"Gramercy for the gift, bold yeoman," said the knight; "and better help than thine and thy rangers would I never seek, were it at my utmost need."
So saying, he mounted his strong war-horse, and rode off through the forest.
During all this time Isaac of York sat mournfully apart, grieving for the loss of his dearly-loved daughter Rebecca. He was assured that she was still alive, but that there was no hope of rescuing her from the clutches of Bois-Guilbert, except by the payment of a ransom of six hundred crowns. On consenting to pay this amount to the Prior of Jorvaulx, who had just then joined the party in the wood, the Jew was given a letter, written by the prior himself, directed to Bois-Guilbert at the Preceptory of Templestowe, whither the maiden had been carried off, commanding that Rebecca should be set at liberty. And with this epistle the unhappy old man set out to procure his daughter's liberation.
Meanwhile there was brave feasting in the Castle of York to which Prince John had invited those nobles, prelates, and leaders by whose assistance he hoped to carry through his ambitious projects upon his brother's throne. Deep was the prince's disappointment when he learnt of the fall of Torquilstone, and the defeat of the knights who failed to defend it, and on whose support he strongly relied. The rumoured intelligence had scarcely reached him, when De Bracy was ushered into his presence, his armour still bearing the marks of the late fray, and covered with clay and dust from crest to spur.
"The Templar is fled," said De Bracy, in answer to the prince's eager questions; "Front-de-Boeuf you will never see more; and," he added in a low and emphatic tone, "Richard is in England; I have seen him and spoken with him."
Prince John turned pale, tottered, and caught at the back of an oaken bench to support himself.
On awakening from the stupor into which he had been thrown by the unexpected intelligence, he determined to endeavour to seize his brother, and hold him a prisoner. He appealed to De Bracy to assist him in this project, and became at once deeply suspicious of the knight's loyalty towards him when he declined to lift hand against the man who had spared his own life.
Driven almost to desperation, and with bitter complaints against those who had promised to support him, John now treacherously directed Waldemar Fitzurse, one of his most intimate attendants, to depart at once, with a chosen band of followers, for the purpose of overtaking King Richard, and, if possible, securing him as a prisoner.
In the meantime, Isaac of York, though suffering much from the ill-treatment he had received at Torquilstone, made his way to the Preceptory of Templestowe, for the purpose of negotiating his daughter's redemption. Before reaching his destination he was told that Lucas de Beaumanoir, the Grand Master of the Order of the Templars, was then on visit to the preceptory. He had come, the Jew was informed, for the purpose of correcting and punishing many of the members of the body whose conduct had of late been open to severe censure; and he was recognised, besides, as the most tyrannical oppressor of the Jewish people.
In spite of this ominous intelligence, Isaac pursued his way, and on arriving at Templestowe was at once shown into the presence of the Grand Master himself. With fear and trembling he produced the letter of the Prior of Jorvaulx to Bois-Guilbert. Beaumanoir tore open the seal and perused the letter in haste, with an expression of surprise and horror. He had not until then been informed of the presence of the Jewish maiden in the abode of the Templars, and great was his fury and indignation on learning that she was amongst them. He denounced Rebecca as a witch, by whose enchantment Bois-Guilbert had been led to offend against the rules of the Holy Order, and in tones of passion and scorn he refused to listen to Isaac's protestations of her innocence.
"Spurn this Jew from the gate," he said to one of his attendants, "and shoot him dead if he oppose or turn again. With his daughter we will deal as the Christian law and our own high office warrant."
Poor Isaac was hurried off accordingly, and expelled from the preceptory, all his entreaties, and even his offers, unheard and disregarded. He had hitherto feared for his daughter's honour; he was now to tremble for her life.
Orders were at once given by the Grand Master to prepare the great hall of the preceptory for the trial of Rebecca as a sorceress; and even the president of the establishment did not hesitate to aid in procuring false evidence against the unfortunate Jewess, for the purpose of ingratiating himself with Beaumanoir, from whom he had kept secret the presence of Rebecca in the holy precincts.
When the ponderous castle bell had tolled the point of noon, the Jewess was led from her secluded chamber into the great hall in which the Grand Master had for the time established his court of justice. As she passed through the crowd of squires and yeomen, who already filled the lower end of the vast apartment, a scrap of paper was thrust into her hand, which she received almost unconsciously, and continued to hold without examining its contents. The assurance that she possessed some friend in this awful assembly gave her courage to look around, and to mark into whose presence she had been conducted. She gazed accordingly upon a scene which might well have struck terror into a bolder heart than hers.
On an elevated seat at the upper end of the great hall, directly before the accused, sat the Grand Master of the Temple, in full and ample robes of flowing white, holding in his hand the mystic staff, which bore the symbol of the Order. At his feet was placed a table, occupied by two scribes, whose duty it was to record the proceedings of the day. Their chairs were black and formed a marked contrast to the warlike appearance of the knights who attended the solemn gathering. The preceptors, of whom there were four present, occupied seats behind their superiors; and behind them stood the esquires of the Order, robed in white.
The whole assembly wore an aspect of the most profound gravity— the reflection, as it were, of the sombre countenance of the austere and relentless Grand Master. The lower part of the hall was filled with guards and others whom curiosity had drawn together to witness the important and impressive ceremony.
The Grand Master himself, in a short speech, announced the charge against the Jewess; and, on its conclusion, several witnesses were called to prove the risks to which Bois-Guilbert exposed himself in endeavouring to save Rebecca from the blazing castle; while other witnesses testified to the apparent madness of the Templar in bringing the Jewess to the preceptory. A poor Saxon peasant was next dragged forward to the bar, who had been cured of a palsy by the accused. Most unwilling was his testimony, and given with many tears; but he admitted that two years since he had been unable to stir from his bed until the remedies applied by Rebecca's directions had in some degree restored the use of his limbs. With a trembling hand he produced from his bosom a small box of ointment, bearing some Hebrew characters upon the lid, which was, with most of the audience, a sure proof that the devil had stood apothecary.
Witnesses skilled in medicine were then brought forward to prove that they knew nothing of the materials of which the unguent was compounded, and who suggested that it must have been manufactured by means both unlawful and magical. Other witnesses came forward to prove that Rebecca's cures were accomplished by means of mutterings in an unknown tongue, and songs of a sweet, strange sound, which made the ears of the hearer tingle and his heart throb, adding that her garments were of a strange and mystic form, and that she had rings impressed with cabalistic devices, all which were, in those ignorant and superstitious times, easily credited as proofs of guilt.
On the conclusion of this weighty evidence the Grand Master in a solemn tone demanded of Rebecca what she had to say against the sentence of condemnation which he was about to pronounce.
"To invoke your pity," said the lovely Jewess, with a voice somewhat tremulous with emotion, "would, I am aware, be as useless as I should hold it mean. To state that to relieve the sick and wounded of another religion cannot be displeasing to God were also unavailing; to plead that many things which these men (whom may Heaven pardon!) have spoken against me are impossible would avail me but little, since you believe in their possibility, and still less would it advantage me to explain that the peculiarities of my dress, language, and manners are those of my people. I am friendless, defenceless, and the prisoner of my accuser there. He is of your own faith; his lightest word would weigh down the most solemn protestations of the distressed Jewess, and yet to himself, yes, Brian de Bois-Guilbert, to thyself I appeal, whether these accusations are not false?"
There was a pause; all eyes turned to the Templar. He was silent.
"Speak," she said, "if thou art a man; if thou art a Christian, speak! I conjure thee, by the habit which thou dost wear, by the name thou dost inherit, by the honour of thy mother, I conjure thee to say, are these things true?"
"Answer her, brother," said the Grand Master.
"The scroll, the scroll!" was all that Bois-Guilbert uttered in reply, looking to Rebecca.
The Jewess instantly remembered the slip of paper which she continued to hold in her hand, and, looking at it without being observed, she read the words, "Demand a champion!"
"Rebecca," said the Grand Master, who believed the words of Bois- Guilbert had reference to some other writing, "hast thou aught else to say?"
"There is yet one chance of life left to me," said the Jewess, "even by your own fierce laws. I deny this charge; I maintain my innocence. I challenge the privilege of trial by combat, and will appear by my champion. There lies my gage."
She took her embroidered glove from her hand and flung it down before the Grand Master, with an air of mingled simplicity and dignity which excited universal surprise and admiration.
A short consultation then took place between Beaumanoir and the preceptors, in which it was decided that Brian de Bois-Guilbert was the fittest knight to do battle for the Holy Order. To him, accordingly, the glove of Rebecca was handed; and the Jewess was commanded to find a champion by the third day following. It was further intimated to her that should she fail to do so, or if her champion should be discomfited, she should die the death of a sorceress, according to doom.
