Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

with me.

law language-hooly and fairly, as one may say that has keepit the muir-side thirty year in spite of a' ill treating of business with an empty stomach-and the lairds in the country, shoots, he tells me, now-a here comes your tea, and I hope Hannah has made days, as if he felt

a rape about his neck.".. it to your taste.

“It wasna about ony game business, then, that you Meg sipped her tea-confessed Hannah's skill in wanted advice ?'' said Bindloose, who, though somethe mysteries of the Chinese herb--sipped again, what of a digresser himself, made little allowance then tried to eat a bit of bread and butter, with very for the excursions of others from the subject in indifferent success; and notwithstanding the law- hand. yer's compliments to her good looks, seemed, in "Indeed is it no, Mr. Bindloose," said Meg; "but reality, on the point of becoming ill.

it is c'en about this unhappy callant that I spoke to "In the deil's name, what is the matter !" said the you about. Ye maun ken I have cleiket a particular lawyer, too well read in a profession where sharp fancy to this lad, Francis Tirl-a fancy that whiles observation is peculiarly necessary, to suffer these surprises my very sell, Mr. Bindloose, only that there symptoms of agitation to escape him. Ay, dame? is nae sin in it.' ye are taking this business of yours deeper to heart "None-none in the world, Mrs. Dods," said the than ever I kend you take ony thing. Ony o' your lawyer, thinking at the same time within his mind, banded debtors failed, or like to fail? What then! “Oho! the mist begins to clear up-the young poacher cheer ye up--you can afford a little loss, and it canna has hit the mark, I see-winged the old barren gray be ony great matter, or I would doubtless have heard ben!-ay, ay, a marriage-contract, no doubt--but I of it.

maun gie her line. Ye are a wise woman, Mrs. Dods," "In troth, but it is a loss, Mr. Bindloose; and he continued aloud, " and can doubtless consider the what say ye to the loss of a friend?".

chances and the changes of human affairs." This was a possibility which had never entered the “But I could never have considered what has belawyer's long list of calamities, and he was at some fallen this puir lad, Mr. Bindloose," said Mrs. Dods, loss to conceive what the old lady could possibly "through the malice of wicked men.-He lived, then, mean by so sentimental a prolusion. But just as he at the Cleikum, as I tell you, for mair than a fortnight, began to come out with his “Ay, ay, we are all as quiet as a lamb on a lea-rig-a decenter lad never mortal, Vita incerta, mors certissima!" and two or came within my door-ate and drank enough for the three more pithy reflections, which he was in the gude of the house, and nae mair than was for his ain habit of uttering after funerals, when the will of the gude, whether of body or soul-cleared his bills ilka deceased was about to be opened, -just then Mrs. Saturday at e'en, as regularly as Saturday came Dods was pleased to become the expounder of her round.” own oracle.

"An admirable customer, no doubt, Mrs. Dods," "I see how it is, Mr. Bindloose,” she said; “I said the lawyer. maun tell my ain ailment, for you are no likely to Never was the like of him for that matter," anguess it; and so, if ye will shut the door, and see swered the honest dame. “But to see the malice of that nane of your giggling callants are listening in men !--Some of thae landloupers and gill-fliris down the passage, I will e'en tell you how things stand at the filthy puddle yonder, that they ca’ the Waal,

bad heard of this puir lad, and the bits of pictures thai Mr. Blindloose hastily arose to obey her commands, he made fashion of drawing, and they maun cuile him gave a cautionary glance into the Bank-Office, and awa doun to the houile, where mony a bonny story saw that his idle apprentices were fast at their desks they had clecked, Mr. Bindloose, baith of Mr. Tirl and - turned the key upon them, as if it were in a fit of of inysell.” absence, and then returned, not a little curious to "A Commissary Court business," said the writer, know what could be the matter with his old friend : going off again upon a false scent. ""I shall trim their and leaving off all further attempts to put cases, jackets for them, Mrs. Dods, if you can but bring quietly drew his chair near hers, and awaited her light evidence of the facts- I will soon bring them to own time to make her communication.

fine and palinode-I will make them repent meddling 'Mr. Bindloose,” said she, “I am no sure that you with your good name. may mind, about six or seven years ago, that there * My gude name! What the sorrow is the matter were twa daft English callants, lodgers of mine, that wi' my name, Mr. Bindloose?" said the irritable clihad some trouble from auld St. Ronan's about ent. "I think ye hae been at the wee cappie this shooting on the Springwell-head muirs."

morning, for as early as it is-My gude name!-ifony "I mind it as weel as yesterday, Mistress," said body touched my gude name, I would neither fash the Clerk; “ by the same token you gave me a note counsel nor commissary-I wad be down amang them, for my trouble, (which wasna worth speaking about,) like a jer-falcon amang a wheen wild-geese, and the and bade me no bring in a bill against the puir bairns best amang them that dared to say ony thing of Meg -ye had aye a kind heart, Mrs. Dods."

