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Bagpipes, not lyres, the Highland hills adorn,
MacLean's loud hollo, and MacGregor's horn.
John Cooper's Reply to Allan Ramsay.
I stopped in the entrance of the stable, if indeed a place be entitled to
that name where horses were stowed away along with goats, poultry, pigs,
and cows, under the same roof with the mansion-house; although, by a
degree of refinement unknown to the rest of the hamlet, and which I
afterwards heard was imputed to an overpride on the part of Jeanie
MacAlpine, our landlady, the apartment was accommodated with an entrance
different from that used by her biped customers. By the light of my
torch, I deciphered the following billet, written on a wet, crumpled, and
dirty piece of paper, and addressed--"For the honoured hands of Mr. F.
O., a Saxon young gentleman--These." The contents were as follows:--
"There are night-hawks abroad, so that I cannot give you and my respected
kinsman, B. N. J., the meeting at the Clachan of Aberfoil, whilk was my
purpose. I pray you to avoid unnecessary communication with those you may
find there, as it may give future trouble. The person who gives you this
is faithful and may be trusted, and will guide you to a place where, God
willing, I may safely give you the meeting, when I trust my kinsman and
you will visit my poor house, where, in despite of my enemies, I can
still promise sic cheer as ane Hielandman may gie his friends, and where
we will drink a solemn health to a certain D. V., and look to certain
affairs whilk I hope to be your aidance in; and I rest, as is wont among
your servant to command,
R. M. C."
I was a good deal mortified at the purport of this letter, which seemed
to adjourn to a more distant place and date the service which I had hoped
to receive from this man Campbell. Still, however, it was some comfort to
know that he continued to be in my interest, since without him I could
have no hope of recovering my father's papers. I resolved, therefore, to
obey his instructions; and, observing all caution before the guests, to
take the first good opportunity I could find to procure from the landlady
directions how I was to obtain a meeting with this mysterious person.
My next business was to seek out Andrew Fairservice, whom I called
several times by name, without receiving any answer, surveying the stable
all round, at the same time, not without risk of setting the premises on
fire, had not the quantity of wet litter and mud so greatly
counterbalanced two or three bunches of straw and hay. At length my
repeated cries of "Andrew Fairservice! Andrew! fool!--ass! where are
you?" produced a doleful "Here," in a groaning tone, which might have
been that of the Brownie itself. Guided by this sound, I advanced to the
corner of a shed, where, ensconced in the angle of the wall, behind a
barrel full of the feathers of all the fowls which had died in the cause
of the public for a month past, I found the manful Andrew; and partly by
force, partly by command and exhortation, compelled him forth into the
open air. The first words he spoke were, "I am an honest lad, sir."
"Who the devil questions your honesty?" said I, "or what have we to do
with it at present? I desire you to come and attend us at supper."
"Yes," reiterated Andrew, without apparently understanding what I said to
him, "I am an honest lad, whatever the Bailie may say to the contrary. I
grant the warld and the warld's gear sits ower near my heart whiles, as
it does to mony a ane--But I am an honest lad; and, though I spak o'
leaving ye in the muir, yet God knows it was far frae my purpose, but
just like idle things folk says when they're driving a bargain, to get it
as far to their ain side as they can--And I like your honour weel for sae
young a lad, and I wadna part wi' ye lightly."
"What the deuce are you driving at now?" I replied. "Has not everything
been settled again and again to your satisfaction? And are you to talk of
leaving me every hour, without either rhyme or reason?"
"Ay,--but I was only making fashion before," replied Andrew; "but it's
come on me in sair earnest now--Lose or win, I daur gae nae farther wi'
your honour; and if ye'll tak my foolish advice, ye'll bide by a broken
tryste, rather than gang forward yoursell. I hae a sincere regard for ye,
and I'm sure ye'll be a credit to your friends if ye live to saw out your
wild aits, and get some mair sense and steadiness--But I can follow ye
nae farther, even if ye suld founder and perish from the way for lack of
guidance and counsel. To gang into Rob Roy's country is a mere tempting
"Rob Roy?" said I, in some surprise; "I know no such person. What new
trick is this, Andrew?"
"It's hard," said Andrew--"very hard, that a man canna be believed when
he speaks Heaven's truth, just because he's whiles owercome, and tells
lees a little when there is necessary occasion. Ye needna ask whae Rob
Roy is, the reiving lifter that he is--God forgie me! I hope naebody
hears us--when ye hae a letter frae him in your pouch. I heard ane o' his
gillies bid that auld rudas jaud of a gudewife gie ye that. They thought
I didna understand their gibberish; but, though I canna speak it muckle,
I can gie a gude guess at what I hear them say--I never thought to hae
tauld ye that, but in a fright a' things come out that suld be keepit in.