Being granted permission to communicate with her father, she hastily wrote a few lines in Hebrew to him, imploring him to seek out Wilfred, the son of Cedric, and let him know that she was in sore need of a champion. As it fortuned, the messenger who did her errand had not far to go before he met Isaac of York.
The poor old man, on learning his daughter's terrible condition, was quite overcome; but, cheered in some measure by the kindly words of a rabbi who was with him, he determined, weak and feverish though he was, to make a last effort for the child he loved so dearly. And having said farewell the two Jews parted, Isaac to seek out Ivanhoe, and the rabbi to go to York to look for other assistance.
In the twilight of the day of her trial, if it could be called such, a low knock was heard at the door of Rebecca's prison- chamber; and shortly after Brian de Bois-Guilbert entered the apartment.
She drew back in terror at the sight of the man who had been the cause of all her misfortunes; but he bade her not to be afraid. He had come, he said, to tell her that he was prepared to refuse to do battle for the Templars against her and sacrifice his name and honour as a member of the Holy Order, and that he would leave the preceptory, appear in three days in disguise, and himself be her champion against any knight who should confront him, on one condition: that she should accept him as a lover.
Rebecca listened to his words, and then with scorn refused his offer.
"So be it then, proud damsel," said Bois-Guilbert; "thou hast thyself decided thine own fate. I shall appear in the lists against thy champion, and know that there lives not the knight who may cope with me alone save Richard Coeur-de-Lion and his minion Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe, as thou well knowest, is unable to bear his corslet, and Richard is in a foreign prison. Farewell." And so saying the Templar left the apartment.
Pending this time, so full of terror and anxiety for poor Rebecca, the Black Knight, having left the company of the generous outlaw, held his way to a neighbouring religious house to which the wounded Ivanhoe had been removed when the castle was taken. Here he remained for the night; and the following day he set out for Coningsburgh to attend the obsequies of the deceased Athelstane, Wamba alone being his companion.
They had ridden together for some distance when the quick eye of the jester caught sight of some men in armour concealed in a brake not far from where they were.
Almost immediately after three arrows were discharged from the suspected spot, one of which glanced off the visor of the Black Knight.
"Let us close with them," said the knight, and he rode straight to the thicket. He was met by six or seven men-at-arms, who ran against him with their lances at full career. Three of the weapons struck against him, and splintered with as little effect as if they had been driven against a tower of steel.
The attacking party then drew their swords and assailed him on every side. But many as they were to one they had met their match; and a man reeled and fell at every blow delivered by the Black Knight. His opponents, desperate as they were, now bore back from his deadly blows, and it seemed as if the terror of his single strength was about to gain the battle against such odds when a knight in blue armour, who had kept himself behind the other assailants, spurred forward with his lance, and taking aim, not at the rider but at the steed, wounded the noble animal mortally.
"That was a felon stroke!" exclaimed the Black Knight, as the horse fell to the earth bearing his rider along with him.
At this moment Wamba winded the outlaw's bugle, which he had been given to carry. The sudden sound made the murderers bear back once more, and Wamba did not hesitate to rush in and assist his knight to rise.
"Shame on ye, false cowards!" exclaimed he in the blue harness; "do ye fly from the empty blast of a horn blown by a jester?"
Animated by his words, they attacked the Black Knight anew, whose best refuge was now to place his back against an oak, and defend himself with his sword. The felon knight, who had taken another spear, watching the moment when his formidable antagonist was most closely pressed, galloped against him in hopes to nail him with his lance against the tree; but Wamba, springing forward in good time, checked the fatal career of the Blue Knight, by hamstringing his horse with a stroke of his sword; and horse and man went heavily to the ground. Almost immediately after, a band of yeomen, headed by Locksley, broke forth from the glade, who, joining manfully in the fray, soon disposed of the ruffians, all of whom lay on the spot dead, or mortally wounded.
The visor of the Blue Knight, who still lay entangled under his wounded steed, was now opened, and the features of Waldemar Fitzurse were disclosed.
"Stand back, my masters," said the Black Knight to those about him; "I would speak with this man alone. And now, Waldemar Fitzurse, say me the truth: confess who set thee on this traitorous deed."
"Richard," answered the fallen knight, "it was thy father's son."
Richard's eyes sparkled with indignation, but his better nature overcame it. "Take thy life unasked," he said; "but, on this condition, that in three days thou shalt leave England, and that thou wilt never mention the name of John of Anjou as connected with thy felony." Then, turning to where the yeomen stood apart, he said, "Let this knight have a steed, Locksley, and let him depart unharmed. Thou bearest an English heart, and must needs obey me. I am Richard of England!"
At these words the yeomen kneeled down before him, tendering their allegiance, while they implored pardon for their offences.
"Rise, my friends," said Richard. "Your misdemeanours have been atoned by the loyal services you rendered my distressed subjects before the walls of Torquilstone, and the rescue you have this day afforded your sovereign. Arise, my liegemen, and be good subjects in future. And thou, brave Locksley—"
"Call me no longer Locksley, my liege," said the outlaw; "I am Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest."
Before many more minutes had gone a sylvan repast was hastily prepared beneath a huge oak-tree for the King of England. Amongst those who partook of the forest hospitality of the outlaws were Ivanhoe and Gurth, who just then came on the scene, the former now all but cured of his wound, thanks to the healing balsam with which he had been provided by Rebecca the Jewess.
When the feast was concluded, the king, attended by Ivanhoe, Wamba, and Gurth, proceeded on his way to Coningsburgh. As the travellers approached the ancient Saxon fortress, they could see the huge black banner floating from the top of the tower, which announced that the obsequies of the late owner were still in the act of being solemnized. All around the castle was a scene of busy commotion, the whole countryside being gathered from far and near to partake of the funeral banquet. Cooks and mendicants, strolling soldiers from Palestine, pedlars, mechanics, wandering palmers, hedge-priests, Saxon minstrels and Welsh bards, together with jesters and jugglers, formed a motley and hungry gathering, such as could only be seen on the occasion which now brought them together; and through this riotous crowd Richard and his followers with difficulty made their way.
As they entered the apartment where Cedric sat, Ivanhoe muffled his face in his mantle. Upon the entrance of Richard, the Saxon arose gravely to bid him welcome. Having greeted him and his friends with the mournful ceremony suited to the occasion, Cedric led his knightly guest to another apartment, where he was about to leave him, when the Black Knight took his hand.
"I crave to remind you, noble thane," he said, "that when we last parted you promised to grant me a boon."
"It is granted ere named, noble knight," said Cedric, still unaware that he was speaking to the king.
"Know me, then, from henceforth," said the Black Knight, "as Richard Plantagenet; the boon I crave is that thou wilt forgive and receive to thy paternal affection this good knight here, Wilfred of Ivanhoe."
"And this is Wilfred!" said Cedric, pointing to his son.
"My father! my father!" said Ivanhoe, prostrating himself at Cedric's feet, "grant me thy forgiveness!"
"Thou hast it, my son," said Cedric, raising him up. But he had scarce uttered the words when the door flew open, and Athelstane, arrayed in the garments of the grave, stood before them, pale, haggard, and like something arisen from the dead.
The effect of this apparition on the persons present was utterly appalling. Cedric started back in amazement. Ivanhoe crossed himself, repeating prayers in Saxon, Latin, and Norman-French, while Richard alternately said "Benedicite" and swore, "Mort de ma vie!"
"In the name of God," said Cedric, starting back, "if thou art mortal, speak! Living or dead, noble Athelstane, speak to Cedric!"
"I will," said the spectre, "when I have collected breath. Alive, saidst thou? I am as much alive as he can be who has fed on bread and water for three days. I went down under the Templar's sword, stunned, indeed, but unwounded, for the blade struck me flatlings, being averted by the good mace with which I warded the blow. Others, of both sides, were beaten down and slaughtered above me, so that I never recovered my senses until I found myself in a coffin—an open one, by good luck—placed before the altar in church."
Having concluded his story, still breathless with excitement, he looked about him. He had caught a glimpse of Ivanhoe as he first came into the apartment, but had lost sight of him owing to the crowd of eager listeners by which the room was now thronged. Filled with a spirit of generosity to his rival, he took the hand of Rowena, who stood beside him, and was about to place it in that of Ivanhoe, when it was found that Wilfred had vanished from the room.
It was at length discovered that a Jew had been to seek the knight, and that, after a very brief conference, he had called for Gurth and his armour, and had left the castle. King Richard was also gone, and no one knew whither.
Meanwhile, the tiltyard of the Preceptory of Templestowe was prepared for the combat which should decide the life or death of Rebecca. As the hour approached which was to determine the fate of the unfortunate Jewess, a vast multitude had gathered to witness a spectacle even in that age but seldom seen.
