Give me a cup of sack, to make mine eyes look red. For I must
speak in passion, and I will do it in King Cambyses' vein.
--Henry IV, part I.
Mannering, with Sampson for his companion, lost no time in his
journey to Edinburgh. They travelled in the Colonel's post-
chariot, who, knowing his companion's habits of abstraction, did
not choose to lose him out of his own sight, far less to trust him
on horseback, where, in all probability, a knavish stable-boy
might with little address have contrived to mount him with his
face to the tail. Accordingly, with the aid of his valet, who
attended on horseback, he contrived to bring Mr. Sampson safe to
an inn in Edinburgh--for hotels in those days there were none--
without any other accident than arose from his straying twice upon
the road. On one occasion he was recovered by Barnes, who
understood his humour, when, after engaging in close colloquy with
the schoolmaster of Moffat respecting a disputed quantity in
Horace's 7th Ode, Book II, the dispute led on to another
controversy concerning the exact meaning of the word malobathro in
that lyric effusion. His second escapade was made for the purpose
of visiting the field of Rullion Green, which was dear to his
Presbyterian predilections. Having got out of the carriage for an
instant, he saw the sepulchral monument of the slain at the
distance of about a mile, and was arrested by Barnes in his
progress up the Pentland Hills, having on both occasions forgot
his friend, patron, and fellow-traveller as completely as if he
had been in the East Indies. On being reminded that Colonel
Mannering was waiting for him, he uttered his usual ejaculation of
'Prodigious! I was oblivious,' and then strode back to his post.
Barnes was surprised at his master's patience on both occasions,
knowing by experience how little he brooked neglect or delay; but
the Dominie was in every respect a privileged person. His patron
and he were never for a moment in each other's way, and it seemed
obvious that they were formed to be companions through life. If
Mannering wanted a particular book, the Dominie could bring it; if
he wished to have accounts summed up or checked, his assistance
was equally ready; if he desired to recall a particular passage in
the classics, he could have recourse to the Dominie as to a
dictionary; and all the while this walking statue was neither
presuming when noticed nor sulky when left to himself. To a proud,
shy, reserved man, and such in many respects was Mannering, this
sort of living catalogue and animated automaton had all the
advantages of a literary dumb-waiter.
As soon as they arrived in Edinburgh, and were established at the
George Inn, near Bristo Port, then kept by old Cockburn (I love to
be particular), the Colonel desired the waiter to procure him a
guide to Mr. Pleydell's, the advocate, for whom he had a letter of
introduction from Mr. Mac-Morlan. He then commanded Barnes to have
an eye to the Dominie, and walked forth with a chairman, who was
to usher him to the man of law.
The period was near the end of the American war. The desire of
room, of air, and of decent accommodation had not as yet made very
much progress in the capital of Scotland. Some efforts had been
made on the south side of the town towards building houses WITHIN
THEMSELVES, as they are emphatically termed; and the New Town on
the north, since so much extended, was then just commenced. But
the great bulk of the better classes, and particularly those
connected with the law, still lived in flats or dungeons of the
Old Town. The manners also of some of the veterans of the law had
not admitted innovation. One or two eminent lawyers still saw
their clients in taverns, as was the general custom fifty years
before; and although their habits were already considered as old-
fashioned by the younger barristers, yet the custom of mixing wine
and revelry with serious business was still maintained by those
senior counsellors who loved the old road, either because it was
such or because they had got too well used to it to travel any
other. Among those praisers of the past time, who with
ostentatious obstinacy affected the manners of a former
generation, was this same Paulus Pleydell, Esq., otherwise a good
scholar, an excellent lawyer, and a worthy man.
Under the guidance of his trusty attendant, Colonel Mannering,
after threading a dark lane or two, reached the High Street, then
clanging with the voices of oyster-women and the bells of pye-men;
for it had, as his guide assured him, just' chappit eight upon the
Tron.' It was long since Mannering had been in the street of a
crowded metropolis, which, with its noise and clamour, its sounds
of trade, of revelry, and of license, its variety of lights, and
the eternally changing bustle of its hundred groups, offers, by
night especially, a spectacle which, though composed of the most
vulgar materials when they are separately considered, has, when
they are combined, a striking and powerful effect on the
imagination. The extraordinary height of the houses was marked by
lights, which, glimmering irregularly along their front, ascended
so high among the attics that they seemed at length to twinkle in
the middle sky. This coup d'aeil, which still subsists in a
certain degree, was then more imposing, owing to the uninterrupted
range of buildings on each side, which, broken only at the space
where the North Bridge joins the main street, formed a superb and
uniform place, extending from the front of the Lucken-booths to
the head of the Canongate, and corresponding in breadth and length
to the uncommon height of the buildings on either side.
