You are one of those that will not serve God if the devil
bids you. Because we come to do you service, you think we are
When Glossin returned home he found, among other letters and
papers sent to him, one of considerable importance. It was signed
by Mr. Protocol, an attorney in Edinburgh, and, addressing him as
the agent for Godfrey Bertram, Esq., late of Ellangowan, and his
representatives, acquainted him with the sudden death of Mrs.
Margaret Bertram of Singleside, requesting him to inform his
clients thereof, in case they should judge it proper to have any
person present for their interest at opening the repositories of
the deceased. Mr. Glossin perceived at once that the letter-writer
was unacquainted with the breach which had taken place between him
and his late patron. The estate of the deceased lady should by
rights, as he well knew, descend to Lucy Bertram; but it was a
thousand to one that the caprice of the old lady might have
altered its destination. After running over contingencies and
probabilities in his fertile mind, to ascertain what sort of
personal advantage might accrue to him from this incident, he
could not perceive any mode of availing himself of it, except in
so far as it might go to assist his plan of recovering, or rather
creating, a character, the want of which he had already
experienced, and was likely to feel yet more deeply. 'I must place
myself,' he thought, 'on strong ground, that, if anything goes
wrong with Dirk Hatteraick's project, I may have prepossessions in
my favour at least.' Besides, to do Glossin justice, bad as he
was, he might feel some desire to compensate to Miss Bertram in a
small degree, and in a case in which his own interest did not
interfere with hers, the infinite mischief which he had occasioned
to her family. He therefore resolved early the next morning to
ride over to Woodbourne.
It was not without hesitation that he took this step, having the
natural reluctance to face Colonel Mannering which fraud and
villainy have to encounter honour and probity. But he had great
confidence in his own savoir faire. His talents were naturally
acute, and by no means confined to the line of his profession. He
had at different times resided a good deal in England, and his
address was free both from country rusticity and professional
pedantry; so that he had considerable powers both of address and
persuasion, joined to an unshaken effrontery, which he affected to
disguise under plainness of manner. Confident, therefore, in
himself, he appeared at Woodbourne about ten in the morning, and
was admitted as a gentleman come to wait upon Miss Bertram.
He did not announce himself until he was at the door of the
breakfast-parlour, when the servant, by his desire, said aloud--
'Mr. Glossin, to wait upon Miss Bertram.' Lucy, remembering the
last scene of her father's existence, turned as pale as death, and
had well-nigh fallen from her chair. Julia Mannering flew to her
assistance, and they left the room together. There remained
Colonel Mannering, Charles Hazlewood, with his arm in a sling, and
the Dominie, whose gaunt visage and wall-eyes assumed a most
hostile aspect on recognising Glossin.
That honest gentleman, though somewhat abashed by the effect of
his first introduction, advanced with confidence, and hoped he did
not intrude upon the ladies. Colonel Mannering, in a very upright
and stately manner, observed, that he did not know to what he was
to impute the honour of a visit from Mr. Glossin.
'Hem! hem! I took the liberty to wait upon Miss Bertram, Colonel
Mannering, on account of a matter of business.'
'If it can be communicated to Mr. Mac-Morlan, her agent, sir, I
believe it will be more agreeable to Miss Bertram.'
'I beg pardon, Colonel Mannering,' said Glossin, making a wretched
attempt at an easy demeanour; 'you are a man of the world; there
are some cases in which it is most prudent for all parties to
treat with principals.'
'Then,' replied Mannering, with a repulsive air, 'if Mr. Glossin
will take the trouble to state his object in a letter, I will
answer that Miss Bertram pays proper attention to it.'
'Certainly,' stammered Glossin; 'but there are cases in which a
viva voce conference--Hem! I perceive--I know--Colonel Mannering
has adopted some prejudices which may make my visit appear
intrusive; but I submit to his good sense, whether he ought to
exclude me from a hearing without knowing the purpose of my visit,
or of how much consequence it may be to the young lady whom he
honours with his protection.'
'Certainly, sir, I have not the least intention to do so,' replied
the Colonel. 'I will learn Miss Bertram's pleasure on the subject,
and acquaint Mr. Glossin, if he can spare time to wait for her
answer.' So saying, he left the room.
Glossin had still remained standing in the midst of the apartment.
Colonel Mannering had made not the slightest motion to invite him
to sit, and indeed had remained standing himself during their
short interview. When he left the room, however, Glossin seized
upon a chair, and threw himself into it with an air between
embarrassment and effrontery. He felt the silence of his
companions disconcerting and oppressive, and resolved to interrupt
'A fine day, Mr. Sampson.'
The Dominie answered with something between an acquiescent grunt
and an indignant groan.
'You never come down to see your old acquaintance on the
Ellangowan property, Mr. Sampson. You would find most of the old
stagers still stationary there. I have too much respect for the
late family to disturb old residenters, even under pretence of
improvement. Besides, it's not my way, I don't like it; I believe,
Mr. Sampson, Scripture particularly condemns those who oppress the
poor, and remove landmarks.'
