Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

woman, how the deuce am I to gude the blind man | to consider whether I could, with propriety, or even where he is going? I know little or nothing of the perfect safety, intrude myself again upon the hoscountry.”

pitality of my former host. I therefore asked Willie, An ye ken mickle less of my hinny, sir," replied whether we were bound for the Laird's, as folk called Maggie, "that think he needs ony guiding he's the him. best guide himsell, that ye'll find between Criffell and “Do ye ken the Laird ?" said Willie, interrupting a Carlisle. Horse-road and footpath, parish-road and sonata of Corelli, of which he had whistled several kirk-road, high-road and cross-road, he kens ilka foot bars with great precision. of ground in Nithsdale."

“I know the Laird a little," said I; "and thereAy, ye might have said in braid Scotland, gude- fore, I was doubting whether I ought to go to his wife," added the fiddler. “But gang your ways, town in disguise." Maggie, that's the first wise word ye hae spoke the * And I should doubt, not a little only but a great day. I wish it was dark night, and rain, and wind, deal, before I took ye there, my chap," said Wandering for the gentleman's sake, that I might show him there Willie; " for I am thinking it wad be worth little less is whiles when ane had better want een than have than broken banes baith to you and me. Na, na, them; for I am as true a guide by darkness as by chap, we are no ganging to the Laird's, but to a blithe daylight."

birling at the Brokenburn-foot, where there will be Internally as well pleased that my companion was mony a braw lad and lass; and maybe there may be not put to give me this last proof of his skill, I wrote some of the Laird's folk, for he never comes to siç a note with a pencil

, desiring Samuel to bring my splores himsell. He is all for fowling-piece and horses at midnight, when I thought my frolic would salmon spear, now that pike and musket are out of be well nigh over, to the place to which the bearer the question.' should direct him, and I sent little Benjie with an "He has been a soldier, then ?'' said I. apology to the worthy Quakers.

I'se warrant him a soger,'' answered Willie; "but As we parted in different directions, the good wo: take my advice and speer as little about him as he man said, “Oh, sir, if ye wad but ask Willie to tell does about you. Best to let sleeping dogs lie. Better ye ane of his tales to shorten the gate! He can speak say naething about the Laird, my man, and tell me like ony minister frae the pu'pit, and he might have instead, what sort of a chap ye are, that are sae ready been a minister himsell, but”

to cleik in with an auld gaberlunzie fiddler ? Maggie "Haud your tongue, ye fule!” said Willie,—"But says ye're gentle, but a shilling maks a' the difference stay, Meg--gie me a kiss, we maunna part in anger, that Maggie kens, between a gentle and a semple, neither."-And thus our society separated.*

and your crowns wad mak ye a prince of the blood in her een. But I am ane that kens full weel that ye

may wear good claithes, and have a saft hand, and LETTER XI.

yet that may come of idleness as weel as gentrice." THE SAME TO THE SAME.

I told him my name, with the same addition I had

formerly given to Mr. Joshua Geddes; that I was a You are now to conceive us proceeding in our dif- law-student, tired of my studies, and rambling about ferent directions across the bare downs. Yonder flies for exercise and amusement. little Benjie to the northward, with Hemp scamper- "And are ye in the wont of drawing up wi' a' the ing at his heels, both running as if for dear life, so gangrel bodies that ye meet on the high-road, or find long as the rogue is within sight of his employer, and cowering in a sand-bunker upon the links?" demanded certain to take the walk very easy, so soon as he is Willie. out of ken. Stepping westward, you see Mag. “Oh no; only with honest folks like yourself, gie's tall form and high-crowned hat, relieved by the Willie,” was my reply. Huttering of her plaid upon the left shoulder, darken- "Honest folks like me!-How do ye ken whether ing as the distance diminishes her size, and as the I am honest, or what I am ?-I may be the deevil level sunbeams begin to sink upon the sea. She is himsell for what ye ken; for he has power to come taking her quiet journey to the Shepherd's Bush.

disguised like an angel of light; and besides, he is Then, stoutly striding over the lea, you have a full a prime fiddler. He played a sonata to Corelli, ye view of Darsie Latimer, with his new acquaintance, ken." Wandering Willie, who, bating that he touched the

There was something odd in this speech, and the ground now and then with his staff, not in a doubtful tone in which it was said. It seemed as if my comgroping manner, but with the confident air of an ex-panion was not always in his constant mind, or that perienced pilot, heaving the lead when he has the he was willing to try if he could frighten me. I soundings by heart, walks as firmly and boldly as if he laughed at the extravagance of his language, bowpossessed the eyes of Argus. There they go, each ever, and asked him in reply, if he was fool enough with his violin slung at his back, but one of them at to believe that the foul fiend would play so silly a least totally ignorant whither their course is directed.