Mannering had not much time to look and to admire. His conductor
hurried him across this striking scene, and suddenly dived with
him into a very steep paved lane. Turning to the right, they
entered a scale staircase, as it is called, the state of which, so
far as it could be judged of by one of his senses, annoyed
Mannering's delicacy not a little. When they had ascended
cautiously to a considerable height, they heard a heavy rap at a
door, still two stories above them. The door opened, and
immediately ensued the sharp and worrying bark of a dog, the
squalling of a woman, the screams of an assaulted cat, and the
hoarse voice of a man, who cried in a most imperative tone, 'Will
ye, Mustard? Will ye? down, sir, down!'
'Lord preserve us!' said the female voice, 'an he had worried our
cat, Mr. Pleydell would ne'er hae forgi'en me!'
'Aweel, my doo, the cat's no a prin the waur. So he's no in, ye
'Na, Mr. Pleydell's ne'er in the house on Saturday at e'en,'
answered the female voice.
'And the morn's Sabbath too,' said the querist. 'I dinna ken what
will be done.'
By this time Mannering appeared, and found a tall, strong
countryman, clad in a coat of pepper-and-salt-coloured mixture,
with huge metal buttons, a glazed hat and boots, and a large
horsewhip beneath his arm, in colloquy with a slipshod damsel, who
had in one hand the lock of the door, and in the other a pail of
whiting, or camstane, as it is called, mixed with water--a
circumstance which indicates Saturday night in Edinburgh.
'So Mr. Pleydell is not at home, my good girl?' said Mannering.
'Ay, sir, he's at hame, but he's no in the house; he's aye out on
Saturday at e'en.'
'But, my good girl, I am a stranger, and my business express. Will
you tell me where I can find him?'
' His honour,' said the chairman, 'will be at Clerihugh's about
this time. Hersell could hae tell'd ye that, but she thought ye
wanted to see his house.'
'Well, then, show me to this tavern. I suppose he will see me, as
I come on business of some consequence?'
'I dinna ken, sir,' said the girl; 'he disna like to be disturbed
on Saturdays wi' business; but he's aye civil to strangers.'
'I'll gang to the tavern too,' said our friend Dinmont, 'for I am
a stranger also, and on business e'en sic like.'
'Na,' said the handmaiden, 'an he see the gentleman, he'll see the
simple body too; but, Lord's sake, dinna say it was me sent ye
'Atweel, I am a simple body, that's true, hinny, but I am no come
to steal ony o' his skeel for naething,' said the farmer in his
honest pride, and strutted away downstairs, followed by Mannering
and the cadie. Mannering could not help admiring the determined
stride with which the stranger who preceded them divided the
press, shouldering from him, by the mere weight and impetus of his
motion, both drunk and sober passengers. 'He'll be a Teviotdale
tup tat ane,' said the chairman, 'tat's for keeping ta crown o' ta
causeway tat gate; he 'll no gang far or he 'll get somebody to
bell ta cat wi' him.'
His shrewd augury, however, was not fulfilled. Those who recoiled
from the colossal weight of Dinmont, on looking up at his size and
strength, apparently judged him too heavy metal to be rashly
encountered, and suffered him to pursue his course unchallenged.
Following in the wake of this first-rate, Mannering proceeded till
the farmer made a pause, and, looking back to the chairman, said,
'I'm thinking this will be the close, friend.'
'Ay, ay,' replied Donald, 'tat's ta close.'