'Or who devour the substance of orphans,' subjoined the Dominie.
'Anathema, Maranatha!' So saying, he rose, shouldered the folio
which he had been perusing, faced to the right about, and marched
out of the room with the strides of a grenadier.
Mr. Glossin, no way disconcerted, or at least feeling it necessary
not to appear so, turned to young Hazlewood, who was apparently
busy with the newspaper.--' Any news, sir?' Hazlewood raised his
eyes, looked at him, and pushed the paper towards him, as if to a
stranger in a coffee-house, then rose, and was about to leave the
room. 'I beg pardon, Mr. Hazlewood, but I can't help wishing you
joy of getting so easily over that infernal accident.' This was
answered by a sort of inclination of the head, as slight and stiff
as could well be imagined. Yet it encouraged our man of law to
proceed.--' I can promise you, Mr. Hazlewood, few people have
taken the interest in that matter which I have done, both for the
sake of the country and on account of my particular respect for
your family, which has so high a stake in it; indeed, so very high
a stake that, as Mr. Featherhead is 'turning old now, and as
there's a talk, since his last stroke, of his taking the Chiltern
Hundreds, it might be worth your while to look about you. I speak
as a friend, Mr. Hazlewood, and as one who understands the roll;
and if in going over it together--'
'I beg pardon, sir, but I have no views in which your assistance
could be useful.'
'O, very well, perhaps you are right; it's quite time enough, and
I love to see a young gentleman cautious. But I was talking of
your wound. I think I have got a clue to that business--I think I
have, and if I don't bring the fellow to condign punishment--!'
'I beg your pardon, sir, once more; but your zeal outruns my
wishes. I have every reason to think the wound was accidental;
certainly it was not premeditated. Against ingratitude and
premeditated treachery, should you find any one guilty of them, my
resentment will be as warm as your own.' This was Hazlewood's
'Another rebuff,' thought Glossin; 'I must try him upon the other
tack.' 'Right, sir; very nobly said! I would have no more mercy on
an ungrateful man than I would on a woodcock. And now we talk of
sport (this was a sort of diverting of the conversation which
Glossin had learned from his former patron), I see you often carry
a gun, and I hope you will be soon able to take the field again. I
observe you confine yourself always to your own side of the
Hazleshaws burn. I hope, my dear sir, you will make no scruple of
following your game to the Ellangowan bank; I believe it is rather
the best exposure of the two for woodcocks, although both are
As this offer only excited a cold and constrained bow, Glossin was
obliged to remain silent, and was presently afterwards somewhat
relieved by the entrance of Colonel Mannering.
'I have detained you some time, I fear, sir,' said he, addressing
Glossin; 'I wished to prevail upon Miss Bertram to see you, as, in
my opinion, her objections ought to give way to the necessity of
hearing in her own person what is stated to be of importance that
she should know. But I find that circumstances of recent
occurrence, and not easily to be forgotten, have rendered her so
utterly repugnant to a personal interview with Mr. Glossin that it
would be cruelty to insist upon it; and she has deputed me to
receive his commands, or proposal, or, in short, whatever he may
wish to say to her.'
'Hem, hem! I am sorry, sir--I am very sorry, Colonel Mannering,
that Miss Bertram should suppose--that any prejudice, in short--or
idea that anything on my part--'
'Sir,' said the inflexible Colonel, 'where no accusation is made,
excuses or explanations are unnecessary. Have you any objection to
communicate to me, as Miss Bertram's temporary guardian, the
circumstances which you conceive to interest her?'
'None, Colonel Mannering; she could not choose a more respectable
friend, or one with whom I, in particular, would more anxiously
wish to communicate frankly.'
'Have the goodness to speak to the point, sir, if you please.'
'Why, sir, it is not so easy all at once--but Mr. Hazlewood need
not leave the room,--I mean so well to Miss Bertram that I could
wish the whole world to hear my part of the conference.'
'My friend Mr. Charles Hazlewood will not probably be anxious, Mr.
Glossin, to listen to what cannot concern him. And now, when he
has left us alone, let me pray you to be short and explicit in
what you have to say. I am a soldier, sir, somewhat impatient of
forms and introductions.' So saying, he drew himself up in his
chair and waited for Mr. Glossin's communication.
'Be pleased to look at that letter,' said Glossin, putting
Protocol's epistle into Mannering's hand, as the shortest way of
stating his business.
The Colonel read it and returned it, after pencilling the name of
the writer in his memorandum-book. 'This, sir, does not seem to
require much discussion. I will see that Miss Bertram's interest
is attended to.'
