Glen Discovery in GlenLyon
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Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott Volume ii, Chapters seventh and eighth

Project Gutenberg's Rob Roy, Complete, by Sir Walter Scott
  “Will it please your worship to accept of my poor service? I beseech
that I may feed upon your bread, though it be the brownest, and
drink of your drink, though it be of the smallest; for I will do
your Worship as much service for forty shillings as another man
shall for three pounds.”
Greene's _Tu Quoque._


I remembered the honest Bailie's parting charge, but did not conceive there was any incivility in adding a kiss to the half-crown with which I remunerated Mattie's attendance;--nor did her “Fie for shame, sir!” express any very deadly resentment of the affront. Repeated knocking at Mrs. Flyter's gate awakened in due order, first, one or two stray dogs, who began to bark with all their might; next two or three night-capped heads, which were thrust out of the neighbouring windows to reprehend me for disturbing the solemnity of the Sunday night by that untimely noise. While I trembled lest the thunders of their wrath might dissolve in showers like that of Xantippe, Mrs. Flyter herself awoke, and began, in a tone of objurgation not unbecoming the philosophical spouse of Socrates, to scold one or two loiterers in her kitchen, for not hastening to the door to prevent a repetition of my noisy summons.

These worthies were, indeed, nearly concerned in the fracas which their laziness occasioned, being no other than the faithful Mr. Fairservice, with his friend Mr. Hammorgaw, and another person, whom I afterwards found to be the town-crier, who were sitting over a cog of ale, as they called it (at my expense, as my bill afterwards informed me), in order to devise the terms and style of a proclamation to be made through the streets the next day, in order that “the unfortunate young gentleman,” as they had the impudence to qualify me, might be restored to his friends without farther delay. It may be supposed that I did not suppress my displeasure at this impertinent interference with my affairs; but Andrew set up such ejaculations of transport at my arrival, as fairly drowned my expressions of resentment. His raptures, perchance, were partly political; and the tears of joy which he shed had certainly their source in that noble fountain of emotion, the tankard. However, the tumultuous glee which he felt, or pretended to feel, at my return, saved Andrew the broken head which I had twice destined him;--first, on account of the colloquy he had held with the precentor on my affairs; and secondly, for the impertinent history he had thought proper to give of me to Mr. Jarvie. I however contented myself with slapping the door of my bedroom in his face as he followed me, praising Heaven for my safe return, and mixing his joy with admonitions to me to take care how I walked my own ways in future. I then went to bed, resolving my first business in the morning should be to discharge this troublesome, pedantic, self-conceited coxcomb, who seemed so much disposed to constitute himself rather a preceptor than a domestic.

Accordingly in the morning I resumed my purpose, and calling Andrew into my apartment, requested to know his charge for guiding and attending me as far as Glasgow. Mr. Fairservice looked very blank at this demand, justly considering it as a presage to approaching dismission.

“Your honour,” he said, after some hesitation, “wunna think--wunna think”--

“Speak out, you rascal, or I'll break your head,” said I, as Andrew, between the double risk of losing all by asking too much, or a part, by stating his demand lower than what I might be willing to pay, stood gasping in the agony of doubt and calculation.

Out it came with a bolt, however, at my threat; as the kind violence of a blow on the back sometimes delivers the windpipe from an intrusive morsel.--“Aughteen pennies sterling per diem--that is, by the day--your honour wadna think unconscionable.”

“It is double what is usual, and treble what you merit, Andrew; but there's a guinea for you, and get about your business.”

“The Lord forgi'e us! Is your honour mad?” exclaimed Andrew.

“No; but I think you mean to make me so--I give you a third above your demand, and you stand staring and expostulating there as if I were cheating you. Take your money, and go about your business.”

“Gude safe us!” continued Andrew, “in what can I hae offended your honour? Certainly a' flesh is but as the flowers of the field; but if a bed of camomile hath value in medicine, of a surety the use of Andrew Fairservice to your honour is nothing less evident--it's as muckle as your life's worth to part wi' me.”

“Upon my honour,” replied I, “it is difficult to say whether you are more knave or fool. So you intend then to remain with me whether I like it or no?”

“Troth, I was e'en thinking sae,” replied Andrew, dogmatically; “for if your honour disna ken when ye hae a gude servant, I ken when I hae a gude master, and the deil be in my feet gin I leave ye--and there's the brief and the lang o't besides I hae received nae regular warning to quit my place.”

