. F.
O., a Saxon young gentleman--These." The contents were as follows:--

"Sir,

"There are night-hawks abroad, so that I cannot give you and my respected
kinsman, B. N. J., the meeting at the Clachan of Aberfoil, whilk was my
purpose. I pray you to avoid unnecessary communication with those you may
find there, as it may give future trouble. The person who gives you this
is faithful and may be trusted, and will guide you to a place where, God
willing, I may safely give you the meeting, when I trust my kinsman and
you will visit my poor house, where, in despite of my enemies, I can
still promise sic cheer as ane Hielandman may gie his friends, and where
we will drink a solemn health to a certain D. V., and look to certain
affairs whilk I hope to be your aidance in; and I rest, as is wont among
gentlemen,

your servant to command,
R. M. C."


I was a good deal mortified at the purport of this letter, which seemed
to adjourn to a more distant place and date the service which I had hoped
to receive from this man Campbell. Still, however, it was some comfort to
know that he continued to be in my interest, since without him I could
have no hope of recovering my father's papers. I resolved, therefore, to
obey his instructions; and, observing all caution before the guests, to
take the first good opportunity I could find to procure from the landlady
directions how I was to obtain a meeting with this mysterious person.

My next business was to seek out Andrew Fairservice, whom I called
several times by name, without receiving any answer, surveying the stable
all round, at the same time, not without risk of setting the premises on
fire, had not the quantity of wet litter and mud so greatly
counterbalanced two or three bunches of straw and hay. At length my
repeated cries of "Andrew Fairservice! Andrew! fool!--ass! where are
you?" produced a doleful "Here," in a groaning tone, which might have
been that of the Brownie itself. Guided by this sound, I advanced to the
corner of a shed, where, ensconced in the angle of the wall, behind a
barrel full of the feathers of all the fowls which had died in the cause
of the public for a month past, I found the manful Andrew; and partly by
force, partly by command and exhortation, compelled him forth into the
open air. The first words he spoke were, "I am an honest lad, sir."

"Who the devil questions your honesty?" said I, "or what have we to do
with it at present? I desire you to come and attend us at supper."

"Yes," reiterated Andrew, without apparently understanding what I said to
him, "I am an honest lad, whatever the Bailie may say to the contrary. I
grant the warld and the warld's gear sits ower near my heart whiles, as
it does to mony a ane--But I am an honest lad; and, though I spak o'
leaving ye in the muir, yet God knows it was far frae my purpose, but
just like idle things folk says when they're driving a bargain, to get it
as far to their ain side as they can--And I like your honour weel for sae
young a lad, and I wadna part wi' ye lightly."

"What the deuce are you driving at now?" I replied. "Has not everything
been settled again and again to your satisfaction? And are you to talk of
leaving me every hour, without either rhyme or reason?"

"Ay,--but I was only making fashion before," replied Andrew; "but it's
come on me in sair earnest now--Lose or win, I daur gae nae farther wi'
your honour; and if ye'll tak my foolish advice, ye'll bide by a broken
tryste, rather than gang forward yoursell. I hae a sincere regard for ye,
and I'm sure ye'll be a credit to your friends if ye live to saw out your
wild aits, and get some mair sense and steadiness--But I can follow ye
nae farther, even if ye suld founder and perish from the way for lack of
guidance and counsel. To gang into Rob Roy's country is a mere tempting
o' Providence."

"Rob Roy?" said I, in some surprise; "I know no such person. What new
trick is this, Andrew?"

"It's hard," said Andrew--"very hard, that a man canna be believed when
he speaks Heaven's truth, just because he's whiles owercome, and tells
lees a little when there is necessary occasion. Ye needna ask whae Rob
Roy is, the reiving lifter that he is--God forgie me! I hope naebody
hears us--when ye hae a letter frae him in your pouch. I heard ane o' his
gillies bid that auld rudas jaud of a gudewife gie ye that. They thought
I didna understand their gibberish; but, though I canna speak it muckle,
I can gie a gude guess at what I hear them say--I never thought to hae
tauld ye that, but in a fright a' things come out that suld be keepit in.
O, Maister Frank! a' your uncle's follies, and a' your cousin's pliskies,
were naething to this! Drink clean cap out, like Sir Hildebrand; begin
the blessed morning with brandy sops, like Squire Percy; swagger, like
Squire Thorncliff; rin wud amang the lasses, like Squire John; gamble,
like Richard; win souls to the Pope and the deevil, like Rashleigh; rive,
rant, break the Sabbath, and do the Pope's bidding, like them a' put
thegither--But, merciful Providence! take care o' your young bluid, and
gang nae near Rob Roy!"

Andrew's alarm was too sincere to permit me to suppose he counterfeited.
I contented myself, however, with telling him, that I meant to remain in
the alehouse that night, and desired to have the horses well looked
after. As to the rest, I charged him to observe the strictest silence
upon the subject of his alarm, and he might rely upon it I would not
incur any serious danger without due precaution. He followed me with a
dejected air into the house, observing between his teeth, "Man suld be
served afore beast--I haena had a morsel in my mouth, but the rough legs
o' that auld muircock, this haill blessed day."

The harmony of the company seemed to have suffered some interruption
since my departure, for I found Mr. Galbraith and my friend the Bailie
high in dispute.

"I'll hear nae sic language," said Mr. Jarvie, as I entered, "respecting
the Duke o' Argyle and the name o' Campbell. He's a worthy
public-spirited nobleman, and a credit to the country, and a friend and
benefactor to the trade o' Glasgow."

"I'll sae naething against MacCallum More and the Slioch-nan-Diarmid,"
said the lesser Highlander, laughing. "I live on the wrang side of
Glencroe to quarrel with Inverara."

"Our loch ne'er saw the Cawmil lymphads,"* said the bigger Highlander.

* _Lymphads._ The galley which the family of Argyle and others of the *
Clan Campbell carry in their arms.

"She'll speak her mind and fear naebody--She doesna value a Cawmil mair
as a Cowan, and ye may tell MacCallum More that Allan Iverach said sae--
It's a far cry to Lochow."*

* Lochow and the adjacent districts formed the original seat of the *
Campbells. The expression of a "far cry to Lochow" was proverbial.

Mr. Galbraith, on whom the repeated pledges which he had quaffed had
produced some influence, slapped his hand on the table with great force,
and said, in a stern voice, "There's a bloody debt due by that family,
and they will pay it one day--The banes of a loyal and a gallant Grahame
hae lang rattled in their coffin for vengeance on thae Dukes of Guile and
Lords for Lorn. There ne'er was treason in Scotland but a Cawmil was at
the bottom o't; and now that the wrang side's uppermost, wha but the
Cawmils for keeping down the right? But this warld winna last lang, and
it will be time to sharp the maiden* for shearing o' craigs and
thrapples. I hope to see the auld rusty lass linking at a bluidy harst
again."

* A rude kind of guillotine formerly used in Scotland.

"For shame, Garschattachin!" exclaimed the Bailie; "fy for shame, sir!
Wad ye say sic things before a magistrate, and bring yoursell into
trouble?--How d'ye think to mainteen your family and satisfy your
creditors (mysell and others), if ye gang on in that wild way, which
cannot but bring you under the law, to the prejudice of a' that's
connected wi' ye?"

"D--n my creditors!" retorted the gallant Galbraith, "and you if ye be
ane o' them! I say there will be a new warld sune--And we shall hae nae
Cawmils cocking their bonnet sae hie, and hounding their dogs where they
daurna come themsells, nor protecting thieves, nor murderers, and
oppressors, to harry and spoil better men and mair loyal clans than
themsells."

The Bailie had a great mind to have continued the dispute, when the
savoury vapour of the broiled venison, which our landlady now placed
before us, proved so powerful a mediator, that he betook himself to his
trencher with great eagerness, leaving the strangers to carry on the
dispute among themselves.

"And tat's true," said the taller Highlander--whose name I found was
Stewart--"for we suldna be plagued and worried here wi' meetings to pit
down Rob Roy, if the Cawmils didna gie him refutch. I was ane o' thirty
o' my ain name--part Glenfinlas, and part men that came down frae Appine.
We shased the MacGregors as ye wad shase rae-deer, till we came into
Glenfalloch's country, and the Cawmils raise, and wadna let us pursue nae
farder, and sae we lost our labour; but her wad gie twa and a plack to be
as near Rob as she was tat day."

It seemed to happen very unfortunately, that in every topic of discourse
which these warlike gentlemen introduced, my friend the Bailie found some
matter of offence. "Ye'll forgie me speaking my mind, sir; but ye wad
maybe hae gien the best bowl in your bonnet to hae been as far awae frae
Rob as ye are e'en now--Od! my het pleugh-culter wad hae been naething to
his claymore."

"She had better speak nae mair about her culter, or, by G--! her will gar
her eat her words, and twa handfuls o' cauld steel to drive them ower
wi'!" And, with a most inauspicious and menacing look, the mountaineer
laid his hand on his dagger.

"We'll hae nae quarrelling, Allan," said his shorter companion; "and if
the Glasgow gentleman has ony regard for Rob Roy, he'll maybe see him in
cauld irons the night, and playing tricks on a tow the morn; for this
country has been owre lang plagued wi' him, and his race is near-hand
run--And it's time, Allan, we were ganging to our lads."

"Hout awa, Inverashalloch," said Galbraith;--"Mind the auld saw, man--
It's a bauld moon, quoth Bennygask--another pint, quoth Lesley;--we'll no
start for another chappin."

"I hae had chappins eneugh," said Inverashalloch; "I'll drink my quart of
usquebaugh or brandy wi' ony honest fellow, but the deil a drap mair when
I hae wark to do in the morning. And, in my puir thinking,
Garschattachin, ye had better be thinking to bring up your horsemen to
the Clachan before day, that we may ay start fair."

"What the deevil are ye in sic a hurry for?" said Garschattachin; "meat
and mass never hindered wark. An it had been my directing, deil a bit o'
me wad hae fashed ye to come down the glens to help us. The garrison and
our ain horse could hae taen Rob Roy easily enough. There's the hand," he
said, holding up his own, "should lay him on the green, and never ask a
Hielandman o' ye a' for his help."

"Ye might hae loot us bide still where we were, then," said
Inverashalloch. "I didna come sixty miles without being sent for. But an
ye'll hae my opinion, I redd ye keep your mouth better steekit, if ye
hope to speed. Shored folk live lang, and sae may him ye ken o'. The way
to catch a bird is no to fling your bannet at her. And also thae
gentlemen hae heard some things they suldna hae heard, an the brandy
hadna been ower bauld for your brain, Major Galbraith. Ye needna cock
your hat and bully wi' me, man, for I will not bear it."

"I hae said it," said Galbraith, with a solemn air of drunken gravity,
"that I will quarrel no more this night either with broadcloth or tartan.
When I am off duty I'll quarrel with you or ony man in the Hielands or
Lowlands, but not on duty--no--no. I wish we heard o' these red-coats. If
it had been to do onything against King James, we wad hae seen them lang
syne--but when it's to keep the peace o' the country they can lie as
lound as their neighbours."

As he spoke we heard the measured footsteps of a body of infantry on the
march; and an officer, followed by two or three files of soldiers,
entered the apartment. He spoke in an English accent, which was very
pleasant to my ears, now so long accustomed to the varying brogue of the
Highland and Lowland Scotch.--"You are, I suppose, Major Galbraith, of
the squadron of Lennox Militia, and these are the two Highland gentlemen
with whom I was appointed to meet in this place?"

They assented, and invited the officer to take some refreshments, which
he declined.--"I have been too late, gentlemen, and am desirous to make
up time. I have orders to search for and arrest two persons guilty of
treasonable practices."

"We'll wash our hands o' that," said Inverashalloch. "I came here wi' my
men to fight against the red MacGregor that killed my cousin, seven times
removed, Duncan MacLaren, in Invernenty;* but I will hae nothing to do
touching honest gentlemen that may be gaun through the country on their
ain business."

* This, as appears from the introductory matter to this Tale, is an
anachronism. The slaughter of MacLaren, a retainer of the chief of
Appine, by the MacGregors, did not take place till after Rob Roy's death,
since it happened in 1736.

"Nor I neither," said Iverach.

Major Galbraith took up the matter more solemnly, and, premising his
oration with a hiccup, spoke to the following purpose:--

"I shall say nothing against King George, Captain, because, as it
happens, my commission may rin in his name--But one commission being
good, sir, does not make another bad; and some think that James may be
just as good a name as George. There's the king that is--and there's the
king that suld of right be--I say, an honest man may and suld be loyal to
them both, Captain. But I am of the Lord Lieutenant's opinion for the
time, as it becomes a militia officer and a depute-lieutenant--and about
treason and all that, it's lost time to speak of it--least said is sunest
mended."

"I am sorry to see how you have been employing your time, sir," replied
the English officer--as indeed the honest gentleman's reasoning had a
strong relish of the liquor he had been drinking--"and I could wish, sir,
it had been otherwise on an occasion of this consequence. I would
recommend to you to try to sleep for an hour.--Do these gentlemen belong
to your party?"--looking at the Bailie and me, who, engaged in eating our
supper, had paid little attention to the officer on his entrance.

"Travellers, sir," said Galbraith--"lawful travellers by sea and land, as
the prayer-book hath it."

"My instructions." said the Captain, taking a light to survey us closer,
"are to place under arrest an elderly and a young person--and I think
these gentlemen answer nearly the description."

"Take care what you say, sir," said Mr. Jarvie; "it shall not be your red
coat nor your laced hat shall protect you, if you put any affront on me.
I'se convene ye baith in an action of scandal and false imprisonment--I
am a free burgess and a magistrate o' Glasgow; Nicol Jarvie is my name,
sae was my father's afore me--I am a bailie, be praised for the honour,
and my father was a deacon."

"He was a prick-eared cur," said Major Galbraith, "and fought agane the
King at Bothwell Brigg."

"He paid what he ought and what he bought, Mr. Galbraith," said the
Bailie, "and was an honester man than ever stude on your shanks."

"I have no time to attend to all this," said the officer; "I must
positively detain you, gentlemen, unless you can produce some respectable
security that you are loyal subjects."

"I desire to be carried before some civil magistrate," said the
Bailie--"the sherra or the judge of the bounds;--I am not obliged to
answer every red-coat that speers questions at me."

"Well, sir, I shall know how to manage you if you are silent--And you,
sir" (to me), "what may your name be?"

"Francis Osbaldistone, sir."

"What, a son of Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone of Northumberland?"

"No, sir," interrupted the Bailie; "a son of the great William
Osbaldistone of the House of Osbaldistone and Tresham, Crane-Alley,
London."

"I am afraid, sir," said the officer, "your name only increases the
suspicions against you, and lays me under the necessity of requesting
that you will give up what papers you have in charge."

I observed the Highlanders look anxiously at each other when this
proposal was made.

"I had none," I replied, "to surrender."

The officer commanded me to be disarmed and searched. To have resisted
would have been madness. I accordingly gave up my arms, and submitted to
a search, which was conducted as civilly as an operation of the kind well
could. They found nothing except the note which I had received that night
through the hand of the landlady.

"This is different from what I expected," said the officer; "but it
affords us good grounds for detaining you. Here I find you in written
communication with the outlawed robber, Robert MacGregor Campbell, who
has been so long the plague of this district--How do you account for
that?"

"Spies of Rob!" said Inverashalloch. "We wad serve them right to strap
them up till the neist tree."

"We are gaun to see after some gear o' our ain, gentlemen," said the
Bailie, "that's fa'en into his hands by accident--there's nae law agane a
man looking after his ain, I hope?"

"How did you come by this letter?" said the officer, addressing himself
to me.

I could not think of betraying the poor woman who had given it to me, and
remained silent.

"Do you know anything of it, fellow?" said the officer, looking at
Andrew, whose jaws were chattering like a pair of castanets at the
threats thrown out by the Highlander.

"O ay, I ken a' about it--it was a Hieland loon gied the letter to that
lang-tongued jaud the gudewife there; I'll be sworn my maister ken'd
naething about it. But he's wilfu' to gang up the hills and speak wi'
Rob; and oh, sir, it wad be a charity just to send a wheen o' your
red-coats to see him safe back to Glasgow again whether he will or
no--And ye can keep Mr. Jarvie as lang as ye like--He's responsible
enough for ony fine ye may lay on him--and so's my master for that
matter; for me, I'm just a puir gardener lad, and no worth your
steering."

"I believe," said the officer, "the best thing I can do is to send these
persons to the garrison under an escort. They seem to be in immediate
correspondence with the enemy, and I shall be in no respect answerable
for suffering them to be at liberty. Gentlemen, you will consider
yourselves as my prisoners. So soon as dawn approaches, I will send you
to a place of security. If you be the persons you describe yourselves, it
will soon appear, and you will sustain no great inconvenience from being
detained a day or two. I can hear no remonstrances," he continued,
turning away from the Bailie, whose mouth was open to address him; "the
service I am on gives me no time for idle discussions."

"Aweel, aweel, sir," said the Bailie, "you're welcome to a tune on your
ain fiddle; but see if I dinna gar ye dance till't afore a's dune."

An anxious consultation now took place between the officer and the
Highlanders, but carried on in so low a tone, that it was impossible to
catch the sense. So soon as it was concluded they all left the house. At
their departure, the Bailie thus expressed himself:--"Thae Hielandmen are
o' the westland clans, and just as light-handed as their neighbours, an
a' tales be true, and yet ye see they hae brought them frae the head o'
Argyleshire to make war wi' puir Rob for some auld ill-will that they hae
at him and his sirname. And there's the Grahames, and the Buchanans, and
the Lennox gentry, a' mounted and in order--It's weel ken'd their
quarrel; and I dinna blame them--naebody likes to lose his kye. And then
there's sodgers, puir things, hoyed out frae the garrison at a' body's
bidding--Puir Rob will hae his hands fu' by the time the sun comes ower
the hill. Weel--it's wrang for a magistrate to be wishing onything agane
the course o' justice, but deil o' me an I wad break my heart to hear
that Rob had gien them a' their paiks!"




CHAPTER THIRTEEN.



                              --General,
                 Hear me, and mark me well, and look upon me
                 Directly in my face--my woman's face--
                 See if one fear, one shadow of a terror,
                 One paleness dare appear, but from my anger,
                       To lay hold on your mercies.
                                               Bonduca.

We were permitted to slumber out the remainder of the night in the best
manner that the miserable accommodations of the alehouse permitted. The
Bailie, fatigued with his journey and the subsequent scenes--less
interested also in the event of our arrest, which to him could only be a
matter of temporary inconvenience--perhaps less nice than habit had
rendered me about the cleanliness or decency of his couch,--tumbled
himself into one of the cribs which I have already described, and soon
was heard to snore soundly. A broken sleep, snatched by intervals, while
I rested my head upon the table, was my only refreshment. In the course
of the night I had occasion to observe that there seemed to be some doubt
and hesitation in the motions of the soldiery. Men were sent out, as if
to obtain intelligence, and returned apparently without bringing any
satisfactory information to their commanding officer. He was obviously
eager and anxious, and again despatched small parties of two or three
men, some of whom, as I could understand from what the others whispered
to each other, did not return again to the Clachan.

The morning had broken, when a corporal and two men rushed into the hut,
dragging after them, in a sort of triumph, a Highlander, whom I
immediately recognised as my acquaintance the ex-turnkey. The Bailie, who
started up at the noise with which they entered, immediately made the
same discovery, and exclaimed--"Mercy on us! they hae grippit the puir
creature Dougal.--Captain, I will put in bail--sufficient bail, for that
Dougal creature."

To this offer, dictated undoubtedly by a grateful recollection of the
late interference of the Highlander in his behalf, the Captain only
answered by requesting Mr. Jarvie to "mind his own affairs, and remember
that he was himself for the present a prisoner."

"I take you to witness, Mr. Osbaldistone," said the Bailie, who was
probably better acquainted with the process in civil than in military
cases, "that he has refused sufficient bail. It's my opinion that the
creature Dougal will have a good action of wrongous imprisonment and
damages agane him, under the Act seventeen hundred and one, and I'll see
the creature righted."

The officer, whose name I understood was Thornton, paying no attention to
the Bailie's threats or expostulations, instituted a very close inquiry
into Dougal's life and conversation, and compelled him to admit, though
with apparent reluctance, the successive facts,--that he knew Rob Roy
MacGregor--that he had seen him within these twelve months--within these
six months--within this month--within this week; in fine, that he had
parted from him only an hour ago. All this detail came like drops of
blood from the prisoner, and was, to all appearance, only extorted by the
threat of a halter and the next tree, which Captain Thornton assured him
should be his doom, if he did not give direct and special information.

"And now, my friend," said the officer, "you will please inform me how
many men your master has with him at present."

Dougal looked in every direction except at the querist, and began to
answer, "She canna just be sure about that."

"Look at me, you Highland dog," said the officer, "and remember your life
depends on your answer. How many rogues had that outlawed scoundrel with
him when you left him?"

"Ou, no aboon sax rogues when I was gane."

"And where are the rest of his banditti?"

"Gane wi' the Lieutenant agane ta westland carles."

"Against the westland clans?" said the Captain. "Umph--that is likely
enough; and what rogue's errand were you despatched upon?"

"Just to see what your honour and ta gentlemen red-coats were doing doun
here at ta Clachan."

"The creature will prove fause-hearted, after a'," said the Bailie, who
by this time had planted himself close behind me; "it's lucky I didna pit
mysell to expenses anent him."

"And now, my friend," said the Captain, "let us understand each other.
You have confessed yourself a spy, and should string up to the next
tree--But come, if you will do me one good turn, I will do you another.
You, Donald--you shall just, in the way of kindness, carry me and a small
party to the place where you left your master, as I wish to speak a few
words with him on serious affairs; and I'll let you go about your
business, and give you five guineas to boot."

"Oigh! oigh!" exclaimed Dougal, in the extremity of distress and
perplexity; "she canna do tat--she canna do tat; she'll rather be
hanged."

"Hanged, then, you shall be, my friend" said the officer; "and your blood
be upon your own head. Corporal Cramp, do you play Provost-Marshal--away
with him!"

The corporal had confronted poor Dougal for some time, ostentatiously
twisting a piece of cord which he had found in the house into the form of
a halter. He now threw it about the culprit's neck, and, with the
assistance of two soldiers, had dragged Dougal as far as the door, when,
overcome with the terror of immediate death, he exclaimed, "Shentlemans,
stops--stops! She'll do his honour's bidding--stops!"

"Awa' wi' the creature!" said the Bailie, "he deserves hanging mair now
than ever; awa' wi' him, corporal. Why dinna ye tak him awa'?"

"It's my belief and opinion, honest gentleman," said the corporal, "that
if you were going to be hanged yourself, you would be in no such d--d
hurry."

This by-dialogue prevented my hearing what passed between the prisoner
and Captain Thornton; but I heard the former snivel out, in a very
subdued tone, "And ye'll ask her to gang nae farther than just to show ye
where the MacGregor is?--Ohon! ohon!"

"Silence your howling, you rascal--No; I give you my word I will ask you
to go no farther.--Corporal, make the men fall in, in front of the
houses. Get out these gentlemen's horses; we must carry them with us. I
cannot spare any men to guard them here. Come, my lads, get under arms."

The soldiers bustled about, and were ready to move. We were led out,
along with Dougal, in the capacity of prisoners. As we left the hut, I
heard our companion in captivity remind the Captain of "ta foive
kuineas."

"Here they are for you," said the officer, putting gold into his hand;
"but observe, that if you attempt to mislead me, I will blow your brains
out with my own hand."

"The creature," said the Bailie, "is waur than I judged him--it is a
warldly and a perfidious creature. O the filthy lucre of gain that men
gies themsells up to! My father the deacon used to say, the penny siller
slew mair souls than the naked sword slew bodies."

The landlady now approached, and demanded payment of her reckoning,
including all that had been quaffed by Major Galbraith and his Highland
friends. The English officer remonstrated, but Mrs. MacAlpine declared,
if "she hadna trusted to his honour's name being used in their company,
she wad never hae drawn them a stoup o' liquor; for Mr. Galbraith, she
might see him again, or she might no, but weel did she wot she had sma'
chance of seeing her siller--and she was a puir widow, had naething but
her custom to rely on."

Captain Thornton put a stop to her remonstrances by paying the charge,
which was only a few English shillings, though the amount sounded very
formidable in Scottish denominations. The generous officer would have
included Mr. Jarvie and me in this general acquittance; but the Bailie,
disregarding an intimation from the landlady to "make as muckle of the
Inglishers as we could, for they were sure to gie us plague eneugh," went
into a formal accounting respecting our share of the reckoning, and paid
it accordingly. The Captain took the opportunity to make us some slight
apology for detaining us. "If we were loyal and peaceable subjects," he
said, "we would not regret being stopt for a day, when it was essential
to the king's service; if otherwise, he was acting according to his
duty."

We were compelled to accept an apology which it would have served no
purpose to refuse, and we sallied out to attend him on his march.

