A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with
thine ears. See how yon justice rails upon yon simple thief.
Hark in thine ear: Change places; and, handy-dandy, which
is the justice, which is the thief?
Among those who took the most lively interest in endeavouring to
discover the person by whom young Charles Hazlewood had been
waylaid and wounded was Gilbert Glossin, Esquire, late writer in
----, now Laird of Ellangowan, and one of the worshipful commission
of justices of the peace for the county of----. His motives for
exertion on this occasion were manifold; but we presume that our
readers, from what they already know of this gentleman, will
acquit him of being actuated by any zealous or intemperate love of
The truth was, that this respectable personage felt himself less
at ease than he had expected, after his machinations put him in
possession of his benefactor's estate. His reflections within
doors, where so much occurred to remind him of former times, were
not always the self-congratulations of successful stratagem. And
when he looked abroad he could not but be sensible that he was
excluded from the society of the gentry of the county, to whose
rank he conceived he had raised himself. He was not admitted to
their clubs, and at meetings of a public nature, from which he
could not be altogether excluded, he found himself thwarted and
looked upon with coldness and contempt. Both principle and
prejudice cooperated in creating this dislike; for the gentlemen
of the county despised him for the lowness of his birth, while
they hated him for the means by which he had raised his fortune.
With the common people his reputation stood still worse. They
would neither yield him the territorial appellation of Ellangowan
nor the usual compliment of Mr. Glossin: with them he was bare
Glossin; and so incredibly was his vanity interested by this
trifling circumstance, that he was known to give half-a-crown to a
beggar because he had thrice called him Ellangowan in beseeching
him for a penny. He therefore felt acutely the general want of
respect, and particularly when he contrasted his own character and
reception in society with those of Mr. Mac-Morlan, who, in far
inferior worldly circumstances, was beloved and respected both by
rich and poor, and was slowly but securely laying the foundation
of a moderate fortune, with the general good-will and esteem of
all who knew him.
Glossin, while he repined internally at what he would fain have
called the prejudices and prepossessions of the country, was too
wise to make any open complaint. He was sensible his elevation was
too recent to be immediately forgotten, and the means by which he
had attained it too odious to be soon forgiven. But time, thought
he, diminishes wonder and palliates misconduct. With the
dexterity, therefore, of one who made his fortune by studying the
weak points of human nature, he determined to lie by for
opportunities to make himself useful even to those who most
disliked him; trusting that his own abilities, the disposition of
country gentlemen to get into quarrels, when a lawyer's advice
becomes precious, and a thousand other contingencies, of which,
with patience and address, he doubted not to be able to avail
himself, would soon place him in a more important and respectable
light to his neighbours, and perhaps raise him to the eminence
sometimes attained by a shrewd, worldly, bustling man of business,
when, settled among a generation of country gentlemen, he becomes,
in Burns's language,
The tongue of the trump to them a'.
The attack on Colonel Mannering's house, followed by the accident
of Hazlewood's wound, appeared to Glossin a proper opportunity to
impress upon the country at large the service which could be
rendered by an active magistrate (for he had been in the
commission for some time), well acquainted with the law, and no
less so with the haunts and habits of the illicit traders. He had
acquired the latter kind of experience by a former close alliance
with some of the most desperate smugglers, in consequence of which
he had occasionally acted, sometimes as a partner, sometimes as
legal adviser, with these persons, But the connexion had been
dropped many years; nor, considering how short the race of eminent
characters of this description, and the frequent circumstances
occur to make them retire from particular scenes of action, had he
the least reason to think that his present researches could
possibly compromise any old friend who might possess means of
retaliation. The having been concerned in these practices
abstractedly was a circumstance which, according to his opinion,
ought in no respect to interfere with his now using his experience
in behalf of the public, or rather to further his own private
views. To acquire the good opinion and countenance of Colonel
Mannering would be no small object to a gentleman who was much
disposed to escape from Coventry, and to gain the favour of old
Hazlewood, who was a leading man in the county, was of more
importance still. Lastly, if he should succeed in discovering,
apprehending, and convicting the culprits, he would have the
satisfaction of mortifying, and in some degree disparaging, Mac-
Morlan, to whom, as sheriff-substitute of the county, this sort of
investigation properly belonged, and who would certainly suffer in
public opinion should the voluntary exertions of Glossin be more
successful than his own.
