You have fed upon my seignories,
Dispark'd my parks, and fell'd my forest woods,
From mine own windows torn my household coat,
Razed out my impress, leaving me no sign,
Save men's opinions and my living blood,
To show the world I am a gentleman.
When the boat which carried the worthy captain on board his vessel
had accomplished that task, the sails began to ascend, and the
ship was got under way. She fired three guns as a salute to the
house of Ellangowan, and then shot away rapidly before the wind,
which blew off shore, under all the sail she could crowd.
'Ay, ay,' said the Laird, who had sought Mannering for some time,
and now joined him, 'there they go--there go the free-traders--
there go Captain Dirk Hatteraick and the Yungfrauw Hagenslaapen,
half Manks, half Dutchman, half devil! run out the boltsprit, up
mainsail, top and top-gallant sails, royals, and skyscrapers, and
away--follow who can! That fellow, Mr. Mannering, is the terror of
all the excise and custom-house cruisers; they can make nothing of
him; he drubs them, or he distances them;--and, speaking of
excise, I come to bring you to breakfast; and you shall have some
Mannering by this time was aware that one thought linked strangely
on to another in the concatenation of worthy Mr. Bertram's ideas,
Like orient pearls at random strung;
and therefore, before the current of his associations had drifted
farther from the point he had left, he brought him back by some
inquiry about Dirk Hatteraick.
'O he's a--a--gude sort of blackguard fellow eneugh; naebody cares
to trouble him--smuggler, when his guns are in ballast--privateer,
or pirate, faith, when he gets them mounted. He has done more
mischief to the revenue folk than ony rogue that ever came out of
'But, my good sir, such being his character, I wonder he has any
protection and encouragement on this coast.'
'Why, Mr. Mannering, people must have brandy and tea, and there's
none in the country but what comes this way; and then there's
short accounts, and maybe a keg or two, or a dozen pounds, left at
your stable-door, instead of a d--d lang account at Christmas from
Duncan Robb, the grocer at Kippletringan, who has aye a sum to
make up, and either wants ready money or a short-dated bill. Now,
Hatteraick will take wood, or he'll take bark, or he'll take
barley, or he'll take just what's convenient at the time. I'll
tell you a gude story about that. There was ance a laird--that's
Macfie of Gudgeonford,--he had a great number of kain hens--
that's hens that the tenant pays to the landlord, like a sort of
rent in kind. They aye feed mine very ill; Luckie Finniston sent
up three that were a shame to be seen only last week, and yet she
has twelve bows sowing of victual; indeed her goodman, Duncan
Finniston--that's him that's gone--(we must all die, Mr.
Mannering, that's ower true)--and, speaking of that, let us live
in the meanwhile, for here's breakfast on the table, and the
Dominie ready to say the grace.'
The Dominie did accordingly pronounce a benediction, that exceeded
in length any speech which Mannering had yet heard him utter. The
tea, which of course belonged to the noble Captain Hatteraick's
trade, was pronounced excellent. Still Mannering hinted, though
with due delicacy, at the risk of encouraging such desperate
characters. 'Were it but in justice to the revenue, I should have
'Ah, the revenue lads'--for Mr. Bertram never embraced a general
or abstract idea, and his notion of the revenue was personified in
the commissioners, surveyors, comptrollers, and riding officers
whom he happened to know--'the revenue lads can look sharp eneugh
out for themselves, no ane needs to help them; and they have a'
the soldiers to assist them besides; and as to justice--you 'll be
surprised to hear it, Mr. Mannering, but I am not a justice of
Mannering assumed the expected look of surprise, but thought
within himself that the worshipful bench suffered no great
deprivation from wanting the assistance of his good-humoured
landlord. Mr. Bertram had now hit upon one of the few subjects on
which he felt sore, and went on with some energy.
'No, sir, the name of Godfrey Bertram of Ellangowan is not in the
last commission, though there's scarce a carle in the country that
has a plough-gate of land, but what he must ride to quarter-
sessions and write J.P. after his name. I ken fu' weel whom I am
obliged to--Sir Thomas Kittlecourt as good as tell'd me he would
sit in my skirts if he had not my interest at the last election;
and because I chose to go with my own blood and third cousin, the
Laird of Balruddery, they keepit me off the roll of freeholders;
and now there comes a new nomination of justices, and I am left
out! And whereas they pretend it was because I let David Mac-
Guffog, the constable, draw the warrants, and manage the business
his ain gate, as if I had been a nose o' wax, it's a main untruth;
for I granted but seven warrants in my life, and the Dominie wrote
every one of them--and if it had not been that unlucky business of
Sandy Mac-Gruthar's, that the constables should have keepit twa or
three days up yonder at the auld castle, just till they could get
conveniency to send him to the county jail--and that cost me
eneugh o' siller. But I ken what Sir Thomas wants very weel--it
was just sic and siclike about the seat in the kirk o'
Kilmagirdle--was I not entitled to have the front gallery facing
the minister, rather than Mac-Crosskie of Creochstone, the son of
Deacon Mac-Crosskie, the Dumfries weaver?'
