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tringan was actually retreating before him in proportion to his advance.
It was now very cloudy, although the stars, from time to time, shed a twinkling and uncertain light. Hitherto nothing had broken the silence around him, but the deep cry of the bog-blitter, or bull-of-thebog, a large species of bittern; and the sighs of the wind as it passed along the dreary morass. To these was now joined the distant roar of the ocean, towards which the traveller seemed to be fast
approaching. This was no circumstance to make his mind easy. Many of the roads in that country lay along the sea-beach, and were liable to be flooded by the tides, which rise with great height, and advance with extreme rapidity. Others were intersected with creeks and small inlets, which it was only safe to pass at particu. lar times of the tide. Neither circumstance would have suited a dark night, a fatigued horse, and a traveller ignorant of his road. Mannering resolved, therefore, definitive
ly to halt for the night at the first inhabited place, however poor, he might chance to reach, unless he could procure a guide to this unlucky village of Kippletringan.
A miserable hut gave him an opportunity to execute his purpose.
He found out the door with no small difficulty, and for some time knocked without producing any
other answer than a duett between a female and a cur-dog, the latter yelping as if he would have barked his heart out, the other screaming in chorus. By degrees the human tones predominated; but the angry bark of the cur being at the instant changed into a howl, it is probable something more than fair strength of lungs had contributed to the ascendancy.
“ Sorrow be in your thrapple than !" these were the first articulate words, “will ye no let me hear what the man wants, wi' your yaffing?"
“ Am I far from Kippletringan, good dame ?”
“ Frae Kippletringan!!!” in an exalted tone of wonder, which we can but faintly express by three points of admiration, “Ow, man ! ye should hae hadden easel to Kippletringan-ye maun gae back as far as the Whaap, and haud the Whaap till come to Ballenloan, and then".
“This will never do, good dame! my horse is almost quite set up-can you not give me a night's lodgings?"
“ Troth can I no-I am a lone woman, for James he's awa to Drumshourloch fair with the year-aulds, and I darna for my life open the door to ony o' your gangthere-out sort o' bodies."
“ But what must I do then, good dame? for I can't sleep here upon the road all night?"
“ Troth, I ken na, unless ye like to gae down and speer for quarters at the Place. I'se warrant they'll take ye in, whether ye be gentle or semple."
Simple enough, to be wandering here at such a time of night,” thought Manner
ing, who was ignorant of the meaning of the phrase ; " but how shall I get to the place, as you call it ?”
“ Ye maun haud wessel by the end o' the loan, and take tent o' the jaw-hole.”
“O, if you get to easel and wessel again, I am undone !- Is there nobody that could guide me to this place? I will pay him handsomely."
The word pay operated like magic. “Jock, ye villain,” exclaimed the voice from the interior, “are ye lying routing there, and a young gentleman seeking the way to the Place ? Get up, ye fause loon, and shew him the way down the muckle loaning.--He'll shew you the way, sir, and I'se warrant ye'll be weel put up; for they never turn awa' naebody frae the door ; and ye'll be come in the canny moment I'm thinking, for the laird's servantthat's no to say his body-servant, but the helper like-rade express by this e'en to fetch the houdie, and he just staid the drinking o'twa pints o'tippenny, to tell us how my leddy was ta’en wi' her pains."
"Perhaps," said Mannering, “at such a time a stranger's arrival might be inconvenient?"
“ Hout, na, ye needna be blate about that; their house is muckle eneugh, and clecking time's aye canty time."
By this time Jock had found his way into all the intricacies of a tattered doublet, and more tattered pair of breeches, and sallied forth a great white-headed, bare-legged, lubberly boy of twelve years old, so exhibited by the glimpse of a rush* light, which his half-paked mother held in such a manner as to get a peep at the stranger, without greatly exposing herself to view in return. Jock moved on westward, by the end of the house, leading Mannering's horse by the bridle, and piloting, with some dexterity, along the little path which bordered the formidable jaw-hole, whose vicinity the stranger was made sensible of by means of more organs than one. His guide then dragged the weary hack along a broken and stony cart-track, next