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the fire, and began his story in an under tone of gravity and importance not very usual with him.

« Ye see, Captain, I had been in Edinbro' for twa or three days, looking after the burial of a friend that we hae lost, and may be Isuld hae had something for my ride; but there's disappointments in a' things, and wha can help the like o' that? and I had a wee bit law business besides, but that's neither here nor there. In short, I had got my matters settled, and hame I cam; and the morn awa to the muirs to see what the herds had been about, and I thought I might as weel gie a look to the Tout-hope head, where Jock o'Dawston and me bas the outcast about a march - Weel, just as I was coming upon the bit, I saw a man afore that I kend was nane o' our herds, and it's a wild bit to meet ony other body, so when I came up to him it was Tod Gabriel the foxhunter. So I says to him, rather surprised like, • What are ye doing up amang the craws here, without your hounds, man? are ye seeking the fox without the dogs ?' so he said, “Na, gudeman, but I wanted to see yoursel.'

Aye,' said I, and ye'll be wanting eilding now, or something to pitt ower the winter?'

Na, na,' quo' he, it's no that I'm seeking; but ye tak an unco interest in that Captain Brown that was staying wi' you, d'ye no ?'

* Troth do 1, Gabriel,' says I; 'and what about him, lad ?

Says he, “There's mair tak an interest in him than you, and some that I am bound to obey, and


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it's no just on my ain will that I'm here to tell you something about him that will no please you.

'Faith, naething will please me,' quo' I, 'that's no pleasing to him.'

* And then,' quo' he, 'ye'll be ill sorted to hear that he's like to be in the prison at Portanferry, if he does na tak a' the better care o' himsell, for there's been warrants out to tak him as soon as he comes ower the water frae Allonby. And now, gudeman, an ever ye wish him weel, ye maun ride down to Portanferry, and let nae grass grow at the nag's heels; and if ye find him in confinement ye maun stay beside him night and day, for a day or twa, for he'll want friends that hae baith heart and hand; and if ye neglect this ye'll never rue but ance, for it will be for a' your life.' ' But safe us, man,' quo' I, 'how did


learn a'this? it's an unco way between this and Portanferry'

Never ye mind that,' quo' he, they that brought us the news rade night and day, and ye maun be aff instantly if


wad do and sae I have naething mair to tell ye.'-So he sat himsell doun and hirselled doun into the glen, where it wad hae been ill following him wi’ the beast, and I cam back to Charlies-hope to tell the gudewife, for I was uncertain what to do. It wad look unco-like, I thought, just to be sent out on a hunt-the-gowk errand wi'a landlouper like that. But, Lord! as the gudewife set up her throat about it, and said what a shame it wad be if ye was to come to ony wrang an I

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could help ye; and then in cam your letter that confirmed it. So I took to the kist, and out wi' the pickle notes in case they should be needed, and a' the bairns ran to saddle Dumple. By great luck I had ta’en the other beast to Edinbro', sae Dumple was as fresh as a rose. Sae aff I set, and Wasp wi' me, for ye wad really hae thought he kenn'd where I was gaun, puir beast,-and here I am after a trot o'sixty mile or near bye.'

In this strange story Bertram obviously saw, supposing the warning to be true, some intimation of danger more violent and imminent than could be likely to arise from a few days' imprisonment. At the same time it was equally evident that some unknown friend was working in his behalf. «Did you not say,» he asked Dinmont, « that this man Gabriel was of gypsey blood ?»

« It was e’en judged sae,» said Dinmont, « and I think this maks it likely; for they aye ken where

; the gangs o’ilk ither are to be found, and they can gar news flee like a foot-ba’ through the country an they like.

An' I forgot to tell ye, there's been an unco enquiry after the auld wife that we saw in Bewcastle; the sheriff's had folk ower the Limestane Edge after her, and down the Hermitage and Liddle, and a' gates, and a

' reward offered for her to appear, o' fifty pound sterling, nae less; and Justice Forster, he's had out warrants, as I am tauld, in Cumberland, and an unco ranging and ripeing they have had a' gates seeking for her; but she'll no be ta’en wi’ them unless she likes, for a' that.»

« And how comes that?» said Bertram,



«Ou, I dinna ken; I dare say it's nonsense, but they say she has gathered the fern-seed, and can gaug ony gate she likes, like Jock the Giant-killer in the ballant, wi' his coat o' darkness and his shoon o swiftness. Ony way she's a kind o' queen amang the gypseys; she is mair than a hunder year auld, folk say, and minds the coming in o' the moss-troopers in the troublesome times when the Stuarts were put awa.

Sae if she canna hide hersell, they can hide her weel aneugh, ye needna doubt that. Odd, an I had kenn'd it had been Meg Merrilies yon night at Tibb Mumps's, I wad taen care how I crossed her.»

Bertram listened with great attention to this account, which tallied so well in many points with what he had himself seen of this gypsey sybil. After a moment's consideration, he concluded it would be no breach of faith to mention what he had seen at Derncleugh to a person who held Meg in such reverence as Dinmont obviously did. He told his story accordingly, often interrupted by ejaculations, such as, « Weel, the like o'that now!» or « Na, deil an that's no something now ! »

When our Liddesdale friend had heard the whole to an end, he shook his great black head

--« Weel; I'll uphaud there's baith gude and ill among the gypseys, and if they deal withe

, enemy it's a' their ain business and no ours. I ken what the streeking the corpse wad be weel aneugh. Thae smuggler deevils, when onyo


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them's killed in a fray, they'll send for a wife like Meg far eneugh to dress the corpse; odd, it's a the burial they ever think o'! and then to be put into the ground without ony decency, just like dogs. But they stick to it, that they'll be streekit, and hae an auld wife when they're dying to rhyme ower prayers, and ballants, and charms, as they ca' them, rather than they'll hae a minister to come and


wi' them- that's an auld threep o' their's; and I am thinking the man that died will hae been ane o' the folk that was shot when they burnt Woodbourne.»

« But, my good friend, Woodbourne is not burnt. »

« Weel, the better for them that bides in't. Odd, we had it

up the water wi' us, that there was na a stane on the tap o' anither. But there was fighting, ony way; I dare to say, it would be fine fun! And, as I said, ye may take it on trust, that that's been ane o' the men killed there, and that it's been the gypseys that took your pockmanky when they fand the chaise sticking in the snaw-they wadna pass the like

" o'that-it wad just come to their hand like the boul o' a pint stoup.”

« But if this woman is a sovereign among them, why was she not able to afford me open protection, and to get me back my property ?»

« Ou, wha kens? she has muckle to say wi' them, but whiles they'll tak their ain way

for a that, when they're under temptation. And then there's the smugglers that they're aye leagued

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