Baron of Bucklivie,
May the foul fiend drive ye,
And a' to pieces rive ye,
For building sic a town,
Where there's neither horse meat,
Nor man's meat,
Nor a chair to sit down.
Scottish Popular Rhymes on a bad Inn.
The night was pleasant, and the moon afforded us good light for our
journey. Under her rays, the ground over which we passed assumed a more
interesting appearance than during the broad daylight, which discovered
the extent of its wasteness. The mingled light and shadows gave it an
interest which naturally did not belong to it; and, like the effect of a
veil flung over a plain woman, irritated our curiosity on a subject which
had in itself nothing gratifying.
The descent, however, still continued, turned, winded, left the more open
heaths, and got into steeper ravines, which promised soon to lead us to
the banks of some brook or river, and ultimately made good their presage.
We found ourselves at length on the bank of a stream, which rather
resembled one of my native English rivers than those I had hitherto seen
in Scotland. It was narrow, deep, still, and silent; although the
imperfect light, as it gleamed on its placid waters, showed also that we
were now among the lofty mountains which formed its cradle. "That's the
Forth," said the Bailie, with an air of reverence, which I have observed
the Scotch usually pay to their distinguished rivers. The Clyde, the
Tweed, the Forth, the Spey, are usually named by those who dwell on their
banks with a sort of respect and pride, and I have known duels occasioned
by any word of disparagement. I cannot say I have the least quarrel with
this sort of harmless enthusiasm. I received my friend's communication
with the importance which he seemed to think appertained to it. In fact,
I was not a little pleased, after so long and dull a journey, to approach
a region which promised to engage the imagination. My faithful squire,
Andrew, did not seem to be quite of the same opinion, for he received the
solemn information, "That is the Forth," with a "Umph!--an he had said
that's the public-house, it wad hae been mair to the purpose."
The Forth, however, as far as the imperfect light permitted me to judge,
seemed to merit the admiration of those who claimed an interest in its
stream. A beautiful eminence of the most regular round shape, and clothed
with copsewood of hazels, mountain-ash, and dwarf-oak, intermixed with a
few magnificent old trees, which, rising above the underwood, exposed
their forked and bared branches to the silver moonshine, seemed to
protect the sources from which the river sprung. If I could trust the
tale of my companion, which, while professing to disbelieve every word of
it, he told under his breath, and with an air of something like
intimidation, this hill, so regularly formed, so richly verdant, and
garlanded with such a beautiful variety of ancient trees and thriving
copsewood, was held by the neighbourhood to contain, within its unseen
caverns, the palaces of the fairies--a race of airy beings, who formed an
intermediate class between men and demons, and who, if not positively
malignant to humanity, were yet to be avoided and feared, on account of
their capricious, vindictive, and irritable disposition.*
* Note H. Fairy Superstition.
"They ca' them," said Mr. Jarvie, in a whisper, "_Daoine Schie,_--whilk
signifies, as I understand, men of peace; meaning thereby to make their
gudewill. And we may e'en as weel ca' them that too, Mr. Osbaldistone,
for there's nae gude in speaking ill o' the laird within his ain bounds."
