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And hurry, hurry, off they rode,
As fast as fast might be;
Hurra, hurra, the dead can ride,
Dost fear to ride with me?
There is one advantage in an accumulation of evils, differing in cause
and character, that the distraction which they afford by their
contradictory operation prevents the patient from being overwhelmed under
either. I was deeply grieved at my separation from Miss Vernon, yet not
so much so as I should have been, had not my father's apprehended
distresses forced themselves on my attention; and I was distressed by the
news of Mr. Tresham, yet less so than if they had fully occupied my mind.
I was neither a false lover nor an unfeeling son; but man can give but a
certain portion of distressful emotions to the causes which demand them;
and if two operate at once, our sympathy, like the funds of a compounding
bankrupt, can only be divided between them. Such were my reflections when
I gained my apartment--it seems, from the illustration, they already
began to have a twang of commerce in them.
I set myself seriously to consider your father's letter. It was not very
distinct, and referred for several particulars to Owen, whom I was
entreated to meet with as soon as possible at a Scotch town called
Glasgow; being informed, moreover, that my old friend was to be heard of
at Messrs. MacVittie, MacFin, and Company, merchants in the Gallowgate of
the said town. It likewise alluded to several letters,--which, as it
appeared to me, must have miscarried or have been intercepted, and
complained of my obdurate silence, in terms which would have, been highly
unjust, had my letters reached their purposed destination. I was amazed
as I read. That the spirit of Rashleigh walked around me, and conjured up
these doubts and difficulties by which I was surrounded, I could not
doubt for one instant; yet it was frightful to conceive the extent of
combined villany and power which he must have employed in the
perpetration of his designs. Let me do myself justice in one respect. The
evil of parting from Miss Vernon, however distressing it might in other
respects and at another time have appeared to me, sunk into a subordinate
consideration when I thought of the dangers impending over my father. I
did not myself set a high estimation on wealth, and had the affectation
of most young men of lively imagination, who suppose that they can better
dispense with the possession of money, than resign their time and
faculties to the labour necessary to acquire it. But in my father's case,
I knew that bankruptcy would be considered as an utter and irretrievable
disgrace, to which life would afford no comfort, and death the speediest
and sole relief.
My mind, therefore, was bent on averting this catastrophe, with an
intensity which the interest could not have produced had it referred to
my own fortunes; and the result of my deliberation was a firm resolution
to depart from Osbaldistone Hall the next day and wend my way without
loss of time to meet Owen at Glasgow. I did not hold it expedient to
intimate my departure to my uncle, otherwise than by leaving a letter of
thanks for his hospitality, assuring him that sudden and important
business prevented my offering them in person. I knew the blunt old
knight would readily excuse ceremony; and I had such a belief in the
extent and decided character of Rashleigh's machinations, that I had some
apprehension of his having provided means to intercept a journey which
was undertaken with a view to disconcert them, if my departure were
publicly announced at Osbaldistone Hall.
I therefore determined to set off on my journey with daylight on the
ensuing morning, and to gain the neighbouring kingdom of Scotland before
any idea of my departure was entertained at the Hall. But one impediment
of consequence was likely to prevent that speed which was the soul of my
expedition. I did not know the shortest, nor indeed any road to Glasgow;
and as, in the circumstances in which I stood, despatch was of the
greatest consequence, I determined to consult Andrew Fairservice on the
subject, as the nearest and most authentic authority within my reach.
Late as it was, I set off with the intention of ascertaining this
important point, and after a few minutes' walk reached the dwelling of
Andrew's dwelling was situated at no great distance from the exterior
wall of the garden--a snug comfortable Northumbrian cottage, built of
stones roughly dressed with the hammer, and having the windows and doors
decorated with huge heavy architraves, or lintels, as they are called, of
hewn stone, and its roof covered with broad grey flags, instead of
slates, thatch, or tiles. A jargonelle pear-tree at one end of the
cottage, a rivulet and flower-plot of a rood in extent in front, and a
kitchen-garden behind; a paddock for a cow, and a small field, cultivated
with several crops of grain, rather for the benefit of the cottager than
for sale, announced the warm and cordial comforts which Old England, even
at her most northern extremity, extends to her meanest inhabitants.
