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quarters we wadoa refuse to the poorest body on earth - unless (her eye directed to the pocket-book, but with a feeling of natural propriety which made the inference the most delicate possible,) (unless there was ony other way” — Brown saw, and estimated at its due rate, the mixture of simplicity and grateful generosity which took the downright way of expressing itself, yet qualified with so much delicacy; he was aware his own appearance, plain at best, and now torn and spattered with blood, made him an object of pity at least, and perhaps of charity. He hastened to say his name was Brown, a captain in the regiment of cavalry, travelling for pleasure, and on foot, both from motives of independence and economy; and he begged his kind landlady would look at her husband's wounds, the state of which he had refused to permit him to examine. Mrs. Dinmont was used to her husband's broken heads more than to the presence of a captain of dragoons. She therefore glanced at a table-cloth not quite clean, and conned over her proposed supper a minute or two, before, patting her husband on the shoulder, she bade him sit down for "a hard-headed loon, that was aye bringing himsell and other folk into collie-shaogies.”
When Dandie Dinmont, after executing two or three caprioles, and cutting the Highland-fling, by way of ridicule of his wife's anxiety, at last deigned to sit down, and commit his round, black, shaggy bullet of a head to her inspection, Brown thought he had seen the regimental surgeon look grave upon a more trifling case. The gudewife, however, showed some knowledge of chirurgeryshe cut away with her scissors the gory locks, whose stiffened and coagulated clusters interfered with her operations, and clapped on the wound some lint besmeared with a vulnerary salve, esteemed sovereign by the whole dale, (which afforded upon Fair nights considerable experience of such cases) she then fixed her plaster with a bandage, and, spite of her patient's resistance, pulled over all a night-cap, to keep every thing in its right place. Some contusions on the brow and shoulders she fomented with brandy, which the patient did not permit till the medicine had paid a heavy toll to his mouth. Mrs. Dinmont then simply, but kindly, offered her assistance to Brown.
He assured her he had no occasion for any thing but the accommodation of a basin and towel.
“And that's what I should have thought of sooner,” she said; "and I did think o't, but I durst na open the door, for there's a' the bairns, poor things, sae keen to see their father."
This explained a great drumming and whining at the door of the little parlour, which had somewhat surprised Brown, though his kind landlady had only noticed it by fastening the bolt as soon as she heard it begin. But on her opening the door to seek the basin and towel, (for she never thought of showing the guest to a separate room,) a whole tide of white-headed urchins streamed in, some from the stable, where they had been seeing Dumple, and giving him a welcome home with part of their four-hours' scones; others from the kitchen, where they had been listening to auld Elspeth's tales and ballads; and the youngest half-naked, out of bed, all roaring to see daddy, and to inquire what he had brought home for them from the various fairs he had visited in his peregrinations. Our knight of the broken head first kissed and hugged them all round, then distributed whistles, peonytrumpets, and ginger-bread, and, lastly, when the tumult of their joy and welcome got beyond bearing, exclaimed to his guest “This is a' the gudewife's fault, captain -- she will gie the bairns a'their ain way.”
“Me! Lord help me," said Ailie, who at that instant entered with the basin and ewer, “how can I help it? — I have naething else to gie them, poor things!”
Dinmont then exerted himself, and, between coaxing, threats, and shoving, cleared the room of all the intruders, excepting a boy and girl, the two eldest of the family, who could, as he observed, behave themselves “distinctly." For the same reason, but with less ceremony, all the dogs were kicked out, excepting the venerable patriarchs, old Pepper and Mustard, whom frequent castigation and the advance of years had inspired with such a share of passive hospitality, that, after mutual explanation and remonstrance in the shape of some growling, they admitted Wasp, who had hitherto judged it safe to keep beneath his master's chair, to a share of a dried wedder's skin, which; with the wool
uppermost and unshorn, served all the purposes of a Bristol hearth-rug.
The active bustle of the mistress (so she was called in the kitchen, and the gudewife in the parlour) had already signed the fate of a couple of fowls, which, for want of time to dress them otherwise, soon appeared reeking from the gridiron-or brander, as Mrs. Dinmont denominated it. A huge piece of cold beef-ham, eggs, butter, cakes, and barley-meal bannocks in plenty, made up the entertainment, which was to be diluted with home-brewed ale of excellent quality, and a case-bottle of brandy. Few soldiers would find fault with such cheer after a day's hard exercise, and a skirmish to boot; accordingly Brown did great honour to the eatables. While the gudewife partly aided, partly instructed, a great stout servant girl, with cheeks as red as her top-knot, to remove the supper matters, and supply sugar and hot water, (which, in the damsel's anxiety to gaze upon an actual live captain, she was in some danger of forgetting, ) Brown took an opportunity to ask his host whether he did not repent of having neglected the gipsy's hint.