I shall never forget the delightful sensation with which I exchanged the
dark, smoky, smothering atmosphere of the Highland hut, in which we had
passed the night so uncomfortably, for the refreshing fragrance of the
morning air, and the glorious beams of the rising sun, which, from a
tabernacle of purple and golden clouds, were darted full on such a scene
of natural romance and beauty as had never before greeted my eyes. To the
left lay the valley, down which the Forth wandered on its easterly
course, surrounding the beautiful detached hill, with all its garland of
woods. On the right, amid a profusion of thickets, knolls, and crags, lay
the bed of a broad mountain lake, lightly curled into tiny waves by the
breath of the morning breeze, each glittering in its course under the
influence of the sunbeams. High hills, rocks, and banks, waving with
natural forests of birch and oak, formed the borders of this enchanting
sheet of water; and, as their leaves rustled to the wind and twinkled in
the sun, gave to the depth of solitude a sort of life and vivacity. Man
alone seemed to be placed in a state of inferiority, in a scene where all
the ordinary features of nature were raised and exalted. The miserable
little _bourocks,_ as the Bailie termed them, of which about a dozen
formed the village called the Clachan of Aberfoil, were composed of loose
stones, cemented by clay instead of mortar, and thatched by turfs, laid
rudely upon rafters formed of native and unhewn birches and oaks from the
woods around. The roofs approached the ground so nearly, that Andrew
Fairservice observed we might have ridden over the village the night
before, and never found out we were near it, unless our horses' feet had
"gane through the riggin'."

From all we could see, Mrs. MacAlpine's house, miserable as were the
quarters it afforded, was still by far the best in the hamlet; and I dare
say (if my description gives you any curiosity to see it) you will hardly
find it much improved at the present day, for the Scotch are not a people
who speedily admit innovation, even when it comes in the shape of
improvement.*

* Note I. Clachan of Aberfoil.

The inhabitants of these miserable dwellings were disturbed by the noise
of our departure; and as our party of about twenty soldiers drew up in
rank before marching off, we were reconnoitred by many a beldam from the
half-opened door of her cottage. As these sibyls thrust forth their grey
heads, imperfectly covered with close caps of flannel, and showed their
shrivelled brows, and long skinny arms, with various gestures, shrugs,
and muttered expressions in Gaelic addressed to each other, my
imagination recurred to the witches of Macbeth, and I imagined I read in
the features of these crones the malevolence of the weird sisters. The
little children also, who began to crawl forth, some quite naked, and
others very imperfectly covered with tatters of tartan stuff, clapped
their tiny hands, and grinned at the English soldiers, with an expression
of national hate and malignity which seemed beyond their years. I
remarked particularly that there were no men, nor so much as a boy of ten
or twelve years old, to be seen among the inhabitants of a village which
seemed populous in proportion to its extent; and the idea certainly
occurred to me, that we were likely to receive from them, in the course
of our journey, more effectual tokens of ill-will than those which
lowered on the visages, and dictated the murmurs, of the women and
children. It was not until we commenced our march that the malignity of
the elder persons of the community broke forth into expressions. The last
file of men had left the village, to pursue a small broken track, formed
by the sledges in which the natives transported their peats and turfs,
and which led through the woods that fringed the lower end of the lake,
when a shrilly sound of female exclamation broke forth, mixed with the
screams of children, the whooping of boys, and the clapping of hands,
with which the Highland dames enforce their notes, whether of rage or
lamentation. I asked Andrew, who looked as pale as death, what all this
meant.

"I doubt we'll ken that ower sune," said he. "Means? It means that the
Highland wives are cursing and banning the red-coats, and wishing
ill-luck to them, and ilka ane that ever spoke the Saxon tongue. I have
heard wives flyte in England and Scotland--it's nae marvel to hear them
flyte ony gate; but sic ill-scrapit tongues as thae Highland
carlines'--and sic grewsome wishes, that men should be slaughtered like
sheep--and that they may lapper their hands to the elbows in their
heart's blude--and that they suld dee the death of Walter Cuming of
Guiyock,* wha hadna as muckle o' him left thegither as would supper a
messan-dog--sic awsome language as that I ne'er heard out o' a human
thrapple;--and, unless the deil wad rise amang them to gie them a
lesson, I thinkna that their talent at cursing could be amended.

* A great feudal oppressor, who, riding on some cruel purpose through the
forest of Guiyock, was thrown from his horse, and his foot being caught
in the stirrup, was dragged along by the frightened animal till he was
torn to pieces. The expression, "Walter of Guiyock's curse," is
proverbial.

The warst o't is, they bid us aye gang up the loch, and see what we'll
land in."

Adding Andrew's information to what I had myself observed, I could scarce
doubt that some attack was meditated upon our party. The road, as we
advanced, seemed to afford every facility for such an unpleasant
interruption. At first it winded apart from the lake through marshy
meadow ground, overgrown with copsewood, now traversing dark and close
thickets which would have admitted an ambuscade to be sheltered within a
few yards of our line of march, and frequently crossing rough mountain
torrents, some of which took the soldiers up to the knees, and ran with
such violence, that their force could only be stemmed by the strength of
two or three men holding fast by each other's arms. It certainly appeared
to me, though altogether unacquainted with military affairs, that a sort
of half-savage warriors, as I had heard the Highlanders asserted to be,
might, in such passes as these, attack a party of regular forces with
great advantage. The Bailie's good sense and shrewd observation had led
him to the same conclusion, as I understood from his requesting to speak
with the captain, whom he addressed nearly in the following terms:--
"Captain, it's no to fleech ony favour out o' ye, for I scorn it--and
it's under protest that I reserve my action and pleas of oppression and
wrongous imprisonment;--but, being a friend to King George and his army,
I take the liberty to speer--Dinna ye think ye might tak a better time to
gang up this glen? If ye are seeking Rob Roy, he's ken'd to be better
than half a hunder men strong when he's at the fewest; an if he brings in
the Glengyle folk, and the Glenfinlas and Balquhidder lads, he may come
to gie you your kail through the reek; and it's my sincere advice, as a
king's friend, ye had better tak back again to the Clachan, for thae
women at Aberfoil are like the scarts and seamaws at the Cumries--there's
aye foul weather follows their skirting."

"Make yourself easy, sir," replied Captain Thornton; "I am in the
execution of my orders. And as you say you are a friend to King George,
you will be glad to learn that it is impossible that this gang of
ruffians, whose license has disturbed the country so long, can escape the
measures now taken to suppress them. The horse squadron of militia,
commanded by Major Galbraith, is already joined by two or more troops of
cavalry, which will occupy all the lower passes of this wild country;
three hundred Highlanders, under the two gentlemen you saw at the inn,
are in possession of the upper part, and various strong parties from the
garrison are securing the hills and glens in different directions. Our
last accounts of Rob Roy correspond with what this fellow has confessed,
that, finding himself surrounded on all sides, he had dismissed the
greater part of his followers, with the purpose either of lying
concealed, or of making his escape through his superior knowledge of the
passes."

"I dinna ken," said the Bailie; "there's mair brandy than brains in
Garschattachin's head this morning--And I wadna, an I were you, Captain,
rest my main dependence on the Hielandmen--hawks winna pike out hawks'
een. They may quarrel among themsells, and gie ilk ither ill names, and
maybe a slash wi' a claymore; but they are sure to join in the lang run,
against a' civilised folk, that wear breeks on their hinder ends, and hae
purses in their pouches."

Apparently these admonitions were not altogether thrown away on Captain
Thornton. He reformed his line of march, commanded his soldiers to
unsling their firelocks and fix their bayonets, and formed an advanced
and rear-guard, each consisting of a non-commissioned officer and two
soldiers, who received strict orders to keep an alert look-out. Dougal
underwent another and very close examination, in which he steadfastly
asserted the truth of what he had before affirmed; and being rebuked on
account of the suspicious and dangerous appearance of the route by which
he was guiding them, he answered with a sort of testiness that seemed
very natural, "Her nainsell didna mak ta road; an shentlemans likit grand
roads, she suld hae pided at Glasco."

All this passed off well enough, and we resumed our progress.

Our route, though leading towards the lake, had hitherto been so much
shaded by wood, that we only from time to time obtained a glimpse of that
beautiful sheet of water. But the road now suddenly emerged from the
forest ground, and, winding close by the margin of the loch, afforded us
a full view of its spacious mirror, which now, the breeze having totally
subsided, reflected in still magnificence the high dark heathy mountains,
huge grey rocks, and shaggy banks, by which it is encircled. The hills
now sunk on its margin so closely, and were so broken and precipitous, as
to afford no passage except just upon the narrow line of the track which
we occupied, and which was overhung with rocks, from which we might have
been destroyed merely by rolling down stones, without much possibility of
offering resistance. Add to this, that, as the road winded round every
promontory and bay which indented the lake, there was rarely a
possibility of seeing a hundred yards before us. Our commander appeared
to take some alarm at the nature of the pass in which he was engaged,
which displayed itself in repeated orders to his soldiers to be on the
alert, and in many threats of instant death to Dougal, if he should be
found to have led them into danger. Dougal received these threats with an
air of stupid impenetrability, which might arise either from conscious
innocence, or from dogged resolution.

"If shentlemans were seeking ta Red Gregarach," he said, "to be sure they
couldna expect to find her without some wee danger."

Just as the Highlander uttered these words, a halt was made by the
corporal commanding the advance, who sent back one of the file who formed
it, to tell the Captain that the path in front was occupied by
Highlanders, stationed on a commanding point of particular difficulty.
Almost at the same instant a soldier from the rear came to say, that they
heard the sound of a bagpipe in the woods through which we had just
passed. Captain Thornton, a man of conduct as well as courage, instantly
resolved to force the pass in front, without waiting till he was assailed
from the rear; and, assuring his soldiers that the bagpipes which they
heard were those of the friendly Highlanders who were advancing to their
assistance, he stated to them the importance of advancing and securing
Rob Roy, if possible, before these auxiliaries should come up to divide
with them the honour, as well as the reward which was placed on the head
of this celebrated freebooter. He therefore ordered the rearguard to join
the centre, and both to close up to the advance, doubling his files so as
to occupy with his column the whole practicable part of the road, and to
present such a front as its breadth admitted. Dougal, to whom he said in
a whisper, "You dog, if you have deceived me, you shall die for it!" was
placed in the centre, between two grenadiers, with positive orders to
shoot him if he attempted an escape. The same situation was assigned to
us, as being the safest, and Captain Thornton, taking his half-pike from
the soldier who carried it, placed himself at the head of his little
detachment, and gave the word to march forward.

The party advanced with the firmness of English soldiers. Not so Andrew
Fairservice, who was frightened out of his wits; and not so, if truth
must be told, either the Bailie or I myself, who, without feeling the
same degree of trepidation, could not with stoical indifference see our
lives exposed to hazard in a quarrel with which we had no concern. But
there was neither time for remonstrance nor remedy.

We approached within about twenty yards of the spot where the advanced
guard had seen some appearance of an enemy. It was one of those
promontories which run into the lake, and round the base of which the
road had hitherto winded in the manner I have described. In the present
case, however, the path, instead of keeping the water's edge, sealed the
promontory by one or two rapid zigzags, carried in a broken track along
the precipitous face of a slaty grey rock, which would otherwise have
been absolutely inaccessible. On the top of this rock, only to be
approached by a road so broken, so narrow, and so precarious, the
corporal declared he had seen the bonnets and long-barrelled guns of
several mountaineers, apparently couched among the long heath and
brushwood which crested the eminence. Captain Thornton ordered him to
move forward with three files, to dislodge the supposed ambuscade, while,
at a more slow but steady pace, he advanced to his support with the rest
of his party.

The attack which he meditated was prevented by the unexpected apparition
of a female upon the summit of the rock.

"Stand!" she said, with a commanding tone, "and tell me what ye seek in
MacGregor's country?"

I have seldom seen a finer or more commanding form than this woman. She
might be between the term of forty and fifty years, and had a countenance
which must once have been of a masculine cast of beauty; though now,
imprinted with deep lines by exposure to rough weather, and perhaps by
the wasting influence of grief and passion, its features were only
strong, harsh, and expressive. She wore her plaid, not drawn around her
head and shoulders, as is the fashion of the women in Scotland, but
disposed around her body as the Highland soldiers wear theirs. She had a
man's bonnet, with a feather in it, an unsheathed sword in her hand, and
a pair of pistols at her girdle.

"It's Helen Campbell, Rob's wife," said the Bailie, in a whisper of
considerable alarm; "and there will be broken heads amang us or it's
lang."

"What seek ye here?" she asked again of Captain Thornton, who had himself
advanced to reconnoitre.

"We seek the outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell," answered the officer,
"and make no war on women; therefore offer no vain opposition to the
king's troops, and assure yourself of civil treatment."

"Ay," retorted the Amazon, "I am no stranger to your tender mercies. Ye
have left me neither name nor fame--my mother's bones will shrink aside
in their grave when mine are laid beside them--Ye have left me neither
house nor hold, blanket nor bedding, cattle to feed us, or flocks to
clothe us--Ye have taken from us all--all!--The very name of our
ancestors have ye taken away, and now ye come for our lives."

"I seek no man's life," replied the Captain; "I only execute my orders.
If you are alone, good woman, you have nought to fear--if there are any
with you so rash as to offer useless resistance, their own blood be on
their own heads. Move forward, sergeant."

"Forward! march!" said the non-commissioned officer. "Huzza, my boys, for
Rob Roy's head and a purse of gold."

He quickened his pace into a run, followed by the six soldiers; but as
they attained the first traverse of the ascent, the flash of a dozen of
firelocks from various parts of the pass parted in quick succession and
deliberate aim. The sergeant, shot through the body, still struggled to
gain the ascent, raised himself by his hands to clamber up the face of
the rock, but relaxed his grasp, after a desperate effort, and falling,
rolled from the face of the cliff into the deep lake, where he perished.
Of the soldiers, three fell, slain or disabled; the others retreated on
their main body, all more or less wounded.

"Grenadiers, to the front!" said Captain Thornton.--You are to recollect,
that in those days this description of soldiers actually carried that
destructive species of firework from which they derive their name. The
four grenadiers moved to the front accordingly. The officer commanded the
rest of the party to be ready to support them, and only saying to us,
"Look to your safety, gentlemen," gave, in rapid succession, the word to
the grenadiers--"Open your pouches--handle your grenades--blow your
matches--fall on."

The whole advanced with a shout, headed by Captain Thornton,--the
grenadiers preparing to throw their grenades among the bushes where the
ambuscade lay, and the musketeers to support them by an instant and close
assault. Dougal, forgotten in the scuffle, wisely crept into the thicket
which overhung that part of the road where we had first halted, which he
ascended with the activity of a wild cat. I followed his example,
instinctively recollecting that the fire of the Highlanders would sweep
the open track. I clambered until out of breath; for a continued
spattering fire, in which every shot was multiplied by a thousand echoes,
the hissing of the kindled fusees of the grenades, and the successive
explosion of those missiles, mingled with the huzzas of the soldiers, and
the yells and cries of their Highland antagonists, formed a contrast
which added--I do not shame to own it--wings to my desire to reach a
place of safety. The difficulties of the ascent soon increased so much,
that I despaired of reaching Dougal, who seemed to swing himself from
rock to rock, and stump to stump, with the facility of a squirrel, and I
turned down my eyes to see what had become of my other companions. Both
were brought to a very awkward standstill.

The Bailie, to whom I suppose fear had given a temporary share of
agility, had ascended about twenty feet from the path, when his foot
slipping, as he straddled from one huge fragment of rock to another, he
would have slumbered with his father the deacon, whose acts and words he
was so fond of quoting, but for a projecting branch of a ragged thorn,
which, catching hold of the skirts of his riding-coat, supported him in
mid-air, where he dangled not unlike to the sign of the Golden Fleece
over the door of a mercer in the Trongate of his native city.

As for Andrew Fairservice, he had advanced with better success, until he
had attained the top of a bare cliff, which, rising above the wood,
exposed him, at least in his own opinion, to all the dangers of the
neighbouring skirmish, while, at the same time, it was of such a
precipitous and impracticable nature, that he dared neither to advance
nor retreat. Footing it up and down upon the narrow space which the top
of the cliff afforded (very like a fellow at a country-fair dancing upon
a trencher), he roared for mercy in Gaelic and English alternately,
according to the side on which the scale of victory seemed to
predominate, while his exclamations were only answered by the groans of
the Bailie, who suffered much, not only from apprehension, but from the
pendulous posture in which he hung suspended by the loins.

On perceiving the Bailie's precarious situation, my first idea was to
attempt to render him assistance; but this was impossible without the
concurrence of Andrew, whom neither sign, nor entreaty, nor command, nor
expostulation, could inspire with courage to adventure the descent from
his painful elevation, where, like an unskilful and obnoxious minister of
state, unable to escape from the eminence to which he had presumptuously
ascended, he continued to pour forth piteous prayers for mercy, which no
one heard, and to skip to and fro, writhing his body into all possible
antic shapes to avoid the balls which he conceived to be whistling around
him.

In a few minutes this cause of terror ceased, for the fire, at first so
well sustained, now sunk at once--a sure sign that the conflict was
concluded. To gain some spot from which I could see how the day had gone
was now my object, in order to appeal to the mercy of the victors, who, I
trusted (whichever side might be gainers), would not suffer the honest
Bailie to remain suspended, like the coffin of Mahomet, between heaven
and earth, without lending a hand to disengage him. At length, by dint of
scrambling, I found a spot which commanded a view of the field of battle.
It was indeed ended; and, as my mind already augured, from the place and
circumstances attending the contest, it had terminated in the defeat of
Captain Thornton. I saw a party of Highlanders in the act of disarming
that officer, and the scanty remainder of his party. They consisted of
about twelve men most of whom were wounded, who, surrounded by treble
their number, and without the power either to advance or retreat, exposed
to a murderous and well-aimed fire, which they had no means of returning
with effect, had at length laid down their arms by the order of their
officer, when he saw that the road in his rear was occupied, and that
protracted resistance would be only wasting the lives of his brave
followers. By the Highlanders, who fought under cover, the victory was
cheaply bought, at the expense of one man slain and two wounded by the
grenades. All this I learned afterwards. At present I only comprehended
the general result of the day, from seeing the English officer, whose
face was covered with blood, stripped of his hat and arms, and his men,
with sullen and dejected countenances which marked their deep regret,
enduring, from the wild and martial figures who surrounded them, the
severe measures to which the laws of war subject the vanquished for
security of the victors.





CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

            "Woe to the vanquished!" was stern Brenno's word,
             When sunk proud Rome beneath the Gallic sword--
            "Woe to the vanquished!" when his massive blade
             Bore down the scale against her ransom weigh'd;
                And on the field of foughten battle still,
                Woe knows no limits save the victor's will.
                                                  The Gaulliad.

I anxiously endeavoured to distinguish Dougal among the victors. I had
little doubt that the part he had played was assumed, on purpose to lead
the English officer into the defile, and I could not help admiring the
address with which the ignorant, and apparently half-brutal savage, had
veiled his purpose, and the affected reluctance with which he had
suffered to be extracted from him the false information which it must
have been his purpose from the beginning to communicate. I foresaw we
should incur some danger on approaching the victors in the first flush of
their success, which was not unstained with cruelty; for one or two of
the soldiers, whose wounds prevented them from rising, were poniarded by
the victors, or rather by some ragged Highland boys who had mingled with
them. I concluded, therefore, it would be unsafe to present ourselves
without some mediator; and as Campbell, whom I now could not but identify
with the celebrated freebooter Rob Roy, was nowhere to be seen, I
resolved to claim the protection of his emissary, Dougal.

After gazing everywhere in vain, I at length retraced my steps to see
what assistance I could individually render to my unlucky friend, when,
to my great joy, I saw Mr. Jarvie delivered from his state of suspense;
and though very black in the face, and much deranged in the garments,
safely seated beneath the rock, in front of which he had been so lately
suspended. I hastened to join him and offer my congratulations, which he
was at first far from receiving in the spirit of cordiality with which
they were offered. A heavy fit of coughing scarce permitted him breath
enough to express the broken hints which he threw out against my
sincerity.

"Uh! uh! uh! uh!--they say a friend--uh! uh!--a friend sticketh closer
than a brither--uh! uh! uh! When I came up here, Maister Osbaldistone, to
this country, cursed of God and man--uh! uh--Heaven forgie me for
swearing--on nae man's errand but yours, d'ye think it was fair--uh! uh!
uh!--to leave me, first, to be shot or drowned atween red-wad Highlanders
and red-coats; and next to be hung up between heaven and earth, like an
auld potato-bogle, without sae muckle as trying--uh! uh!--sae muckle as
trying to relieve me?"

I made a thousand apologies, and laboured so hard to represent the
impossibility of my affording him relief by my own unassisted exertions,
that at length I succeeded, and the Bailie, who was as placable as hasty
in his temper, extended his favour to me once more. I next took the
liberty of asking him how he had contrived to extricate himself.

"Me extricate! I might hae hung there till the day of judgment or I could
hae helped mysell, wi' my head hinging down on the tae side, and my heels
on the tother, like the yarn-scales in the weigh-house. It was the
creature Dougal that extricated me, as he did yestreen; he cuttit aff the
tails o' my coat wi' his durk, and another gillie and him set me on my
legs as cleverly as if I had never been aff them. But to see what a thing
gude braid claith is! Had I been in ony o' your rotten French camlets
now, or your drab-de-berries, it would hae screeded like an auld rag wi'
sic a weight as mine. But fair fa' the weaver that wrought the weft
o't--I swung and bobbit yonder as safe as a gabbart* that's moored by a
three-ply cable at the Broomielaw."

* A kind of lighter used in the river Clyde,--probably from the French *
_abare._

I now inquired what had become of his preserver.

"The creature," so he continued to call the Highlandman, "contrived to
let me ken there wad be danger in gaun near the leddy till he came back,
and bade me stay here. I am o' the mind," he continued, "that he's
seeking after you--it's a considerate creature--and troth, I wad swear he
was right about the leddy, as he ca's her, too--Helen Campbell was nane
o' the maist douce maidens, nor meekest wives neither, and folk say that
Rob himsell stands in awe o' her. I doubt she winna ken me, for it's mony
years since we met--I am clear for waiting for the Dougal creature or we
gang near her."

I signified my acquiescence in this reasoning; but it was not the will of
fate that day that the Bailie's prudence should profit himself or any one
else.

Andrew Fairservice, though he had ceased to caper on the pinnacle upon
the cessation of the firing, which had given occasion for his whimsical
exercise, continued, as perched on the top of an exposed cliff, too
conspicuous an object to escape the sharp eyes of the Highlanders, when
they had time to look a little around them. We were apprized he was
discovered, by a wild and loud halloo set up among the assembled victors,
three or four of whom instantly plunged into the copsewood, and ascended
the rocky side of the hill in different directions towards the place
where they had discovered this whimsical apparition.

Those who arrived first within gunshot of poor Andrew, did not trouble
themselves to offer him any assistance in the ticklish posture of his
affairs, but levelling their long Spanish-barrelled guns, gave him to
understand, by signs which admitted of no misconstruction, that he must
contrive to come down and submit himself to their mercy, or to be marked
at from beneath, like a regimental target set up for ball-practice. With
such a formidable hint for venturous exertion, Andrew Fairservice could
no longer hesitate; the more imminent peril overcame his sense of that
which seemed less inevitable, and he began to descend the cliff at all
risks, clutching to the ivy and oak stumps, and projecting fragments of
rock, with an almost feverish anxiety, and never failing, as
circumstances left him a hand at liberty, to extend it to the plaided
gentry below in an attitude of supplication, as if to deprecate the
discharge of their levelled firearms. In a word, the fellow, under the
influence of a counteracting motive for terror, achieved a safe descent
from his perilous eminence, which, I verily believe, nothing but the fear
of instant death could have moved him to attempt. The awkward mode of
Andrew's descent greatly amused the Highlanders below, who fired a shot
or two while he was engaged in it, without the purpose of injuring him,
as I believe, but merely to enhance the amusement they derived from his
extreme terror, and the superlative exertions of agility to which it
excited him.

At length he attained firm and comparatively level ground--or rather, to
speak more correctly, his foot slipping at the last point of descent, he
fell on the earth at his full length, and was raised by the assistance of
the Highlanders, who stood to receive him, and who, ere he gained his
legs, stripped him not only of the whole contents of his pockets, but of
periwig, hat, coat, doublet, stockings, and shoes, performing the feat
with such admirable celerity, that, although he fell on his back a
well-clothed and decent burgher-seeming serving-man, he arose a forked,
uncased, bald-pated, beggarly-looking scarecrow. Without respect to the
pain which his undefended toes experienced from the sharp encounter of
the rocks over which they hurried him, those who had detected Andrew
proceeded to drag him downward towards the road through all the
intervening obstacles.

