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“No! no! that will never do," said Pleydell ; — “confound you, why don't you take good cudgels and settle it?”
“Odd, sir," answered the farmer, “we tried that three times already—that's twice on the land and ance at Lockerby fair. But I dinna ken— we're baith gey good at single-stick, and it couldna weel be judged.”
“Then take broadswords, and be d-d to you, as your fathers did before you," said the counsel learned in the law.
“Aweel, sir, if ye think it wadna be again the law, it's a' ane to Dandie.”
“Hold ! hold !” exclaimed Pleydell,“ we shall have another Lord Soulis' mistake - Pr’ythee, man, comprehend me; I wish you to consider how very trifling and foolish a lawsuit you wish to engage in.”
“Ay, sir ?” said Dandie, in a disappointed tone. “So ye winna take on wi' me, I'm doubting ?”
“Me! not I-go home, go home, take a pint and agree.” Dandie looked but half contented, and still remained stationary. Any thing more, my friend ?”
“Only, sir, about the succession of this leddy that's dead, auld Miss Margaret Bertram o' Singleside.”
“Ay, what about her ?” said the counsellor, rather surprised.
Ou, we have nae connexion at a' wi' the Bertrams," said Dandie—“they were grand folk by the like o' us. - But Jean Liltup, that was auld Singleside's housekeeper, and the mother of these twa young ladies that are gane—the last o' them's dead at a ripe age I trow
-Jean Liltup came out o' Liddel water, and she was as near our connexion as second cousin to my mother's half-sister. She drew up wi' Singleside, nae doubt, when she was his housekeeper, and it was a sair vex and grief to a' her kith and kin. But he acknowledged a marriage, and satisfied the kirk—and now I wad ken frae
you if we hae not some claim by law ?” “ Not the shadow of a claim.”
“Aweel, we're nae puirer,” said Dandie,—“but she may hae thought on us if she was minded to make a testament. — Weel, sir, I've said my say—I'se e'en wish you good night, and”. -putting his hand in his pocket.
“No, no, my friend; I never take fees on Saturday night, or without a memorial —away with you, Dandie.” And Dandie made his reverence, and departed accordingly.
But this poor farce has neither truth, nor art,
“Your majesty," said Mannering, laughing, "has solemnized your abdication by an act of mercy and charity. — That fellow will scarce think of going to law.”
“O, you are quite wrong," said the experienced lawyer. “The only difference is, I have lost my client and my fee. He'll never rest till he finds somebody
to encourage him to commit the folly he has predetermined.-No! no! I have only shown you another weakness of my character—I always speak truth of a Saturday night."
“ And sometimes through the week, I should think,” said Mannering, continuing the same tone.
"Why, yes; as far as my vocation will permit. I am, as Hamlet
says, indifferent honest, when my clients and their solicitors do not make me the medium of conveying their double-distilled lies to the bench. But oportet vivere ! it is a sad thing. — And now to our business, I am glad my old friend Mac-Morlan has sent you to me; he is an active, honest, and intelligent man, long sheriff-substitute of the county of under me, and still holds the office. He knows I have a regard for that unfortunate family of Ellangowan, and for poor Lucy. I have not seen her since she was twelve years old, and she was then a sweet pretty girl under the management of a very silly father, But my interest in her is of an early date. I was called upon, Mr. Mannering, being then sheriff of that county, to investigate the particulars of a murder which had been committed near Ellangowan the day on which this poor child was born ; and which, by a strange combination that I was unhappily, not able to trace, involved the death or abstraction of her only brother, a boy of about five years old. No, Colonel, I shall never forget the misery of the house of Ellangowan that' morning !—the father half-distracted—the mother dead in premature travail -the helpless infant, with scarce any one to attend it,
coming wawling and crying into this miserable world at such a moment of unutterable misery. We lawyers are not of iron, sir, or of brass, any more than you soldiers are of steel. We are conversant with the crimes and distresses of civil society, as you are with those that occur in a state of war, and to do our duty in either case a little apathy is perhaps necessary.—But the devil take a soldier whose heart can be as hard as his sword, and his dam catch the lawyer who bronzes his bosom instead of his forehead !— But come, I am losing my Saturday at e’en— will you have the kindness to trust me with these papers which relate to Miss Bertram's business !—and stay-to-morrow you'll take a bachelor's dinner with an old lawyer, -I insist upon it, at three precisely—and come an hour sooner. — The old lady is to be buried on Monday ; it is the orphan's cause, and we'll borrow an hour from the Sunday to talk over this business —although I fear nothing can be done if she has altered her settlement- unless perhaps it occurs within the sixty days, and then if Miss Bertram can show that she possesses the character of heir-at-law, why
“But, hark! my lieges are impatient of their interregnum-I do not invite you to rejoin us, Colonel ; it would be a trespass on your complaisance, unless you had begun the day with us, and gradually glided on from wisdom to mirth, and from mirth to-to-toextravagance.--Good night.-Harry, go home with Mr. Mannering to his lodging.—Colonel, I expect you at a little past two to-morrow.”