masquerade. And wherefore did you enter so keenly into such a "Ye ken little about it-little about it," said the old mad frolic? says my wise counsellor-Why, I think, man, shaking his head and beard, and knitting his upon the whole, that as a sense of loneliness, and a brows--" I could tell ye something about that." longing for that kindness which is interchanged in What his wife mentioned of his being a tale-teller, society, led me to take up my temporary residence at as well as a musician, now occurred to me; and as Mount Sharon, the monotony of my life there, the you know I like tales of superstition, I begged to have quiet simplicity of the conversation of the Geddeses, a specimen of his talent as we went along: and the uniformity of their amusements and employ- It is very true," said the blind man, that when ments, wearied out my impatient temper, and pre- I am tired of scraping thairm or singing ballants, I pared me for the first escapade which chance might whiles make a tale serve the turn among the country throw in my way.

bodies; and I have some fearsome anes, that make What would I have given that I could have pro- the auld carlines shake on the settle, and the bits o' cured that solemn grave visage of thine, to dignify bairns skirl on their minnies out frae their beds. But this joke, as it has done full many a one of thine this that I am gaun to tell you was a thing that befell own! Thou hast so happy a knack of doing the in our ain house in my father's time that is, my father most foolish things in the wisest manner, that thou was then a hamins callant; and I tell it to you, that mightst pass thy extravagances for rational actions, it may be a lesson to you, that are but a young, even in the eyes of prudence herself.

thoughtless chap, wha ye draw up wi' on a lonely From the direction which my guide observed, I be- road; lor muckle was the dool and care that came o't gan to suspect that the dell at Brokenburn was our to my gudesire.” probable destination; and it became important to me He commenced his tale accordingly, in a distinct

* It is certain that in many cases the blind bave, by constant narrative tone of voice, which he raised and depressed exercise of their other organs, learned to overcome a defect with considerable skill; at times sinking almost into which one would think incapable of being supplied. Every reader must remember the celebrated Blind Jack of Knareebo

a whisper, and turning his clear but sightless eyeballs Tough, who lived by laying out roads

upon my face, as if it had been possible for him to

cusant.

witness the impression which his narrative made upon great as they feared, and other folk thought for. The my features. I will not spare you a syllable of in, al. Whigs made an unco crawing what they wad do though it be of the longest; so I make a dash—and with their auld enemies, and in special wi' Sir Robert begin

Redgauntlet. But there were ower mony great folks WANDERING WILLIE'S TALE.

dipped in the same doings, to mak a spick and span

new warld. So parliament passed it a' ower easy; Ye maun have heard of Sir Robert Redgauntlet of and Sir Robert, bating that he was held to hunting that Ilk, who lived in these parts before the dear years. foxes instead of Covenanters, remained just the man The country will lang, mind him; and our fathers he was. His revel was as loud, and his hall as wer! used to draw breath thick if ever they heard him lighted, as ever it had been, though maybe he lacked named. He was out wi' the Hielandmen in Mon- the fines of the non-conformists, that used to come to trose's time; and again he was in the hills wi' Glen- stock his larder and cellar; for it is certain he began cairn in the saxteen hundred and fifty-twa; and sae to be keener about the rents than his tenants used to when King Charles the Second came in, wha was in find him before, and they behoved to be prompt to the sic favour as the Laird of Redgauntlei ?. He was rent-day, or else the Laird wasna pleased. And he knighted at Lonon court, wi' the King's ain sword; was sic an awsome body, that naebody cared to and being a redhot prelatist, he came down here, ram- anger him; for the oaths he swore, and the rage that pauging like a lion, with commissions of lieutenancy, he used to get into, and the looks that he put on. (and of lunacy, for what I ken,) to put down a' the made men sometimes think him a devil incamate. Whigs and Covenanters in the country. Wild wark Weel, my gudesire was nae manager--no that he they made of it; for the Whigs were as dour as the was a very great misguider-but he hadna the saving Cavaliers were fierce, and it was which should first gift, and be got twa terms' rent in arrear. He got the tire the other. Redgauntlet was aye for the strong first brash at Whitsunday put ower wi' fair word and hand; and his name is kend as wide in the country piping; but when Martinmas came, there was a sumas Claverhouse's or Tam Dalyell's. Glen, nor dargle, mons from the grund-officer to come wi' the rent on nor mountain, nor cave, could hide the puir hill-folk a day preceese, or else Steenie behoved to fit. Sair when Redgauntlet was out with bugle and blood- wark he had to get the siller; but he was weel. hound after them, as if they had been sae mony deer. freended, and at last he got the haill scraped theAnd troth when they fand them, they didna mak gither--a thousand merks-the maist of it was from muckle mair ceremony than a Hielandman wi' a roe- a neighbour they caa'd Laurie Lapraik-a sly tod. buck-It was just, “Will ye tak the test ?"- if not, Laurie had walth o' gear-could hunt wi' the hound "Make ready-present-fire!"--and there lay the re- and rin wi' the hare--and be Whig or Tory, saunt or

