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received the rent I am demanding.- gauntlet. My gudesire was, by this Where do you suppose this money to time, far beyond the bounds of patience, be ?-I insist upon knowing.'
and, while he and Laurie were at de'il “ My gudesire saw every thing look speed the liars, he was wanchancie so muckle against him, that he grew aneugh to abuse his doctrine as weel as nearly desperate-however, he shifted the man, and said things that gar'd from one foot to another, looked to folks flesh grew that heard them; he every corner of the room, and made no wasna just himsell, and he had lived answer.
wi’ a wild set in his day. “ • Speak out, Sirrah,' said the Laird, “ At last they parted, and my gudeassuming a look of his father's, a very sire was to ride hame through the wood particular one, which he had when he of Pitmarkie, that is all full of black firs, was angry-it seemed as if the wrin- as they say. I ken the wood, but the kles of his frown made that self-same firs may be black or white for what I fearful shape of a horse's shoe in the can tell.-
At the entry of the wood there middle of his brow;
-Speak out, Sir ! is a wild common, and on the edge of I will know your thoughts ;-do you the common, a little lonely change-house suppose that I have this money” that was keepit then by an ostler-wife,
* • Far be it frae me to say so,' said they suld hae ca'd her Tibbie Faw, and Stephen.
there puir Steenie cried for a mutchkin * • Do you charge any of my people of brandy, for he had had no refreshwith having taken it?'
ment the whole day. Tibbie was earnest “I wad be laith to charge them that wi' him to take a bite of meat, but he may be innocent,' said my gudesire ; couldna think o't, nor would he take
and if there be any one that is guilty, his foot out of the stirrup, and took aff I have nae proof.'
the brandy, wholey, at twa draughts, -6 « Somewhere the money must be, and named a toast at each :the first if there is a word of truth in your story,' was, The memory of Sir Robert Redsaid Sir John ; • I ask where you think gauntlet, and might he never lie quiet in it is -and demand a correct answer ? his grave till he had righted his poor
*** In hell, if you will have my thoughts bond-tenant; and the second was, A of it,' said my gudesire, driven to ex- health to Man's Enemy, if he would tremity,— in hell! with your father but get him back the pock of siller, or and his silver whistle.'
tell him what came o't, for he saw the “ Down the stairs he ran, (for the whole world was like to regard him as a parlour was nae place for him after thief and a cheat, and he took that waur such a word,) and he heard the Laird than even the ruin of his house and swearing blood and wounds behind him, hauld. as fast as ever did Sir Robert, and roar- « On he rode, little caring where. ing for the baillie and the baron-officer. It was a dark night turned, and the
"Away rode my gudesire to his chief trees made it yet darker, and he let the creditor, (him they ca’ad Laurie Lap- beast take its ain road through the wood; raik,) to try if he could make onything when, all of a sudden, from tired and out of him ; but when he tauld his wearied that it was before, the nag began story, he got but the warst word in his to spring, and fee, and stend, that my mouth-thief, beggar, and dyvour, were gudesire could hardly keep the saddlethe softest terms; and to the boot of Upon the whilk, a horseman, suddenly these hard terms, Laurie brought up the riding up beside him, said, “That's a auld story of his dipping his hand in the mettle beast of
friend; will you blood of God's saints, just as if a tenant sell him ?'—So saying, he touched the could have helped riding with the Laird, horse's neck with his riding-wand, and and that a Laird like Sir Robert Red- it fell into its auld heigh-ho of a stum
At last my
will relik me your grief,
bling tror ; But his spunk's soon out for that receipt.--T'he stranger laughed. of him, I think,' continued the stranger, " Weel, they rode on through the • and that is like many a man's courage,
thickest of the wood, when, all of a that thinks he wad do great things till sudden, the horse stopped at the door he come to the proof.'
of a great house; and, but that he knew “ My goodsire scarce listened to this, the place was ten miles off, my father but spurred his horse, with. Gude, e'en would have thought he was at Redgauntto you, friend.'
let Castle. They rode into the outer But it's like the stranger was ane court-yard, through the muckle taulding that does na lightly yield his point ; for, gates, and aneath the auld portcullis ; ride as Steenie liked, he was aye beside and the whole front of the house was him at the self-same pace.
