How like a hateful ape,
Detected grinning 'midst his pilfer'd hoard,
A cunning man appears, whose secret frauds
Are open'd to the day!
There was a great movement at Woodbourne early on the following
morning to attend the examination at Kippletringan. Mr. Pleydell,
from the investigation which he had formerly bestowed on the dark
affair of Kennedy's death, as well as from the general deference
due to his professional abilities, was requested by Mr. Mac-Morlan
and Sir Robert Hazlewood, and another justice of peace who
attended, to take the situation of chairman and the lead in the
examination. Colonel Mannering was invited to sit down with them.
The examination, being previous to trial, was private in other
The Counsellor resumed and reinterrogated former evidence. He then
examined the clergyman and surgeon respecting the dying
declaration of Meg Merrilies. They stated that she distinctly,
positively, and repeatedly declared herself an eye-witness of
Kennedy's death by the hands of Hatteraick and two or three of his
crew; that her presence was accidental; that she believed their
resentment at meeting him, when they were in the act of losing
their vessel through the means of his information, led to the
commission of the crime; that she said there was one witness of
the murder, but who refused to participate in it, still alive--her
nephew, Gabriel Faa; and she had hinted at another person who was
an accessory after, not before, the fact; but her strength there
failed her. They did not forget to mention her declaration that
she had saved the child, and that he was torn from her by the
smugglers for the purpose of carrying him to Holland. All these
particulars were carefully reduced to writing.
Dirk Hatteraick was then brought in, heavily ironed; for he had
been strictly secured and guarded, owing to his former escape. He
was asked his name; he made no answer. His profession; he was
silent. Several other questions were put, to none of which he
returned any reply. Pleydell wiped the glasses of his spectacles
and considered the prisoner very attentively. 'A very truculent-
looking fellow,' he whispered to Mannering; 'but, as Dogberry
says, I'll go cunningly to work with him. Here, call in Soles--
Soles the shoemaker. Soles, do you remember measuring some
footsteps imprinted on the mud at the wood of Warroch on--November
17--, by my orders?' Soles remembered the circumstance perfectly.
'Look at that paper; is that your note of the measurement?' Soles
verified the memorandum. 'Now, there stands a pair of shoes on
that table; measure them, and see if they correspond with any of
the marks you have noted there.' The shoemaker obeyed, and
declared 'that they answered exactly to the largest of the
'We shall prove,' said the Counsellor, aside to Mannering, 'that
these shoes, which were found in the ruins at Derncleugh, belonged
to Brown, the fellow whom you shot on the lawn at Woodbourne. Now,
Soles, measure that prisoner's feet very accurately.'
Mannering observed Hatteraick strictly, and could notice a visible
tremor. 'Do these measurements correspond with any of the
The man looked at the note, then at his foot-rule and measure,
then verified his former measurement by a second. 'They
correspond,' he said, 'within a hair-breadth to a foot-mark
broader and shorter than the former.'
Hatteraick's genius here deserted him. 'Der deyvil!' he broke out,
'how could there be a footmark on the ground, when it was a frost
as hard as the heart of a Memel log?'
'In the evening, I grant you, Captain Hatteraick,' said Pleydell,
'but not in the forenoon. Will you favour me with information
where you were upon the day you remember so exactly?'
Hatteraick saw his blunder, and again screwed up his hard features
for obstinate silence. 'Put down his observation, however,' said
Pleydell to the clerk.
At this moment the door opened, and, much to the surprise of most
present, Mr. Gilbert Glossin made his appearance. That worthy
gentleman had, by dint of watching and eavesdropping, ascertained
that he was not mentioned by name in Meg Merrilies's dying
declaration--a circumstance certainly not owing to any favourable
disposition towards him, but to the delay of taking her regular
examination, and to the rapid approach of death. He therefore
supposed himself safe from all evidence but such as might arise
from Hatteraick's confession; to prevent which he resolved to push
a bold face and join his brethren of the bench during his
examination. 'I shall be able,' he thought, 'to make the rascal
sensible his safety lies in keeping his own counsel and mine; and
my presence, besides, will be a proof of confidence and innocence.
If I must lose the estate, I must; but I trust better things.'
He entered with a profound salutation to Sir Robert Hazlewood. Sir
Robert, who had rather begun to suspect that his plebeian
neighbour had made a cat's paw of him, inclined his head stiffly,
took snuff, and looked another way.
'Mr. Corsand,' said Glossin to the other yokefellow of justice,
'your most humble servant.'
'Your humble servant, Mr. Glossin,' answered Mr. Corsand drily,
composing his countenance regis ad exemplar, that is to say, after
the fashion of the Baronet.
'Mac-Morlan, my worthy friend,' continued Glossin, 'how d' ye do;
always on your duty?'
'Umph,' said honest Mac-Morlan, with little respect either to the
compliment or salutation.
'Colonel Mannering (a low bow slightly returned), and Mr. Pleydell
(another low bow), I dared not have hoped for your assistance to
poor country gentlemen at this period of the session.'