But he added presently after, on seeing one or two lights which twinkled
before us, "It's deceits o' Satan, after a', and I fearna to say it--for
we are near the manse now, and yonder are the lights in the Clachan of
I own I was well pleased at the circumstance to which Mr. Jarvie alluded;
not so much that it set his tongue at liberty, in his opinion, with all
safety to declare his real sentiments with respect to the _Daoine Schie,_
or fairies, as that it promised some hours' repose to ourselves and our
horses, of which, after a ride of fifty miles and upwards, both stood in
We crossed the infant Forth by an old-fashioned stone bridge, very high
and very narrow. My conductor, however, informed me, that to get through
this deep and important stream, and to clear all its tributary
dependencies, the general pass from the Highlands to the southward lay by
what was called the Fords of Frew, at all times deep and difficult of
passage, and often altogether unfordable. Beneath these fords, there was
no pass of general resort until so far east as the bridge of Stirling; so
that the river of Forth forms a defensible line between the Highlands and
Lowlands of Scotland, from its source nearly to the Firth, or inlet of
the ocean, in which it terminates. The subsequent events which we
witnessed led me to recall with attention what the shrewdness of Bailie
Jarvie suggested in his proverbial expression, that "Forth bridles the
About half a mile's riding, after we crossed the bridge, placed us at the
door of the public-house where we were to pass the evening. It was a
hovel rather worse than better than that in which we had dined; but its
little windows were lighted up, voices were heard from within, and all
intimated a prospect of food and shelter, to which we were by no means
indifferent. Andrew was the first to observe that there was a peeled
willow-wand placed across the half-open door of the little inn. He hung
back and advised us not to enter. "For," said Andrew, "some of their
chiefs and grit men are birling at the usquebaugh in by there, and dinna
want to be disturbed; and the least we'll get, if we gang ramstam in on
them, will be a broken head, to learn us better havings, if we dinna come
by the length of a cauld dirk in our wame, whilk is just as likely."
I looked at the Bailie, who acknowledged, in a whisper, "that the gowk
had some reason for singing, ance in the year."
Meantime a staring half-clad wench or two came out of the inn and the
neighbouring cottages, on hearing the sound of our horses' feet. No one
bade us welcome, nor did any one offer to take our horses, from which we
had alighted; and to our various inquiries, the hopeless response of "Ha
niel Sassenach," was the only answer we could extract. The Bailie,
however, found (in his experience) a way to make them speak English. "If
I gie ye a bawbee," said he to an urchin of about ten years old, with a
fragment of a tattered plaid about him, "will you understand Sassenach?"
"Ay, ay, that will I," replied the brat, in very decent English. "Then
gang and tell your mammy, my man, there's twa Sassenach gentlemen come to
speak wi' her."
The landlady presently appeared, with a lighted piece of split fir
blazing in her hand. The turpentine in this species of torch (which is
generally dug from out the turf-bogs) makes it blaze and sparkle readily,
so that it is often used in the Highlands in lieu of candles. On this
occasion such a torch illuminated the wild and anxious features of a
female, pale, thin, and rather above the usual size, whose soiled and
ragged dress, though aided by a plaid or tartan screen, barely served the
purposes of decency, and certainly not those of comfort. Her black hair,
which escaped in uncombed elf-locks from under her coif, as well as the
strange and embarrassed look with which she regarded us, gave me the idea
of a witch disturbed in the midst of her unlawful rites. She plainly
refused to admit us into the house. We remonstrated anxiously, and
pleaded the length of our journey, the state of our horses, and the
certainty that there was not another place where we could be received
nearer than Callander, which the Bailie stated to be seven Scots miles
distant. How many these may exactly amount to in English measurement, I
have never been able to ascertain, but I think the double _ratio_ may be
pretty safely taken as a medium computation. The obdurate hostess treated
our expostulation with contempt. "Better gang farther than fare waur,"
she said, speaking the Scottish Lowland dialect, and being indeed a
native of the Lennox district--"Her house was taen up wi' them wadna like
to be intruded on wi' strangers. She didna ken wha mair might be
there--red-coats, it might be, frae the garrison." (These last words she
spoke under her breath, and with very strong emphasis.) "The night," she
said, "was fair abune head--a night amang the heather wad caller our
bloods--we might sleep in our claes, as mony a gude blade does in the
scabbard--there wasna muckle flowmoss in the shaw, if we took up our
quarters right, and we might pit up our horses to the hill, naebody wad
say naething against it."
"But, my good woman," said I, while the Bailie groaned and remained
undecided, "it is six hours since we dined, and we have not taken a
morsel since. I am positively dying with hunger, and I have no taste for
taking up my abode supperless among these mountains of yours. I
positively must enter; and make the best apology you can to your guests
for adding a stranger or two to their number. Andrew, you will see the
horses put up."
