Page images

side, an old unmarried lady, to whom she wrote an account of her present distressful situation... ::

The funeral of the late Mr Bertram was performed with decent privacy, and the unfortunate young lady was now to con sider herself as but the temporary tenant of the house in which she had been born, and where her patience and soothing attentions had so long "rocked the cradle of declining age.” Her communication with Mr Mac-Morlan encouraged her to hope, that she would not be suddenly or unkindly deprived of this asylum ; but fortune had ordered otherwise.

For two days before the appointed day. for the sale of the lands and estate of El. langowan, Mac-Morlan daily expected the appearance of Colonel Mannering, or at least a letter containing powers to act for him. But none such arrived. Mr MacMorlan waked early in the morning,-walked over to the Post-office,-there were no

letters for him. He endeavoured to persuade himself that he should see Colonel Mannering to breakfast, and ordered his wife to place her best china, and prepare herself accordingly. But the preparations were in vain. “ Could I have foreseen this," he said, “I would have travelled Scotland over, but I would have found some one to bid against Glossin.” Alas! such reflections were all too late. The ap. pointed hour arrived; and the parties met in the Mason's Lodge at Kippletringan, being the place fixed for the adjourned sale. Mac-Morlan spent as much time in preliminaries as decency would permit, and read over the articles of sale as slowly as if he had been reading his own deathwarrant. He turned his eye every time the door of the room opened, with hopes which grew fainter and fainter. He listened to every noise in the street of the village, and endeavoured to distinguish in it the noise of hoofs or wheels. It was all

in vain. A bright idea then occurred, that Colonel Mannering might have employed some other person in the transaction-he would not have wasted a moments thought upon the want of confidence in himself, which such a manoeuvre would have evinced. But this hope also" was groundless. After a solemn pause, Mr Glossin offered the upset price for the lands and barony of Ellangowan. 'No reply was made, and no competitor appeared; so, after a lapse of the usual interval by the running of a sandglass, upon the intended purchaser entering the proper sureties, Mr Mac-Morlan was obliged, in technical terms, to '* find and declare the sale lawfully completed, and to prefer the said Gilbert Glossin as the purchaser of the said lands and estate." The honest writer refused to partake of a splendid entertainment with which Gilbert Glossin, Esquire, ' now of Ellangowan, treated the rest of the company, and re. turned home in huge bitterness of spirit, which he vented in complaints against the fickleness and caprice of these Indian Nabobs, who never knew what they would be at for ten days together. Fortune generously determined to take the blame upon herself, and cut off even this vent of Mr Mac-Morlan's resentment.

An express arrived about six o'clock at night, “ very particularly drunk,” the maid servant said, with a packet from Colonel Mannering, dated four days back, at a town about a hundred miles distance from Kippletringan, containing full powers to Mr Mac-Morlan, or any one whom he might employ, to make the intended purchase, and stating, that some family business of consequence called the Colonel himself to Westmoreland, where a letter would find him, addressed to the care of Arthur Mervyn, Esq. of Mervyn Hall.

Mac-Morlan, in the transport of his wrath, flung the power of attorney at the head of the innocent maid-servant, and was only forcibly with-held from horse

whipping the rascally messenger, by whose sloth and drunkenpess the disappointment had taken place.

« PreviousContinue »