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The latter could not for some time ima. gine that the war was real;-until they found that their children were horsewhipped by the grieve when found trespassing; that their asses were poinded by the ground-officer when left in the plantations, or even when turned to graze by the road-side against the provision of the turnpike acts; that the constable began to make curious enquiries into their mode of gaining a livelihood, and expressed his surprise that the men should sleep in the hovels all day, and be abroad the greater part of the night.
When matters came to this point, the gypsies without scruple entered upon measures of retaliation. Ellangowan's henroosts were plundered, his linen stolen from the lines or bleaching ground, his fishings poached, his dogs kidnapped, his growing trees cut or barked. Much petty mischief was done, and some evidently for the mischief's sake. On the other hand, warrants went forth, without mer. cy, to pursue, search for, take, and apprehend; and, notwithstanding their dexterity, one or two of the depredators were unable to avoid conviction. One, a stout young fellow who sometimes had gone to sea a-fishing, was handed over to the Captain of the impress service at D--; two children were soundly flogged, and one Egyptian matron sent to the house of correction.
Still, however, the gypsies made no mo. tion to leave the spot which they had so long inhabited, and Mr Bertram felt an unwillingness to deprive them of their ancient “ city of refuge;" so that the petty warfare we have noticed continued for several months, without increase or abatement of hostilities on either side.
So the red Indian, by Ontario's side,
Scenes of Infancy.
In tracing the rise and progress of the Scottish Maroon war, we must not omit to mention that years had rolled on, , and that little Harry Bertram, one of the hardiest and most lively children that ever made a sword and grenadier's cap of rushes, now approached his fifth revolving birthday. A hardihood of disposition, which early developed itself, made him already a little wanderer ; he was well acquainted with every patch of lea ground and dingle around Ellangowan, and could tell in his broken language upon what baulks grew the bonniest flowers, and what copse
had the ripest nuts. He repeatedly terrified his attendants by clambering about the ruins of the old castle, and had more than once made a stolen excursion as far as the gypsey hamlet.
Upon these occasions he was generally brought back by Meg Merrilies, 'who, though she could not be prevailed upon to enter the Place of Ellangowan after her nephew had been given up to the press-gang, did not apparently extend her resentment to the child. On the contrary, she often contrived to way-lay him in his walks, sing him a gypsey song, give him a ride upon her jack-ass, and thrust into his pocket a piece of gingerbread or a red-cheeked apple. This woman's ancient attachment to the family, repelled and checked in every other direction, seemed to rejoice in ha
ving some object on which it could yet repose and expand itself. She prophesied a hundred times, “ that young Mr Henry would be the pride o' the family, and there had nae been sick a sprout frae the auld aik, since the death of Arthur MacDingawaie, that was killed in the battle 'o' the Bloody Bay; as for the present stick, it was good for naething but firewood.” Upon one occasion, when the child was ill, she lay all night below the window, chaunting a rhyme which she believed sovereign as a febrifuge, and could neither be prevailed upon to enter the house, nor to leave the station she had chosen, till she was informed that the crisis was over.
The affection of this woman became matter of suspicion, not indeed to the Laird, who was never hasty in suspecting evil, but to his wife, who had indifferent health and poor spirits. She was now far advanced in a second pregnancy, she could not walk abroad herself, the wo