The Hecate looked at me with surprise, and then ejaculated--"A wilfu' man
will hae his way--them that will to Cupar maun to Cupar!--To see thae
English belly-gods! he has had ae fu' meal the day already, and he'll
venture life and liberty, rather than he'll want a het supper! Set
roasted beef and pudding on the opposite side o' the pit o' Tophet, and
an Englishman will mak a spang at it--But I wash my hands o't--Follow me
sir" (to Andrew), "and I'se show ye where to pit the beasts."
I own I was somewhat dismayed at my landlady's expressions, which seemed
to be ominous of some approaching danger. I did not, however, choose to
shrink back after having declared my resolution, and accordingly I boldly
entered the house; and after narrowly escaping breaking my shins over a
turf back and a salting tub, which stood on either side of the narrow
exterior passage, I opened a crazy half-decayed door, constructed not of
plank, but of wicker, and, followed by the Bailie, entered into the
principal apartment of this Scottish caravansary.
The interior presented a view which seemed singular enough to southern
eyes. The fire, fed with blazing turf and branches of dried wood, blazed
merrily in the centre; but the smoke, having no means to escape but
through a hole in the roof, eddied round the rafters of the cottage, and
hung in sable folds at the height of about five feet from the floor. The
space beneath was kept pretty clear by innumerable currents of air which
rushed towards the fire from the broken panel of basket-work which served
as a door--from two square holes, designed as ostensible windows, through
one of which was thrust a plaid, and through the other a tattered
great-coat--and moreover, through various less distinguishable apertures
in the walls of the tenement, which, being built of round stones and
turf, cemented by mud, let in the atmosphere at innumerable crevices.
At an old oaken table, adjoining to the fire, sat three men, guests
apparently, whom it was impossible to regard with indifference. Two were
in the Highland dress; the one, a little dark-complexioned man, with a
lively, quick, and irritable expression of features, wore the trews, or
close pantaloons wove out of a sort of chequered stocking stuff. The
Bailie whispered me, that "he behoved to be a man of some consequence,
for that naebody but their Duinhe'wassels wore the trews--they were ill
to weave exactly to their Highland pleasure."
The other mountaineer was a very tall, strong man, with a quantity of
reddish hair, freckled face, high cheek-bones, and long chin--a sort of
caricature of the national features of Scotland. The tartan which he wore
differed from that of his companion, as it had much more scarlet in it,
whereas the shades of black and dark-green predominated in the chequers
of the other. The third, who sate at the same table, was in the Lowland
dress,--a bold, stout-looking man, with a cast of military daring in his
eye and manner, his riding-dress showily and profusely laced, and his
cocked hat of formidable dimensions. His hanger and a pair of pistols lay
on the table before him. Each of the Highlanders had their naked dirks
stuck upright in the board beside him,--an emblem, I was afterwards
informed, but surely a strange one, that their computation was not to be
interrupted by any brawl. A mighty pewter measure, containing about an
English quart of usquebaugh, a liquor nearly as strong as brandy, which
the Highlanders distil from malt, and drink undiluted in excessive
quantities, was placed before these worthies. A broken glass, with a
wooden foot, served as a drinking cup to the whole party, and circulated
with a rapidity, which, considering the potency of the liquor, seemed
absolutely marvellous. These men spoke loudly and eagerly together,
sometimes in Gaelic, at other times in English. Another Highlander, wrapt
in his plaid, reclined on the floor, his head resting on a stone, from
which it was only separated by a wisp of straw, and slept or seemed to
sleep, without attending to what was going on around him, He also was
probably a stranger, for he lay in full dress, and accoutred with the
sword and target, the usual arms of his countrymen when on a journey.