Pleydell took snuff, and eyed him with a glance equally shrewd and
sarcastic. 'I'll teach him,' he said aside to Mannering, 'the
value of the old admonition, Ne accesseris in consilium antequam
'But perhaps I intrude, gentlemen?' said Glossin, who could not
fail to observe the coldness of his reception. 'Is this an open
'For my part,' said Mr. Pleydell, 'so far from considering your
attendance as an intrusion, Mr. Glossin, I was never so pleased in
my life to meet with you; especially as I think we should, at any
rate, have had occasion to request the favour of your company in
the course of the day.'
'Well, then, gentlemen,' said Glossin, drawing his chair to the
table, and beginning to bustle about among the papers, 'where are
we? how far have we got? where are the declarations?'
'Clerk, give me all these papers,' said Mr. Pleydell. 'I have an
odd way of arranging my documents, Mr. Glossin, another person
touching them puts me out; but I shall have occasion for your
assistance by and by.'
Glossin, thus reduced to inactivity, stole one glance at Dirk
Hatteraick, but could read nothing in his dark scowl save
malignity and hatred to all around. 'But, gentlemen,' said
Glossin, 'is it quite right to keep this poor man so heavily
ironed when he is taken up merely for examination?'
This was hoisting a kind of friendly signal to the prisoner. 'He
has escaped once before,' said Mac-Morlan drily, and Glossin was
Bertram was now introduced, and, to Glossin's confusion, was
greeted in the most friendly manner by all present, even by Sir
Robert Hazlewood himself. He told his recollections of his infancy
with that candour and caution of expression which afforded the
best warrant for his good faith. 'This seems to be rather a civil
than a criminal question,' said Glossin, rising; 'and as you
cannot be ignorant, gentlemen, of the effect which this young
person's pretended parentage may have on my patrimonial interest,
I would rather beg leave to retire.'
'No, my good sir,' said Mr. Pleydell, 'we can by no means spare
you. But why do you call this young man's claims pretended? I
don't mean to fish for your defences against them, if you have
'Mr. Pleydell,' replied Glossin, 'I am always disposed to act
above-board, and I think I can explain the matter at once. This
young fellow, whom I take to be a natural son of the late
Ellangowan, has gone about the country for some weeks under
different names, caballing with a wretched old mad-woman, who, I
understand, was shot in a late scuffle, and with other tinkers,
gipsies, and persons of that description, and a great brute farmer
from Liddesdale, stirring up the tenants against their landlords,
which, as Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood knows--'
'Not to interrupt you, Mr. Glossin,' said Pleydell, 'I ask who you
say this young man is?'
'Why, I say,' replied Glossin, 'and I believe that gentleman
(looking at Hatteraick) knows, that the young man is a natural son
of the late Ellangowan, by a girl called Janet Lightoheel, who was
afterwards married to Hewit the shipwright, that lived in the
neighbourhood of Annan. His name is Godfrey Bertram Hewit, by
which name he was entered on board the Royal Caroline excise
'Ay?' said Pleydell, 'that is a very likely story! But, not to
pause upon some difference of eyes, complexion, and so forth--be
pleased to step forward, sir.' (A young seafaring man came
forward.) 'Here,' proceeded the Counsellor, 'is the real Simon
Pure; here's Godfrey Bertram Hewit, arrived last night from
Antigua via Liverpool, mate of a West-Indian, and in a fair way of
doing well in the world, although he came somewhat irregularly
While some conversation passed between the other justices and this
young man, Pleydell lifted from among the papers on the table
Hatteraick's old pocket-book. A peculiar glance of the smuggler's
eye induced the shrewd lawyer to think there was something here of
interest. He therefore continued the examination of the papers,
laying the book on the table, but instantly perceived that the
prisoner's interest in the research had cooled. 'It must be in the
book still, whatever it is,' thought Pleydell; and again applied
himself to the pocket-book, until he discovered, on a narrow
scrutiny, a slit between the pasteboard and leather, out of which
he drew three small slips of paper. Pleydell now, turning to
Glossin, requested the favour that he would tell them if he had
assisted at the search for the body of Kennedy and the child of
his patron on the day when they disappeared.
'I did not--that is, I did,' answered the conscience-struck
'It is remarkable though,' said the Advocate, 'that, connected as
you were with the Ellangowan family, I don't recollect your being
examined, or even appearing before me, while that investigation
'I was called to London,' answered Glossin, 'on most important
business the morning after that sad affair.'
'Clerk,' said Pleydell, 'minute down that reply. I presume the
business, Mr. Glossin, was to negotiate these three bills, drawn
by you on Messrs. Vanbeest and Vanbruggen, and accepted by one
Dirk Hatteraick in their name on the very day of the murder. I
congratulate you on their being regularly retired, as I perceive
they have been. I think the chances were against it.' Glossin's
countenance fell. 'This piece of real evidence,' continued Mr.
Pleydell, 'makes good the account given of your conduct on this
occasion by a man called Gabriel Faa, whom we have now in custody,
and who witnessed the whole transaction between you and that
worthy prisoner. Have you any explanation to give?'