Dinmont descended confidently, then turned into a dark alley, then
up a dark stair, and then into an open door. While he was
whistling shrilly for the waiter, as if he had been one of his
collie dogs, Mannering looked round him, and could hardly conceive
how a gentleman of a liberal profession and good society should
choose such a scene for social indulgence. Besides the miserable
entrance, the house itself seemed paltry and half ruinous. The
passage in which they stood had a window to the close, which
admitted a little light during the daytime, and a villainous
compound of smells at all times, but more especially towards
evening. Corresponding to this window was a borrowed light on the
other side of the passage, looking into the kitchen, which had no
direct communication with the free air, but received in the
daytime, at second hand, such straggling and obscure light as
found its way from the lane through the window opposite. At
present the interior of the kitchen was visible by its own huge
fires--a sort of Pandemonium, where men and women, half undressed,
were busied in baking, broiling, roasting oysters, and preparing
devils on the gridiron; the mistress of the place, with her shoes
slipshod, and her hair straggling like that of Megaera from under
a round-eared cap, toiling, scolding, receiving orders, giving
them, and obeying them all at once, seemed the presiding
enchantress of that gloomy and fiery region.
Loud and repeated bursts of laughter from different quarters of
the house proved that her labours were acceptable, and not
unrewarded by a generous public. With some difficulty a waiter was
prevailed upon to show Colonel Mannering and Dinmont the room
where their friend learned in the law held his hebdomadal
carousals. The scene which it exhibited, and particularly the
attitude of the counsellor himself, the principal figure therein,
struck his two clients with amazement.
Mr. Pleydell was a lively, sharp-looking gentleman, with a
professional shrewdness in his eye, and, generally speaking, a
professional formality in his manners. But this, like his three-
tailed wig and black coat, he could slip off on a Saturday
evening, when surrounded by a party of jolly companions, and
disposed for what he called his altitudes. On the present occasion
the revel had lasted since four o'clock, and at length, under the
direction of a venerable compotator, who had shared the sports and
festivity of three generations, the frolicsome company had begun
to practise the ancient and now forgotten pastime of HIGH JINKS.
This game was played in several different ways. Most frequently
the dice were thrown by the company, and those upon whom the lot
fell were obliged to assume and maintain for a time a certain
fictitious character, or to repeat a certain number of fescennine
verses in a particular order. If they departed from the characters
assigned, or if their memory proved treacherous in the repetition,
they incurred forfeits, which were either compounded for by
swallowing an additional bumper or by paying a small sum towards
the reckoning. At this sport the jovial company were closely
engaged when Mannering entered the room.
Mr. Counsellor Pleydell, such as we have described him, was
enthroned as a monarch in an elbow-chair placed on the dining-
table, his scratch wig on one side, his head crowned with a
bottle-slider, his eye leering with an expression betwixt fun and
the effects of wine, while his court around him resounded with
such crambo scraps of verse as these:--
Where is Gerunto now? and what's become of him?
Gerunto's drowned because he could not swim, etc., etc.
Such, O Themis, were anciently the sports of thy Scottish
children! Dinmont was first in the room. He stood aghast a moment,
and then exclaimed, 'It's him, sure enough. Deil o' the like o'
that ever I saw!'
At the sound of 'Mr. Dinmont and Colonel Mannering wanting to
speak to you, sir,' Pleydell turned his head, and blushed a little
when he saw the very genteel figure of the English stranger. He
was, however, of the opinion of Falstaff, 'Out, ye villains, play
out the play!' wisely judging it the better way to appear totally
unconcerned. 'Where be our guards?' exclaimed this second
Justinian; 'see ye not a stranger knight from foreign parts
arrived at this our court of Holyrood, with our bold yeoman Andrew
Dinmont, who has succeeded to the keeping of our royal flocks
within the forest of Jedwood, where, thanks to our royal care in
the administration of justice, they feed as safe as if they were
within the bounds of Fife? Where be our heralds, our pursuivants,
our Lyon, our Marchmount, our Carrick, and our Snowdown? Let the
strangers be placed at our board, and regaled as beseemeth their
quality and this our high holiday; to-morrow we will hear their
' So please you, my liege, to-morrow's Sunday,' said one of the
' Sunday, is it? then we will give no offence to the assembly of
the kirk; on Monday shall be their audience.'
Mannering, who had stood at first uncertain whether to advance or
retreat, now resolved to enter for the moment into the whim of the
scene, though internally fretting at Mac-Morlan for sending him to
consult with a crack-brained humourist. He therefore advanced with
three profound congees, and craved permission to lay his
credentials at the feet of the Scottish monarch, in order to be
perused at his best leisure. The gravity with which he
accommodated himself to the humour of the moment, and the deep and
humble inclination with which he at first declined, and then
accepted, a seat presented by the master of the ceremonies,
procured him three rounds of applause.