sinner, as the wind stood. He was a professor in this Far and wide was Sir Robert hated and feared. Revolution warld, but he liked an orra sough of this Men thought he had a direct compact with Satan, warld; and a tune on the pipes weel aneugh at a bythat he was proof against steel-and that bullets hap- time, and abune a', he thought he had gude security ped aff his buff-coat like hailstanes from a hearth- for the siller he lent my gudesire ower the stocking at that he had a mear that would turn a hare on the side Primrose-Knowe. of Carrifra-gawns*--and muckle to the same pur- Away trots my gudesire to Redgauntlet Castle, wi pose, of whilk mair anon. Th best_blessing the a heavy purse and a light heart, glad to be out of the wared on him was, " Deil scowp wi' Redgauntlet!") Laird's danger. Weel, the first thing he learned at He wasna a bad naister to his ain folk though, and the Castle was, that Sir Robert had fretted himselt was weel aneugh liked by his tenants; and as for into a fit of the gout, because he did not appear be the lackies and troopers that raid out wi' bim to the fore twelve o'clock. It wasna a'thegither for sake of persecutions, as the Whigs caa'd those killing umes, the money, Dougal thought; but because he didna they wad hae drunken themsells blind to his health at like to part wi' my gudesire aff the grund. Dougal ony time.

was glad to see Steenie, and brought him into the Now you are to ken that my gudesire lived on Red- great oak parlour, and there sat the Laird his leesome gauntlet's grund-they ca’ the place Primrose-Knowe. lane, excepting that he had beside him a great, illWe had lived on the grund, and under the Redgaunt favoured jackanape, that was a special pet of his; a lets, since the riding days, and lang before. It was a canckered beast it was, and mony an ill-natured trick pleasant bit; and I think the air is callerer and fresher it played-ill to please it was, and easily angered there than ony where else in the country. It's a' de- ran about the haill castle, chattering and yowling, serted now; and I sat on the broken door-cheek three and pinching, and biting folk, especially before ill days since, and was glad I couldna see the plight the weather, or disturbances in the state. Sir Robert place was in ; but that's a wide o' the mark. There caa'd it Major Weir, after the warlock that was dwelt my gudesire Steenie Steenson, a rambling, rat- burnt;t and few folk liked either the name or the tling chiel he had been in his young days, and could conditions of the creature-they thought there was play weel on the pipes; he was famous ai "Hoopers something in it by ordinar-and my gudesire was nog and Girders"-a' Cumberland couldna touch him at just easy in his mind when the door shut on him, and "Jockie Lattin”-and he had the finest finger for the he saw himself in the room wi' naebody but the back-lilt between Berwick and Carlisle. The like o' Laird, Dougal MacCallum, and the Major, a thing Steenie wasna the sort that they made Whigs о'. that hadna chanced to him before. And so he became a Tory, as they ca' it, which we Sir Robert sat, or, I should say, lay, in a great now ca' Jacobites, just out of a kind of needcessity, armed chair, wi' his grand velvet gown, and his feet that he might belang to some side or other. He had on a cradle; for he had baith gout and gravel, and his nae ill-will to the Whig bodies, and liked little to see face looked as gash and ghastly as Satan's. Major the blude rin, though, being obliged to follow Sir Weir sat opposite to him, in a red laced coal, and Robert in hunting, and hosting, watching and ward- the Laird's wig on his head; and aye as Sir Robert ing, he saw muckle mischief, and maybe did some, girned wi' pain, the jackanape girned too, like that he couldna avoid.

sheep's-head between a pair of tangs-an ill-farred, Now Steenie was a kind of favourite with his mas- fearsome couple they were. The Laird's buff-eva ter, and kend a' the folks about the castle, and was was hung on a pin behind him, and his broadswont often sent for to play the pipes when they were at and his pistols within reach; for he keepit up the auld their inerriment. Auld Dougal MacCullum, the butler, fashion of having the weapons ready, and a horse that had followed Sir Robert through gude and ill, thick and thin, pool and stream, was specially fond principles of unlimited toleration, deprived the Cameronians of

