Page images
PDF
EPUB

said, “ to substitute the interest of money, instead of the ill-paid and precarious rents of an unimproved estate; but chiefly, it was supposed, to suit the wishes and views of a certain intended purchaser, who had become a principal creditor, and forced himself into the management of the affairs by means best known to himself, and who, it was thought, would find it very convenient to purchase the estate without paying down the price.”

Mannering consulted with Mr. Mac-Morlan upon the steps for thwarting this unprincipled attempt. They then conversed long upon the singular disappear, ance of Harry Bertram upon his fifth birth-day, verifying thus the random prediction of Mannering, of which, however, it will readily be supposed he made no boast. Mr Mac-Morlan was not himself in office when that incident took place; but he was well acquainted with all the circumstances, and promised that our hero should have them detailed by the sheriff

depute himself, if, as he proposed, he should become a settler in that part of Scotland. With this assurance, they parted well satisfied with each other, and with the evening's conference.

On the Sunday following, Colonel Man. nering attended the parish church with great decorum. None of the Ellangowan family were present; and it was understood that the old Laird was rather worse than better. Jock Jabos, once more dis. patched for him, returned once more without his errand. Next day Miss Bertram hoped he might be removed.

CHAPTER XIII.

They told me, by the sentence of the law,
They had commission to seize all thy fortune.
Here stood a ruffian with a horrid face,
Lording it o'er a pile of massy plate,
Tumbled into a heap for public sale ;
There was another, making villainous jests
At thy undoing; he had ta'en possession
Of all thy ancient most domestic ornaments.

OTWAY.

Early next morning, Mannering mounted his horse, and, accompanied by his servant, took the road to Ellangowan. He had no need to enquire the way. A sale in the country is a place of public resort and amusement, and people of various descriptions streamed to it from all quar. ters.

After a pleasant ride of about an hour, the old towers of the ruin presented them

selves in the landscape. The thoughts with what different feelings he had lost sight of them so many years before, thronged upon the mind of the traveller. The landscape was the same; but how changed the feelings, hopes, and views, of the spectator! Then, life and love were new, and all the prospect was gilded by their rays. And now, disappointed in affection, sated with fame, and what the world calls.success, his mind goaded by bitter and repentant recollection, his best hope was to find a retirement in which he might nurse the melancholy that was to accompany him to his grave. “ Yet why should an individual mourn over the in. stability of his hopes, and the vanity of his prospects? The ancient chiefs, who erected these enormous and massive tow. ers to be the fortress of their race and the seat of their power, could they have dreamed the day was to come, when the last of their descendants should be expel-, led, a ruined wanderer, from his posses

[ocr errors]

sions ! But Nature's bounties are unalter, ed. The sun will shine as fair on these ruins, whether the property of a stranger, or of a sordid and obscure trickster of the abused law, as when the banners of the founder first wayed upon their battle: ments."

These reflections brought Mannering ta the door of the house, which was that day open to all. He entered among others, who traversed the apartments, some to se. lect articles for purchase, others to gratify their curiosity. There is something melancholy in such a scene; even under the most favourable circumstances. The confused state of the furniture, displaced for the convenience of being easily viewed and carried off by the purchasers, is disagreea. ble to the eye. Those articles which, properly and decently arranged, look creditable and handsome, have then a paltry and wretched appearance; and the apartments, stripped of all that render them commodious and comfortable, have an as

« PreviousContinue »