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property delivered up to me, I shall apply for it; and there is a good deal more than enough to pay any demand you can set up."
“I dinna ken a bit about that,” said Mac-Guffog; “ye may be here lang eneugh. And then the gieing credit maun be considered in the fees. But, however, as ye do seem to be a chap by common, though my wife says I lose by my good-nature, if ye gie me an order for my fees upon that money - I dare say Glossiu will make it forthcoming- I ken something about an escape from Ellangowan - ay, ay, he 'll be glad to carry me through, and be neighbour-like."
“Well, Sir," replied Bertram, “if I am not furnished in a day or two otherwise, you shall have such an order."
“Weel, weel, then, ye shall be put up like a prince," said Mac-Guffog. “But mark ye me, friend, that we may have nae colly-shangie afterhend, these are the sees that I always charge a swell that must have his lib-ken to himsell Thirty shillings a-week for lodgings, and a guinea for garnish; half-a-guinea a-week for a single bed — and I dinna get the whole of it, for I must gie half-a-crown out of it to Donald Laider that 's in for sheep-stealing, that should sleep with you by rule, and he 'll expect clean strae, and maybe some whisky beside. So I make little upon that.”
“Well, Sir, go on.”
“Then for meat and liquor, ye may have the best, and I never charge abune twenty per cent ower tavern price for pleasing a gentleman that way — and that's little eneugh for sending in and sending out, and wearing the lassie's shoon out. And then if ye're dowie, I will sit wi' you a gliff in the evening mysell, man, and help ye out wi' your bottle. I have drank mony a glass wi' Glossin, man, that did you up, though he's a justice now. And then, l’se warrant ye 'll be for fire thir cauld nights, or if ye want candle, that's an expensive article, for it's against the rules. And now I 've telld ye the head articles of the charge, and I dinna think there's muckle mair, though there will aye be some odd expenses ower and abune.”
“Well, Sir, I must trust to your conscience, if ever ye happened to hear of such a thing - I cannot help myself." Guy Mannering.
“Na, na, Sir,” answered the cautious jailor, “I'll no permit you to be saying that — I'm forcing naething upon ye; an ye dinna like the price, ye needna tak the article — I force no man; I was only explaining what civility was; but if ye like to take the common run of the house, it's a' ane to me I 'll be saved trouble that's a'."
“Nay, my friend, I have, as I suppose you may easily guess, no inclination to dispute your erms upon such a penalty,” answered Bertram. “Come, show me where I am to be, for I would sain be alone for a little while.”
“Ay, ay, come along then, Captain,” said the fellow, with a contortion of visage which he intended to be a smile; “and I'll tell you now to show you that I have a conscience, as ye ca't, d-n me if I charge ye abune sixpence a-day for the freedom o' the court, and ye may walk in 't very near three hours a-day, and play at pitch-and-toss, and hand-ba', and what not."
With this gracious promise, he ushered Bertram into the house, and showed him up a steep and narrow stone staircase, at the top of which was a strong door, clenched with iron and studded with nails. Beyond this door was a narrow passage or gallery, having three cells on each side, wretched vaults, with iron bed-frames and straw mattresses. But at the farther end was a small apartment, of rather a more decent appearance, that is, having less the air of a place of confinement, since, unless for the large lock and chain upon the door, and the crossed and ponderous stanchions upon the window, it rather resembled the “worst inn's worst room.” It was designed as a sort of infirmary for prisoners whose state of health required some indulgence; and, in fact, Donald Laider, Bertram's destined chum, had been just dragged out of one of the two beds which it contained, to try whether clean straw and whisky might not have a better chance to cure his intermitting fever. This process of ejection had been carried into force by Mrs. Mac-Guffog while her husband parleyed with Bertram in the court-yard, that good lady having a distinct presentiment of the manner in which the treaty must necessarily terminate. Apparently the expulsion had not taken place without some application of the strong hand, for one of the
bed-posts of a sort of tent-bed was broken down, so that the tester and curtains hung forward into the middle of the narrow chamber, like the banner of a chieftain, half-sinking amid the confusion of a combat.
“Never mind that being out o' sorts, Captain,” said Mrs. Mac-Guffog, who now followed them into the room; then, turning her back to the prisoner, with as much delicacy as the action admitted, she whipped from her knee her ferret garter, and applied it to splicing and fastening the broken bed-post - then used more pins than her apparel could well spare to fasten up the curtains in festoons -- then shook the bed-clothes into something like form — then flung over all a tattered patch-work quilt, and pronounced that things were now “something purpose-like.” “And there's your bed, Captain,” pointing to a massy fourposted hulk, which, owing to the inequality of the foor, that had sunk considerably, (the house, though new, having been built by contract,) stood on three legs, and held the fourth aloft as if pawing the air, and in the attitude of advancing like an elephant passant upon the panel of a coach “There's your bed and the blankets; but if ye want sheets, or bowster, or pillow, or ony sort o'nappery for the table, or for your hands, ye 'll hae to speak to me about it, for that 's out o' the gudeman's line, (Mac-Guffog had by this time left the room, to avoid, probably, any appeal which might be made to him upon this new exaction,) and he never engages for ony thing like that.”