• The caution and moderation of King William II., and his of the pipes, and aye gae my gudesire his gude word the opportunity they ardently desired, to retaliate the injuries wi' the Laird; for Bougal could turn his master which they had received during the reign of prelacy, and round his finger.

purify the land, as they called it from the pollution of blood. Weel, round came the Revolution, and it had like which neither comprehended the rebuilding the Kirk in its

They esteemed the Revolution, therefore, only a half measure, to have broken the hearts baith of Dougal and his full splendour, nor the revenge of the death of the Saints on master. But the change was not a'thegither sae their persecutors.

A celebrated wizard, executed at Edinburgh for sorcery and * A precipitous side of a mountain in Moffatdale.

other crimes.

saddled day and night, just as he used to do when he to call Dougal to help to turn him in his bed. Dougal was able to loup on horseback, and away after ony of said, that being alone with the dead on that floor of the hill-folk he could get speerings of. Some said it the tower, (for naebody cared to wake Sir Robert was for fear of the Whigs taking vengeance

, but I Redgauntlet like another corpse,) he had never daured judge it was just his auld custom-he wasna gien to to answer the call, but that now his conscience fear ony thing. The rental-book, wi' its black cover checked him for neglecting his duty; for," though and brass clasps, was lying beside him; and a book death breaks service," said MacCallum,' "it shall of sculduddry sangs was put betwixt the leaves, to never break my service to Sir Robert; and I will keep it open at the place where it bore evidence answer his next whistle, be you will stand by me, against the Goodman of Primrose-Knowe, as behind Hutcheon." the hand with his mails and duties. Sir Robert gave Hutcheon had nae will to the wark, but he had my gudesire a look, as if he would have withered his stood by Dougal in battle and broil, and he wad not heart in his bosom. Ye maun ken he had a way of fail him at his pinch; so down the carles sat ower a bending his brows, that men saw the visible mark of stoup of brandy, and Hutcheon, who was something a horse-shoe in his forehead, deep-dinted, as if it had of a clerk, would have read a chapter of the Bible; been stamped there.

but Dougal would hear naething but a blaud of Davie Are ye come light-handed, ye son of a toom Lindsay, whilk was the waur preparation. whistle ?'' said Sir Robert. Zounds! if you are”'- When midnight came, and the house was quiet as

My gudesire, with as gude, a countenance as he the grave, sure aneugh the silver whistle sounded as could put on, made a leg, and placed the bag of money sharp and shrill as if Sir Robert was blowing it, and on the table wi' a dash, like a man that does soine- up gat the twa auld serving-men, and tottered into the thing clever. The Laird drew it to him hastily-room where the dead man lay. Hutcheon saw "Is it all here, Steenie, man ?".

aneugh at the first glance; for there were torches " Your honour will find it right," said my gudesire. in the room, which showed him the foul fiend in his “Here, Dougal,” said the Laird, "gie Steenie a tass ane shape, sitting on the Laird's coffin ! Over he of brandy down stairs, till I count the siller and write cowped as if he had been dead. He could not tell the receipt."

how lang he lay in a trance at the door, but when he But they werena weel out of the room, when Şir gathered himself, he cried on his neighbour, and getRobert gied a yelloch that garr'd the Castle rock! ting nae answer, raised the house, when Dougal was Back ran Dougal-in flew the livery-men-yell on found lying dead within ļwa steps of the bed where yell gied the Laird, ilk ane mair awfu' than the ither. his master's coffin was placed. As for the whistle, it My gudesire knew not whether to stand or flee, but was gane anes and aye ; bul mony a time was it he ventured back into the parlour, where a' was gaun heard at the top of the house on the bartizan, and hirdy-girdie--naebody to say 'come in,' or 'gae out.' amang the auld chimneys and turreis, where the Terribly the Laird roared for cauld water to his feel, howlels have their nests. Sir John hushed the matand wine to cool his throat; and hell, hell, hell, and ter up, and the funeral passed over without mair its fames, was aye the word in his mouth. They bogle-wark. brought him water, and when they plunged his swoln But when a' was ower, and the Laird was beginning feet into the tub, he cried out it was burning; and to settle his affairs, every tenant was called up for folk say that it did bubble and sparkle like a seething his arrears, and my gudesire for the full sum that caldron. He Aung the cup at Dougal's head, and stood against him in the rental-book. Weel, away said he had given himn blood instead of burgundy; he trots to the Castle, to tell his story, and there he and, sure aneugh, the lass washed clotted blood aff is introduced to Sir John, sitting in his father's chair

