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good master here, o' the Charlies-hope.—Aweel, sir, and then the inferior sort o' people, ye'll observe, are kend by sorts o' by-names some o' them, as Glaiket Christie, and the Deuke's Davie, or maybe, like this lad Gabriel, by his employment; as for example, Tod Gabbie, or Hunter Gabbie. He's no been lang here, sir, and I dinna think onybody kens him by ony other name. But it's no right to rin him doun ahint his back, for he's a fell fox-hunter, though he's maybe no just sae clever as some o' the folk hereawa wi' the waster."
After some further desultory conversation, the superior sportsmen retired to conclude the evening after their own manner, leaving the others to enjoy themselves, unawed by their presence. That evening, like all those which Brown had passed at Charlies-hope, was spent in much innocent mirth and conviviality. The latter might have approached to the verge of riot but for the good women; for several of the neighbouring mistresses (a phrase of a signification how different from what it bears in more fashionable life !) had assembled at Charlies-hope to witness the event of this memorable evening. Finding the punch-bowl was so often replenished, that there was some danger of their gracious presence being forgotten, they rushed in valorously upon the recreant revellers, headed by our good Mistress Ailie, so that Venus speedily routed Bacchus. The fiddler and piper next made their appearance, and the best part of the night was gallantly consumed in dancing to their music.
An otter-hunt the next day, and a badger-baiting the day after, consumed the time merrily.-I hope our traveller will not sink in the reader's estimation, sportsman though he may be, when I inform him, that on this last occasion, after young Pepper had lost a fore-foot, and Mustard the second had been nearly throttled, he begged, as a particular and personal favour of Mr. Dinmont, that the poor badger, who had made so gallant a defence, should be permitted to retire to his earth without further molestation.
The farmer, who would probably have treated this request with supreme contempt had it come from any other person, was contented, in Brown's case, to express the utter extremity of his wonder.-" Weel,” he said, “that's queer aneugh! But since ye take his part, deil a tyke shall meddle wi' him mair in my day-we'll e'en mark him, and ca' him the captain's brock—and I'm sure I'm glad I can do onything to oblige you-but, Lord save us, to care about a brock !”
After a week spent in rural sport, and distinguished by the most frank attentions on the part of his honest landlord, Brown bade adieu to the banks of the Liddel, and the hospitality of Charlies-hope. The children, with all of whom he had now become an intimate and a favourite, roared manfully in full chorus at his departure, and he was obliged to promise twenty times, that he would soon return and play over all their favourite tunes upon the flageolet till they had got them by heart.-"Come back again, captain,” said one little sturdy fellow, "and Tenny will be your wife.” Jenny was about eleven years old-she ran and hid herself behind her mammy.
“Captain, come back," said a little fat roll-about girl of six, holding her mouth up to be kissed, “and I'll be your wife my ainsell.”
“They must be of harder mould than I," thought Brown, "who could part from so many kind hearts with indifference.” The good dame too, with matron modesty, and an affectionate simplicity that marked the olden time, offered her cheek to the departing guest - " It's little the like of us can do," she said, “little indeed—but yet — if there were but onything "
“Now, my dear Mrs. Dinmont, you embolden me to make a request-would you but have the kindness to weave me, or work me, just such a grey plaid as the goodman wears ?" He had learned the language and feelings of the country even during the short time of his residence, and was aware of the pleasure the request would confer.
"A tait o'woo' would be scarce amang us,” said the gudewife, brightening, “if ye shouldna hae that, and as gude a tweel as ever cam aff a pirn. I'll speak to Johnnie Goodsire, the weaver at the Castletown, the morn. Fare ye weel, sir ! and may ye be just as happy yoursell as ye like to see a' body else—and that would be a sair wish to some folk."
I must not omit to mention, that our traveller left his trusty attendant Wasp to be a guest at Charlies-hope for a season. He foresaw that he might prove a troublesome attendant in the event of his being in any situation where secrecy and concealment might be necessary. He was therefore consigned to the care of the eldest boy, who promised, in the words of the old song, that he should have
A bit of his supper, a bit of his bed, and that he should be engaged in none of those perilous pastimes in which the race of Mustard and Pepper had suffered frequent mutilation. Brown now prepared for his journey, having taken a temporary farewell of his trusty little companion.
There is an old prejudice in these hills in favour of riding. Every farmer rides well, and rides the whole day. Probably the extent of their large pasture farms, and the necessity of surveying them rapidly, first introduced this custom; or a very zealous antiquary might derive it from the times of the "Lay of the Last Minstrel,” when twenty thousand horsemen assembled at the light of the beacon-fires. But the truth is undeniable; they like to be on horseback, and can be with difficulty convinced that any one chooses walking from other motives than those of convenience or necessity. Accordingly, Dinmont insisted upon mounting his guest, and accompanying him on horseback as far as the nearest town in Dumfriesshire, where he had directed his baggage to be sent, and from which he proposed to pursue his intended journey towards Woodbourne, the residence of Julia Mannering.
