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the light it affords to strike their prey. As he observed one man struggling with a very weighty salmon which he had speared, but was unable completely to raise from the water, Brown advanced close to the bank to see the issue of his exertions. The man who held the torch in this instance was the huntsman, whose sulky demeanour Brown had already noticed with surprise. — “Come here, Sir! come here, Sir! look at this ane! He turns up a side like a sow.” - Such was the cry from the assistants when some of them observed Brown advancing.
“Ground the waster weel, man! ground the waster weel! haud him down — ye haena the pith o' a cat?” — were the cries of advice, encouragement, and expostulation, from those who were on the bank, to the sportsman engaged with the salmon, who stood up to his middle in water, jingling among broken ice, struggling against the force of the fish and the strength of the current, and dubious in what manner he should attempt to secure his booty. As Brown came to the edge of the bank, he called out “Hold up your torch, friend huntsman!” for he had already distinguished his dusky features by the strong light cast upon them by the blaze. But the fellow no sooner heard his voice. and saw, or rather concluded, it was Brown who approached him, than, instead of advancing his light, he let it drop, as if accidentally, into the water.
“The deil's in Gabriel!” said the spearman, as the fragments of glowing wood floated half-blazing, half-sparkling, but soon extinguished, down the stream -“the deil 's in the man! - I'll never master him without the light - and a braver kipper, could I but land him, never reisted abune a pair o'cleeks.” Some dashed into the water to lend their assistance, and the fish, which was afterwards found to weigh nearly thirty pounds, was landed in safety.
The behaviour of the huntsman struck Brown, although he had no recollection of his face, nor could conceive why he should, as it appeared he evidently did, shun his observation. Could be be one of the footpads he had encountered a few days before? The sopposition was not altogether improbable, although unwar
See Note D. Lum Cleeks.
ranted by any observation he was able to make upon the man's figure and face. To be sure the villains wore their hats much slouched, and had loose coats, and their size was not in any way so peculiarly discriminated as to enable him to resort to that criterion. He resolved to speak to his host Dinmont on the subject, but for obvious reasons concluded it were best defer the explanation until a cool hour in the morning.
The sportsmen returned loaded with fish, upwards of one hundred salmon having been killed within the range of their sport. The best were selected for the use of the principal farmers, the others divided among their shepherds, cottars, dependents, and others of inferior rank who attended. These fish, dried in the turf smoke of their cabins, or shealings, formed a savoury addition to the mess of potatoes, mixed with onions, which was the principal part of their winter food. In the meanwhile a liberal distribution of ale and whisky was made among them, besides what was called a kettle of fish, - two or three salmon, namely, plunged into a aul n, and boiled for their supper. Brown accompanied his jolly landlord and the rest of his friends into the large and smoky kitchen, where this savoury mess reeked on an oaken table, massive enough to have dined Johnnie Armstrong and his merry-men. All was hearty cheer and huzza, and jest and clamorous laughter, and bragging alternately, and raillery between whiles. Our traveller looked earnestly around for the dark countenance of the fox-hunter; but it was nowhere to be seen.
At length he hazarded a question concerning him. “That was an awkward accident, my lads, of one of you, who dropped his torch in the water when his companion was struggling with the large fish.”
“Awkward!” returned a shepherd, looking up, (the same stout young fellow who had speared the salmon,) “he deserved his paiks for 't - to put out the light when the fish was on ane's witters!* - I'm weel convinced Gabriel drapped the roughies'
• The barbs of the spear.
When dry splinters, or branches, are used as fuel to supply the light for burning the water, as it is called, they are termed, as in the
in the water on purpose
- he doesna like to see ony body do a thing better than himsell.”
“Ay,” said another, “he's sair shamed o' himsell, else he would have been up here the night - Gabriel likes a little o' the gude thing as weel as ony
“Na, na, he's been but shortly in office, but he's a fell hunter - he's frae down the country, some gate on the Dumfries side."
“And what's his name, pray?”
“Oh, Lord kens that; we dinna mind folk's afternames muckle here, they run sae muckle into clans.”
“Ye see, Sir,” said an old shepherd, rising and speaking very slow, “the folks hereabouts are a' Armstrongs and Elliots,* and sic like-twa or three given names--and so, for distinction's sake, the lairds and farmers have the names of their places that they live at as for example, Tam o' Todshaw, Will o’the Flat, Hobbie o' Sorbietrees, and our good master here, o' the Charlieshope. Aweel, Sir, and then the inferior sort o' people, ye 'll observe, are kend by sorts o' by-names some o’them, as Glaiket Christie, and the Deuke's Davie, or maybe, like this lad Gabriel, by his employment; as for example, Tod Gabbie, or Hunter Gabbie. He's no been lang here, Sir, and I dinna think ony body kens him by ony other name. But it's no right to rin him doun ahint his back, for he's a fell fox-hunter, though he's maybe no just sae clever as some o' the folk hereawa wi' the waster.”
After some farther desultory conversation, the superior sportsmen retired to conclude the evening after their own manner, leaving the others to enjoy themselves, unawed by their presence. That evening, like all those which Brown had passed at Charlies-hope, was spent in much innocent mirth and conviviality. The latter might have approached to the verge of riot but for the good women; for several of the neighbouring mistresses (a phrase of a text, Rougbies. When rags, dipped in tar, are employed, they are called Hards, probably from the French.
See Note E. Clan Surnames.
signification how different from what it bears in more fashionable life!) had assembled at Charlies-hope to witness the event of this memorable evening. Finding the punch-bowl was so often replenished, that there was some danger of their gracious presence being forgotten, they rushed in valorously upon the recreant revellers, headed by our good Mistress Ailie, so that Venus speedily routed Bacchus. The fiddler and piper next made their appearance, and the best part of the night was gallantly consumed in dancing to their music.
An otter-hunt the next day, and a badger-baiting the day after, consumed the time merrily. I hope our traveller will not sink in the reader's estimation, sportsman though he may be, when I ioform him, that on this last occasion, after young Pepper had lost a forefoot, and Mustard the second had been nearly throttled, he begged, as a particular and personal favour of Mr. Dinmont, that the poor badger, who had made so gallant a defence, should be permitted to retire to his earth without farther molestation.
The far r, who would probably have treated this request with supreme contempt had it come from any other person, was contented, in Brown's case, to express the utter extremity of his wonder. “Weel,” he said, “that 's queer aneugh! -- But since ye take his part, deil a tyke shall meddle wi' him mair in my day
we'll e'en mark him, and ca' him the Captain's brock; and I'm sure I'm glad I can do ony thing to oblige you — but, Lord save us, to care about a brock!”
After a week spent in rural sport, and distinguished by the most frank attentions on the part of his honest landlord, Brown bade adieu to the banks of the Liddel, and the hospitality of Charlies-hope. The children, with all of whom he had now become an intimate and a favourite, roared manfully in full choras at his departure, and he was obliged to promise twenty times, that he would soon return and play over all their favourite tunes upon the flageolet till they had got them by heart. “Come back again, Captain," said one little sturdy fellow, “and Jenny will be your wife.” Jenny was about eleven years
old she ran and hid herself behind her mammy.
“Captain, come back," said a little fat roll-about girl of six,
holding her mouth up to be kissed, “and I'll be your wife my ainsell."
They must be of harder mould than I, thought Brown, who could part from so many kind hearts with indifference. The good dame, too, with matron modesty, and an affectionate simplicity that marked the olden time, offered her cheek to the departing guest “It's little the like of us can do," she said, “little indeed - but yet if there were but ony thing'
“Now, my dear Mrs. Dinmont, you imbolden me to make a request—would you but have the kindness to weave me, or work me, just such a grey plaid as the goodman wears?” He had learned the language and feelings of the country even during the short time of his residence, and was aware of the pleasure the request would confer.
“A tait o'woo' would be scarce amang us,” said the goodwise brightening, “if ye shouldna hae that, and as gude a tweel as ever cam aff a pirn. I'll speak to Johnnie Goodsire, the weaver at the Castletown the morn. Fare ye weel,
Sir! - and may ye bc just as happy yoursell as ye like to see a' body else and that would be a sair wish to some folk.”
I must not omit to mention, that our traveller left his trusty attendant Wasp to be a guest at Charlies-hope for a season. He foresaw that he might prove a troublesome attendant in the event of his being in any situation where secrecy and concealment might be necessary. He was therefore consigned to the care of the eldest boy, who promised, in the words of the old song, that he should have
"A bit of his supper, a bit of his bed," and that he should be engaged in none of those perilous pastimes in which the race of Mustard and Pepper had suffered frequent mutilation. Brown now prepared for his journey, having taken a temporary farewell of his trusty little companion.
There is an odd prejudice in these hills in favour of riding. Every farmer rides well, and rides the whole day. Probably the extent of their large pasture farms, and the necessity of surveying them rapidly, first introduced this custom; or a very zealous antiquary might derive it from the times of the Lay of the Last