Cribs there were of different dimensions beside the walls, formed, some
of fractured boards, some of shattered wicker-work or plaited boughs, in
which slumbered the family of the house, men, women, and children, their
places of repose only concealed by the dusky wreaths of vapour which
arose above, below, and around them.
Our entrance was made so quietly, and the carousers I have described were
so eagerly engaged in their discussions, that we escaped their notice for
a minute or two. But I observed the Highlander who lay beside the fire
raise himself on his elbow as we entered, and, drawing his plaid over the
lower part of his face, fix his look on us for a few seconds, after which
he resumed his recumbent posture, and seemed again to betake himself to
the repose which our entrance had interrupted,
We advanced to the fire, which was an agreeable spectacle after our late
ride, during the chillness of an autumn evening among the mountains, and
first attracted the attention of the guests who had preceded us, by
calling for the landlady. She approached, looking doubtfully and timidly,
now at us, now at the other party, and returned a hesitating and doubtful
answer to our request to have something to eat.
"She didna ken," she said, "she wasna sure there was onything in the
house," and then modified her refusal with the qualification--"that is,
onything fit for the like of us."
I assured her we were indifferent to the quality of our supper; and
looking round for the means of accommodation, which were not easily to be
found, I arranged an old hen-coop as a seat for Mr. Jarvie, and turned
down a broken tub to serve for my own. Andrew Fairservice entered
presently afterwards, and took a place in silence behind our backs. The
natives, as I may call them, continued staring at us with an air as if
confounded by our assurance, and we, at least I myself, disguised as well
as we could, under an appearance of indifference, any secret anxiety we
might feel concerning the mode in which we were to be received by those
whose privacy we had disturbed.
At length, the lesser Highlander, addressing himself to me said, in very
good English, and in a tone of great haughtiness, "Ye make yourself at
home, sir, I see."
"I usually do so," I replied, "when I come into a house of public
"And did she na see," said the taller man, "by the white wand at the
door, that gentlemans had taken up the public-house on their ain
"I do not pretend to understand the customs of this country but I am yet
to learn," I replied, "how three persons should be entitled to exclude
all other travellers from the only place of shelter and refreshment for
"There's nae reason for't, gentlemen," said the Bailie; "we mean nae
offence--but there's neither law nor reason for't; but as far as a stoup
o' gude brandy wad make up the quarrel, we, being peaceable folk, wad be
"Damn your brandy, sir!" said the Lowlander, adjusting his cocked hat
fiercely upon his head; "we desire neither your brandy nor your company,"
and up he rose from his seat. His companions also arose, muttering to
each other, drawing up their plaids, and snorting and snuffing the air
after the mariner of their countrymen when working themselves into a
"I tauld ye what wad come, gentlemen," said the landlady, "an ye wad hae
been tauld:--get awa' wi' ye out o' my house, and make nae disturbance
here--there's nae gentleman be disturbed at Jeanie MacAlpine's an she can
hinder. A wheen idle English loons, gaun about the country under cloud o'
night, and disturbing honest peaceable gentlemen that are drinking their
drap drink at the fireside!"
At another time I should have thought of the old Latin adage,
"Dat veniam corvis, vexat censure columbas"--
But I had not any time for classical quotation, for there was obviously a
fray about to ensue, at which, feeling myself indiginant at the
inhospitable insolence with which I was treated, I was totally
indifferent, unless on the Bailie's account, whose person and qualities
were ill qualified for such an adventure. I started up, however, on
seeing the others rise, and dropped my. cloak from my shoulders, that I
might be ready to stand on the defensive.
