Page images
PDF
EPUB

The press became furiously agitated, while some endeavoured to defend themselves, others to escape; shots were fired, and the glittering broadswords of the dragoons began to appear flashing above the heads of the rioters. “Now," said the warning whisper of the man who held Bertram's left arm, the same who had spoken before, “shake off that fellow, and follow me.”

Bertram, exerting his strength suddenly and effectually, easily burst from the grasp of the man who held his collar on the right side. The fellow attempted to draw a pistol, but was prostrated by a blow of Dinmont's fist, which an ox could hardly have received without the same humiliation. “Follow me quick,” said the friendly partisan, and dived through a very narrow and dirty lane which led from the inain street.

No pursuit took place. The attention of the smugglers had been otherwise and very disagreeably engaged by the sudden appearance of Mac-Morlan and the party of horse. The loud manly voice of the provincial magistrate was heard proclaiming the riot act, and charging all those unlawfully assembled to disperse at their own proper peril." This interruption would indeed have happened in time sufficient to have prevented the attempt, had not the magistrate received upon the road some false information, which led him to think that the smugglers were to land at the Bay of Ellangowan. Nearly two hours were lost in consequence of this false intelligence, which it may be no lack of charity to suppose that Glossin, so deeply interested in the issue of that night's daring attempt, had contrived to throw in Mac-Morlan's way, availing himself of the knowledge that the soldiers had left Hazlewood-House, which would soon reach an ear so anxious as his.

In the mean time, Bertram followed his guide, and was in his turn followed by Dinmont. The shouts of the mob, the trampling of the horses, the dropping pistol-shots, sunk more and more faintly upon their ears; when at the end of the dark lane they found a post-chaise with four horses. “ Are you here, in God's» name ?” said the guide to the postilion who drove the leaders.

“Ay, troth am I," answered Jock Jabos, "and I wish I were ony gate else.”

“ Open the carriage, then. You gentlemen get into it. In a short time you'll be in a piace of safety; and” (to Bertram) “remember your promise to the gipsy wife!"

Bertram, resolving to be passive in the hands of a person who had just rendered him such a distinguished piece of service, got into the chaise as directed. Dinmont followed; Wasp, who had kept close by them, sprung in at the same time, and the carriage drove off very fast." Have a care o' me," said Dinmont, “but this is the queerest thing yet! Od, I trust they'll no coup us; and then what's to come o’ Dumple? I would rather be on his back than in the Deuke's coach, God bless him."

Bertram observed that they could not go at that rapid rate to any very great distance without changing horses, and that they might insist upon remaining till daylight at the first inn they stopped at, or at least upon being made acquainted with the purpose and termination of their journey, and Mr. Dinmont might there give directions about his faithful horse, which would probably be safe at the stables where he had left him. “Aweel, aweel, e'en sae be it for Dandie. Od, if we were ance out o' this trindling kist o' a thing, I am thinking they wad find it hard wark to gar us gang ony gate but where we liked oursells.”

While he thus spoke, the carriage making a sudden turn, showed them, through the left window, the village at some distance, still widely beaconed by the fire, which, having reached a storehouse wherein spirits were deposited, now rose high into the air, a wavering column of brilliant light. They had not long time to admire this spectacle, for another turn of the road carried them into a close lane between plantations, through which the chaise proceeded in nearly total darkness, but with unabated speed.

Coup, upset. Trindling, trundling. Gang, go.

CHAPTER FORTY-NINTH.

The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter,
And aye the ale was growing better.

Tam o' SHANTER.

[ocr errors]

We must now return to Woodbourne, which, it

may

be remembered, we left just after the Colonel had given some directions to his confidential servant. When he returned, his absence of mind, and an unusual expression of thought and anxiety upon his features, struck the ladies whom he joined in the drawing-room. Mannering was not, however, a man to be questioned, even by those whom he most loved, upon the cause of the mental agitation which these signs expressed. The hour of tea arrived, and the party were partaking of that refreshment in silence, when a carriage drove

up to the door, and the bell announced the arrival of a visitor. "Surely,” said Mannering, “ it is too soon by some hours There was a short pause,

when Barnes, opening the door of the saloon, announced Mr. Pleydell. În marched the lawyer, whose well-brushed black coat and well-powdered wig, together with his point ruffles, brown silk stockings, highly varnished shoes, and gold buckles, exhibited the pains which the old gentleman had taken to prepare his person for the ladies' society. He was welcomed by Mannering with a hearty shake by the hand.

“ The very man I wished to see at this moment!”

“ Yes,” said the counsellor, “ I told you I would take the first opportunity; so I have ventured to leave the Court for a week in session time no common sacrifice; but I had a notion I could be useful, and I was to attend a proof here about the same time. But will you not introduce me to the young ladies ? Ah! there is one I should have known at once, from her family likeness. Miss Lucy Bertram, my love, I am most happy to see you. And he folded her in his arms, and gave her a hearty kiss on each

side of the face, to which Lucy submitted in blushing resig. nation.

On n'arrête pas dans un si beau chemin," continued the gay old gentleman, and, as the Colonel presented him to Julia, took the same liberty with that fair lady's cheek. Julia laughed, coloured, and disengaged herself. “I beg a thousand pardons,” said the lawyer, with a bow which was not at all professionally awkward ; “age and old fashions give privileges, and I can hardly say whether I am most sorry just now at being too well entitled to claim them at all, or happy in having such an opportunity to exercise them so agreeably.”

Upon my word, sir,” said Miss Mannering, laughing, “ if you make such flattering apologies, we shall begin to doubt whether we can admit you to shelter yourself under your alleged qualifications."

“I can assure you, Julia," said the Colonel, "you are perfectly right; my friend the counsellor is a dangerous person; the last time I had the pleasure of seeing him, he was closeted with a fair lady, who had granted him a têteà-tête at eight in the morning.'

“Ay, but Colonel," said the counsellor, "you should add, I was more indebted to my chocolate than my charms for so distinguished a favour, from a person of such propriety of demeanour as Mrs. Rebecca."

“And that should remind me, Mr. Pleydell," said Julia, “to offer you tea — that is, supposing you have dined.”

Anything, Miss Mannering, from your hands,” answered the gallant jurisconsult; “yes, I have dined — that is to say, as people dine at a Scotch inn.”

“ And that is indifferently enough,” said the Colonel, with his hand upon the bell-handle; - "give me leave to order something

· Why, to say truth,” replied Mr. Pleydell, “ I had rather not; I have been inquiring into that matter, for you must know I stopped an instant below to pull off my boot-hose,

a world too wide for my shrunk shanks,” glancing down with some complacency upon limbs which looked very

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

On n'arrête pas dans un si beau chemin, one does not halt on so fair a

Jurisconsult, a man learned in the law.

course.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »