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willing to increase it by denouncing the stranger as an assassin. He was known, she saw, to the Colonel, and received as a gentleman; certainly he either was not the person she suspected, or Hazlewood was right in supposing the shot accidental.
The remaining part of the company would have formed no bad group for a skilful painter. Each was too much embarrassed with his own sensations to observe those of the others. Bertram most unexpectedly found himself in the house of one, whom he was alternately disposed to dislike as his personal enemy, and to respect as the father of Julia; Mannering was struggling between his high sense of courtesy and hospitality, his joy at finding himself relieved from the guilt of having shed life in a private quarrel, and the former feelings of dislike and prejudice, which revived in his haughty mind at the sight of the object against whom he had entertained them; Sampson, supporting his shaking limbs by leaning on the back of a chair, fixed his eyes upon Bertram, with a staring expression of nervous anxiety which convulsed his whole visage; Dinmont, enveloped in his loose shaggy great-coat, and resembling a huge bear erect upon his hinder legs, stared on the whole scene with great round eyes that witnessed his amazement.
The counsellor alone was in his element, shrewd, prompt, and active; he already calculated the prospect of brilliant success in a strange, eventful, and mysterious lawsuit, and no young monarch, flushed with hopes, and at the head of a gallant army, could experience more glee when taking the field on his first campaign. He bustled about with great energy, and took the arrangement of the whole explanation upon himself.
“Come, come, gentlemen, sit down ; this is all in my province : you must let me arrange it for you. Sit down, my dear Colonel, and let me manage ; sit down, Mr. Brown, aut quocunque alio nomine vocaris–Dominie, take your seat -draw in your chair, honest Liddesdale."
“I dinna ken, Mr. Pleydell,” said Dinmont, looking at his dreadnought-coat, then at the handsome furniture of the room, “I had maybe better gang some gate else, and leave ye till your cracks—I'm no just that weel put on.”
The Colonel, who by this time recognised Dandie, immediately went up and bid him heartily welcome; assuring him, that from what he had seen of him in Edinburgh, he was sure
his rough coat and thick-soled boots would honour a royal drawing-room.
“Na, na, Colonel, we're just plain up-the-country folk; but nae doubt I would fain hear o' ony pleasure that was gaun to happen the Captain, and I'm sure a' will gae right if Mr. Pleydell will take his bit job in hand.”
“You're right, Dandie-spoke like a Hieland 1 oracle-and now be silent. -Well, you are all seated at last; take a glass of wine till I begin my catechism methodically. And now," turning to Bertram, “my dear boy, do you know who or what you are?"
In spite of his perplexity, the catechumen could not help laughing at this commencement, and answered, “Indeed, sir, I formerly thought I did ; but I own late circumstances have made me somewhat uncertain."
" Then tell us what you formerly thought yourself.”
“Why, I was in the habit of thinking and calling myself Vanbeest Brown, who served as a cadet or volunteer under Colonel Mannering, when he commanded the regiment, in which capacity I was not unknown to him."
“There," said the Colonel, “I can assure Mr. Brown of his identity; and add, what his modesty may have forgotten, that he was distinguished as a young man of talent and spirit.”
“So much the better, my dear sir,” said Mr. Pleydell; "but that is to general character—Mr. Brown must tell us where he was born."
" In Scotland, I believe, but the place uncertain.”
“Do you remember nothing of your early life before you left Scotland ?"
“Very imperfectly; yet I have a strong idea, perhaps more deeply impressed upon me by subsequent hard usage, that I was during my childhood the object of much solicitude and affection. I have an indistinct remembrance of a good-looking man whom I used to call papa, and of a lady who was infirm in health, and who, I think, must have been my mother ; but it is an imperfect and confused recollection. I remember too a tall thin kind-tempered man in black, who used to teach
1 It may not be unnecessary to tell southern readers, that the mountainous country in the south-western borders of Scotland, is called Hieland, though totally different from the much more mountainous and more extensive districts of the north, usually accented Hielands.
me my letters and walk out with me ;-and I think the very last time "
Here the Dominie could contain no longer. While every succeeding word served to prove that the child of his benefactor stood before him, he had struggled with the utmost difficulty to suppress his emotions, but, when the juvenile recollections of Bertram turned towards his tutor and his precepts, he was compelled to give way to his feelings. He rose hastily from his chair, and with clasped hands, trembling limbs, and streaming eyes, called out aloud, “ Harry Bertram ! -look at me-was I not the man?”
“Yes !” said Bertram, starting from his seat as if a sudden light had burst in upon his mind," Yes—that was my name ! -and that is the voice and the figure of my kind old master !"
The Dominie threw himself into his arms, pressed him a thousand times to his bosom in convulsions of transport, which shook his whole frame, sobbed hysterically, and, at length, in the emphatic language of Scripture, lifted up his voice and wept aloud. Colonel Mannering had recourse to his handkerchief; Pleydell made wry faces, and wiped the glasses of his spectacles; and honest Dinmont, after two loud blubbering explosions, exclaimed, “ Deil's in the man! he's garr'd me do that I haena done since my auld mither died.”
" Come, come," said the counsellor at last, “ silence in the court.-We have a clever party to contend with; we must lose no time in gathering our information for anything I know, there may be something to be done before daybreak.”
"I will order a horse to be saddled, if you please,” said the Colonel.
“No, no, time enough-time enough—but come, Dominie, I have allowed you a competent space to express your feelings. I must circumduce the term-you must let me proceed in my examination."
The Dominie was habitually obedient to any one who chose to impose commands upon him; he sunk back into his chair, spread his checked handkerchief over his face, to serve, as I suppose, for the Grecian painter's veil, and, from the action of his folded hands, appeared for a time engaged in the act of mental thanksgiving. He then raised his eyes over the screer, as if to be assured that the pleasing apparition had not melted into air-then again sunk them to resume his internal act of devotion, until he felt himself compelled to give attention to the counsellor, from the interest which his questions excited.
“And now," said Mr. Pleydell, after several minute inquiries concerning his recollection of early events—“And now, Mr. Bertram, for I think we ought in future to call you by your own proper name, will you have the goodness to let us know every particular which you can recollect concerning the mode of your leaving Scotland ? ”
“Indeed, sir, to say the truth, though the terrible outlines of that day are strongly impressed upon my memory, yet somehow the very terror which fixed them there has in a great measure confounded and confused the details. I recollect, however, that I was walking somewhere or other-in a wood, I think- "
“Oh yes, it was in Warroch Wood, my dear,” said the Dominie.
“ Hush, Mr. Sampson," said the lawyer.
“Yes, it was in a wood,” continued Bertram, as long past and confused ideas arranged themselves in his reviving necollection; "and some one was with me—this worthy and affectionate gentleman, I think.”
“Oh, ay, ay, Harry, Lord bless thee—it was even I myself.”
“Be silent, Dominie, and don't interrupt the evidence," said Pleydell.—“And so, sir?” to Bertram.
“And so, sir," continued Bertram, “ like one of the changes of a dream, I thought I was on horseback before my guide."
“No, no,” exclaimed Sampson, "never did I put my own limbs, not to say thine, into such peril."
“On my word this is intolerable !— Look ye, Dominie, if you speak another word till I give you leave, I will read three sentences out of the Black Acts, whisk my cane round my head three times, undo all the magic of this night's work, and conjure Harry Bertram back again into Vanbeest Brown.”
“Honoured and worthy sir,” groaned out the Dominie, “I humbly crave pardon--it was but verbum volens."
“Well, nolens volens, you must hold your tongue,” said Pleydell.
"Pray, be silent, Mr. Sampson,” said the Colonel ; “it is of great consequence to your recovered friend, that you permit Mr. Pleydell to proceed in his inquiries."
“I am mute," said the rebuked Dominie.
“On a sudden," continued Bertram, “two or three men sprung out upon us, and we were pulled from horseback. I have little recollection of anything else, but that I tried to escape in the midst of a desperate scuffle, and fell into the arms of a very tall woman who started from the bushes, and protected me for some time—the rest is all confusion and dread-a dim recollection of a sea-beach, and a cave, and of some strong potion which lulled me to sleep for a length of time. In short, it is all a blank in my memory, until I recollect myself first an ill-used and half-starved cabin-boy aboard a sloop, and then a school-boy in Holland under the protection of an old merchant, who had taken some fancy for me."
“And what account,” said Mr. Pleydell, “ did your guardian give of your parentage ? "
"A very brief one," answered Bertram, “and a charge to inquire no further. I was given to understand, that my father was concerned in the smuggling trade carried on on the eastern coast of Scotland, and was killed in a skirmish with the revenue officers; that his correspondents in Holland had a vessel on the coast at the time, part of the crew of which were engaged in the affair, and that they brought me off after it was over, from a motive of compassion, as I was left destitute by my father's death. As I grew older there was much of this story seemed inconsistent with my own recollections, but what could I do? I had no means of ascertaining my doubts, nor a single friend with whom I could communicate or canvass them. The rest of my story is known to Colonel Mannering : I went out to India to be a clerk in a Dutch house; their affairs fell into confusion-I betook myself to the military profession, and, I trust, as yet I have not disgraced it.”
“ Thou art a fine young fellow, I'll be bound for thee," said Pleydell, “and since you have wanted a father so long, I wish from my heart I could claim the paternity myself. But this affair of young Hazlewood ".
“Was merely accidental,” said Bertram. “I was travelling in Scotland for pleasure, and after a week's residence with my friend, Mr. Dinmont, with whom I had the good fortune to form an accidental acquaintance
“ It was my gude fortune that,” said Dinmont; “ odd, my brains wad hae been knockit out by twa blackguards, if it hadna been for his four quarters."
“Shortly after we parted at the town of I lost my baggage by thieves, and it was while residing at Kippletringan I accidentally met the young gentleman. As I was approaching to pay my respects to Miss Mannering, whom I had