, the carpet the neist day. The jackanape they caa'd in deep mourning, with weepers and hanging cravat, Major Weir, it jibbered and cried as if it was mocking and a small walking rapier by his side, instead of the its master; my gudesire's head was like to turn-he auld broadsword that had a hundred-weight of steel forgot baith siller and receipt and down stairs he about it, what with blade, chape, and basket-hilt. I banged; but as he ran, the shrieks came faint and have heard their communing so often tauld ower, that fainter; there was a deep-drawn shivering groan, I almost think I was there mysell, though I could na and word gaed through the Castle, that the Laird be born at the time. (In fact, Alan, my companion was dead.

mimicked, with a good deal of humour, the flattering, Weel, away.came my gudesire, wi' his finger in his conciliating tone of the tenant's address, and the mouth, and his best hope was, that Dougal had seen hypocritical melancholy of the Laird's reply: His the money-bag, and heard the Laird speak of writing grand-father, he said, had, while he spoke, his eye the receipt. The young Laird, now Sir John, came fixed on the rental-book, as if it were a mastiff-dog from Edinburgh, io see things put to rights. Sir that he was afraid would spring up and bite him.) John and his father never gree'd weel. Sir John had "I wuss ye joy, sir, of the head seat, and the white been bred an advocate, and afterwards sat in the loaf, and the braid lairdship. Your father was a kind last Scots Parliament and voted for the Union, hav- man to friends and followers; muckle grace to you, ing gotten, it was thought, a rug of the compensa- Sir John, to fill his shoon--his boots, I suld say, for tions-if his father could

have come out of his grave, he seldom wore shoon, unless it were muils when he he would have brained him for it on his awn hearth- had the gout." Some thought it was easier counting with the

* Ay, Steenie,” quoth the Laird. sighing deeply and auld rough Knight ihan the fair-spoken young ane- putting his napkin to his een, "his was a sudden call

, but mair of that anon.

and he will be missed in the country; no time to set Dougal MacCallum, poor body, neither grat nor his house in order-weel prepared Godward, no doubt, graned, but gaed about the house looking like a which is the root of the matter-but left us behind a corpse, but directing, as was his duty, a' the order of tangled hesp to wind, Steenie.--Hem! hem! We the grand funeral. Now, Dougal looked aye waur maun go to business, Steenie ; much to do, and little and waur when night was coming, and was aye the time to do it in.” last to gang to his bed, whilk was in a little round

Here he opened the fatal volume. I have heard of just opposite the chamber of dais, whilk his master a thing they call Doomsday-book- I am clear it has occupied while he was living, and where he now lay been a rental of back-ganging tenants. in siate, as they caa'd il weel-a-day! The night “Stephen," said Sir

John, still in the same soft, before the funeral

, Dougal could keep his awn counsel sleekit tone of voice "Stephen Stephenson, or Steennae langer; he came doun with his proud spirit, and son, ye are down here for a year's rent behind the fairly asked auld Hutcheon to sit in his room with the hand-due at last term." him for an hour. When they were in the round, Stephen. "Please your honour, Sir John, I paid it Dougal took ae tass of brandy to himsell, and gave to your father." another to Hucheon, wished him all health and lang Sir John. "Ye took a receipt then, doubtless, Stelife, and said that, for himsell, he was na lang for phen; and can produce it?" this world; for that, every night since Sir Robert's Stephen. "Indeed I hadna time, an it like your death, his silver call had sounded from the state honour ; for nae sooner had I set doun the siller, and chamber, just as it used to do at nights in his lifetime, just as his honour Sir Robert, that's gaen, drew it till

Vol. IV 4 A

stane.

him to count, and write out the receipt, he was ta'en | Laird swearing blood and wounds behind him, as wi' the pains that removed him."

fast as ever did Sir Robert, and roaring for the baile "That was unlucky,” said Sir John, after a pause. and the baron-officer, " But ye maybe paid it in the presence of somebody: Away rode my gudesire to his chief creditor, (him I wani but a talis qualis cvidence, Stephen. I would they caa'd Laurie Lapraik) to try if he could make go ower strictly to work with no poor man." ony thing out of him; but when he tauld his story, he

Stephen. "Troth, Sir John, there was naebody in got but the warst word in his wame-thief, bezgaz, the room but Dougal MacCallum, the butler. But, and dyvour, were the saftest terms; and to the booi as your honour kens, he has e'en ollowed his auld of these hard terms, Laurie brought up the auld story master."