At one end of the lists arose the throne of the Grand Master, surrounded with seats for the preceptors and the knights of the Order, over which floated the sacred standard of the Templars.
At the opposite end was a pile of faggots, so arranged around a stake, deeply fixed in the ground, as to leave a space for the victim whom they were destined to consume. Close by stood four black slaves, whose colour and African features, then so little known in England, appalled the multitude, who gazed on them as demons.
Soon the slow and sullen sounds of the great church bell chilled with awe the hearts of the assembled crowd; and before long the Grand Master, preceded by a stately retinue, approached his throne. Behind him came Brian de Bois-Guilbert, armed cap-a-pie in bright armour, but looking ghastly pale. A long procession followed, and next a guard of warders on foot, in sable livery, amidst whom might be seen the pale form of the accused maiden. All her ornaments had been removed, and a coarse white dress, of the simplest form, had been substituted for her Oriental garments; yet there was such an exquisite mixture of courage and resignation in her look that even in this garb, and with no other ornament than her long black tresses, each eye wept that looked upon her.
The unfortunate Jewess was conducted to a black chair placed near the pile; and soon after a loud and long flourish of trumpets announced that the court were seated for judgment.
There was a dead pause of many minutes.
"No champion appears for the appellant," said the Grand Master.
Another pause succeeded; and then the knights whispered to each other that it was time to declare the pledge of Rebecca forfeited. At this instant a knight, urging his horse to speed, appeared on the plain advancing towards the lists. A hundred voices exclaimed, "A champion! A champion!" and amidst a ringing cheer the knight rode into the tilt-yard, although his horse appeared to reel from fatigue.
To the summons of the herald, who demanded his rank, his name, and purpose, the stranger answered, raising his helmet as he spoke, "I am Wilfred of Ivanhoe."
"I will not fight with thee at present," said Bois-Guilbert. "Get thy wounds healed."
"Ha! proud Templar," said Ivanhoe, "hast thou forgotten that twice didst thou fall before this lance? I will proclaim thee a coward in every court in Europe unless thou do battle without farther delay."
"Dog of a Saxon!" said the Templar, "take thy lance, and prepare for the death thou hast drawn upon thee!"
At once each champion took his place, the trumpets sounded, and the knights charged each other in full career. The wearied horse of Ivanhoe, and its no less exhausted rider, went down, as all had expected, before the well-aimed lance and vigorous steed of the Templar. But although the spear of Ivanhoe did but touch the shield of Bois-Guilbert, that champion, to the astonishment of all who beheld it, reeled in his saddle, lost his stirrups, and fell in the lists.
Ivanhoe was soon on foot, hastening to mend his fortune with his sword; but his antagonist arose not. Wilfred, placing his foot on his breast, and the sword's point to his throat, commanded him to yield him, or die on the spot. Bois-Guilbert returned no answer.
"Slay him not, sir knight," cried the Grand Master. "We allow him vanquished."
He descended into the lists, and commanded them to unhelm the conquered champion. His eyes were closed; the dark red flush was still on his brow. As they looked on him in astonishment the eyes opened, but they were fixed and glazed. The flush passed from his brow, and gave way to the pallid hue of death.
Unscathed by the lance of his enemy, he had died a victim to the violence of his own contending passions.
"This is indeed the judgment of God," said the Grand Master, looking upwards; "Thy will be done!"
Turning then to Wilfred of Ivanhoe, he said, "I pronounce the maiden free and guiltless. The arms and the body of the deceased knight are at the will of the victor."
His further speech was interrupted by a clattering of horses' feet, and the Black Knight, followed by a numerous band of men- at-arms, galloped into the lists.
At a glance he saw how matters stood. "Bohun," he said, addressing one of his attendant knights, "do thine office."
The officer stepped forward, and, laying his hand on the shoulder of Albert de Malvoisin, said, "I arrest thee of high treason."
"Who dares to arrest a Knight of the Temple in my presence?" said the Grand Master; "and by whose authority is this bold outrage offered?"
"By my authority," said the king, raising his visor, "and by the order of Richard Plantagenet who stands before you."
While he spoke the royal standard of England was seen to float over the towers of the preceptory instead of the Temple banner; and before long the followers of the king were in complete possession of the entire castle.
Meanwhile Rebecca, giddy and almost senseless at the rapid change of circumstances, was locked in the arms of her aged father; and shortly after the two retreated hurriedly from the lists.
Not many days passed before the nuptials of Wilfred and the fair Rowena were celebrated in the noble minster of York, attended by the king in person.
On the second morning after this happy bridal Rebecca was shown into the apartment of the Lady of Ivanhoe. She had come, she said, to pay the debt of gratitude which she owed to Wilfred, and to ask his wife to transmit to him her grateful farewell. She prayed that God might bless their union, and, as she rose to leave, she handed Rowena a casket filled with most precious jewels. "Accept them, lady," she said; "to me they are valueless; I will never wear jewels more. My father and I, we are going to a far country where at least we shall dwell in liberty. He to whom I dedicate my future life will be my Comforter if I do His will. Say this to thy lord should he chance to inquire after the fate of her whose life he saved." She then hastened to bid Rowena adieu, and glided from the apartment.
Wilfred lived long and happily with his bride, for they were attached to each other by the bonds of early affection, and they loved each other the more from the recollection of the obstacles which had so long impeded their union.
Retold by Sir Edward Sullivan
The Castle of Ellangowan was an old and massive structure, situated by the seashore in the southwestern part of Scotland. It had been for many years the dwelling-place of a family named Bertram, each of whom had in succession borne the title of the Laird of Ellangowan. They had once been people of wealth and importance in the neighbourhood; but through lack of prudence and other misfortunes, they had, one after another, lost much of the greatness and prosperity which had belonged to them in better days. One of their number became at last so poor that he could no longer maintain the old family residence; so he contented himself with occupying a much smaller house which he had himself built, from the windows of which he could still look out on the ancient abode of his forefathers, as it dwindled year by year to the condition of a neglected ruin.
At the time that our story commences, one Godfrey Bertram was the Laird of Ellangowan, and the owner of the now diminished estates. He was a good-tempered, easy-going kind of man, and became, in consequence, very popular with all the poorer people of the district, and especially with the gipsies, a large number of whom were at all times to be found in the neighbourhood.
His wife had brought him a little money when he married; and he and she continued to lead a quiet and not unhappy life in their new home. Amongst Mr. Bertram's most intimate companions in his retirement was one Abel Sampson, a tall and awkward-looking man, with a harsh voice and huge feet, who was known to the people around as "the dominie." He was a man who spoke but little, and generally used very long words when he did; but he had a kindly and good-natured heart. He was for a time the parish schoolmaster at the village of Kippletringan, which was close to Ellangowan, and was employed now and then as a kind of clerk by the laird.
The village of Kippletringan was situated a little distance from the sea; and although the neighbourhood was dignified by the possession of a customhouse, the place was still the favourite haunt of a large body of desperate and determined smugglers, who, it was supposed, were assisted by many of the small shopkeepers of the locality in disposing of the contraband goods which were surreptitiously brought from foreign parts.
One cloudy November evening, a young traveller, Guy Mannering by name, just come from the University of Oxford, was making his way with difficulty over the wild and lonely moorland which extended for many miles on the outskirts of the village. He had lost the road to Kippletringan, whither he was bound, but was lucky enough to find a guide to conduct him there before he had gone completely astray; and late at night he arrived at Godfrey Bertram's house, where he was hospitably welcomed by the owner. Supper was got ready, a good bottle of wine was opened, and the laird and the dominic and Guy Mannering were enjoying themselves comfortably, when the conversation was interrupted by the shrill voice of someone coming upstairs.
"It's Meg Merrilies, the gipsy, as sure as I'm a sinner," said Mr. Bertram; and, as the door opened, a tall woman, full six feet high, with weather-beaten features and hair as black as midnight, stepped into the room.
Her appearance was altogether of so strange a kind, that it made Mannering start. After some conversation with the laird, the gipsy woman informed him that she had come to tell the fortune of his little son, who was born that night, and asked to be told the exact hour of his birth.
Now Guy Mannering himself, amongst other accomplishments, possessed a knowledge of the stars; and on learning the time at which young Bertram was born, he went outside to study the heavens, with a view to foretelling what the future of the child would be.
The sky had become beautifully clear, for the rising wind had swept away the clouds with which it had been previously overcast, and the observer was enabled to note carefully the positions of the principal planets, from which he made out that three periods of the infant's life would be attended by great danger to him, namely, his fifth, his tenth, and his twenty-first year.
