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ken not weel how it was, but all that I could do and say they keepit me off the roll, though my agent, that had a vote upon my estate, ranked as a good vote for auld Sir Thomas Kittlecourt. But, to return to what I was saying, Luckie Howatson is very expeditious, for this lass"
Here the desultory and long narrative of the Laird of Ellangowan was interrupto ed by the voice of some one ascending the stairs from the kitchen story, and singing at full pitch of voice. The high notes were too shrill for a man, the low seemed too deep for a woman. The words, as far as Mannering could distinguish them, seemed to run thus : in . .
sono · Canny moment, lucky fit;
Be it lad, or be it lass,
.:.“ It's Meg Merrilies, the gypsey, as sure as I am a sinner,” said Mr Bertram. The Dominie groaned deeply, uncrossed his legs, drew in the huge splay foot which his former posture had extended, placed it perpendicular, and stretched the other limb over it instead, puffing out between whiles huge volumes of tobacco smoke. * What needs ye groan, Dominie ? I am sure Meg's sangs do pae ill." in ..". Nor good neither,” answered Dominie Sampson, in a voice whose untuneable harshness corresponded with the awkwardness of his figure. They were the first words which Mannering had heard him speak; and as he had been watching, with some curiosity, when this cating, drinking, moving, and smoking automaton would perform the part of speaking, he was a good deal diverted with the harsh timber tones which issued from him. But at this moment the door opened, and Meg Merrilies entered.
Her appearance made Mannering start. She was full six feet high, wore a man's great coat over the rest of her dress, had
in her hand a goodly sloe-thorn cudgel, and in all points of equipment, except her petticoats, seemed rather masculine than feminine. Her dark elf-locks shot out like the spakęs of the gorgon, between an old-fashioned bonnet called a bongrace, heightening the singular effect of her strong and weather-beaten features, which they partly shadowed, while her eye had a wild roll that indicated something like real or affected insanity.
“ Aweel, Ellangowan," she said, " wad it no hae been a bonnie thing, an the led. dy had been brought-to-bed, and me at the fair o’Drumshourloch, no kenning nor dreaming a word about it: Wha was to hae keepit awa the worriecows, I trow? Aye, and the elves and gyre carlings frae the bonny bairn, grace be wi’it? Aye, or said Saint Colme's charm for its sake, the dear?” And without waiting an answer she began to sing
Trefoil, vervain, John's-wort, dill,
.: . Weel is them, that weel may
Saint Bride and her brat,
. intimida Saint Colme and her cat, · Saint Michael and his spear,"
Keep the house frae reif and wear. ....5
This charm she sung to a wild tune, in a high and shrill voice, and, cutting three capers with such strength and agility as almost to touch the roof of the room, concluded, “ And now, Laird, will ye no order me a tass o' brandy ?".
“That you shall have, Meg--Sit down yont there at the door, and tell us what news ye have heard at the fair o' Drumshourloch."
“ Troth, Laird, and there was muckle want o' you, and the like o'you; for there was a whin bonnie lassies there, forbye my. sell, and deil ane to gie them hansels.”
“ Weel, Meg, and how mony gypsies were sent to the tolbooth ?”
"Troth, but three, Laird, for there were nae mair in the fair, bye mysell as I said before, and I e'en gae thém leg bail, for there's nae ease in dealing wi' quarrelsome folk.-And there's Dunbog has warn. ed the Red Rotten and John Young aff his grounds-black be bis cast! he's nae gentleman, nor drap’s bluid o'gentleman, wad grudge twa gangrel puir bodies the shelter oʻa waste house, and the thristles by the road-side for a bit cuddy, and the bits o' rotten birk' to boil their drap parridge wi'. Weel, there's äne abune'a'but we'll see if the red cock craw not in his bonnie barn-yard ae morning before day dawing."