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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 hindrance. But where's Henry Bertram ?”—The assistants, to whom this name had been long a stranger, gazed upon each other.“Yes !” she said, in a stronger and harsher tone, “I said Henry Bertram of Ellangowan. Stand from the light and let me see him.”
All eyes were turned towards Bertram, who approached the wretched couch. The wounded woman took hold of his hand. “Look at him," she said, “all that ever saw his father or his grandfather, and bear witness if he is not their living image ?” A murmur went through the crowd—the resemblance was too striking to be denied. “ And now hear me—and let that man,” pointing to Hatteraick, who was seated with his keepers on a sea-chest at some distance—“let him deny, what I say, if he can. That is Henry Bertram, son to Godfrey Bertram, umquhile of Ellangowan; that young man is the very lad-bairn that Dirk Hatteraick carried off from Warroch Wood the day that he mur
I was there like a wandering spiritfor I longed to see that wood or we left the country. I saved the bairn's life, and sair, sair I prigged and prayed they would leave him wi' me-But they bore him away, and he's been lang ower the sea, and now he's come for his ain, and what should withstand him? I swore to keep the secret till he was ane-an’-twentyI kenn'd he behoved to dree his weird till that day
dered the gauger.
I keepit that oath which I took to them—but I made another vow to mysell, and if I lived to see the day of his return, I would set him in his father's seat, if every step was on a dead man. I have keepit that oath too ;-I will be ae step mysell — he (pointing to Hatteraick) will soon be another, and there will be ane mair yet."
The clergyman, now interposing, remarked it was a pity this deposition was not regularly taken and written down, and the surgeon urged the necessity of examining the wound, previously to exhausting her by questions. When she saw them removing Hatteraick, in order to clear the room and leave the surgeon to his operations, she called out aloud, raising herself at the same time upon the couch, “Dirk Hatteraick, you and I will never meet again until we are before the judgment-seat
-Will ye own to what I have said, or will you dare deny it?"
He turned his hardened brow upon her, with a look of dumb and inflexible defiance. “ Dirk Hatteraick, dare ye deny, with my blood upon your hands, one word of what my dying breath is uttering ?" -He looked at her with the same expression of hardihood and dogged stubbornness, and moved his lips, but uttered no sound. "Then fareweel!” she said, “and God forgive you !-- your hand has sealed my evidence. When I was in life, I was the mad randy gipsy, that had been scourged, and banished, and branded - that had begged from door to door, and been hounded like a stray tike from parish to parish-wha would hae minded her tale? But now I am a dying woman, and
my words will not fall to the ground, any more than the earth will cover my blood !”
She here paused, and all left the hut except the surgeon and two or three women. After a very short examination, he shook his head, and resigned his post by the dying woman's side to the clergyman.
A chaise returning empty to Kippletringan had been stopped on the high-road by a constable, who foresaw it would be necessary to convey Hatteraick to jail. The driver, understanding what was going on at Derncleugh, left his horses to the care of a blackguard boy, confiding, it is to be supposed, rather in the years and discretion of the cattle, than in those of their keeper, and set off full speed to see, as he expressed himself, “ whaten a sort o' fun was gaun on.
He ‘arrived just as the group of tenants and peasants, whose numbers increased every moment, satiated with gazing upon the rugged features of Hatteraick, had turned their attention towards Bertram. Almost all of them, especially the aged men who had seen Ellangowan in his better days, felt and acknowledged the justice of Meg Merrilies's appeal. But the Scotch are a cautious people ;—they remembered there was another in possession of the estate, and they as yet only expressed their feelings in low whispers to each other. Our friend Jock Jabos, the postilion, forced his way into the middle of the circle ; but no sooner cast his eyes upon Bertram, than he started back in amazement, with a solemn exclamation, “ As sure as there's breath in man, it's auld Ellangowan arisen from the dead !"
This public declaration of an unprejudiced witness was just the spark wanted to give fire to the popular feeling, which burst forth in three distinct shouts : “ Bertram for ever!”—“Long life to the heir of Ellangowan!”—“God send him his ain, and to live among us as his forebears did of yore !"
“I hae been seventy years on the land,” said one person.
“I and mine hae been seventy and seventy to that,” said another ! “I have a right to ken the glance of a Bertram.”
“I and mine hae been three hundred years here,” said another old man, “and I sall sell my
last I'll see the young laird placed in his right.”
“The women, ever delighted with the marvellous, and not less so when a handsome young man is the subject of the tale, added their shrill acclamations to the general all-hail.—“Blessings on him—he's the very picture o' his father !—the Bertrams were aye the wale o' the country side !"
"Eh ! that his puir mother, that died in grief and in doubt about him, had but lived to see this day !" exclaimed some female voices.
“But we'll help him to his ain, kimmers,” cried others; “and before Glossin sall keep the Place of Ellangowan, we'll howk him out o’t wi' our nails !”
Others crowded around Dinmont, who was nothing loth to tell what he knew of his friend, and to boast the honour which he had in contributing to the discovery. As he was known to several of the principal farmers