On the morning following, Mannering strolled out towards the old castle, thinking to himself whether he should tell Mr. Bertram what he had learned from the stars respecting his young son's future life. The castle was merely a ruin at this time, and as he wandered amidst the gloomy remnants of the ancient structure, his attention was arrested by the voice of the gipsy whom he had seen the night before. He soon found an opening in one of the walls through which he could observe Meg Merrilies without himself being seen.
She was sitting on a broken stone, in a strange, wild dress, and engaged in spinning a thread drawn from wool of three different colours. She was at the same time half singing and half muttering a kind of charm, which seemed to have reference to the child which had been born the night before; and as she finished, Mannering heard her murmur something about the thread of life being three times broken and three times mended, and distinctly heard her say: "He'll be a lucky lad an he win through wi't." [Footnote: "He will be a lucky lad if he lives through it."]
He was about to speak to the gipsy, when he heard a hoarse voice calling to her in angry tones from outside, and in a moment after, a man, who was apparently a sea-captain, came in to where Meg Merrilies was seated.
He was short in height, but prodigiously muscular, strong, and thick-set, with a surly and savage scowl upon his unpleasant features. He spoke with a foreign accent, and upbraided the gipsy for keeping him waiting so long, ordering her, with a curse, to come and bless his ship before it set out on its voyage. While still addressing the gipsy, he caught sight of Guy Mannering, and was about to draw a weapon against him, when she told him that he was a friend of Mr. Bertram's. He then introduced himself to Mannering, and said his name was Dirck Hatteraick, the captain of the vessel that was lying off the shore. Mannering wished him good-day shortly after, and as he saw him embarking in a small boat, he was convinced, from his conversation and appearance, that the captain was a smuggler.
On returning to the new house at Ellangowan, Mannering learned from Mr. Bertram that this Dirck Hatteraick was the terror of all the excise and custom-house cruisers, with which he had had many a fierce fight.
Before Guy Mannering took his departure from Ellangowan, Mr. Bertram asked him the result of his studying the stars on the preceding night, and, in reply, was handed a paper by Mannering, which he was told he should keep in a sealed envelope for five whole years.
When the visitor had gone, Mrs. Bertram, the mother of the baby boy, was very anxious to read the paper, for she was a superstitious lady; but after a struggle with her curiosity, she contented herself with making a small velvet bag, into which she sewed the paper, and the whole was then hung as a charm round the neck of her young child.
Time rolled on, and when little Harry Bertram grew to be four years old, he was already a great favourite with Dominie Sampson, who had acted as his tutor and was his constant companion. But just about this time the Laird of Ellangowan was appointed one of the magistrates of the county; and shortly after his appointment he began, little by little, to become very unpopular with the gipsies, with whom he had before been such a favourite. He thought it his duty now to punish and exterminate all amongst them who were poachers and trespassers, and caused even the poor beggars at his door to be sent to the workhouse.
One tribe of these gipsies, amongst whom Meg Merrilies was a kind of queen, had lived for a long time unmolested in a few huts in a glen upon the estate of Ellangowan, at a place called Derncleugh. It was a miserable and squalid village, but for all that Mr. Bertram was determined to evict them and all their poor belongings. He was no doubt doing as the law directed him, but, as far as concerned the inhabitants of Derncleugh, he was acting with great harshness, for Meg Merrilies had all along shown a strong affection for his boy, little Harry Bertram.
The day of eviction came at length, and a large body of men under the direction of Frank Kennedy, a custom-house officer, made their way to the miserable village, and on the gipsies refusing to leave peaceably, proceeded to unroof their cottages and pull down the wretched doors and windows. There was no resistance, and when the work was ended, the now homeless tribe gathered together the remnants of their property, and set forth with sullen and revengeful thoughts to look for a new settlement.
Mr. Bertram had been some distance from home on the day of the eviction; but on returning in the evening he met the troop of gipsies. Some of the men muttered angry remarks as he passed them on the road, but he thought it best to make no answer. Meg Merrilies had, however, lagged behind the rest, and was standing alone on a high bank above the road as the laird went by. Her dress was even stranger than usual, and her black hair hung loose about her, while her dark eyes flashed angrily. She had a light sapling in her hand, and as the laird looked up to where she stood, she said to him:
"Ride your ways, Laird of Ellangowan! ride your ways, Godfrey Bertram! This day have ye quenched seven smoking hearths—see if your own fire burn the blither for that. Ye have riven the roof off seven cottar houses—look if your own roof-tree stand the faster. Ride your ways, Godfrey Bertram! what do ye glower after our folk for? There's thirty hearts there that would have spent their life-blood ere ye had scratched your finger. Yes, there's thirty yonder, from the old wife of an hundred to the babe that was born last week, that ye have turned out o' their houses, to sleep with the black-cock in the moors! Ride your ways, Ellan- gowan! Our bairns are hanging at our weary backs; look that your braw cradle at home be the fairer spread up. Not that I am wishing ill to little Harry, God forbid! So ride your way, for these are the last words ye'll ever hear Meg Merrilies speak, and this is the last twig that I'll ever cut in the bonny woods of Ellangowan."
And having uttered this dark and threatening speech, she turned contemptuously from him, to join her comrades in misfortune.
Meanwhile, the smugglers under their captain, Dirck Hatteraick, had been carrying on their lawless trade as usual, and the Laird of Ellangowan was as determined to put them down as he had been to get rid of the gipsies. He was actively assisted in his endeavours against them by the same Frank Kennedy who had carried out the eviction of Meg Merrilies and her companions, and the smugglers had sworn to be revenged upon their enemy.
On the day that young Harry Bertram was five years old, Dirck Hatteraick's ship was in the bay outside the village of Kippletringan. A sloop of war in the king's service was pursuing it in order to seize the smuggled goods which were on board, when Frank Kennedy, looking out, saw that Hatteraick was likely to escape, as he had got his vessel round a headland called Warroch Point, where it was concealed from the sloop, unless someone went down to the Point and made a signal to the pursuers.
He accordingly mounted his horse and galloped off. On his way he happened to meet little Bertram, who was walking with the dominie, and as he had often promised to give the child a ride, he took him up on his nag, and rode off towards the Point.
Shortly afterwards the discharges of several cannon were heard, and after an interval a still louder explosion, as of a vessel blown up.
As evening came on, Mr. and Mrs. Bertram were expecting little Harry to come home, and as he did not return, became very uneasy about him. After waiting for him in anxiety for some time, the news came in that Kennedy's horse had come back riderless to its stable.
All was now bustle at Ellangowan. The laird and his servants rushed away to the wood of Warroch; but they searched long and in vain for any trace of Kennedy or the boy. It was already growing dark, when a shrill and piercing shout was heard from the sea- shore under the wood, and on hurrying to the place, Mr. Bertram was horrified to see the dead body of Frank Kennedy lying on the beach, right under a high precipice of rocks.
In his wild dismay and terror for his child, and remembering the words of Meg Merrilies, the laird hurried away to Derncleugh, hoping to get some news of him from any of the gipsies who might still be lingering round the place. He wandered amongst the ruins of the cottages, where he found no one, although he noticed the remains of a fire in one of the huts. After a little, one of his servants came running to him and told him to come home at once— that Mrs. Bertram was dying. Half stupefied, he went back; but only to find that his wife was dead, that a little daughter had been born to him, and that his boy was gone.
The sheriff of the county arrived next morning and opened an inquiry. The wood was again searched, with the result that traces of a struggle were found near the top of the cliff, over the place where Kennedy's body was found lying. Footprints of men and of a small boy were seen here and there. Witnesses who were examined said that they had seen the smuggler's ship grounding, and taking fire, and finally blowing up with a great explosion; but no one could say what had become of its crew. The gipsies were suspected, and Meg Merrilies was arrested; but when questioned she denied that she had been at the place. They found, however, a cut upon her arm; and on removing the handkerchief with which she had it bounda it was found to be marked with the name of Harry Bertram.
No further evidence could be procured of her guilt, and she was at length set free, under sentence of banishment from the county.
For many years after this Mr. Bertram continued to live a solitary and mournful life at Ellangowan. The poor dominie never ceased to blame himself for the loss of the boy, as Harry was in his charge on the day on which he had disappeared; but he still lived with the laird as before, and was chiefly employed in teaching Bertram's daughter, little Lucy, who was now growing up into a gentle and bonny girl.
The laird had been always a bad man of business, and after his wife's death he got into the hands of a scheming and dishonest attorney named Glossin, who in the end craftily succeeded in making himself rich at the expense of his employer.
The debts of the laird became at length so many that the property at Ellangowan had to be mortgaged, and things ultimately went so badly with the poor owner, that the men to whom he owed so much money determined to insist on the estate being sold, together with the house and all the furniture.
It was rumoured, too, amongst the country-folk that Glossin was the man, of all others, who was most eager to turn the Bertrams out of their house, in order that he might buy the property himself, and become the Laird of Ellangowan.