Actuated by motives so stimulating, and well acquainted with the
lower retainers of the law, Glossin set every spring in motion to
detect and apprehend, if possible, some of the gang who had
attacked Woodbourne, and more particularly the individual who had
wounded Charles Hazlewood. He promised high rewards, he suggested
various schemes, and used his personal interest among his old
acquaintances who favoured the trade, urging that they had better
make sacrifice of an understrapper or two than incur the odium of
having favoured such atrocious proceedings. But for some time all
these exertions were in vain. The common people of the country
either favoured or feared the smugglers too much to afford any
evidence against them. At length this busy magistrate obtained
information that a man, having the dress and appearance of the
person who had wounded Hazlewood, had lodged on the evening before
the rencontre at the Gordon Arms in Kippletringan. Thither Mr.
Glossin immediately went, for the purpose of interrogating our old
acquaintance Mrs. Mac-Candlish.
The reader may remember that Mr. Glossin did not, according to
this good woman's phrase, stand high in her books. She therefore
attended his summons to the parlour slowly and reluctantly, and,
on entering the room, paid her respects in the coldest possible
manner. The dialogue then proceeded as follows:--
'A fine frosty morning, Mrs. Mac-Candlish.'
'Ay, sir; the morning's weel eneugh,' answered the landlady,
'Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I wish to know if the justices are to dine
here as usual after the business of the court on Tuesday?'
'I believe--I fancy sae, sir--as usual' (about to leave the room).
'Stay a moment, Mrs. Mac-Candlish; why, you are in a prodigious
hurry, my good friend! I have been thinking a club dining here
once a month would be a very pleasant thing.'
'Certainly, sir; a club of RESPECTABLE gentlemen.'
'True, true,' said Glossin, 'I mean landed proprietors and
gentlemen of weight in the county; and I should like to set such a
The short dry cough with which Mrs. Mac-Candlish received this
proposal by no means indicated any dislike to the overture
abstractedly considered, but inferred much doubt how far it would
succeed under the auspices of the gentleman by whom it was
proposed. It was not a cough negative, but a cough dubious, and as
such Glossin felt it; but it was not his cue to take offence.
'Have there been brisk doings on the road, Mrs. Mac-Candlish?
Plenty of company, I suppose?'
'Pretty weel, sir,--but I believe I am wanted at the bar.'
'No, no; stop one moment, cannot you, to oblige an old customer?
Pray, do you remember a remarkably tall young man who lodged one
night in your house last week?'
'Troth, sir, I canna weel say; I never take heed whether my
company be lang or short, if they make a lang bill.'
'And if they do not, you can do that for them, eh, Mrs. Mac-
Candlish? ha, ha, ha! But this young man that I inquire after was
upwards of six feet high, had a dark frock, with metal buttons,
light-brown hair unpowdered, blue eyes, and a straight nose,
travelled on foot, had no servant or baggage; you surely can
remember having seen such a traveller?'
'Indeed, sir,' answered Mrs. Mac-Candlish, bent on baffling his
inquiries, 'I canna charge my memory about the matter; there's
mair to do in a house like this, I trow, than to look after
passengers' hair, or their een, or noses either.'
'Then, Mrs. Mac-Candlish, I must tell you in plain terms that this
person is suspected of having been guilty of a crime; and it is in
consequence of these suspicions that I, as a magistrate, require
this information from you; and if you refuse to answer my
questions, I must put you upon your oath.'