In the course of their descent, Mr. Jarvie and I became exposed to their
lynx-eyed observation, and instantly half-a-dozen of armed Highlanders
thronged around us, with drawn dirks and swords pointed at our faces and
throats, and cocked pistols presented against our bodies. To have offered
resistance would have been madness, especially as we had no weapons
capable of supporting such a demonstration. We therefore submitted to our
fate; and with great roughness on the part of those who assisted at our
toilette, were in the act of being reduced to as unsophisticated a state
(to use King Lear's phrase) as the plume-less biped Andrew Fairservice,
who stood shivering between fear and cold at a few yards' distance. Good
chance, however, saved us from this extremity of wretchedness; for, just
as I had yielded up my cravat (a smart Steinkirk, by the way, and richly
laced), and the Bailie had been disrobed of the fragments of his
riding-coat--enter Dougal, and the scene was changed. By a high tone of
expostulation, mixed with oaths and threats, as far as I could conjecture
the tenor of his language from the violence of his gestures, he compelled
the plunderers, however reluctant, not only to give up their further
depredations on our property, but to restore the spoil they had already
appropriated. He snatched my cravat from the fellow who had seized it,
and twisted it (in the zeal of his restitution) around my neck with such
suffocating energy as made me think that he had not only been, during his
residence at Glasgow, a substitute of the jailor, but must moreover have
taken lessons as an apprentice of the hangman. He flung the tattered
remnants of Mr. Jarvie's coat around his shoulders, and as more
Highlanders began to flock towards us from the high road, he led the way
downwards, directing and commanding the others to afford us, but
particularly the Bailie, the assistance necessary to our descending with
comparative ease and safety. It was, however, in vain that Andrew
Fairservice employed his lungs in obsecrating a share of Dougal's
protection, or at least his interference to procure restoration of his
shoes.

"Na, na," said Dougal in reply, "she's nae gentle pody, I trow; her
petters hae ganged parefoot, or she's muckle mista'en." And, leaving
Andrew to follow at his leisure, or rather at such leisure as the
surrounding crowd were pleased to indulge him with, he hurried us down to
the pathway in which the skirmish had been fought, and hastened to
present us as additional captives to the female leader of his band.

We were dragged before her accordingly, Dougal fighting, struggling,
screaming, as if he were the party most apprehensive of hurt, and
repulsing, by threats and efforts, all those who attempted to take a
nearer interest in our capture than he seemed to do himself. At length we
were placed before the heroine of the day, whose appearance, as well as
those of the savage, uncouth, yet martial figures who surrounded us,
struck me, to own the truth, with considerable apprehension. I do not
know if Helen MacGregor had personally mingled in the fray, and indeed I
was afterwards given to understand the contrary; but the specks of blood
on her brow, her hands and naked arms, as well as on the blade of her
sword which she continued to hold in her hand--her flushed countenance,
and the disordered state of the raven locks which escaped from under the
red bonnet and plume that formed her head-dress, seemed all to intimate
that she had taken an immediate share in the conflict. Her keen black
eyes and features expressed an imagination inflamed by the pride of
gratified revenge, and the triumph of victory. Yet there was nothing
positively sanguinary, or cruel, in her deportment; and she reminded me,
when the immediate alarm of the interview was over, of some of the
paintings I had seen of the inspired heroines in the Catholic churches of
France. She was not, indeed, sufficiently beautiful for a Judith, nor had
she the inspired expression of features which painters have given to
Deborah, or to the wife of Heber the Kenite, at whose feet the strong
oppressor of Israel, who dwelled in Harosheth of the Gentiles, bowed
down, fell, and lay a dead man. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm by which she
was agitated gave her countenance and deportment, wildly dignified in
themselves, an air which made her approach nearly to the ideas of those
wonderful artists who gave to the eye the heroines of Scripture history.

I was uncertain in what terms to accost a personage so uncommon, when Mr.
Jarvie, breaking the ice with a preparatory cough (for the speed with
which he had been brought into her presence had again impeded his
respiration), addressed her as follows:--"Uh! uh! &c. &c. I am very happy
to have this _joyful_ opportunity" (a quaver in his voice strongly belied
the emphasis which he studiously laid on the word joyful)--"this joyful
occasion," he resumed, trying to give the adjective a more suitable
accentuation, "to wish my kinsman Robin's wife a very good morning--Uh!
uh!--How's a' wi' ye?" (by this time he had talked himself into his usual
jog-trot manner, which exhibited a mixture of familiarity and
self-importance)--"How's a' wi' ye this lang time? Ye'll hae forgotten
me, Mrs. MacGregor Campbell, as your cousin--uh! uh!--but ye'll mind my
father, Deacon Nicol Jarvie, in the Saut Market o' Glasgow?--an honest
man he was, and a sponsible, and respectit you and yours. Sae, as I said
before, I am right glad to see you, Mrs. MacGregor Campbell, as my
kinsman's wife. I wad crave the liberty of a kinsman to salute you, but
that your gillies keep such a dolefu' fast haud o' my arms, and, to speak
Heaven's truth and a magistrate's, ye wadna be the waur of a cogfu' o'
water before ye welcomed your friends."

There was something in the familiarity of this introduction which ill
suited the exalted state of temper of the person to whom it was
addressed, then busied with distributing dooms of death, and warm from
conquest in a perilous encounter.

"What fellow are you," she said, "that dare to claim kindred with the
MacGregor, and neither wear his dress nor speak his language?--What are
you, that have the tongue and the habit of the hound, and yet seek to lie
down with the deer?"

"I dinna ken," said the undaunted Bailie, "if the kindred has ever been
weel redd out to you yet, cousin--but it's ken'd, and can be prov'd. My
mother, Elspeth MacFarlane, was the wife of my father, Deacon Nicol
Jarvie--peace be wi' them baith!--and Elspeth was the daughter of Parlane
MacFarlane, at the Sheeling o' Loch Sloy. Now, this Parlane MacFarlane,
as his surviving daughter Maggy MacFarlane, _alias_ MacNab, wha married
Duncan MacNab o' Stuckavrallachan, can testify, stood as near to your
gudeman, Robert MacGregor, as in the fourth degree of kindred, for"--

The virago lopped the genealogical tree, by demanding haughtily, "If a
stream of rushing water acknowledged any relation with the portion
withdrawn from it for the mean domestic uses of those who dwelt on its
banks?"

"Vera true, kinswoman," said the Bailie; "but for a' that, the burn wad
be glad to hae the milldam back again in simmer, when the chuckie-stanes
are white in the sun. I ken weel eneugh you Hieland folk haud us Glasgow
people light and cheap for our language and our claes;--but everybody
speaks their native tongue that they learned in infancy; and it would be
a daft-like thing to see me wi' my fat wame in a short Hieland coat, and
my puir short houghs gartered below the knee, like ane o' your
lang-legged gillies. Mair by token, kinswoman," he continued, in defiance
of various intimations by which Dougal seemed to recommend silence, as
well as of the marks of impatience which the Amazon evinced at his
loquacity, "I wad hae ye to mind that the king's errand whiles comes in
the cadger's gate, and that, for as high as ye may think o' the gudeman,
as it's right every wife should honour her husband--there's Scripture
warrant for that--yet as high as ye haud him, as I was saying, I hae been
serviceable to Rob ere now;--forbye a set o' pearlins I sent yourself
when ye was gaun to be married, and when Rob was an honest weel-doing
drover, and nane o' this unlawfu' wark, wi' fighting, and flashes, and
fluff-gibs, disturbing the king's peace and disarming his soldiers."

He had apparently touched on a key which his kinswoman could not brook.
She drew herself up to her full height, and betrayed the acuteness of her
feelings by a laugh of mingled scorn and bitterness.

"Yes," she said, "you, and such as you, might claim a relation to us,
when we stooped to be the paltry wretches fit to exist under your
dominion, as your hewers of wood and drawers of water--to find cattle for
your banquets, and subjects for your laws to oppress and trample on. But
now we are free--free by the very act which left us neither house nor
hearth, food nor covering--which bereaved me of all--of all--and makes me
groan when I think I must still cumber the earth for other purposes than
those of vengeance. And I will carry on the work, this day has so well
commenced, by a deed that shall break all bands between MacGregor and the
Lowland churls. Here Allan--Dougal--bind these Sassenachs neck and heel
together, and throw them into the Highland Loch to seek for their
Highland kinsfolk."

The Bailie, alarmed at this mandate, was commencing an expostulation,
which probably would have only inflamed the violent passions of the
person whom he addressed, when Dougal threw himself between them, and in
his own language, which he spoke with a fluency and rapidity strongly
contrasted by the slow, imperfect, and idiot-like manner in which he
expressed himself in English, poured forth what I doubt not was a very
animated pleading in our behalf.

His mistress replied to him, or rather cut short his harangue, by
exclaiming in English (as if determined to make us taste in anticipation
the full bitterness of death)--"Base dog, and son of a dog, do you
dispute my commands? Should I tell ye to cut out their tongues and put
them into each other's throats, to try which would there best knap
Southron, or to tear out their hearts and put them into each other's
breasts, to see which would there best plot treason against the
MacGregor--and such things have been done of old in the day of revenge,
when our fathers had wrongs to redress--Should I command you to do this,
would it be your part to dispute my orders?"

"To be sure, to be sure," Dougal replied, with accents of profound
submission; "her pleasure suld be done--tat's but reason; but an it
were--tat is, an it could be thought the same to her to coup the
ill-faured loon of ta red-coat Captain, and hims corporal Cramp, and twa
three o' the red-coats, into the loch, herself wad do't wi' muckle mair
great satisfaction than to hurt ta honest civil shentlemans as were
friends to the Gregarach, and came up on the Chiefs assurance, and not
to do no treason, as herself could testify."

The lady was about to reply, when a few wild strains of a pibroch were
heard advancing up the road from Aberfoil, the same probably which had
reached the ears of Captain Thornton's rear-guard, and determined him to
force his way onward rather than return to the village, on finding the
pass occupied. The skirmish being of very short duration, the armed men
who followed this martial melody, had not, although quickening their
march when they heard the firing, been able to arrive in time sufficient
to take any share in the rencontre. The victory, therefore, was complete
without them, and they now arrived only to share in the triumph of their
countrymen.

There was a marked difference betwixt the appearance of these new comers
and that of the party by which our escort had been defeated--and it was
greatly in favour of the former. Among the Highlanders who surrounded the
Chieftainess, if I may presume to call her so without offence to grammar,
were men in the extremity of age, boys scarce able to bear a sword, and
even women--all, in short, whom the last necessity urges to take up arms;
and it added a shade of bitter shame to the defection which clouded
Thornton's manly countenance, when he found that the numbers and position
of a foe, otherwise so despicable, had enabled them to conquer his brave
veterans. But the thirty or forty Highlanders who now joined the others,
were all men in the prime of youth or manhood, active clean-made fellows,
whose short hose and belted plaids set out their sinewy limbs to the best
advantage. Their arms were as superior to those of the first party as
their dress and appearance. The followers of the female Chief had axes,
scythes, and other antique weapons, in aid of their guns; and some had
only clubs, daggers, and long knives. But of the second party, most had
pistols at the belt, and almost all had dirks hanging at the pouches
which they wore in front. Each had a good gun in his hand, and a
broadsword by his side, besides a stout round target, made of light wood,
covered with leather, and curiously studded with brass, and having a
steel spike screwed into the centre. These hung on their left shoulder
during a march, or while they were engaged in exchanging fire with the
enemy, and were worn on their left arm when they charged with sword in
hand.

But it was easy to see that this chosen band had not arrived from a
victory such as they found their ill-appointed companions possessed of.
The pibroch sent forth occasionally a few wailing notes expressive of a
very different sentiment from triumph; and when they appeared before the
wife of their Chieftain, it was in silence, and with downcast and
melancholy looks. They paused when they approached her, and the pipes
again sent forth the same wild and melancholy strain.

Helen rushed towards them with a countenance in which anger was mingled
with apprehension.--"What means this, Alaster?" she said to the
minstrel--"why a lament in the moment of victory?--Robert--Hamish--where's
the MacGregor?--where's your father?"

Her sons, who led the band, advanced with slow and irresolute steps
towards her, and murmured a few words in Gaelic, at hearing which she set
up a shriek that made the rocks ring again, in which all the women and
boys joined, clapping their hands and yelling as if their lives had been
expiring in the sound. The mountain echoes, silent since the military
sounds of battle had ceased, had now to answer these frantic and
discordant shrieks of sorrow, which drove the very night-birds from their
haunts in the rocks, as if they were startled to hear orgies more hideous
and ill-omened than their own, performed in the face of open day.

"Taken!" repeated Helen, when the clamour had subsided--"Taken!--
captive!--and you live to say so?--Coward dogs! did I nurse you for this,
that you should spare your blood on your father's enemies? or see him
prisoner, and come back to tell it?"

The sons of MacGregor, to whom this expostulation was addressed, were
youths, of whom the eldest had hardly attained his twentieth year.
_Hamish,_ or James, the elder of these youths, was the tallest by a head,
and much handsomer than his brother; his light-blue eyes, with a
profusion of fair hair, which streamed from under his smart blue bonnet,
made his whole appearance a most favourable specimen of the Highland
youth. The younger was called Robert; but, to distinguish him from his
father, the Highlanders added the epithet _Oig,_ or the young. Dark hair,
and dark features, with a ruddy glow of health and animation, and a form
strong and well-set beyond his years, completed the sketch of the young
mountaineer.

Both now stood before their mother with countenances clouded with grief
and shame, and listened, with the most respectful submission, to the
reproaches with which she loaded them. At length when her resentment
appeared in some degree to subside, the eldest, speaking in English,
probably that he might not be understood by their followers, endeavoured
respectfully to vindicate himself and his brother from his mother's
reproaches. I was so near him as to comprehend much of what he said; and,
as it was of great consequence to me to be possessed of information in
this strange crisis, I failed not to listen as attentively as I could.

"The MacGregor," his son stated, "had been called out upon a trysting
with a Lowland hallion, who came with a token from"--he muttered the name
very low, but I thought it sounded like my own. "The MacGregor," he said,
"accepted of the invitation, but commanded the Saxon who brought the
message to be detained, as a hostage that good faith should be observed
to him. Accordingly he went to the place of appointment" (which had some
wild Highland name that I cannot remember), "attended only by Angus Breck
and Little Rory, commanding no one to follow him. Within half an hour
Angus Breck came back with the doleful tidings that the MacGregor had
been surprised and made prisoner by a party of Lennox militia, under
Galbraith of Garschattachin." He added, "that Galbraith, on being
threatened by MacGregor, who upon his capture menaced him with
retaliation on the person of the hostage, had treated the threat with
great contempt, replying, 'Let each side hang his man; we'll hang the
thief, and your catherans may hang the gauger, Rob, and the country will
be rid of two damned things at once, a wild Highlander and a revenue
officer.' Angus Breck, less carefully looked to than his master,
contrived to escape from the hands of the captors, after having been in
their custody long enough to hear this discussion, and to bring off the
news."

"And did you learn this, you false-hearted traitor," said the wife of
MacGregor, "and not instantly rush to your father's rescue, to bring him
off, or leave your body on the place?"

The young MacGregor modestly replied, by representing the very superior
force of the enemy, and stated, that as they made no preparation for
leaving the country, he had fallen back up the glen with the purpose of
collecting a band sufficient to attempt a rescue with some tolerable
chance of success. At length he said, "the militiamen would quarter, he
understood, in the neighbouring house of Gartartan, or the old castle in
the port of Monteith, or some other stronghold, which, although strong
and defensible, was nevertheless capable of being surprised, could they
but get enough of men assembled for the purpose."

I understood afterwards that the rest of the freebooter's followers were
divided into two strong bands, one destined to watch the remaining
garrison of Inversnaid, a party of which, under Captain Thornton, had
been defeated; and another to show front to the Highland clans who had
united with the regular troops and Lowlanders in this hostile and
combined invasion of that mountainous and desolate territory, which lying
between the lakes of Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine, and Loch Ard, was at this
time currently called Rob Roy's, or the MacGregor country. Messengers
were despatched in great haste, to concentrate, as I supposed, their
forces, with a view to the purposed attack on the Lowlanders; and the
dejection and despair, at first visible on each countenance, gave place
to the hope of rescuing their leader, and to the thirst of vengeance. It
was under the burning influence of the latter passion that the wife of
MacGregor commanded that the hostage exchanged for his safety should be
brought into her presence. I believe her sons had kept this unfortunate
wretch out of her sight, for fear of the consequences; but if it was so,
their humane precaution only postponed his fate. They dragged forward at
her summons a wretch already half dead with terror, in whose agonised
features I recognised, to my horror and astonishment, my old acquaintance
Morris.

He fell prostrate before the female Chief with an effort to clasp her
knees, from which she drew back, as if his touch had been pollution, so
that all he could do in token of the extremity of his humiliation, was to
kiss the hem of her plaid. I never heard entreaties for life poured forth
with such agony of spirit. The ecstasy of fear was such, that instead of
paralysing his tongue, as on ordinary occasions, it even rendered him
eloquent; and, with cheeks pale as ashes, hands compressed in agony, eyes
that seemed to be taking their last look of all mortal objects, he
protested, with the deepest oaths, his total ignorance of any design on
the person of Rob Roy, whom he swore he loved and honoured as his own
soul. In the inconsistency of his terror, he said he was but the agent of
others, and he muttered the name of Rashleigh. He prayed but for
life--for life he would give all he had in the world: it was but life he
asked--life, if it were to be prolonged under tortures and privations:
he asked only breath, though it should be drawn in the damps of the
lowest caverns of their hills.

It is impossible to describe the scorn, the loathing, and contempt, with
which the wife of MacGregor regarded this wretched petitioner for the
poor boon of existence.

"I could have bid ye live," she said, "had life been to you the same
weary and wasting burden that it is to me--that it is to every noble and
generous mind. But you--wretch! you could creep through the world
unaffected by its various disgraces, its ineffable miseries, its
constantly accumulating masses of crime and sorrow: you could live and
enjoy yourself, while the noble-minded are betrayed--while nameless and
birthless villains tread on the neck of the brave and the long-descended:
you could enjoy yourself, like a butcher's dog in the shambles, battening
on garbage, while the slaughter of the oldest and best went on around
you! This enjoyment you shall not live to partake of!--you shall die,
base dog! and that before yon cloud has passed over the sun."

She gave a brief command in Gaelic to her attendants, two of whom seized
upon the prostrate suppliant, and hurried him to the brink of a cliff
which overhung the flood. He set up the most piercing and dreadful cries
that fear ever uttered--I may well term them dreadful, for they haunted
my sleep for years afterwards. As the murderers, or executioners, call
them as you will, dragged him along, he recognised me even in that moment
of horror, and exclaimed, in the last articulate words I ever heard him
utter, "Oh, Mr. Osbaldistone, save me!--save me!"

I was so much moved by this horrid spectacle, that, although in momentary
expectation of sharing his fate, I did attempt to speak in his behalf,
but, as might have been expected, my interference was sternly
disregarded. The victim was held fast by some, while others, binding a
large heavy stone in a plaid, tied it round his neck, and others again
eagerly stripped him of some part of his dress. Half-naked, and thus
manacled, they hurled him into the lake, there about twelve feet deep,
with a loud halloo of vindictive triumph,--above which, however, his last
death-shriek, the yell of mortal agony, was distinctly heard. The heavy
burden splashed in the dark-blue waters, and the Highlanders, with their
pole-axes and swords, watched an instant to guard, lest, extricating
himself from the load to which he was attached, the victim might have
struggled to regain the shore. But the knot had been securely bound--the
wretched man sunk without effort; the waters, which his fall had
disturbed, settled calmly over him, and the unit of that life for which
he had pleaded so strongly, was for ever withdrawn from the sum of human
existence.





CHAPTER FIFTEEN.


                And be he safe restored ere evening set,
                Or, if there's vengeance in an injured heart,
                And power to wreak it in an armed hand,
                      Your land shall ache for't.
                                          Old Play.

I know not why it is that a single deed of violence and cruelty affects
our nerves more than when these are exercised on a more extended scale. I
had seen that day several of my brave countrymen fall in battle: it
seemed to me that they met a lot appropriate to humanity, and my bosom,
though thrilling with interest, was affected with nothing of that
sickening horror with which I beheld the unfortunate Morris put to death
without resistance, and in cold blood. I looked at my companion, Mr.
Jarvie, whose face reflected the feelings which were painted in mine.
Indeed he could not so suppress his horror, but that the words escaped
him in a low and broken whisper,--

"I take up my protest against this deed, as a bloody and cruel murder--it
is a cursed deed, and God will avenge it in his due way and time."

"Then you do not fear to follow?" said the virago, bending on him a look
of death, such as that with which a hawk looks at his prey ere he
pounces.

"Kinswoman," said the Bailie, "nae man willingly wad cut short his thread
of life before the end o' his pirn was fairly measured off on the
yarn-winles--And I hae muckle to do, an I be spared, in this
warld--public and private business, as weel that belonging to the
magistracy as to my ain particular; and nae doubt I hae some to depend
on me, as puir Mattie, wha is an orphan--She's a far-awa' cousin o' the
Laird o' Limmerfield. Sae that, laying a' this thegither--skin for skin,
yea all that a man hath, will he give for his life."

"And were I to set you at liberty," said the imperious dame, "what name
could you give to the drowning of that Saxon dog?"

"Uh! uh!--hem! hem!" said the Bailie, clearing his throat as well as he
could, "I suld study to say as little on that score as might be--least
said is sunest mended."

"But if you were called on by the courts, as you term them, of justice,"
she again demanded, "what then would be your answer?"

The Bailie looked this way and that way, like a person who meditates an
escape, and then answered in the tone of one who, seeing no means of
accomplishing a retreat, determines to stand the brunt of battle--"I see
what you are driving me to the wa' about. But I'll tell you't plain,
kinswoman,--I behoved just to speak according to my ain conscience; and
though your ain gudeman, that I wish had been here for his ain sake and
mine, as wool as the puir Hieland creature Dougal, can tell ye that Nicol
Jarvie can wink as hard at a friend's failings as onybody, yet I'se tell
ye, kinswoman, mine's ne'er be the tongue to belie my thought; and sooner
than say that yonder puir wretch was lawfully slaughtered, I wad consent
to be laid beside him--though I think ye are the first Hieland woman wad
mint sic a doom to her husband's kinsman but four times removed."

It is probable that the tone and firmness assumed by the Bailie in his
last speech was better suited to make an impression on the hard heart of
his kinswoman than the tone of supplication he had hitherto assumed, as
gems can be cut with steel, though they resist softer metals. She
commanded us both to be placed before her. "Your name," she said to me,
"is Osbaldistone?--the dead dog, whose death you have witnessed, called
you so."

"My name _is_ Osbaldistone," was my answer.

"Rashleigh, then, I suppose, is your Christian name?" she pursued.

"No,--my name is Francis."

"But you know Rashleigh Osbaldistone," she continued. "He is your
brother, if I mistake not,--at least your kinsman and near friend."

"He is my kinsman," I replied, "but not my friend. We were lately engaged
together in a rencontre, when we were separated by a person whom I
understand to be your husband. My blood is hardly yet dried on his sword,
and the wound on my side is yet green. I have little reason to
acknowledge him as a friend."

"Then," she replied, "if a stranger to his intrigues, you can go in
safety to Garschattachin and his party without fear of being detained,
and carry them a message from the wife of the MacGregor?"

I answered that I knew no reasonable cause why the militia gentlemen
should detain me; that I had no reason, on my own account, to fear being
in their hands; and that if my going on her embassy would act as a
protection to my friend and servant, who were here prisoners, "I was
ready to set out directly." I took the opportunity to say, "That I had
come into this country on her husband's invitation, and his assurance
that he would aid me in some important matters in which I was interested;
that my companion, Mr. Jarvie, had accompanied me on the same errand."

"And I wish Mr. Jarvie's boots had been fu' o' boiling water when he drew
them on for sic a purpose," interrupted the Bailie.

"You may read your father," said Helen MacGregor, turning to her sons,
"in what this young Saxon tells us--Wise only when the bonnet is on his
head, and the sword is in his hand, he never exchanges the tartan for the
broad-cloth, but he runs himself into the miserable intrigues of the
Lowlanders, and becomes again, after all he has suffered, their
agent--their tool--their slave."

"Add, madam," said I, "and their benefactor."

"Be it so," she said; "for it is the most empty title of them all, since
he has uniformly sown benefits to reap a harvest of the most foul
ingratitude.--But enough of this. I shall cause you to be guided to the
enemy's outposts. Ask for their commander, and deliver him this message
from me, Helen MacGregor;--that if they injure a hair of MacGregor's
head, and if they do not set him at liberty within the space of twelve
hours, there is not a lady in the Lennox but shall before Christmas cry
the coronach for them she will be loath to lose,--there is not a farmer
but shall sing well-a-wa over a burnt barnyard and an empty byre,--there
is not a laird nor heritor shall lay his head on the pillow at night with
the assurance of being a live man in the morning,--and, to begin as we
are to end, so soon as the term is expired, I will send them this Glasgow
Bailie, and this Saxon Captain, and all the rest of my prisoners, each
bundled in a plaid, and chopped into as many pieces as there are checks
in the tartan."

