« PreviousContinue »
by the apparition of a twinkling light or two; but, as he came up, he was disappointed to find the gleams proceeded from some of those farm-houses which occasionally ornamented the surface of the extensive bog. At length, to compleat his perplexity, he arrived at a place where the road divided into two. If there had been light to consult the reliques of a finger-post which stood there, it would have been of little avail, as, according to the good custom of North-Britain, the inscription had been defaced shortly after its erection. Our adventurer was therefore compelled, like a knight-errant of old, to trust to the sagacity of his horse, which, without any demur, chose the left-hand path, and seemed to proceed at a somewhat livelier pace than formerly, affording thereby a hope that he knew he was drawing near to his quarters for the evening. This hope was not speedily accomplished, and Mannering, whose impatience made every furlong seem three, began to think tlat Kipple
tringan was actually retreating before him in proportion to his advance. ..It was now very cloudy, although the stars, from time to time, shed a twinkling and uncertain light. Hitherto nothing had broken the silence around him, but the deep cry of the bog-blitter, or bull-of-thebog, a large species of bittern; and the sighs of the wind as it passed along the dreary morass. To these was now joined the distant roar of the ocean, towards which the traveller seemed to be fast :ap, proaching. This was no circumstance to make his mind easy. Many of the roads ing that country. lay along the sea-beach, and were liable to be flooded by the tides, which rise with great height, and advance with extreme rapidity. Others were intersected with creeks, and small inlets, which it was only safe to pass at particu, lar times of the tide. Neither circumstance would have suited a dark night, a fatigued horse, and a traveller ignorant of his road. Mannering resolved, therefore, definitive. ly, to halt for the night at the first inhabit. ed place, however poor, he might chance to reach, unless he could procure a guide to this unlucky village of Kippletringan.
A miserable hut gave him an opportunity to execute his purpose. He found out the door with no small difficulty, and for some time knocked without producing any other answer than a duett between a female and a cur-dog, the latter yelping as if he would have barked his heart out, the other screaming in chorus. By degrees the human tones predominated; but the angry bark of the cur being at the instant changed into a howl, it is probable something more than fait strength of lungs had contributed to the ascendancy.
" Sorrow be in your thrapple than !”. these were the first articulate words, “will. ye no let me hear what the man wants, wi’ your yaffing?" ..."
“ Am I far from Kippletringan, goodi dame?".
.. . " A 2. .
“ Frae Kippletringan !!!” in an exalted tone of wonder, which we can but faintly express by- three points of admiration. “Ow, man! ye should hae hadden easel to Kippletringan-ye maun gae back as far as the Whaap, and haud the Whaap till ye come to Ballenloan, and then"
“This will never do, good dame! my horse is almost quite set up-can you not give me a night's lodgings?"..
" Troth can I no~I am a lone woman, for James he's awa to Drumshourloch fair with the year-aulds, and I darena for my life open the door to ony of your gangthere-out sort o' bodies.". ....
hat must I do then, good dame? for I can't sleep here upon the road all night?"
“ Troth, I ken na, unless ye like to gaé down andspeer for quarters at the Place. l'se warrant they'll take ye in, whether ye be gentle or semple." . .
“Simple enough, to be wandering here at such a time of night,” thought Manner
ing, who was ignorant of the meaning of the phrase, “but how shall I get to the place, as you call it?"
“ Ye maun haud wessel by the end o’ the loan, and take tent o' the jaw-hole.”.
“O, if you get to easel and wessel again, I am undone! Is there nobody that could guide me to this place ? I will pay him handsomely."
The word pay operated like magic. “ Jock, ye villain,” exclaimed the voice from the interior, “ are ye lying routing there, and a young gentleman seeking the way to the Place ? Get up, ye fause loon, and shew him the way down the meikle loaning.--He'll shew you the way, sir, and I'se warrant ye'll be weel put up; for they never turn awa' naebody frae the door; and ye'll be come in the canny moment I'm thinking, for the laird's servantthat's no to say his body-servant, but the helper like-rade express by this e’en to fetch the houdie, and he just staid the drinking o'twa pints o'tippeny, to tell us how my leddy was ta’en wi' her pains.”