'Mr. Pleydell,' said Glossin, with great composure, 'I presume, if
you were my counsel, you would not advise me to answer upon the
spur of the moment to a charge which the basest of mankind seem
ready to establish by perjury.'
'My advice,' said the Counsellor, 'would be regulated by my
opinion of your innocence or guilt. In your case, I believe you
take the wisest course; but you are aware you must stand
'Committed? for what, sir?' replied Glossin. 'Upon a charge of
'No; only as art and part of kidnapping the child.'
'That is a bailable offence.'
'Pardon me,' said Pleydell, 'it is plagium, and plagium is
'Forgive me, Mr. Pleydell, there is only one case upon record,
Torrence and Waldie. They were, you remember, resurrection-women,
who had promised to procure a child's body for some young
surgeons. Being upon honour to their employers, rather than
disappoint the evening lecture of the students, they stole a live
child, murdered it, and sold the body for three shillings and
sixpence. They were hanged, but for the murder, not for the
plagium [Footnote: This is, in its circumstances and issue,
actually a case tried and reported.]--Your civil law has carried
you a little too far.'
'Well, sir, but in the meantime Mr. Mac-Morlan must commit you to
the county jail, in case this young man repeats the same story.
Officers, remove Mr. Glossin and Hatteraick, and guard them in
Gabriel, the gipsy, was then introduced, and gave a distinct
account of his deserting from Captain Pritchard's vessel and
joining the smugglers in the action, detailed how Dirk Hatteraick
set fire to his ship when he found her disabled, and under cover
of the smoke escaped with his crew, and as much goods as they
could save, into the cavern, where they proposed to lie till
nightfall. Hatteraick himself, his mate Vanbeest Brown, and three
others, of whom the declarant was one, went into the adjacent
woods to communicate with some of their friends in the
neighbourhood. They fell in with Kennedy unexpectedly, and
Hatteraick and Brown, aware that he was the occasion of their
disasters, resolved to murder him. He stated that he had seen them
lay violent hands on the officer and drag him through the woods,
but had not partaken in the assault nor witnessed its termination;
that he returned to the cavern by a different route, where he
again met Hatteraick and his accomplices; and the captain was in
the act of giving an account how he and Brown had pushed a huge
crag over, as Kennedy lay groaning on the beach, when Glossin
suddenly appeared among them. To the whole transaction by which
Hatteraick purchased his secrecy he was witness. Respecting young
Bertram, he could give a distinct account till he went to India,
after which he had lost sight of him until he unexpectedly met
with him in Liddesdale. Gabriel Faa farther stated that he
instantly sent notice to his aunt Meg Merrilies, as well as to
Hatteraick, who he knew was then upon the coast; but that he had
incurred his aunt's displeasure upon the latter account. He
concluded, that his aunt had immediately declared that she would
do all that lay in her power to help young Ellangowan to his
right, even if it should be by informing against Dirk Hatteraick;
and that many of her people assisted her besides himself, from a
belief that she was gifted with supernatural inspirations. With
the same purpose, he understood his aunt had given to Bertram the
treasure of the tribe, of which she had the custody. Three or four
gipsies, by the express command of Meg Merrilies, mingled in the
crowd when the custom-house was attacked, for the purpose of
liberating Bertram, which he had himself effected. He said, that
in obeying Meg's dictates they did not pretend to estimate their
propriety or rationality, the respect in which she was held by her
tribe precluding all such subjects of speculation. Upon farther
interrogation, the witness added, that his aunt had always said
that Harry Bertram carried that round his neck which would
ascertain his birth. It was a spell, she said, that an Oxford
scholar had made for him, and she possessed the smugglers with an
opinion that to deprive him of it would occasion the loss of the
Bertram here produced a small velvet bag, which he said he had
worn round his neck from his earliest infancy, and which he had
preserved, first from superstitious reverence, and latterly from
the hope that it might serve one day to aid in the discovery of
his birth. The bag, being opened, was found to contain a blue silk
case, from which was drawn a scheme of nativity. Upon inspecting
this paper, Colonel Mannering instantly admitted it was his own
composition; and afforded the strongest and most satisfactory
evidence that the possessor of it must necessarily be the young
heir of Ellangowan, by avowing his having first appeared in that
country in the character of an astrologer.
'And now,' said Pleydell, 'make out warrants of commitment for
Hatteraick and Glossin until liberated in due course of law. Yet,'
he said, 'I am sorry for Glossin.'
'Now, I think,' said Mannering, 'he's incomparably the least
deserving of pity of the two. The other's a bold fellow, though as
hard as flint.'
'Very natural, Colonel,' said the Advocate, 'that you should be
interested in the ruffian and I in the knave, that's all
professional taste; but I can tell you Glossin would have been a
pretty lawyer had he not had such a turn for the roguish part of
'Scandal would say,' observed Mannering, 'he might not be the
worse lawyer for that.'
'Scandal would tell a lie, then,' replied Pleydell, 'as she
usually does. Law's like laudanum: it's much more easy to use it
as a quack does than to learn to apply it like a physician.'