As I approached the mansion of the sapient Andrew, I heard a noise,
which, being of a nature peculiarly solemn, nasal, and prolonged, led me
to think that Andrew, according to the decent and meritorious custom of
his countrymen, had assembled some of his neighbours to join in family
exercise, as he called evening devotion. Andrew had indeed neither wife,
child, nor female inmate in his family. "The first of his trade," he
said, "had had eneugh o'thae cattle." But, notwithstanding, he sometimes
contrived to form an audience for himself out of the neighbouring Papists
and Church-of-Englandmen--brands, as he expressed it, snatched out of the
burning, on whom he used to exercise his spiritual gifts, in defiance
alike of Father Vaughan, Father Docharty, Rashleigh, and all the world of
Catholics around him, who deemed his interference on such occasions an
act of heretical interloping. I conceived it likely, therefore, that the
well-disposed neighbours might have assembled to hold some chapel of ease
of this nature. The noise, however, when I listened to it more
accurately, seemed to proceed entirely from the lungs of the said Andrew;
and when I interrupted it by entering the house, I found Fairservice
alone, combating as he best could, with long words and hard names, and
reading aloud, for the purpose of his own edification, a volume of
"I was just taking a spell," said he, laying aside the huge folio volume
as I entered, "of the worthy Doctor Lightfoot."
"Lightfoot!" I replied, looking at the ponderous volume with some
surprise; "surely your author was unhappily named."
"Lightfoot was his name, sir; a divine he was, and another kind of a
divine than they hae now-adays. Always, I crave your pardon for keeping
ye standing at the door, but having been mistrysted (gude preserve us!)
with ae bogle the night already, I was dubious o' opening the yett till I
had gaen through the e'ening worship; and I had just finished the fifth
chapter of Nehemiah--if that winna gar them keep their distance, I wotna
"Trysted with a bogle!" said I; "what do you mean by that, Andrew?"
"I said mistrysted," replied Andrew; "that is as muckle as to say, fley'd
wi' a ghaist--Gude preserve us, I say again!"
"Flay'd by a ghost, Andrew! how am I to understand that?"
"I did not say flay'd," replied Andrew, "but _fley'd,_--that is, I got a
fleg, and was ready to jump out o' my skin, though naebody offered to
whirl it aff my body as a man wad bark a tree."
"I beg a truce to your terrors in the present case, Andrew, and I wish to
know whether you can direct me the nearest way to a town in your country
of Scotland, called Glasgow?"
"A town ca'd Glasgow!" echoed Andrew Fairservice. "Glasgow's a ceety,
man.--And is't the way to Glasgow ye were speering if I ken'd?--What suld
ail me to ken it?--it's no that dooms far frae my ain parish of
Dreepdaily, that lies a bittock farther to the west. But what may your
honour be gaun to Glasgow for?"
"Particular business," replied I.
"That's as muckle as to say, Speer nae questions, and I'll tell ye nae
lees.--To Glasgow?"--he made a short pause--"I am thinking ye wad be the
better o' some ane to show you the road."
"Certainly, if I could meet with any person going that way."
"And your honour, doubtless, wad consider the time and trouble?"
"Unquestionably--my business is pressing, and if you can find any guide
to accompany me, I'll pay him handsomely."
"This is no a day to speak o' carnal matters," said Andrew, casting his
eyes upwards; "but if it werena Sabbath at e'en, I wad speer what ye wad
be content to gie to ane that wad bear ye pleasant company on the road,
and tell ye the names of the gentlemen's and noblemen's seats and
castles, and count their kin to ye?"
"I tell you, all I want to know is the road I must travel; I will pay the
fellow to his satisfaction--I will give him anything in reason."
"Onything," replied Andrew, "is naething; and this lad that I am speaking
o' kens a' the short cuts and queer by-paths through the hills, and"--
"I have no time to talk about it, Andrew; do you make the bargain for me
your own way."
"Aha! that's speaking to the purpose," answered Andrew.--"I am thinking,
since sae be that sae it is, I'll be the lad that will guide you mysell."
"You, Andrew?--how will you get away from your employment?"
"I tell'd your honour a while syne, that it was lang that I hae been
thinking o' flitting, maybe as lang as frae the first year I came to
Osbaldistone Hall; and now I am o' the mind to gang in gude
earnest--better soon as syne--better a finger aff as aye wagging."
"You leave your service, then?--but will you not lose your wages?"