Dods by what was honest and civil, I wad sune see it "Maybe, and maybe no, Mr. Bindloose that is just her cockernonnie was made of her ain hair or other as I find folk.-But concerning these lads, they baith folk's. My gude name, indeed !" left the country, and, as I think, in some ill blúde wi' “Weel, weel, Mrs. Dods, I was mista'en ; that's ane another, and now the auldest and the doucest of a'," said the writer, “I was mista'on; and I dare to the twa came back again about a fortnight sin’ syne, say you would haud your ain wi' your neighbours as and has been my guest ever since.'

weel as ony woman in the land-But let us hear now "Aweel, and I trust he is not at his auld tricks what the grief is, in one word.” again, goodwife?" answered the Clerk. “I havena "In one word, then, Clerk Bindloose, it is little Bae muckle to say either wil the new Sheriff or the short of-murder," said Meg in a low tone, as if the Bench of Justices as I used to hae, Mrs. Dods--and very utterance of the word startled her. the Procurator-fiscal is very severe on poaching, being Murder! murder, Mrs. Dods?-it cannot be borne out by the new Association-few of our auld there is not a word of it in the Sheriff-office-the Profriends of the Killnakelty are able to come to the curator-fiscal kens nothing of it-there could not be sessions now, Mrs. Dods.

murder in the country, and me not hear or it-for "The waur for the country, Mr. Bindloose," replied God's sake, take heed what you say, woman and the old lady-"they were decent, considerate men, dinna get yourself into trouble." that didna plague a ruir herd callant muckle about a "Mr. Bindloose, I can but speak according to my moorfowl or a mawkin, unless he turned common lights,” said Mrs. Dods; "you are in a sense a judge fowler-Sir Robert Ringhorse used to say the herd in Israel, at least you are one of the scribes having lads shot as mony gleds and pyots as they did game: authority-and I tell you, with a wae and a bitter ---But new lords new laws--naething but fine and heart, that this puir callani of mine that was lodging imprisonment, and the game no a feather the plentier. in my house has been murdered or kidnapped awa If I wad hae a brace or twa of birds in the house, as amang ihae bandiiti folk down at the New Waal; every body looks for them after the twelfth-1 ken and I'll have the law put in force against them, if it what they are like to cost me--And what for no?- should cost me a hundred pounds.". risk maun be paid for. There is John Pirner himsell, The Clerk stood much astonished at the pature of Meg's accusation, and the pertinacity with which she "Have less zeal!" said Meg, determined to be pleased seemed disposed to insist upon it.

with no supposition of her lawyer, “Mr. Bindloose, "I have ihis comfort,” she continued, " that what- ye little ken him--I wish ye had seen him when he ever has happened, it has been by no fault of mine, was angry!- I dared hardly face him mysell, and Mr. Bindloose; for weel I wot, before that blood- there are no mony folk that l'am feared for-Meeting! thirsty auld half-pay Philistine, MacTurk, got to there was nae meeting, I trow—they never dared to speech of him, 1 clawed his cantle to some purpose meet him fairly-but I am sure waur came of it than with my hearth besom. -But the poor simple bairn ever would have come of a meeting; for Anthony himsell, that had nae inair knowledge of the wicked-heard twa shots gang off as he was watering the auld ness of huinan nature than a calf has of a Alesher's naig down at the burn, and that is not far frae the gully, he threepit to see the auld hardened blood-footpatch that leads to the Buck-stane. I was angry shedder, and trysted wi' him to meet wi' some of the at him for no making on to see what the matter was, gang at an hour certain that same day, and awa he but he thought it was auld Pirner out with the double gard to keep tryst, but since that hour nacbody ever barrel, and he wasna keen of making himself a withis set een on him.-And the mansworn villains now ness, in case he suld have been caa'd on in the want to put a disgrace on him, and say that he fled Poaching Court." the couniry rather than face them!-a likely story- "Well," said the Sheriff-clerk, "and I dare say he fled the country for them !--and leave his bill un- did hear a poacher fire a couple of shots-nothing settled-him that was sae regular--and his port- more likely. Believe me, Mrs. Dods, your guest had mantle and his fishing-rod, and the pencils and no fancy for the party Captain MacTurk invited him pictures he held sic a wark about !-It's my faithful to-and being a quiet sort of man, he has just walked belief, Mr. Bindloose--and ye may trust me or no as away to his own home, if he has one-I am really ye like--that he had some foul play between the sorry you have given yourself the trouble of this long Cleikum and the Buck-stane. I have thought it, and journey about so simple a matter." I have dreamed it, and I will be at the bottom of it, Mrs. Dods remained with her eyes fixed on the or my name is noi Meg Dods, and that I wad have ground in a very sullen and discontented posture, them a' to reckon on.--Ay, ay, that's right Mr. Bind- and when she spoke, it was in a tone of correspondloose, tak out your pen and inkhorn, and let us set ing displeasure. about it to purpose.