“Your place, sir!” said I;--“why, you are no hired servant of mine,--you are merely a guide, whose knowledge of the country I availed myself of on my road.”

“I am no just a common servant, I admit, sir,” remonstrated Mr. Fairservice; “but your honour kens I quitted a gude place at an hour's notice, to comply wi' your honour's solicitations. A man might make honestly, and wi' a clear conscience, twenty sterling pounds per annum, weel counted siller, o' the garden at Osbaldistone Hall, and I wasna likely to gi'e up a' that for a guinea, I trow--I reckoned on staying wi' your honour to the term's end at the least o't; and I account my wage, board-wage, fee and bountith,--ay, to that length o't at the least.”

“Come, come, sir,” replied I, “these impudent pretensions won't serve your turn; and if I hear any more of them, I shall convince you that Squire Thorncliff is not the only one of my name that can use his fingers.”

While I spoke thus, the whole matter struck me as so ridiculous, that, though really angry, I had some difficulty to forbear laughing at the gravity with which Andrew supported a plea so utterly extravagant. The rascal, aware of the impression he had made on my muscles, was encouraged to perseverance. He judged it safer, however, to take his pretensions a peg lower, in case of overstraining at the same time both his plea and my patience.

“Admitting that my honour could part with a faithful servant, that had served me and mine by day and night for twenty years, in a strange place, and at a moment's warning, he was weel assured,” he said, “it wasna in my heart, nor in no true gentleman's, to pit a puir lad like himself, that had come forty or fifty, or say a hundred miles out o' his road purely to bear my honour company, and that had nae handing but his penny-fee, to sic a hardship as this comes to.”

I think it was you, Will, who once told me, that, to be an obstinate man, I am in certain things the most gullable and malleable of mortals. The fact is, that it is only contradiction which makes me peremptory, and when I do not feel myself called on to give battle to any proposition, I am always willing to grant it, rather than give myself much trouble. I knew this fellow to be a greedy, tiresome, meddling coxcomb; still, however, I must have some one about me in the quality of guide and domestic, and I was so much used to Andrew's humour, that on some occasions it was rather amusing. In the state of indecision to which these reflections led me, I asked Fairservice if he knew the roads, towns, etc., in the north of Scotland, to which my father's concerns with the proprietors of Highland forests were likely to lead me. I believe if I had asked him the road to the terrestrial paradise, he would have at that moment undertaken to guide me to it; so that I had reason afterwards to think myself fortunate in finding that his actual knowledge did not fall very much short of that which he asserted himself to possess. I fixed the amount of his wages, and reserved to myself the privilege of dismissing him when I chose, on paying him a week in advance. I gave him finally a severe lecture on his conduct of the preceding day, and then dismissed him rejoicing at heart, though somewhat crestfallen in countenance, to rehearse to his friend the precentor, who was taking his morning draught in the kitchen, the mode in which he had “cuitled up the daft young English squire.”

Agreeable to appointment, I went next to Bailie Nicol Jarvie's, where a comfortable morning's repast was arranged in the parlour, which served as an apartment of all hours, and almost all work, to that honest gentleman. The bustling and benevolent magistrate had been as good as his word. I found my friend Owen at liberty, and, conscious of the refreshments and purification of brush and basin, was of course a very different person from Owen a prisoner, squalid, heart-broken, and hopeless. Yet the sense of pecuniary difficulties arising behind, before, and around him, had depressed his spirit, and the almost paternal embrace which the good man gave me, was embittered by a sigh of the deepest anxiety. And when he sate down, the heaviness in his eye and manner, so different from the quiet composed satisfaction which they usually exhibited, indicated that he was employing his arithmetic in mentally numbering up the days, the hours, the minutes, which yet remained as an interval between the dishonour of bills and the downfall of the great commercial establishment of Osbaldistone and Tresham. It was left to me, therefore, to do honour to our landlord's hospitable cheer--to his tea, right from China, which he got in a present from some eminent ship's-husband at Wapping--to his coffee, from a snug plantation of his own, as he informed us with a wink, called Saltmarket Grove, in the island of Jamaica--to his English toast and ale, his Scotch dried salmon, his Lochfine herrings, and even to the double-damask table-cloth, “wrought by no hand, as you may guess,” save that of his deceased father the worthy Deacon Jarvie.