Now the property in Ellangowan had been what is called "settled" in such a way that it could not be sold if Mr. Bertram had a son living. It was therefore likely to be disposed of very cheap, as no one knew for certain that young Bertram was dead; while if he should happen to be alive, there was still a chance of his coming back and claiming the estates.
When Glossin, the attorney, found that there was no more to be got out of his client in the way of money, he commenced openly to show the wickedness of his bad and cruel nature; and the very sight of him became hateful to the unhappy Godfrey Bertram.
So things went on until Lucy Bertram was seventeen years old, and her father had become a weak and poor old man, and then Glossin determined to play his last card.
The estates of Ellangowan were advertised to be sold to the highest bidder, and a day was fixed for the auction.
Before describing how the sale took place, it will be necessary to tell something of Guy Mannering, who, as will be remembered, had left Ellangowan shortly after the day that young Harry Bertram was born.
He became a soldier; and having served for a long time in India, was appointed colonel of his regiment. His wife and daughter were with him there, and they had become very intimate with a young officer in the same regiment, called Vanbeest Brown, who, it was supposed, had came from Holland, where he had previously been engaged in trade of some kind. Colonel Mannering, for some reason, never cared for Brown, but chiefly because he had foolishly listened to the dishonourable suggestions of a friend, who, for reasons of his own, had secretly poisoned his mind against the young officer. The dislike ripened after some time into an open quarrel, followed by a duel between the colonel and his subaltern, in which, after exchanging shots, Mannering believed he killed his adversary. Mrs. Mannering died shortly after, and the colonel and his daughter returned to England.
Now it so happened that Colonel Mannering arrived at the village of Kippletringan a day or two before the time at which the sale of Ellangowan was to take place. He was much distressed at hearing the pitiable account that was given to him of his old friend, Godfrey Bertram; and the idea at once occurred to him that he would buy the property himself, and by doing so help the laird.
Accordingly, on the day of the auction, he made his way to Ellangowan House, where he was told, on inquiry, that the old laird was dangerously ill, and was to be found up at the ruined castle in company with his daughter. Thither Colonel Mannering went to look for him. He found old Mr. Bertram sitting in an easy- chair on the slope beside the castle with his feet wrapped in blankets, and beside him his daughter and the dominie, and a handsome young man whom he did not recognise, but who, he afterwards learned, was a gentleman called Charles Hazlewood, who was deeply in love with Miss Bertram.
Mannering was much affected when the old laird failed to remember him, for he had not forgotten his hospitable kindness many years before, on the night when little Harry was born. While he was engaged in conversation with Miss Bertram and her companion, a voice was heard close by, which Lucy at once recognised as that of her father's enemy, Glossin, and she sent the dominie to keep him away. The sound of the voice had, however, also reached the old man's ears. He started up on hearing it, and turning towards Glossin, he addressed him in tones of passion and indignation.
"Out of my sight, ye viper," he said; "ye frozen viper that I warmed till ye stung me! Are ye not afraid that the walls of my father's dwelling should fall and crush ye, limb and bone? Were ye not friendless, houseless, penniless, when I took ye by the hand; and are ye not expelling me—me, and that innocent girl— friendless, houseless, and penniless, from the house that has sheltered us and ours for a thousand years?"
A few moments after, the carriage was announced, in which Lucy Bertram and her father were to leave their home; but it was no longer necessary. The old Laird of Ellangowan was so exhausted by his last effort of indignant anger, that when he sunk upon his chair, he expired almost without a struggle or a groan.
The sale of the property was then postponed until after the funeral; and Colonel Mannering, having done what he could for Miss Bertram in her unhappy condition, left the neighbourhood with the intention of returning in time for the adjourned sale, for the purpose of buying the estate.
The appointed hour for the auction at length arrived, but Colonel Mannering had not come back. No one had even received a letter from him; and in his absence, as there was no other bidder, the infamous Glossin was declared to be the lawful purchaser, and a new Laird of Ellangowan.
At six o'clock that night a drunken post-boy reached the village with a letter from the colonel, containing instructions to buy the property. It had been delayed on its way, and was now no longer of any use.
Poor Lucy Bertram now found herself an orphan without house or home; but the kindness of some neighbours named Mac-Morlan, to some extent, assuaged the misery of her position. They insisted on her coming to live with them and Mr. Mac-Morlan even offered the dominie a clerkship in his establishment, where he might still be near his lady pupil, to whom, in spite of his strange and awkward ways, he was devotedly attached for her father's sake.
When Colonel Mannering, after the death of Mr. Bertram, left Ellangowan with the intention of coming back to buy the property, he travelled some distance, and after a while came to a post-town where he expected some letters. He received one letter, which displeased him very much, from a great friend of his who was living in the north of England, Mr. Mervyn by name, in whose care he had left his daughter, Julia Mannering, when he was starting for Kippletringan. This letter informed him that Miss Mannering was being serenaded at night from the lake beside the house by some unknown stranger, who had, however, disappeared before the letter was written.
On reading this intelligence the colonel hastened at once to Mr. Mervyn's residence, having first sent off the instructions in reference to the purchase of the Ellangowan estate which, as already said, arrived too late.
The lover who had been serenading Julia Mannering was in reality, the same Vanbeest Brown whom she had known in India, and with whom her father had fought the duel. Colonel Mannering had, however, no idea that Brown was still alive, and the daughter was afraid to tell her father that he was. Captain Brown, as he was now known, was a handsome and gallant young fellow; and, having returned to England with his regiment, and being still deeply devoted to Miss Mannering, he had lost no time in making his way to where she was staying in the house of Mr. Mervyn, her father's friend.
When Mannering arrived at Mr. Mervyn's, he said very little about the information which had been the cause of his return; but he told his daughter that he had taken a place near Kippletringan, called Woodbourne, where he meant to reside for some time. He also told her that she would have a pleasant companion in Lucy Bertram, the daughter of an old friend of his, who was going to stay with them in his new house.
Accordingly, as soon as Woodbourne was made ready to receive them, the colonel and his daughter Julia took up their residence there, and Lucy Bertram became their guest. Another inmate of the new house was the dominie, for whom Colonel Mannering had a liking, and who, he knew, could not bear to be parted altogether from Miss Bertram, whose tutor he had been from her earliest days. When the poor half-cracked dominie heard that he was to be employed as Colonel Mannering's librarian, his joy knew no bounds; and on seeing the large number of old books which were committed to his charge he became almost crazy with delight, and shouted his favourite word, "Pro-di-gi-ous!" till the roof rung to his raptures.
After a little time Lucy Bertram and Miss Mannering became fast friends, but the latter was careful never to say anything to her new companion about her lover, Captain Brown.
Now, Brown, when he found that Julia Mannering had gone to Woodbourne, determined to follow her, with the purpose of resuming his addresses, and he accordingly set out on foot towards the North.
It was a fine clear frosty winter's day when he found himself in the wilds of Cumberland on his way to his destination in Scotland. He had walked for some distance, when he stopped at a small public-house to procure refreshment. He here fell in with a farmer named Dandie Dinmont, a big, rollicking fellow, with an honest face and kindly ways, with whom he became friends in a very little time.
There was another person, however, in the inn on whom Brown could not avoid repeatedly fixing his eyes—a tall, witch-like woman. It was Meg Merrilies the gipsy; but time had grizzled her raven locks, and added many wrinkles to her wild features. As he looked at her, he could not help saying to himself: "Have I dreamed of such a figure?"
As he was asking himself the question, the gipsy suddenly made two strides towards him and seized his hand, at the same time saying to him:
"In God's name, young man, tell me your name, and whence you come!"
"My name is Brown, mother, and I come from the East Indies," he answered.
On hearing his answer she dropped his hand with a sigh, and said:
"It cannot be, then—it cannot be; but be what ye will, ye have a face and a tongue that puts me in mind of old times." As Brown took his departure on foot, the gipsy looked after him and muttered to herself: "I maun [Footnote: I must.] see that lad again."
The traveller had gone a considerable distance across the lonely moorland through which his road lay, when his little dog Wasp began to bark furiously at something in front of them. Brown quickened his pace, and soon caught sight of the subject of the terrier's alarm. In a hollow, a little below him, was his late companion Dandie Dinmont, engaged with two other men in a desperate struggle. In a moment Brown, who was both strong and active, came to the rescue; and, after a short fight, the two would-be murderers of the farmer were flying for their own lives across the heath, pursued by Wasp. Dinmont then took his friend upon his pony, and they succeeded after some time in reaching Charlie's Hope, the farmer's home, where they were welcomed by his wife and a large troop of children.