'Troth, sir, I am no free to swear; [Footnote: Some of the strict
dissenters decline taking an oath before a civil magistrate.] we
ay gaed to the Antiburgher meeting. It's very true, in Bailie Mac-
Candlish's time (honest man) we keepit the kirk, whilk was most
seemly in his station, as having office; but after his being
called to a better place than Kippletringan I hae gaen back to
worthy Maister Mac-Grainer. And so ye see, sir, I am no clear to
swear without speaking to the minister, especially against ony
sackless puir young thing that's gaun through the country,
stranger and freendless like.'
'I shall relieve your scruples, perhaps, without troubling Mr.
Mac-Grainer, when I tell you that this fellow whom I inquire after
is the man who shot your young friend Charles Hazlewood.'
'Gudeness! wha could hae thought the like o' that o' him? Na, if
it had been for debt, or e'en for a bit tuilzie wi' the gauger,
the deil o' Nelly Mac-Candlish's tongue should ever hae wranged
him. But if he really shot young Hazlewood--but I canna think it,
Mr. Glossin; this will be some o' your skits now. I canna think it
o' sae douce a lad; na, na, this is just some o' your auld skits.
Ye'll be for having a horning or a caption after him.'
'I see you have no confidence in me, Mrs. Mac-Candlish; but look
at these declarations, signed by the persons who saw the crime
committed, and judge yourself if the description of the ruffian be
not that of your guest.'
He put the papers into her hand, which she perused very carefully,
often taking off her spectacles to cast her eyes up to heaven, or
perhaps to wipe a tear from them, for young Hazlewood was an
especial favourite with the good dame. 'Aweel, aweel,' she said,
when she had concluded her examination, 'since it's e'en sae, I
gie him up, the villain. But O, we are erring mortals! I never saw
a face I liked better, or a lad that was mair douce and canny: I
thought he had been some gentleman under trouble. But I gie him
up, the villain! To shoot Charles Hazlewood, and before the young
ladies, poor innocent things! I gie him up.'
'So you admit, then, that such a person lodged here the night
before this vile business?'
'Troth did he, sir, and a' the house were taen wi' him, he was sic
a frank, pleasant young man. It wasna for his spending, I'm sure,
for he just had a mutton-chop and a mug of ale, and maybe a glass
or twa o' wine; and I asked him to drink tea wi' mysell, and didna
put that into the bill; and he took nae supper, for he said he was
defeat wi' travel a' the night afore. I daresay now it had been on
some hellicat errand or other.'
'Did you by any chance learn his name?'
'I wot weel did I,' said the landlady, now as eager to communicate
her evidence as formerly desirous to suppress it. 'He tell'd me
his name was Brown, and he said it was likely that an auld woman
like a gipsy wife might be asking for him. Ay, ay! tell me your
company, and I'll tell you wha ye are! O the villain! Aweel, sir,
when he gaed away in the morning he paid his bill very honestly,
and gae something to the chambermaid nae doubt; for Grizzy has
naething frae me, by twa pair o' new shoo ilka year, and maybe a
bit compliment at Hansel Monanday--' Here Glossin found it
necessary to interfere and bring the good woman back to the point.
'Ou then, he just said, "If there comes such a person to inquire
after Mr. Brown, you will say I am gone to look at the skaters on
Loch Creeran, as you call it, and I will be back here to dinner."
But he never came back, though I expected him sae faithfully that
I gae a look to making the friar's chicken mysell, and to the
crappitheads too, and that's what I dinna do for ordinary, Mr.
Glossin. But little did I think what skating wark he was gaun
about--to shoot Mr. Charles, the innocent lamb!'
Mr. Glossin having, like a prudent examinator, suffered his
witness to give vent to all her surprise and indignation, now
began to inquire whether the suspected person had left any
property or papers about the inn.