Having conciliated our good-humoured host by those little attentions which are great to most men, I endeavoured in my turn to gain from him some information which might be useful for my guidance, as well as for the satisfaction of my curiosity. We had not hitherto made the least allusion to the transactions of the preceding night, a circumstance which made my question sound somewhat abrupt, when, without any previous introduction of the subject, I took advantage of a pause when the history of the table-cloth ended, and that of the napkins was about to commence, to inquire, “Pray, by the by, Mr. Jarvie, who may this Mr. Robert Campbell be, whom we met with last night?”

The interrogatory seemed to strike the honest magistrate, to use the vulgar phrase, “all of a heap,” and instead of answering, he returned the question--“Whae's Mr. Robert Campbell?--ahem! ahay! Whae's Mr. Robert Campbell, quo' he?”

“Yes,” said I, “I mean who and what is he?”

“Why, he's--ahay!--he's--ahem!--Where did ye meet with Mr. Robert Campbell, as ye ca' him?”

“I met him by chance,” I replied, “some months ago in the north of England.”

“Ou then, Mr. Osbaldistone,” said the Bailie, doggedly, “ye'll ken as muckle about him as I do.”

“I should suppose not, Mr. Jarvie,” I replied;--“you are his relation, it seems, and his friend.”

“There is some cousin-red between us, doubtless,” said the Bailie reluctantly; “but we hae seen little o' ilk other since Rob gae tip the cattle-line o' dealing, poor fallow! he was hardly guided by them might hae used him better--and they haena made their plack a bawbee o't neither. There's mony ane this day wad rather they had never chased puir Robin frae the Cross o' Glasgow--there's mony ane wad rather see him again at the tale o' three hundred kyloes, than at the head o' thirty waur cattle.”

“All this explains nothing to me, Mr. Jarvie, of Mr. Campbell's rank, habits of life, and means of subsistence,” I replied.

“Rank?” said Mr. Jarvie; “he's a Hieland gentleman, nae doubt--better rank need nane to be;--and for habit, I judge he wears the Hieland habit amang the hills, though he has breeks on when he comes to Glasgow;--and as for his subsistence, what needs we care about his subsistence, sae lang as he asks naething frae us, ye ken? But I hae nae time for clavering about him e'en now, because we maun look into your father's concerns wi' all speed.”

So saying, he put on his spectacles, and sate down to examine Mr. Owen's states, which the other thought it most prudent to communicate to him without reserve. I knew enough of business to be aware that nothing could be more acute and sagacious than the views which Mr. Jarvie entertained of the matters submitted to his examination; and, to do him justice, it was marked by much fairness, and even liberality. He scratched his ear indeed repeatedly on observing the balance which stood at the debit of Osbaldistone and Tresham in account with himself personally.

“It may be a dead loss,” he observed; “and, conscience! whate'er ane o' your Lombard Street goldsmiths may say to it, it's a snell ane in the Saut-Market* o' Glasgow. It will be a heavy deficit--a staff out o' my bicker, I trow.

* [The Saltmarket. This ancient street, situate in the heart of Glasgow, has of late been almost entirely renovated.]

But what then?--I trust the house wunna coup the crane for a' that's come and gane yet; and if it does, I'll never bear sae base a mind as thae corbies in the Gallowgate--an I am to lose by ye, I'se ne'er deny I hae won by ye mony a fair pund sterling--Sae, an it come to the warst, I'se een lay the head o' the sow to the tail o' the grice.” *

* _Anglice,_ the head of the sow to the tail of the pig.

I did not altogether understand the proverbial arrangement with which Mr. Jarvie consoled himself, but I could easily see that he took a kind and friendly interest in the arrangement of my father's affairs, suggested several expedients, approved several plans proposed by Owen, and by his countenance and counsel greatly abated the gloom upon the brow of that afflicted delegate of my father's establishment.

As I was an idle spectator on this occasion, and, perhaps, as I showed some inclination more than once to return to the prohibited, and apparently the puzzling subject of Mr. Campbell, Mr. Jarvie dismissed me with little formality, with an advice to “gang up the gate to the college, where I wad find some chields could speak Greek and Latin weel--at least they got plenty o' siller for doing deil haet else, if they didna do that; and where I might read a spell o' the worthy Mr. Zachary Boyd's translation o' the Scriptures--better poetry need nane to be, as he had been tell'd by them that ken'd or suld hae ken'd about sic things.” But he seasoned this dismission with a kind and hospitable invitation “to come back and take part o' his family-chack at ane preceesely--there wad be a leg o' mutton, and, it might be, a tup's head, for they were in season;” but above all, I was to return at “ane o'clock preceesely--it was the hour he and the deacon his father aye dined at--they pat it off for naething nor for naebody.”