As she paused in her denunciation, Captain Thornton, who was within
hearing, added, with great coolness, "Present my compliments--Captain
Thornton's of the Royals, compliments--to the commanding officer, and
tell him to do his duty and secure his prisoner, and not waste a thought
upon me. If I have been fool enough to have been led into an ambuscade by
these artful savages, I am wise enough to know how to die for it without
disgracing the service. I am only sorry for my poor fellows," he said,
"that have fallen into such butcherly hands."

"Whist! whist!" exclaimed the Bailie; "are ye weary o' your life?--Ye'll
gie _my_ service to the commanding officer, Mr. Osbaldistone--Bailie
Nicol Jarvie's service, a magistrate o' Glasgow, as his father the deacon
was before him--and tell him, here are a wheen honest men in great
trouble, and like to come to mair; and the best thing he can do for the
common good, will be just to let Rob come his wa's up the glen, and nae
mair about it. There's been some ill dune here already; but as it has
lighted chiefly on the gauger, it winna be muckle worth making a stir
about."

With these very opposite injunctions from the parties chiefly interested
in the success of my embassy, and with the reiterated charge of the wife
of MacGregor to remember and detail every word of her injunctions, I was
at length suffered to depart; and Andrew Fairservice, chiefly, I believe,
to get rid of his clamorous supplications, was permitted to attend me.
Doubtful, however, that I might use my horse as a means of escape from my
guides, or desirous to retain a prize of some value, I was given to
understand that I was to perform my journey on foot, escorted by Hamish
MacGregor, the elder brother, who, with two followers, attended, as well
to show me the way, as to reconnoitre the strength and position of the
enemy. Dougal had been at first ordered on this party, but he contrived
to elude the service, with the purpose, as we afterwards understood, of
watching over Mr. Jarvie, whom, according to his wild principles of
fidelity, he considered as entitled to his good offices, from having once
acted in some measure as his patron or master.

After walking with great rapidity about an hour, we arrived at an
eminence covered with brushwood, which gave us a commanding prospect down
the valley, and a full view of the post which the militia occupied. Being
chiefly cavalry, they had judiciously avoided any attempt to penetrate
the pass which had been so unsuccessfully essayed by Captain Thornton.
They had taken up their situation with some military skill, on a rising
ground in the centre of the little valley of Aberfoil, through which the
river Forth winds its earliest course, and which is formed by two ridges
of hills, faced with barricades of limestone rock, intermixed with huge
masses of breecia, or pebbles imbedded in some softer substance which has
hardened around them like mortar; and surrounded by the more lofty
mountains in the distance. These ridges, however, left the valley of
breadth enough to secure the cavalry from any sudden surprise by the
mountaineers and they had stationed sentinels and outposts at proper
distances from this main body, in every direction, so that they might
secure full time to mount and get under arms upon the least alarm. It was
not, indeed, expected at that time, that Highlanders would attack cavalry
in an open plain, though late events have shown that they may do so with
success.*

* The affairs of Prestonpans and Falkirk are probably alluded to, which *
marks the time of writing the Memoirs as subsequent to 1745.

When I first knew the Highlanders, they had almost a superstitious dread
of a mounted trooper, the horse being so much more fierce and imposing in
his appearance than the little shelties of their own hills, and moreover
being trained, as the more ignorant mountaineers believed, to fight with
his feet and his teeth. The appearance of the piequeted horses, feeding
in this little vale--the forms of the soldiers, as they sate, stood, or
walked, in various groups in the vicinity of the beautiful river, and of
the bare yet romantic ranges of rock which hedge in the landscape on
either side,--formed a noble foreground; while far to the eastward the
eye caught a glance of the lake of Menteith; and Stirling Castle, dimly
seen along with the blue and distant line of the Ochil Mountains, closed
the scene.

After gazing on this landscape with great earnestness, young MacGregor
intimated to me that I was to descend to the station of the militia and
execute my errand to their commander,--enjoining me at the same time,
with a menacing gesture, neither to inform them who had guided me to that
place, nor where I had parted from my escort. Thus tutored, I descended
towards the military post, followed by Andrew, who, only retaining his
breeches and stockings of the English costume, without a hat,
bare-legged, with brogues on his feet, which Dougal had given him out of
compassion, and having a tattered plaid to supply the want of all upper
garments, looked as if he had been playing the part of a Highland
Tom-of-Bedlam. We had not proceeded far before we became visible to one
of the videttes, who, riding towards us, presented his carabine and
commanded me to stand. I obeyed, and when the soldier came up, desired to
be conducted to his commanding-officer. I was immediately brought where a
circle of officers, sitting upon the grass, seemed in attendance upon one
of superior rank. He wore a cuirass of polished steel, over which were
drawn the insignia of the ancient Order of the Thistle. My friend
Garschattachin, and many other gentlemen, some in uniform, others in
their ordinary dress, but all armed and well attended, seemed to receive
their orders from this person of distinction. Many servants in rich
liveries, apparently a part of his household, were also in waiting.

Having paid to this nobleman the respect which his rank appeared to
demand, I acquainted him that I had been an involuntary witness to the
king's soldiers having suffered a defeat from the Highlanders at the pass
of Loch-Ard (such I had learned was the name of the place where Mr.
Thornton was made prisoner), and that the victors threatened every
species of extremity to those who had fallen into their power, as well as
to the Low Country in general, unless their Chief, who had that morning
been made prisoner, were returned to them uninjured. The Duke (for he
whom I addressed was of no lower rank) listened to me with great
composure, and then replied, that he should be extremely sorry to expose
the unfortunate gentlemen who had been made prisoners to the cruelty of
the barbarians into whose hands they had fallen, but that it was folly to
suppose that he would deliver up the very author of all these disorders
and offences, and so encourage his followers in their license. "You may
return to those who sent you," he proceeded, "and inform them, that I
shall certainly cause Rob Roy Campbell, whom they call MacGregor, to be
executed, by break of day, as an outlaw taken in arms, and deserving
death by a thousand acts of violence; that I should be most justly held
unworthy of my situation and commission did I act otherwise; that I shall
know how to protect the country against their insolent threats of
violence; and that if they injure a hair of the head of any of the
unfortunate gentlemen whom an unlucky accident has thrown into their
power, I will take such ample vengeance, that the very stones of their
glens shall sing woe for it this hundred years to come!"

I humbly begged leave to remonstrate respecting the honourable mission
imposed on me, and touched upon the obvious danger attending it, when the
noble commander replied, "that such being the case, I might send my
servant."

"The deil be in my feet," said Andrew, without either having respect to
the presence in which he stood, or waiting till I replied--"the deil be
in my feet, if I gang my tae's length. Do the folk think I hae another
thrapple in my pouch after John Highlandman's sneeked this ane wi' his
joctaleg? or that I can dive doun at the tae side of a Highland loch and
rise at the tother, like a shell-drake? Na, na--ilk ane for himsell, and
God for us a'. Folk may just make a page o' their ain age, and serve
themsells till their bairns grow up, and gang their ain errands for
Andrew. Rob Roy never came near the parish of Dreepdaily, to steal either
pippin or pear frae me or mine."

Silencing my follower with some difficulty, I represented to the Duke the
great danger Captain Thornton and Mr. Jarvie would certainly be exposed
to, and entreated he would make me the bearer of such modified terms as
might be the means of saving their lives. I assured him I should decline
no danger if I could be of service; but from what I had heard and seen, I
had little doubt they would be instantly murdered should the chief of the
outlaws suffer death.

The Duke was obviously much affected. "It was a hard case," he said, "and
he felt it as such; but he had a paramount duty to perform to the
country--Rob Roy must die!"

I own it was not without emotion that I heard this threat of instant
death to my acquaintance Campbell, who had so often testified his
good-will towards me. Nor was I singular in the feeling, for many of
those around the Duke ventured to express themselves in his favour. "It
would be more advisable," they said, "to send him to Stirling Castle, and
there detain him a close prisoner, as a pledge for the submission and
dispersion of his gang. It were a great pity to expose the country to be
plundered, which, now that the long nights approached, it would be found
very difficult to prevent, since it was impossible to guard every point,
and the Highlanders were sure to select those that were left exposed."
They added, that there was great hardship in leaving the unfortunate
prisoners to the almost certain doom of massacre denounced against them,
which no one doubted would be executed in the first burst of revenge.

Garschattachin ventured yet farther, confiding in the honour of the
nobleman whom he addressed, although he knew he had particular reasons
for disliking their prisoner. "Rob Roy," he said, "though a kittle
neighbour to the Low Country, and particularly obnoxious to his Grace,
and though he maybe carried the catheran trade farther than ony man o'
his day, was an auld-farrand carle, and there might be some means of
making him hear reason; whereas his wife and sons were reckless fiends,
without either fear or mercy about them, and, at the head of a' his
limmer loons, would be a worse plague to the country than ever he had
been."

"Pooh! pooh!" replied his Grace, "it is the very sense and cunning of
this fellow which has so long maintained his reign--a mere Highland
robber would have been put down in as many weeks as he has flourished
years. His gang, without him, is no more to be dreaded as a permanent
annoyance--it will no longer exist--than a wasp without its head, which
may sting once perhaps, but is instantly crushed into annihilation."

Garschattachin was not so easily silenced. "I am sure, my Lord Duke," he
replied, "I have no favour for Rob, and he as little for me, seeing he
has twice cleaned out my ain byres, beside skaith amang my tenants; but,
however"--

"But, however, Garschattachin," said the Duke, with a smile of peculiar
expression, "I fancy you think such a freedom may be pardoned in a
friend's friend, and Rob's supposed to be no enemy to Major Galbraith's
friends over the water."

"If it be so, my lord," said Garschattachin, in the same tone of
jocularity, "it's no the warst thing I have heard of him. But I wish we
heard some news from the clans, that we have waited for sae lang. I vow
to God they'll keep a Hielandman's word wi' us--I never ken'd them
better--it's ill drawing boots upon trews."

"I cannot believe it," said the Duke. "These gentlemen are known to be
men of honour, and I must necessarily suppose they are to keep their
appointment. Send out two more horse-men to look for our friends. We
cannot, till their arrival, pretend to attack the pass where Captain
Thornton has suffered himself to be surprised, and which, to my
knowledge, ten men on foot might make good against a regiment of the best
horse in Europe--Meanwhile let refreshments be given to the men."

I had the benefit of this last order, the more necessary and acceptable,
as I had tasted nothing since our hasty meal at Aberfoil the evening
before. The videttes who had been despatched returned without tidings of
the expected auxiliaries, and sunset was approaching, when a Highlander
belonging to the clans whose co-operation was expected, appeared as the
bearer of a letter, which he delivered to the Duke with a most profound
conge'.

"Now will I wad a hogshead of claret," said Garschattachin, "that this is
a message to tell us that these cursed Highlandmen, whom we have fetched
here at the expense of so much plague and vexation, are going to draw
off, and leave us to do our own business if we can."

"It is even so, gentlemen," said the Duke, reddening with indignation,
after having perused the letter, which was written upon a very dirty
scrap of paper, but most punctiliously addressed, "For the much-honoured
hands of Ane High and Mighty Prince, the Duke," &c. &c. &c. "Our allies,"
continued the Duke, "have deserted us, gentlemen, and have made a
separate peace with the enemy."

"It's just the fate of all alliances," said Garschattachin, "the Dutch
were gaun to serve us the same gate, if we had not got the start of them
at Utrecht."

"You are facetious, air," said the Duke, with a frown which showed how
little he liked the pleasantry; "but our business is rather of a grave
cut just now.--I suppose no gentleman would advise our attempting to
penetrate farther into the country, unsupported either by friendly
Highlanders, or by infantry from Inversnaid?"

A general answer announced that the attempt would be perfect madness.

"Nor would there be great wisdom," the Duke added, "in remaining exposed
to a night-attack in this place. I therefore propose that we should
retreat to the house of Duchray and that of Gartartan, and keep safe and
sure watch and ward until morning. But before we separate, I will examine
Rob Roy before you all, and make you sensible, by your own eyes and ears,
of the extreme unfitness of leaving him space for farther outrage." He
gave orders accordingly, and the prisoner was brought before him, his
arms belted down above the elbow, and secured to his body by a
horse-girth buckled tight behind him. Two non-commissioned officers had
hold of him, one on each side, and two file of men with carabines and
fixed bayonets attended for additional security.

I had never seen this man in the dress of his country, which set in a
striking point of view the peculiarities of his form. A shock-head of red
hair, which the hat and periwig of the Lowland costume had in a great
measure concealed, was seen beneath the Highland bonnet, and verified the
epithet of _Roy,_ or Red, by which he was much better known in the Low
Country than by any other, and is still, I suppose, best remembered. The
justice of the appellation was also vindicated by the appearance of that
part of his limbs, from the bottom of his kilt to the top of his short
hose, which the fashion of his country dress left bare, and which was
covered with a fell of thick, short, red hair, especially around his
knees, which resembled in this respect, as well as from their sinewy
appearance of extreme strength, the limbs of a red-coloured Highland
bull. Upon the whole, betwixt the effect produced by the change of dress,
and by my having become acquainted with his real and formidable
character, his appearance had acquired to my eyes something so much
wilder and more striking than it before presented, that I could scarce
recognise him to be the same person.

His manner was bold, unconstrained unless by the actual bonds, haughty,
and even dignified. He bowed to the Duke, nodded to Garschattachin and
others, and showed some surprise at seeing me among the party.

"It is long since we have met, Mr. Campbell," said the Duke.

"It is so, my Lord Duke; I could have wished it had been" (looking at the
fastening on his arms) "when I could have better paid the compliments I
owe to your Grace;--but there's a gude time coming."

"No time like the time present, Mr. Campbell," answered the Duke, "for
the hours are fast flying that must settle your last account with all
mortal affairs. I do not say this to insult your distress; but you must
be aware yourself that you draw near the end of your career. I do not
deny that you may sometimes have done less harm than others of your
unhappy trade, and that you may occasionally have exhibited marks of
talent, and even of a disposition which promised better things. But you
are aware how long you have been the terror and the oppressor of a
peaceful neighbourhood, and by what acts of violence you have maintained
and extended your usurped authority. You know, in short, that you have
deserved death, and that you must prepare for it."

"My Lord," said Rob Roy, "although I may well lay my misfortunes at your
Grace's door, yet I will never say that you yourself have been the wilful
and witting author of them. My Lord, if I had thought sae, your Grace
would not this day have been sitting in judgment on me; for you have been
three times within good rifle distance of me when you were thinking but
of the red deer, and few people have ken'd me miss my aim. But as for
them that have abused your Grace's ear, and set you up against a man that
was ance as peacefu' a man as ony in the land, and made your name the
warrant for driving me to utter extremity,--I have had some amends of
them, and, for a' that your Grace now says, I expect to live to hae
mair."

"I know," said the Duke, in rising anger, "that you are a determined and
impudent villain, who will keep his oath if he swears to mischief; but it
shall be my care to prevent you. You have no enemies but your own wicked
actions."

"Had I called myself Grahame, instead of Campbell, I might have heard
less about them," answered Rob Roy, with dogged resolution.

"You will do well, sir," said the Duke, "to warn your wife and family and
followers, to beware how they use the gentlemen now in their hands, as I
will requite tenfold on them, and their kin and allies, the slightest
injury done to any of his Majesty's liege subjects."

"My Lord," said Roy in answer, "none of my enemies will allege that I
have been a bloodthirsty man, and were I now wi' my folk, I could rule
four or five hundred wild Hielanders as easy as your Grace those eight or
ten lackeys and foot-boys--But if your Grace is bent to take the head
away from a house, ye may lay your account there will be misrule amang
the members.--However, come o't what like, there's an honest man, a
kinsman o' my ain, maun come by nae skaith. Is there ony body here wad do
a gude deed for MacGregor?--he may repay it, though his hands be now
tied."

The Highlander who had delivered the letter to the Duke replied, "I'll do
your will for you, MacGregor; and I'll gang back up the glen on purpose."

He advanced, and received from the prisoner a message to his wife, which,
being in Gaelic, I did not understand, but I had little doubt it related
to some measures to be taken for the safety of Mr. Jarvie.

"Do you hear the fellow's impudence?" said the Duke; "he confides in his
character of a messenger. His conduct is of a piece with his master's,
who invited us to make common cause against these freebooters, and have
deserted us so soon as the MacGregors have agreed to surrender the
Balquhidder lands they were squabbling about.

             No truth in plaids, no faith in tartan trews!
             Chameleon-like, they change a thousand hues."

"Your great ancestor never said so, my Lord," answered Major
Galbraith;--"and, with submission, neither would your Grace have
occasion to say it, wad ye but be for beginning justice at the
well-head--Gie the honest man his mear again--Let every head wear it's
ane bannet, and the distractions o' the Lennox wad be mended wi' them
o'the land."

"Hush! hush! Garschattachin," said the Duke; "this is language dangerous
for you to talk to any one, and especially to me; but I presume you
reckon yourself a privileged person. Please to draw off your party
towards Gartartan; I shall myself see the prisoner escorted to Duchray,
and send you orders tomorrow. You will please grant no leave of absence
to any of your troopers."

"Here's auld ordering and counter-ordering," muttered Garschattachin
between his teeth. "But patience! patience!--we may ae day play at change
seats, the king's coming."

The two troops of cavalry now formed, and prepared to march off the
ground, that they might avail themselves of the remainder of daylight to
get to their evening quarters. I received an intimation, rather than an
invitation, to attend the party; and I perceived, that, though no longer
considered as a prisoner, I was yet under some sort of suspicion. The
times were indeed so dangerous,--the great party questions of Jacobite
and Hanoverian divided the country so effectually,--and the constant
disputes and jealousies between the Highlanders and Lowlanders, besides a
number of inexplicable causes of feud which separated the great leading
families in Scotland from each other, occasioned such general suspicion,
that a solitary and unprotected stranger was almost sure to meet with
something disagreeable in the course of his travels.

I acquiesced, however, in my destination with the best grace I could,
consoling myself with the hope that I might obtain from the captive
freebooter some information concerning Rashleigh and his machinations. I
should do myself injustice did I not add, that my views were not merely
selfish. I was too much interested in my singular acquaintance not to be
desirous of rendering him such services as his unfortunate situation
might demand, or admit of his receiving.





CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

                   And when he came to broken brigg,
                       He bent his bow and swam;
                   And when he came to grass growing,
                       Set down his feet and ran.
                                     Gil Morrice.

The echoes of the rocks and ravines, on either side, now rang to the
trumpets of the cavalry, which, forming themselves into two distinct
bodies, began to move down the valley at a slow trot. That commanded by
Major Galbraith soon took to the right hand, and crossed the Forth, for
the purpose of taking up the quarters assigned them for the night, when
they were to occupy, as I understood, an old castle in the vicinity. They
formed a lively object while crossing the stream, but were soon lost in
winding up the bank on the opposite side, which was clothed with wood.

We continued our march with considerable good order. To ensure the safe
custody of the prisoner, the Duke had caused him to be placed on
horseback behind one of his retainers, called, as I was informed, Ewan of
Brigglands, one of the largest and strongest men who were present. A
horse-belt, passed round the bodies of both, and buckled before the
yeoman's breast, rendered it impossible for Rob Roy to free himself from
his keeper. I was directed to keep close beside them, and accommodated
for the purpose with a troop-horse. We were as closely surrounded by the
soldiers as the width of the road would permit, and had always at least
one, if not two, on each side, with pistol in hand. Andrew Fairservice,
furnished with a Highland pony, of which they had made prey somewhere or
other, was permitted to ride among the other domestics, of whom a great
number attended the line of march, though without falling into the ranks
of the more regularly trained troopers.

In this manner we travelled for a certain distance, until we arrived at a
place where we also were to cross the river. The Forth, as being the
outlet of a lake, is of considerable depth, even where less important in
point of width, and the descent to the ford was by a broken precipitous
ravine, which only permitted one horseman to descend at once. The rear
and centre of our small body halting on the bank while the front files
passed down in succession, produced a considerable delay, as is usual on
such occasions, and even some confusion; for a number of those riders,
who made no proper part of the squadron, crowded to the ford without
regularity, and made the militia cavalry, although tolerably well
drilled, partake in some degree of their own disorder.


[Illustration: Escape of Rob Roy at the Ford--232]


It was while we were thus huddled together on the bank that I heard Rob
Roy whisper to the man behind whom he was placed on horseback, "Your
father, Ewan, wadna hae carried an auld friend to the shambles, like a
calf, for a' the Dukes in Christendom."

Ewan returned no answer, but shrugged, as one who would express by that
sign that what he was doing was none of his own choice.

"And when the MacGregors come down the glen, and ye see toom faulds, a
bluidy hearthstone, and the fire flashing out between the rafters o' your
house, ye may be thinking then, Ewan, that were your friend Rob to the
fore, you would have had that safe which it will make your heart sair to
lose."

Ewan of Brigglands again shrugged and groaned, but remained silent.

"It's a sair thing," continued Rob, sliding his insinuations so gently
into Ewan's ear that they reached no other but mine, who certainly saw
myself in no shape called upon to destroy his prospects of escape--"It's
a sair thing, that Ewan of Brigglands, whom Roy MacGregor has helped with
hand, sword, and purse, suld mind a gloom from a great man mair than a
friend's life."

Ewan seemed sorely agitated, but was silent.--We heard the Duke's voice
from the opposite bank call, "Bring over the prisoner."

Ewan put his horse in motion, and just as I heard Roy say, "Never weigh a
MacGregor's bluid against a broken whang o' leather, for there will be
another accounting to gie for it baith here and hereafter," they passed
me hastily, and dashing forward rather precipitately, entered the water.

"Not yet, sir--not yet," said some of the troopers to me, as I was about
to follow, while others pressed forward into the stream.

I saw the Duke on the other side, by the waning light, engaged in
commanding his people to get into order, as they landed dispersedly, some
higher, some lower. Many had crossed, some were in the water, and the
rest were preparing to follow, when a sudden splash warned me that
MacGregor's eloquence had prevailed on Ewan to give him freedom and a
chance for life. The Duke also heard the sound, and instantly guessed its
meaning. "Dog!" he exclaimed to Ewan as he landed, "where is your
prisoner?" and, without waiting to hear the apology which the terrified
vassal began to falter forth, he fired a pistol at his head, whether
fatally I know not, and exclaimed, "Gentlemen, disperse and pursue the
villain--An hundred guineas for him that secures Rob Roy!"

All became an instant scene of the most lively confusion. Rob Roy,
disengaged from his bonds, doubtless by Ewan's slipping the buckle of his
belt, had dropped off at the horse's tail, and instantly dived, passing
under the belly of the troop-horse which was on his left hand. But as he
was obliged to come to the surface an instant for air, the glimpse of his
tartan plaid drew the attention of the troopers, some of whom plunged
into the river, with a total disregard to their own safety, rushing,
according to the expression of their country, through pool and stream,
sometimes swimming their horses, sometimes losing them and struggling for
their own lives. Others, less zealous or more prudent, broke off in
different directions, and galloped up and down the banks, to watch the
places at which the fugitive might possibly land. The hollowing, the
whooping, the calls for aid at different points, where they saw, or
conceived they saw, some vestige of him they were seeking,--the frequent
report of pistols and carabines, fired at every object which excited the
least suspicion,--the sight of so many horsemen riding about, in and out
of the river, and striking with their long broadswords at whatever
excited their attention, joined to the vain exertions used by their
officers to restore order and regularity,--and all this in so wild a
scene, and visible only by the imperfect twilight of an autumn evening,
made the most extraordinary hubbub I had hitherto witnessed. I was indeed
left alone to observe it, for our whole cavalcade had dispersed in
pursuit, or at least to see the event of the search. Indeed, as I partly
suspected at the time, and afterwards learned with certainty, many of
those who seemed most active in their attempts to waylay and recover the
fugitive, were, in actual truth, least desirous that he should be taken,
and only joined in the cry to increase the general confusion, and to give
Rob Roy a better opportunity of escaping.

Escape, indeed, was not difficult for a swimmer so expert as the
freebooter, as soon as he had eluded the first burst of pursuit. At one
time he was closely pressed, and several blows were made which flashed in
the water around him; the scene much resembling one of the otter-hunts
which I had seen at Osbaldistone Hall, where the animal is detected by
the hounds from his being necessitated to put his nose above the stream
to vent or breathe, while he is enabled to elude them by getting under
water again so soon as he has refreshed himself by respiration.
MacGregor, however, had a trick beyond the otter; for he contrived, when
very closely pursued, to disengage himself unobserved from his plaid, and
suffer it to float down the stream, where in its progress it quickly
attracted general attention; many of the horsemen were thus put upon a
false scent, and several shots or stabs were averted from the party for
whom they were designed.