"Nae doubt there will be a certain loss; but then I hae siller o' the
laird's in my hands that I took for the apples in the auld orchyard--and
a sair bargain the folk had that bought them--a wheen green trash--and
yet Sir Hildebrand's as keen to hae the siller (that is, the steward is
as pressing about it) as if they had been a' gowden pippins--and then
there's the siller for the seeds--I'm thinking the wage will be in a
manner decently made up.--But doubtless your honour will consider my risk
of loss when we win to Glasgow--and ye'll be for setting out forthwith?"
"By day-break in the morning," I answered.
"That's something o' the suddenest--whare am I to find a naig?--Stay--I
ken just the beast that will answer me."
"At five in the morning, then, Andrew, you will meet me at the head of
"Deil a fear o' me (that I suld say sae) missing my tryste," replied
Andrew, very briskly; "and if I might advise, we wad be aff twa hours
earlier. I ken the way, dark or light, as weel as blind Ralph Ronaldson,
that's travelled ower every moor in the country-side, and disna ken the
colour of a heather-cowe when a's dune."
I highly approved of Andrew's amendment on my original proposal, and we
agreed to meet at the place appointed at three in the morning. At once,
however, a reflection came across the mind of my intended travelling
"The bogle! the bogle! what if it should come out upon us?--I downa
forgather wi' thae things twice in the four-and-twenty hours."
"Pooh! pooh!" I exclaimed, breaking away from him, "fear nothing from the
next world--the earth contains living fiends, who can act for themselves
without assistance, were the whole host that fell with Lucifer to return
to aid and abet them."
With these words, the import of which was suggested by my own situation,
I left Andrew's habitation, and returned to the Hall.
I made the few preparations which were necessary for my proposed journey,
examined and loaded my pistols, and then threw myself on my bed, to
obtain, if possible, a brief sleep before the fatigue of a long and
anxious journey. Nature, exhausted by the tumultuous agitations of the
day, was kinder to me than I expected, and I stink into a deep and
profound slumber, from which, however, I started as the old clock struck
two from a turret adjoining to my bedchamber. I instantly arose, struck a
light, wrote the letter I proposed to leave for my uncle, and leaving
behind me such articles of dress as were cumbrous in carriage, I
deposited the rest of my wardrobe in my valise, glided down stairs, and
gained the stable without impediment. Without being quite such a groom as
any of my cousins, I had learned at Osbaldistone Hall to dress and saddle
my own horse, and in a few minutes I was mounted and ready for my sally.
As I paced up the old avenue, on which the waning moon threw its light
with a pale and whitish tinge, I looked back with a deep and boding sigh
towards the walls which contained Diana Vernon, under the despondent
impression that we had probably parted to meet no more. It was
impossible, among the long and irregular lines of Gothic casements, which
now looked ghastly white in the moonlight, to distinguish that of the
apartment which she inhabited. "She is lost to me already," thought I, as
my eye wandered over the dim and indistinguishable intricacies of
architecture offered by the moonlight view of Osbaldistone Hall--"She is
lost to me already, ere I have left the place which she inhabits! What
hope is there of my maintaining any correspondence with her, when leagues
shall lie between?"
While I paused in a reverie of no very pleasing nature, the "iron tongue
of time told three upon the drowsy ear of night," and reminded me of the
necessity of keeping my appointment with a person of a less interesting
description and appearance--Andrew Fairservice.
At the gate of the avenue I found a horseman stationed in the shadow of
the wall, but it was not until I had coughed twice, and then called
"Andrew," that the horticulturist replied, "I'se warrant it's Andrew."
"Lead the way, then," said I, "and be silent if you can, till we are past
the hamlet in the valley."
Andrew led the way accordingly, and at a much brisker pace than I would
have recommended.--and so well did he obey my injunctions of keeping
silence, that he would return no answer to my repeated inquiries into the
cause of such unnecessary haste. Extricating ourselves by short cuts,
known to Andrew, from the numerous stony lanes and by-paths which
intersected each other in the vicinity of the Hall, we reached the open
heath and riding swiftly across it, took our course among the barren
hills which divide England from Scotland on what are called the Middle
Marches. The way, or rather the broken track which we occupied, was a
happy interchange of bog and shingles; nevertheless, Andrew relented
nothing of his speed, but trotted manfully forward at the rate of eight
or ten miles an hour. I was both surprised and provoked at the fellow's
obstinate persistence, for we made abrupt ascents and descents over
ground of a very break-neck character, and traversed the edge of
precipices, where a slip of the horse's feet would have consigned the
rider to certain death. The moon, at best, afforded a dubious and
imperfect light; but in some places we were so much under the shade of
the mountain as to be in total darkness, and then I could only trace
Andrew by the clatter of his horse's feet, and the fire which they struck
from the flints. At first, this rapid motion, and the attention which,
for the sake of personal safety, I was compelled to give to the conduct
of my horse, was of service, by forcibly diverting my thoughts from the
various painful reflections which must otherwise have pressed on my mind.