The next few days were spent salmon spearing, and hunting otters on the hills in the neighbourhood. One of the huntsmen, of whom there were a large number out, was a dark-featured man, resembling a gipsy in his appearance; and Brown noticed that whenever he approached him he endeavoured to hide his face. He could not remember, however, having ever seen the man before; but he learned, on asking about him, that he was a stranger in those parts, who had come from the south-west of Scotland, and that his name was Gabriel. Nothing further was known about him at Charlie's Hope.
Brown's visit to Dandie Dinmont was now at an end, and he again took the road for Woodbourne, the residence of Julia Mannering.
He had hired a chaise and horses, but had not gone far on the wild road to Kippletringan when night came on and the snow fell heavily; and shortly after, to make matters worse, the driver missed the way. When the horses were unable to proceed any further, Brown dismounted from the carriage in order to look for a house where he could ask the way; and as he wandered through the plantations which skirted the road, he saw a light in the distance amongst the trees. After traversing a deep and dangerous glen, he reached the house from which the light shone. It was an old and ruinous building. Before approaching the door, he peeped in through an aperture in the ruined wall, and saw in the room inside the figure of a man, stretched on a straw bed, with a blanket thrown over it. He could see that the man was dying. A woman clad in a long cloak was sitting by the bedside, and moistening at times the lips of the man with some liquid. She was singing a low monotonous strain.
She paused in her singing, and Brown heard a few deep groans come from the dying man.
"It will not be," she muttered to herself. "He cannot pass away with that on his mind; I must open the door."
Brown stood before her as she opened the door, and he at once recognised the same gipsy woman whom he had met in the inn a few days before. He noticed, too, that there was a roll of linen about the dying man's head, which was deeply stained with blood.
"Wretched woman, who has done this?" exclaimed Brown.
And the gipsy answered: "They that were permitted;" and she added after a few moments, "He's dead now."
Sounds of voices at a distance were now heard. "They are coming," said she to Brown; "you are a dead man." He was about to rush out, when the gipsy seized him with a strong grasp. "Here," she said, "here, be still, and you are safe; stir not, whatever you see or hear, and nothing shall befall you!"
She made him lie down among a parcel of straw, and covered him carefully; and then resumed her song.
Brown, though a soldier and a brave one, was terrified as he lay in his hiding-place. Peeping out through the straw, he saw five rough-looking men come in who seemed to be gipsies and sailors. They closed round the fire and commenced to drink, holding consultation together in a strange gibberish which he could not altogether understand. Whenever the gipsy woman addressed them, she spoke angrily to them; and more than once she called them murderers; they, however, did not seem to mind her.
They continued drinking and talking for a considerable time, but all that Brown could make out was that there was someone whom they were going to murder. They also referred to a murder committed some twenty years before, in which their dead companion had had a hand.
After some time spent in this way, one of the party went out and brought in a portmanteau, which Brown at once recognised as the one he had left in the chaise. They ripped it open, and after examining the contents, which included all the owner's ready money, with the exception of a trifling sum in his pocket, they divided the whole amongst them. Then they drank more; and it was not until morning that they left the building. When they left, they carried the dead body with them.
No sooner were they well outside, than Meg Merrilies got up from where she had been pretending to be asleep, and told Brown to follow her instantly. Brown obeyed with alacrity, feeling that he was already out of reach of danger when the villains had gone out; but before leaving he took up a cutlass belonging to one of the five, and brought it with him in the belief that he might yet have to fight with them for his life. The snow lay on the ground as he and the gipsy came out, and as he followed her he noticed that she chose the track the men had taken, so that her footprints might not be seen.
After a while, however, she turned from the track, and led the way up a steep and rugged path under the snow-laden trees, and on reaching a place some distance farther on, she pointed out the direction of Kippletringan, and told her companion to make what speed he could. Brown was entirely at a loss to make out the reason the gipsy had for taking such an interest in preserving his life from her comrades; and was even more puzzled by her conduct when she took an old purse from her pocket before parting, and gave it to him.
She said as she handed it to him: "Many's the alms your house has given Meg and hers." And Brown, as he thanked her for her kindness, asked her how he could repay the money she had given him.
"I have two boons to crave," answered the gipsy, speaking low and hastily: "one is that you will never speak of what you have seen this night; the other, that when I next call for you, be it in church or market, at wedding or at burial, meal-time or fasting, that ye leave everything else and come with me."
"That will do you little good, mother," answered Brown.
"But 'twill do yourself much good," replied Meg Merrilies. "I know what I am asking, and I know it has been the will of God to preserve you in strange dangers, and that I shall be the means to set you in your father's seat again. So give your promise, and mind that you owe your life to me this blessed night."
When Brown had promised, she parted from him, and was soon out of sight.
The young soldier could come to no other conclusion but that the woman was mad; and having in this way solved the mystery to his own satisfaction, he strode quickly on through the wood in search of the highroad to Kippletringan.
He reached the village at length, and engaged a room at the Gordon Arms, a comfortable inn kept by a Mrs. Mac-Candlish. On opening the purse which the gipsy had given him, he was astonished to find that it contained money and jewels worth about a hundred pounds. He accordingly entrusted it to the landlady of the inn for safe keeping.
The day after his arrival at the village of Kippletringan, he determined to see Miss Mannering; and learning that she was likely to be found with a party of skaters on a lake in the neighbourhood, he proceeded in that direction.
The skating party, of whom Julia Mannering was one, consisted of herself and Lucy Bertram, and young Charles Hazlewood, who, as before mentioned, was Miss Bertram's lover. Having spent some time upon the ice, they were returning to Woodbourne through the plantation. Hazlewood, who had a gun with him, had offered his arm to Miss Mannering, who was tired after skating, as they walked towards home. When they had proceeded some little distance in this way, Brown happened to meet them. He was wearing the rough suit in which he had spent the night in the gipsy's house, having been unable to procure a change on account of his portmanteau having been stolen.
Julia Mannering, who had had no intimation that her old lover was in the district, uttered a scream when she suddenly saw him standing before her; and Hazlewood, fancying from the rough appearance of the stranger that he was either a gipsy or a tramp, pointed his gun towards him, and ordered him to keep off.
Brown, in a fit of jealousy, and fearing that the gun might go off, rushed upon Hazlewood and seized the fowling-piece. But in the struggle which ensued between them it was discharged by accident, and young Hazlewood fell to the ground, wounded in the shoulder.
Brown, when he saw what had occurred, became frightened at the thought of the dangers of his position. He bounded over a hedge which divided the footpath from the plantation, and was not heard of again for a considerable time.
On the news of Hazlewood's being wounded getting abroad, the neighbourhood was thrown into a ferment of indignation. All the circumstances of the occurrence were exaggerated. It was universally believed that the attacking party was a smuggler or a gipsy, and that he had attempted in broad daylight to murder the young man. It was stated that the assailant had been seen earlier in the day wearing a smuggler's cutlass; and the purse which had been left at the inn was opened and found to contain property which had been previously stolen. Charles Hazlewood himself, however, continued to protest that the wounding was accidental; while the only person who could give any real account of the mysterious stranger, namely Julia Mannering, for reasons best known to herself, never pretended that she had any idea who he was.
Amongst those who were most active in their endeavours to capture the missing Brown was Glossin, the new Laird of Ellangowan. It was plain, too, that he had some other motive for apprehending him than merely the desire to do his duty as a magistrate of the county, which he had now become.
On returning to his house one day, he was informed that Mac- Guffog, the thief-taker, had made a prisoner, and that he was waiting with him in the kitchen. When the prisoner was introduced to the magistrate's room, Glossin at once recognised that it was Dirck Hatteraick, the smuggler captain.
In the interview which took place between them, no one else being present, it transpired that Glossin had been a kind of partner with the smuggler at the time of Kennedy's murder and the disappearance of young Harry Bertram. Dirck Hatteraick told him, too, very plainly, that if he was to be condemned he would let the secret out and ruin Glossin. Glossin, who was much terrified at the thought of being discovered, then arranged, like a villain that he was, to imprison Hatteraick for that night in a room in the old castle of Ellangowan, and at the same time give him a small file with which he might rid himself of his handcuffs and escape. During the interview between them, Hatteraick also told the attorney that young Bertram was still alive, and at Kippletringan. Glossin's situation was therefore perilous in the extreme, for the schemes of a life of villainy seemed at once to be crumbling around and about him.
Hatteraick was accordingly then sent to his place of confinement in the old castle.
At midnight Glossin looked out from his bedroom towards the castle, and after watching for some time in an agony of guilty suspense, he saw the dark form of a man, whom he knew to be Hatteraick, drop from the prison window and make his way to the beach, where he succeeded in shoving out a boat which was lying there. In a few minutes after, he had hoisted the sail, and soon disappeared round the Point of Warroch.