"We are three to three," said the lesser Highlander, glancing his eyes at
our party: "if ye be pretty men, draw!" and unsheathing his broadsword,
he advanced on me. I put myself in a posture of defence, and aware of the
superiority of my weapon, a rapier or small-sword, was little afraid of
the issue of the contest. The Bailie behaved with unexpected mettle. As
he saw the gigantic Highlander confront him with his weapon drawn, he
tugged for a second or two at the hilt of his _shabble,_ as he called it;
but finding it loth to quit the sheath, to which it had long been secured
by rust and disuse, he seized, as a substitute, on the red-hot coulter of
a plough which had been employed in arranging the fire by way of a poker,
and brandished it with such effect, that at the first pass he set the
Highlander's plaid on fire, and compelled him to keep a respectful
distance till he could get it extinguished. Andrew, on the contrary, who
ought to have faced the Lowland champion, had, I grieve to say it,
vanished at the very commencement of the fray. But his antagonist, crying
"Fair play, fair play!" seemed courteously disposed to take no share in
the scuffle. Thus we commenced our rencontre on fair terms as to numbers.
My own aim was, to possess myself, if possible, of my antagonist's
weapon; but I was deterred from closing, for fear of the dirk which he
held in his left hand, and used in parrying the thrusts of my rapier.
Meantime the Bailie, notwithstanding the success of his first onset, was
sorely bested. The weight of his weapon, the corpulence of his person,
the very effervescence of his own passions, were rapidly exhausting both
his strength and his breath, and he was almost at the mercy of his
antagonist, when up started the sleeping Highlander from the floor on
which he reclined, with his naked sword and target in his hand, and threw
himself between the discomfited magistrate and his assailant, exclaiming,
"Her nainsell has eaten the town pread at the Cross o' Glasgow, and py
her troth she'll fight for Bailie Sharvie at the Clachan of Aberfoil--tat
will she e'en!" And seconding his words with deeds, this unexpected
auxiliary made his sword whistle about the ears of his tall countryman,
who, nothing abashed, returned his blows with interest. But being both
accoutred with round targets made of wood, studded with brass, and
covered with leather, with which they readily parried each other's
strokes, their combat was attended with much more noise and clatter than
serious risk of damage. It appeared, indeed, that there was more of
bravado than of serious attempt to do us any injury; for the Lowland
gentleman, who, as I mentioned, had stood aside for want of an antagonist
when the brawl commenced, was now pleased to act the part of moderator
[Illustration: Fray at Jeannie MacAlpine's--154]
"Hand your hands! haud your hands!--eneugh done!--eneugh done! the
quarrel's no mortal. The strange gentlemen have shown themselves men of
honour, and gien reasonable satisfaction. I'll stand on mine honour as
kittle as ony man, but I hate unnecessary bloodshed."
It was not, of course, my wish to protract the fray--my adversary seemed
equally disposed to sheathe his sword--the Bailie, gasping for breath,
might be considered as _hors de combat,_ and our two sword-and-buckler
men gave up their contest with as much indifference as they had entered
"And now," said the worthy gentleman who acted as umpire, "let us drink
and gree like honest fellows--The house will haud us a'. I propose that
this good little gentleman, that seems sair forfoughen, as I may say, in
this tuilzie, shall send for a tass o' brandy and I'll pay for another,
by way of archilowe,* and then we'll birl our bawbees a' round about,
"And fa's to pay my new ponnie plaid," said the larger Highlander, "wi' a
hole burnt in't ane might put a kail-pat through? Saw ever onybody a
decent gentleman fight wi' a firebrand before?"
"Let that be nae hinderance," said the Bailie, who had now recovered his
breath, and was at once disposed to enjoy the triumph of having behaved
with spirit, and avoid the necessity of again resorting to such hard and
doubtful arbitrament--"Gin I hae broken the head," he said, "I sall find
the plaister. A new plaid sall ye hae, and o' the best--your ain
clan-colours, man,--an ye will tell me where it can be sent t'ye frae
"I needna name my clan--I am of a king's clan, as is weel ken'd," said
the Highlander; "but ye may tak a bit o' the plaid--figh! she smells like
a singit sheep's head!--and that'll learn ye the sett--and a gentleman,
that's a cousin o' my ain, that carries eggs doun frae Glencroe, will ca'
for't about Martimas, an ye will tell her where ye bide. But, honest
gentleman, neist time ye fight, an ye hae ony respect for your
athversary, let it be wi' your sword, man, since ye wear ane, and no wi'
thae het culters and fireprands, like a wild Indian."