But at length, after hallooing repeatedly to Andrew to ride slower, I
became seriously incensed at his impudent perseverance in refusing either
to obey or to reply to me. My anger was, however, quite impotent. I
attempted once or twice to get up alongside of my self-willed guide, with
the purpose of knocking him off his horse with the butt-end of my whip;
but Andrew was better mounted than I, and either the spirit of the animal
which he bestrode, or more probably some presentiment of my kind
intentions towards him, induced him to quicken his pace whenever I
attempted to make up to him. On the other hand, I was compelled to exert
my spurs to keep him in sight, for without his guidance I was too well
aware that I should never find my way through the howling wilderness
which we now traversed at such an unwonted pace. I was so angry at
length, that I threatened to have recourse to my pistols, and send a
bullet after the Hotspur Andrew, which should stop his fiery-footed
career, if he did not abate it of his own accord. Apparently this threat
made some impression on the tympanum of his ear, however deaf to all my
milder entreaties; for he relaxed his pace upon hearing it, and,
suffering me to close up to him, observed, "There wasna muckle sense in
riding at sic a daft-like gate."
"And what did you mean by doing so at all, you self-willed scoundrel?"
replied I; for I was in a towering passion,--to which, by the way,
nothing contributes more than the having recently undergone a spice of
personal fear, which, like a few drops of water flung on a glowing fire,
is sure to inflame the ardour which it is insufficient to quench.
"What's your honour's wull?" replied Andrew, with impenetrable gravity.
"My will, you rascal?--I have been roaring to you this hour to ride
slower, and you have never so much as answered me--Are you drunk or mad
to behave so?"
"An it like your honour, I am something dull o' hearing; and I'll no deny
but I might have maybe taen a stirrup-cup at parting frae the auld
bigging whare I hae dwelt sae lang; and having naebody to pledge, nae
doubt I was obliged to do mysell reason, or else leave the end o' the
brandy stoup to thae papists--and that wad be a waste, as your honour
This might be all very true,--and my circumstances required that I should
be on good terms with my guide; I therefore satisfied myself with
requiring of him to take his directions from me in future concerning the
rate of travelling.
Andrew, emboldened by the mildness of my tone, elevated his own into the
pedantic, conceited octave, which was familiar to him on most occasions.
"Your honour winna persuade me, and naebody shall persuade me, that it's
either halesome or prudent to tak the night air on thae moors without a
cordial o' clow-gilliflower water, or a tass of brandy or aquavitae, or
sic-like creature-comfort. I hae taen the bent ower the Otterscrape-rigg
a hundred times, day and night, and never could find the way unless I had
taen my morning; mair by token that I had whiles twa bits o' ankers o'
brandy on ilk side o' me."--
"In other words, Andrew," said I, "you were a smuggler--how does a man of
your strict principles reconcile yourself to cheat the revenue?"
"It's a mere spoiling o' the Egyptians," replied Andrew; "puir auld
Scotland suffers eneugh by thae blackguard loons o' excisemen and
gaugers, that hae come down on her like locusts since the sad and
sorrowfu' Union; it's the part of a kind son to bring her a soup o'
something that will keep up her auld heart,--and that will they nill
they, the ill-fa'ard thieves!"
Upon more particular inquiry, I found Andrew had frequently travelled
these mountain-paths as a smuggler, both before and after his
establishment at Osbaldistone Hall--a circumstance which was so far of
importance to me, as it proved his capacity as a guide, notwithstanding
the escapade of which he had been guilty at his outset, Even now, though
travelling at a more moderate pace, the stirrup-cup, or whatever else had
such an effect in stimulating Andrew's motions, seemed not totally to
have lost its influence. He often cast a nervous and startled look behind
him; and whenever the road seemed at all practicable, showed symptoms of
a desire to accelerate his pace, as if he feared some pursuit from the
rear. These appearances of alarm gradually diminished as we reached the
top of a high bleak ridge, which ran nearly east and west for about a
mile, with a very steep descent on either side. The pale beams of the
morning were now enlightening the horizon, when Andrew cast a look behind
him, and not seeing the appearance of a living being on the moors which
he had travelled, his hard features gradually unbent, as he first
whistled, then sung, with much glee and little melody, the end of one of
his native songs--
"Jenny, lass! I think I hae her
Ower the muir amang the heather,
All their clan shall never get her."