Awcel--aweel-live and learn, they say—I thought With considerable difficulty, and at the expense I had a friend in you, Mr. Bindloose-- I am sure

aye of much cross-examination, Mr. Bindloose extracted took your part when folk miscaa'd ye, and said ye from his client a detailed account of the proceedings were this, that, and the other thing, and little better of the company at the Well towards Tyrrel, so far as than an auld seck-drawing loon, Mr. Bindloose.they were known to, or suspected by Meg, making And ye have aye keepit my penny of money, though, notes, as the examination proceeded, of what appeared nae doubı, Tam Turnpenny lives nearer me, and they to be matter of consequence. After a moment's con- say he allows half a per cent mair than ye do if the sideration, he asked the dame the very natural ques. siller lies, and mine is but seldom steered.” tion, how she came to be acquainted with the material “But ye have not the Bank's security, madam," fact, that a hostile appointment was made between said Mr. Bindloose, reddening. "I say harm of nae Captain MacTurk and her lodger, when, according man's credit--ill would it beseem me--but there is a to her own account, it was made intra parictes, and difference between Tam Turnpenny and the Bank, I remotis testibus?

"Ay, but we victuallers ken weel eneugh what goes "Weel, weel, Bank here Bank there, I thought I on in our ain houses," said Mes" And what for no ? had a friend in you, Mr. Bindloose ; and here am I, -If ye maun ken a' about it, le'en listened through come from my ain house all the way to yours for sma' the keyhole of the door."

comfort, I think.” And do you say you heard them settle an appoint- "My stars, madam," said the perplexed scribe, ment for a duel ?" said the Clerk; "and did you no what would you have me to do in such a blind story take ony measures to hinder inischief, Mrs. Dods, as yours, Mrs. Dods ?-Be a thought reasonablehaving such a respect for this lad as you say you have consider that there is no Corpus delicti." Mrs. Dods?-I really wadna have looked for the like “Corpus delicti ? and what's that?" said Meg; of this at your hands."

something to be paid for, nae doubt, for your hard "In truth, Mr. Bindloose," said Meg, putting her words a' end in that.-And what for suld I no have apron to her eyes, "and that's what vexes me mair a Corpus delicti, or a Habeas Corpus, or ony other than a' the rest, and ye needna say muckle to ane Corpus that I like, sac lang as I am willing to lick whose heart is e'en the sairer thai she has been a and lay down the ready siller?" thought to blame. But there has been mony a chal- “Lord help and pardon us, Mrs. Dods," said the lenge, as they ca' it, passed in my house when thae distressed agent, " ye mistake the matter a'thegether! dast lads of the Wildfire Club and the Helterskelter When I say there is no Corpus delicti, I mean to say were upon their rambles; and they had aye sense there is no proof that a crime has been committed.” eneugh to make it up without fighting, sac that I "And does the man say that murder is not a crime, really did not apprehend ony thing like mischief. - then ?" answered Meg, who had taken her own view And ye maun think, moreover, Mr. Bindloose, that it of the subject far too strongly to be converted to any would have been an unco thing if a guest, in a decent other--"Weel I wot it's a crime, baith by the law of and creditable public like mine, was to have cried God and man, and mony a pretty man has been coward before ony of thae land-louping blackguards strapped for it. that live down at the hottle yonder."