'Troth, he put a parcel--a sma' parcel--under my charge, and he
gave me some siller, and desired me to get him half-a-dozen
ruffled sarks, and Peg Pasley's in hands wi' them e'en now; they
may serve him to gang up the Lawnmarket [Footnote: The procession
of the criminals to the gallows of old took that direction,
moving, as the school-boy rhyme had it, Up the Lawnmarket, Down
the West Bow, Up the lang ladder, And down the little tow.] in,
the scoundrel!' Mr. Glossin then demanded to see the packet, but
here mine hostess demurred.
'She didna ken--she wad not say but justice should take its
course--but when a thing was trusted to ane in her way, doubtless
they were responsible; but she suld cry in Deacon Bearcliff, and
if Mr. Glossin liked to tak an inventar o' the property, and gie
her a receipt before the Deacon--or, what she wad like muckle
better, an it could be sealed up and left in Deacon Bearcliff's
hands--it wad mak her mind easy. She was for naething but justice
on a' sides.'
Mrs. Mac-Candlish's natural sagacity and acquired suspicion being
inflexible, Glossin sent for Deacon Bearcliff, to speak 'anent the
villain that had shot Mr. Charles Hazlewood.' The Deacon
accordingly made his appearance with his wig awry, owing to the
hurry with which, at this summons of the Justice, he had exchanged
it for the Kilmarnock cap in which he usually attended his
customers. Mrs. Mac-Candlish then produced the parcel deposited
with her by Brown, in which was found the gipsy's purse. On
perceiving the value of the miscellaneous contents, Mrs. Mac-
Candlish internally congratulated herself upon the precautions she
had taken before delivering them up to Glossin, while he, with an
appearance of disinterested candour, was the first to propose they
should be properly inventoried, and deposited with Deacon
Bearcliff, until they should be sent to the Crown-office. 'He did
not,' he observed, 'like to be personally responsible for articles
which seemed of considerable value, and had doubtless been
acquired by the most nefarious practices.'
He then examined the paper in which the purse had been wrapt up.
It was the back of a letter addressed to V. Brown, Esquire, but
the rest of the address was torn away. The landlady, now as eager
to throw light upon the criminal's escape as she had formerly been
desirous of withholding it, for the miscellaneous contents of the
purse argued strongly to her mind that all was not right,--Mrs.
Mac-Candlish, I say, now gave Glossin to understand that her
position and hostler had both seen the stranger upon the ice that
day when young Hazlewood was wounded.
Our readers' old acquaintance Jock Jabos was first summoned, and
admitted frankly that he had seen and conversed upon the ice that
morning with a stranger, who, he understood, had lodged at the
Gordon Arms the night before.
'What turn did your conversation take?' said Glossin.
'Turn? ou, we turned nae gate at a', but just keep it straight
forward upon the ice like.'
'Well, but what did ye speak about?'
'Ou, he just asked questions like ony ither stranger,' answered
the postilion, possessed, as it seemed, with the refractory and
uncommunicative spirit which had left his mistress.
'But about what?' said Glossin.
'Ou, just about the folk that was playing at the curling, and
about auld Jock Stevenson that was at the cock, and about the
leddies, and sic like.'
'What ladies? and what did he ask about them, Jock?' said the
'What leddies? Ou, it was Miss Jowlia Mannering and Miss Lucy
Bertram, that ye ken fu' weel yoursell, Mr. Glossin; they were
walking wi' the young Laird of Hazlewood upon the ice.'
'And what did you tell him about them?' demanded Glossin.
'Tut, we just said that was Miss Lucy Bertram of Ellangowan, that
should ance have had a great estate in the country; and that was
Miss Jowlia Mannering, that was to be married to young Hazlewood,
see as she was hinging on his arm. We just spoke about our country
clashes like; he was a very frank man.'
'Well, and what did he say in answer?'