'Deil hae me, if they arena a' mad thegither!' said Dinmont,
occupying with less ceremony a seat at the bottom of the table;
'or else they hae taen Yule before it comes, and are gaun a-
A large glass of claret was offered to Mannering, who drank it to
the health of the reigning prince. 'You are, I presume to guess,'
said the monarch, 'that celebrated Sir Miles Mannering, so
renowned in the French wars, and may well pronounce to us if the
wines of Gascony lose their flavour in our more northern realm.'
Mannering, agreeably flattered by this allusion to the fame of his
celebrated ancestor, replied by professing himself only a distant
relation of the preux chevalier, and added, 'that in his opinion
the wine was superlatively good.'
'It's ower cauld for my stamach,' said Dinmont, setting down the
'We will correct that quality,' answered King Paulus, the first of
the name; 'we have not forgotten that the moist and humid air of
our valley of Liddel inclines to stronger potations. Seneschal,
let our faithful yeoman have a cup of brandy; it will be more
germain to the matter.'
'And now,' said Mannering, 'since we have unwarily intruded upon
your majesty at a moment of mirthful retirement, be pleased to say
when you will indulge a stranger with an audience on those affairs
of weight which have brought him to your northern capital.'
The monarch opened Mac-Morlan's letter, and, running it hastily
over, exclaimed with his natural voice and manner, 'Lucy Bertram
of Ellangowan, poor dear lassie!'
'A forfeit! a forfeit!' exclaimed a dozen voices; 'his majesty has
forgot his kingly character.'
'Not a whit! not a whit!' replied the king; 'I'll be judged by
this courteous knight. May not a monarch love a maid of low
degree? Is not King Cophetua and the Beggar-maid an adjudged case
'Professional! professional! another forfeit,' exclaimed the
'Had not our royal predecessors,' continued the monarch, exalting
his sovereign voice to drown these disaffected clamours,--'had
they not their Jean Logies, their Bessie Carmichaels, their
Oliphants, their Sandilands, and their Weirs, and shall it be
denied to us even to name a maiden whom we delight to honour? Nay,
then, sink state and perish sovereignty! for, like a second
Charles V, we will abdicate, and seek in the private shades of
life those pleasures which are denied to a throne.'
So saying, he flung away his crown, and sprung from his exalted
station with more agility than could have been expected from his
age, ordered lights and a wash-hand basin and towel, with a cup of
green tea, into another room, and made a sign to Mannering to
accompany him. In less than two minutes he washed his face and
hands, settled his wig in the glass, and, to Mannering's great
surprise, looked quite a different man from the childish Bacchanal
he had seen a moment before.
'There are folks,' he said, 'Mr. Mannering, before whom one should
take care how they play the fool, because they have either too
much malice or too little wit, as the poet says. The best
compliment I can pay Colonel Mannering is to show I am not ashamed
to expose myself before him; and truly I think it is a compliment
I have not spared to-night on your good-nature. But what's that
great strong fellow wanting?'
Dinmont, who had pushed after Mannering into the room, began with
a scrape with his foot and a scratch of his head in unison. 'I am
Dandie Dinmont, sir, of the Charlie's Hope--the Liddesdale lad;
ye'll mind me? It was for me ye won yon grand plea.'
'What plea, you loggerhead?' said the lawyer. 'D'ye think I can
remember all the fools that come to plague me?'
'Lord, sir, it was the grand plea about the grazing o' the Langtae
Head!' said the farmer.
'Well, curse thee, never mind; give me the memorial and come to me
on Monday at ten,' replied the learned counsel.
'But, sir, I haena got ony distinct memorial.'
'No memorial, man?' said Pleydell.
'Na, sir, nae memorial,' answered Dandie; 'for your honour said
before, Mr. Pleydell, ye'll mind, that ye liked best to hear us
hill-folk tell our ain tale by word o' mouth.'
'Beshrew my tongue, that said so!' answered the counsellor; 'it
will cost my ears a dinning. Well, say in two words what you've
got to say. You see the gentleman waits.'
'Ou, sir, if the gentleman likes he may play his ain spring first;
it's a' ane to Dandie.'