"Conscience!" replied the Bailie, "every man maun do as he dow. My sword
hasna seen the light since Bothwell Brigg, when my father that's dead and
gane, ware it; and I kenna weel if it was forthcoming then either, for
the battle was o' the briefest--At ony rate, it's glued to the scabbard
now beyond my power to part them; and, finding that, I e'en grippit at
the first thing I could make a fend wi'. I trow my fighting days is done,
though I like ill to take the scorn, for a' that.--But where's the honest
lad that tuik my quarrel on himself sae frankly?--I'se bestow a gill o'
aquavitae on him, an I suld never ca' for anither."
* Archilowe, of unknown derivation, signifies a peace-offering.
The champion for whom he looked around was, however, no longer to be
seen. He had escaped unobserved by the Bailie, immediately when the brawl
was ended, yet not before I had recognised, in his wild features and
shaggy red hair, our acquaintance Dougal, the fugitive turnkey of the
Glasgow jail. I communicated this observation in a whisper to the Bailie,
who answered in the same tone, "Weel, weel,--I see that him that ye ken
o' said very right; there _is_ some glimmering o' common sense about that
creature Dougal; I maun see and think o' something will do him some
Thus saying, he sat down, and fetching one or two deep aspirations, by
way of recovering his breath, called to the landlady--"I think, Luckie,
now that I find that there's nae hole in my wame, whilk I had muckle
reason to doubt frae the doings o' your house, I wad be the better o'
something to pit intill't."
The dame, who was all officiousness so soon as the storm had blown over,
immediately undertook to broil something comfortable for our supper.
Indeed, nothing surprised me more, in the course of the whole matter,
than the extreme calmness with which she and her household seemed to
regard the martial tumult that had taken place. The good woman was only
heard to call to some of her assistants--"Steek the door! steek the door!
kill or be killed, let naebody pass out till they hae paid the lawin."
And as for the slumberers in those lairs by the wall, which served the
family for beds, they only raised their shirtless bodies to look at the
fray, ejaculated, "Oigh! oigh!" in the tone suitable to their respective
sex and ages, and were, I believe, fast asleep again, ere our swords were
well returned to their scabbards.
Our landlady, however, now made a great bustle to get some victuals
ready, and, to my surprise, very soon began to prepare for us in the
frying-pan a savoury mess of venison collops, which she dressed in a
manner that might well satisfy hungry men, if not epicures. In the
meantime the brandy was placed on the table, to which the Highlanders,
however partial to their native strong waters, showed no objection, but
much the contrary; and the Lowland gentleman, after the first cup had
passed round, became desirous to know our profession, and the object of
"We are bits o' Glasgow bodies, if it please your honour," said the
Bailie, with an affectation of great humility, "travelling to Stirling to
get in some siller that is awing us."
I was so silly as to feel a little disconcerted at the unassuming account
which he chose to give of us; but I recollected my promise to be silent,
and allow the Bailie to manage the matter his own way. And really, when I
recollected, Will, that I had not only brought the honest man a long
journey from home, which even in itself had been some inconvenience (if I
were to judge from the obvious pain and reluctance with which he took his
seat, or arose from it), but had also put him within a hair's-breadth of
the loss of his life, I could hardly refuse him such a compliment. The
spokesman of the other party, snuffing up his breath through his nose,
repeated the words with a sort of sneer;--"You Glasgow tradesfolks hae
naething to do but to gang frae the tae end o' the west o' Scotland to
the ither, to plague honest folks that may chance to be awee ahint the
hand, like me."