O, Maister Frank! a' your uncle's follies, and a' your cousin's pliskies,
were naething to this! Drink clean cap out, like Sir Hildebrand; begin
the blessed morning with brandy sops, like Squire Percy; swagger, like
Squire Thorncliff; rin wud amang the lasses, like Squire John; gamble,
like Richard; win souls to the Pope and the deevil, like Rashleigh; rive,
rant, break the Sabbath, and do the Pope's bidding, like them a' put
thegither--But, merciful Providence! take care o' your young bluid, and
gang nae near Rob Roy!"
Andrew's alarm was too sincere to permit me to suppose he counterfeited.
I contented myself, however, with telling him, that I meant to remain in
the alehouse that night, and desired to have the horses well looked
after. As to the rest, I charged him to observe the strictest silence
upon the subject of his alarm, and he might rely upon it I would not
incur any serious danger without due precaution. He followed me with a
dejected air into the house, observing between his teeth, "Man suld be
served afore beast--I haena had a morsel in my mouth, but the rough legs
o' that auld muircock, this haill blessed day."
The harmony of the company seemed to have suffered some interruption
since my departure, for I found Mr. Galbraith and my friend the Bailie
high in dispute.
"I'll hear nae sic language," said Mr. Jarvie, as I entered, "respecting
the Duke o' Argyle and the name o' Campbell. He's a worthy
public-spirited nobleman, and a credit to the country, and a friend and
benefactor to the trade o' Glasgow."
"I'll sae naething against MacCallum More and the Slioch-nan-Diarmid,"
said the lesser Highlander, laughing. "I live on the wrang side of
Glencroe to quarrel with Inverara."
"Our loch ne'er saw the Cawmil lymphads,"* said the bigger Highlander.
* _Lymphads._ The galley which the family of Argyle and others of the *
Clan Campbell carry in their arms.
"She'll speak her mind and fear naebody--She doesna value a Cawmil mair
as a Cowan, and ye may tell MacCallum More that Allan Iverach said sae--
It's a far cry to Lochow."*
* Lochow and the adjacent districts formed the original seat of the *
Campbells. The expression of a "far cry to Lochow" was proverbial.
Mr. Galbraith, on whom the repeated pledges which he had quaffed had
produced some influence, slapped his hand on the table with great force,
and said, in a stern voice, "There's a bloody debt due by that family,
and they will pay it one day--The banes of a loyal and a gallant Grahame
hae lang rattled in their coffin for vengeance on thae Dukes of Guile and
Lords for Lorn. There ne'er was treason in Scotland but a Cawmil was at
the bottom o't; and now that the wrang side's uppermost, wha but the
Cawmils for keeping down the right? But this warld winna last lang, and
it will be time to sharp the maiden* for shearing o' craigs and
thrapples. I hope to see the auld rusty lass linking at a bluidy harst
* A rude kind of guillotine formerly used in Scotland.
"For shame, Garschattachin!" exclaimed the Bailie; "fy for shame, sir!
Wad ye say sic things before a magistrate, and bring yoursell into
trouble?--How d'ye think to mainteen your family and satisfy your
creditors (mysell and others), if ye gang on in that wild way, which
cannot but bring you under the law, to the prejudice of a' that's
connected wi' ye?"
"D--n my creditors!" retorted the gallant Galbraith, "and you if ye be
ane o' them! I say there will be a new warld sune--And we shall hae nae
Cawmils cocking their bonnet sae hie, and hounding their dogs where they
daurna come themsells, nor protecting thieves, nor murderers, and
oppressors, to harry and spoil better men and mair loyal clans than
The Bailie had a great mind to have continued the dispute, when the
savoury vapour of the broiled venison, which our landlady now placed
before us, proved so powerful a mediator, that he betook himself to his
trencher with great eagerness, leaving the strangers to carry on the
dispute among themselves.
"And tat's true," said the taller Highlander--whose name I found was
Stewart--"for we suldna be plagued and worried here wi' meetings to pit
down Rob Roy, if the Cawmils didna gie him refutch. I was ane o' thirty
o' my ain name--part Glenfinlas, and part men that came down frae Appine.
We shased the MacGregors as ye wad shase rae-deer, till we came into
Glenfalloch's country, and the Cawmils raise, and wadna let us pursue nae
farder, and sae we lost our labour; but her wad gie twa and a plack to be
as near Rob as she was tat day."
It seemed to happen very unfortunately, that in every topic of discourse
which these warlike gentlemen introduced, my friend the Bailie found some
matter of offence. "Ye'll forgie me speaking my mind, sir; but ye wad
maybe hae gien the best bowl in your bonnet to hae been as far awae frae
Rob as ye are e'en now--Od! my het pleugh-culter wad hae been naething to
"She had better speak nae mair about her culter, or, by G--! her will gar
her eat her words, and twa handfuls o' cauld steel to drive them ower
wi'!" And, with a most inauspicious and menacing look, the mountaineer
laid his hand on his dagger.