“I ken all that very weel," answered the writer ; "That is to say, Mrs. Dods, you were desirous your "but, my stars, Mrs. Dods, there is nae evidence of guest should fight for the honour of your house," said murder in this case-nae proof that a man has been Bind!oose.

slain-nae production of his dead body-and that is 'What for no, Mr. Bindloose?--Isna that kind what we call the Corpus delicti.” of fray ave about honour ? and what for should the “Weel, than, the deil lick it out of ye,” said Meg, honour of a substantial, four-nooked, sclated house of rising in wrath, "for I will awa hame again ; and as thrve stories, no be foughten for, as weel as the credit for the puir lad's body, I'll hae it fund, if it cost me of ony of these feckless callants that make such a turning the earth for three miles round wi' pick and fray

about their reputation ?-1 promise you my house, shool-if it were but to give the puir bairn Christian the Cleikum, stood in the Auld Town of St. Ronan's burial, and to bring punishment on Mac'Turk and the before they were born, and it will stand there after murdering crew at the Waal, and to shame an auld they are hanged, as I trust some of them are like to doited fule like yoursell, John Bindloose.”

She rose in wrath to call her vehicle; but it was "Well, but perhaps your lodger had less zeal for the neither the interest nor the intention of the writer that honour of the house, and has quietly taken

himself out of harm's way," said Mr. Bindloose;" for if I care of the non-appearance of an individual ; there must be

'. For examplo, a man cannot be tried for murder merely in the understand your story, this meeting never took place." proof that the party has been murdered.

trow."

be."

A PRAISER OF PAST TIMES.

his customer and he should part on such indifferent, aware that his pocket was replenished with English terms. He implored her patience, and reminded her and Scottish paper currency, returned the compliment that the horses, poor things, had just come off their with her best curtsey. stage-an argument which sounded irresistible in the Mr. Touchwood, when surveyed more at leisure, ears of the old she-publican, in whose early education was a short, stout, active man, who, though sixty due care of the post-cattle mingled with the most years of age and upwards, retained in his sinews and sacred duties. She therefore resumed her seat again frame the elasticity of an earlier period. His countein a sullen mood, and Mr. Bindloose was cudgeling bis nance expressed self-confidence, and something like brains for some argument which might bring the old a contempt for those who had neither seen nor enJady to reason, when his attention was drawn by a dured so much as he had himself. His short black noise in the passage.

hair was mingled with gray, but not entirely whitened by it. His eyes were jet-black, deep-sel, small, and

sparkling, and contributed, with a short turned-up CHAPTER XV.

nose, to express an iritable and choleric habit. His

complexion was burnt to a brick-colour by the vicisNow your traveller,

situdes of climate, to which it had been subjected; He and his toothpick at my worship s mess.

and his face, which at the distance of a yard or two

King John. seemed hale and smooth, appeared, when closely exThe noise stated at the conclusion of last chapter amined, to be seamed with a million of wrinkles, to have disturbed Mr. Bindloose, was the rapping of crossing each other in every direction possible, but as one, as in haste and impatience, at the Bank-office fine as if drawn by the point of a very small needle. door, which office was an apartment of the Banker's His dress was a blue coat and buff' waistcoat, halfhouse, on the left hand of his passage, as the parlour boots remarkably well blacked, and a silk handkerin which he had received Mrs. Dods was upon the chief ried with military precision. The only antiright.

quated part of his dress was a cocked hat of equilateIn general, this office was patent to all having busi- ral dimensions, in the button-hole of which he wore ness there ;' but at present, whatever might be the a very small cockade. Mrs. Dods, accustomed to hurry of the party who knocked, the clerks within the judge of persons by their first appearance, said, that office could not admit him, being themselves made in three steps which he made from the door to the prisoners by the prudent jealousy of Mr. Bindloose, to tea-table, she recognised, without the possibility of prevent them from listening to his consultation with mistake, the gait of a person who was well to pass in Mrs. Dods. They therefore answered the angry and the world; "and that,” she added with a wink, "is impatient knocking of the stranger only with stified what we victuallers are seldom deceived in. If a goldgiggling from within, finding it no doubt an excellent laced waistcoat has an empty pouch, the plain swan's joke, that their master's precaution was thus inter- down will be the brawer of the twa. fering with their own discharge of duty.