Once fairly out of view, the recovery of the prisoner became almost
impossible, since, in so many places, the river was rendered inaccessible
by the steepness of its banks, or the thickets of alders, poplars, and
birch, which, overhanging its banks, prevented the approach of horsemen.
Errors and accidents had also happened among the pursuers, whose task the
approaching night rendered every moment more hopeless. Some got
themselves involved in the eddies of the stream, and required the
assistance of their companions to save them from drowning. Others, hurt
by shots or blows in the confused mele'e, implored help or threatened
vengeance, and in one or two instances such accidents led to actual
strife. The trumpets, therefore, sounded the retreat, announcing that the
commanding officer, with whatsoever unwillingness, had for the present
relinquished hopes of the important prize which had thus unexpectedly
escaped his grasp, and the troopers began slowly, reluctantly, and
brawling with each other as they returned, again to assume their ranks. I
could see them darkening, as they formed on the southern bank of the
river,--whose murmurs, long drowned by the louder cries of vengeful
pursuit, were now heard hoarsely mingling with the deep, discontented,
and reproachful voices of the disappointed horsemen.

Hitherto I had been as it were a mere spectator, though far from an
uninterested one, of the singular scene which had passed. But now I heard
a voice suddenly exclaim, "Where is the English stranger?--It was he gave
Rob Roy the knife to cut the belt."

"Cleeve the pock-pudding to the chafts!" cried one voice.

"Weize a brace of balls through his harn-pan!" said a second.

"Drive three inches of cauld airn into his brisket!" shouted a third.

And I heard several horses galloping to and fro, with the kind purpose,
doubtless, of executing these denunciations. I was immediately awakened
to the sense of my situation, and to the certainty that armed men, having
no restraint whatever on their irritated and inflamed passions, would
probably begin by shooting or cutting me down, and afterwards investigate
the justice of the action. Impressed by this belief, I leaped from my
horse, and turning him loose, plunged into a bush of alder-trees, where,
considering the advancing obscurity of the night, I thought there was
little chance of my being discovered. Had I been near enough to the Duke
to have invoked his personal protection, I would have done so; but he had
already commenced his retreat, and I saw no officer on the left bank of
the river, of authority sufficient to have afforded protection, in case
of my surrendering myself. I thought there was no point of honour which
could require, in such circumstances, an unnecessary exposure of my life.
My first idea, when the tumult began to be appeased, and the clatter of
the horses' feet was heard less frequently in the immediate vicinity of
my hiding-place, was to seek out the Duke's quarters when all should be
quiet, and give myself up to him, as a liege subject, who had nothing to
fear from his justice, and a stranger, who had every right to expect
protection and hospitality. With this purpose I crept out of my
hiding-place, and looked around me.

The twilight had now melted nearly into darkness; a few or none of the
troopers were left on my side of the Forth, and of those who were already
across it, I only heard the distant trample of the horses' feet, and the
wailing and prolonged sound of their trumpets, which rung through the
woods to recall stragglers, Here, therefore, I was left in a situation of
considerable difficulty. I had no horse, and the deep and wheeling stream
of the river, rendered turbid by the late tumult of which its channel had
been the scene, and seeming yet more so under the doubtful influence of
an imperfect moonlight, had no inviting influence for a pedestrian by no
means accustomed to wade rivers, and who had lately seen horsemen
weltering, in this dangerous passage, up to the very saddle-laps. At the
same time, my prospect, if I remained on the side of the river on which I
then stood, could be no other than of concluding the various fatigues of
this day and the preceding night, by passing that which was now closing
in, _al fresco_ on the side of a Highland hill.

After a moment's reflection, I began to consider that Fairservice, who
had doubtless crossed the river with the other domestics, according to
his forward and impertinent custom of putting himself always among the
foremost, could not fail to satisfy the Duke, or the competent
authorities, respecting my rank and situation; and that, therefore, my
character did not require my immediate appearance, at the risk of being
drowned in the river--of being unable to trace the march of the squadron
in case of my reaching the other side in safety--or, finally, of being
cut down, right or wrong, by some straggler, who might think such a piece
of good service a convenient excuse for not sooner rejoining his ranks. I
therefore resolved to measure my steps back to the little inn, where I
had passed the preceding night. I had nothing to apprehend from Rob Roy.
He was now at liberty, and I was certain, in case of my falling in with
any of his people, the news of his escape would ensure me protection. I
might thus also show, that I had no intention to desert Mr. Jarvie in the
delicate situation in which he had engaged himself chiefly on my account.
And lastly, it was only in this quarter that I could hope to learn
tidings concerning Rashleigh and my father's papers, which had been the
original cause of an expedition so fraught with perilous adventure. I
therefore abandoned all thoughts of crossing the Forth that evening; and,
turning my back on the Fords of Frew, began to retrace my steps towards
the little village of Aberfoil.

A sharp frost-wind, which made itself heard and felt from time to time,
removed the clouds of mist which might otherwise have slumbered till
morning on the valley; and, though it could not totally disperse the
clouds of vapour, yet threw them in confused and changeful masses, now
hovering round the heads of the mountains, now filling, as with a dense
and voluminous stream of smoke, the various deep gullies where masses of
the composite rock, or breccia, tumbling in fragments from the cliffs,
have rushed to the valley, leaving each behind its course a rent and torn
ravine resembling a deserted water-course. The moon, which was now high,
and twinkled with all the vivacity of a frosty atmosphere, silvered the
windings of the river and the peaks and precipices which the mist left
visible, while her beams seemed as it were absorbed by the fleecy
whiteness of the mist, where it lay thick and condensed; and gave to the
more light and vapoury specks, which were elsewhere visible, a sort of
filmy transparency resembling the lightest veil of silver gauze. Despite
the uncertainty of my situation, a view so romantic, joined to the active
and inspiring influence of the frosty atmosphere, elevated my spirits
while it braced my nerves. I felt an inclination to cast care away, and
bid defiance to danger, and involuntarily whistled, by way of cadence to
my steps, which my feeling of the cold led me to accelerate, and I felt
the pulse of existence beat prouder and higher in proportion as I felt
confidence in my own strength, courage, and resources. I was so much lost
in these thoughts, and in the feelings which they excited, that two
horsemen came up behind me without my hearing their approach, until one
was on each side of me, when the left-hand rider, pulling up his horse,
addressed me in the English tongue--"So ho, friend! whither so late?"

"To my supper and bed at Aberfoil," I replied.

"Are the passes open?" he inquired, with the same commanding tone of
voice.

"I do not know," I replied; "I shall learn when I get there. But," I
added, the fate of Morris recurring to my recollection, "if you are an
English stranger, I advise you to turn back till daylight; there has been
some disturbance in this neighbourhood, and I should hesitate to say it
is perfectly safe for strangers."

"The soldiers had the worst?--had they not?" was the reply.

"They had indeed; and an officer's party were destroyed or made
prisoners."

"Are you sure of that?" replied the horseman.

"As sure as that I hear you speak," I replied. "I was an unwilling
spectator of the skirmish."

"Unwilling!" continued the interrogator. "Were you not engaged in it
then?"

"Certainly no," I replied; "I was detained by the king's officer."

"On what suspicion? and who are you? or what is your name?" he continued.

"I really do not know, sir," said I, "why I should answer so many
questions to an unknown stranger. I have told you enough to convince you
that you are going into a dangerous and distracted country. If you choose
to proceed, it is your own affair; but as I ask you no questions
respecting your name and business, you will oblige me by making no
inquiries after mine."

"Mr. Francis Osbaldistone," said the other rider, in a voice the tones of
which thrilled through every nerve of my body, "should not whistle his
favourite airs when he wishes to remain undiscovered."

And Diana Vernon--for she, wrapped in a horseman's cloak, was the last
speaker--whistled in playful mimicry the second part of the tune which
was on my lips when they came up.

"Good God!" I exclaimed, like one thunderstruck, "can it be you, Miss
Vernon, on such a spot--at such an hour--in such a lawless country--in
such"--

"In such a masculine dress, you would say.--But what would you have? The
philosophy of the excellent Corporal Nym is the best after all; things
must be as they may--_pauca verba._"

While she was thus speaking, I eagerly took advantage of an unusually
bright gleam of moonshine, to study the appearance of her companion; for
it may be easily supposed, that finding Miss Vernon in a place so
solitary, engaged in a journey so dangerous, and under the protection of
one gentleman only, were circumstances to excite every feeling of
jealousy, as well as surprise. The rider did not speak with the deep
melody of Rashleigh's voice; his tones were more high and commanding; he
was taller, moreover, as he sate on horseback, than that first-rate
object of my hate and suspicion. Neither did the stranger's address
resemble that of any of my other cousins; it had that indescribable tone
and manner by which we recognise a man of sense and breeding, even in the
first few sentences he speaks.

The object of my anxiety seemed desirous to get rid of my investigation.

"Diana," he said, in a tone of mingled kindness and authority, "give your
cousin his property, and let us not spend time here."

Miss Vernon had in the meantime taken out a small case, and leaning down
from her horse towards me, she said, in a tone in which an effort at her
usual quaint lightness of expression contended with a deeper and more
grave tone of sentiment, "You see, my dear coz, I was born to be your
better angel. Rashleigh has been compelled to yield up his spoil, and had
we reached this same village of Aberfoil last night, as we purposed, I
should have found some Highland sylph to have wafted to you all these
representatives of commercial wealth. But there were giants and dragons
in the way; and errant-knights and damsels of modern times, bold though
they be, must not, as of yore, run into useless danger--Do not you do so
either, my dear coz."

"Diana," said her companion, "let me once more warn you that the evening
waxes late, and we are still distant from our home."

"I am coming, sir, I am coming--Consider," she added, with a sigh, "how
lately I have been subjected to control--besides, I have not yet given my
cousin the packet, and bid him fare-well--for ever. Yes, Frank," she
said, "for ever!--there is a gulf between us--a gulf of absolute
perdition;--where we go, you must not follow--what we do, you must not
share in--Farewell--be happy!"


[Illustration: Parting of Die and Frank on the Moor --242]


In the attitude in which she bent from her horse, which was a Highland
pony, her face, not perhaps altogether unwillingly, touched mine. She
pressed my hand, while the tear that trembled in her eye found its
way to my cheek instead of her own. It was a moment never to be
forgotten--inexpressibly bitter, yet mixed with a sensation of pleasure
so deeply soothing and affecting, as at once to unlock all the
flood-gates of the heart. It was _but_ a moment, however; for, instantly
recovering from the feeling to which she had involuntarily given way,
she intimated to her companion she was ready to attend him, and putting
their horses to a brisk pace, they were soon far distant from the place
where I stood.

Heaven knows, it was not apathy which loaded my frame and my tongue so
much, that I could neither return Miss Vernon's half embrace, nor even
answer her farewell. The word, though it rose to my tongue, seemed to
choke in my throat like the fatal _guilty,_ which the delinquent who
makes it his plea, knows must be followed by the doom of death. The
surprise--the sorrow, almost stupified me. I remained motionless with the
packet in my hand, gazing after them, as if endeavouring to count the
sparkles which flew from the horses' hoofs. I continued to look after
even these had ceased to be visible, and to listen for their footsteps
long after the last distant trampling had died in my ears. At length,
tears rushed to my eyes, glazed as they were by the exertion of straining
after what was no longer to be seen. I wiped them mechanically, and
almost without being aware that they were flowing--but they came thicker
and thicker; I felt the tightening of the throat and breast--the
_hysterica passio_ of poor Lear; and sitting down by the wayside, I shed
a flood of the first and most bitter tears which had flowed from my eyes
since childhood.






CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.


     _Dangle._--Egad, I think the interpreter is the harder to be
          understood of the two.
                                        Critic.

I had scarce given vent to my feelings in this paroxysm, ere was ashamed
of my weakness. I remembered that I had been for some time endeavouring
to regard Diana Vernon, when her idea intruded itself on my remembrance,
as a friend, for whose welfare I should indeed always be anxious, but
with whom I could have little further communication. But the almost
unrepressed tenderness of her manner, joined to the romance of our sudden
meeting where it was so little to have been expected, were circumstances
which threw me entirely off my guard. I recovered, however, sooner than
might have been expected, and without giving myself time accurately to
examine my motives. I resumed the path on which I had been travelling
when overtaken by this strange and unexpected apparition.

"I am not," was my reflection, "transgressing her injunction so
pathetically given, since I am but pursuing my own journey by the only
open route.--If I have succeeded in recovering my father's property, it
still remains incumbent on me to see my Glasgow friend delivered from the
situation in which he has involved himself on my account; besides, what
other place of rest can I obtain for the night excepting at the little
inn of Aberfoil? They also must stop there, since it is impossible for
travellers on horseback to go farther--Well, then, we shall meet
again--meet for the last time perhaps--But I shall see and hear her--I
shall learn who this happy man is who exercises over her the authority
of a husband--I shall learn if there remains, in the difficult course in
which she seems engaged, any difficulty which my efforts may remove, or
aught that I can do to express my gratitude for her generosity--for her
disinterested friendship."

As I reasoned thus with myself, colouring with every plausible pretext
which occurred to my ingenuity my passionate desire once more to see and
converse with my cousin, I was suddenly hailed by a touch on the
shoulder; and the deep voice of a Highlander, who, walking still faster
than I, though I was proceeding at a smart pace, accosted me with, "A
braw night, Maister Osbaldistone--we have met at the mirk hour before
now."

There was no mistaking the tone of MacGregor; he had escaped the pursuit
of his enemies, and was in full retreat to his own wilds and to his
adherents. He had also contrived to arm himself, probably at the house of
some secret adherent, for he had a musket on his shoulder, and the usual
Highland weapons by his side. To have found myself alone with such a
character in such a situation, and at this late hour in the evening,
might not have been pleasant to me in any ordinary mood of mind; for,
though habituated to think of Rob Roy in rather a friendly point of view,
I will confess frankly that I never heard him speak but that it seemed to
thrill my blood. The intonation of the mountaineers gives a habitual
depth and hollowness to the sound of their words, owing to the guttural
expression so common in their native language, and they usually speak
with a good deal of emphasis. To these national peculiarities Rob Roy
added a sort of hard indifference of accent and manner, expressive of a
mind neither to be daunted, nor surprised, nor affected by what passed
before him, however dreadful, however sudden, however afflicting.
Habitual danger, with unbounded confidence in his own strength and
sagacity, had rendered him indifferent to fear, and the lawless and
precarious life he led had blunted, though its dangers and errors had not
destroyed, his feelings for others. And it was to be remembered that I
had very lately seen the followers of this man commit a cruel slaughter
on an unarmed and suppliant individual.

Yet such was the state of my mind, that I welcomed the company of the
outlaw leader as a relief to my own overstrained and painful thoughts;
and was not without hopes that through his means I might obtain some clew
of guidance through the maze in which my fate had involved me. I
therefore answered his greeting cordially, and congratulated him on his
late escape in circumstances when escape seemed impossible.

"Ay," he replied, "there is as much between the craig and the woodie* as
there is between the cup and the lip. But my peril was less than you may
think, being a stranger to this country.

* _i.e._ The throat and the withy. Twigs of willow, such as bind faggots,
were often used for halters in Scotland and Ireland, being a sage economy
of hemp.

Of those that were summoned to take me, and to keep me, and to retake me
again, there was a moiety, as cousin Nicol Jarvie calls it, that had nae
will that I suld be either taen, or keepit fast, or retaen; and of tother
moiety, there was as half was feared to stir me; and so I had only like
the fourth part of fifty or sixty men to deal withal."

"And enough, too, I should think," replied I.

"I dinna ken that," said he; "but I ken, that turn every ill-willer that
I had amang them out upon the green before the Clachan of Aberfoil, I wad
find them play with broadsword and target, one down and another come on."

He now inquired into my adventures since we entered his country, and
laughed heartily at my account of the battle we had in the inn, and at
the exploits of the Bailie with the red-hot poker.

"Let Glasgow Flourish!" he exclaimed. "The curse of Cromwell on me, if I
wad hae wished better sport than to see cousin Nicol Jarvie singe
Iverach's plaid, like a sheep's head between a pair of tongs. But my
cousin Jarvie," he added, more gravely, "has some gentleman's bluid in
his veins, although he has been unhappily bred up to a peaceful and
mechanical craft, which could not but blunt any pretty man's spirit.--Ye
may estimate the reason why I could not receive you at the Clachan of
Aberfoil as I purposed. They had made a fine hosenet for me when I was
absent twa or three days at Glasgow, upon the king's business--But I
think I broke up the league about their lugs--they'll no be able to hound
one clan against another as they hae dune. I hope soon to see the day
when a' Hielandmen will stand shouther to shouther. But what chanced
next?"

I gave him an account of the arrival of Captain Thornton and his party,
and the arrest of the Bailie and myself under pretext of our being
suspicious persons; and upon his more special inquiry, I recollected the
officer had mentioned that, besides my name sounding suspicious in his
ears, he had orders to secure an old and young person, resembling our
description. This again moved the outlaw's risibility.

"As man lives by bread," he said, "the buzzards have mistaen my friend
the Bailie for his Excellency, and you for Diana Vernon--O, the most
egregious night-howlets!"

"Miss Vernon?" said I, with hesitation, and trembling for the
answer--"Does she still bear that name? She passed but now, along with
a gentleman who seemed to use a style of authority."

"Ay, ay," answered Rob, "she's under lawfu' authority now; and full time,
for she was a daft hempie--But she's a mettle quean. It's a pity his
Excellency is a thought eldern. The like o' yourself, or my son Hamish,
wad be mair sortable in point of years."

Here, then, was a complete downfall of those castles of cards which my
fancy had, in despite of my reason, so often amused herself with
building. Although in truth I had scarcely anything else to expect, since
I could not suppose that Diana could be travelling in such a country, at
such an hour, with any but one who had a legal title to protect her, I
did not feel the blow less severely when it came; and MacGregor's voice,
urging me to pursue my story, sounded in my ears without conveying any
exact import to my mind.

"You are ill," he said at length, after he had spoken twice without
receiving an answer; "this day's wark has been ower muckle for ane
doubtless unused to sic things."

The tone of kindness in which this was spoken, recalling me to myself,
and to the necessities of my situation, I continued my narrative as well
as I could. Rob Roy expressed great exultation at the successful skirmish
in the pass.

"They say," he observed, "that king's chaff is better than other folk's
corn; but I think that canna be said o' king's soldiers, if they let
themselves be beaten wi' a wheen auld carles that are past fighting, and
bairns that are no come till't, and wives wi' their rocks and distaffs,
the very wally-draigles o' the countryside. And Dougal Gregor, too--wha
wad hae thought there had been as muckle sense in his tatty-pow, that
ne'er had a better covering than his ain shaggy hassock of hair!--But say
away--though I dread what's to come neist--for my Helen's an incarnate
devil when her bluid's up--puir thing, she has ower muckle reason."

I observed as much delicacy as I could in communicating to him the usage
we had received, but I obviously saw the detail gave him great pain.

"I wad rather than a thousand merks," he said, "that I had been at hame!
To misguide strangers, and forbye a', my ain natural cousin, that had
showed me sic kindness--I wad rather they had burned half the Lennox in
their folly! But this comes o' trusting women and their bairns, that have
neither measure nor reason in their dealings. However, it's a' owing to
that dog of a gauger, wha betrayed me by pretending a message from your
cousin Rashleigh, to meet him on the king's affairs, whilk I thought was
very like to be anent Garschattachin and a party of the Lennox declaring
themselves for King James. Faith! but I ken'd I was clean beguiled when I
heard the Duke was there; and when they strapped the horse-girth ower my
arms, I might hae judged what was biding me; for I ken'd your kinsman,
being, wi' pardon, a slippery loon himself, is prone to employ those of
his ain kidney--I wish he mayna hae been at the bottom o' the ploy
himsell--I thought the chield Morris looked devilish queer when I
determined he should remain a wad, or hostage, for my safe back-coming.
But I _am_ come back, nae thanks to him, or them that employed him; and
the question is, how the collector loon is to win back himsell--I promise
him it will not be without a ransom."

"Morris," said I, "has already paid the last ransom which mortal man can
owe."

"Eh! What?" exclaimed my companion hastily; "what d'ye say? I trust it
was in the skirmish he was killed?"

"He was slain in cold blood after the fight was over, Mr. Campbell."

"Cold blood?--Damnation!" he said, muttering betwixt his teeth--"How fell
that, sir? Speak out, sir, and do not Maister or Campbell me--my foot is
on my native heath, and my name is MacGregor!"

His passions were obviously irritated; but without noticing the rudeness
of his tone, I gave him a short and distinct account of the death of
Morris. He struck the butt of his gun with great vehemence against the
ground, and broke out--"I vow to God, such a deed might make one forswear
kin, clan, country, wife, and bairns! And yet the villain wrought long
for it. And what is the difference between warsling below the water wi' a
stane about your neck, and wavering in the wind wi' a tether round
it?--it's but choking after a', and he drees the doom he ettled for me. I
could have wished, though, they had rather putten a ball through him, or
a dirk; for the fashion of removing him will give rise to mony idle
clavers--But every wight has his weird, and we maun a' dee when our day
comes--And naebody will deny that Helen MacGregor has deep wrongs to
avenge."

So saying, he seemed to dismiss the theme altogether from his mind, and
proceeded to inquire how I got free from the party in whose hands he had
seen me.

My story was soon told; and I added the episode of my having recovered
the papers of my father, though I dared not trust my voice to name the
name of Diana.

"I was sure ye wad get them," said MacGregor;--"the letter ye brought me
contained his Excellency's pleasure to that effect and nae doubt it was
my will to have aided in it. And I asked ye up into this glen on the very
errand. But it's like his Excellency has foregathered wi' Rashleigh
sooner than I expected."

The first part of this answer was what most forcibly struck me.

"Was the letter I brought you, then, from this person you call his
Excellency? Who is he? and what is his rank and proper name?"

"I am thinking," said MacGregor, "that since ye dinna ken them already
they canna be o' muckle consequence to you, and sae I shall say naething
on that score. But weel I wot the letter was frae his ain hand, or,
having a sort of business of my ain on my hands, being, as ye weel may
see, just as much as I can fairly manage, I canna say I would hae fashed
mysell sae muckle about the matter."

I now recollected the lights seen in the library--the various
circumstances which had excited my jealousy--the glove--the agitation of
the tapestry which covered the secret passage from Rashleigh's apartment;
and, above all, I recollected that Diana retired in order to write, as I
then thought, the billet to which I was to have recourse in case of the
last necessity. Her hours, then, were not spent in solitude, but in
listening to the addresses of some desperate agent of Jacobitical
treason, who was a secret resident within the mansion of her uncle! Other
young women have sold themselves for gold, or suffered themselves to be
seduced from their first love from vanity; but Diana had sacrificed my
affections and her own to partake the fortunes of some desperate
adventurer--to seek the haunts of freebooters through midnight deserts,
with no better hopes of rank or fortune than that mimicry of both which
the mock court of the Stuarts at St. Germains had in their power to
bestow.

"I will see her," I said internally, "if it be possible, once more. I
will argue with her as a friend--as a kinsman--on the risk she is
incurring, and I will facilitate her retreat to France, where she may,
with more comfort and propriety, as well as safety, abide the issue of
the turmoils which the political trepanner, to whom she has united her
fate, is doubtless busied in putting into motion."

"I conclude, then," I said to MacGregor, after about five minutes'
silence on both sides, "that his Excellency, since you give me no other
name for him, was residing in Osbaldistone Hall at the same time with
myself?"

"To be sure--to be sure--and in the young lady's apartment, as best
reason was." This gratuitous information was adding gall to bitterness.
"But few," added MacGregor, "ken'd he was derned there, save Rashleigh
and Sir Hildebrand; for you were out o' the question; and the young lads
haena wit eneugh to ca' the cat frae the cream--But it's a bra'
auld-fashioned house, and what I specially admire is the abundance o'
holes and bores and concealments--ye could put twenty or thirty men in ae
corner, and a family might live a week without finding them out--whilk,
nae doubt, may on occasion be a special convenience. I wish we had the
like o' Osbaldistone Hall on the braes o' Craig-Royston--But we maun gar
woods and caves serve the like o' us puir Hieland bodies."

"I suppose his Excellency," said I, "was privy to the first accident
which befell"--

I could not help hesitating a moment.

"Ye were going to say Morris," said Rob Roy coolly, for he was too much
accustomed to deeds of violence for the agitation he had at first
expressed to be of long continuance. "I used to laugh heartily at that
reik; but I'll hardly hae the heart to do't again, since the ill-far'd
accident at the Loch. Na, na--his Excellency ken'd nought o' that
ploy--it was a' managed atween Rashleigh and mysell. But the sport that
came after--and Rashleigh's shift o' turning the suspicion aff himself
upon you, that he had nae grit favour to frae the beginning--and then
Miss Die, she maun hae us sweep up a' our spiders' webs again, and set
you out o' the Justice's claws--and then the frightened craven Morris,
that was scared out o' his seven senses by seeing the real man when he
was charging the innocent stranger--and the gowk of a clerk--and the
drunken carle of a justice--Ohon! ohon!--mony a laugh that job's gien
me--and now, a' that I can do for the puir devil is to get some messes
said for his soul."

