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names of Godfreys, and Gilberts, and Dennises, and Rolands, without end, bore heathen fruit of yet darker ages-Arths, and Knarths, and Donagilds, and Hanlons. In truth, they had been formerly the stormy chiefs of a desert, but extensive domain, and the heads of a numerous tribe, called MacDingawaie, though they afterwards adopted the Norman surname of Bertram. They had made war, raised rebellions, been defeated, beheaded, and hanged, as became a family of importance, for many centuries. But they had gradually lost ground in the world, and from being themselves the heads of treason, and traitorous conspiracies, the Bertrams, or Mac-Dingawaies of Ellangowan, had sunk into subordinate accomplices. Their most fatal exibitions in this capacity took place in the seventeenth century, when the foul fiend possessed them with a spirit of contradiction which uniformly involved them in controversy with the ruling powers. They reversed the conduct of the celebrated vicar of Bray, and adhered as tenaciously to the weaker side, as that worthy divine to the stronger. And, truly, like him, they had their reward.
Allan Bertram of Ellangowan, who flourished tempore Caroli primi, was, says my authority, Sir Robert Douglas, in his Scotish Baronage, (see the title Ellangowan,) 'a steady loyalist, and full of zeal for the cause of his sacreil majesty, in which he united with the great marquis of Montrose, and other truly zealous and honourable patriots, and sustained great losses in their behalf. He had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him by his most sacred majesty, and was sequestrated as a malignant by the parliament, in 1642, and afterward as a reso•
lutioner, in the year 1648.' These two cross-grained epithets of malignant and resolutioner cost poor Sir Allan one half of the family estate. His son Dennis Bertram, married a daughter of an eminent fanatic, who had a seat in the council of state, and saved by that union the remainder of the family property. But, as ill chance would have it, he became enamoured of the lady's principles as well as of her charms, and my author gives him this character; ' He was a man of eminent parts and resolution, for which reason he was chosen by the western counties one of the committee of noblemen and gentlemen, to report their griefs to the privy council of Charles II. anent the coming in of the Highland host in 1678.' For undertaking this patriotic task he underwent a fine, to pay which he was obliged to mortgage half of the remaining moiety of his paternal property. This loss he might have recovered by dint of severe economy, but upon the breaking out of Argyle's rebellion, Dennis Bertram was again suspected by government, apprehended, sent to Dunnotar Castle, on the coast of the Mearns, and there broke his neck in an attempt to escape from a subterranean habitation, called the Whig's Vault, in which he was confined with some eighty of the same persuasion. The appraiser, therefore,
as the holder of a mortgage was then called,) entered upon possession, and, in the language of Hotspur, 'came me cranking in,' and cut the family out of another monstrous cantle of their remaining property.
Donohoe Bertram, with somewhat of an Irish name, and somewhat of an Irish temper, succeeded to the diminished property of Ellangowan. He
turned out of doors the Rev. Aaron Macbriar, his mother's chaplain, (it is said they quarrelled about the good graces of a milk-maid,) drank himself daily drunk with brimming healths to the king, council, and bishops; held orgies with the laird of Lagg, Theophilus Oglethorpe, and Sir James Turner; and lastly, took his gray gelding, and joined Clavers at Killie-krankie. At the skirmish of Dunkeld, 1689, he was shot dead by a Cameronian with a silver button, (being supposed to have proof from the Evil One against lead and steel,) and his grave is still called the wicked Laird's Lair.'
His son, Lewis, had more prudence than seems usually to have belonged to the family. He nursed what property was yet left to him; for Donohoe's excesses, as well as fines and forfeitures, had made another inroad upon the estate. And although even he did not escape the fatality which induced the lairds of Ellangowan to interfere in politics, he had yet the prudence, ere he went out with Lord Kenmore, in 1715, to convey his estate to trustees, in order to parry pains and penalties, in case the earl of Mar could not put down the protestant succes. sion. But Scylla and Charybdis a word to the wise -he only saved his estate at the expense of a lawsuit, which again subdivided the family property. He was however, a man of resolution. He sold part of the lands, evacuated the old castle, where the family lived in their decadence, as a mouse, (said an old farmır,) lives under a firlet. Pulling down part of these venerable ruins, he built a narrow house of three stories in height, with a front like a grenadier's cap, two windows on each side, and a door in the midst, full of all manner of cross
lights. This was the New Place of Ellangowan, in which we left our hero, better amused, perhaps, than our readers, and to this Lewis Bertram retreated, full of projects for re-establishing the prosperity of his family. He took some land into his own hand, rented some from neighbouring proprietors, bought and sold Highland cattle and Cheviot sheep, rode to fairs and trysts, fought hard bargains, and held necessity at the staff's end as well as he might. But what he gained in purse he lost in honour; for such agricultural and commercial negotiations were very ill looked upon by his brother lairds, who minded nothing but cock-fighting, hunting, coursing, and horseracing. These occupations encroached, in their opinion, upon the articles of Ellangowan's gentry, and he found it necessary gradually to estrange himself from their society, and sink into what was then a very ambiguous character, a gentleman farmer. In the midst of his schemes, death claimed his tribute, and the scanty remains of a large property descended upon Godfrey Bertram, the present possessor, his only son.
The danger of the father's speculations was soon seen. Deprived of his personal and active" superintendance, all his undertakings miscarried, and became either abortive or perilous. Without a single spark of energy to meet or repel these misfortunes, Godfrey put his faith in the activity of another. He kept neither hunters nor hounds, nor any other southern preliminaries to ruin; but, as has been observed of his countrymen, he kept a man of business, who answered the purpose equally well. Under this gentleman's supervision small debts grew into large, interests were accumulated upon capitals, moveable
bonds became heritable, and law charges were heaped upon all; though Ellangowan possessed so little the spirit of a litigant, that he was upon two occasions charged to make payment of the expenses of a long litigation, although he had never before heard that he had such cases in court. Meanwhile his neighbours predicted his final ruin. Those of the higher rank, with some malignity, accounted him already a degraded brother. The lower classes, seeing nothing enviable in his situation, marked his embarrassments with more compassion. He was even a kind of favourite with them, and upon the division of a common, or the holding of a black fishing, or poaching court, or any similar occasion, when they conceived themselves oppressed by the gentry, they were in the habit of saying to each other, 'Ah, if Ellangowan, honest man, had his ain that his forebears had afore him, he wad na see the puir folk trod. den down this gait. Meanwhile, this general good opinion never prevented their taking the advantage of him on all possible occasions-turning their cattle into his parks, stealing his wood, shooting his game, &c. ' for the laird, honest man, he'll never find it,he never minds what a puir body does.'-Pedlars, gypsies, tinkers, vagrants of all descriptions, roosted about his out-houses, or harboured in his kitchen, and the laird, who was 'nae nice body,' but a thorough gossip, like most weak men, found recompense for his hospitality in the pleasure of questioning them on the news of the country side.
A circumstance arrested Ellangowan's progress upon the high road to ruin. This was his marriage with a lady who had a portion of about four thousand pounds. Nobody in the neighbourhood could