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the relations of the deceased to the interment, is universally retained. On many occasions this has a singular and striking effect, but it degenerates into mere empty form and grimace, in cases where the defunct has had the misfortune to live unbeloved and die unlamented. The English service for the dead, one of the most beautiful and impressive parts of the ritual of the church, would have, in such cases, the effect of fixing the attention, and uniting the thoughts and feelings of the audience present, in an exercise of devotion so peculiarly adapted to such an occasion. But according to the Scottish custom, if there be not real feeling among the assistants, there is nothing to supply the deficiency, and exalt or rouse the attention; so that a sense of tedious form, and almost hypocritical restraint, is too apt to pervade the company assembled for the mournful solemnity. Mrs. Margaret Bertram was unluckily one of those whose good qualities had attached no general friendship. She had no near relations who might have mourned from natural affection, and therefore her funeral exhibited merely the exterior trappings of sorrow.
Mannering, therefore, stood among this lugubrious company of cousins in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth degree, compos ing his countenance to the decent solemnity of all who were around him, and looking as much concerned on Mrs. Margaret Bertram's account, as if the deceased lady of Singleside had been his own sister or mother. After a deep and awful pause, the company began to talk aside-under their breaths, however, and as if in the chamber of a dying person.
“ Our poor friend,” said one grave gentleman, scarcely opening his mouth, for fear of deranging the necessary solemnity of his features, and sliding his whisper from between his lips, which were as little unclosed as possible,~"Our poor friend has died well to pass in the world.”
“ Nae doubt," answered the person addressed, with halfclosed eyes; “poor Mrs. Margaret was aye careful of the gear."
“Any news to-day, Colonel Mannering ? " said one of the gentlemen whom he had dined with the day before, but in à tone which might, for its impressive gravity, have communicated the death of his whole generation.
“Nothing particular, I believe, sir,” said Mannering, in the cadence which was, he observed, appropriated to the house of mourning.
“ I understand,” continued the first speaker emphatically,
and with the air of one who is well informed "I understand there is a settlement."
" And what does little Jenny Gibson get ? ”. ** A hundred, and the auld repeater."
" That's but sma' gear, puir thing; she had a sair time o't with the auld leddy. But it's ill waiting for dead folk's shoon."
“I am afraid," said the politician, who was close by Mannering, "we have not done with your old friend Tippoo Saib yet
I doubt he'll give the Company more plague; and I am told, but you'll know for certain, that East India Stock is not rising."
* I trust it will, sir, soon."
“Mrs. Margaret," said another person, mingling in the conversation, “had some India bonds. I know that, for I drew the interest for her-it would be desirable now for the trustees and legatees to have the Colonel's advice about the time and mode of converting them into money. For my part I think-But there's Mr. Mortcloke to tell us they are gaun to lift.”
Mr. Mortcloke the undertaker did accordingly, with a visage of professional length and most grievous solemnity, distribute among the pall-bearers little cards, assigning their respective situations in attendance upon the coffin. As this precedence is supposed to be regulated by propinquity to the defunct, the undertaker, however skilful a master of these lugubrious ceremonies, did not escape giving some offence. To be related to Mrs. Bertram was to be of kin to the lands of Singleside, and was a propinquity of which each relative present at that moment was particularly jealous. Some murmurs there were on the occasion, and our friend Dinmont gave more open offence, being unable either to repress his discontent, or to utter it in the key properly modulated to the solemnity. “I think ye might hae at least gi'en me a leg o' her to carry," he exclaimed, in a voice considerably louder than propriety admitted ; “God! an it hadna been for the rigs o' land, I would hae gotten her a' to carry mysell, for as mony gentles as are here."
A score of frowning and reproving brows were bent upon the unappalled yeoman, who, having given vent to his displeasure, stalked sturdily downstairs with the rest of the company, totally disregarding the censures of those whom his remarks had scandalised.
And then the funeral pomp set forth; saulies with their batons, and gumphions of tarnished white crape, in honour of the well-preserved maiden fame of Mrs. Margaret Bertram. Six starved horses, themselves the very emblems of mortality, well cloaked and plumed, lugging along the hearse with its dismal emblazonry, crept in slow state towards the place of interment, preceded by Jamie Duff, an idiot, who, with weepers and cravat made of white paper, attended on every funeral, and followed by six mourning coaches, filled with the company. Many of these now gave more free loose to their tongues, and discussed with unrestrained earnestness the amount of the succession, and the probability of its destination. The principal expectants, however, kept a prudent silence, indeed, ashamed to express hopes which might prove fallacious; and the agent, or man of business, who alone knew exactly how matters stood, maintained a countenance of mysterious importance, as if determined to preserve the full interest of anxiety and suspense.