"We'll hae nae quarrelling, Allan," said his shorter companion; "and if
the Glasgow gentleman has ony regard for Rob Roy, he'll maybe see him in
cauld irons the night, and playing tricks on a tow the morn; for this
country has been owre lang plagued wi' him, and his race is near-hand
run--And it's time, Allan, we were ganging to our lads."
"Hout awa, Inverashalloch," said Galbraith;--"Mind the auld saw, man--
It's a bauld moon, quoth Bennygask--another pint, quoth Lesley;--we'll no
start for another chappin."
"I hae had chappins eneugh," said Inverashalloch; "I'll drink my quart of
usquebaugh or brandy wi' ony honest fellow, but the deil a drap mair when
I hae wark to do in the morning. And, in my puir thinking,
Garschattachin, ye had better be thinking to bring up your horsemen to
the Clachan before day, that we may ay start fair."
"What the deevil are ye in sic a hurry for?" said Garschattachin; "meat
and mass never hindered wark. An it had been my directing, deil a bit o'
me wad hae fashed ye to come down the glens to help us. The garrison and
our ain horse could hae taen Rob Roy easily enough. There's the hand," he
said, holding up his own, "should lay him on the green, and never ask a
Hielandman o' ye a' for his help."
"Ye might hae loot us bide still where we were, then," said
Inverashalloch. "I didna come sixty miles without being sent for. But an
ye'll hae my opinion, I redd ye keep your mouth better steekit, if ye
hope to speed. Shored folk live lang, and sae may him ye ken o'. The way
to catch a bird is no to fling your bannet at her. And also thae
gentlemen hae heard some things they suldna hae heard, an the brandy
hadna been ower bauld for your brain, Major Galbraith. Ye needna cock
your hat and bully wi' me, man, for I will not bear it."
"I hae said it," said Galbraith, with a solemn air of drunken gravity,
"that I will quarrel no more this night either with broadcloth or tartan.
When I am off duty I'll quarrel with you or ony man in the Hielands or
Lowlands, but not on duty--no--no. I wish we heard o' these red-coats. If
it had been to do onything against King James, we wad hae seen them lang
syne--but when it's to keep the peace o' the country they can lie as
lound as their neighbours."
As he spoke we heard the measured footsteps of a body of infantry on the
march; and an officer, followed by two or three files of soldiers,
entered the apartment. He spoke in an English accent, which was very
pleasant to my ears, now so long accustomed to the varying brogue of the
Highland and Lowland Scotch.--"You are, I suppose, Major Galbraith, of
the squadron of Lennox Militia, and these are the two Highland gentlemen
with whom I was appointed to meet in this place?"
They assented, and invited the officer to take some refreshments, which
he declined.--"I have been too late, gentlemen, and am desirous to make
up time. I have orders to search for and arrest two persons guilty of
"We'll wash our hands o' that," said Inverashalloch. "I came here wi' my
men to fight against the red MacGregor that killed my cousin, seven times
removed, Duncan MacLaren, in Invernenty;* but I will hae nothing to do
touching honest gentlemen that may be gaun through the country on their
* This, as appears from the introductory matter to this Tale, is an
anachronism. The slaughter of MacLaren, a retainer of the chief of
Appine, by the MacGregors, did not take place till after Rob Roy's death,
since it happened in 1736.
"Nor I neither," said Iverach.
Major Galbraith took up the matter more solemnly, and, premising his
oration with a hiccup, spoke to the following purpose:--
"I shall say nothing against King George, Captain, because, as it
happens, my commission may rin in his name--But one commission being
good, sir, does not make another bad; and some think that James may be
just as good a name as George. There's the king that is--and there's the
king that suld of right be--I say, an honest man may and suld be loyal to
them both, Captain. But I am of the Lord Lieutenant's opinion for the
time, as it becomes a militia officer and a depute-lieutenant--and about
treason and all that, it's lost time to speak of it--least said is sunest
"I am sorry to see how you have been employing your time, sir," replied
the English officer--as indeed the honest gentleman's reasoning had a
strong relish of the liquor he had been drinking--"and I could wish, sir,
it had been otherwise on an occasion of this consequence. I would
recommend to you to try to sleep for an hour.--Do these gentlemen belong
to your party?"--looking at the Bailie and me, who, engaged in eating our
supper, had paid little attention to the officer on his entrance.
"Travellers, sir," said Galbraith--"lawful travellers by sea and land, as
the prayer-book hath it."
"My instructions." said the Captain, taking a light to survey us closer,
"are to place under arrest an elderly and a young person--and I think
these gentlemen answer nearly the description."
