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sions of his ancestors—in which case the said Peter Protocol was bound and obliged, like as he bound and obliged himself, by acceptance of these presents, to denude himself of the said lands of Singleside and others, and of all the other effects thereby conveyed (excepting always a proper gratification for his own trouble) to and in favour of the said Henry Bertram upon his return to his native country. And during the time of his residing in foreign parts, or in case of his never again returning to Scotland, Mr. Peter Protocol, the trustee, was directed to distribute the rents of the land, and interest of the other funds (deducting always a proper gratification for his trouble in the premises), in equal portions, among four charitable establishments pointed out in the will. The power of management, of letting leases, of raising and lending out money, in short, the full authority of a proprietor, was vested in this confidential trustee, and, in the event of his death, went to certain official persons named in the deed. There were only two legacies ; one of a hundred pounds to a favourite waiting-maid, another of the like sum to Janet Gibson (whom the deed stated to have been supported by the charity of the testatrix) for the purpose of binding her an apprentice to some honest trade.
A settlement in mortmain is in Scotland termed a mortification, and in one great borough (Aberdeen, if I remember rightly) there is a municipal officer who takes care of these public endowments, and is thence called the Master of Mortifications. One would almost presume, that the term had its origin in the effect which
such settlements usually produce upon the kinsmen of those by whom they are executed. Heavy at least was the mortification which befell the audience, who, in the late Mrs. Margaret Bertram's parlour, had listened to this unexpected destination of the lands of Singleside. There was a profound silence after the deed had been
Mr. Pleydell was the first to speak. He begged to look at the deed, and having satisfied himself that it was correctly drawn and executed, he returned it without any observation, only saying aside to Mannering. “ Protocol is not worse than other people, I believe ; but this old lady has determined that, if he do not turn rogue, it shall not be for want of temptation.”
“I really think," said Mr. Mac-Casquil of Drumquag, who, having gulped down one half of his vexation, determined to give vent to the rest, “I really think this is an extraordinary case ! I should like now to know from Mr. Protocol, who, being sole and unlimited trustee, must have been consulted upon this occasion ; I should like, I say, to know, how Mrs. Bertram could possibly believe in the existence of a boy, that a' the world kens was murdered many a year since ?”
“Really, sir,” said Mr. Protocol, “I do not conceive it is possible for me to explain her motives more than she has done herself. Our excellent deceased friend was a good woman, sir a pious woman
and might have grounds for confidence in the boy's safety which are not accessible to us, sir."
“Hout," said the tobacconist, “I ken very weel
what were her grounds for confidence. There's Mrs. Rebecca (the maid) sitting there, has telld me a hundred times in my ain shop, there was nae kenning how her leddy wad settle her affairs, for an auld gipsy witch wife at Gilsland had possessed her with a notion, that the callant- Harry Bertram ca's she him ?— would come alive again some day after a'-ye'll no deny that, Mrs. Rebecca ?—though I dare to say ye forgot to put your mistress in mind of what ye promised to say when I gied ye mony a half-crown-But ye'll no deny what I am saying now, lass ?”
“I ken naething at a’ about it,” answered Rebecca, doggedly, and looking straight forward with the firm countenance of one not disposed to be compelled to remember more than was agreeable to her.
“Weel said, Rebecca ! ye're satisfied wi' your ain share ony way,” rejoined the tobacconist.
The buck of the second-head, for a buck of the first head he was not, had hitherto been slapping his boots with his switch-whip, and looking like a spoiled child that has lost its supper.
His murmurs, however, were all vented inwardly, or at most in a soliloquy such as this—“I am sorry, by G-d, I ever plagued myself about her-I came here, by G-d, one night to drink tea, and I left King and the Duke's rider Will Hack. They were toasting a round of running horses ; by G-d, I might have got leave to wear the jacket as well as other folk, if I had carried it on with themand she has not so much as left me that hundred !"
“We'll make the payment of the note quite agree
able,” said Mr. Protocol, who had no wish to increase at that moment the odium attached to his office“And now, gentlemen, I fancy we have no more to wait for here, and—I shall put the settlement of my excellent and worthy friend on record to-morrow, that every gentleman may examine the contents, and have free access to take an extract; and”—he proceeded to lock up the repositories of the deceased with more speed than he had opened them—“Mrs. Rebecca, ye'll be so kind as to keep all right here until we can let the house — I had an offer from a tenant this morning, if such a thing should be, and if I was to have any management."
Our friend Dinmont, having had his hopes as well as another, had hitherto sate sulky enough in the armchair formerly appropriated to the deceased, and in which she would have been not a little scandalized to have seen this colossal specimen of the masculine gender lolling at length. His employment had been rolling up, into the form of a coiled snake, the long lash of his horse-whip, and then by a jerk causing it to unroll itself into the middle of the floor. The first words he said when he had digested the shock, contained a magnanimous declaration, which he probably was not conscious of having uttered aloud—“Weelblude's thicker than water -she's welcome to the cheeses and the hams just the same." But when the trustee had made the above mentioned motion for the mourners to depart, and talked of the house being immediately let, honest Dinmont got upon his feet,
and stunned the company with this blunt question, “And what's to come o this poor lassie then-Jenny Gibson ? Sae mony o' us as thought oursells sib to the family when the gear was parting, we may do something for her amang us surely.”
This proposal seemed to dispose most of the assembly instantly to evacuate the premises, although upon Mr. Protocol's motion they had lingered as if around the grave of their disappointed hopes. Drumquag said, or rather muttered, something of having a family of his own, and took precedence, in virtue of his gentle blood, to depart as fast as possible. The tobacconist sturdily stood forward, and scouted the motion--"A little huzzie like that was weel eneugh provided for already ; and Mr. Protocol at ony rate was the proper person to take direction of her, as he had charge of her legacy;" and after uttering such his opinion in a steady and decisive tone of voice, he also left the place. The buck made a' stupid and brutal attempt at a jest upon Mrs. Bertram's recommendation that the poor girl should be taught some honest trade ; but encountered a scowl from Colonel Mannering's darkening eye (to whom, in his ignorance of the tone of good society, he had looked for applause) that made him ache to the very back-bone. He shuffled down stairs, therefore, as fast as possible.
Protocol, who was really a good sort of man, next expressed his intention to take a temporary charge of the young lady, under protest always, that his so doing should be considered as merely eleemosynary; when