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light, sometimes partially obscured in the smoke or darkness, contrasted strongly with the sitting figure of Hatteraick as he bent over the flame, and from his stationary posture was constantly visible to the spectator, while that of the female flitted around, appearing or disappearing like a spectre.
Bertram felt his blood boil at the sight of Hatteraick. He remembered him well under the name of Jansen, which the smuggler had adopted after the death of Kennedy; and he 'remembered also, that this Jansen, and his mate Brown, the same who was shot at Woodbourne, had been the brutal tyrants of his infancy. Bertram knew further, from piecing his own imperfect recollections with the narratives of Mannering and Pleydell, that this man was the prime agent in the act of violence which tore him from his family and country, and had exposed him to so many distresses and dangers. A thousand exasperating reflections rose within his bosom; and he could hardly refrain from rushing upon Hatteraick and blowing his brains out.
At the same time this would have been no safe adventure. The flame, as it rose and fell, while it displayed the strong, muscular, and broad-chested frame of the ruffian, glanced also upon two brace of pistols in his belt, and upon the hilt of his cutlass : it was not to be doubted that his desperation was commensurate with his personal strength and means of resistance. Both, indeed, were inadequate to encounter the combined power of two such men as Bertram himself and his friend Dinmont, without reckoning their unexpected assistant Hazlewood, who was unarmed, and of a slighter make; but Bertram felt, on a moment's reflection, that there would be neither sense nor valour in anticipating the hangman's office, and he considered the importance of making Hatteraick prisoner alive. He therefore repressed his indignation, and awaited what should pass between the ruffian and his gipsy guide.
“And how are ye now?” said the harsh and discordant tones of his female attendant : “Said I not it would come upon you-ay, and in this very cave, where ye harboured after the deed ?"
“Wetter and sturm, ye hag !” replied Hatteraick, "keep your deyvil's matins till they're wanted. Have you seen Glossin ? "
"No," replied Meg Merrilies: "you've missed your blow, ye blood-spiller ! and ye have nothing to expect from the tempter.”
“Hagel ! " exclaimed the ruffian, “if I had him but by the throat and what am I to do then?”
“Do?" answered the gipsy; “die like a man, or be hanged like a dog !”
“ Hanged, ye hag of Satan !—the hemp's not sown that shall hang me."
“It's sown, and it's grown, and it's heckled, and it's twisted. Did I not tell ye, when ye wad take away the boy Harry Bertram, in spite of my prayers,—did I not say he would come back when he had dree'd his weird in foreign land till his twenty-first year ?— Did I not say the auld fire would burn down to a spark, but wad kindle again?”.
“Well, mother, you did say so," said Hatteraick, in a tone that had something of despair in its accents; "and, donner and blitzen! I believe you spoke the truth--that younker of Ellangowan has been a rock ahead to me all my life! and now, with Glossin's cursed contrivance, my crew have been cut off, my boats destroyed, and I dare say the lugger's taken --there were not men enough left on board to work her, far less to fight her-a dredge-boat might have taken her. And what will the owners say ?-Hagel and sturm! I shall never dare go back again to Flushing."
“You'll never need,” said the gipsy.
“What are you doing there," said her companion, "and what makes you say that ?".
During this dialogue, Meg was heaping some flax loosely together. Before answer to this question, she dropped a firebrand upon the flax, which had been previously steeped in some spirituous liquor, for it instantly caught fire, and rose in a vivid pyramid of the most brilliant light up to the very top of the vault. As it ascended, Meg answered the ruffian's question in a firm and steady voice :-“ Because the Hour's come, and the Man."
At the appointed signal, Bertram and Dinmont sprung over the brushwood, and rushed upon Hatteraick. Hazlewood, unacquainted with their plan of assault, was a moment later. The ruffian, who instantly saw he was betrayed, turned his first vengeance on Meg Merrilies, at whom he discharged a pistol. She fell, with a piercing and dreadful cry, between the shriek of pain and the sound of laughter, when at its highest and most suffocating height. “I kenn'd it would be this way," she said.
Bertram, in his haste, slipped his foot upon the uneven rock which floored the cave; a fortunate stumble, for Hatteraick's second bullet whistled over him with so true and steady an aim, that had he been standing upright, it must have lodged in his brain. Ere the smuggler could draw another pistol, Dinmont closed with him, and endeavoured by main force to pinion down his arms. Such, however, was the wretch's personal strength, joined to the efforts of his despair, that, in spite of the gigantic force with which the Borderer grappled him, he dragged Dinmont through the blazing fax, and had almost succeeded in drawing a third pistol, which might have proved fatal to the honest farmer, had not Bertram, as well as Hazlewood, come to his assistance, when, by main force, and no ordinary exertion of it, they threw Hatteraick on the ground, disarmed him, and bound him. This scuffle, though it takes up some time in the narrative, passed in less than a single minute. When he was fairly mastered, after one or two desperate and almost convulsionary struggles, the ruffian lay perfectly still and silent. “He's gaun to die game ony how," said Dinmont; “weel, I like him na the waur for that."
