« PreviousContinue »
pervisor Kennedy cam by his end. If ye kenn'd this country lang syne, your honour wad may-be ken Frank Kennedy the Supervisor. He was a heartsome pleasant man, and company for the best gentlemen. in the county, and muckle mirth he's made in this house. I was young then, sir, and newly married to Baillie Mac-Candlish, that's dead and gone-(a sigh)—and muckte fun I've had with the Supervisor. He was a daft dog-0 an' he could have hadden aff the smugglers a bit ! but he was aye venturesome.- And so ye see, sir, there was a king's sloop down in Wigton bay, and Frank Kennedy, he behoved to have her up to chace Dirk Hatteraick's luggerye'll mind Dirk Hatteraick, Deacon? I dare say ye may have dealt wi’him-(the Deacon gave a sort of acquiescent nod: and humph.; He was a daring chield, and he fought his ship till she blew up like the peelings of onions; and Frank Kennedy he had been the first man to board, and he was flung like a quarter of a mile off,
and fell into the water below the rock at Warroch Point, that they ca’ the Gauger's Loup to this day.” ." And Mr Bertram's child," said the stranger," what is all this to him?",
“Ou, sir,—the bairn aye held an unca wark wi’ the Supervisor; and it was generally thought he went on board the vessel alang wi' him, as bairns are aye forward to be in mischief.” .
“No, no," said the Deacon, “ye're cleanout there, Luckie--for the young Laird was stownļaway by a randy gypsey woman they ca'd Meg Merrilies, -I mind her looks weel,-in revenge or Ellangowan having gard her be drum'd through Kippletringan for stealing a silver spoon.” .: “If yell forgie me, Deacon," said the precentor, " ye're e'en as far wrang as the gudewife.”
“ And what is your edition of the story, sir?" said the stranger, turning to him with interest.
“ That's may be no sae canny to tell,” said the precentor, with solemnity.
Upon being urged, however, to speak out; he preluded with two or three large puffs of tobacco-smoke, and out of the cloudy sanctuary which these whiffs formed around him, delivered the following legend, having cleared his voice with one. or two hems, and imitating, as near as he could, the eloquence which weekly thune dered over his head from the pulpit.
“ What we are now to deliver, my bre. thren,-hem, -I mean, my good friends, was not done in a corner, and may serve as an answer to witch-advocates, atheists, and inisbelievers of all kinds. Ye must know that the worshipful Laird of Ellangowan was not so preceese as he might have been in clearing his land of witches, (concerning whom it is said, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,') nor of those who had familiar spirits, and consulted with divination and sorcery, and lots, . which is the fashion with the Egyptians,
as they cathemsells, and other unhappy bodies, in this our country. And the Laird was three years married without having a family and he was sae left to him sell, that it was thought he held ower muckle trocking and communing wi' that Meg Merrilies, wha was the maist notorious witch in a' Galloway and Dumfriesshire baith.”
“ Aweel I wot there's something in that,” said Mrs Mac-Candlish;“I've kenn'd him order her twa glasses o’ brandy in this very house."
" Aweel, gudewife, the less I lee than --Sae the lady was wi' bairn at last, and in the night when she should have been delivered, there comes to the door of the ha' house — the Place of Ellangowan as they ca'd-an ancient man, strangely hạbited, and asked for quarters. His head, and his legs, and his arms, were bare, although it was winter time o' the year, and he had a grey beard three quarters lang. Weel, he was admitted ; and when the lady was delivered, he craved to know the very mo. ment of the hour of the birth, and he went out and consulted the stars. "And when he came back, he telld the Laird, that the Evil One wad have power over the knave-bairn that was that night born, and he charged him that the babe should be bred up in the ways of piety, and that he should aye hae a godly minister at his elbow, to pray wi' the bairn-and for him. And the aged man vanished away, and no man of this country ever saw mair o'him." ...
“Now, that will not pass,” said the postillion, who, at a respectful distance, was listening to the conversation, '“ begging Mr Skreigh’s and the company's pardon,there was no sae mony hairs on the war. lock's face as there's on his ain at this moment; and he has as gude a pair o' boots as a man need streik on his legs, and gloves too ;-and I should understand boots by this time, I think.” ;?!.inc .
“Whisht, Jock," said the landlady« What do ye ken of the matter, friend