of his dipping his hand in the blood of God's saunts, * Very unlucky again, Stephen," said Sir John, just as if a tenant could have helped riding with the without altering his voice a single note. "The man Laird, and that a laird like Sir Robert Redgauntlet. w whoin ye paid the money is dead--and the man My gudesire was, by this time, far beyond the bounds siller, which should have been to the fore, is neither speed the hars, he was wanchancie aneugh to abuse

, seen nor heard tell of in the repositories. How am I Lapraik's doctrine as weel as the man, and sand to believe a' this?"

things that garr'd folk's flesh grue that heard them; Stephen. "I dinna ken, your honour ; but there is -he wasna just himsell, and he had lived wi' a wild a bit memorandum note of the very coins; for, God set in his day. help me! I had to borrow out of twenty purses; At last they parted, and my gudesire was to ride and I am sure that ilka man there set down will take hame through the wood of Piimurkie, that is a' fou of his grit oath for what purpose I borrowed the money: black firs, as they say.-I ken the wood, but the firs

Sir John. "I have little doubt ye borrowed the may be black or white for what I can tell.- At the money, Stecnic. It is the payment to my father that entry of the wood there is a wild common, and on I want to have some proof of."

the edge of the common, a little lonely change-house, Slephen. "The siller maun be about the house, Sir that was keepit then by an ostler-wife, they suld hae John. And since your honour never got it, and his caa' her Tibbie Faw, and there puir Steenie cried for honour that was canna have ta’en it wi' him, may be a mytchkin of brandy, for he had had no refreshment some of the family may have seen it.'

the haill day. Tibbie was earnest wi' him to take a Sir John. “We will examine the servants, Stephen; bile of meat, but he couldna think o't, nor would be that is but reasonable.”

takchis foot out of the stirrup, and took off the brandy But lackey and lass, and page and groom, all denied wholely at twa dranghts, and named a toast at each: stoutly that they had ever seen such a bag of money the first was, the memory of Sir Robert Redgauntlet, as my gudesire described. What was waur, he had and might he never lie quiet in his grave till he had unluckily not mentioned to any living soul of them righted his poor bond tenant; and the second was, a his p:ispose of paying his rent. Ae quean had noticed health to Man's Enemy, if he would but get him back something under his arm, but she took it for the pipes. the pock of siller, or tell him what came o's, for be

Sir John Redgauntlet ordered the servants out of saw the haill world was like to regard him as a the the room, and then said to my gudesire, "Now, and a cheat, and he took that waur than even the Steenie, ye see you have fair play; and, as I have ruin of his house and hauld. little doubt ye ken better where to find the siller than On he rode, little caring where. It was a dark night ony other body, I beg, in fair terms, and for your own turned, and the trees made it yet darker, and he let sake, that you will end this fasherie; for, Stephen, ye the beast take its ain road through the wood; when, maun pay or flit."

all of a sudden, from tired and wearied that it was ** The Lord forgie your opinion," said Stephen, before, the nag began to spring, and flee, and stend, driven almost to his wit's end-"I am an honest that my gudesire could hardly keep the saddle-Upon

the whilk, a horseman, suddenly riding up beside him, “So am I, Stephen," said his honour; "and so are said, “That's a mettle beast of yours, freend; will all the folks in the house, I hope. But if there be a you sell him ?"-So saying, he touched the horse's knave amongst us, it must be he that tells the story neck with his riding-wand, and it fell into its auld he cannot prove." He paused, and then added, mair heigh-ho of a stumbling trot. “But his spunk's soon sternly, "If I understand your trick, sir, you want to out of him, I think,” continued the stranger," and take advantage of some malicious reports concerning that is like mony a man's courage, that thinks he things in this family, and particularly respecting my wad do great things till he come to the proof." father's sudden death, thereby to cheat me out of the My gudesire scarce listened to this, but spurred his money, and perhaps take away my character, by in- horse, with “Gude e'en to you, freend.” sinuating that I have received the rent I am demand- But it's like the stranger was ane that doesna ing:-Where do you suppose this money to be?-1 lightly yield his point; for, ride as Steenie liked, he insist upon knowing."

was aye beside him at the selfsame pace. At last My gudeșire saw every thing look sae muckle against my gudesire, Steenie Steenson, grew half angry; and, him that he grew nearly desperate--however, he to say the truth, half feared. shified from one foot to another, looked to every cor- "What is it that ye want with me, freend ?" he ner of the room, and made no answer.

said. "If ye bc a robber, I have nae money; if ye be "Speak out, sírrah," said the Laird, assuming a look a leal man, wanting company, I bave nae heart to of his father's, a very particular ane, which he had mirth or speaking, and if ye want to ken the road, I when he was angry-it seemed as if the wrinkles of scarce ken it mysell." his frown made that selfsame fearful shape of a “If you will tell me your grief,” said the stranger, horse's shoe in the middle of his brow ;-"Speak out, I am one that,

though I have been sair miscaa'd in air! I will know your thoughts;-do you suppose that the world, am the only hand for helping my freenda." I have this money ?"