This observation honest Dandie made while he was shaking the blazing flax from his rough coat and shaggy black hair, some of which had been singed in the scuffle. “He is quiet now," said Bertram ; "stay by him, and do not permit him to stir till I see whether the poor woman be alive or dead.” With Hazlewood's assistance he raised Meg Merrilies.
“I kenn'd it would be this way," she muttered, “and it's e'en this way that it should be."
The ball had penetrated the breast below the throat. It did not bleed much externally; but Bertram, accustomed to see gun-shot wounds, thought it the more alarming. “Good God! what shall we do for this poor woman?” said he to Hazlewood, the circumstances superseding the necessity of previous explanation or introduction to each other.
"My horse stands tied above in the wood," said Hazlewood. “I have been watching you these two hours—I will ride off for some assistants that may be trusted. Meanwhile, you had better defend the mouth of the cavern against every one until I return.” He hastened away. Bertram, after binding Meg Merrilies's wound as well as he could, took station near the mouth of the cave with a cocked pistol in his hand; Dinmont continued to watch Hatteraick, keeping a grasp, like that of Hercules, on his breast. There was a dead silence in the cavern, only interrupted by the low and suppressed moaning of the wounded female, and by the hard breathing of the prisoner.
For though, seduced and led astray.
Thou'st travell'd far and wander'd long
The Hall of Justice
AFTER the space of about three-quarters of an hour, which the uncertainty and danger of their situation made seem almost thrice as long, the voice of young Hazlewood was heard without. “ Here I am," he cried, “with a sufficient party."
“Come in then,” answered Bertram, not a little pleased to find his guard relieved. Hazlewood then entered, followed by two or three countrymen, one of whom acted as a peaceofficer. They lifted Hatteraick up, and carried him in their arms as far as the entrance of the vault was high enough to permit them; then laid him on his back, and dragged him along as well as they could, for no persuasion would induce him to assist the transportation by any exertion of his own. He lay as silent and inactive in their hands as a dead corpse, incapable of opposing, but in no way aiding, their operations. When he was dragged into daylight, and placed erect upon his feet among three or four assistants, who had remained without the cave, he seemed stupefied and dazzled by the sudden change from the darkness of his cavern. While others were superintending the removal of Meg Merrilies, those who remained with Hatteraick attempted to make him sit down upon a fragment of rock which lay close upon the high-water mark. A strong shuddering convulsed his iron frame for an instant, as he resisted their purpose. “Not there-Hagel !-you would not make me sit there ?"
These were the only words he spoke; but their import, and the deep tone of horror in which they were uttered, served to show what was passing in his mind.
When Meg Merrilies had also been removed from the cavern, with all the care for her safety that circumstances admitted, they consulted where she should be carried. Hazlewood had sent for a surgeon, and proposed that she should be lifted in the meantime to the nearest cottage. But the patient exclaimed with great earnestness, “Na, na, na! To the Kaim o' Derncleugh-the Kaim o' Derncleugh-the spirit will not free itself o' the flesh but there."
" You must indulge her, I believe," said Bertram ; "her troubled imagination will otherwise aggravate the fever of the wound.”
They bore her accordingly to the vault. On the way her mind seemed to run more upon the scene which had just passed, than on her own approaching death. “There were three of them set upon him-I brought the twasome—but wha was the third ?—It would be himsell, returned to work his ain vengeance!”
It was evident that the unexpected appearance of Hazlewood, whose person the outrage of Hatteraick left her no time to recognise, had produced a strong effect on her imagination. She often recurred to it. Hazlewood accounted for his unexpected arrival to Bertram, by saying, that he had kept them in view for some time by the direction of Mannering; that, observing them disappear into the cave, he had crept after them, meaning to announce himself and his errand, when his hand in the darkness encountering the leg of Dinmont, had nearly produced a catastrophe, which, indeed, nothing but the presence of mind and fortitude of the bold yeoman could have averted.
When the gipsy arrived at the hut, she produced the key; and when they entered, and were about to deposit her upon the bed, she said, in an anxious tone, “Na, na! not that way, the feet to the east ;” and appeared gratified when they reversed her posture accordingly, and placed her in that appropriate to a dead body.
“Is there no clergyman near," said Bertram, “to assist this unhappy woman's devotions?".
A gentleman, the minister of the parish, who had been Charles Hazlewood's tutor, had, with many others, caught the alarm, that the murderer of Kennedy was taken on the spot where the deed had been done so many years before, and that a woman was mortally wounded. From curiosity, or rather from the feeling that his duty called him to scenes of distress, this gentleman had come to the Kaim of Derncleugh, and now presented himself. The surgeon arrived at the same time, and was about to probe the wound; but Meg resisted the assistance of either. “It's no what man can do, that will heal my body, or save my spirit. Let me speak what I have to say, and then ye may work your will ; I'se be nae hinderance.—But where's Henry Bertram ?”—the assistants, to whom this name had been long a stranger, gazed upon each other.