"If our debtors were a' sic honest gentlemen as I believe you to be,
Garschattachin," replied the Bailie, "conscience! we might save ourselves
a labour, for they wad come to seek us."
"Eh! what! how!" exclaimed the person whom he had addressed,--"as I shall
live by bread (not forgetting beef and brandy), it's my auld friend Nicol
Jarvie, the best man that ever counted doun merks on a band till a
distressed gentleman. Were ye na coming up my way?--were ye na coming up
the Endrick to Garschattachin?"
"Troth no, Maister Galbraith," replied the Bailie, "I had other eggs on
the spit--and I thought ye wad be saying I cam to look about the annual
rent that's due on the bit heritable band that's between us."
"Damn the annual rent!" said the laird, with an appearance of great
heartiness--"Deil a word o' business will you or I speak, now that ye're
so near my country. To see how a trot-cosey and a joseph can disguise a
man--that I suldna ken my auld feal friend the deacon!"
"The Bailie, if ye please," resumed my companion; "but I ken what gars ye
mistak--the band was granted to my father that's happy, and he was
deacon; but his name was Nicol as weel as mine. I dinna mind that there's
been a payment of principal sum or annual rent on it in my day, and
doubtless that has made the mistake."
"Weel, the devil take the mistake and all that occasioned it!" replied
Mr. Galbraith. "But I am glad ye are a bailie. Gentlemen, fill a
brimmer--this is my excellent friend, Bailie Nicol Jarvie's health--I
ken'd him and his father these twenty years. Are ye a' cleared kelty
aff?--Fill anither. Here's to his being sune provost--I say
provost--Lord Provost Nicol Jarvie!--and them that affirms there's a man
walks the Hie-street o' Glasgow that's fitter for the office, they will
do weel not to let me, Duncan Galbraith of Garschattachin, hear them say
sae--that's all." And therewith Duncan Galbraith martially cocked his
hat, and placed it on one side of his head with an air of defiance.
The brandy was probably the best recommendation of there complimentary
toasts to the two Highlanders, who drank them without appearing anxious
to comprehend their purport. They commenced a conversation with Mr.
Galbraith in Gaelic, which he talked with perfect fluency, being, as I
afterwards learned, a near neighbour to the Highlands.
"I ken'd that Scant-o'-grace weel eneugh frae the very outset," said the
Bailie, in a whisper to me; "but when blude was warm, and swords were out
at ony rate, wha kens what way he might hae thought o' paying his debts?
it will be lang or he does it in common form. But he's an honest lad, and
has a warm heart too; he disna come often to the Cross o' Glasgow, but
mony a buck and blackcock he sends us doun frae the hills. And I can want
my siller weel eneugh. My father the deacon had a great regard for the
family of Garschattachin."
Supper being now nearly ready, I looked round for Andrew Fairservice; but
that trusty follower had not been seen by any one since the beginning of
the rencontre. The hostess, however, said that she believed our servant
had gone into the stable, and offered to light me to the place, saying
that "no entreaties of the bairns or hers could make him give any answer;
and that truly she caredna to gang into the stable herself at this hour.
She was a lone woman, and it was weel ken'd how the Brownie of
Ben-ye-gask guided the gudewife of Ardnagowan; and it was aye judged
there was a Brownie in our stable, which was just what garr'd me gie ower
keeping an hostler."
As, however, she lighted me towards the miserable hovel into which they
had crammed our unlucky steeds, to regale themselves on hay, every fibre
of which was as thick as an ordinary goose-quill, she plainly showed me
that she had another reason for drawing me aside from the company than
that which her words implied. "Read that," she said, slipping a piece of
paper into my hand, as we arrived at the door of the shed; "I bless God I
am rid o't. Between sogers and Saxons, and caterans and cattle-lifters,
and hership and bluidshed, an honest woman wad live quieter in hell than
on the Hieland line."
So saying, she put the pine-torch into my hand, and returned into the
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