  So stands the Thracian herdsman with his spear
Full in the gap, and hopes the hunted bear;
And hears him in the rustling wood, and sees
His course at distance by the bending trees,
And thinks--Here comes my mortal enemy,
And either he must fall in fight, or I.
Palamon and Arcite.

I took the route towards the college, as recommended by Mr. Jarvie, less with the intention of seeking for any object of interest or amusement, than to arrange my own ideas, and meditate on my future conduct. I wandered from one quadrangle of old-fashioned buildings to another, and from thence to the College-yards, or walking ground, where, pleased with the solitude of the place, most of the students being engaged in their classes, I took several turns, pondering on the waywardness of my own destiny.

I could not doubt, from the circumstances attending my first meeting with this person Campbell, that he was engaged in some strangely desperate courses; and the reluctance with which Mr. Jarvie alluded to his person or pursuits, as well as all the scene of the preceding night, tended to confirm these suspicions. Yet to this man Diana Vernon had not, it would seem, hesitated to address herself in my behalf; and the conduct of the magistrate himself towards him showed an odd mixture of kindness, and even respect, with pity and censure. Something there must be uncommon in Campbell's situation and character; and what was still more extraordinary, it seemed that his fate was doomed to have influence over, and connection with, my own. I resolved to bring Mr. Jarvie to close quarters on the first proper opportunity, and learn as much as was possible on the subject of this mysterious person, in order that I might judge whether it was possible for me, without prejudice to my reputation, to hold that degree of farther correspondence with him to which he seemed to invite.

While I was musing on these subjects, my attention was attracted by three persons who appeared at the upper end of the walk through which I was sauntering, seemingly engaged in very earnest conversation. That intuitive impression which announces to us the approach of whomsoever we love or hate with intense vehemence, long before a more indifferent eye can recognise their persons, flashed upon my mind the sure conviction that the midmost of these three men was Rashleigh Osbaldistone. To address him was my first impulse;--my second was, to watch him until he was alone, or at least to reconnoitre his companions before confronting him. The party was still at such distance, and engaged in such deep discourse, that I had time to step unobserved to the other side of a small hedge, which imperfectly screened the alley in which I was walking. It was at this period the fashion of the young and gay to wear, in their morning walks, a scarlet cloak, often laced and embroidered, above their other dress, and it was the trick of the time for gallants occasionally to dispose it so as to muffle a part of the face. The imitating this fashion, with the degree of shelter which I received from the hedge, enabled me to meet my cousin, unobserved by him or the others, except perhaps as a passing stranger. I was not a little startled at recognising in his companions that very Morris on whose account I had been summoned before Justice Inglewood, and Mr. MacVittie the merchant, from whose starched and severe aspect I had recoiled on the preceding day.

A more ominous conjunction to my own affairs, and those of my father, could scarce have been formed. I remembered Morris's false accusation against me, which he might be as easily induced to renew as he had been intimidated to withdraw; I recollected the inauspicious influence of MacVittie over my father's affairs, testified by the imprisonment of Owen;--and I now saw both these men combined with one, whose talent for mischief I deemed little inferior to those of the great author of all ill, and my abhorrence of whom almost amounted to dread.

When they had passed me for some paces, I turned and followed them unobserved. At the end of the walk they separated, Morris and MacVittie leaving the gardens, and Rashleigh returning alone through the walks. I was now determined to confront him, and demand reparation for the injuries he had done my father, though in what form redress was likely to be rendered remained to be known. This, however, I trusted to chance; and flinging back the cloak in which I was muffled, I passed through a gap of the low hedge, and presented myself before Rashleigh, as, in a deep reverie, he paced down the avenue.

Rashleigh was no man to be surprised or thrown off his guard by sudden occurrences. Yet he did not find me thus close to him, wearing undoubtedly in my face the marks of that indignation which was glowing in my bosom, without visibly starting at an apparition so sudden and menacing.