"May I ask," said I, "how Miss Vernon came to have so much influence over
Rashleigh and his accomplices as to derange your projected plan?"

"Mine! it was none of mine. No man can say I ever laid my burden on other
folk's shoulders--it was a' Rashleigh's doings. But, undoubtedly, she had
great influence wi' us baith on account of his Excellency's affection, as
weel as that she ken'd far ower mony secrets to be lightlied in a matter
o' that kind.--Deil tak him," he ejaculated, by way of summing up, "that
gies women either secret to keep or power to abuse--fules shouldna hae
chapping-sticks."

We were now within a quarter of a mile from the village, when three
Highlanders, springing upon us with presented arms, commanded us to stand
and tell our business. The single word _Gregaragh,_ in the deep and
commanding voice of my companion, was answered by a shout, or rather
yell, of joyful recognition. One, throwing down his firelock, clasped his
leader so fast round the knees, that he was unable to extricate himself,
muttering, at the same time, a torrent of Gaelic gratulation, which every
now and then rose into a sort of scream of gladness. The two others,
after the first howling was over, set off literally with the speed of
deers, contending which should first carry to the village, which a strong
party of the MacGregors now occupied, the joyful news of Rob Roy's escape
and return. The intelligence excited such shouts of jubilation, that the
very hills rung again, and young and old, men, women, and children,
without distinction of sex or age, came running down the vale to meet us,
with all the tumultuous speed and clamour of a mountain torrent. When I
heard the rushing noise and yells of this joyful multitude approach us, I
thought it a fitting precaution to remind MacGregor that I was a
stranger, and under his protection. He accordingly held me fast by the
hand, while the assemblage crowded around him with such shouts of devoted
attachment, and joy at his return, as were really affecting; nor did he
extend to his followers what all eagerly sought, the grasp, namely, of
his hand, until he had made them understand that I was to be kindly and
carefully used.

The mandate of the Sultan of Delhi could not have been more promptly
obeyed. Indeed, I now sustained nearly as much inconvenience from their
well-meant attentions as formerly from their rudeness. They would hardly
allow the friend of their leader to walk upon his own legs, so earnest
were they in affording me support and assistance upon the way; and at
length, taking advantage of a slight stumble which I made over a stone,
which the press did not permit me to avoid, they fairly seized upon me,
and bore me in their arms in triumph towards Mrs. MacAlpine's.

On arrival before her hospitable wigwam, I found power and popularity had
its inconveniences in the Highlands, as everywhere else; for, before
MacGregor could be permitted to enter the house where he was to obtain
rest and refreshment, he was obliged to relate the story of his escape at
least a dozen times over, as I was told by an officious old man, who
chose to translate it at least as often for my edification, and to whom I
was in policy obliged to seem to pay a decent degree of attention. The
audience being at length satisfied, group after group departed to take
their bed upon the heath, or in the neighbouring huts, some cursing the
Duke and Garschattachin, some lamenting the probable danger of Ewan of
Brigglands, incurred by his friendship to MacGregor, but all agreeing
that the escape of Rob Roy himself lost nothing in comparison with the
exploit of any one of their chiefs since the days of Dougal Ciar, the
founder of his line.

The friendly outlaw, now taking me by the arm, conducted me into the
interior of the hut. My eyes roved round its smoky recesses in quest of
Diana and her companion; but they were nowhere to be seen, and I felt as
if to make inquiries might betray some secret motives, which were best
concealed. The only known countenance upon which my eyes rested was that
of the Bailie, who, seated on a stool by the fireside, received with a
sort of reserved dignity, the welcomes of Rob Roy, the apologies which he
made for his indifferent accommodation, and his inquiries after his
health.

"I am pretty weel, kinsman," said the Bailie--"indifferent weel, I thank
ye; and for accommodations, ane canna expect to carry about the Saut
Market at his tail, as a snail does his caup;--and I am blythe that ye
hae gotten out o' the hands o' your unfreends."

"Weel, weel, then," answered Roy, "what is't ails ye, man--a's weel that
ends weel!--the warld will last our day--Come, take a cup o' brandy--your
father the deacon could take ane at an orra time."

"It might be he might do sae, Robin, after fatigue--whilk has been my lot
mair ways than ane this day. But," he continued, slowly filling up a
little wooden stoup which might hold about three glasses, "he was a
moderate man of his bicker, as I am mysell--Here's wussing health to ye,
Robin" (a sip), "and your weelfare here and hereafter" (another taste),
"and also to my cousin Helen--and to your twa hopefu' lads, of whom mair
anon."

So saying, he drank up the contents of the cup with great gravity and
deliberation, while MacGregor winked aside to me, as if in ridicule of
the air of wisdom and superior authority which the Bailie assumed towards
him in their intercourse, and which he exercised when Rob was at the head
of his armed clan, in full as great, or a greater degree, than when he
was at the Bailie's mercy in the Tolbooth of Glasgow. It seemed to me,
that MacGregor wished me, as a stranger, to understand, that if he
submitted to the tone which his kinsman assumed, it was partly out of
deference to the rights of hospitality, but still more for the jest's
sake.

As the Bailie set down his cup he recognised me, and giving me a cordial
welcome on my return, he waived farther communication with me for the
present.--"I will speak to your matters anon; I maun begin, as in reason,
wi' those of my kinsman.--I presume, Robin, there's naebody here will
carry aught o' what I am gaun to say, to the town-council or elsewhere,
to my prejudice or to yours?"

"Make yourself easy on that head, cousin Nicol," answered MacGregor; "the
tae half o' the gillies winna ken what ye say, and the tother winna
care--besides that, I wad stow the tongue out o' the head o' any o' them
that suld presume to say ower again ony speech held wi' me in their
presence."

"Aweel, cousin, sic being the case, and Mr. Osbaldistone here being a
prudent youth, and a safe friend--I'se plainly tell ye, ye are breeding
up your family to gang an ill gate." Then, clearing his voice with a
preliminary hem, he addressed his kinsman, checking, as Malvolio proposed
to do when seated in his state, his familiar smile with an austere regard
of control.--"Ye ken yourself ye haud light by the law--and for my cousin
Helen, forbye that her reception o' me this blessed day--whilk I excuse
on account of perturbation of mind, was muckle on the north side o'
_friendly,_ I say (outputting this personal reason of complaint) I hae
that to say o' your wife"--

"Say _nothing_ of her, kinsman," said Rob, in a grave and stern tone,
"but what is befitting a friend to say, and her husband to hear. Of me
you are welcome to say your full pleasure."

"Aweel, aweel," said the Bailie, somewhat disconcerted, "we'se let that
be a pass-over--I dinna approve of making mischief in families. But here
are your twa sons, Hamish and Robin, whilk signifies, as I'm gien to
understand, James and Robert--I trust ye will call them sae in
future--there comes nae gude o' Hamishes, and Eachines, and Angusses,
except that they're the names ane aye chances to see in the indictments
at the Western Circuits for cow-lifting, at the instance of his
majesty's advocate for his majesty's interest. Aweel, but the twa lads,
as I was saying, they haena sae muckle as the ordinar grunds, man, of
liberal education--they dinna ken the very multiplication table itself,
whilk is the root of a' usefu' knowledge, and they did naething but
laugh and fleer at me when I tauld them my mind on their ignorance--It's
my belief they can neither read, write, nor cipher, if sic a thing could
be believed o' ane's ain connections in a Christian land."

"If they could, kinsman," said MacGregor, with great indifference, "their
learning must have come o' free will, for whar the deil was I to get them
a teacher?--wad ye hae had me put on the gate o' your Divinity Hall at
Glasgow College, 'Wanted, a tutor for Rob Roy's bairns?'"

"Na, kinsman," replied Mr. Jarvie, "but ye might hae sent the lads whar
they could hae learned the fear o' God, and the usages of civilised
creatures. They are as ignorant as the kyloes ye used to drive to market,
or the very English churls that ye sauld them to, and can do naething
whatever to purpose."

"Umph!" answered Rob; "Hamish can bring doun a black-cock when he's on
the wing wi' a single bullet, and Rob can drive a dirk through a twa-inch
board."

"Sae muckle the waur for them, cousin!--sae muckle the waur for them
baith!" answered the Glasgow merchant in a tone of great decision; "an
they ken naething better than that, they had better no ken that neither.
Tell me yourself, Rob, what has a' this cutting, and stabbing, and
shooting, and driving of dirks, whether through human flesh or fir deals,
dune for yourself?--and werena ye a happier man at the tail o' your
nowte-bestial, when ye were in an honest calling, than ever ye hae been
since, at the head o' your Hieland kernes and gally-glasses?"

I observed that MacGregor, while his well-meaning kinsman spoke to him in
this manner, turned and writhed his body like a man who indeed suffers
pain, but is determined no groan shall escape his lips; and I longed for
an opportunity to interrupt the well-meant, but, as it was obvious to me,
quite mistaken strain, in which Jarvie addressed this extraordinary
person. The dialogue, however, came to an end without my interference.

"And sae," said the Bailie, "I hae been thinking, Rob, that as it may be
ye are ower deep in the black book to win a pardon, and ower auld to mend
yourself, that it wad be a pity to bring up twa hopefu' lads to sic a
godless trade as your ain, and I wad blythely tak them for prentices at
the loom, as I began mysell, and my father the deacon afore me, though,
praise to the Giver, I only trade now as wholesale dealer--And--and"--

He saw a storm gathering on Rob's brow, which probably induced him to
throw in, as a sweetener of an obnoxious proposition, what he had
reserved to crown his own generosity, had it been embraced as an
acceptable one;--"and Robin, lad, ye needna look sae glum, for I'll pay
the prentice-fee, and never plague ye for the thousand merks neither."

"_Ceade millia diaoul,_ hundred thousand devils!" exclaimed Rob,
rising and striding through the hut, "My sons weavers!--_Millia
molligheart!_--but I wad see every loom in Glasgow, beam, traddles,
and shuttles, burnt in hell-fire sooner!"

With some difficulty I made the Bailie, who was preparing a reply,
comprehend the risk and impropriety of pressing our host on this topic,
and in a minute he recovered, or reassumed, his serenity of temper.

"But ye mean weel--ye mean weel," said he; "so gie me your hand, Nicol,
and if ever I put my sons apprentice, I will gie you the refusal o' them.
And, as you say, there's the thousand merks to be settled between us.--
Here, Eachin MacAnaleister, bring me my sporran."

The person he addressed, a tall, strong mountaineer, who seemed to act as
MacGregor's lieutenant, brought from some place of safety a large
leathern pouch, such as Highlanders of rank wear before them when in full
dress, made of the skin of the sea-otter, richly garnished with silver
ornaments and studs.

"I advise no man to attempt opening this sporran till he has my secret,"
said Rob Roy; and then twisting one button in one direction, and another
in another, pulling one stud upward, and pressing another downward, the
mouth of the purse, which was bound with massive silver plate, opened and
gave admittance to his hand. He made me remark, as if to break short the
subject on which Bailie Jarvie had spoken, that a small steel pistol was
concealed within the purse, the trigger of which was connected with the
mounting, and made part of the machinery, so that the weapon would
certainly be discharged, and in all probability its contents lodged in
the person of any one, who, being unacquainted with the secret, should
tamper with the lock which secured his treasure. "This," said he touching
the pistol--"this is the keeper of my privy purse."

The simplicity of the contrivance to secure a furred pouch, which could
have been ripped open without any attempt on the spring, reminded me of
the verses in the Odyssey, where Ulysses, in a yet ruder age, is content
to secure his property by casting a curious and involved complication of
cordage around the sea-chest in which it was deposited.

The Bailie put on his spectacles to examine the mechanism, and when he
had done, returned it with a smile and a sigh, observing--"Ah! Rob, had
ither folk's purses been as weel guarded, I doubt if your sporran wad hae
been as weel filled as it kythes to be by the weight."

"Never mind, kinsman," said Rob, laughing; "it will aye open for a
friend's necessity, or to pay a just due--and here," he added, pulling
out a rouleau of gold, "here is your ten hundred merks--count them, and
see that you are full and justly paid."

Mr. Jarvie took the money in silence, and weighing it in his hand for an
instant, laid it on the table, and replied, "Rob, I canna tak it--I downa
intromit with it--there can nae gude come o't--I hae seen ower weel the
day what sort of a gate your gowd is made in--ill-got gear ne'er
prospered; and, to be plain wi' you, I winna meddle wi't--it looks as
there might be bluid on't."

"Troutsho!" said the outlaw, affecting an indifference which perhaps he
did not altogether feel; "it's gude French gowd, and ne'er was in
Scotchman's pouch before mine. Look at them, man--they are a'
louis-d'ors, bright and bonnie as the day they were coined."

"The waur, the waur--just sae muckle the waur, Robin," replied the
Bailie, averting his eyes from the money, though, like Caesar on the
Lupercal, his fingers seemed to itch for it--"Rebellion is waur than
witchcraft, or robbery either; there's gospel warrant for't."

"Never mind the warrant, kinsman," said the freebooter; "you come by the
gowd honestly, and in payment of a just debt--it came from the one king,
you may gie it to the other, if ye like; and it will just serve for a
weakening of the enemy, and in the point where puir King James is weakest
too, for, God knows, he has hands and hearts eneugh, but I doubt he wants
the siller."

"He'll no get mony Hielanders then, Robin," said Mr. Jarvie, as, again
replacing his spectacles on his nose, he undid the rouleau, and began to
count its contents.

"Nor Lowlanders neither," said MacGregor, arching his eyebrow, and, as he
looked at me, directing a glance towards Mr. Jarvie, who, all unconscious
of the ridicule, weighed each piece with habitual scrupulosity; and
having told twice over the sum, which amounted to the discharge of his
debt, principal and interest, he returned three pieces to buy his
kinswoman a gown, as he expressed himself, and a brace more for the twa
bairns, as he called them, requesting they might buy anything they liked
with them except gunpowder. The Highlander stared at his kinsman's
unexpected generosity, but courteously accepted his gift, which he
deposited for the time in his well-secured pouch.

The Bailie next produced the original bond for the debt, on the back of
which he had written a formal discharge, which, having subscribed
himself, he requested me to sign as a witness. I did so, and Bailie
Jarvie was looking anxiously around for another, the Scottish law
requiring the subscription of two witnesses to validate either a bond or
acquittance. "You will hardly find a man that can write save ourselves
within these three miles," said Rob, "but I'll settle the matter as
easily;" and, taking the paper from before his kinsman, he threw it in
the fire. Bailie Jarvie stared in his turn, but his kinsman continued,
"That's a Hieland settlement of accounts. The time might come, cousin,
were I to keep a' these charges and discharges, that friends might be
brought into trouble for having dealt with me."

The Bailie attempted no reply to this argument, and our supper now
appeared in a style of abundance, and even delicacy, which, for the
place, might be considered as extraordinary. The greater part of the
provisions were cold, intimating they had been prepared at some distance;
and there were some bottles of good French wine to relish pasties of
various sorts of game, as well as other dishes. I remarked that
MacGregor, while doing the honours of the table with great and anxious
hospitality, prayed us to excuse the circumstance that some particular
dish or pasty had been infringed on before it was presented to us. "You
must know," said he to Mr. Jarvie, but without looking towards me, "you
are not the only guests this night in the MacGregor's country, whilk,
doubtless, ye will believe, since my wife and the twa lads would
otherwise have been maist ready to attend you, as weel beseems them."

Bailie Jarvie looked as if he felt glad at any circumstance which
occasioned their absence; and I should have been entirely of his opinion,
had it not been that the outlaw's apology seemed to imply they were in
attendance on Diana and her companion, whom even in my thoughts I could
not bear to designate as her husband.

While the unpleasant ideas arising from this suggestion counteracted the
good effects of appetite, welcome, and good cheer, I remarked that Rob
Roy's attention had extended itself to providing us better bedding than
we had enjoyed the night before. Two of the least fragile of the
bedsteads, which stood by the wall of the hut, had been stuffed with
heath, then in full flower, so artificially arranged, that, the flowers
being uppermost, afforded a mattress at once elastic and fragrant.
Cloaks, and such bedding as could be collected, stretched over this
vegetable couch, made it both soft and warm. The Bailie seemed exhausted
by fatigue. I resolved to adjourn my communication to him until next
morning; and therefore suffered him to betake himself to bed so soon as
he had finished a plentiful supper. Though tired and harassed, I did not
myself feel the same disposition to sleep, but rather a restless and
feverish anxiety, which led to some farther discourse betwixt me and
MacGregor.





CHAPTER EIGHTEENTH.

               A hopeless darkness settles o'er my fate;
               I've seen the last look of her heavenly eyes,--
               I've heard the last sound of her blessed voice,--
               I've seen her fair form from my sight depart;
                          My doom is closed.
                                        Count Basil.

"I ken not what to make of you, Mr. Osbaldistone," said MacGregor, as he
pushed the flask towards me. "You eat not, you show no wish for rest; and
yet you drink not, though that flask of Bourdeaux might have come out of
Sir Hildebrand's ain cellar. Had you been always as abstinent, you would
have escaped the deadly hatred of your cousin Rashleigh."

"Had I been always prudent," said I, blushing at the scene he recalled to
my recollection, "I should have escaped a worse evil--the reproach of my
own conscience."

MacGregor cast a keen and somewhat fierce glance on me, as if to read
whether the reproof, which he evidently felt, had been intentionally
conveyed. He saw that I was thinking of myself, not of him, and turned
his face towards the fire with a deep sigh. I followed his example, and
each remained for a few minutes wrapt in his own painful reverie. All in
the hut were now asleep, or at least silent, excepting ourselves.

MacGregor first broke silence, in the tone of one who takes up his
determination to enter on a painful subject. "My cousin Nicol Jarvie
means well," he said, "but he presses ower hard on the temper and
situation of a man like me, considering what I have been--what I have
been forced to become--and, above all, that which has forced me to become
what I am."

He paused; and, though feeling the delicate nature of the discussion in
which the conversation was likely to engage me, I could not help
replying, that I did not doubt his present situation had much which must
be most unpleasant to his feelings.

"I should be happy to learn," I added, "that there is an honourable
chance of your escaping from it."

"You speak like a boy," returned MacGregor, in a low tone that growled
like distant thunder--"like a boy, who thinks the auld gnarled oak can be
twisted as easily as the young sapling. Can I forget that I have been
branded as an outlaw--stigmatised as a traitor--a price set on my head as
if I had been a wolf--my family treated as the dam and cubs of the
hill-fox, whom all may torment, vilify, degrade, and insult--the very
name which came to me from a long and noble line of martial ancestors,
denounced, as if it were a spell to conjure up the devil with?"

As he went on in this manner, I could plainly see, that, by the
enumeration of his wrongs, he was lashing himself up into a rage, in
order to justify in his own eyes the errors they had led him into. In
this he perfectly succeeded; his light grey eyes contracting alternately
and dilating their pupils, until they seemed actually to flash with
flame, while he thrust forward and drew back his foot, grasped the hilt
of his dirk, extended his arm, clenched his fist, and finally rose from
his seat.

"And they _shall_ find," he said, in the same muttered but deep tone of
stifled passion, "that the name they have dared to proscribe--that the
name of MacGregor--_is_ a spell to raise the wild devil withal. _They_
shall hear of my vengeance, that would scorn to listen to the story of my
wrongs--The miserable Highland drover, bankrupt, barefooted,--stripped of
all, dishonoured and hunted down, because the avarice of others grasped
at more than that poor all could pay, shall burst on them in an awful
change. They that scoffed at the grovelling worm, and trode upon him, may
cry and howl when they see the stoop of the flying and fiery-mouthed
dragon.--But why do I speak of all this?" he said, sitting down again,
and in a calmer tone--"Only ye may opine it frets my patience, Mr.
Osbaldistone, to be hunted like an otter, or a sealgh, or a salmon upon
the shallows, and that by my very friends and neighbours; and to have as
many sword-cuts made, and pistols flashed at me, as I had this day in the
ford of Avondow, would try a saint's temper, much more a Highlander's,
who are not famous for that gude gift, as ye may hae heard, Mr.
Osbaldistone.--But as thing bides wi' me o' what Nicol said;--I'm vexed
for the bairns--I'm vexed when I think o' Hamish and Robert living their
father's life." And yielding to despondence on account of his sons, which
he felt not upon his own, the father rested his head upon his hand.

I was much affected, Will. All my life long I have been more melted by
the distress under which a strong, proud, and powerful mind is compelled
to give way, than by the more easily excited sorrows of softer
dispositions. The desire of aiding him rushed strongly on my mind,
notwithstanding the apparent difficulty, and even impossibility, of the
task.

"We have extensive connections abroad," said I: "might not your sons,
with some assistance--and they are well entitled to what my father's
house can give--find an honourable resource in foreign service?"

I believe my countenance showed signs of sincere emotion; but my
companion, taking me by the hand, as I was going to speak farther,
said--"I thank--I thank ye--but let us say nae mair o' this. I did not
think the eye of man would again have seen a tear on MacGregor's
eye-lash." He dashed the moisture from his long gray eye-lash and shaggy
red eye-brow with the back of his hand. "To-morrow morning," he said,
"we'll talk of this, and we will talk, too, of your affairs--for we are
early starters in the dawn, even when we have the luck to have good beds
to sleep in. Will ye not pledge me in a grace cup?" I declined the
invitation.

"Then, by the soul of St. Maronoch! I must pledge myself," and he poured
out and swallowed at least half-a-quart of wine.

I laid myself down to repose, resolving to delay my own inquiries until
his mind should be in a more composed state. Indeed, so much had this
singular man possessed himself of my imagination, that I felt it
impossible to avoid watching him for some minutes after I had flung
myself on my heath mattress to seeming rest. He walked up and down the
hut, crossed himself from time to time, muttering over some Latin prayer
of the Catholic church; then wrapped himself in his plaid, with his naked
sword on one side, and his pistol on the other, so disposing the folds of
his mantle that he could start up at a moment's warning, with a weapon in
either hand, ready for instant combat. In a few minutes his heavy
breathing announced that he was fast asleep. Overpowered by fatigue, and
stunned by the various unexpected and extraordinary scenes of the day, I,
in my turn, was soon overpowered by a slumber deep and overwhelming, from
which, notwithstanding every cause for watchfulness, I did not awake
until the next morning.

When I opened my eyes, and recollected my situation, I found that
MacGregor had already left the hut. I awakened the Bailie, who, after
many a snort and groan, and some heavy complaints of the soreness of his
bones, in consequence of the unwonted exertions of the preceding day, was
at length able to comprehend the joyful intelligence, that the assets
carried off by Rashleigh Osbaldistone had been safely recovered. The
instant he understood my meaning, he forgot all his grievances, and,
bustling up in a great hurry, proceeded to compare the contents of the
packet which I put into his hands, with Mr. Owen's memorandums,
muttering, as he went on, "Right, right--the real thing--Bailie and
Whittington--where's Bailie and Whittington?--seven hundred, six, and
eight--exact to a fraction--Pollock and Peelman--twenty-eight,
seven--exact--Praise be blest!--Grub and Grinder--better men cannot
be--three hundred and seventy--Gliblad--twenty; I doubt Gliblad's
ganging--Slipprytongue; Slipprytongue's gaen--but they are
sma'sums--sma'sums--the rest's a'right--Praise be blest! we have got the
stuff, and may leave this doleful country. I shall never think on
Loch-Ard but the thought will gar me grew again."

"I am sorry, cousin," said MacGregor, who entered the hut during the last
observation, "I have not been altogether in the circumstances to make
your reception sic as I could have desired--natheless, if you would
condescend to visit my puir dwelling"--

"Muckle obliged, muckle obliged," answered Mr. Jarvie, very hastily--"But
we maun be ganging--we maun be jogging, Mr. Osbaldistone and me--business
canna wait."

"Aweel, kinsman," replied the Highlander, "ye ken our fashion--foster the
guest that comes--further him that maun gang. But ye cannot return by
Drymen--I must set you on Loch Lomond, and boat ye down to the Ferry o'
Balloch, and send your nags round to meet ye there. It's a maxim of a
wise man never to return by the same road he came, providing another's
free to him."

"Ay, ay, Rob," said the Bailie, "that's ane o' the maxims ye learned when
ye were a drover;--ye caredna to face the tenants where your beasts had
been taking a rug of their moorland grass in the by-ganging, and I doubt
your road's waur marked now than it was then."

"The mair need not to travel it ower often, kinsman," replied Rob; "but
I'se send round your nags to the ferry wi' Dougal Gregor, wha is
converted for that purpose into the Bailie's man, coming--not, as ye may
believe, from Aberfoil or Rob Roy's country, but on a quiet jaunt from
Stirling. See, here he is."

"I wadna hae ken'd the creature," said Mr. Jarvie; nor indeed was it easy
to recognise the wild Highlander, when he appeared before the door of the
cottage, attired in a hat, periwig, and riding-coat, which had once
called Andrew Fairservice master, and mounted on the Bailie's horse, and
leading mine. He received his last orders from his master to avoid
certain places where he might be exposed to suspicion--to collect what
intelligence he could in the course of his journey, and to await our
coming at an appointed place, near the Ferry of Balloch.

