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his shoon o'swiftness. Ony way she's a kind o' queen amang the gipsies; she is mair than a hundred year auld, folk say, and minds the coming in o' the moss-troopers in the troublesome times when the Stewarts were put awa. Sae, if she canna hide hersell, she kens them that can hide her weel eneugh, ye needna doubt that. Odd, an I had kenn'd it had been Meg Merrilies yon night at Tibb Mumps's, I wad taen care how I crossed her.”
Bertram listened with great attention to this account, which tallied so well in many points with what he had himself seen of this gipsy sibyl. After a moment's consideration, he concluded it would be no breach of faith to mention what he had seen at Derncleugh to a person who held Meg in such reverence as Dinmont obviously did. He told his story accordingly, often interrupted by ejaculations, such as, “Weel, the like o' that now!” or, “Na, deil an that's no something now!”
When our Liddesdale friend had heard the whole to an end, he shook his great black head - “Weel, I 'll uphaud there 's baith gude and ill amang the gipsies, and if they deal wi' the Enemy, it's a' their ain business and no ours. I ken what the streeking the corpse wad be, weel eneugh. Thae smuggler deevils, when ony o' them 's killed in a fray, they 'll send for a wife like Meg far eneugh to dress the corpse; odd, it 's a' the burial they ever think o’! and then to be put into the ground without ony decency, just like dogs. But they stick to it, that they 'll be streekit, and hae an auld wife when they're dying to rhyme ower prayers, and ballants, and charms, as they ca’ them, rather than they 'll hae a minister to come and pray wi' them that 's an auld threep o' theirs; and I am thinking the man that died will hae been ane o' the folk that was shot when they burnt Woodbourne.”
“But, my good friend, Woodbourne is not burnt,” said Bertram.
“Weel, the better for them that hides in 't," answered the store-farmer. “Odd, we had it up the water wi' us, that there wasna a stane on the tap o’anither. But there was fighting, ony way; I daur to say it would be fine fun! And, as I said, ye may take it on trust, that that's been ane o'the men killed there, and
that it's been the gipsies that took your pockmanky when they fand the chaise stickin' in the snaw they wadna pass the like o' that it wad just come to their hand like the bowl o'a pint stoup."
“But if this woman is a sovereign among them, why was she not able to afford me open protection, and to get me back my property?"
“Ou, wha kens? she has muckle to say wi' them, but whiles they 'll tak their ain way for a' that, when they're under temptation. And then there's the smugglers that they're aye leagued wi', she maybe couldna manage them sae weel they ’re aye banded thegither - I've heard, that the gipsies ken when the smugglers will come aff, and where they're to land, better than the very merchants that deal wi' them. And then, to the boot o' that, she's whiles crack-brained, and has a bee in her head; they say that whether her spaeings and fortune-tellings be true or no, for certain she believes in them a' hersell, and is aye guiding hersell by some queer prophecy or anither. So she disna aye gang the straight road to the well. But deil o'sic a story as yours, wi' glamour, and dead folk, and losing ane's gate, I ever heard out o' the tale-books! But whisht, I hear the keeper coming."
Mac-Guffog accordingly interrupted their discourse by the harsh harmony of the bolts and bars, and showed his bloated visage at the opening door. “Come, Mr. Dinmont, we have put off locking up for an hour to oblige ye; ye must go to your quarters.”
“Quarters, man? I intend to sleep here the night. There's a spare bed in the Captain's room."
“It's impossible!” answered the keeper.
“But I say it is possible, and that I winna stir - there's a dram t' ye.”
Mac-Guffog drank off the spirits, and resumed his objection. “But it's against rule, Sir; ye have committed nae malefaction.”
“I'll break your head," said the sturdy Liddesdale man," if
* The handle of a stoup of liquor; than which, our proverb seems to infer, there is nothing comes more readily to the grasp.
ye say ony mair about it, and that will be malefaction eneugh to entitle me to ae night's lodging wi' you, ony way.”
“But I tell ye, Mr. Dinmont," reiterated the keeper, “it's against rule, and I behoved to lose my post.”
“Weel, Mac-Guffog,” said Dandie, “I hae just twa things to say. Ye ken wha I am weel eneugh, and that I wadna loose a prisoner."
“ And how do I ken that?" answered the jailor.
“Weel, if ye dinna ken that,” said the resolute farmer, “ye ken this: - ye ken ye're whiles obliged to be up our water in the way o' your business; now, if ye let me stay quietly here the night wi' the Captain, I 'se pay ye double fees for the room; and if ye say no, ye shall hae the best sark-fu’o'sair banes that ever ye had in your life, the first time ye set a foot by Liddelmoat!"