lighted, and there were pipes and fidgoodsire, Steenie Steenson, grew half dles, and as much dancing and deray angry; and, to say the truth, half feared. within as used to be in Sir Robert's
*** What is it that ye want with me, house at Pace and Yule, and such high friend” he said. If
be a robber, 1 seasons. They lap off, and my gudehave nae money ; if ye be a leal man, sire, as seemed to him, fastened his wanting company, I have nae heart to horse to the very ring he had tied mirth or speaking; and if ye want to him to that morning, when he gaed to ken the road, I scarce ken it mysell.' wait on the
Sir John. " • If you
" • God ! said my father, if Sir said the stranger, 'I am one that, though Robert's death be but a dream !! I have been sair misca'ad in the world, “ He knocked at the ha' door, just as am the only hand for helping my freends. he was wont, and his auld acquaintance,
“ So my gudesire, to ease his ain Dougal Mac Callum, just after his wont, heart, mair than from any hope of help, too, -came to open the door, and said, told him the story from beginning to Piper Steenie, are ye there, lad ? Sir end.
Robert has been crying for you.' « « It's a hard pinch,' said the stran- My gudesire was like a man in a ger; . but I think I can help you.' dream-he looked for the stranger, but
• If you could lend the money, Sir, he was gaen for the time. At last, he and take a lang day-1 ken nae other just tried to say, ' Ha! Dougal Drivehelp on earth, said my gudesire. ower, are ye living? I thought ye had
6. • But there may be some under the been dead." earth,' said the stranger. • Come, I'll “ • Never fashı yoursell wi' me,' said be frank wi' you ; I could lend you the Dougal, but look to yoursell ; and see money on bond, but you would, maybe, ye tak naething frae onybody here, scruple my terms. Now, I can tell you, neither meat, drink, or siller, except that your auld Laird is disturbed in his just the receipt that is your ain.' grave by your curses, and the wailing of “ So saying, he led the way out your family, and if ye dare venture to through halls and trances that were weel go to see him, he will give you the re- kennd to my gudesire, and into the
auld oak parlour ; and there was as * My gudesire's hair stood on end at much singing of profane sangs, and this proposal, but he thought his com- birling of red wine, and speaking blaspanion might be some humoursome phemy and sculduddry, as had ever been chield that was trying to frighten him, in Redgauntlet Castle when it was at and might end with lending him the the blythest. money. Besides, he was bold wi' But, Lord take us in keeping ! brandy, and desperate wi' distress; and what a set of ghastly revellers they were he said, he had courage to go to that sat round that table !My gudethe gate of hell, and a step farther, sire kena'd many that had long before
gone to their place. There was the was sitting ; his legs stretched out befierce Middleton, and the dissolute fore him, and swathed up with flannel, Rothes, and the crafty Lauderdale ; and with his holster pistols aside him, and Dalyell, with his bald head and a beard great broad-sword rested against his to his girdle; and Earlshall, with Ca- chair, just as my gudesire had seen him meron's blude on his hand; and wild the last time upon earth the very Bonshaw, that tied blessed Mr. Cargill's cushion for the jack-an-ape was close limbs till the blude sprung; and Dum- to him, but the creature issell was not barton Douglas, the twice-turned traitor there--it wasna its hour, it's likely; for baith to country and king. There was he heard them say as he came forward, the Bluidy Advocate Mac Kenyie, who, • Is not the Major come yet?' And an, for his worldly wit and wisdom, had other answered, . The jack-an-ape will been to the rest as a god. And there be bere be times in the morn. And when was Claverhouse, as beautiful as when my gudesire came forward, Sir Robert he lived, with his long, dark, curled or his ghost, or the devil in bis likelocks, streaming down to his laced buff- ness, said, “ Weel, Piper, hae ye settled coat, and his left hand always on his wi' my son for the year's rent? right spule-blade, to hide the wound “ With much ado my father got that the silver bullet had made. He sat breath to say, that Sir John would not apart from them all, and looked at them settle without his honour's receipt. with a melancholy, haughty counte- « « Ye shall hae that for a tune of the nance ; while the rest halloved, and pipes, Steenie,' said the appearance of sung, and laughed, that the room rang. Sir Robert-Play, us up. Weel hod. But their smiles were fearfully contort- dled, Luckie.” ed from time to time ; and their laugh- “ Now this was a tune my gudesire ter passed into such wild sounds, as learned frae a warlock, that heard it made my gudesire's very nails grow when they were worshipping Satan at blue, and chilled the marrow in his their meetings, and my gudesire had bones.