At the same time, MacGregor invited us to accompany him upon our own
road, assuring us that we must necessarily march a few miles before
breakfast, and recommending a dram of brandy as a proper introduction to
the journey, in which he was pledged by the Bailie, who pronounced it "an
unlawful and perilous habit to begin the day wi' spirituous liquors,
except to defend the stomach (whilk was a tender part) against the
morning mist; in whilk case his father the deacon had recommended a dram,
by precept and example."

"Very true, kinsman," replied Rob, "for which reason we, who are Children
of the Mist, have a right to drink brandy from morning till night."

The Bailie, thus refreshed, was mounted on a small Highland pony; another
was offered for my use, which, however, I declined; and we resumed, under
very different guidance and auspices, our journey of the preceding day.

Our escort consisted of MacGregor, and five or six of the handsomest,
best armed, and most athletic mountaineers of his band, and whom he had
generally in immediate attendance upon his own person.

When we approached the pass, the scene of the skirmish of the preceding
day, and of the still more direful deed which followed it, MacGregor
hastened to speak, as if it were rather to what he knew must be
necessarily passing in my mind, than to any thing I had said--he spoke,
in short, to my thoughts, and not to my words.

"You must think hardly of us, Mr. Osbaldistone, and it is not natural
that it should be otherwise. But remember, at least, we have not been
unprovoked. We are a rude and an ignorant, and it may be a violent and
passionate, but we are not a cruel people. The land might be at peace and
in law for us, did they allow us to enjoy the blessings of peaceful law.
But we have been a persecuted generation."

"And persecution," said the Bailie, "maketh wise men mad."

"What must it do then to men like us, living as our fathers did a
thousand years since, and possessing scarce more lights than they did?
Can we view their bluidy edicts against us--their hanging, heading,
hounding, and hunting down an ancient and honourable name--as deserving
better treatment than that which enemies give to enemies?--Here I stand,
have been in twenty frays, and never hurt man but when I was in het
bluid; and yet they wad betray me and hang me like a masterless dog, at
the gate of ony great man that has an ill will at me."

I replied, "that the proscription of his name and family sounded in
English ears as a very cruel and arbitrary law;" and having thus far
soothed him, I resumed my propositions of obtaining military employment
for himself, if he chose it, and his sons, in foreign parts. MacGregor
shook me very cordially by the hand, and detaining me, so as to permit
Mr. Jarvie to precede us, a manoeuvre for which the narrowness of the
road served as an excuse, he said to me--"You are a kind-hearted and an
honourable youth, and understand, doubtless, that which is due to the
feelings of a man of honour. But the heather that I have trode upon when
living, must bloom ower me when I am dead--my heart would sink, and my
arm would shrink and wither like fern in the frost, were I to lose sight
of my native hills; nor has the world a scene that would console me for
the loss of the rocks and cairns, wild as they are, that you see around
us.--And Helen--what could become of her, were I to leave her the subject
of new insult and atrocity?--or how could she bear to be removed from
these scenes, where the remembrance of her wrongs is aye sweetened by the
recollection of her revenge?--I was once so hard put at by my Great
enemy, as I may well ca' him, that I was forced e'en to gie way to the
tide, and removed myself and my people and family from our dwellings in
our native land, and to withdraw for a time into MacCallum More's
country--and Helen made a Lament on our departure, as weel as MacRimmon*
himsell could hae framed it--and so piteously sad and waesome, that our
hearts amaist broke as we sate and listened to her--it was like the
wailing of one that mourns for the mother that bore him--the tears came
down the rough faces of our gillies as they hearkened; and I wad not have
the same touch of heartbreak again, no, not to have all the lands that
ever were owned by MacGregor."

* The MacRimmons or MacCrimonds were hereditary pipers to the chiefs of
MacLeod, and celebrated for their talents. The pibroch said to have  been
composed by Helen MacGregor is still in existence. See the Introduction
to this Novel.



"But your sons," I said--"they are at the age when your countrymen have
usually no objection to see the world?"

"And I should be content," he replied, "that they pushed their fortune in
the French or Spanish service, as is the wont of Scottish cavaliers of
honour; and last night your plan seemed feasible eneugh--But I hae seen
his Excellency this morning before ye were up."

"Did he then quarter so near us?" said I, my bosom throbbing with
anxiety.

"Nearer than ye thought," was MacGregor's reply; "but he seemed rather in
some shape to jalouse your speaking to the young leddy; and so you see"--

"There was no occasion for jealousy," I answered, with some haughtiness;
--"I should not have intruded on his privacy."

"But ye must not be offended, or look out from amang your curls then,
like a wildcat out of an ivy-tod, for ye are to understand that he wishes
most sincere weel to you, and has proved it. And it's partly that whilk
has set the heather on fire e'en now."

"Heather on fire?" said I. "I do not understand you."

"Why," resumed MacGregor, "ye ken weel eneugh that women and gear are at
the bottom of a' the mischief in this warld. I hae been misdoubting your
cousin Rashleigh since ever he saw that he wasna to get Die Vernon for
his marrow, and I think he took grudge at his Excellency mainly on that
account. But then came the splore about the surrendering your papers--and
we hae now gude evidence, that, sae soon as he was compelled to yield
them up, he rade post to Stirling, and tauld the Government all and mair
than all, that was gaun doucely on amang us hill-folk; and, doubtless,
that was the way that the country was laid to take his Excellency and the
leddy, and to make sic an unexpected raid on me. And I hae as little
doubt that the poor deevil Morris, whom he could gar believe onything,
was egged on by him, and some of the Lowland gentry, to trepan me in the
gate he tried to do. But if Rashleigh Osbaldistone were baith the last
and best of his name, and granting that he and I ever forgather again,
the fiend go down my weasand with a bare blade at his belt, if we part
before my dirk and his best blude are weel acquainted thegither!"

He pronounced the last threat with an ominous frown, and the appropriate
gesture of his hand upon his dagger.

"I should almost rejoice at what has happened," said I, "could I hope
that Rashleigh's treachery might prove the means of preventing the
explosion of the rash and desperate intrigues in which I have long
suspected him to be a prime agen."

"Trow ye na that," said Rob Roy; "traitor's word never yet hurt honest
cause. He was ower deep in our secrets, that's true; and had it not been
so, Stirling and Edinburgh Castles would have been baith in our hands by
this time, or briefly hereafter, whilk is now scarce to be hoped for. But
there are ower mony engaged, and far ower gude a cause to be gien up for
the breath of a traitor's tale, and that will be seen and heard of ere it
be lang. And so, as I was about to say, the best of my thanks to you for
your offer anent my sons, whilk last night I had some thoughts to have
embraced in their behalf. But I see that this villain's treason will
convince our great folks that they must instantly draw to a head, and
make a blow for it, or be taen in their houses, coupled up like hounds,
and driven up to London like the honest noblemen and gentlemen in the
year seventeen hundred and seven. Civil war is like a cockatrice;--we
have sitten hatching the egg that held it for ten years, and might hae
sitten on for ten years mair, when in comes Rashleigh, and chips the
shell, and out bangs the wonder amang us, and cries to fire and sword.
Now in sic a matter I'll hae need o' a' the hands I can mak; and, nae
disparagement to the Kings of France and Spain, whom I wish very weel to,
King James is as gude a man as ony o' them, and has the best right to
Hamish and Rob, being his natural-born subjects."

I easily comprehended that these words boded a general national
convulsion; and, as it would have been alike useless and dangerous to
have combated the political opinions of my guide, at such a place and
moment, I contented myself with regretting the promiscuous scene of
confusion and distress likely to arise from any general exertion in
favour of the exiled royal family.

"Let it come, man--let it come," answered MacGregor; "ye never saw dull
weather clear without a shower; and if the world is turned upside down,
why, honest men have the better chance to cut bread out of it."

I again attempted to bring him back to the subject of Diana; but although
on most occasions and subjects he used a freedom of speech which I had no
great delight in listening to, yet upon that alone which was most
interesting to me, he kept a degree of scrupulous reserve, and contented
himself with intimating, "that he hoped the leddy would be soon in a
quieter country than this was like to be for one while." I was obliged to
be content with this answer, and to proceed in the hope that accident
might, as on a former occasion, stand my friend, and allow me at least
the sad gratification of bidding farewell to the object which had
occupied such a share of my affections, so much beyond even what I had
supposed, till I was about to be separated from her for ever.


[Illustration: Loch Lomond--284]


We pursued the margin of the lake for about six English miles, through a
devious and beautifully variegated path, until we attained a sort of
Highland farm, or assembly of hamlets, near the head of that fine sheet
of water, called, if I mistake not, Lediart, or some such name. Here a
numerous party of MacGregor's men were stationed in order to receive us.
The taste as well as the eloquence of tribes in a savage, or, to speak
more properly, in a rude state, is usually just, because it is unfettered
by system and affectation; and of this I had an example in the choice
these mountaineers had made of a place to receive their guests. It has
been said that a British monarch would judge well to receive the embassy
of a rival power in the cabin of a man-of-war; and a Highland leader
acted with some propriety in choosing a situation where the natural
objects of grandeur proper to his country might have their full effect on
the minds of his guests.

We ascended about two hundred yards from the shores of the lake, guided
by a brawling brook, and left on the right hand four or five Highland
huts, with patches of arable land around them, so small as to show that
they must have been worked with the spade rather than the plough, cut as
it were out of the surrounding copsewood, and waving with crops of barley
and oats. Above this limited space the hill became more steep; and on its
edge we descried the glittering arms and waving drapery of about fifty of
MacGregor's followers. They were stationed on a spot, the recollection of
which yet strikes me with admiration. The brook, hurling its waters
downwards from the mountain, had in this spot encountered a barrier rock,
over which it had made its way by two distinct leaps. The first fall,
across which a magnificent old oak, slanting out from the farther bank,
partly extended itself as if to shroud the dusky stream of the cascade,
might be about twelve feet high; the broken waters were received in a
beautiful stone basin, almost as regular as if hewn by a sculptor; and
after wheeling around its flinty margin, they made a second precipitous
dash, through a dark and narrow chasm, at least fifty feet in depth, and
from thence, in a hurried, but comparatively a more gentle course,
escaped to join the lake.

With the natural taste which belongs to mountaineers, and especially to
the Scottish Highlanders, whose feelings, I have observed, are often
allied with the romantic and poetical, Rob Roy's wife and followers had
prepared our morning repast in a scene well calculated to impress
strangers with some feelings of awe. They are also naturally a grave and
proud people, and, however rude in our estimation, carry their ideas of
form and politeness to an excess that would appear overstrained, except
from the demonstration of superior force which accompanies the display of
it; for it must be granted that the air of punctilious deference and
rigid etiquette which would seem ridiculous in an ordinary peasant, has,
like the salute of a _corps-de-garde,_ a propriety when tendered by a
Highlander completely armed. There was, accordingly, a good deal of
formality in our approach and reception.

The Highlanders, who had been dispersed on the side of the hill, drew
themselves together when we came in view, and, standing firm and
motionless, appeared in close column behind three figures, whom I soon
recognised to be Helen MacGregor and her two sons. MacGregor himself
arranged his attendants in the rear, and, requesting Mr. Jarvie to
dismount where the ascent became steep, advanced slowly, marshalling us
forward at the head of the troop. As we advanced, we heard the wild notes
of the bagpipes, which lost their natural discord from being mingled with
the dashing sound of the cascade. When we came close, the wife of
MacGregor came forward to meet us. Her dress was studiously arranged in a
more feminine taste than it had been on the preceding day, but her
features wore the same lofty, unbending, and resolute character; and as
she folded my friend the Bailie in an unexpected and apparently unwelcome
embrace, I could perceive by the agitation of his wig, his back, and the
calves of his legs, that he felt much like to one who feels himself
suddenly in the gripe of a she-bear, without being able to distinguish
whether the animal is in kindness or in wrath.

"Kinsman," she said, "you are welcome--and you, too, stranger," she
added, releasing my alarmed companion, who instinctively drew back and
settled his wig, and addressing herself to me--"you also are welcome. You
came," she added, "to our unhappy country, when our bloods were chafed,
and our hands were red. Excuse the rudeness that gave you a rough
welcome, and lay it upon the evil times, and not upon us." All this was
said with the manners of a princess, and in the tone and style of a
court. Nor was there the least tincture of that vulgarity, which we
naturally attach to the Lowland Scottish. There was a strong provincial
accentuation, but, otherwise, the language rendered by Helen MacGregor,
out of the native and poetical Gaelic, into English, which she had
acquired as we do learned tongues, but had probably never heard applied
to the mean purposes of ordinary life, was graceful, flowing, and
declamatory. Her husband, who had in his time played many parts, used a
much less elevated and emphatic dialect;--but even _his_ language rose in
purity of expression, as you may have remarked, if I have been accurate
in recording it, when the affairs which he discussed were of an agitating
and important nature; and it appears to me in his case, and in that of
some other Highlanders whom I have known, that, when familiar and
facetious, they used the Lowland Scottish dialect,--when serious and
impassioned, their thoughts arranged themselves in the idiom of their
native language; and in the latter case, as they uttered the
corresponding ideas in English, the expressions sounded wild, elevated,
and poetical. In fact, the language of passion is almost always pure as
well as vehement, and it is no uncommon thing to hear a Scotchman, when
overwhelmed by a countryman with a tone of bitter and fluent upbraiding,
reply by way of taunt to his adversary, "You have gotten to your
English."

Be this as it may, the wife of MacGregor invited us to a refreshment
spread out on the grass, which abounded with all the good things their
mountains could offer, but was clouded by the dark and undisturbed
gravity which sat on the brow of our hostess, as well as by our deep and
anxious recollection of what had taken place on the preceding day. It was
in vain that the leader exerted himself to excite mirth;--a chill hung
over our minds, as if the feast had been funereal; and every bosom felt
light when it was ended.

"Adieu, cousin," she said to Mr. Jarvie, as we rose from the
entertainment; "the best wish Helen MacGregor can give to a friend is,
that he may see her no more."

The Bailie struggled to answer, probably with some commonplace maxim of
morality;--but the calm and melancholy sternness of her countenance bore
down and disconcerted the mechanical and formal importance of the
magistrate. He coughed,--hemmed,--bowed,--and was silent.

"For you, stranger," she said, "I have a token, from one whom you can
never"--

"Helen!" interrupted MacGregor, in a loud and stern voice, "what means
this?--have you forgotten the charge?"

"MacGregor," she replied, "I have forgotten nought that is fitting for me
to remember. It is not such hands as these," and she stretched forth her
long, sinewy, and bare arm, "that are fitting to convey love-tokens, were
the gift connected with aught but misery. Young man," she said,
presenting me with a ring, which I well remembered as one of the few
ornaments that Miss Vernon sometimes wore, "this comes from one whom you
will never see more. If it is a joyless token, it is well fitted to pass
through the hands of one to whom joy can never be known. Her last words
were--Let him forget me for ever."

"And can she," I said, almost without being conscious that I spoke,
"suppose that is possible?"

"All may be forgotten," said the extraordinary female who addressed
me,--"all--but the sense of dishonour, and the desire of vengeance."

"_Seid suas!_"* cried the MacGregor, stamping with impatience.

* "Strike up."

The bagpipes sounded, and with their thrilling and jarring tones cut
short our conference. Our leave of our hostess was taken by silent
gestures; and we resumed our journey with an additional proof on my part,
that I was beloved by Diana, and was separated from her for ever.





CHAPTER NINETEENTH.

            Farewell to the land where the clouds love to rest,
            Like the shroud of the dead, on the mountain's cold breast
            To the cataract's roar where the eagles reply,
            And the lake her lone bosom expands to the sky.

Our route lay through a dreary, yet romantic country, which the distress
of my own mind prevented me from remarking particularly, and which,
therefore, I will not attempt to describe. The lofty peak of Ben Lomond,
here the predominant monarch of the mountains, lay on our right hand, and
served as a striking landmark. I was not awakened from my apathy, until,
after a long and toilsome walk, we emerged through a pass in the hills,
and Loch Lomond opened before us. I will spare you the attempt to
describe what you would hardly comprehend without going to see it. But
certainly this noble lake, boasting innumerable beautiful islands, of
every varying form and outline which fancy can frame,--its northern
extremity narrowing until it is lost among dusky and retreating
mountains,--while, gradually widening as it extends to the southward, it
spreads its base around the indentures and promontories of a fair and
fertile land, affords one of the most surprising, beautiful, and sublime
spectacles in nature. The eastern side, peculiarly rough and rugged, was
at this time the chief seat of MacGregor and his clan,--to curb whom, a
small garrison had been stationed in a central position betwixt Loch
Lomond and another lake. The extreme strength of the country, however,
with the numerous passes, marshes, caverns, and other places of
concealment or defence, made the establishment of this little fort seem
rather an acknowledgment of the danger, than an effectual means of
securing against it.

On more than one occasion, as well as on that which I witnessed, the
garrison suffered from the adventurous spirit of the outlaw and his
followers. These advantages were never sullied by ferocity when he
himself was in command; for, equally good-tempered and sagacious, he
understood well the danger of incurring unnecessary odium. I learned with
pleasure that he had caused the captives of the preceding day to be
liberated in safety; and many traits of mercy, and even of generosity,
are recorded of this remarkable man on similar occasions.

A boat waited for us in a creek beneath a huge rock, manned by four lusty
Highland rowers; and our host took leave of us with great cordiality, and
even affection. Betwixt him and Mr. Jarvie, indeed, there seemed to exist
a degree of mutual regard, which formed a strong contrast to their
different occupations and habits. After kissing each other very lovingly,
and when they were just in the act of parting, the Bailie, in the fulness
of his heart, and with a faltering voice, assured his kinsman, "that if
ever an hundred pund, or even twa hundred, would put him or his family in
a settled way, he need but just send a line to the Saut-Market;" and Rob,
grasping his basket-hilt with one hand, and shaking Mr. Jarvie's heartily
with the other, protested, "that if ever anybody should affront his
kinsman, an he would but let him ken, he would stow his lugs out of his
head, were he the best man in Glasgow."

With these assurances of mutual aid and continued good-will, we bore away
from the shore, and took our course for the south-western angle of the
lake, where it gives birth to the river Leven. Rob Roy remained for some
time standing on the rock from beneath which we had departed, conspicuous
by his long gun, waving tartans, and the single plume in his cap, which
in those days denoted the Highland gentleman and soldier; although I
observe that the present military taste has decorated the Highland bonnet
with a quantity of black plumage resembling that which is borne before
funerals. At length, as the distance increased between us, we saw him
turn and go slowly up the side of the hill, followed by his immediate
attendants or bodyguard.

We performed our voyage for a long time in silence, interrupted only by
the Gaelic chant which one of the rowers sung in low irregular measure,
rising occasionally into a wild chorus, in which the others joined.

My own thoughts were sad enough;--yet I felt something soothing in the
magnificent scenery with which I was surrounded; and thought, in the
enthusiasm of the moment, that had my faith been that of Rome, I could
have consented to live and die a lonely hermit in one of the romantic and
beautiful islands amongst which our boat glided.

The Bailie had also his speculations, but they were of somewhat a
different complexion; as I found when, after about an hour's silence,
during which he had been mentally engaged in the calculations necessary,
he undertook to prove the possibility of draining the lake, and "giving
to plough and harrow many hundred, ay, many a thousand acres, from whilk
no man could get earthly gude e'enow, unless it were a gedd,* or a dish
of perch now and then."

* A pike.

Amidst a long discussion, which he "crammed into mine ear against the
stomach of my sense," I only remember, that it was part of his project to
preserve a portion of the lake just deep enough and broad enough for the
purposes of water-carriage, so that coal-barges and gabbards should pass
as easily between Dumbarton and Glenfalloch as between Glasgow and
Greenock.

At length we neared our distant place of landing, adjoining to the ruins
of an ancient castle, and just where the lake discharges its superfluous
waters into the Leven. There we found Dougal with the horses. The Bailie
had formed a plan with respect to "the creature," as well as upon the
draining of the lake; and, perhaps in both cases, with more regard to the
utility than to the practical possibility of his scheme. "Dougal," he
said, "ye are a kindly creature, and hae the sense and feeling o' what is
due to your betters--and I'm e'en wae for you, Dougal, for it canna be
but that in the life ye lead you suld get a Jeddart cast* ae day suner or
later. I trust, considering my services as a magistrate, and my father
the deacon's afore me, I hae interest eneugh in the council to gar them
wink a wee at a waur faut than yours.

* ["The memory of Dunbar's legal (?) proceedings at Jedburgh is preserved
in the proverbial phrase _Jeddart Justice,_ which signifies trial _after_
execution."--_Minstrelsy of the Border,_ Preface, p. lvi.]

Sae I hae been thinking, that if ye will gang back to Glasgow wi' us,
being a strong-backit creature, ye might be employed in the warehouse
till something better suld cast up."

"Her nainsell muckle obliged till the Bailie's honour," replied Dougal;
"but teil be in her shanks fan she gangs on a cause-way'd street, unless
she be drawn up the Gallowgate wi' tows, as she was before."

In fact, I afterwards learned that Dougal had originally come to Glasgow
as a prisoner, from being concerned in some depredation, but had somehow
found such favour in the eyes of the jailor, that, with rather
overweening confidence, he had retained him in his service as one of the
turnkeys; a task which Dougal had discharged with sufficient fidelity, so
far as was known, until overcome by his clannish prejudices on the
unexpected appearance of his old leader.

Astonished at receiving so round a refusal to so favourable an offer, the
Bailie, turning to me, observed, that the "creature was a natural-born
idiot." I testified my own gratitude in a way which Dougal much better
relished, by slipping a couple of guineas into his hand. He no sooner
felt the touch of the gold, than he sprung twice or thrice from the earth
with the agility of a wild buck, flinging out first one heel and then
another, in a manner which would have astonished a French dancing-master.
He ran to the boatmen to show them the prize, and a small gratuity made
them take part in his raptures. He then, to use a favourite expression of
the dramatic John Bunyan, "went on his way, and I saw him no more."

The Bailie and I mounted our horses, and proceeded on the road to
Glasgow. When we had lost the view of the lake, and its superb
amphitheatre of mountains, I could not help expressing with enthusiasm,
my sense of its natural beauties, although I was conscious that Mr.
Jarvie was a very uncongenial spirit to communicate with on such a
subject.

"Ye are a young gentleman," he replied, "and an Englishman, and a' this
may be very fine to you; but for me, wha am a plain man, and ken
something o' the different values of land, I wadna gie the finest sight
we hae seen in the Hielands, for the first keek o' the Gorbals o'
Glasgow; and if I were ance there, it suldna be every fule's errand,
begging your pardon, Mr. Francis, that suld take me out o' sight o' Saint
Mungo's steeple again!"

The honest man had his wish; for, by dint of travelling very late, we
arrived at his own house that night, or rather on the succeeding morning.
Having seen my worthy fellow-traveller safely consigned to the charge of
the considerate and officious Mattie, I proceeded to Mrs. Flyter's, in
whose house, even at this unwonted hour, light was still burning. The
door was opened by no less a person than Andrew Fairservice himself, who,
upon the first sound of my voice, set up a loud shout of joyful
recognition, and, without uttering a syllable, ran up stairs towards a
parlour on the second floor, from the windows of which the light
proceeded. Justly conceiving that he went to announce my return to the
anxious Owen, I followed him upon the foot. Owen was not alone, there was
another in the apartment--it was my father.

The first impulse was to preserve the dignity of his usual
equanimity,--"Francis, I am glad to see you." The next was to embrace me
tenderly,--"My dear--dear son!"--Owen secured one of my hands, and
wetted it with his tears, while he joined in gratulating my return.
These are scenes which address themselves to the eye and to the heart
rather than to the ear--My old eye-lids still moisten at the
recollection of our meeting; but your kind and affectionate feelings
can well imagine what I should find it impossible to describe.

When the tumult of our joy was over, I learnt that my father had arrived
from Holland shortly after Owen had set off for Scotland. Determined and
rapid in all his movements, he only stopped to provide the means of
discharging the obligations incumbent on his house. By his extensive
resources, with funds enlarged, and credit fortified, by eminent success
in his continental speculation, he easily accomplished what perhaps his
absence alone rendered difficult, and set out for Scotland to exact
justice from Rashleigh Osbaldistone, as well as to put order to his
affairs in that country. My father's arrival in full credit, and with the
ample means of supporting his engagements honourably, as well as
benefiting his correspondents in future, was a stunning blow to MacVittie
and Company, who had conceived his star set for ever. Highly incensed at
the usage his confidential clerk and agent had received at their hands,
Mr. Osbaldistone refused every tender of apology and accommodation; and
having settled the balance of their account, announced to them that, with
all its numerous contingent advantages, that leaf of their ledger was
closed for ever.