“A drizzling morning, good madam," said Mr. With one or two hearty curses upon them, as the Touchwood, as with a view of sounding what sort of regular plagues of his life, Mr. Bindloose darted into company he had got into. the passage, and admitted the stranger into his official "A fine saft morning for the crap, sir," answered apartment.' The doors both of the parlour and office Mrs. Dods, with equal solemnity. remaining open, the ears of Luckie Dods (experienced, “Right, my good madam; soft is the very word, as the reader knows, in collecting intelligence) could though it has been sometime since I heard it. I have partly overhear what passed. The conversation cast a double hank about the round world since I last seemed to regard a cash transaction of some im- heard of a soft* morning." portance, as Mey became aware when the stranger "You will be from these parts, then ?" said the raised a voice which was naturally sharp and high, as writer, ingeniously putting a case, which, he hoped, he did when uttering the following words, towards would induce the stranger to explain himself. "And the close of a conversation which had lasted about yet, sir," he added, after a pause, “I was thinking five minutes-“ Premium ?-Not a pice, sir--not a ihat Touchwood is not a Scottish name, at least that courie-not a farthing--premium for a Bank of Eng. I ken of." land bill ?-d'ye take me for a fool, sir?-do not I “Scottish name?-no," replied the traveller ; " but know that you call forty days par when you give re- a man may have been in these parts before, without mittances to London ?"

being a nativemor, being a native, he may have had Mr. Bindloose was here heard to mutter something some reason to change bis name-there are many indistinctly about the custom of the trade.

reasons why men change their names. 'Custom !" retorted the stranger, "no such thing- "Certainly, and some of them very good ones," damn'd bad custom, if it is one-don't tell me of sad the lawyer; "as in the common case of an heir customs-'Sbodikins, man, I know the rate of ex- of entail, where deed of provision and tailzie is mais! change all over the world, and have drawn bills from ordinarily implemented by taking up name and Timbuctoo-My friends in the Strand filed it along arms.' with Bruce's from Gondar-talk to me of premium on “Ay, or in the case of a man having made the couna Bank of England post-bill !-What d’ye look at the try too hot for him under his own proper appellative," bill for ?-D'ye think it doubtful ?-I can change it.” said Mr. Touchwood.

"By no means necessary," answered Bindloose, "That is a supposition, sir," replied the lawyer, "the bill is quite right; but it is usual to indorse, sir.” "which it would ill become me to put.-But at any

"Certainly--reach me a pen-d'ye think I can write rate, if you knew this country formerly, ye cannot but with my raitan ?-What sort of ink is this ?--yellow be marvellously pleased with the change we have as curry sauce--never mind-there is my name, been making since the American war-hill-sides bearPeregrine Touchwood-I got it from the Willoughbies, ing clover instead of heather-rents doubled, trebled, my Christian name-Have I my full change here?" quadrupled—the auld reckie dungeons pulled down, Your full change, sir," answered Bindloose.

and gentlemen living in as good houses as you will "Why, you should give me a premium, friend, in- see any where in England." stead of me giving you one.

"Much good may it do them, for a pack of fools!" "It is out of our way, I assure you, sir," said the replied Mr. Touchwood, hastily. Banker, "quite out of our way-but if you would step "You do not seem much delighted with our iminto the parlour and take a cup of tea”

provements, sir ?" said the banker, astonished to hear "Why, ay,” said the stranger, his voice sounding a dissentient voice where he conceived all men were more distinctly as (talking all the while, and ushered unanimous. along by Mr. Bindloose) he left the office and moved "Pleased !" answered the stranger—"Yes, as much towards the parlour, a cup of tea were no such bad pleased as I am with the devil, who I believe set many thing, if one could come by it genuine-but as for your premium" So saying, he entered the par- Cossack leader, Platoff.

* This was a peculiarity in the countenance of the celebrated lour, and made his bow to Mrs. Dods, who, seeing what she called a decent, purpose-like body, and I ter calls rainy.

† An epithet which expresses, in Scotland, what the barona gen

of them agoing. Ye have got an idea that every thing and drive-froth, foam, and flippancy-no steadiness must be changel-Unstable as water, ye shall not --no character.' excel-1 tell ye, there have been more changes in this "I'll lay the burden of my life," said Dame Dods, poor nook of yours within the last forty years, than looking towards her friend Bindloose, "that the in the great empires of the East for the space of four tleman has been at the new Spaw-waal yonder!" thousand, for what I know."