Great was the alarm and confusion the next morning when it was discovered that the smuggler had escaped from prison. Constables were sent out in every direction to search for him, and Glossin took care to send them to places where they would be least likely to find him.
In the meantime he himself made his way to a cave by the seashore near the Point of Warroch, where he had arranged with Hatteraick to meet him the day after his escape.
Glossin had never been near this spot since the day on which the unfortunate Kennedy was murdered; and the terrible scene came back to his mind with all its accompaniments of horror as he stealthily approached the cavern. When he reached it and went in, he found Hatteraick in the dark and shivering with cold.
During the conversation that ensued between them he learned from the smuggler what had become of young Bertram after Kennedy's murder. He had been taken to Holland, Hatteraick said, and left with an old merchant named Vanbeest Brown, who took a fancy to the boy and called him by his own name. He had afterwards been sent to India; but the smuggler knew nothing of him from the time he went there. Bertram had, however, been seen, he said, a few days before, among the hills by a gipsy named Gabriel.
Glossin then discovered for the first time that it was young Bertram, in reality, who had wounded Hazlewood. In his terror at the thought of losing his property at Ellangowan if it came to be known that Harry Bertram was alive, yet at all times fertile in every kind of villainous device, Glossin now hit upon a new plan to get rid of the man who stood between him and his peace of mind. By making large promises to Hatteraick he induced the smuggler to agree to come by night, with a large body of his men, to the prison where Bertram would be confined for his attack on Hazlewood, and to break open the doors and carry him off. He said he would have the soldiers withdrawn on some pretence or other, so as to make the rescue more certain; and having completed the details of this desperate and lawless piece of villainy, he went back to Ellangowan.
But it is time to return to Brown, who was now a fugitive from justice in consequence of the unlucky accident of which his rashness had been the cause. He determined to make his way to England, and to wait there until he received letters from friends in his regiment establishing his identity, in possession of which he could again show himself at Kippletringan, and offer to young Hazlewood any explanation or satisfaction he might require. He accordingly took ship for Cumberland. He chanced on board to meet a man whose daughter was at the time in Colonel Mannering's service at Woodbourne and by his means contrived to get a letter delivered to Miss Mannering, in which he begged of her to forgive him for his rash conduct towards Hazlewood. Having landed on the English coast, he wrote to the colonel of his regiment for such testimony of his rank in the army as should place his character as a gentleman and an officer beyond question; and, as he was now reduced to great straits for want of funds, he wrote to his sturdy farmer friend, Dandie Dinmont, for the loan of a little money.
After a delay of some days, he received a short letter from Miss Mannering, in which she upbraided him for his thoughtless conduct, and bade him good-bye, telling him on no account to come back to Woodbourne.
On reading it over, he came somehow to the conclusion that Miss Mannering meant the opposite of all she had written, and in this belief he set sail at once for Kippletringan.
After a rough and dangerous voyage by night, he found himself in the morning off the Scottish coast. The weather had now cleared. A woody cape, that stretched into the sea, lay some little distance from the vessel; and, in answer to Brown's inquiries, the boatman told him that it was Warroch Point. Close beside it was the old castle of Ellangowan; and Brown felt a strange longing, as he looked at it, to be put ashore for the purpose of examining it more closely. The boatman readily acceded to his wishes, and landed him on the beach beneath the ruins.
And thus, in complete ignorance of his own real identity, surrounded by dangers, and without the assistance of a friend within the circle of several hundred miles, accused of a heavy crime, and almost penniless, did the weary wanderer, for the first time after an interval of many eventful years, approach the remains of the castle where his ancestors had once dwelt in lordly splendour.
It will have dawned upon the reader before now that the young soldier known to him as Brown was in reality no other than the Harry Bertram who had disappeared on the day when Kennedy was murdered. The name of Brown will consequently be dropped during the remainder of the story, and our hero will be called by his proper appellation—Bertram.
After wandering for some time through the ruined apartments of the castle, he stepped outside, and happened by chance to stand on the very spot where his father—the old Laird of Ellangowan—had died.
Glossin at that moment chanced to be engaged close by with a surveyor, in reference to some building plans connected with an intended addition to his house; and he was just saying to his companion that the whole ruin should be pulled down, when Bertram met him, and said:
"Would you destroy this fine old castle, sir?"
His face, person, and voice were so exactly like those of his father when alive, that Glossin almost believed that the grave had given up its dead.
But after a time he recovered his self-possession, and then set himself to discover if Bertram, whom he recognised, had any knowledge of his own identity. He was much terrified when he heard him repeat some lines of an old song, which he said he had learnt in his childhood:
"The dark shall be light, And the wrong made right, When Bertram's right and Bertram's might Shall meet on ...;"
but, although he could not recall the end of the last line, Glossin thought he knew already a good deal too much about it.
A few of Glossin's men were now seen approaching up the slope, whereupon he immediately assumed a different attitude and tone towards Bertram.
"I believe your name is Brown, sir?" said Glossin.
"And what of that, sir?" replied Bertram.
"Why in that case," said Glossin, "you are my prisoner in the king's name."
After a slight resistance the prisoner was secured, and shortly after was brought before Sir Robert Hazlewood, one of the county magistrates, and accused of maliciously wounding Charles Hazlewood, his son.
In reply to the questions put to him, the prisoner said that he was a captain in a regiment of horse in his Majesty's service, and in a frank, manly way described how the wounding of Charles Hazlewood was merely an accident, for which he expressed a sincere sorrow. When required to give some proof of his rank in the army, he stated that his luggage had been stolen. When asked to say where he had spent the night on which it was taken, his promise to Meg Merrilies came to his mind, and he replied that he must refuse to answer the question. He was then pressed to account for his having worn a smuggler's cutlass; but he also declined to explain that matter. And his answers were equally unsatisfactory when questioned on the subject of the purse which the gipsy had given him.
Having failed to give any explanation of so many suspicious circumstances, the warrant for his committal to gaol was made out, although he stated that Colonel Mannering, whom he had known in India, could, if sent for, give evidence of his character and rank.
The colonel was, however, away from home at the time, and the friendless and unfortunate Bertram was removed to prison, pending Mannering's return.
"And now," said Glossin to himself, "to find Dirck Hatteraick and his people—to get the guard sent off—and then for the grand cast of the dice." And so saying he hastened away to complete with the smuggler captain the villainous plan on which they had previously agreed.
The prison in which Bertram now found himself was a building which adjoined the custom-house, and both were close beside the sea. Mac-Guffog, who has been already mentioned, was at the time the keeper; and a gruff and surly custodian he was, too. Bertram, however, succeeded in procuring from him the luxury of a separate room by promising the keeper a large sum of money. He was accordingly ushered into a small ill-furnished apartment, through the barred windows of which he could get a glimpse of the sea which was dashing sullenly against the outer walls.
As he was reflecting on his miserable situation, his attention was attracted by a loud knocking at the gate of the gaol; and shortly after his little dog Wasp, which he had left in the care of Dandie Dinmont, and Dinmont himself were shown into his room.
Bertram was delighted to have his old friend with him, and in answer to his eager inquiries as to how he came to be in prison, told him about the accident to young Hazlewood, and that he had been mistaken for a smuggler.
Dinmont, on his part, then related how he had come to know of Bertram's being locked up. Gabriel, the huntsman on the moors, he said, had informed him in a mysterious way that Bertram was in gaol, and that he was badly in need of a good friend to stay with him night and day for a day or two. Dinmont added that he had ridden sixty miles that day to come to his assistance.
They were interrupted in their conversation by Mac-Guffog, who told them that it was time for the visitor to leave; but by means of further promises he was induced to allow Dinmont to spend the night in the same room with his friend; and in no longtime after the two occupants of the wretched apartment were fast asleep.
Colonel Mannering, who had been from home for some days, returned to Woodbourne the night of the day on which Bertram had been sent to prison. The morning after his arrival, the dominie, who even after so many years continued to blame himself for the loss of little Harry, made his way, in a spirit of curiosity, to Warroch Point, a place he had never approached since the child had disappeared. As he wandered home again, filled with gloomy recollections of the day of Kennedy's murder, his steps bore him to the neighbourhood of Derncleugh, with its ruined remains of the old gipsy village. The place had for many years had the reputation of being haunted; more especially the tower, or Kaim, of Derncleugh. As he was passing by it, the door suddenly opened, and Meg Merrilies stepped out and stood before him. The dominie, believing she was some sorceress, addressed her in Latin, but the gipsy queen angrily interrupted him.
"Listen, ye fool, to what I tell ye," she said, "or ye'll rue it while there's a limb o' ye hangs together. Tell Colonel Mannering that I know he's seeking me. He knows, and I know, that the blood will be wiped out, and the lost will be found—
And Bertram's right, and Bertram's might, Shall meet on Ellangowan height.
