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if you speak another word till I give you leave, I will read three sentences out of the Black Acts, whisk
iny 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 nolens."
“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, guardian give of your parentage ?"
“A very brief one,” answered Bertram, “and a
« did your
charge to inquire no farther. 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 that I accidentally met the young gentleman. As I was approaching to pay my respects to Miss Mannering, whom I had known in India, Mr. Hazlewood, conceiving my appearance none of the most respectable, commanded me rather haughtily to stand back, and so gave occasion to the fray in which I had the misfortune to be the accidental means of wounding him.—And now, sir, that I have answered all your questions”
“No, no, not quite all,” said Pleydell, winking sagaciously ; "there are some interrogatories which I shall delay till to-morrow, for it is time, I believe, to close the sederunt for this night, or rather morning.”
“Well, then, sir," said the young man, “to vary the phrase, since I have answered all the questions which you have chosen to ask to-night, will you be so good as to tell me who you are that take such interest in my affairs, and whom you take me to be, since my arrival has occasioned such commotion ?"
“Why, sir, for myself,” replied the counsellor, “I am Paulus Pleydell, an advocate at the Scottish bar; and for you, it is not easy to say distinctly who you are at present; but I trust in a short time to hail you by the title of Henry Bertram, Esq. representative of one of the oldest families in Scotland, and heir of tailzie and provision to the estate of Ellangowan. Ay,” continued he, shutting his eyes and speaking to himself, “we must pass over his father, and serve him heir to his grand
father Lewis, the entailer, the only wise man of his family that I ever heard of.”
They had now risen to retire to their apartments for the night, when Colonel Mannering walked up to Bertram, as he stood astonished at the counsellor's words. "I give you joy," he said, "of the prospects which fate has opened before you. I was an early friend of your father, and chanced to be in the house of Ellangowan as unexpectedly as you are now in mine, upon the very night in which you were born. I little knew this circumstance when—but I trust unkindness will be forgotten between us. Believe me, your appearance here, as Mr. Brown, alive and well, has relieved me from most painful sensations; and your right to the name of an old friend renders your presence, as Mr. Bertram, doubly welcome.”
“ And my parents !” said Bertram.
“Are both no more—and the family property has been sold, but I trust may be recovered. Whatever is wanted to make your right effectual, I shall be most happy to supply.”
“Nay, you may leave all that to me,” said the counsellor ;—“'tis my vocation, Hal, I shall make money of it.”
“I'm sure it's no for the like o' me,” observed Dinmont, "to speak to you gentlefolks; but if siller would help on the Captain's plea, and they say nae plea gangs on weel without it”
* Except on Saturday night," said Pleydell.
ye wadna hae the cause neither, sae I'll ne'er fash you on a Saturday at e’en again—but I was saying, there's some siller in the spleuchan* that's like the Captain's ain, for we've aye counted it such, baith Ailie and me.”
“No, no, Liddesdale—no occasion, no occasion whatever-keep thy cash to stock thy farm.”
“To stock my farm ? Mr. Pleydell, your honour kens mony things, but ye
dinna ken the farm o’ Charlieshope-it's sae weel stockit already, that we sell maybe sax hundred pounds off it ilka year, flesh and fell thegither--na, na."
“Can't you take another then ?"
“I dinna ken—the Deuke's no that fond o' led farms, and he canna bide to put away the auld tenantry; and then I wadna like, mysell, to gang about whistlingt and raising the rent on my neighbours.”
What, not upon thy neighbour at Dawston — Devilstone—how d’ye call the place ?"
“What, on Jock o' Dawston ?-hout nacamsteary I chield, and fasheous about marches, and we've had some bits o' splores thegither; but deil o' me if I wad wrang Jock o' Dawston neither.”
“Thou’rt an honest fellow,” said the lawyer; "get
* A spleuchan is a tobacco pouch, occasionally used as a purse.
+ Whistling, among the tenantry of a large estate, is, when an individual gives such information to the proprietor, or his managers, as to occasion the rent of his neighbour's farms being raised, which, for obvious reasons, is held a very unpopular practice.
| Obstinate and unruly. & Troublesome.