“You are well met, sir,” was my commencement; “I was about to take a long and doubtful journey in quest of you.”

“You know little of him you sought then,” replied Rashleigh, with his usual undaunted composure. “I am easily found by my friends--still more easily by my foes;--your manner compels me to ask in which class I must rank Mr. Francis Osbaldistone?”

“In that of your foes, sir,” I answered--“in that of your mortal foes, unless you instantly do justice to your benefactor, my father, by accounting for his property.”

“And to whom, Mr. Osbaldistone,” answered Rashleigh, “am I, a member of your father's commercial establishment, to be compelled to give any account of my proceedings in those concerns, which are in every respect identified with my own?--Surely not to a young gentleman whose exquisite taste for literature would render such discussions disgusting and unintelligible.”

“Your sneer, sir, is no answer; I will not part with you until I have full satisfaction concerning the fraud you meditate--you shall go with me before a magistrate.”

“Be it so,” said Rashleigh, and made a step or two as if to accompany me; then pausing, proceeded--“Were I inclined to do so as you would have me, you should soon feel which of us had most reason to dread the presence of a magistrate. But I have no wish to accelerate your fate. Go, young man! amuse yourself in your world of poetical imaginations, and leave the business of life to those who understand and can conduct it.”

His intention, I believe, was to provoke me, and he succeeded. “Mr. Osbaldistone,” I said, “this tone of calm insolence shall not avail you. You ought to be aware that the name we both bear never submitted to insult, and shall not in my person be exposed to it.”

“You remind me,” said Rashleigh, with one of his blackest looks, “that it was dishonoured in my person!--and you remind me also by whom! Do you think I have forgotten the evening at Osbaldistone Hall when you cheaply and with impunity played the bully at my expense? For that insult--never to be washed out but by blood!--for the various times you have crossed my path, and always to my prejudice--for the persevering folly with which you seek to traverse schemes, the importance of which you neither know nor are capable of estimating,--for all these, sir, you owe me a long account, for which there shall come an early day of reckoning.”

“Let it come when it will,” I replied, “I shall be willing and ready to meet it. Yet you seem to have forgotten the heaviest article--that I had the pleasure to aid Miss Vernon's good sense and virtuous feeling in extricating her from your infamous toils.”

I think his dark eyes flashed actual fire at this home-taunt, and yet his voice retained the same calm expressive tone with which he had hitherto conducted the conversation.

“I had other views with respect to you, young man,” was his answer: “less hazardous for you, and more suitable to my present character and former education. But I see you will draw on yourself the personal chastisement your boyish insolence so well merits. Follow me to a more remote spot, where we are less likely to be interrupted.”

I followed him accordingly, keeping a strict eye on his motions, for I believed him capable of the very worst actions. We reached an open spot in a sort of wilderness, laid out in the Dutch taste, with clipped hedges, and one or two statues. I was on my guard, and it was well with me that I was so; for Rashleigh's sword was out and at my breast ere I could throw down my cloak, or get my weapon unsheathed, so that I only saved my life by springing a pace or two backwards. He had some advantage in the difference of our weapons; for his sword, as I recollect, was longer than mine, and had one of those bayonet or three-cornered blades which are now generally worn; whereas mine was what we then called a Saxon blade--narrow, flat, and two-edged, and scarcely so manageable as that of my enemy. In other respects we were pretty equally matched: for what advantage I might possess in superior address and agility, was fully counterbalanced by Rashleigh's great strength and coolness. He fought, indeed, more like a fiend than a man--with concentrated spite and desire of blood, only allayed by that cool consideration which made his worst actions appear yet worse from the air of deliberate premeditation which seemed to accompany them. His obvious malignity of purpose never for a moment threw him off his guard, and he exhausted every feint and stratagem proper to the science of defence; while, at the same time, he meditated the most desperate catastrophe to our rencounter.