Mannering expressed his acquiescence in the justice of these
'And then, Mr. Mannering, there was the story about the road and
the fauld-dike. I ken Sir Thomas was behind there, and I said
plainly to the clerk to the trustees that I saw the cloven foot,
let them take that as they like. Would any gentleman, or set of
gentlemen, go and drive a road right through the corner of a
fauld-dike and take away, as my agent observed to them, like twa
roods of gude moorland pasture? And there was the story about
choosing the collector of the cess--'
'Certainly, sir, it is hard you should meet with any neglect in a
country where, to judge from the extent of their residence, your
ancestors must have made a very important figure.'
'Very true, Mr. Mannering; I am a plain man and do not dwell on
these things, and I must needs say I have little memory for them;
but I wish ye could have heard my father's stories about the auld
fights of the Mac-Dingawaies--that's the Bertrams that now is--wi'
the Irish and wi' the Highlanders that came here in their berlings
from Ilay and Cantire; and how they went to the Holy Land--that
is, to Jerusalem and Jericho, wi' a' their clan at their heels--
they had better have gaen to Jamaica, like Sir Thomas
Kittlecourt's uncle--and how they brought hame relics like those
that Catholics have, and a flag that's up yonder in the garret. If
they had been casks of muscavado and puncheons of rum it would
have been better for the estate at this day; but there's little
comparison between the auld keep at Kittlecourt and the castle o'
Ellangowan; I doubt if the keep's forty feet of front. But ye make
no breakfast, Mr. Mannering; ye're no eating your meat; allow me
to recommend some of the kipper. It was John Hay that catcht it,
Saturday was three weeks, down at the stream below Hempseed ford,'
etc. etc. etc.
The Laird, whose indignation had for some time kept him pretty
steady to one topic, now launched forth into his usual roving
style of conversation, which gave Mannering ample time to reflect
upon the disadvantages attending the situation which an hour
before he had thought worthy of so much envy. Here was a country
gentleman, whose most estimable quality seemed his perfect good-
nature, secretly fretting himself and murmuring against others for
causes which, compared with any real evil in life, must weigh like
dust in the balance. But such is the equal distribution of
Providence. To those who lie out of the road of great afflictions
are assigned petty vexations which answer all the purpose of
disturbing their serenity; and every reader must have observed
that neither natural apathy nor acquired philosophy can render
country gentlemen insensible to the grievances which occur at
elections, quarter-sessions, and meetings of trustees.
Curious to investigate the manners of the country, Mannering took
the advantage of a pause in good Mr. Bertram's string of stories
to inquire what Captain Hatteraick so earnestly wanted with the
'O, to bless his ship, I suppose. You must know, Mr. Mannering,
that these free-traders, whom the law calls smugglers, having no
religion, make it all up in superstition; and they have as many
spells and charms and nonsense--'
' Vanity and waur!' said the Dominie;' it is a trafficking with
the Evil One. Spells, periapts, and charms are of his device--
choice arrows out of Apollyon's quiver.'
'Hold your peace, Dominie; ye're speaking for ever'--by the way,
they were the first words the poor man had uttered that morning,
excepting that he said grace and returned thanks--'Mr. Mannering
cannot get in a word for ye! And so, Mr. Mannering, talking of
astronomy and spells and these matters, have ye been so kind as to
consider what we were speaking about last night?'
'I begin to think, Mr. Bertram, with your worthy friend here, that
I have been rather jesting with edge-tools; and although neither
you nor I, nor any sensible man, can put faith in the predictions
of astrology, yet, as it has sometimes happened that inquiries
into futurity, undertaken in jest, have in their results produced
serious and unpleasant effects both upon actions and characters, I
really wish you would dispense with my replying to your question.'
It was easy to see that this evasive answer only rendered the
Laird's curiosity more uncontrollable. Mannering, however, was
determined in his own mind not to expose the infant to the
inconveniences which might have arisen from his being supposed the
object of evil prediction. He therefore delivered the paper into
Mr. Bertram's hand, and requested him to keep it for five years
with the seal unbroken, until the month of November was expired.
After that date had intervened he left him at liberty to examine
the writing, trusting that, the first fatal period being then
safely overpassed, no credit would be paid to its farther
contents. This Mr. Bertram was content to promise, and Mannering,
to ensure his fidelity, hinted at misfortunes which would
certainly take place if his injunctions were neglected. The rest
of the day, which Mannering, by Mr. Bertram's invitation, spent at
Ellangowan, passed over without anything remarkable; and on the
morning of that which followed the traveller mounted his palfrey,
bade a courteous adieu to his hospitable landlord and to his
clerical attendant, repeated his good wishes for the prosperity of
the family, and then, turning his horse's head towards England,
disappeared from the sight of the inmates of Ellangowan. He must
also disappear from that of our readers, for it is to another and
later period of his life that the present narrative relates.