While he enjoyed this triumph over false friends, he was not a little
alarmed on my account. Owen, good man, had not supposed it possible that
a journey of fifty or sixty miles, which may be made with so much ease
and safety in any direction from London, could be attended with any
particular danger. But he caught alarm, by sympathy, from my father, to
whom the country, and the lawless character of its inhabitants, were
better known.

These apprehensions were raised to agony, when, a few hours before I
arrived, Andrew Fairservice made his appearance, with a dismal and
exaggerated account of the uncertain state in which he had left me. The
nobleman with whose troops he had been a sort of prisoner, had, after
examination, not only dismissed him, but furnished him with the means of
returning rapidly to Glasgow, in order to announce to my friends my
precarious and unpleasant situation.

Andrew was one of those persons who have no objection to the sort of
temporary attention and woeful importance which attaches itself to the
bearer of bad tidings, and had therefore by no means smoothed down his
tale in the telling, especially as the rich London merchant himself
proved unexpectedly one of the auditors. He went at great length into an
account of the dangers I had escaped, chiefly, as he insinuated, by means
of his own experience, exertion, and sagacity.

"What was to come of me now, when my better angel, in his (Andrew's)
person, was removed from my side, it was," he said, "sad and sair to
conjecture; that the Bailie was nae better than just naebody at a pinch,
or something waur, for he was a conceited body--and Andrew hated
conceit--but certainly, atween the pistols and the carabines of the
troopers, that rappit aff the tane after the tother as fast as hail, and
the dirks and claymores o' the Hielanders, and the deep waters and weils
o' the Avondow, it was to be thought there wad be a puir account of the
young gentleman."

This statement would have driven Owen to despair, had he been alone and
unsupported; but my father's perfect knowledge of mankind enabled him
easily to appreciate the character of Andrew, and the real amount of his
intelligence. Stripped of all exaggeration, however, it was alarming
enough to a parent. He determined to set out in person to obtain my
liberty by ransom or negotiation, and was busied with Owen till a late
hour, in order to get through some necessary correspondence, and devolve
on the latter some business which should be transacted during his
absence; and thus it chanced that I found them watchers.

It was late ere we separated to rest, and, too impatient long to endure
repose, I was stirring early the next morning. Andrew gave his attendance
at my levee, as in duty bound, and, instead of the scarecrow figure to
which he had been reduced at Aberfoil, now appeared in the attire of an
undertaker, a goodly suit, namely, of the deepest mourning. It was not
till after one or two queries, which the rascal affected as long as he
could to misunderstand, that I found out he "had thought it but decent to
put on mourning, on account of my inexpressible loss; and as the broker
at whose shop he had equipped himself, declined to receive the goods
again, and as his own garments had been destroyed or carried off in my
honour's service, doubtless I and my honourable father, whom Providence
had blessed wi' the means, wadna suffer a puir lad to sit down wi' the
loss; a stand o' claes was nae great matter to an Osbaldistone (be
praised for't!), especially to an old and attached servant o' the house."

As there was something of justice in Andrew's plea of loss in my service,
his finesse succeeded; and he came by a good suit of mourning, with a
beaver and all things conforming, as the exterior signs of woe for a
master who was alive and merry.

My father's first care, when he arose, was to visit Mr. Jarvie, for whose
kindness he entertained the most grateful sentiments, which he expressed
in very few, but manly and nervous terms. He explained the altered state
of his affairs, and offered the Bailie, on such terms as could not but be
both advantageous and acceptable, that part in his concerns which had
been hitherto managed by MacVittie and Company. The Bailie heartily
congratulated my father and Owen on the changed posture of their affairs,
and, without affecting to disclaim that he had done his best to serve
them, when matters looked otherwise, he said, "He had only just acted as
he wad be done by--that, as to the extension of their correspondence, he
frankly accepted it with thanks. Had MacVittie's folk behaved like honest
men," he said, "he wad hae liked ill to hae come in ahint them, and out
afore them this gate. But it's otherwise, and they maun e'en stand the
loss."

The Bailie then pulled me by the sleeve into a corner, and, after again
cordially wishing me joy, proceeded, in rather an embarrassed tone--"I
wad heartily wish, Maister Francis, there suld be as little said as
possible about the queer things we saw up yonder awa. There's nae gude,
unless ane were judicially examinate, to say onything about that awfu'
job o' Morris--and the members o' the council wadna think it creditable
in ane of their body to be fighting wi' a wheen Hielandmen, and singeing
their plaidens--And abune a', though I am a decent sponsible man, when I
am on my right end, I canna but think I maun hae made a queer figure
without my hat and my periwig, hinging by the middle like bawdrons, or a
cloak flung ower a cloak-pin. Bailie Grahame wad hae an unco hair in my
neck an he got that tale by the end."

I could not suppress a smile when I recollected the Bailie's situation,
although I certainly thought it no laughing matter at the time. The
good-natured merchant was a little confused, but smiled also when he
shook his head--"I see how it is--I see how it is. But say naething about
it--there's a gude callant; and charge that lang-tongued, conceited,
upsetting serving man o' yours, to sae naething neither. I wadna for ever
sae muckle that even the lassock Mattie ken'd onything about it. I wad
never hear an end o't."

He was obviously relieved from his impending fears of ridicule, when I
told him it was my father's intention to leave Glasgow almost
immediately. Indeed he had now no motive for remaining, since the most
valuable part of the papers carried off by Rashleigh had been recovered.
For that portion which he had converted into cash and expended in his own
or on political intrigues, there was no mode of recovering it but by a
suit at law, which was forthwith commenced, and proceeded, as our
law-agents assured us, with all deliberate speed.

We spent, accordingly, one hospitable day with the Bailie, and took leave
of him, as this narrative now does. He continued to grow in wealth,
honour, and credit, and actually rose to the highest civic honours in his
native city. About two years after the period I have mentioned, he tired
of his bachelor life, and promoted Mattie from her wheel by the kitchen
fire to the upper end of his table, in the character of Mrs. Jarvie.
Bailie Grahame, the MacVitties, and others (for all men have their
enemies, especially in the council of a royal burgh), ridiculed this
transformation. "But," said Mr. Jarvie, "let them say their say. I'll
ne'er fash mysell, nor lose my liking for sae feckless a matter as a nine
days' clash. My honest father the deacon had a byword,

                       Brent brow and lily skin,
                       A loving heart, and a leal within,
                      Is better than gowd or gentle kin.

Besides," as he always concluded, "Mattie was nae ordinary lassock-quean;
she was akin to the Laird o' Limmerfield."

Whether it was owing to her descent or her good gifts, I do not presume
to decide; but Mattie behaved excellently in her exaltation, and relieved
the apprehensions of some of the Bailie's friends, who had deemed his
experiment somewhat hazardous. I do not know that there was any other
incident of his quiet and useful life worthy of being particularly
recorded.





CHAPTER TWENTIETH.

                  "Come ye hither my 'six' good sons,
                       Gallant men I trow ye be,
                  How many of you, my children dear,
                  Will stand by that good Earl and me?"

                     "Five" of them did answer make--
                     "Five" of them spoke hastily,
                     "O father, till the day we die,
                  We'll stand by that good Earl and thee."
                                   The Rising in the North.

On the morning when we were to depart from Glasgow, Andrew Fairservice
bounced into my apartment like a madman, jumping up and down, and
singing, with more vehemence than tune,

                The kiln's on fire--the kiln's on fire--
                The kiln's on fire--she's a' in a lowe.

With some difficulty I prevailed on him to cease his confounded clamour,
and explain to me what the matter was. He was pleased to inform me, as if
he had been bringing the finest news imaginable, "that the Hielands were
clean broken out, every man o' them, and that Rob Roy, and a' his
breekless bands, wad be down upon Glasgow or twenty-four hours o' the
clock gaed round."

"Hold your tongue," said I, "you rascal! You must be drunk or mad; and if
there is any truth in your news, is it a singing matter, you scoundrel?"

"Drunk or mad? nae doubt," replied Andrew, dauntlessly; "ane's aye drunk
or mad if he tells what grit folks dinna like to hear--Sing? Od, the
clans will make us sing on the wrang side o' our mouth, if we are sae
drunk or mad as to bide their coming."

I rose in great haste, and found my father and Owen also on foot, and in
considerable alarm.

Andrew's news proved but too true in the main. The great rebellion which
agitated Britain in the year 1715 had already broken out, by the
unfortunate Earl of Mar's setting up the standard of the Stuart family in
an ill-omened hour, to the ruin of many honourable families, both in
England and Scotland. The treachery of some of the Jacobite agents
(Rashleigh among the rest), and the arrest of others, had made George the
First's Government acquainted with the extensive ramifications of a
conspiracy long prepared, and which at last exploded prematurely, and in
a part of the kingdom too distant to have any vital effect upon the
country, which, however, was plunged into much confusion.

This great public event served to confirm and elucidate the obscure
explanations I had received from MacGregor; and I could easily see why
the westland clans, who were brought against him, should have waived
their private quarrel, in consideration that they were all shortly to be
engaged in the same public cause. It was a more melancholy reflection to
my mind, that Diana Vernon was the wife of one of those who were most
active in turning the world upside down, and that she was herself exposed
to all the privations and perils of her husband's hazardous trade.

We held an immediate consultation on the measures we were to adopt in
this crisis, and acquiesced in my father's plan, that we should instantly
get the necessary passports, and make the best of our way to London. I
acquainted my father with my wish to offer my personal service to the
Government in any volunteer corps, several being already spoken of. He
readily acquiesced in my proposal; for though he disliked war as a
profession, yet, upon principle, no man would have exposed his life more
willingly in defence of civil and religious liberty.

We travelled in haste and in peril through Dumfriesshire and the
neighbouring counties of England. In this quarter, gentlemen of the Tory
interest were already in motion, mustering men and horses, while the
Whigs assembled themselves in the principal towns, armed the inhabitants,
and prepared for civil war. We narrowly escaped being stopped on more
occasions than one, and were often compelled to take circuitous routes to
avoid the points where forces were assembling.

When we reached London, we immediately associated with those bankers and
eminent merchants who agreed to support the credit of Government, and to
meet that run upon the funds, on which the conspirators had greatly
founded their hopes of furthering their undertaking, by rendering the
Government, as it were, bankrupt. My father was chosen one of the members
of this formidable body of the monied interest, as all had the greatest
confidence in his zeal, skill, and activity. He was also the organ by
which they communicated with Government, and contrived, from funds
belonging to his own house, or over which he had command, to find
purchasers for a quantity of the national stock, which was suddenly flung
into the market at a depreciated price when the rebellion broke out. I
was not idle myself, but obtained a commission, and levied, at my
father's expense, about two hundred men, with whom I joined General
Carpenter's army.

The rebellion, in the meantime, had extended itself to England. The
unfortunate Earl of Derwentwater had taken arms in the cause, along with
General Foster. My poor uncle, Sir Hildebrand, whose estate was reduced
to almost nothing by his own carelessness and the expense and debauchery
of his sons and household, was easily persuaded to join that unfortunate
standard. Before doing so, however, he exhibited a degree of precaution
of which no one could have suspected him--he made his will!

By this document he devised his estates at Osbaldistone Hall, and so
forth, to his sons successively, and their male heirs, until he came to
Rashleigh, whom, on account of the turn he had lately taken in politics,
he detested with all his might,--he cut him off with a shilling, and
settled the estate on me as his next heir. I had always been rather a
favourite of the old gentleman; but it is probable that, confident in the
number of gigantic youths who now armed around him, he considered the
destination as likely to remain a dead letter, which he inserted chiefly
to show his displeasure at Rashleigh's treachery, both public and
domestic. There was an article, by which he, bequeathed to the niece of
his late wife, Diana Vernon, now Lady Diana Vernon Beauchamp, some
diamonds belonging to her late aunt, and a great silver ewer, having the
arms of Vernon and Osbaldistone quarterly engraven upon it.

But Heaven had decreed a more speedy extinction of his numerous and
healthy lineage, than, most probably, he himself had reckoned on. In the
very first muster of the conspirators, at a place called Green-Rigg,
Thorncliff Osbaldistone quarrelled about precedence with a gentleman of
the Northumbrian border, to the full as fierce and intractable as
himself. In spite of all remonstrances, they gave their commander a
specimen of how far their discipline might be relied upon, by fighting it
out with their rapiers, and my kinsman was killed on the spot. His death
was a great loss to Sir Hildebrand, for, notwithstanding his infernal
temper, he had a grain or two of more sense than belonged to the rest of
the brotherhood, Rashleigh always excepted.

Perceval, the sot, died also in his calling. He had a wager with another
gentleman (who, from his exploits in that line, had acquired the
formidable epithet of Brandy Swalewell), which should drink the largest
cup of strong liquor when King James was proclaimed by the insurgents at
Morpeth. The exploit was something enormous. I forget the exact quantity
of brandy which Percie swallowed, but it occasioned a fever, of which he
expired at the end of three days, with the word, _water, water,_
perpetually on his tongue.

Dickon broke his neck near Warrington Bridge, in an attempt to show off a
foundered blood-mare which he wished to palm upon a Manchester merchant
who had joined the insurgents. He pushed the animal at a five-barred
gate; she fell in the leap, and the unfortunate jockey lost his life.

Wilfred the fool, as sometimes befalls, had the best fortune of the
family. He was slain at Proud Preston, in Lancashire, on the day that
General Carpenter attacked the barricades, fighting with great bravery,
though I have heard he was never able exactly to comprehend the cause of
quarrel, and did not uniformly remember on which king's side he was
engaged. John also behaved very boldly in the same engagement, and
received several wounds, of which he was not happy enough to die on the
spot.

Old Sir Hildebrand, entirely brokenhearted by these successive losses,
became, by the next day's surrender, one of the unhappy prisoners, and
was lodged in Newgate with his wounded son John.

I was now released from my military duty, and lost no time, therefore, in
endeavouring to relieve the distresses of these new relations. My
father's interest with Government, and the general compassion excited by
a parent who had sustained the successive loss of so many sons within so
short a time, would have prevented my uncle and cousin from being brought
to trial for high treason. But their doom was given forth from a greater
tribunal. John died of his wounds in Newgate, recommending to me in his
last breath, a cast of hawks which he had at the Hall, and a black
spaniel bitch called Lucy.

My poor uncle seemed beaten down to the very earth by his family
calamities, and the circumstances in which he unexpectedly found himself.
He said little, but seemed grateful for such attentions as circumstances
permitted me to show him. I did not witness his meeting with my father
for the first time for so many years, and under circumstances so
melancholy; but, judging from my father's extreme depression of spirits,
it must have been melancholy in the last degree. Sir Hildebrand spoke
with great bitterness against Rashleigh, now his only surviving child;
laid upon him the ruin of his house, and the deaths of all his brethren,
and declared, that neither he nor they would have plunged into political
intrigue, but for that very member of his family, who had been the first
to desert them. He once or twice mentioned Diana, always with great
affection; and once he said, while I sate by his bedside--"Nevoy, since
Thorncliff and all of them are dead, I am sorry you cannot have her."

The expression affected me much at the time; for it was a usual custom of
the poor old baronet's, when joyously setting forth upon the morning's
chase, to distinguish Thorncliff, who was a favourite, while he summoned
the rest more generally; and the loud jolly tone in which he used to
hollo, "Call Thornie--call all of them," contrasted sadly with the
woebegone and self-abandoning note in which he uttered the disconsolate
words which I have above quoted. He mentioned the contents of his will,
and supplied me with an authenticated copy;--the original he had
deposited with my old acquaintance Mr. Justice Inglewood, who, dreaded by
no one, and confided in by all as a kind of neutral person, had become,
for aught I know, the depositary of half the wills of the fighting men of
both factions in the county of Northumberland.

The greater part of my uncle's last hours were spent in the discharge of
the religious duties of his church, in which he was directed by the
chaplain of the Sardinian ambassador, for whom, with some difficulty, we
obtained permission to visit him. I could not ascertain by my own
observation, or through the medical attendants, that Sir Hildebrand
Osbaldistone died of any formed complaint bearing a name in the science
of medicine. He seemed to me completely worn out and broken down by
fatigue of body and distress of mind, and rather ceased to exist, than
died of any positive struggle,--just as a vessel, buffeted and tossed by
a succession of tempestuous gales, her timbers overstrained, and her
joints loosened, will sometimes spring a leak and founder, when there are
no apparent causes for her destruction.

It was a remarkable circumstance that my father, after the last duties
were performed to his brother, appeared suddenly to imbibe a strong
anxiety that I should act upon the will, and represent his father's
house, which had hitherto seemed to be the thing in the world which had
least charms for him. But formerly, he had been like the fox in the
fable, contemning what was beyond his reach; and, moreover, I doubt not
that the excessive dislike which he entertained against Rashleigh (now
Sir Rashleigh) Osbaldistone, who loudly threatened to attack his father
Sir Hildebrand's will and settlement, corroborated my father's desire to
maintain it.

"He had been most unjustly disinherited," he said, "by his own
father--his brother's will had repaired the disgrace, if not the injury,
by leaving the wreck of his property to Frank, the natural heir, and he
was determined the bequest should take effect."

In the meantime, Rashleigh was not altogether a contemptible personage as
an opponent. The information he had given to Government was critically
well-timed, and his extreme plausibility, with the extent of his
intelligence, and the artful manner in which he contrived to assume both
merit and influence, had, to a certain extent, procured him patrons among
Ministers. We were already in the full tide of litigation with him on the
subject of his pillaging the firm of Osbaldistone and Tresham; and,
judging from the progress we made in that comparatively simple lawsuit,
there was a chance that this second course of litigation might be drawn
out beyond the period of all our natural lives.

To avert these delays as much as possible, my father, by the advice of
his counsel learned in the law, paid off and vested in my person the
rights to certain large mortgages affecting Osbaldistone Hall. Perhaps,
however, the opportunity to convert a great share of the large profits
which accrued from the rapid rise of the funds upon the suppression of
the rebellion, and the experience he had so lately had of the perils of
commerce, encouraged him to realise, in this manner, a considerable part
of his property. At any rate, it so chanced, that, instead of commanding
me to the desk, as I fully expected, having intimated my willingness to
comply with his wishes, however they might destine me, I received his
directions to go down to Osbaldistone Hall, and take possession of it as
the heir and representative of the family. I was directed to apply to
Squire Inglewood for the copy of my uncle's will deposited with him, and
take all necessary measures to secure that possession which sages say
makes nine points of the law.

At another time I should have been delighted with this change of
destination. But now Osbaldistone Hall was accompanied with many painful
recollections. Still, however, I thought, that in that neighbourhood only
I was likely to acquire some information respecting the fate of Diana
Vernon. I had every reason to fear it must be far different from what I
could have wished it. But I could obtain no precise information on the
subject.

It was in vain that I endeavoured, by such acts of kindness as their
situation admitted, to conciliate the confidence of some distant
relations who were among the prisoners in Newgate. A pride which I could
not condemn, and a natural suspicion of the Whig Frank Osbaldistone,
cousin to the double-distilled traitor Rashleigh, closed every heart and
tongue, and I only received thanks, cold and extorted, in exchange for
such benefits as I had power to offer. The arm of the law was also
gradually abridging the numbers of those whom I endeavoured to serve, and
the hearts of the survivors became gradually more contracted towards all
whom they conceived to be concerned with the existing Government. As they
were led gradually, and by detachments, to execution, those who survived
lost interest in mankind, and the desire of communicating with them. I
shall long remember what one of them, Ned Shafton by name, replied to my
anxious inquiry, whether there was any indulgence I could procure him?
"Mr. Frank Osbaldistone, I must suppose you mean me kindly, and therefore
I thank you. But, by G--, men cannot be fattened like poultry, when they
see their neighbours carried off day by day to the place of execution,
and know that their own necks are to be twisted round in their turn."

Upon the whole, therefore, I was glad to escape from London, from
Newgate, and from the scenes which both exhibited, to breathe the free
air of Northumberland. Andrew Fairservice had continued in my service
more from my father's pleasure than my own. At present there seemed a
prospect that his local acquaintance with Osbaldistone Hall and its
vicinity might be useful; and, of course, he accompanied me on my
journey, and I enjoyed the prospect of getting rid of him, by
establishing him in his old quarters. I cannot conceive how he could
prevail upon my father to interest himself in him, unless it were by the
art, which he possessed in no inconsiderable degree, of affecting an
extreme attachment to his master; which theoretical attachment he made
compatible in practice with playing all manner of tricks without scruple,
providing only against his master being cheated by any one but himself.

We performed our journey to the North without any remarkable adventure,
and we found the country, so lately agitated by rebellion, now peaceful
and in good order. The nearer we approached to Osbaldistone Hall, the
more did my heart sink at the thought of entering that deserted mansion;
so that, in order to postpone the evil day, I resolved first to make my
visit at Mr. Justice Inglewood's.

That venerable person had been much disturbed with thoughts of what he
had been, and what he now was; and natural recollections of the past had
interfered considerably with the active duty which in his present
situation might have been expected from him. He was fortunate, however,
in one respect; he had got rid of his clerk Jobson, who had finally left
him in dudgeon at his inactivity, and become legal assistant to a certain
Squire Standish, who had lately commenced operations in those parts as a
justice, with a zeal for King George and the Protestant succession,
which, very different from the feelings of his old patron, Mr. Jobson had
more occasion to restrain within the bounds of the law, than to stimulate
to exertion.

Old Justice Inglewood received me with great courtesy, and readily
exhibited my uncle's will, which seemed to be without a flaw. He was for
some time in obvious distress, how he should speak and act in my
presence; but when he found, that though a supporter of the present
Government upon principle, I was disposed to think with pity on those who
had opposed it on a mistaken feeling of loyalty and duty, his discourse
became a very diverting medley of what he had done, and what he had left
undone,--the pains he had taken to prevent some squires from joining, and
to wink at the escape of others, who had been so unlucky as to engage in
the affair.

We were _tete-a'-tete,_ and several bumpers had been quaffed by the
Justice's special desire, when, on a sudden, he requested me to fill a
_bona fide_ brimmer to the health of poor dear Die Vernon, the rose of
the wilderness, the heath-bell of Cheviot, and the blossom that's
transplanted to an infernal convent.

"Is not Miss Vernon married, then?" I exclaimed, in great astonishment.
"I thought his Excellency"--

"Pooh! pooh! his Excellency and his Lordship's all a humbug now, you
know--mere St. Germains titles--Earl of Beauchamp, and ambassador
plenipotentiary from France, when the Duke Regent of Orleans scarce knew
that he lived, I dare say. But you must have seen old Sir Frederick
Vernon at the Hall, when he played the part of Father Vaughan?"

"Good Heavens! then Vaughan was Miss Vernon's father?"

"To be sure he was," said the Justice coolly;--"there's no use in
keeping the secret now, for he must be out of the country by this
time--otherwise, no doubt, it would be my duty to apprehend him.--Come,
off with your bumper to my dear lost Die!

                 And let her health go round, around, around,
                     And let her health go round;
                 For though your stocking be of silk,
                 Your knees near kiss the ground, aground, aground."*

* This pithy verse occurs, it is believed, in Shadwell's play of Bury
Fair.

I was unable, as the reader may easily conceive, to join in the Justice's
jollity. My head swam with the shock I had received. "I never heard," I
said, "that Miss Vernon's father was living."

"It was not our Government's fault that he is," replied Inglewood, "for
the devil a man there is whose head would have brought more money. He was
condemned to death for Fenwick's plot, and was thought to have had some
hand in the Knightsbridge affair, in King William's time; and as he had
married in Scotland a relation of the house of Breadalbane, he possessed
great influence with all their chiefs. There was a talk of his being
demanded to be given up at the peace of Ryswick, but he shammed ill, and
his death was given publicly out in the French papers. But when he came
back here on the old score, we old cavaliers knew him well,--that is to
say, I knew him, not as being a cavalier myself, but no information being
lodged against the poor gentleman, and my memory being shortened by
frequent attacks of the gout, I could not have sworn to him, you know."

"Was he, then, not known at Osbaldistone Hall?" I inquired.

"To none but to his daughter, the old knight, and Rashleigh, who had got
at that secret as he did at every one else, and held it like a twisted
cord about poor Die's neck. I have seen her one hundred times she would
have spit at him, if it had not been fear for her father, whose life
would not have been worth five minutes' purchase if he had been
discovered to the Government.--But don't mistake me, Mr. Osbaldistone; I
say the Government is a good, a gracious, and a just Government; and if
it has hanged one-half of the rebels, poor things, all will acknowledge
they would not have been touched had they staid peaceably at home."

Waiving the discussion of these political questions, I brought back Mr.
Inglewood to his subject, and I found that Diana, having positively
refused to marry any of the Osbaldistone family, and expressed her
particular detestation of Rashleigh, he had from that time begun to cool
in zeal for the cause of the Pretender; to which, as the youngest of six
brethren, and bold, artful, and able, he had hitherto looked forward as
the means of making his fortune. Probably the compulsion with which he
had been forced to render up the spoils which he had abstracted from my
father's counting-house by the united authority of Sir Frederick Vern