On my part, the combat was at first sustained with more moderation. My passions, though hasty, were not malevolent; and the walk of two or three minutes' space gave me time to reflect that Rashleigh was my father's nephew, the son of an uncle, who after his fashion had been kind to me, and that his falling by my hand could not but occasion much family distress. My first resolution, therefore, was to attempt to disarm my antagonist--a manoeuvre in which, confiding in my superiority of skill and practice, I anticipated little difficulty. I found, however, I had met my match; and one or two foils which I received, and from the consequences of which I narrowly escaped, obliged me to observe more caution in my mode of fighting. By degrees I became exasperated at the rancour with which Rashleigh sought my life, and returned his passes with an inveteracy resembling in some degree his own; so that the combat had all the appearance of being destined to have a tragic issue. That issue had nearly taken place at my expense. My foot slipped in a full lounge which I made at my adversary, and I could not so far recover myself as completely to parry the thrust with which my pass was repaid. Yet it took but partial effect, running through my waistcoat, grazing my ribs, and passing through my coat behind. The hilt of Rashleigh's sword, so great was the vigour of his thrust, struck against my breast with such force as to give me great pain, and confirm me in the momentary belief that I was mortally wounded. Eager for revenge, I grappled with my enemy, seizing with my left hand the hilt of his sword, and shortening my own with the purpose of running him through the body. Our death-grapple was interrupted by a man who forcibly threw himself between us, and pushing us separate from each other, exclaimed, in a loud and commanding voice, “What! the sons of those fathers who sucked the same breast shedding each others bluid as it were strangers'!--By the hand of my father, I will cleave to the brisket the first man that mints another stroke!”

I looked up in astonishment. The speaker was no other than Campbell. He had a basket-hilted broadsword drawn in his hand, which he made to whistle around his head as he spoke, as if for the purpose of enforcing his mediation. Rashleigh and I stared in silence at this unexpected intruder, who proceeded to exhort us alternately:--“Do you, Maister Francis, opine that ye will re-establish your father's credit by cutting your kinsman's thrapple, or getting your ain sneckit instead thereof in the College-yards of Glasgow?--Or do you, Mr Rashleigh, think men will trust their lives and fortunes wi' ane, that, when in point of trust and in point of confidence wi' a great political interest, gangs about brawling like a drunken gillie?--Nay, never look gash or grim at me, man--if ye're angry, ye ken how to turn the buckle o' your belt behind you.”

“You presume on my present situation,” replied Rashleigh, “or you would have hardly dared to interfere where my honour is concerned.”

“Hout! tout! tout!--Presume? And what for should it be presuming?--Ye may be the richer man, Mr. Osbaldistone, as is maist likely; and ye may be the mair learned man, whilk I dispute not: but I reckon ye are neither a prettier man nor a better gentleman than mysell--and it will be news to me when I hear ye are as gude. And _dare_ too? Muckle daring there's about it--I trow, here I stand, that hae slashed as het a haggis as ony o' the twa o' ye, and thought nae muckle o' my morning's wark when it was dune. If my foot were on the heather as it's on the causeway, or this pickle gravel, that's little better, I hae been waur mistrysted than if I were set to gie ye baith your ser'ing o't.”

Rashleigh had by this time recovered his temper completely. “My kinsman,” he said, “will acknowledge he forced this quarrel on me. It was none of my seeking. I am glad we are interrupted before I chastised his forwardness more severely.”

“Are ye hurt, lad?” inquired Campbell of me, with some appearance of interest.

“A very slight scratch,” I answered, “which my kind cousin would not long have boasted of had not you come between us.”

“In troth, and that's true, Maister Rashleigh,” said Campbell; “for the cauld iron and your best bluid were like to hae become acquaint when I mastered Mr. Frank's right hand. But never look like a sow playing upon a trump for the luve of that, man--come and walk wi' me. I hae news to tell ye, and ye'll cool and come to yourself, like MacGibbon's crowdy, when he set it out at the window-bole.”

“Pardon me, sir,” said I. “Your intentions have seemed friendly to me on more occasions than one; but I must not, and will not, quit sight of this person until he yields up to me those means of doing justice to my father's engagements, of which he has treacherously possessed himself.”

“Ye're daft, man,” replied Campbell; “it will serve ye naething to follow us e'enow; ye hae just enow o' ae man--wad ye bring twa on your head, and might bide quiet?”

“Twenty,” I replied, “if it be necessary.”

I laid my hand on Rashleigh's collar, who made no resistance, but said, with a sort of scornful smile, “You hear him, MacGregor! he rushes on his fate--will it be my fault if he falls into it?--The warrants are by this time ready, and all is prepared.”