'But, sir,--but, Colonel Mannering,' added Glossin, 'there is
another matter which no one can explain but myself. This lady--
this Mrs. Margaret Bertram, to my certain knowledge, made a
general settlement of her affairs in Miss Lucy Bertram's favour
while she lived with my old friend Mr. Bertram at Ellangowan. The
Dominie--that was the name by which my deceased friend always
called that very respectable man Mr. Sampson--he and I witnessed
the deed. And she had full power at that time to make such a
settlement, for she was in fee of the estate of Singleside even
then, although it was life rented by an elder sister. It was a
whimsical settlement of old Singleside's, sir; he pitted the two
cats his daughters against each other, ha, ha, ha!'
'Well, sir,' said Mannering, without the slightest smile of
sympathy, 'but to the purpose. You say that this lady had power to
settle her estate on Miss Bertram, and that she did so?'
'Even so, Colonel,' replied Glossin. 'I think I should understand
the law, I have followed it for many years; and, though I have
given it up to retire upon a handsome competence, I did not throw
away that knowledge which is pronounced better than house and
land, and which I take to be the knowledge of the law, since, as
our common rhyme has it,
'Tis most excellent,
To win the land that's gone and spent.
No, no, I love the smack of the whip: I have a little, a very
little law yet, at the service of my friends.'
Glossin ran on in this manner, thinking he had made a favourable
impression on Mannering. The Colonel, indeed, reflected that this
might be a most important crisis for Miss Bertram's interest, and
resolved that his strong inclination to throw Glossin out at
window or at door should not interfere with it. He put a strong
curb on his temper, and resolved to listen with patience at least,
if without complacency. He therefore let Mr. Glossin get to the
end of his self-congratulations, and then asked him if he knew
where the deed was.
'I know--that is, I think--I believe I can recover it. In such
cases custodiers have sometimes made a charge.'
'We won't differ as to that, sir,' said the Colonel, taking out
'But, my dear sir, you take me so very short. I said SOME PERSONS
MIGHT make such a claim, I mean for payment of the expenses of the
deed, trouble in the affair, etc. But I, for my own part, only
wish Miss Bertram and her friends to be satisfied that I am acting
towards her with honour. There's the paper, sir! It would have
been a satisfaction to me to have delivered it into Miss Bertram's
own hands, and to have wished her joy of the prospects which it
opens. But, since her prejudices on the subject are invincible, it
only remains for me to transmit her my best wishes through you,
Colonel Mannering, and to express that I shall willingly give my
testimony in support of that deed when I shall be called upon. I
have the honour to wish you a good morning, sir.'
This parting speech was so well got up, and had so much the tone
of conscious integrity unjustly suspected, that even Colonel
Mannering was staggered in his bad opinion. He followed him two or
three steps, and took leave of him with more politeness (though
still cold and formal) than he had paid during his visit. Glossin
left the house half pleased with the impression he had made, half
mortified by the stern caution and proud reluctance with which he
had been received. 'Colonel Mannering might have had more
politeness,' he said to himself. 'It is not every man that can
bring a good chance of 400 Pounds a year to a penniless girl.
Singleside must be up to 400 Pounds a year now; there's
Reilageganbeg, Gillifidget, Loverless, Liealone, and the
Spinster's Knowe--good 400 Pounds a year. Some people might have
made their own of it in my place; and yet, to own the truth, after
much consideration, I don't see how that is possible.'
Glossin was no sooner mounted and gone than the Colonel despatched
a groom for Mr. Mac-Morlan, and, putting the deed into his hand,
requested to know if it was likely to be available to his friend
Lucy Bertram. Mac-Morlan perused it with eyes that sparkled with
delight, snapped his fingers repeatedly, and at length exclaimed,
'Available! it's as tight as a glove; naebody could make better
wark than Glossin, when he didna let down a steek on purpose. But
(his countenance falling) the auld b---, that I should say so,
might alter at pleasure!'
'Ah! And how shall we know whether she has done so?'
'Somebody must attend on Miss Bertram's part when the repositories
of the deceased are opened.'
'Can you go?' said the Colonel.
'I fear I cannot,' replied Mac-Morlan; 'I must attend a jury trial
before our court.'
'Then I will go myself,' said the Colonel; 'I'll set out to-
morrow. Sampson shall go with me; he is witness to this
settlement. But I shall want a legal adviser.'
'The gentleman that was lately sheriff of this county is high in
reputation as a barrister; I will give you a card of introduction
'What I like about you, Mr. Mac-Morlan,' said the Colonel, 'is
that you always come straight to the point. Let me have it
instantly. Shall we tell Miss Lucy her chance of becoming an
'Surely, because you must have some powers from her, which I will
instantly draw out. Besides, I will be caution for her prudence,
and that she will consider it only in the light of a chance.'
Mac-Morlan judged well. It could not be discerned from Miss
Bertram's manner that she founded exulting hopes upon the prospect
thus unexpectedly opening before her. She did, indeed, in the
course of the evening ask Mr. Mac-Morlan, as if by accident, what
might be the annual income of the Hazlewood property; but shall we
therefore aver for certain that she was considering whether an
heiress of four hundred a year might be a suitable match for the