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A short but brisk ride brought them to Woodbourne. The news of their exploit had already flown far and wide, and the whole inhabitants of the vicinity met them on the lawn with shouts of congratulation. “That you have seen me alive," said Bertram to Lucy, who first ran up to him, though Julia's eyes even anticipated hers, “you must thank these kind friends."
With a blush expressing at once pleasure, gratitude, and bashfulness, Lucy curtsied to Hazlewood, but to Dinmont she frankly extended her hand. The honest farmer, in the extravagance of his joy, carried his freedom farther than the hint warranted, for he imprinted his thanks on the lady's lips, and was instantly shocked at the rudeness of his own conduct. “Lordsake, madam, I ask your pardon," he said; “I forgot but ye had been a bairn o’my ain—the Captain's sae hamely, he gars ane forget himsell."
Old Pleydell now advanced : “ Nay, if fees like these are going- " he said.
"Stop, stop, Mr. Pleydell,” said Julia, "you had your fees beforehand remember last night."
"Why, I do confess a retainer," said the barrister; “but if I don't deserve double fees from both Miss Bertram and you when I conclude my examination of Dirk Hatteraick to-morrow-Gad, I will so supple him !-You shall see, Colonel, and you, my saucy misses, though you may not see, shall hear."
“Ay, that's if we choose to listen, counsellor," replied Julia.
“And you think,” said Pleydell, “it's two to one you won't choose that ?—But you have curiosity that teaches you the use of your ears now and then."
"I declare, counsellor," answered the lively damsel, “that such saucy bachelors as you would teach us the use of our fingers now and then."
“Reserve them for the harpsichord, my love," said the counsellor. “Better for all parties."
While this idle chat ran on, Colonel Mannering introduced to Bertram a plain good-looking man, in a grey coat and waistcoat, buckskin breeches, and boots. " This, my dear sir, is Mr. Mac-Morlan.”
“To whom," said Bertram, embracing him cordially, “my sister was indebted for a home, when deserted by all her natural friends and relations."
The Dominie then pressed forward, grinned, chuckled, made a diabolical sound in attempting to whistle, and finally, unable to stifle his emotions, ran away to empty the feelings of his heart at his eyes.
We shall not attempt to describe the expansion of heart and glee of this happy evening.
-How like a hateful ape,
THERE was a great movement at Woodbourne early on the following morning, to attend the examination at Kippletringan. Mr. Pleydell, from the investigation which he had formerly bestowed on the dark affair of Kennedy's death, as well as from the general deference due to his professional abilities, was requested by Mr. Mac-Morlan and Sir Robert Hazlewood, and another justice of peace who attended, to take the situation of chairman, and the lead in the examination. Colonel Mannering was invited to sit down with them. The examination, being previous to trial, was private in other respects.
The counsellor resumed and re-interrogated former evidence. He then examined the clergyman and surgeon respecting the dying declaration of Meg Merrilies. They stated, that she distinctly, positively, and repeatedly, declared herself an eyewitness of Kennedy's death by the hands of Hatteraick, and two or three of his crew; that her presence was accidental; that she believed their resentment at meeting him, when they were in the act of losing their vessel through the means of his information, led to the commission of the crime; that she said there was one witness of the murder, but who refused to participate in it, still alive,-her nephew, Gabriel Faa; and she had hinted at another person, who was an accessory after, not before, the fact; but her strength there failed her. They did not forget to mention her declaration, that she had saved the child, and that he was torn from her by the smugglers, for the purpose of carrying him to Holland.-All these particulars were carefully reduced to writing.
Dirk Hatteraick was then brought in, heavily ironed; for he had been strictly secured and guarded, owing to his former escape. He was asked his name; he made no answer :-His profession; he was silent:-Several other questions were put; to none of which he returned any reply. Pleydell wiped the glasses of his spectacles, and considered the prisoner very attentively. “A very truculent-looking fellow,” he whispered to Mannering ; “but, as Dogberry says, I'll go cunningly to work with him.-Here, call in Soles-Soles the shoemaker.Soles, do you remember measuring some footsteps imprinted on the mud at the wood of Warroch, on November 17, by my orders ?” Soles remembered the circumstance perfectly. “Look at that paper-is that your note of the measurement?"-Soles verified the memorandum—“Now, there stands a pair of shoes on that table; measure them, and see if they correspond with any of the marks you have noted there." The shoemaker obeyed, and declared, “that they answered exactly to the largest of the foot-prints."
“We shall prove," said the counsellor, aside to Mannering, " that these shoes, which were found in the ruins of Derncleugh, belonged to Brown, the fellow whom you shot on the lawn at Woodbourne.—Now, Soles, measure that prisoner's feet very accurately."
Mannering observed Hatteraick strictly, and could notice a visible tremor. “Do these measurements correspond with any of the foot prints ?"
The man looked at the note, then at his foot-rule and measure-then verified his former measurement by a second. “They correspond,” he said, “within a hair-breadth, to a foot-mark broader and shorter than the former."
