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- I am still in the commission of the peace there, though I have ceased to be Sheriff - I never had any thing more at heart in my life than tracing that murder, and the fate of the child. I must write to the Sheriff of Roxburghshire too, and to an active justice of peace in Cumberland.”
“I hope when you come to the country you will make Woodbourne your head-quarters?"
“Certainly; I was afraid you were going to forbid me but we must go to breakfast now, or I shall be too late.”
On the following day the new friends parted, and the Colonel rejoined his family without any adventure worthy of being detailed in these chapters.
Women Pleased. OUR narrative now recalls us for a moment to the period when young Hazlewood received his wound. That accident had no sooner happened, than the consequences to Miss Mannering and to himself rushed upon Brown's mind. From the manner in which the muzzle of the piece was pointed when it went off, he had no great fear that the consequences would be fatal. But an arrest in a strange country, and while he was unprovided with any means of establishing his rank and character, was at least to be avoided. He therefore resolved to escape for the present to the neighbouring coast of England, and to remain concealed there, if possible, until he should receive letters from his regimental friends, and remittances from his agent; and then to resume his own character, and offer to young Hazlewood and his friends any explanation or satisfaction they might desire. With this purpose he walked stoutly forward, after leaving the spot where the accident had happened, and reached without adventure the village which we have called Portanferry, (but which the reader will in vain seek for under that name in the county map.) A large open boat was just about to leave the quay, bound for
no that I
the little seaport of Allonby, in Cumberland. In this vessel Brown embarked, and resolved to make that place his temporary abode, until he should receive money and letters from England.
In the course of their short voyage he entered into some conversation with the steersman, who was also owner of the boat, a jolly old man, who had occasionally been engaged in the smuggling trade, like most fishers on the coast. After talking about objects of less interest, Brown endeavoured to turn the discourse toward the Mannering family. The sailor had heard of the attack upon the house at Woodbourne, but disapproved of the smugglers' proceedings.
“Hands off is fair play; zounds, they 'll bring the whole country down upon them na, na! when I was in that way I played at giff-gaff with the officers here a cargo taen weel, that was their luck; there another carried clean through, that was mine na, na! hawks shouldna pike out hawks' een.”
“And this Colonel Mannering?” said Brown.
“Troth, he's nae wise man neither, to interfere blame him for saving the gaugers' lives — that was very right; but it wasna like a gentleman to be fighting about the poor
folk's pocks o' tea and brandy kegs however, he's a grand man and an officer man, and they do what they like wi' the like o'us.”
“And his daughter,” said Brown, with a throbbing heart, “is going to be married into a great family too, as I have heard?"
“What, into the Hazlewoods'?” said the pilot. “Na, na, that's but idle clashes every Sabbath day, as regularly as it came round, did the young man ride hame wi' the daughter of the late Ellangowan and my daughter Peggy's in the service up at Woodbourne, and she says she's sure young Hazlewood thinks nae mair of Miss Mannering than you do.”
Bitterly censuring his own precipitate adoption of a contrary belief, Brown yet heard with delight that the suspicions of Julia's fidelity, upon which he had so rashly acted, were probably void of foundation. How must be in the meantime be suffering in her opinion? or what could she suppose of conduct, which must have made him appear to her regardless alike of her peace of mind, and of the interests of their affection? The old man's connection
with the family at Woodbourne seemed to offer a safe mode of communication, of which he determined to avail himself.
“Your daughter is a maid-servant at Woodbourne? - I knew Miss Mannering in India, and though I am at present in an inferior rank of life, I have great reason to hope she would interest herself in my favour. I had a quarrel unfortunately with her father, who was my commanding officer, and I am sure the young lady would endeavour to reconcile bim to me. Perhaps your daughter could deliver a letter to her upon the subject, without making mischief between her father and her?”
The old man, a friend to smuggling of every kind, readily answered for the letter's being faithfully and secretly delivered; and, accordingly, as soon as they arrived at Allonby, Brown wrote to Miss Mannering, stating the utmost contrition for what had happened through his rashness, and conjuring her to let him have an opportunity of pleading his own cause, and obtaining forgiveness for his indiscretion. He did not judge it safe to go into any detail concerning the circumstances which he had been misled, and upon the whole endeavoured to express himself with such ambiguity, that if the letter should fall into wrong hands, it would be difficult either to understand its real purport, or to trace the writer. This letter the old man undertook faithfully to deliver to his daughter at Woodbourne; and, as his trade would speedily again bring him or his boat to Allonby, he promised farther to take charge of any answer with which the young lady might intrust him.
