Page images

tion. He therefore delivered the paper into Mr Bertram's hand, and requested him to keep it for five years with the seal unbroken, until the month of November was expired. After that date had intervened, he left him at liberty to examine the writing, trusting that the first fatal period being then safely over-passed, no credit would be paid to its farther contents. This Mr Bertram was content to promise, and Mannering, to ensure his fidelity, hinted at misfortunes which would certainly take place if his injunctions were neglected. The rest of the day, which Mannering by Mr Bertram's invitation spent at Ellangowan, past over without any thing remarkable; and on the morning of that which followed, the traveller mounted his palfrey, bade a courteous adieu to his hospitable landlord, and to his clerical attendant, repeated his good wishes for the prosperity of the family, then, turning his horse's head towards England, disappeared from the sight of the inmates of Ellangowan. He must also disappear from that of our readers, for it is to another and later period of his life that the present narrative relates,


Next the Justice,
In fair round belly, with good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances :
And so he plays his part.-

WAEN Mrs Bertram of Ellangowan was able to hear the news of what had passed during her confinement, her apartment rung

with all manner of gossiping respecting the handsome young student from Oxford, who had told such a fortune by the stars to the young Laird, “ blessings, on his dainty face.” The form, accent, and manners, of the stranger, were expatiated upon. His horse, bridle, saddle, and stirrups, did not remain unnoticed, All this made a great impression upon the mind of Mrs Bertram, for the good lady had no small store of superstition,

Her first employment, when she became capable of a little work, was to make a small velvet bag for the scheme of nativity which she had obtained from her husband. Her fingers itched to break the seal, but credulity proved stronger than curiosity, and she had the firmness, to inclose it, in all its integrity, within two slips of parchment, which she sowed round it, to prevent its being chafed. The whole was then inclosed in the velvet bag aforesaid, and hung as a charm round the neck of the infant, where his mother resolved it should remain until the period for the legitimate satisfaction of her curiosity should arrive.

The father also resolved to do his part by the child, in securing himn a good education; and with the view that it should commence with the first dawnings of rea,

Dominie Sampson was easily induced to renounce his public profession of parish schoolmaster, make his constant residence at the Place, and, in consideration of a sum


not quite equal to the wages of a footman even at that time, to undertake to communicate to the future Laird of Ellangowan all the erudition which he had, and all the graces and accomplishments which—he had not indeed, but which he had never discovered that he wanted. In this arrangement, the Laird also found his private advantage; securing the constant benefit of a patient auditor to whom he told his stories when they were alone, and at whose expence he could break a sly jest when he had company.

About four years after this time, a great commotion took place in the county where Ellangowan is situated.

Those who watched the signs of the times, had long been of opinion that a change of ministry was about to take place; and, at length, after a due proportion of hopes, fears, and delays, rumours from good authority, and bad authority, and no authority at all, after some clubs had drank Up with this statesman, and

« PreviousContinue »