At length they arrived at the churchyard gates, and from thence, amid the gaping of two or three dozen of idle women with infants in their arms, and accompanied by some twenty children, who ran gambolling and screaming alongside of the sable procession, they finally arrived at the burial-place of the Singleside family. This was a square enclosure in the Grey friars churchyard, guarded on one side by a veteran angel, without a nose, and having only one wing, who had the merit of having maintained his post for a century, while his comrade cherub, who had stood sentinel on the corresponding pedestal, lay a broken trunk among the hemlock, burdock, and nettles, which grew in gigantic luxuriance around the walls of the mausoleum. A moss-grown and broken inscription informed the reader, that in the year 1650 Captain Andrew Bertram, first of Singleside, descended of the very ancient and honourable house of Ellangowan, had caused this monument to be erected for himself and his descendants. A reasonable number of scythes and hour-glasses, and death's heads, and crossbones, garnished the following sprig of sepulchral poetry, to the memory of the founder of the mausoleum :
Nathaniel's heart, Bezaleel's hand,
If ever any had,
Who lieth in this bed. Here then, amid the deep black fat loam into which her ancestors were now resolved, they deposited the body of Mrs. Margaret Bertram; and, like soldiers returning from a military funeral, the nearest relations who might be interested in the settlements of the lady, urged the dog-cattle of the hackney coaches to all the speed of which they were capable, in order to put an end to further suspense on that interesting topic.
Die and endow a college or a cat.
There is a fable told by Lucian, that while a troop of monkeys, well drilled by an intelligent manager, were performing a tragedy with great applause, the decorum of the whole scene was at once destroyed, and the natural passions of the actors called forth into very indecent and active emulation, by a wag who threw a handful of nuts upon the stage. In like manner, the approaching crisis stirred up among the expectants feelings of a nature very different from those, of which, under the superintendence of Mr. Mortcloke, they had but now been endeavouring to imitate the expression. Those eyes which were lately devoutly cast up to heaven, or with greater humility bent solemnly upon earth, were now sharply and alertly darting their glances through shuttles, and trunks, and drawers, and cabinets, and all the odd corners of an old maiden lady's repositories. Nor was their search without interest, though they did not find the will of which they were in quest.
Here was a promissory note for £20 by the minister of the nonjuring chapel, interest marked as paid to Martinmas last, carefully folded up in a new set of words to the old tune of "Over the Water to Charlie";—there, was a curious love correspondence between the deceased and a certain Lieutenant O’Kean of a marching regiment of foot; and tied up with the letters was a document, which at once explained to the relatives why a connection that boded them little good had been suddenly broken off, being the Lieutenant's bond for two hundred pounds, upon which no interest whatever appeared to have been paid. Other bills and bonds to a larger amount, and signed by better names (I mean commercially) than those of the worthy divine and gallant soldier, also occurred in the course of their researches, besides a hoard of coins of every size and denomination, and scraps of broken gold and silver, old ear-rings, hinges of cracked snuf boxes, mountings of spectacles, &c. &c. &c. Still no will made its appearance, and Colonel Mannering began full well to hope that the settlement which he had obtained from Glossin contained the ultimate arrangement of the old lady's affairs. But his friend Pleydell, who now came into the room, cautioned him against entertaining this belief.
“I am well acquainted with the gentleman," he said, “who is conducting the search, and I guess from his manner that he knows something more of the matter than any of us." Meantime, while the search proceeds, let us take a brief glance at one or two of the company, who seem most interested.
Of Dinmont, who, with his large hunting-whip under his arm, stood poking his great round face over the shoulder of the homme d'affaires, it is unnecessary to say anything. That thin-looking oldish person, in a most correct and gentlemanlike suit of mourning, is Mac-Casquil, formerly of Drumquag, who was ruined by having a legacy bequeathed to him of two shares in the Ayr bank. His hopes on the present occasion are founded on a very distant relationship, upon his sitting in the same pew with the deceased every Sunday, and upon his playing at cribbage with her regularly on the Saturday evenings-taking great care never to come off a winner. That other coarse-looking man, wearing his own greasy hair tied in a leathern cue more greasy still, is a tobacconist, a relation of Mrs. Bertram's mother, who, having a good stock in trade when the colonial war broke out, trebled the price of his commodity to all the world, Mrs. Bertram alone excepted, whose tortoise-shell snuff-box was weekly filled with the best rappee at the old prices, because the maid brought it to the shop with Mrs. Bertram's respects to her cousin Mr. Quid. That young fellow, who has not had the decency to put off his boots and buckskins, might have stood as forward as most of them in the graces of the old lady, who loved to look upon a comely young man; but it is thought he has forfeited the moment of fortune, by sometimes neglecting her tea-table when solemnly invited; sometimes appearing there, when he had been dining with blither company; twice treading upon her cat's tail, and once affronting her parrot.
To Mannering, the most interesting of the group was the poor girl, who had been a sort of humble companion of the deceased, as a subject upon whom she could at all times expectorate her bad humour. She was for form's sake dragged