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« Hold your tongue and be d-d, you,» answered her loving husband, with two additional epithets of great energy, but which we beg to be excused from repeating. Then addressing Bertram :
« Come, will you get out, my handy lad, or must we lend you a lift ? »
Bertram came out of the carriage, and, collared by the constable as he put his foot upon the ground, was dragged, though he offered no resistance, across the threshold, amid the continued shouts of the little sans culottes, who looked on at such distance as their fear of Mrs MacGuffog permitted. The instant his foot had crossed the fatal porch, the portress again dropped her chains, drew her bolts, and, turning with both hands an immense key, took it from the lock, and thrust it into a huge side-pocket of red cloth.
Bertram was now in the small court already mentioned. Two or three prisoners were saun
. tering along the pavement, and deriving, as it were, a feeling of refreshment from the momentary glimpse with which the opening door had extended their prospect to the other side of a dirty street. Nor can this be thought surprising, when it is considered, that unless upon such occasions their view was confined to the grated front of their prison, the high and sable walls of the court-yard, the heaven above them, and the pavement beneath their feet; a sameness of
landscape, which, to use the poet's expression, lay like a load on the wearied eye,» and had fostered in some a callous and dull misanthropy, in others that sickness of the heart which induces him who is immured already in a living grave, to wish for a sepulchre yet more calm and sèquestered.
MacGuffog, when they entered the courtyard, suffered Bertram to pause for a minute, and look upon his companions in affliction. When he had cast his
around on faces on which guilt, and despondence, and low excess, had fixed their stigma; upon the spendthrift, and the swindler, and the thief, the bankrupt debtor, the « moping idiot, and the madman gay,» whom
; a paltry spirit of economy assigned to share this dismal habitation, he felt his heart recoil with inexpressible loathing from enduring the contamination of their society even for a moment.
«I hope, sir,» he said to the keeper, “ you intend to assign me a place of confinement
« And what should I be the better of that ?»
«Why, sir, I can but be detained here a day or two, and it would be very disagreeable to me to mix in the sort of company this place affords.»
« And what do I care for that?»
Why, then, sir, to speak to your feelings, I shall be willing to make a handsome compliment for this indulgence.»
Aye, but when, Captain ? when and how?
that's the question, or rather the twa questions.»
«When I am delivered, and get my remittances from England.»
MacGuffog shook his head incredulously.
«Why, friend, you do not pretend to believe that I am really a malefactor?» «Why, I no ken,» said the fellow; « but if
ye are on the account, ye’re nae sharp ane, that's the day-light o't.» « And why do you say I am no sharp one ?»
I Why, wha but a crack-brain'd callant wad hae let them keep up the siller that ye left at the Gordon Arms? Deil fetch me, but I wad have had it out o' their wames ! ye had nae right to be strippit o' your money and sent to jail without a mark to pay your fees; they might have keepit the rest o' the articles for evidence. But why, for a blind bottle-head, did not ye ask the guineas? and I kept winking and nodding a' the time, and the donnert deevil wad never ance look my way!»
«Well, sir, if I have a title to have that property delivered up to me, I shall apply for it, and there is a great deal more than enough to pay any demand you can set up.”
«I dinna ken a bit about that; ye may be here lang eneugh. And then the giving credit maun be considered in the fees. But, however, as ye do seem to be a chap by common, though my wife says I lose by my good nature, if ye gie me an order for my fees upon that money - I dare
say Glossin will make it forthcoming-! ken
something about an escape from Ellangowanaye, aye, he'll be glad to carry me through, and be neighbour-like.»
«Well, .sir, if I am not furnished in a day or two otherwise, you shall have such an order. »
«Weel, weel, then ye shall be put up like a prince; but mark ye me, friend, that we may have nae colly shangie afterhend, these are the fees that I always charge a swell that must have his lib-ken to himsell— Thirty shillings, a-week for lodgings, and a guinea for garnish; half-aguinea a-week for a single bed,and I dinna get the whole of it, for I must gie half-a-crown out of it to Donald Laider that's in for sheep-stealing, that should sleep with you by rule, and he'll expect clean strae, and maybe some whisky beside. So I make little
that.» «Well, sir, "go on.»
« Then for meat and liquor, ye may have the best, and I never charge abune twenty per cent. over tavern price for pleasing a gentleman that way—and that's little eneugh for sending in and sending out, and wearing the lassie's shoon out. And then if you're dowie, I will sit wi' you a gliff in the evening myself, man, and help you out wi’ your bottle.- I have drank mony a glass wi' Glossin, man, that did you up, though he's a justice now.–And then I'se warrant ye'll be for fire thir cauld nights, or if ye want candle, that's an expensive article, for it's against the rules.And now I have tauld ye the head articles of the charge, and I dinna think there's muckle mair,
though there will aye be some odd expences ower and abune.»
«Well, sir, I must trust to your conscience, if ever you happened to hear of such a thing-I cannot help myself.»--
Na, na, sir, I'll no permit you to be saying that— I'm forcing naething upon ye; --an ye dinna-like the price, ye needna take the articleI force no man; I was only explaining what eivility was ;
like to take the common run of the house it's a' ane to me-I'll be saved trouble, that's a'.»
Nay, my friend, I have, as I suppose you may easily guess, no inclination to dispute your terms upon such a penalty. Come, show me where I am to be, for I would fain be alone for a little while.»
Aye, aye, come along then, Captain,» said the fellow, with a contortion of visage which he intended to be a smile; «and I'll tell you now,to show you that I have a conscience, as ye ca't, d -n me if I charge ye abune sixpence a day for the freedom o' the court, and ye may walk in it very near three hours a-day, and play at pitch and toss, and hand-ba', and what not.»
With this gracious promise he ushered Bertram into the house, and shewed him up a steep and narrow stone staircase, at the top
of which was a strong door, clenched with iron and studded with nails. Beyond this door was a narrow passage or gallery, having three cells on each side, wretched vaults, with iron bed-frames and