sometimes play it at the ranting sup* They that waited at the table were pers in Redgauntlet Castle, but never jast the wicked serving-men and troop- very willingly ; and now he grew cauld ers, that had done their work and wick- at the very name of it, and said for exed bidding on earth. There was the cuse, he hadna bis pipes wi' him. Lang Lad of the Nethertown, that help- “ • Mac Callum, ye limb of Beelzeed to take Argylt; and the Bishop's bub,' said the fearfu Sir Robert, bring
,' summoner, that they called the Deil's Steenie the pipes that I am keeping for Rattle-bag; and the wicked guardsmen, him!"
! in their laced coats; and the savage “ Mac Callum brought a pair of Highland Amorites, that shed blood pipes might have served the piper of like water ; and many a proud serving- Donald and of Isles. But he gave my man, haughty of heart and bloody of gudesire a nudge as he offered them; hand, eringing to the rich, and making and looking secretly and closely, Steethem wickeder than they would be ; nie saw that the chanter was of steel, grinding the poor to powder, when the and heated to a white heat; so he had rich had broken them to fragments. fair waming not to trust his fingers with And many, many mair were coming it. So he excused himiself again, and and ganging, a' as busy in their voca- said, he was faint and frightened, and tion as if they had
had wind to fill
a Sir Robert Redgauntlet, in the meno
Then ye mam eat and drink,
midst of a' this fearful riot, cried, wi' a Steenie, said the figure; for we do litvoice like thunder, on Steenie Piper, tle else here; and it's ill speaking beto come to the board-head where he tween a full man and a fasting.'
“ Now these were the very words, feeding quietly beside the minister's that the bloody Earl of Douglas said to twa cows. Steenie would have thought keep the king's messenger in hand, the whole was a dream, but he had the while he cut the head off Mac Lellan receipt in his hand, fairly written and of Bombie, at the Threave Castle ; and signed by the auld Laird ; only the last that put Steenie mair and mair on his letters of his name were a little disorguard. So he spoke up like a man, derly, written like one seized with sudand said he came neither to eat or drink, or make minstrelsy; but simply Sorely troubled in his mind, he for his ain-to ken what was come o' left that dreary place, rode through the the money he had paid, and to get a mist to Redgauntlet Castle, and with discharge for it, and he was so stout- much ado he got speech of the Laird. hearted by this time, that he charged • Well, you dyvour bankrupt,' was the Sir Robert for conscience-sake-(he first word, • have you brought me my had no power to say the holy name) rent ?' and as he hoped for peace and rest, to “ No,' answered my gudesire, I spread no snares for him, but just to have not; but I have brought your hogive him his ain.
nour Sir Robert's receipt for it.' “ The appearance gnashed its teeth “ How, Sirrah ?-Sir Robert's reand laughed, but it took from a large ceipt !-You told me he had not given pocket-book the receipt, and handed il to Steenie. Here is your receipt, ye “ • Will your honour please to see if pitiful cur; and for the money, my dog that bit line is right ?' whelp of a son may go look for it in the “ Sir John looked at every line, and Cat's Cradle.'
at every letter, with much attention ; “My gudesire uttered mony thanks, and at last, at the date, which my gudeand was about to retire, when Sir Ro- sire had net observed From my apbert roared aloud, Stop though, thou pointed place,' he read this twentysack-doudling son of a whore! I am fifth of November.' •What !—That is not done with thee. Here we do nothing yesterday !-Villain, thou must have for nothing ; and you must return on gone to hell for this !" this very day twelvemonth, to pay your “• I got it from your honour's fainaster the homage that you owe me for ther-whether he be in heaven or hell, my protection.'
