Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


«Sir, Mr Vanbeest Brown - I would call

you Captain Brown if there was the least reason, or cause, or grounds to suppose that you are a cap

a tain, or had a troop in the very respectable corps you mention, or indeed in any other corps in his majesty's service, as to which circumstance I beg to be understood to give no positive, settled, or unalterable judgment, declaration, or opinion. I say therefore, sir, Mr Brown, we have determined, considering the unpleasant predicament in which you now stand, having been robbed, as you say, an assertion as to which I suspend my opinion, and being possessed of much and valuable treasure, and of a brass-handled cutlass besides, as to your obtaining which you will favour us with no explanation -- I say, sir, we have determined and resolved, and made up our minds, to commit you to jail, or rather to assign you an apartment therein, in order that you may be forthcoming upon Colonel Mannering's return from Edinburgh.»

« With humble submission, Sir Robert,» said Glossin, « may I enquire if it is your purpose to

1 send this young gentleman to the county jail—for if that were not your settled intention, I would take the liberty to hint, that there would be less hardship in sending him to the Bridewell at Portanferry, where he can be secured without public exposure; a circumstance, which, upon the mere

, chance of his story being really true, is much to be avoided ? »

«Why there is a guard of soldiers at Portan


ferry, to be sure, for protection of the goods in the custom-house; and upon the whole, considering every thing, and that the place is comfortable for such a place, I say all things considered, we will commit this person, I would rather say authorize him to be detained, in the work-house at Portanferry. »

The warrant was made out accordingly, and Bertram was informed he was next morning to be removed to his place of confinement, as Sir Robert had determined he should not be taken there under cloud of night, for fear of rescue. He was, during the interval, to be detained at Hazlewood-house.

« It cannot be so hard as my imprisonment by the Looties in India,» thought he, « nor can it last so long. But the deuce take the old formal dunderhead, and his more sly associate, who speaks always under his breath, they cannot understand a plain man's story when it is told them.

In the meanwhile Glossin took leave of the Baronet, with a thousand respectful bows and cringing apologies for not accepting his invitation to dinner, and venturing to hope he might be pardoned in paying his respects to him, Lady Hazlewood, and young Mr Hazlewood, upon some future occasion.

Certainly, sir,» said the Baronet very graciously. «I hope our family was never at any time deficient in civility to our neighbours; and when I ride that way, good Mr Glossin, I will convince


you of this by calling at your house as familiarly as is consistent--that is, as can be hoped or expected.»

« And now,» said Glossin to himself, « to find Dirk Hatteraick and his people, to get the guard sent off the custom-house, and then for the grand cast of the dice. Every thing must depend upon speed. - How lucky that Mannering has betaken himself to Edinburgh! his knowledge of this young fellow is a most perilous addition to my dangers,» — here he suffered his horse to slacken his


What if I should try to compound with the heir? - It's likely he might be brought to pay a round sum for restitution, and I could give up Hatteraick - But no, no, no! ! there were too many eyes on me, Hatteraick himself, and the gypsey sailor, and that old hag -No, no! I must stick to my original plan.» And with that he struck his spurs to his horse's flanks, and rode forward at a hard trot to put his machines in motion.

[ocr errors]


[blocks in formation]



A prison is a house of care,
A place where none can thrive,
A touchstone true to try a friend,
A grave for one alive.
Sometimes a place of right,
Sometimes a place of wrong,
Sometimes a place of rogues and thieves,
And honest men among.

Inscription on Edinburgh Tolbooth.


[ocr errors]

Early on the following morning, the carriage which had brought Bertram to Hazlewood-house, was, with his two silent and surly attendants, appointed to convey him to his place of confinementat Portanferry. This building adjoined to the custom-house established at that little sea-port, and both were established so close to the seabeach, that it was necessary to defend the back part with a large and strong rampart, or bulwark of huge stones, disposed in a slope towards the surf, which often reached and broke upon them. The front was surrounded by a high wall, enclosing a small court-yard, within which the miserable inmates of the mansion were occasionally permitted to take exercise and air. The prison was used as a House of Correction, and occasion

[ocr errors]

ally as a chapel of ease to the county jail, which was old, and far from being conveniently situated with reference to the Kippletringan district of the county. MacGuffog, the officer by whom Bertram had at first been apprehended, and who was now in attendance upon him, was keeper of this palace of little-ease. He caused the carriage to be drawn close up to the outer gate, and got out himself to summon the warders. The noise of his rap alarmed some twenty or thirty ragged boys, who left off sailing their mimic sloops and frigates in the little pools of salt-water left by the receding tide, and hastily crowded round the carriage to see what luckless being was to be delivered to the prison-house out of «Glossin's braw new carriage.»

The door of the courtyard, after the heavy clanking of many chains and bars, was opened by Mrs MacGuffog, an awful spectacle, being a woman for strength and resolution capable of maintaining order among her riotous inmates, and of administering the discipline of the house, as it was called, during the absence of her husband, or when he chanced to have taken an over-dose of the creature. The growling voice of this amazon, which rivalled in harshness the crashing music of her own bolts and bars, soon dispersed in every direction the little varlets who had thronged around her threshold, and she next addressed her amiable helpmate.

« Be sharp, man, and get out the swell, can'st thou not ?»

« PreviousContinue »