“Wha kens?” answered he; “they ’re queer deevils; maybe I might just have 'scaped ae gang to meet the other. And yet I'll no say that neither; for if that randy wife was coming to Charlies-hope, she should have a pint bottle o' brandy and a pound o'tobacco to wear her through the winter. They're queer deevils, as my auld father used to say - they ’re warst where they 're warst guided. After a', there's baith gude and ill about the gipsies."
This, and some other desultory conversation, served as a shoeing - horn” to draw on another cup of ale and another cheerer, as Dinmont termed it in his country phrase, of brandy and water. Brown then resolutely declined all farther conviviality for that evening, pleading his own weariness and the effects of the skirmish, - being well aware that it would have availed nothing to have remonstrated with his host on the danger that excess might have occasioned to his own raw wound and bloody coxcomb. A very small bed-room, but a very clean bed, received the traveller, and the sheets made good the courteous vaunt of
the hostess, “that they would be as pleasant as he could find ony gate, for they were washed wi' the Fairy-well water, and bleached on the bonny white gowans, and bittled by Nelly and hersell, and what could woman, if she was a queen, do mair for them?".
They indeed rivalled snow in whiteness, and had, besides, a pleasant fragrance from the manner in which they had been bleached. Little Wasp, after licking his master's hand to ask leave, couched himself on the coverlet at his feet; and the traveller's senses were soon lost in grateful oblivion.
THOMSON'S Seasons. BROWN rose early in the morning, and walked out to look at the establishment of his new friend. All was rough and neglected in the neighbourhood of the house, a paltry garden, no pains taken to make the vicinity dry or comfortable, and a total absence of all those little neatnesses which give the eye so much pleasure in looking at an English farm-house. There were, notwithstanding, evident signs that this arose only from want of taste, or ignorance, not from poverty, or the negligence which attends it. On the contrary, a noble cow-house, well filled with good milk cows; a feeding-house, with ten bullocks of the most approved breed; a stable, with two good teams of horses; the appearance of domestics, active, industrious, and apparently contented with their lot; in a word, an air of liberal though sluttish plenty indicated the wealthy farmer. The situation of the house above the river formed a gentle declivity, which relieved the inhabitants of the nuisances that might otherwise have stagnated around it. At a little distance was the whole band of children, playing and building houses with peats around a huge doddered oak-tree, which was called Charlie's-Bush, from some tradition respecting an old freebooter who had once inhabited the spot. Between the farmhouse and the hill pasture was a deep morass, termed in that
country a slack. It had once been the defence of a fortalice, of which po vestiges now remained, but which was said to have been inhabited by the same doughty hero we have now alluded to. Brown endeavoured to make some acquaintance with the children, but the rogues fled from him like quicksilver” – though the two eldest stood peeping when they had got to some distance. The traveller then turned his course towards the hill, crossing the foresaid swamp by a range of stepping-stones, neither the broadest nor steadiest that could be imagined. He had not climbed far ap the hill when he met a man descending.
He soon recognized his worthy host, though a maud, as it is called, or a grey shepherd's-plaid, supplied bis travelling jockeycoat, and a cap, faced with wild-cat's fur, more commodiously covered his bandaged head than a hat would have done. As he appeared through the morning mist, Brown, accustomed to judge of men by their thewes and sinews, could not help admiriog his height, the breadth of his shoulders, and the steady firmness of his step. Dinmont internally paid the same compliment to Brown, whose athletic form he now perused somewhat more at leisure than he had done formerly. After the usual greetings of the morning, the guest inquired whether his host found any inconvenient consequences from the last night's affray.
“I had maist forgotten 't,” said the hardy Borderer; “but I think this morning, now that I am fresh and sober, if you and I were at the Withershins' Latch, wi' ilka ane a gude oak souple in his hand, we wadna turn back, no for half a dizzen o'yon scaff-raff.”
“But are you prudent, my good Sir," said Brown, “not to take an hour or two's repose after receiving such severe contusions?”
“Confusions!” replied the farmer, laughing in derision: “Lord, Captain, naething confuses my head - Iance jumped up and laid the dogs on the fox after I had tumbled from the tap o' Christenbury Craig, and that might have confused me to purpose. Na, Daething confuses me, unless it be a screed o' drink at an orra time. Besides, I behooved to be round the hirsel this morning, and see how the herds were coming on they're apt to be