I know not,' said Steenie. “My father's tongue was loosed of 66. I will debate you for a warlock a suddenty, and he said aloud, - I refer to the Privy Council !' said Sir Jobn. myself to God's pleasure, and not to • I will send you to your master, the yours.'
devil, with the help of a tar-barrel and “ He had no sooner uttered the word a torch ! than all was dark around him; and he " " I intend to delate mysell 10 the sunk on the earth with such a sudden Presbytery,' said Steenie,' and tell them shock, that he lost both breath and all I have seen last night, whilk are sense.
things fitter for them to judge of than a “ How lang Steenie lay there he borrel man like me.' could not tell; but when he came to “ Sir John paused, composed himhimself, he was lying in the auld kirk- self, and desired to hear the full history; yard of Redgauntlet parishine, just at and my gudesire told it him from point the door of the family aisle, and the to point, as I have told it you-word scutcheon of the auld knight, Sir Robert, for word, neither more nor less. hanging over bis head. There was a “ Sir John was silent again for a long deep morning, fog on grass and grave- time, and at last he said, very composstone around him, and his horse was edly, Steenie, this story of yours con
cerns the honour of many a noble fa- | dining-parlour, and took him by the mily besides mine ; and if it be a leas- hand, and spoke kindly to him, and ing-making, to keep yourself out of my said he was sorry he should have doubtdanger, the least you can expect is to ed his word, and that he would herehave a red-hot iron driven through your after be a good master to him, to make tongue, and that will be as bad as amends. scauding your fingers wi' a red-hot chan- “ • And now, Steenie,' said Sir John, ter. But yet it may be true, Steenie ; although this vision of yours tends, on and if the money cast up, I will not the whole, to my father's credit, as an know what to think of it. But where honest man, that he should, even after shall we find the Cat's Cradle ? There his death, desire to see justice done to are cats enough about the old house, but a poor man like you, yet you are senI think they kitten without the ceremony
sible that ill-dispositioned men might of bed or cradle.'
make bad constructions upon it, con“We were best ask Hutcheon,' said cerning his soul's health. So, I think, my gudesire ; he kens a' theodd cor- we had better lay the whole dirdum on ners about as weel as—another serving- that ill-deedie creature, Major Weir, man that is now gane, and that I wad and say naething about your dream in not like to name.'
the wood of Pitmurkie. You had taken “ Aweel, Hutcheon, when he was ower mickle brandy to be very certain asked, told them, that a ruinous turret, about anything; and, Steenie, this relang disused, next to the clock-house, ceipt, (his hand shook while he held only accessible by a ladder, for the it out)—it's but a queer document, and opening was on the outside, and far we will do best, I think, to put it quietabove the battlements, was called of old ly in the fire.' the Cat's Cradle.
" • Od, but for as queer as it is, it's " • There will I go immediately,' a' the voucher I have for my rent," said said Sir John ; and he took (with what my gudesire, who was afraid, it may be, purpose, heaven kens,) one of his fa- of losing the benefit of Sir Robert's ther's pistols from the hall-table, where discharge. they had lain since the night he died,
" • I will bear the contents to your and hastened to the battlements.
credit in the rental-book, and give you " It was a dangerous place to climb, a discharge under my own hand,' said for the ladder was auld and frail, and Sir John, and that on the spot. And, wanted ane or twa rounds. However, Steenie, if you can hold your tongue up got Sir John, and entered at the tur- about this matter, you shall sit, from ret door, where his body stopped the
this term downward, at an easier rent.' only little light that was in the bit turret. Many thanks to your honour,' Something fees at him wi'a vengeance,
said Steenie, who saw easily in what maist dang him back ower-bang gaed corner the wind sat ; doubtless I will the knight's pistol, and Hutcheon, that be conformable to all your honour's beld the ladder, and my gudesire that commands ; only I would willingly stood beside him, hears a loud skelloch. speak wi' some powerful minister on A minute after Sir John Aings the body the subject, for I do not like the sort of of the jack-an-ape down to them, and sunmons of appointment whilk your cries that the siller is found, and that honour's father' they should come up and help him. “Do not call the phantom my faAnd there was the bag of siller sure ther !' said Sir John, interrupting him. aneugh, and many other things besides, ,
« « Weel then, the thing that was so that had been missing for many a day. like him.'--said mygudesire ; " he spoke And Sir John, when he had riped the of my coming back to him this time turret weel, led my gudesire into the twelvemonth, and it's weight on my