And now our persecuted traveller landed at Allonby, and sought for such accommodations as might at once suit his temporary poverty, and his desire of remaining as much unobserved as possible. With this view he assumed the name and profession of his friend Dudley, having command enough of the pencil to verify his pretended character to his host of Allonby. His baggage he pretended to expect from Wigton; and keeping himself as much within doors as possible, awaited the return of the letters which he had sent to his agent, to Delaserre, and to his Lieutenant-Colonel. From the first he requested a supply of money; he conjured Delaserre, if possible, to join him in Scot
land; and from the Lieutenant-Colonel he required such testimony of his rank and conduct in the regiment, as should place his character as a gentleman and officer beyond the power of question. The inconvenience of being run short in his finances struck him so strongly, that he wrote to Dinmont on that subject, requesting a small temporary loan, having no doubt that, being within sixty or seventy miles of his residence, he should receive a speedy as well as favourable answer to his request of pecuniary accommodation, which was owing as he stated, to his having been robbed after their parting. And then, with impatience enough, though without any serious apprehension, he waited the answers of these various letters.
It must be observed, in excuse of his correspondents, that the post was then much more tardy than since Mr. Palmer's ingenious invention has taken place; and with respect to honest Dinmont in particular, as he rarely received above one letter a-quarter, (unless during the time of his being engaged in a lawsuit, when he regularly sent to the post-town,) his correspondence usually remained for a month or two sticking in the postmaster's window, among pamphlets, gingerbread rolls, or ballads, according to the trade which the said postmaster exercised. Besides, there was then a custom, not yet wholly obsolete, of causing a letter, from one town to another, perhaps between the distance of thirty miles, perform a circuit of two hundred miles before delivery; which had the combincd advantage of airing the cpistle thoroughly, of adding some pence to the revenue of the post-office, and of exercising the patience of the correspondents. Owing to these circumstances, Brown remained several days in Allonby without any answers whatever, and his stock of money, though husbanded with the utmost economy, began to wear very low, when he received, by the hands of a young fisherman, the following letter:
“You have acted with the most cruel indiscretion; you have shown how little I can trust to your declarations that my peace and happiness are dear to you; and your rashness has nearly occasioned the death of a young man of the highest worth and Guy Mannering.
honour. Must I say more? - must I add, that I have been myself very ill in consequence of your violence, and its effects? And, alas! need I say still farther, that I have thought anxiously upon them as they are likely to affect you, although you have given me such slight cause to do so? The C. is gone from home for several days; Mr. H. is almost quite recovered; and I have reason to think that the blame is laid in a quarter different from that where it is deserved. Yet do not think of venturing here. Our fate has been crossed by accidents of a nature too violent and terrible to permit me to think of renewing a correspondence which has so often threatened the most dreadful catastrophe. Farewell, therefore, and believe that no one can wish your happiness more sincerely than
This letter contained that species of advice, which is frequently given for the precise purpose that it may lead to a directly opposite conduct from that which it recommends. At least so thought Brown, who immediately asked the young fisherman if he came from Portanferry.
“Ay,” said the lad; “I am auld Willie Johnstone's son, and I got that letter frae my sister Peggy, that 's laundry-maid at Woodbourne."
“My good friend, when do you sail?” "With the tide this evening.”
“I'll return with you; hut as I do not desire to go to Portanferry, I wish you could put me on shore somewhere on the coast.'
“We can easily do that," said the lad.
Although the price of provisions, &c. was then very moderate, the discharge of his lodgings, and the expense of his living, together with that of a change of dress, which safety as well as a proper regard to his external appearance rendered necessary, brought Brown's purse to a very low ebb. He left directions at the post-office that his letters should be forwarded to Kippletringan, whither he resolved to proceed, and reclaim the treasure which he had deposited in the hands of Mrs. Mac-Candlish. He also felt it would be his duty to assume his proper character as