“In God's name,” said Bertram, “let me have what is decent, and make any charge you please.”
“Aweel, aweel, that 's sune settled; we 'll no excise you neither, though we live sae near the Custom-house. And I maun see to get you some fire and some dinner too, I'se warrant; but your dinner will be but a puir ane the day, no expecting company that would be nice and fashious.” So saying, and in all haste, Mrs. Mac-Guffog fetched a scuttle of live coals, and having replenished “the rusty grate, unconscious of a fire" for months before, she proceeded with unwashed hands to arrange the stipulated bed-linen, (alas, how different from Ailie Dinmont's!) and, muttering to herself as she discharged her task, seemed, in
inveterate spleen of temper, to grudge even those accommodations for which she was to receive payment. At length, however, she departed, grumbling between her teeth, that “she wad rather lock up a haill ward than be fiking about thae niff-naffy gentles that gae sae muckle fash wi' their fancies.”
When she was gone, Bertram found himself reduced to the alternative of pacing his little apartment for exercise, or gazing out upon the sea in such proportions as could be seen from the narrow panes of his window, obscured by dirt and by close iron bars, or reading over the records of brutal wit and blackguardism which despair had scrawled upon the half-whitened walls. The sounds were as uncomfortable as the objects of sight; the sullen dash of the tide, which was now retreating, and the occasional opening and shutting of a door, with all its accompaniments of jarring bolts and creaking hinges, mingling occasionally with the dull monotony of the retiring ocean. Sometimes, too, he could hear the hoarse growl of the keeper, or the shriller strain of his helpmate, almost always in the tone of discontent, anger, or insolence. At other times the large iff, chained in the courtyard, answered with furious bark the insults of the idle loiterers who made a sport of incensing him.
At length the tædium of this weary space was broken by the entrance of a dirty-looking serving wench, who made some preparations for dinner by laying a half-dirty cloth upon a wholedirty deal table. A knife and fork, which had not been worn out by overcleaning, flapked a cracked delf plate; a nearly empty mustard-pot, placed on one side of the table, balanced a saltcellar, containing an article of a greyish, or rather a blackish mixture, upon the other, both of stone-ware, and bearing too obvious marks of recent service. Shortly after, the same Hebe brought up a plate of beef-collops, done in the frying-pan, with a huge allowance of grease floating in an ocean of lukewarm water; and having added a coarse loaf to these savoury viands, she requested to know what liquors the gentleman chose to order. The appearance of this fare was not very inviting; but Bertram endeavoured to mend his commons by ordering wine, which he found tolerably good, and, with the assistance of some indifferent
cheese, made his dinner chiefly off the brown loaf. When his meal was over, the girl presented her master's compliments, and, if agreeable to the gentleman, he would help him to spend the evening. Bertram desired to be excused, and begged, instead of this gracious society, that he might be furnished with paper, pen, ink, and candles. The light appeared in the shape of one long broken tallow-candle, inclining over a tin candlestick coated with grease; as for the writing materials, the prisoner was informed that he might have them the next day if he chose to send out to buy them. Bertram next desired the maid to procure him a book, and enforced his request with a shilling; in consequence of which, after long absence, she re-appeared with two odd volumes of the Newgate Calendar, which she had borrowed from Sam Silverquill, an idle apprentice, who was imprisoned under a charge of forgery. Having laid the books on the table she retired, and left Bertram to studies which were not ill adapted to his present melancholy situation.
To yonder ignominious tree,
To sbare the cruel lates' decree. SøENSTONE. PLUNGED in the gloomy reflections which were naturally excited by his dismal reading, and disconsolate situation, Bertram, for the first time in his life, felt himself affected with a disposition to low spirits. “I have been in worse situations than this too,” he said;
more dangerous, for here is no danger; more dismal in prospect, for my present confinement must necessarily be short; more intolerable for the time, for here, at least, I have fire, food, and shelter. Yet, with reading these bloody tales of crime and misery, in a place so corresponding to the ideas which they excite, and in listening to these sad sounds, I feel a stronger disposition to melancholy than in my life I ever experienced. But I will not give way to it Begone, thou record of guilt and infamy!” he said, flinging the book upon the spare bed; “a Scottish jail shall not break, on the very first day, the spirits