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There's wildness in her manner, certainly, thought Brown,and yet it is more like the wildness of energy than of madness.
“Well, mother, since you do ask so useless and trifling a favour, you have my promise. It will at least give me an opportunity to repay your money with additions. You are an uncommon kind of creditor, no doubt, but”.
“Away, away, then!” she said, waving her hand. “Think not about the goud it 's a' your ain; but remember your promise, and do not dare to follow me or look after me." So saying, she plunged again into the dell, and descended it with great agility, the icicles and snow-wreaths showering down after her as she disappeared.
Notwithstanding her prohibition, Brown endeavoured to gain some point of the bank, from which he might, unseen, gaze down into the glen; and with some difficulty, (for it must be conceived that the utmost caution was necessary,) he succeeded. The spot which he attained for this purpose was the point of a projecting rock, which rose precipitously from among the trees. By kneeling down among the snow, and stretching his head cautiously forward, he could observe what was going on in the bottom of the dell. He saw, as he expected, his companions of the last night, now joined by two or three others. They had cleared away the snow from the foot of the rock, and dug a deep pit, which was designed to serve the purpose of a grave. Around this they now stood, and lowered into it something wrapped in a naval cloak, which Brown instantly concluded to be the dead body of the man he had seen expire. They then stood silent for half a minute, as if under some touch of feeling for the loss of their companion. But if they experienced such, they did not long remain under its influence, for all hands went presently to work to fill up the grave; and Brown, perceiving that the task would be soon ended, thought it best to take the gipsy-woman's hint, and walk as fast as possible until he should gain the shelter of the plantation.
Having arrived under cover of the trees, his first thought was of the gipsy's purse. He had accepted it without hesitation, though with something like a feeling of degradation, arising from the character of the person by whom he was thus accommodated.
But it relieved him from a serious though temporary embarrassment. His money, excepting a very few shillings, was in his portmanteau, and that was in possession of Meg's friends. Some time was necessary to write to his agent, or even to apply to his good host at Charlies-hope, who would gladly have supplied him. In the meantime, he resolved to avail himself of Meg's subsidy, confident he should have a speedy opportunity of replacing it with a handsome gratuity. “It can be but a trifling sum,” he said to himself, “and I dare say the good lady may have a share of my bank-notes to make amends."
With these reflections he opened the leathern-purse, expecting to find at most three or four guineas. But how much was he surprised to discover that it contained, besides a considerable quantity of gold pieces, of different coinages and various countries, the joint amount of which could not be short of a hundred pounds, several valuable rings and ornaments set with jewels, and, as appeared from the slight inspection he had time to give them, of very considerable value.
Brown was equally astonished and embarrassed by the circumstances in which he found himself possessed, as he now appeared to be, of property to a much greater amount than his own, but which had been obtained, in all probability, by the same nefarious means through which he had himself been plundered. His first thought was to inquire after the nearest justice of peace, and to place in his hands the treasure of which he had thus unerpectedly become the depositary, telling, at the same time, his own remarkable story. But a moment's consideration brought several objections to this mode of procedure. In the first place, by observing this course, he should break his promise of silence, and might probably by that means involve the safety, perhaps the life, of this woman, who had risked her own to preserve his, and who had voluntarily endowed him with this treasure, a generosity which might thus become the means of her ruin. This was not to be thought of. Besides, he was a stranger, and, for a time at least, unprovided with the means of establishing his own character and credit to the satisfaction of a stupid or obstipate country magistrate. “I will think over the matter more inaturely," be
said; “perhaps there may be a regiment quartered at the countytown, in which case my knowledge of the service, and acquaintance with many officers of the army, cannot fail to establish my situation and character by evidence which a civil judge could not sufficiently estimate. And then I shall have the commanding officer's assistance in managing matters so as to screen this unhappy madwoman, whose mistake or prejudice has been so fortunate for me. A civil magistrate might think himself obliged to send out warrants for her at once, and the consequence in case of her being taken is pretty evident — No, she has been upon honour with me if she were the devil, and I will be equally upon honour with her. She shall have the privilege of a court-martial, where the point of honour can qualify strict law. Besides I may see her at this place, Kipple — Couple what did she call it? and then I can make restitution to her, and e'en let the law claim its own when it can secure her. In the meanwhile, however, I cut rather an awkward figure for one who has the honour to bear his majesty's commission, being little better than the receiver of stolen goods."
With these reflections, Brown took from the gipsy's treasure three or four guineas, for the purpose of his immediate expenses, and tying up the rest in the purse which contained them, resolved not again to open it, until he could either restore it to her by whom it was given, or put it into the hands of some public functionary. He next thought of the cutlass, and his first impulse was to leave it in the plantation. But when he considered the risk of meeting with these ruffians, he could not resolve on parting with his arms. His walking-dress, though plain, had so much of a military character as suited not amiss with his having such a weapon. Besides, though the custom of wearing swords by persons out of uniform had been gradually becoming antiquated,
it was not yet so totally forgotten as to occasion any particular remark towards those who chose to adhere to it. Retaining, therefore, his weapon of defence, and placing the purse of the gipsy in a private pocket, our traveller strode gallantly on through the wood in search of the promised high-road.
Midsummer Night's Dream. Julia Mannering to Matilda Marchmont. “How can you upbraid me, my dearest Matilda, with abatement in friendship, or fluctuation in affection? Is it possible for me to forget that you are the chosen of my heart, in whose faithful bosom I have deposited every feeling which your poor Julia dares to acknowledge to herself? And you do me equal injustice in upbraiding me with exchanging your friendship for that of Lucy Bertram. I assure you she bas not the materials I must seek for in a bosom confidante. She is a charming girl, to be sure,
and I like her very much, and I confess our forenoon and evening engagements have left me less time for the exercise of my pen than our proposed regularity of correspondence demands. But she is totally devoid of elegant accomplishments, excepting the knowledge of French and Italian, which she acquired from the most grotesque monster you ever beheld, whom my father has engaged as a kind of librarian, and whom he patronizes, I believe, to show his defiance of the world's opinion. Colonel Mannering seems to have formed a determination, that nothing shall be considered as ridiculous, so long as it appertains to or is connected with him. I remember in India he had picked up somewhere a little mongrel cur, with bandy legs, a long back, and huge flapping ears. Of this uncouth creature he chose to make a favourite, in despite of all taste and opinion; and I remember one instance which he alleged, of what he called Brown's petulance, was, that he had criticised severely the crooked legs and drooping ears of Bingo. On my word, Matilda, I believe he purses bis high opinion of this most awkward of all pedants upon a similar principle. He seats the creature at table, where he pronounces a grace that sounds like the scream of the man in the square that used to cry
mackarel, flings his meat down his throat by shovelfuls, like a dustman loading his cart, and apparently without the most distant perception of what he is swallowing, - then bleats forth another unnatural set of tones, by way of returning thanks, stalks out of the room, and immerses himself among a parcel of huge wormeaten folios that are as uncouth as himself! I could endure the creature well enough, had I any body to laugh at him along with me; but Lucy Bertram, if I but verge on the border of a jest affecting this same Mr. Sampson, (such is the horrid man's horrid name,) looks so piteous, that it deprives me of all spirit to proceed, and my father koits his brow, flashes fire from his eye, bites his lip, and says something that is extremely rude, and uncomfortable to my feelings.
“It was not of this creature, however, that I meant to speak to you — only that, being a good scholar in the modern, as well as the ancient languages, he has contrived to make Lucy Bertram mistress of the former, and she has only, I believe, to thank her own good sense or obstinacy, that the Greek, Latin, (and Hebrew, for aught I know,) were not added to her acquisitions. And thus she really has a great fund of information, and I assure you I am daily surprised at the power which she seems to possess of amusing herself by recalling and arranging the subjects of her former reading. We read together every morning, and I begin to like Italian much better than when we were teased by that conceited animal Cicipici ; this is the way to spell his name, and not Chichipichi -- you see I grow a connoisseur.
“But perhaps I like Miss Bertram more for the accomplishments she wants, than for the knowledge she possesses. She knows nothing of music whatever, and no more of dancing than is here common to the meanest peasants, who, by the way, dance with great zeal and spirit. So that I am instructor in my turn, and she takes with great gratitude lessons from me upon the harpsichord, and I have even taught her some of La Pique's steps, and you know he thought me a promising scholar.
“In the evening papa often reads, and I assure you he is the best reader of poetry you ever heard - not like that actor who made a kind of jumble between reading and acting, staring, and