“Aweel, aweel, gudeman,” said Mac-Guffog, “ a wilfu' man maun hae his way; but if I am challenged for it by the justices, I ken wha sall bear the wyte;”. - and having sealed this observation with a deep oath or two, he retired to bed, after carefully securing all the doors of the Bridewell. The bell from the town steeple tolled nine just as the ceremony was concluded.
“Although it 's but early hours," said the farmer, who had observed that his friend looked somewhat pale and fatigued, “I think we had better lie down, Captain, if ye 're no agreeable to another cheerer. But troth, ye’re nae glass-breaker; and neither am I, unless it be a screed wi' the neighbours, or when I'm on a ramble.”
Bertram readily assented to the motion of his faithful friend, but, on looking at the bed, felt repugnance to trust himself undressed to Mrs. Mac-Gussog's clean sheets.
“I'm muckle o' your opinion, Captain,” said Dandie. “Odd, this bed looks as if a'the colliers in Sanquhar had been in't thegither. But it 'll no win through my muckle coat.” So saying, he flung himself upon the frail bed with a force that made all its timbers crack, and in a few moments gave audible signal that he was fast asleep. Bertram slipped off his coat and boots, and occupied the other dormitory. The strangeness of his destiny,
and the mysteries which appeared to thicken around him, while he seemed alike to be persecuted and protected by secret enemies and friends, arising out of a class of people with whom he had no previous connection, for some time occupied his thoughts. Fatigue, however, gradually composed his mind, and in a short time he was as fast asleep as his companion. And in this comfortable state of oblivion we must leave them, until we acquaint the reader with some other circumstances which occurred about the same period.
Say from whence
Macbeth. Upon the evening of the day when Bertram's examination had taken place, Colonel Mannering arrived at Woodbourne from Edinburgh. He found his family in their usual state, which probably, so far as Julia was concerned, would not have been the case had she learned the news of Bertram's arrest. But as, during the Colonel's absence, the two young ladies lived much retired, this circumstance fortunately had not reached Woodbourne. A letter had already made Miss Bertram acquainted with the downfall of the expectations which had been formed upon the bequest of her kinswoman. Whatever hopes that news might have dispelled, the disappointment did not prevent her from joining her friend in affording a cheerful reception to the Colonel, to whom she thus endeavoured to express the deep sense she entertained of his paternal kindness. She touched on her regret, that at such a season of the year he should have made, upon her account, a journey so fruitless.
“That it was fruitless to you, my dear,” said the Colonel, “I do most deeply lament; but for my own share, I have made some valuable acquaintances, and have spent the time I have been absent in Edinburgh with peculiar satisfaction; so that on that score there is nothing to be regretted. Even our friend the Dominie is returned thrice the man he was, from having sharp
ened his wits in controversy with the geniuses of the northern metropolis.”
“Of a surety," said the Dominie, with great complacency, “I did wrestle, and was not overcome, though my adversary was cunning in his art."
“I (presume,” said Miss Mannering, “the contest was somewhat fatiguing, Mr. Sampson?"
“Very much, young lady howbeit I girded up my loins and strove against him."
“I can bear witness," said the Colonel; “I never saw an affair better contested. The enemy was like the Mahratta cavalry; he assailed on all sides, and presented no fair mark for artillery; but Mr. Sampson stood to his guns, notwithstanding, and fired away, now upon the enemy, and now upon the dust which he had raised. But we must not fight our battles over again to-night
to-morrow we shall have the whole at breakfast.”
The next morning at breakfast, however, the Dominie did not make his appearance. He had walked out, a servant said, early in the morning. It was so common for him to forget his meals, that his absence never deranged the family. The housekeeper, a decent old-fashioned Presbyterian matron, having, as such, the highest respect for Sampson's theological acquisitions, had it in charge on these occasions to take care that he was no sufferer by his absence of mind, and therefore usually way-laid him on his return, to remind him of his sublunary wants, and to minister to their relief. It seldom, however, happened that he was absent from two meals together, as was the case in the present instance. We must explain the cause of this unusual occurrence.
The conversation which Mr. Pleydell had held with Mr. Mannering on the subject of the loss of Harry Bertram, had awakened all the painful sensations which that event had inflicted upon Sampson. The affectionate heart of the poor Dominie had always reproached him, that his negligence in leaving the child in the care of Frank Kennedy had been the proximate cause of the murder of the one, the loss of the other, the death of Mrs. Bertram, and the ruin of the family of his patron. It was a subject