Upon the way he questioned his companion concerning the character of the fox-hunter ; but gained little information, as he had been called to that office while Dinmont was making the round of the Highland fairs. “He was a shake-rag like fellow," he said, “and, he dared to say, had gipsy blood in his veins-but at ony rate he was nane o' the smacks that had been on their quarters in the moss—he would ken them weel if he saw them again. There are some no bad folk amang the gipsies too, to be sic a gang,” added Dandie; “if ever I see that auld randle-tree of a wife again, I'll gie her something to buy tobacco-I have a great notion she meant me very fair after a'.”
When they were about finally to part, the good farmer held Brown long by the hand, and at length said, “Captain, the woo's sae weel up the year, that it's paid a' the rent, and we have naething to do wi' the rest o' the siller when Ailie has had her new gown, and the bairns their bits o' duds—now 1 was thinking of some safe hand to put it into, for it's ower muckle to ware on brandy and sugar-now I have heard that you army gentlemen can sometimes buy yoursells up a step; and if a hundred or twa would help ye on such an occasion, the bit scrape o' your pen would be as good to me as the siller, and ye might just take yere ain time o’settling it-it wad be a great convenience to me.” Brown, who felt the full delicacy that wished to disguise the conferring an obligation under the show of asking a favour, thanked his grateful friend most heartily, and assured him he would have recourse to his purse, without scruple, should circumstances ever render it convenient for him. And thus they parted with many expressions of mutual regard.
1 It would be affectation to alter this reference. But the reader will understand, that it was inserted to keep up the author's incognito, as he was not likely to be suspected of quoting his own works. This explanation is also applicable to one or two similar passages, in this and the other novels, intro duced for the same reason.
If thou hast any love of mercy in thee,
OUR traveller hired a post-chaise at the place where he separated from Dinmont, with the purpose of proceeding to Kippletringan, there to inquire into the state of the family at Woodbourne, before he should venture to make his presence in the country known to Miss Mannering. The stage was a long one of eighteen or twenty miles, and the road lay across the country. To add to the inconveniences of the journey, the snow began to fall pretty quickly. The postilion, however, proceeded on his journey for a good many miles, without expressing doubt or hesitation. It was not until the night was completely set in that he intimated his apprebensions whether he was in the right road. The increasing snow rendered this intimation rather alarming, for as it drove full in the lad's face, and lay whitening all around him, it served in two different ways to confuse his knowledge of the country, and to diminish the chance of his recovering the right track. Brown then himself got out and looked round, not, it may be well imagined, from any better hope than that of seeing some house at which he might make inquiry. But none appeared-he could therefore only tell the lad to drive steadily on. The road on which they were, ran through plantations of considerable extent and depth, and the traveller therefore conjectured that there
must be a gentleman's house at no great distance. At length, after struggling wearily on for about a mile, the postboy stopped, and protested his horses would not budge a foot farther; “but he saw," he said, “a light among the trees, which must proceed from a house; the only way was to inquire the road there.” Accordingly, he dismounted, heavily encumbered with a long great-coat, and a pair of boots which might have rivalled in thickness the seven-fold shield of Ajax. As in this guise he was plodding forth upon his voyage of discovery, Brown's impatience prevailed, and, jumping out of the carriage, he desired the lad to stop where he was, by the horses, and he would himself go to the house -a command which the driver most joyfully obeyed.
Our traveller groped along the side of the enclosure from which the light glimmered, in order to find some mode of approaching in that direction, and after proceeding for some space, at length found a stile in the hedge, and a pathway leading into the plantation, which in that place was of great extent. This promised to lead to the light which was the object of his search, and accordingly Brown proceeded in that direction, but soon totally lost sight of it among the trees. The path, which at first seemed broad and well marked by the opening of the wood through which it winded, was now less easily distinguishable, although the whiteness of the snow afforded some reflected light to assist his search. Directing himself as much as possible through the more open parts of the wood, he proceeded almost a mile without either recovering a view of the light, or seeing anything resembling a habitation. Still, however, he thought it best to persevere in that direction. It must surely have been a light in the hut of a forester, for it shone too steadily to be the glimmer of an ignis fatuus. The ground at length became broken, and declined rapidly, and although Brown conceived he still moved along what had once at least been a pathway, it was now very unequal, and the snow concealing those breaches and inequalities, the traveller had one or two falls in consequence. He began now to think of turning back, especially as the falling snow, which his impatience had hitherto prevented his attending to, was coming on thicker and faster.
Willing, however, to make a last effort, he still advanced a little way, when, to his great delight, he beheld the light opposite at no great distance, and apparently upon a level with him. He quickly found that this last appearance was