"Take care what you say, sir," said Mr. Jarvie; "it shall not be your red
coat nor your laced hat shall protect you, if you put any affront on me.
I'se convene ye baith in an action of scandal and false imprisonment--I
am a free burgess and a magistrate o' Glasgow; Nicol Jarvie is my name,
sae was my father's afore me--I am a bailie, be praised for the honour,
and my father was a deacon."
"He was a prick-eared cur," said Major Galbraith, "and fought agane the
King at Bothwell Brigg."
"He paid what he ought and what he bought, Mr. Galbraith," said the
Bailie, "and was an honester man than ever stude on your shanks."
"I have no time to attend to all this," said the officer; "I must
positively detain you, gentlemen, unless you can produce some respectable
security that you are loyal subjects."
"I desire to be carried before some civil magistrate," said the
Bailie--"the sherra or the judge of the bounds;--I am not obliged to
answer every red-coat that speers questions at me."
"Well, sir, I shall know how to manage you if you are silent--And you,
sir" (to me), "what may your name be?"
"Francis Osbaldistone, sir."
"What, a son of Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone of Northumberland?"
"No, sir," interrupted the Bailie; "a son of the great William
Osbaldistone of the House of Osbaldistone and Tresham, Crane-Alley,
"I am afraid, sir," said the officer, "your name only increases the
suspicions against you, and lays me under the necessity of requesting
that you will give up what papers you have in charge."
I observed the Highlanders look anxiously at each other when this
proposal was made.
"I had none," I replied, "to surrender."
The officer commanded me to be disarmed and searched. To have resisted
would have been madness. I accordingly gave up my arms, and submitted to
a search, which was conducted as civilly as an operation of the kind well
could. They found nothing except the note which I had received that night
through the hand of the landlady.
"This is different from what I expected," said the officer; "but it
affords us good grounds for detaining you. Here I find you in written
communication with the outlawed robber, Robert MacGregor Campbell, who
has been so long the plague of this district--How do you account for
"Spies of Rob!" said Inverashalloch. "We wad serve them right to strap
them up till the neist tree."
"We are gaun to see after some gear o' our ain, gentlemen," said the
Bailie, "that's fa'en into his hands by accident--there's nae law agane a
man looking after his ain, I hope?"
"How did you come by this letter?" said the officer, addressing himself
I could not think of betraying the poor woman who had given it to me, and
"Do you know anything of it, fellow?" said the officer, looking at
Andrew, whose jaws were chattering like a pair of castanets at the
threats thrown out by the Highlander.
"O ay, I ken a' about it--it was a Hieland loon gied the letter to that
lang-tongued jaud the gudewife there; I'll be sworn my maister ken'd
naething about it. But he's wilfu' to gang up the hills and speak wi'
Rob; and oh, sir, it wad be a charity just to send a wheen o' your
red-coats to see him safe back to Glasgow again whether he will or
no--And ye can keep Mr. Jarvie as lang as ye like--He's responsible
enough for ony fine ye may lay on him--and so's my master for that
matter; for me, I'm just a puir gardener lad, and no worth your
"I believe," said the officer, "the best thing I can do is to send these
persons to the garrison under an escort. They seem to be in immediate
correspondence with the enemy, and I shall be in no respect answerable
for suffering them to be at liberty. Gentlemen, you will consider
yourselves as my prisoners. So soon as dawn approaches, I will send you
to a place of security. If you be the persons you describe yourselves, it
will soon appear, and you will sustain no great inconvenience from being
detained a day or two. I can hear no remonstrances," he continued,
turning away from the Bailie, whose mouth was open to address him; "the
service I am on gives me no time for idle discussions."
"Aweel, aweel, sir," said the Bailie, "you're welcome to a tune on your
ain fiddle; but see if I dinna gar ye dance till't afore a's dune."
An anxious consultation now took place between the officer and the
Highlanders, but carried on in so low a tone, that it was impossible to
catch the sense. So soon as it was concluded they all left the house. At
their departure, the Bailie thus expressed himself:--"Thae Hielandmen are
o' the westland clans, and just as light-handed as their neighbours, an
a' tales be true, and yet ye see they hae brought them frae the head o'
Argyleshire to make war wi' puir Rob for some auld ill-will that they hae
at him and his sirname. And there's the Grahames, and the Buchanans, and
the Lennox gentry, a' mounted and in order--It's weel ken'd their
quarrel; and I dinna blame them--naebody likes to lose his kye. And then
there's sodgers, puir things, hoyed out frae the garrison at a' body's
bidding--Puir Rob will hae his hands fu' by the time the sun comes ower
the hill. Weel--it's wrang for a magistrate to be wishing onything agane
the course o' justice, but deil o' me an I wad break my heart to hear
that Rob had gien them a' their paiks!"
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