Spaw do you call it, madam ?-If you mean the “And why not," replied Bindloose, “if they be new establishment that has been spawned down yonchanges for the better !!!

der at St. Ronan's, it is the very fountain-head of But they are not for the better,” replied Mr. Touch- folly and coxcombry-a Babel for noise, and a Vanwood, eagerly. "I left your peasantry as poor as rats ity-fair for nonsense-no well in your swamps teindeed, but honest and industrious, enduring their lot nanted by such a conceited colony of clamorous in this world with firmness, and looking forwani to frogs. the next with hope-Now they are mere eye-servants Sir, sir!" exclaimed Dame Dods, delighted with -looking at their watches, forsooth, every ten min-the unqualified sentence passed upon her fashionable utes, lest they should work for their master half an rivals, and eager to testily her respect for the judiinstant after losing-time-And then, instead of cious stranger who had pronounced it, —“ will you let studying the Bible on the work days, to kittle the me have the pleasure of pouring you out a dish of clergymen with doubtful points of controversy on the tea?" And so saying, she took bustling possession Sabbath, they glean all their theology from Tom of the administration which had hitherto remained in Paine and Voltaire."

the hands of Mr. Bindloose himself. “I hope it is to “Weel I wot the gentleman speaks truth,”, said your taste, sir,” she continued, when the traveller Mrs. Dods. “I fand a bundle of iheir bawbee blas- had accepted her courtesy with the grateful acknowphemies in my ain kitchen-But I trow I made a ledgment, which men addicted to speak a great deal clean house of the packman loon that brought them! usually show to a willing auditor.

-No content wi' turning the ta wpies' heads wi' bal- "It is as good as we have any right to expect, lants, and driving them daft wi' ribands, to cheat ma'am," answered Mr. Touchwood; not quite like them out of their precious souls, and gie them the what I have drunk at Canton with old Fong Quadeevil's ware, that I suld say sae, in exchartge for the but the Celestial empire does not send its best tea to siller that suld support their puir father that's aff Leadenhall Street, nor does Leadenhall Street send wark and bedridden !!!

its best to Marchthorn." "Father! madam,” said the stranger; "they think "That may be very true, sir," replied the dame; no more of their father than Regan or Goneril." 'but I will venture to say that Mr. Bindloose's tea

"In good troth, ye have skeel of our sect, sir," is muckle better than you had at the Spaw-waal replied the dame;' "they are gomerils, every one of yonder." them-I tell them sae' every hour of the day, but “Tea, madam !-I saw none-Ash leaves and catch them profiting by the doctrine.”

black-thorn leaves were brought in in painted canis" And then the brutes are turned mercenary, ters, and handed about by powder-monkeys in livery, madam," said Mr. Touchwood. “I remember when and consumed by those who liked it, amidst the a Scottishman would have scorned to touch a shil chattering of parrots and the squslling of kitiens. I ling that he had not earned, and yet was as ready to longed for the days of the Spectator, when I might help a stranger as an Arab of the desert. And now, have laid my penny on the bar, and retired without I did but drop my cane the other day as I was riding ceremony--But no-this blessed decoction was circu-a fellow who was working at the hedge made three lated under the auspices of some half-crazed bluesteps to lift it-I thanked him, and my friend threw stocking or other, and we were saddled with all the his hat on his head, and 'damned my ihanks, if that formality of an entertainment, for this miserable alwere all'--Saint Giles could not have excelled him." lowance of a cockle-shell full of cat-lap per head.”

"Weel, weel," said the banker, "that may be a' as "Weel, sir" answered Dame Dods, "all I can say you say, sir, and nae doubt wealih makes wit waver; iş, that if it had been my luck to have served you at but the country's wealthy, that cannot be denied, the Cleikum Inn, which our folk have kept for these and wealth, sir, ye ken”'

twa generations, I canna pretend to say ye should "I know wealth makes itself wings," answered the have had such tea as ye have been used to in foreign cynical stranger; " but I am not quite sure we have it parts where it grows, but the best I had I wad have

You make a great show, indeed, with gi'en it to a gentleman of your appearance, and I building and cultivation ; but stock is not capital, any never charged mair than sixpence in all my time, and more than the fat of a corpulent man is health or my father's before me." strength."

"I wish I had known the Old Inn was still stand“Surely, Mr. Touchwood," said Bindloose, who ing, madam,” said the traveller ; "I should certainly felt his own account in the modern improvements, have been your guest, and sent down for the water

a set of landlords, living like lairds in good earnest, every morning-the doctors insist I must use Cheland tenants with better housekeeping than the lairds tenham, or some substitute, for the bile-though, used to have, and facing Whitsunday and Martinmas d-n them, I believe it's only

to hide their own ignoas I would face my breakfast-if these are not signs neceastavil of the two; but I have

been fairly over

And I thought this Spaw would have been of wealth, I do not know where to seek for them."

