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present, his testimony afforded an additional motive to the general enthusiasm. In short, it was one of those moments of intense feeling, when the frost of the Scottish people melts like a snow-wreath, and the dissolving torrent carries dam and dyke before it.
The sudden shouts interrupted the devotions of the clergyman; and Meg, who was in one of those dozing fits of stupefaction that precede the close of existence, suddenly started—“Dinna ye hear ?—dinna ye hear ?—he's owned !-he's owned !-I lived but for this.—I am a sinfu' woman; but if my curse brought it down, my blessing has taen it off! And now I wad hae liked to hae said mair. But it canna be. Stay” - she continued, stretching her head towards the gleam of light that shot through the narrow slit which served for a window, “Is he not there ?—stand out o' the light, and let me look upon him ance mair. But the darkness is in my ain een,” she said, sinking back, after an earnest gaze upon vacuity—“it's a' ended now,
Come death !” And, sinking back upon her couch of straw, she expired without a groan. The clergyman and the
surgeon carefully noted down all that she had said, now deeply regretting they had not examined her more minutely, but both remaining morally convinced of the truth of her disclosure.
Hazlewood was the first to compliment Bertram upon the near prospect of his being restored to his name and rank in society. The people around, who
now learned from Jabos that Bertram was the person who had wounded him, were struck with his generosity, and added his name to Bertram's in their exulting acclamations.
Some, however, demanded of the postilion how he had not recognised Bertram when he saw him some time before at Kippletringan ?—to which he gave the
“Hout, what was I thinking about Ellangowan then ?—It was the cry that was rising e'en now that the young laird was found, that put me on finding out the likeness—There was nae missing it ance ane was set to look for’t."
The obduracy of Hatteraick, during the latter part of this scene, was in some slight degree shaken. He was observed to twinkle with his eyelids—to attempt to raise his bound hands for the purpose of pulling his hat over his brow—to look angrily and impatiently to the road, as if anxious for the vehicle which was to remove him from the spot.—At length Mr. Hazlewood, apprehensive that the popular ferment might take a direction towards the prisoner, directed he should be taken to the post-chaise, and so removed to the town of Kippletringan to be at Mr. Mac-Morlan's disposal ; at the same time he sent an express to warn that gentleman of what had happened. “And now," he said to Bertram, “I should be happy if you would accompany me to Hazlewood-House ; but as that might not be so agreeable just now as I trust it will be in a day or two, you must allow me to return with you to Woodbourne. But you are on foot.”—“O, if the young
laird would take my horse !”—“Or mine”—“Or mine,” said half a dozen voices—“Or mine ; he can trot ten mile an hour without whip or spur, and he's the young laird's frae this moment, if he likes to take him for a herezeld, * as they ca'd it lang syne."--Bertram readily accepted the horse as a loan, and poured forth his thanks to the assembled crowd for their good wishes, which they repaid with shouts and vows of attachment.
While the happy owner was directing one lad to gae doun for the new saddle ;” another, “just to rin the beast ower wi' a dry wisp o' strae ;” a third, “to hie doun and borrow Dan Dunkieson's plated stirrups," and expressing his regret, “that there was nae time to gie the nag a feed, that the young laird might ken his mettle," Bertram, taking the clergyman by the arm, walked into the vault, and shut the door immediately after them. He gazed in silence for some minutes upon the body of Meg Merrilies, as it lay before him, with the features sharpened by death, yet still retaining the stern and energetic character, which had maintained in life her superiority as the wild chieftainess of the lawless people amongst whom she was born. The young soldier dried the tears which involuntarily rose on viewing this wreck of one, who might be said to
* In the old feudal tenures, the herezeld constituted the best horse or other animal on the vassals' lands, which the law authorized the superior to claim. The only remnant of this custom is what is called the sasine, or a fee of certain estimated value, paid to the sheriff of the county, who gives possession to the vassals of the crown.
have died a victim to her fidelity to his person and family. He then took the clergyman's hand, and asked solemnly, if she appeared able to give that attention to his devotions which befitted a departing person.
"My dear sir," said the good minister, “I trust this poor woman had remaining sense to feel and join in the import of my prayers.
But let us humbly hope we are judged of by our opportunities of religious and moral instruction. In some degree she might be considered as an uninstructed heathen, even in the bosom of a Christian country; and let us remember, that the errors and vices of an ignorant life were balanced by instances of disinterested attachment, amounting almost to heroism. To Him, who can alone weigh our crimes and errors against our efforts towards virtue, we consign her with awe, but not without hope.”
“May I request,” said Bertram," that you will see every decent solemnity attended to in behalf of this poor woman? I have some property belonging to her in my hands—at all events I will be answerable for the expense—you will hear of me at Woodbourne.”
Dinmont, who had been furnished with a horse by one of his acquaintance, now loudly called out that all was ready for their return ; and Bertram and Hazlewood, after a strict exhortation to the crowd, which was now increased to several hundreds, to preserve good order in their rejoicing, as the least ungoverned zeal might be turned to the disadvantage of the young Laird, as they termed him, took their leave amid the shouts of the multitude.
As they rode past the ruined cottages at Derncleugh, Dinmont said, “I'm sure when ye come to your ain, Captain, ye'll no forget to bigg a bit cot-house there? Deil be in me but I wad do't mysell, an it werena in better hands. I wadna like to live in't though, after what she said. Odd, I wad put in auld Elspeth, the bedral's widow—the like o' them's used wi' graves and ghaists, and thae things.
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. “Lord sake, madam, I ask your pardon,” he said, “I forgot but
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 ;