'Now, you looby,' said the lawyer, 'cannot you conceive that your
business can be nothing to Colonel Mannering, but that he may not
choose to have these great ears of thine regaled with his
'Aweel, sir, just as you and he like, so ye see to my business,'
said Dandie, not a whit disconcerted by the roughness of this
reception. 'We're at the auld wark o' the marches again, Jock o'
Dawston Cleugh and me. Ye see we march on the tap o' Touthop-rigg
after we pass the Pomoragrains; for the Pomoragrains, and
Slackenspool, and Bloodylaws, they come in there, and they belang
to the Peel; but after ye pass Pomoragrains at a muckle great
saucer-headed cutlugged stane that they ca' Charlie's Chuckie,
there Dawston Cleugh and Charlie's Hope they march. Now, I say the
march rins on the tap o' the hill where the wind and water shears;
but Jock o' Dawston Cleugh again, he contravenes that, and says
that it bauds down by the auld drove-road that gaes awa by the
Knot o' the Gate ower to Keeldar Ward; and that makes an unco
'And what difference does it make, friend?' said Pleydell. 'How
many sheep will it feed?'
'Ou, no mony,' said Dandie, scratching his head; 'it's lying high
and exposed: it may feed a hog, or aiblins twa in a good year.'
'And for this grazing, which may be worth about five shillings a
year, you are willing to throw away a hundred pound or two?'
'Na, sir, it's no for the value of the grass,' replied Dinmont;
'it's for justice.'
'My good friend,' said Pleydell, 'justice, like charity, should
begin at home. Do you justice to your wife and family, and think
no more about the matter.'
Dinmont still lingered, twisting his hat in his hand. 'It's no for
that, sir; but I would like ill to be bragged wi' him; he threeps
he'll bring a score o' witnesses and mair, and I'm sure there's as
mony will swear for me as for him, folk that lived a' their days
upon the Charlie's Hope, and wadna like to see the land lose its
'Zounds, man, if it be a point of honour,' said the lawyer, 'why
don't your landlords take it up?'
'I dinna ken, sir (scratching his head again); there's been nae
election-dusts lately, and the lairds are unco neighbourly, and
Jock and me canna get them to yoke thegither about it a' that we
can say; but if ye thought we might keep up the rent--'
'No! no! that will never do,' said Pleydell. 'Confound you, why
don't you take good cudgels and settle it?'
'Odd, sir,' answered the farmer, 'we tried that three times
already, that's twice on the land and ance at Lockerby Fair. But I
dinna ken; we're baith gey good at single-stick, and it couldna
weel be judged.'
'Then take broadswords, and be d--d to you, as your fathers did
before you,' said the counsel learned in the law.
'Aweel, sir, if ye think it wadna be again the law, it's a' ane to
'Hold! hold!' exclaimed Pleydell, 'we shall have another Lord
Soulis' mistake. Pr'ythee, man, comprehend me; I wish you to
consider how very trifling and foolish a lawsuit you wish to
'Ay, sir?' said Dandie, in a disappointed tone. 'So ye winna take
on wi' me, I'm doubting?'
'Me! not I. Go home, go home, take a pint and agree.' Dandie
looked but half contented, and still remained stationary.
'Anything more, my friend?'
'Only, sir, about the succession of this leddy that's dead, auld
Miss Margaret Bertram o' Singleside.'
'Ay, what about her?' said the counsellor, rather surprised.
'Ou, we have nae connexion at a' wi' the Bertrams,' said Dandie;
'they were grand folk by the like o' us; but Jean Liltup, that was
auld Singleside's housekeeper, and the mother of these twa young
ladies that are gane--the last o' them's dead at a ripe age, I
trow--Jean Liltup came out o' Liddel water, and she was as near
our connexion as second cousin to my mother's half-sister. She
drew up wi' Singleside, nae doubt, when she was his housekeeper,
and it was a sair vex and grief to a' her kith and kin. But he
acknowledged a marriage, and satisfied the kirk; and now I wad ken
frae you if we hae not some claim by law?'
'Not the shadow of a claim.'
'Aweel, we're nae puirer,' said Dandie; 'but she may hae thought
on us if she was minded to make a testament. Weel, sir, I've said
my say; I'se e'en wish you good-night, and--' putting his hand in
'No, no, my friend; I never take fees on Saturday nights, or
without a memorial. Away with you, Dandie.' And Dandie made his
reverence and departed accordingly.