Give him this letter, don't fail, and tell him the time's coming now. Bid him to look at the stars as he looked at them before, and to do what I desire him in the letter."
She then led the frightened dominie by a short cut through the woods for about a quarter of a mile, and on reaching the common told him to stand still.
"Look," she said, "how the setting sun breaks through the cloud that's been darkening the sky all day. See the stream o' light that falls on the old tower of Ellangowan; that's not for nothing. Here I stood," she went on, stretching out her long sinewy arm and clenched hand—"here I stood when I told the last Laird of Ellangowan what was coming on his house, and did that fall to the ground? And here I stand again to bid God prosper the just heir of Ellangowan that will soon be brought to his own. I'll no live to see it, maybe; but there will be many a blithe eye see it though mine be closed. And now, Abel Sampson, as ever ye loved the house of Ellangowan, away with my message to the English colonel as if life and death were upon your haste."
So saying, she turned suddenly from the amazed dominie, who hurried back to Woodbourne, exclaiming as he went, "Prodigious! prodigious! pro-di-gi-ous!"
The kindly interest of Meg Merrilies in the fate of Bertram did not, however, end here.
Shortly after quitting the dominie she met young Hazlewood on the road, and told him, in a mysterious way, that the guard of soldiers had been drawn off from the custom-house, and brought to his father's house, in the expectation of an attack being made upon it that night.
"Nobody means to touch his house," she added; "so send the horsemen back to their post quietly. They will have work to-night; the guns will flash and the swords will glitter in the moonlight."
She then asked him if he bore any malice to the man that wounded him, and on Hazlewood assuring her that he had always thought it was an accident, she said: "Then do what I bid ye, for if he was left to his ill wishers he would be a bloody corpse ere morn." And she then disappeared into the wood.
Charles Hazlewood, who now felt certain some diabolical plot was on foot for the murder of the man who had accidentally wounded him, rode back at once to his father's house.
He found the place occupied with dragoons, and instantly endeavoured to persuade his father to send them back to the custom-house.
Glossin had, however, impressed the old man with a fixed idea of the impending danger to his house, and he refused to allow the soldiers to go. While his son was still arguing with him, the sheriff of the country came in hurriedly, and told him that he had had information that the removal of the troops from the custom- house was only part of a plan, and that they should at once return. Orders were accordingly given without delay, and the dragoons were shortly after on their way again to the place from which they came.
But we must return to Bertram and his companion in their unpleasant abode, in the prison.
Towards midnight Bertram woke after his first sleep. The air of the small apartment had become close and confined, and he got up for the purpose, if possible, of opening the window. His failure to open it reminded him painfully that he was now a prisoner. He was no longer inclined to sleep, so he continued for some time to gaze out on the troubled sea, as it rolled under the indistinct light of a hazy and often overclouded moon. As he looked he fancied he saw in the distance a boat being rowed towards the shore; and before long he found that he had not been mistaken. The boat, which was a large one, drew nearer and nearer, and as it reached the land some twenty men jumped on shore, and disappeared up a dark passage which divided the prison from the custom-house. Almost immediately after, Bertram could hear a tumult in the outer yard of the bridewell, and, being unable to guess what its meaning was, he awoke Dinmont.
The smell of fire now commenced to reach the room, and, on Dinmont looking out of the window, he exclaimed: "Lord's sake, captain! come here; they have broken in the custom-house!"
Looking from the prison window they could see the gang of smugglers hurrying here and there, some with lighted torches, others carrying barrels towards the shore. It was plain, too, from the thick clouds of smoke that rolled past the window that the prison was itself on fire.
Dinmont roared loudly for Mac-Guffog to let them out, but all was silent in the gaol. Outside, the shouts of the smugglers and the mob resounded far and wide, and it seemed as if the keeper had himself escaped, and left his prisoners to perish in the flames.
But now a new and fierce attack was heard at the outer gate. It was soon forced in with sledgehammers and crows, and, before long, some three or four of the principal smugglers hurried to the apartment of Bertram with lighted torches, and armed with cutlasses and pistols. Two of them seized on Bertram, but one of them whispered in his ear, "Make no resistance till you are outside." They dragged him roughly to the gate, but amid the riot and confusion which prevailed, the sound as of a body of horse advancing was heard. A few moments after, the dragoons were engaged with the rioters. Shots were fired, and the glittering broadswords of the soldiers began to flash in the air. "Now," whispered the man at Bertram's left, "shake off that fellow and follow me."
Bertram, with a violent and sudden effort, burst away from the man on his right, and closely following his mysterious friend, attended by the faithful Dinmont, who never left him, ran quickly down a narrow lane which led from the main street.
No pursuit took place, as the smugglers had enough to do to defend themselves against the dragoons. At the end of the lane there was a post-chaise and horses waiting.
"Are you here in God's name?" said the guide to the driver.
"Ay, troth I am," said he.
"Open the carriage, then. You, gentlemen, get into it; in a short time you'll be in a place of safety, and remember your promise to the gipsy wife."
Bertram and Dinmont got in at once, followed by little Wasp, and in a moment found themselves travelling at a breakneck pace, neither of them knowing where on earth they were going to.
They were, in fact, on the way to Woodbourne, for the carriage had been sent by Colonel Mannering, after he had read the letter which the dominie brought him from Meg Merrilies. The note had given him no intimation, however, of the persons who were to be conveyed in the chaise to Woodbourne, merely telling him that it should bring the folk that should ask if it were there in God's name.
As the colonel's clock was striking one that night the sound of carriage wheels was heard in the distance, and in no long space after, Bertram and Dinmont found themselves at Woodbourne. Bewilderment and astonishment were depicted on the faces of all as Bertram stepped into the parlour. The colonel saw before him the man whom he supposed he had killed in India; Julia beheld her lover; and Lucy Bertram at once recognised the person who had fired upon young Hazlewood. Each one remained silent, not knowing what to say, when the absent-minded dominie, looking up from a book he had been studying in a corner, exclaimed:
"If the grave can give up the dead, that is my dear and honoured master!"
A lawyer friend of the colonel's, a Mr. Pleydall, was staying at Woodbourne that night, and he at once set about endeavouring to solve the mystery. He questioned Bertram as to his recollections of childhood, and elicited from him some of the incidents of his early life, with which the reader is already acquainted. Amongst the persons whom Bertram recalled, "there was," he said, "a tall, thin, kind-tempered man, who used to teach me my letters and walk with me."
On hearing this, the poor dominie could contain his feelings no longer, and rising hastily from his chair, with clasped hands, trembling limbs and streaming eyes, he called out aloud:
"Harry Bertram, look at me! Was I not the man?"
"Yes," said Bertram, starting from his seat as if a sudden light had burst in upon his mind. "Yes, that was my very name, and that is the voice and the figure of my kind old master!"
The following day Colonel Mannering and Mr. Pleydall succeeded in getting Sir Robert Hazlewood to accept bail for Bertram. While they were so engaged, Bertram, with his newly-found sister and Miss Mannering, went walking to the castle of Ellangowan.
Close by the ruin they were suddenly confronted by Meg Merrilies, who addressed Bertram, saying:
"Remember your promise, and follow me."
It was in vain that his sister and her companion urged him not to go with the gipsy. He told them he must obey. Then, bidding them good-bye, he started to follow Meg Merrilies, accompanied by Dinmont, who had come up a few minutes before.
With quick, long strides the gipsy proceeded straight across the wintry heath. She turned neither to the left nor the right, and moved more like a ghost than a human being. On reaching the wood, she plunged into it, moving still rapidly in the direction of Derncleugh. After travelling thus for some time, she came at length to the ruined tower where Bertram had previously spent the night in concealment from the smugglers. Producing a key from her pocket, the gipsy opened the door and led the way in. She offered Bertram and Dinmont food and drink, and fearing to offend her, they took a little.
"And now," she said, "ye must have arms; but use them not rashly; take captive, but save life; let the law have its own—he must speak ere he die."
She then supplied the two with loaded pistols, and started afresh through the wood in the direction of Warroch Point. She led them by a long and winding passage almost overgrown with brushwood, until they suddenly found themselves by the seashore. They were soon outside the secret cave.
"Follow me as I creep in," she said. "I have placed the firewood so as to screen you. Bide behind it for a space, till I say— The hour and the man are both come. Then run in on him, take his arms and bind him tight."
And having said so, she crept in upon her hands and knees, followed by Bertram and his friend.
As they were creeping in, Dinmont, who was last of the party, felt his leg caught by someone from behind. He with difficulty suppressed a shout, and was much relieved when he heard a voice behind him say: "Be still, I am a friend—Charles Hazlewood."