So my gudesire, to ease his ain heart, mair than "Far be it frae me to say so," said Stephen. from any hope of help, told him the story from begin

“Do you charge any of my people with having ning to end. taken it?" "I wad be laith to charge them that may be inno- I can help you.

"It's a hard pinch,” said the stranger; “but I think cent,” said my gudesire; "" and if there be any one "If you could lend the money, sir, and take a lang that is guilty, I have nae proof.”

day-1 ken nae other help on earth," said my gude “Somewhere the money must be, if there is a word sire. of truth in your story,” said Sir John; "I ask where “But there may be some under the earth,” said the you think it is--and demand a correct answer ?". stranger.

Come, I'll be frank wi' you; I could lend "In hell, if you will have my thoughts of it," said you the money on bond, but you would maybe scru. my gudesire, driven to extremity, -, in hell! with ple my terms. Now, I can tell you, that your auld your father, his jackanape, and his silver whistle !" Laird is disturbed in his grave by your curses, and the

Down the stairs he ran, (for the parlour was nae wailing of your family, and if ye dąur venture to go place for him after such a word,) and he heard the to see him, he will give you the receipt."

79 man.'

morn.

My gudesire's hair stood on end at this proposal, 1 them with a melancholy, haughty countenance; while but he thought his companion might be some hu- the rest halloood, and sung, and laughed, that the moursome chield that was trying to frighten him, room rang. But their smiles were fearlully contorted and might end with lending him the money. Be- from time to time; and their laughter passed into sides, he was bauld wi' brandy, and desperate wi' such wild sounds, as made my gudesire's very nails distress; and he said, he had courage to go to the grow blue, and chilled the marrow in his banes. gate of hell, and a step farther for that receipt.-- The They that waited at the table were just the wicked stranger laughed.

serving-men and troopers, that had done their work Weel, they rode on through the thickest of the and cruel bidding on earth. There was the Lang wood, when, all of a sudden, the horse stopped at the Lad of the Nethertown, that helped to take Argyle; door of a great house; and, but that he knew the and the Bishop's summoner, that they called the place was ten miles off, my father would have thought Deil's Rattle-bag; and the wicked guardsmen, in he was at Redgauntlet Castle. They rode into the their laced coats; and ile savage Highland Amortes, outer court-yard, through the muckle faulding yetts, that shed blood like water; and many a proud servingand aneath the auld portcullis; and the whole front man, haughty of heart and bloody of hand, cringing of the house was lighted, and there were pipes and to the rich, and making them wickeder than they fiddles, and as much dancing and deray within as would be; grinding the poor to powder, when the rich used to be in Sir Robert's house at Pace and Yule, had broken them to fragments. And mony, mony and such high seasons. They lap off

, and my gude- mair were coming and ganging, a' as busy in their sire, as seemed to him, fastened his horse to the very vocation as if they had been alive. ring he had tied him to that morning, when he gaed Sir Robert Redgauntlet, in the midst of a' this to wait on the young Sir John.

fearsul riot, cried, wi' a voice like thunder, on Steenic "God!" said my gudesire, "if Sir Robert's death Piper, to come to the board-head where he was sitting; be but a dream !"

his legs stretched out before him, and swathed up with He knocked at the ha' door just as he was wont, flannel, with his holster pistols aside him, while the and his auld acquaintance, Dougal MacCallum, -just great broadsword rested against his chair, just as my after his wont, too, -came to open the door, and said, gudesire had seen him the last time ypon earth-the “Piper Steenie, are ye there, lad? Sir Robert has very cushion for the jackanape was close to him, but been crying for you.”,

the creature itsell was not there it wasna its hour, My gudesire was like a man in a dream--he looked it's likely; for he heard them say as he came forward, for the stranger, but he was gane for the time. At “Is not the Major come yet?! And another anlast he just tried to say, "Ha! Dougal Driveower, are swered, "The jackanape will be here betimes the ye living? I thought ye had been dead.”