Hatteraick's genius here deserted him—"Der deyvil ! ” he broke out, “how could there be a foot-mark on the ground, when it was a frost as hard as the heart of a Memel log ?”
"In the evening, I grant you, Captain Hatteraick," said Pleydell, “but not in the forenoon—will you favour me with information where you were upon the day you remember so exactly?”
Hatteraick saw his blunder, and again screwed up his hard features for obstinate silence—“Put down his observation, however,” said Pleydell to the clerk.
At this moment the door opened, and, much to the surprise of most present, Mr. Gilbert Glossin made his appearance. That worthy gentleman had, by dint of watching and eavesdropping, ascertained that he was not mentioned by name in
Meg Merrilies' dying declaration, a circumstance, certainly not owing to any favourable disposition towards him, but to the delay of taking her regular examination, and to the rapid approach of death. He therefore supposed himself safe from all evidence but such as might arise from Hatteraick's confession; to prevent which he resolved to push a bold face, and join his brethren of the bench during his examination."I shall be able,” he thought, “ to make the rascal sensible his safety lies in keeping his own counsel and mine; and my presence, besides, will be a proof of confidence and innocence. If I must lose the estate, I must-but I trust better things."
He entered with a profound salutation to Sir Robert Hazlewood. Sir Robert, who had rather begun to suspect that his plebeian neighbour had made a cat's-paw of him, inclined his head stiffly, took snuff, and looked another way.
“Mr. Corsand,” said Glossin to the other yoke-fellow of justice, "your most humble servant.”
“Your humble servant, Mr. Glossin," answered Mr. Corsand dryly, composing his countenance regis ad exemplar, that is to say, after the fashion of the Baronet.
“Mac-Morlan, my worthy friend,” continued Glossin, “how d'ye do—always on your duty ?"
"Umph," said honest Mac-Morlan, with little respect either to the compliment or salutation. “Colonel Mannering (a low bow slightly returned) and Mr. Pleydell (another low bow), I dared not have hoped for your assistance to poor country gentlemen at this period of the session."
Pleydell took snuff, and eyed him with a glance equally shrewd and sarcastic-"I'll teach him," he said aside to Mannering, “the value of the old admonition, Ne accesseris in consilium antequam voceris."
“But perhaps I intrude, gentlemen ?" said Glossin, who could not fail to observe the coldness of his reception.-" Is this an open meeting ?"
“For my part," said Mr. Pleydell, “ so far from considering your attendance as an intrusion, Mr. Glossin, I was never so pleased in my life to meet with you; especially as I think we should, at any rate, have had occasion to request the favour of your company in the course of the day."
"Well, then, gentlemen," said Glossin, drawing his chair to the table, and beginning to bustle about among the papers, “where are we?-how far have we got? where are the declarations ?”
“ Clerk, give me all these papers," said Mr. Pleydell ;—"I have an odd way of arranging my documents, Mr. Glossin, another person touching them puts me out—but I shall have occasion for your assistance by-and-by.”
Glossin, thus reduced to inactivity, stole one glance at Dirk Hatteraick, but could read nothing in his dark scowl save malignity and hatred to all around. “But, gentlemen," said Glossin, “is it quite right to keep this poor man so heavily ironed, when he is taken up merely for examination ?".
This was hoisting a kind of friendly signal to the prisoner. “He has escaped once before," said Mac-Morlan dryly, and Glossin was silenced.
Bertram was now introduced, and, to Glossin's confusion, was greeted in the most friendly manner by all present, even by Sir Robert Hazlewood himself. He told his recollections of his infancy with that candour and caution of expression which afforded the best warrant for his good faith. “This seems to be rather a civil than a criminal question,” said Glossin, rising ; "and as you cannot be ignorant, gentlemen, of the effect which this young person's pretended parentage may have on my patrimonial interest, I would rather beg leave to retire."
“No, my good sir," said Mr. Pleydell, “we can by no means spare you. But why do you call this young man's claims pretended ?—I don't mean to fish for your defences against them, if you have any, but
"Mr. Pleydell,” replied Glossin, “ I am always disposed to act above-board, and I think I can explain the matter at once.—This young fellow, whom I take to be a natural son of the late Ellangowan, has gone about the country for some weeks under different names, caballing with a wretched old madwoman, who, I understand, was shot in a late scuffle, and with other tinkers, gipsies, and persons of that description, and a great brute farmer from Liddesdale, stirring up the tenants against their landlords, which, as Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood knows— "
“Not to interrupt you, Mr. Glossin,” said Pleydell, “ I ask who you say this young man is ?”.
“Why, I say,” replied Glossin, "and I believe that gentleman (looking at Hatteraick) knows, that the young man is the natural son of the late Ellangowan, by a girl called Janet Lightoheel, who was afterwards married to Hewit the shipwright, that lived in the neighbourhood of Annan. His name