"They are signs of folly, sir," replied Touchwood; reached-one might as well live in the inside of a bell. "folly that is poor, and renders itself poorer, by de- I think young St. Ronan's must be mad, to have siring to be thought rich; and how they come by the established such a Vanity-fair upon his father's old means they are so ostentatious of, you, who are a property. banker, perhaps can tell me better than I can guess. Do you ken this St. Ronan's that now is ?" in

“There is maybe an accommodation bill dis-quired the dame. counted now and then, Mr. Touchwood; but men "By report only,” said Mr. Touchwood; "but I must have accommodation, or the world would stand have heard of the family, and I think I have read of still--accommodation is the grease that makes the them, too, in Scottish history. I am sorry to underwheels go.

stand they are lower in the world than they have “Ay, makes them go down hill to the devil,” an- been. This young man does not seem to take the swered Touchwood. "I left you bothered about one best way to mend matters, spending his time among Ayr bank, but the whole couniry is an Air bank now, gamblers and black-legs.' I think-And who is to pay the piper ?-But it's all " I should be sorry if it were so," said honest Meg one-I will see little more of it-it is a perfect Babel, Dods, whose hereditary respect for the family always and would turn the head of a man who has spent his kept 'her from joining in any scandal affecting the life with people who love sitting better than running, character of the young Laird - "My forbears, şir have silence better than speaking, who never eat but when had kindness frae his; and although maybe he may they are hungry, never drink but when thirsty, never have forgotten all about it, it wad ill become me to laugh without a jest

, and never speak but when they say ony thing of him that should not be said of his have something to say. But here, it is all run, ride, father's son.'

even now.

Mr. Bindloose had not the same motive for for- from his pocket, “I heard of little else- the whole bearance; he declaimed against Mowbray as a place rang of him, till I was almost as sick of Tyrrel thoughtless dissipater of his own fortune, and that of as William Rufus was. Some idiotical quarrel which others. "I have some reason to speak,” he said, he had engaged in, and which he had not fought out, "having two of his notes for L.100 each, which I as their wisdom thought he should have done, was discounted out of mere kindness and respect for his the principle cause of censure. That is another folly ancient family, and which he thinks nae mair of now, which has gained ground among you. Formerly reuring, than he does of paying the national debt- two old proud Tairds, or cadets of good family, And here has he been raking every shop in March - perhaps, quarrelled, and had a rencontre, or fought thorn, to fit out an entertainment for all the fine folk a duel after the fashion of their old Gothic ancestors; at the Well yonder; and tradesfolk are obliged 10 but men who had no grandfathers never dreamt of take ais acceptances for their furnishings. But they such folly-And here the folk denounce a trumpery may cash his bills that will; I ken ane that will never dauber of canvass, for such I understand to be this advance a bawbee on ony paper that has John Mow- hero's occupation, as if he were a field-officer, who bray either on the back or front of it. He had mair made valour his profession; and who, if you deprived need to be paying the debts which he has made him of his honour, was like to be deprived of big bread already, than making new anes, that he may feed at the same time.-Ha, ha, ha! it reminds one of Don fules and flatterers.".

Quixote, who took his neighbour, Samson Carrasco, "I believe he is likely to lose his preparations, for a knight-errant." too,” said Mr. Touch wood, "for the entertainment has The perusal of this paper, which contained the notes been put off, as I heard, in consequence of Miss formerly laid before the reader, containing the stateMowbray's illness."

ment of Sir Bingo, and the censure which the comAy, ay, puir thing !" said Dame Margaret Dods; pany at the Well had thought fit to pass upon his "her health has been unsettled for this mony a affair with Mr. Tyrrel, induced Mr. Bindloose io say to day.”

Mrs. Dods, with as little exultation on the superiority * Something wrong here, they tell me,” said the of his own judgment as human nature would permil, traveller, pointing to his own forehead significantly. Ye see now that I was right, Mrs. Dods, and that

"God only kens,” replied Mrs. Dods; " but I there was nae earthly use in your fashing yoursell wi’ rather suspect the heart than the head--the puir thing this lang journey-The lad had just ta en the bent is hurried here and there, and down to the Waal, and rather than face Sir Bingo, and troth, I think him up again, and nae society or quiet at hame; and a' the wiser of the twa for sae doing—There ye hae print thing ganging this unthrifty gait-nae wonder she is for it. no that weel settled.”