And when my gudesire came forward, Sir Never fash yoursell wi' me,” said Dougal, “but Robert, or his glaist, or the deevil in his likeness, look to yoursell; and see ye tak naething frae ony said, “Weel, piper, hae ye settled wi' my son for the body here, neither meat, drink, or siller, except just year's rent?") the receipt that is your ain.'

With much ado my father gai breath to say, that So saying, he led the way out through halls and Sir Jolin would not settle without his honour's retrances that were weel kend to my gudesire, and into ceipt. the auld oak parlour; and there was as much singing Ye shall hae that for a tune of the pipes, Steenie," of profane songs, and birling of red wine, and speak- said the appearance of Sir Robert-“ Play us up, ing blasphemy and sculduddry, as had ever been in Weel hoddled, Luckie.' Redgauntlet Castle when it was at the blithest. Now this was a tune my gudesire learned frae a

But, Lord take us in keeping! what a set of ghastly warlock, that heard it when they were worshipping revellers they were that sat round that table!-My Satan at their meetings; and my gudesire had somegudesire kend mony that had long before gane to times played it at the ranting suppers in Redgauntlet their place, for often had he piped to the most part in Castle, but never very willingly; and now he grew the hall of Redgauntlet. There was the fierce Mid-cauld at the very name of it, and said, for excuse, he dleton, and the dissolute Rothes, and the crafty Lauhadna his pipes wi' him. derdale; and Dalyell, with his bald head and a beard "MacCallum, ye limb of Beelzebub," said the fearfu' to his girdle; and Earlshall, with Cameron's blude Sir Robert, "bring Sieenie the pipes that I am keeping on his hand; and wild Bonshaw, that tied blessed for him!" Mr. Cargill's limbs till the blude sprung; and Dum- MacCallum brought a pair of pipes which might barton Douglas, the twice-turned traitor baith to have served the piper of Donald of the Isles. But he country and king. There was the Bluidy Advocate gave my gudesire a nudge as he offered them; and MacKenyie, who, for his wordly wit and wisdom, looking secretly and closely, Steenie saw that the had been to the rest as a god. And there was Claver-chanter was of steel, and heated to a white heat; so house, as beautiful as when he lived, with his long, he had fair warning not to trust his fingers with it. dark, curled locks, streaming down over his laced So he excused himself again, and said, he was faint buff-coat, and his left hand always on his right spule- and frightened, and had not wind aneugh to fill the blade, to hide the wound that the silver bullet had bag. made. He sat apart from them all, and looked at ** Then ye maun eat and drink, Steenie,” said the

"for we do little else here; and it's ill speak• The personages here mentioned are most of them characters ing between a fou man and a fasting." of historical fame; but those less known and remembered may Now these were the very words that the bloody be found in the tract entitled, " The Judgment and Justice of Earl of Douglas said to keep the King's messengerin God Exemplified, or, a Brief Historical Accorint or somethe hand, while he cut the head off MacLellan of Bombie, able Apostates and Bloody Persecutors, from the Reformation at the Threave Castle;* and that put Steenie mair till after the Revolution." This constitutes a sort of posteript and mair on his guard. So he spoke up like a man, or appendix to Jolin Howie of Lochiguin's " Account of the and said he came neither to eat, or drink, or make has, with considerable ingenuity, reversed his reasoning upon minstrelsy; but simply for his ain-to ken what was the inference to be drawn from the proaperity or misfortunes come o' the money he had paid, and to get a discharge which befall individuals in this world, either in the course of for it; and he was so stout-hearted by this time, that their lives or in the hour of death. In the account of the be charged Sir Robert for conscience-sake--(he had martyrs' sufferings, such inflictions are mentioned only as trials permitted by Providence, for the better and brighter display of no power to say the holy name)-and as he hoped for their faith, and constancy of principle. But when similar af peace and rest, to spread no snares for him, but just flictions befell the opposite party, they are imputed to the direct to give him his ain. vengeance of Heaven upon their impiety. If, indeed, the life of any person obnoxious to the historian's censures happened

The appearance gnashed its teeth and laughed, but to have passed in unusual prosperity, the mero fact of its being it took from a large pocket book the receipt, and

There is your receipt, ye pitiof the judgment of Heaven, and, to render the conclusion inevi: ful cur: and for the money, my dog-whelp of a son circumstances. Thus the Duke of Lauderdale is said, ilirough may go look for it in the Cai's Cradle." old age but immense corpulence, to have become so sunk in * The reader is referred for particulars to Pitscottie's History «pirits, "that his heart was not the bigness of a walnut."

figure;

or Scotland

« PreviousContinue »