He patted at the same time the neck of the horse which had carried him so
gallantly; and my attention being directed by that action to the animal,
I instantly recognised a favourite mare of Thorncliff Osbaldistone. "How
is this, sir?" said I sternly; "that is Mr. Thorncliff's mare!"
"I'll no say but she may aiblins hae been his honour's Squire
Thorncliff's in her day--but she's mine now."
"You have stolen her, you rascal."
"Na, na, sir--nae man can wyte me wi' theft. The thing stands this gate,
ye see. Squire Thorncliff borrowed ten punds o' me to gang to York
Races--deil a boddle wad he pay me back again, and spake o' raddling my
banes, as he ca'd it, when I asked him but for my ain back again;--now I
think it will riddle him or he gets his horse ower the Border
again--unless he pays me plack and bawbee, he sall never see a hair o'
her tail. I ken a canny chield at Loughmaben, a bit writer lad, that
will put me in the way to sort him. Steal the mear! na, na, far be the
sin o' theft frae Andrew Fairservice--I have just arrested her
_jurisdictionis fandandy causey._ Thae are bonny writer words--amaist
like the language o' huz gardeners and other learned men--it's a pity
they're sae dear;--thae three words were a' that Andrew got for a lang
law-plea and four ankers o' as gude brandy as was e'er coupit ower
craig--Hech, sirs! but law's a dear thing."
"You are likely to find it much dearer than you suppose, Andrew, if you
proceed in this mode of paying yourself, without legal authority."
"Hout tout, we're in Scotland now (be praised for't!) and I can find
baith friends and lawyers, and judges too, as weel as ony Osbaldistone o'
them a'. My mither's mither's third cousin was cousin to the Provost o'
Dumfries, and he winna see a drap o' her blude wranged. Hout awa! the
laws are indifferently administered here to a' men alike; it's no like on
yon side, when a chield may be whuppit awa' wi' ane o' Clerk Jobson's
warrants, afore he kens where he is. But they will hae little enough law
amang them by and by, and that is ae grand reason that I hae gi'en them
I was highly provoked at the achievement of Andrew, and considered it as
a hard fate, which a second time threw me into collision with a person of
such irregular practices. I determined, however, to buy the mare of him,
when he should reach the end of our journey, and send her back to my
cousin at Osbaldistone Hall; and with this purpose of reparation I
resolved to make my uncle acquainted from the next post-town. It was
needless, I thought, to quarrel with Andrew in the meantime, who had,
after all, acted not very unnaturally for a person in his circumstances.
I therefore smothered my resentment, and asked him what he meant by his
last expressions, that there would be little law in Northumberland by and
"Law!" said Andrew, "hout, ay--there will be club-law eneugh. The priests
and the Irish officers, and thae papist cattle that hae been sodgering
abroad, because they durstna bide at hame, are a' fleeing thick in
Northumberland e'enow; and thae corbies dinna gather without they smell
carrion. As sure as ye live, his honour Sir Hildebrand is gaun to stick
his horn in the bog--there's naething but gun and pistol, sword and
dagger, amang them--and they'll be laying on, I'se warrant; for they're
fearless fules the young Osbaldistone squires, aye craving your honour's
This speech recalled to my memory some suspicions that I myself had
entertained, that the Jacobites were on the eve of some desperate
enterprise. But, conscious it did not become me to be a spy on my uncle's
words and actions, I had rather avoided than availed myself of any
opportunity which occurred of remarking upon the signs of the times.--
Andrew Fairservice felt no such restraint, and doubtless spoke very truly
in stating his conviction that some desperate plots were in agitation, as
a reason which determined his resolution to leave the Hall.
"The servants," he stated, "with the tenantry and others, had been all
regularly enrolled and mustered, and they wanted me to take arms also.
But I'll ride in nae siccan troop--they little ken'd Andrew that asked
him. I'll fight when I like mysell, but it sall neither be for the hure
o' Babylon, nor any hure in England."
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