'Ou, he just stared at the young leddies very keen-like, and asked
if it was for certain that the marriage was to be between Miss
Mannering and young Hazlewood; and I answered him that it was for
positive and absolute certain, as I had an undoubted right to say
sae; for my third cousin Jean Clavers (she's a relation o' your
ain, Mr. Glossin, ye wad ken Jean lang syne?), she's sib to the
houskeeper at Woodbourne, and she's tell'd me mair than ance that
there was naething could be mair likely.'
'And what did the stranger say when you told him all this?' said
'Say?' echoed the postilion, 'he said naething at a'; he just
stared at them as they walked round the loch upon the ice, as if
he could have eaten them, and he never took his ee aff them, or
said another word, or gave another glance at the bonspiel, though
there was the finest fun amang the curlers ever was seen; and he
turned round and gaed aff the loch by the kirkstile through
Woodbourne fir-plantings, and we saw nae mair o' him.'
'Only think,' said Mrs. Mac-Candlish, 'what a hard heart he maun
hae had, to think o' hurting the poor young gentleman in the very
presence of the leddy he was to be married to!'
'O, Mrs. Mac-Candlish,' said Glossin, 'there's been many cases
such as that on the record; doubtless he was seeking revenge where
it would be deepest and sweetest.'
'God pity us!' said Deacon Bearcliff, 'we're puir frail creatures
when left to oursells! Ay, he forgot wha said, "Vengeance is mine,
and I will repay it."'
'Weel, aweel, sirs,' said Jabos, whose hard-headed and
uncultivated shrewdness seemed sometimes to start the game when
others beat the bush--'weel, weel, ye may be a' mista'en yet; I'll
never believe that a man would lay a plan to shoot another wi' his
ain gun. Lord help ye, I was the keeper's assistant down at the
Isle mysell, and I'll uphaud it the biggest man in Scotland
shouldna take a gun frae me or I had weized the slugs through him,
though I'm but sic a little feckless body, fit for naething but
the outside o' a saddle and the fore-end o' a poschay; na, na, nae
living man wad venture on that. I'll wad my best buckskins, and
they were new coft at Kirkcudbright Fair, it's been a chance job
after a'. But if ye hae naething mair to say to me, I am thinking
I maun gang and see my beasts fed'; and he departed accordingly.
The hostler, who had accompanied him, gave evidence to the same
purpose. He and Mrs. Mac-Candlish were then reinterrogated whether
Brown had no arms with him on that unhappy morning. 'None,' they
said, 'but an ordinary bit cutlass or hanger by his side.'
'Now,' said the Deacon, taking Glossin by the button (for, in
considering this intricate subject, he had forgot Glossin's new
accession of rank),'this is but doubtfu' after a', Maister
Gilbert; for it was not sae dooms likely that he would go down
into battle wi' sic sma' means.'
Glossin extricated himself from the Deacon's grasp and from the
discussion, though not with rudeness; for it was his present
interest to buy golden opinions from all sorts of people. He
inquired the price of tea and sugar, and spoke of providing
himself for the year; he gave Mrs. Mac-Candlish directions to have
a handsome entertainment in readiness for a party of five friends
whom he intended to invite to dine with him at the Gordon Arms
next Saturday week; and, lastly, he gave a half-crown to Jock
Jabos, whom the hostler had deputed to hold his steed.
'Weel,' said the Deacon to Mrs. Mac-Candlish, as he accepted her
offer of a glass of bitters at the bar, 'the deil's no sae ill as
he's ca'd. It's pleasant to see a gentleman pay the regard to the
business o' the county that Mr. Glossin does.'
'Ay, 'deed is't, Deacon,' answered the landlady; 'and yet I wonder
our gentry leave their ain wark to the like o' him. But as lang as
siller's current, Deacon, folk maunna look ower nicely at what
king's head's on't.'
'I doubt Glossin will prove but shand after a', mistress,' said
Jabos, as he passed through the little lobby beside the bar; 'but
this is a gude half-crown ony way.'