Meg answered somewhat sullenly, “Ye may be "Well,” replied Touchwood," she is worse they mista'en, for a' that, your ainsell, for as wise as ye say than she has been, and that has occasioned the are, Mr. Lindloose; 1 shall hae that matter mair party at Shaws-Castle having been

put

off. Besides, strictly inquired into." now this fine young lord has come down to the Well, This led to a renewal of the altercation concerning undoubtedly they will wait her recovery;":

the probable fate of Tyrrel, in the course of which the "A lord !" ejaculated the astonished Mrs. Dods; stranger was induced to iake some interest in the "a lord come down to the Waal- they will be neither ect. to haud nor to bind now-ance wud and aye waur- At length Mrs. Dods, receiving, no countenance a lord !--set them up and shute them forward-a lord! from the experienced lawyer for the hypothesis she

- the Lord have a care o’us !-a lord at the hottle!- had formed, rose, in something like displeasure, to Maister Touchwood, it's my mind he will only prove order her whiskey to be prepared. But hostess as she to be a Lord o' Session.

was herself, when in her own dominions, she reckoned “Nay, not so, my good lady,” replied the traveller, without her host in the present instance; for the "he is an English lord, and, as they say, a lord of humpbacked postilion, as absolute in his department Parliament--but some folks pretend to say there is a as Mrs. Dods herself, declared that the cauile would flaw in the title."

not be fit for the road these two hours yet. The good "I'll warrant is there-a dozen of them !" said Meg, lady was therefore obliged to wait his pleasure, bitterly with alacrity-for she could by no means endure io lamenting all the while the loss which a house of think on the accumulation of dignity likely to accrue public entertainment was sure to sustain by the abto the rival establishment, from its becoming the sence of the landlord or landlady, and anticipating a residence of an actual nobleman. “I'll warrant he'll long list of broken dishes, miscalculated reckonings prove a landlouping lord on their hand, and they will unarranged chambers, and other disasters, which she be e'en cheap o' the loss-And he has come down was to expect at her return. Mr. Bindloose, zealous out of order it's like, and nae doubt he'll no be lang to recover the regard of his good friend and client, there before he will recover his health, for the credit which he had in some degree forfeited by contradictof the Spaw.”

ing her on a favourite subject, did not choose to offer "Faith, madam, his present disorder is one which the unpleasing, though obvious topic of consolation, the Spaw will hardly cure-he is shot in the shoulder that an unfrequented inn is little exposed to the acciwith a pistol-bullet-a robbery attempted, it seems dents she apprehended. On the contrary, he condoled that is one of your new accomplishments no such with her very cordially, and went so far as to hiol, thing happened in Scotland in my lime-men would that if Mr. Touchwood had come to Marchthorn with have sooner expected to meet with the phænix than post-horses, as he supposed from his dress, she could with a highwayman.'

have the advantage of them to return with more “And where did this happen, if you please, sir ?" despatch to St. Ronan's. asked the man of bills.

"I am not sure," said Mr. Touchwood, suddenly, "Somewhere near the old village," replied the but I may return there myself. In that case I will stranger; "and if I am rightly informed, on Wed- be glad to set this good lady down, and to stay a few nesday last."

days at her house if she will receive me.- I respect a " This explains your twa shots, I am thinking, woman like you, ma'am, who pursue the occupation Mrs. Dods," said Mr. Bindloose ; "your groom heard of your father-I have been in countries, ma'am, them on the Wednesday--it must have been this where people have followed the same trade, from attack on the stranger nobleman."

father to son, for thousands of years—And I like the "Maybe it was, and maybe it was not,” said Mrs. fashion-it shows a steadiness and sobriety of chaDods; "" but I'll see gude reason before I give up my racter." ain judgment in that case.--I would like to ken if Mrs. Dods put on a joyous countenance at this prothis gentleman," she added, returning to the subject posal, protesting that all should be done in her power from which Mr. Touchwood's interesting conversa- to make things agreeable; and while her good friend, tion had for a few minutes diverted her thoughts, Mr. Bindloose, expatiated upon the comfort ber new “has heard aught of Mr. Tirl ?”

guest would experience at the Cleikum, she silenty “If you mean the person to whom this paper contemplated with delight the prospect of a speedy relates, said the stranger, taking a printed handbill and dazzling triumph, by carrying eff a creditable

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »