Page images

“No, no,

“True, true,” said Glossin, “I mean landed proprietors and gentlemen of weight in the county; and I should like to set such a thing a-going.”

The short dry cough with which Mrs. Mac-Candlish received this proposal, by no means indicated any dislike to the overture abstractedly considered, but inferred much doubt how far it would succeed under the auspices of the gentleman by whom it was proposed. It was not a cough negative, but a cough dubious, and as such Glossin felt it; but it was not his cue to take offence.

“Have there been brisk doings on the road, Mrs. MacCandlish? plenty of company, I suppose?" “Pretty weel, Sir - but I believe I am wanted at the bar."

stop one moment, cannot you, to oblige an old customer?

· Pray, do you remember a remarkably tall young man, who lodged one night in your house last week?

“Troth, Sir, I canna weel say -- I never take heed whether my company be lang or short, if they make a lang bill.”

“And if they do not, you can do that for them, eh, Mrs. MacCandlish? ha, ha, ha! But this young man that I inquire after was upwards of six feet high, had a dark frock with metal buttons, light-brown hair unpowdered, blue eyes, and a straight nose, travelled on foot, had no servant or baggage — you surely can remember having seen such a traveller?”

“Indeed, Sir,” answered Mrs. Mac-Candlish, bent on baffling his inquiries, “I canna charge my memory about the matter

there 's mair to do in a house like this, I trow, than to look after passengers' hair, or their een, or noses either."

“Then, Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I must tell you in plain terms, that this person is suspected of having been guilty of a crime; and it is in consequence of these suspicions that I, as a magistrate, require this information from you; and if you refuse to answer my questions, I must put you upon your oath.”

“Troth, Sir, I am no free to swear* we aye gaed to the Antiburgher meeting — it's very true, in Bailie Mac-Candlish's

Some of the strict dissenters decline taking an oath before a civil magistrate.


time (honest man,) we keepit the kirk, whilk was most seemly in his station, as having office - but after his being called to a better place than Kippletringan, I hae gaen back to worthy Mr. MacGrainer. And so ye see, Sir, I am no clear to swear without speaking to the minister especially against ony sackless puir young thing that 's gaun through the country, stranger and freendless like.”

“I shall relieve your scruples, perhaps, without troubling Mr. Mac-Grainer, when I tell you that this fellow whom I inquire after is the man who shot your young friend Charles Hazlewood.”

“Gudeness! wha could hae thought the like o' that o' him?

if it had been for debt, or e'en for a bit tulzie with the gauger, the deil o' Nelly Mac-Candlish's tongue should ever hae wranged him. But if he really shot young Hazlewood But I canna think it, Mr. Glossin; this will be some o' your skits * now -I canna think it o' sae douce a lad; na, na, this is just some o' your auld skits. Ye 'll be for having a horning or a caption after him."

“I see you have no confidence in me, Mrs. Mac-Capdlish; but look at these declarations, signed by the persons who saw the crime committed, and judge yourself if the description of the ruffian be not that of your guest.

He put the papers into her hand, which she perused very carefully, often taking off her spectacles to cast her eyes up to Heaven, or perhaps to wipe a tear from them, for young Hazlewood was an especial favourite with the good dame. “Aweel, aweel,” she said, when she had concluded her examination, “since it's e'en sae, I gie him up, the villain — But 0, we are erring mortals! - I never saw a face I liked better, or a lad that was mair douce and canny I thought he had been some gentleman under trouble. - But I gie him up, the villain! -- to shoot Charles Hazlewood - and before the young ladies, poor innocent things! — I gie him up."

“So you admit, then, that such a person lodged here the night before this vile business?"

* Tricks.

[ocr errors]

I dare say

“Troth did he, Sir, and a' the house were taen wi' him, he was sic a frank, pleasant young man. It wasna for his spending, I'm sure, for he just had a mutton-chop, and a mug of ale, and maybe a glass or twa o'wine — and I asked him to drink tea wi’ mysell, and didna put that into the bill; and he took nae supper, for he said he was defeat wi' travel a' the night afore now it had been on some hellicat errand or other.”

Did you by any chance learn his name?”

“I wot weel did I,” said the landlady, now as eager to communicate her evidence as formerly desirous to suppress it. “He telld me his name was Brown, and he said it was likely that an auld woman like a gipsy wife might be asking for him — Ay, ay! tell me your company, and I 'll tell you wha ye are? O the villain! - Aweel, Sir, when he gaed away in the morning, he paid his bill very honestly, and gae something to the chambermaid, nae doubt, for Grizy has naething frae me, by twa pair o' new shoon ilka year, and maybe a bit compliment at Hansel Monanday" — Here Glossin found it necessary to interfere, and bring the good woman back to the point.

“Ou than, he just said, if there comes such a person to inquire after Mr. Brown, you will say I am gone to look at the skaters on Loch Creeran, as you call it, and I will be back here to dinner But he never came back — though I expected him sae faithfully, that I gae a look to making the friar's chicken mysell, and to the crappit-heads too, and that's what I dinna do for ordinary, Mr. Glossin - But little did I think what skating wark he was gaun about -- to shoot Mr. Charles, the innocent lamb!”

Mr. Glossin, having, like a prudent examinator, suffered his witness to give vent to all her surprise and indignation, now began to inquire whether the suspected person had left any property or papers about the inn.

“Troth, he put a parcel - a sma' parcel, under my charge, and he gave me some siller, and desired me to get him half-adozen ruffled sarks, and Peg Pasley's in hands wi' them e'en DOW — they may serve him to gang up the Lawn-market* in, the

• The procession of the criminals to the gallows of old took that direction, moving, as the scbool-boy rhyme had it,

scoundrel!” Mr. Glossin then demanded to see the packet, but here mine hostess demurred.

“She didna ken — she wad not say but justice should take its course - but when a thing was trusted to ane in her way, doubtless they were responsible-but she suld cry in Deacon Bearcliff, and if Mr. Glossin liked to tak an inventar o'the property, and gie her a receipt before the Deacon or, what she wad like muckle better, an it could be sealed up and left in Deacon Bearcliff's hands, it wad mak her mind easy - She was for naething but justice on a' sides."

Mrs. Mac-Candlish's natural sagacity and acquired suspicion being inflexible, 'Glossin sent for Deacon Bearcliff, to speak "anent the villain that had shot Mr. Charles Hazlewood.” The Deacon accordingly made his appearance, with his wig awry, owing to the hurry with which, at this summons of the Justice, he bad exchanged it for the Kilmarnock-cap in which he usually attended his customers. Mrs. Mac-Candlish then produced the parcel deposited with her by Brown, in which was found the gipsy's purse. On perceiving the value of the miscellaneous contents, Mrs. Mac-Candlish internally congratulated herself upon the precautions she had taken before delivering them up to Glossin, while he, with an appearance of disinterested candour, was the first to propose they should be properly inventoried, and deposited with Deacon Bearcliff, until they should be sent to the Crown-office. “He did not,” he observed, “like to be personally responsible for articles which seemed of considerable value, and had doubtless been acquired by the most nefarious practices."

He then examined the paper in which the purse had been wrapt up. It was the back of a letter addressed to V. Brown, Esquire, but the rest of the address was torn away. The landlady

now as eager to throw light upon the criminal's escape as she had formerly been desirous of withholding it, for the miscel

Up the Lawn-market,
Down the West Bow,
Up the lang ladder,
And down the little tow.

laneous contents of the purse argued strongly to her mind that all was not right - Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I say, now gave Glossin to understand that her postilion and hostler had both seen the stranger upon the ice that day when young Hazlewood was wounded.

Our readers' old acquaintance, Jock Jabos, was first summoned, and admitted frankly, that he had seen and conversed upon the ice that morning with a stranger, who, he understood, had lodged at the Gordon-arms the night before.

What turn did your conversation take?” said Glossin.

“Turn?--ou, we turned nae gate at a', but just keepit straight forward upon the ice like.”

“Well, but what did you speak about?”

“Ou, he just asked questions like ony ither stranger,” answered the postilion, possessed, as it seemed, with the refractory and uncommunicative spirit wbich had left his mistress.”

“But about what?” said Glossin.

“Ou, just about the folk that was playing at the curling, and about auld Jock Stevenson that was at the cock, and about the leddies, and sic like."

“What ladies? and what did he ask about them, Jock?” said the interrogator.

“What leddies? ou, it was Miss Jowlia Mannering and Miss Lucy Bertram, that ye ken fu’weel yoursell, Mr. Glossin — they were walking wi' the young Laird of Hazlewood upon the ice."

“And what did you tell him about them?" demanded Glossin.

“Tut, we just said that was Miss Lucy Bertram of Ellangowan that should ance have had a great estate in the country and that was Miss Jowlia Manpering, that was to be married to young Hazlewood - See as she was binging on his arm - we just spoke about our country clashes like he was a very frank man.

“Well, and what did he say in answer?”

“Ou, he just stared at the young leddies very keen like, and asked if it was for certain that the marriage was to be between Miss Mannering and young Hazlewood—and I answered him that it was for positive and absolute certain, as I had an undoubted right to say sae - for my third cousin Jean Clavers,- (she's a

« PreviousContinue »