The Scotchman was obviously embarrassed. He looked around, and before, and behind him, and then said--“The ne'er a bit will I yield my consent to his being ill-guided for standing up for the father that got him--and I gie God's malison and mine to a' sort o' magistrates, justices, bailies., sheriffs, sheriff-officers, constables, and sic-like black cattle, that hae been the plagues o' puir auld Scotland this hunder year.--it was a merry warld when every man held his ain gear wi' his ain grip, and when the country side wasna fashed wi' warrants and poindings and apprizings, and a' that cheatry craft. And ance mair I say it, my conscience winna see this puir thoughtless lad ill-guided, and especially wi' that sort o' trade. I wad rather ye fell till't again, and fought it out like douce honest men.”

“Your conscience, MacGregor!” said Rashleigh; “you forget how long you and I have known each other.”

“Yes, my conscience,” reiterated Campbell, or MacGregor, or whatever was his name; “I hae such a thing about me, Maister Osbaldistone; and therein it may weel chance that I hae the better o' you. As to our knowledge of each other,--if ye ken what I am, ye ken what usage it was made me what I am; and, whatever you may think, I would not change states with the proudest of the oppressors that hae driven me to tak the heather-bush for a beild. What _you_ are, Maister Rashleigh, and what excuse ye hae for being _what_ you are, is between your ain heart and the lang day.--And now, Maister Francis, let go his collar; for he says truly, that ye are in mair danger from a magistrate than he is, and were your cause as straight as an arrow, he wad find a way to put you wrang--So let go his craig, as I was saying.”

He seconded his words with an effort so sudden and unexpected, that he freed Rashleigh from my hold, and securing me, notwithstanding my struggles, in his own Herculean gripe, he called out--“Take the bent, Mr. Rashleigh--Make ae pair o' legs worth twa pair o' hands; ye hae dune that before now.”

“You may thank this gentleman, kinsman,” said Rashleigh, “if I leave any part of my debt to you unpaid; and if I quit you now, it is only in the hope we shall soon meet again without the possibility of interruption.”

He took up his sword, wiped it, sheathed it, and was lost among the bushes.

The Scotchman, partly by force, partly by remonstrance, prevented my following him; indeed I began to be of opinion my doing so would be to little purpose.

“As I live by bread,” said Campbell, when, after one or two struggles in which he used much forbearance towards me, he perceived me inclined to stand quiet, “I never saw sae daft a callant! I wad hae gien the best man in the country the breadth o' his back gin he had gien me sic a kemping as ye hae dune. What wad ye do?--Wad ye follow the wolf to his den? I tell ye, man, he has the auld trap set for ye--He has got the collector-creature Morris to bring up a' the auld story again, and ye maun look for nae help frae me here, as ye got at Justice Inglewood's;--it isna good for my health to come in the gate o' the whigamore bailie bodies. Now gang your ways hame, like a gude bairn--jouk and let the jaw gae by--Keep out o' sight o' Rashleigh, and Morris, and that MacVittie animal--Mind the Clachan of Aberfoil, as I said before, and by the word of a gentleman, I wunna see ye wranged. But keep a calm sough till we meet again--I maun gae and get Rashleigh out o' the town afore waur comes o't, for the neb o' him's never out o' mischief--Mind the Clachan of Aberfoil.”

He turned upon his heel, and left me to meditate on the singular events which had befallen me. My first care was to adjust my dress and reassume my cloak, disposing it so as to conceal the blood which flowed down my right side. I had scarcely accomplished this, when, the classes of the college being dismissed, the gardens began to be filled with parties of the students. I therefore left them as soon as possible; and in my way towards Mr. Jarvie's, whose dinner hour was now approaching, I stopped at a small unpretending shop, the sign of which intimated the indweller to be Christopher Neilson, surgeon and apothecary. I requested of a little boy who was pounding some stuff in a mortar, that he would procure me an audience of this learned pharmacopolist. He opened the door of the back shop, where I found a lively elderly man, who shook his head incredulously at some idle account I gave him of having been wounded accidentally by the button breaking off my antagonist's foil while I was engaged in a fencing match. When he had applied some lint and somewhat else he thought proper to the trifling wound I had received, he observed--“There never was button on the foil that made this hurt. Ah! young blood! young blood!--But we surgeons are a secret generation--If it werena for hot blood and ill blood, what wad become of the twa learned faculties?”

With which moral reflection he dismissed me; and I experienced very little pain or inconvenience afterwards from the scratch I had received.

Go to volii chapters 9 & 10