Page images

"O ay, sir, there's nae doubt o' that, though there are mony idle clashes about the way and manner; for it's an auld story now, and every body tells it, as we were doing, their ain way by the ingle-side. But lost the bairn was in his fifth year, as your honour says, Colonel; and the news being rashly told to the lady, then great with child, cost her her life that samyn night-and the Laird never throve after that day, but was just careless of every thing-though, when his daughter Miss Lucy grew up, she tried to keep order within doors—but what could she do, poor thing ?--so now they're out of house and hauld.”

« Can you recollect, madam, about what time of the year the child was lost?" The landlady, after a pause, and some recollection, answered, " she was positive it was about this season;" and added some local recollections that fixed the date in her memory, as occurring about the beginning of November, 174,

The stranger took two or three turns

[blocks in formation]

round the room in silence, but signed to Mrs Mac-Candlish not to leave it.

“ Did I rightly apprehend," he said, " that the estate of Ellangowan is in the market?”

“ In the market?-it will be sell'd the morn to the highest bidder---that's no the morn, Lord help me! which is the Sabbath, but on Monday, the first free day; and the furniture and stocking is to be roupit at the same time on the groundit's the opinion of the haill country, that the sale has been shamefully forced on at this time, when there's sae little money stirring in Scotland wi' this weary American war, that somebody may get the land Sai gain-Deil be in them, that I should say sae !"—the good lady's wrath rising at the supposed injustice.

“ And where will the sale take place ?”

“On the premises, as the advertisement says-that's at the house of Ellangowan, as I understand it.”

“And who exhibits the title-deeds, rentroll, and plan ?"

“A very decent man, sir; the sheriff substitute of the county, who has authority from the Court of Session. He's in the town just now, if your honoúr would like to see him; and he can tell you mair about the loss of the bairn than ony body, for the sheriff depute (that's his principal like,) took much pains to come at the truth o' that matter, as I have heard.”

“And this gentleman's name is?"

" Mac-Morlan, sir, he's a man o'character, and weel spoken o’"

“ Send my compliments-Colonel Mannering's compliments—to him, and I would be glad he would do me the pleasure of supping with me, and bring these papers with him and I beg, good madam, you will say nothing of this to any one else.”

“ Me, sir? ne'er a word shall I say-I wish your honour, (a curtsey) or ony honourable gentleman that's fought for his country, (another curtsey) had the land, since the auld family maun quit, (a sigh) rather than that wily scoundrel, Glossin, that's risen on the ruin of the best friend he ever had-and now I think on't, I'll slip on my hood and pattens, and gang to Mr Mac. Morlan mysell-he's at hame e'en now-it's hardly a step."

“Do so, my good landlady, and many thanks--and bid my servant step here with my portfolio in the mean time.”

In a minute or two, Colonel Mannering was quietly seated with his writing materials before him. We have the privilege of looking over his shoulder as he writes, and we willingly communicate its substance to our readers. The letter was addressed to Arthur Mervyn, Esq. of Mervyn-Hall, Llanbraithwaite, Westmoreland. It contained some account of the writer's previous journey since parting with him, and then proceeded as follows:

“And now, why will yoư still upbraid me with my melancholy, Mervyn ?-Do you think, after the lapse of twenty-five years, battles, wounds, imprisonment, misfortunes of every description, I can be still the same lively unbroken Guy Man

nering, who climbed Skiddaw with you, or shot grouse upon Crossfell? That you, who have remained in the bosom of domes tic happiness, experience little change; that your step is as light, and your fancy as full of sunshine, is a blessed effect of health and temperament, co-operating with content and a smooth current down the course of life. But my career has been one of difficulties, and doubts, and errors. From my infancy I have been the sport of accident, and though the wind has often borne'me into harbour, it has seldom been into that which the pilot destined. Let me recall to you—but the task must be brief-the odd and wayward fates of my youth, and the misfortunes of my manhood. “The former, you will say,

had nothing very appalling. All was not for the best ; but all was tolerable. My father, the eldest son of an ancient but reduced family, left me with little, save the name of the head of the house, to the protection

« PreviousContinue »