The Sportsman of Outfieldhaugh

by Alexander Leighton

The old property of Eyrymount—belonging to a sept of the Græmes that had at a former period emigrated to that locality, not far from the Borders of Scotland, and possessed, at the time we speak of, by Hugo Græme, a man somewhat advanced in years—was (for it has latterly been broken down into small portions) one of the finest small possessions of a commoner that could be seen in the fairest part of Scotland. Compact, and divided into two portions—one of the richest arable soil, and another, where the mansion-house stood, of planted ground, adorned by green trees and flowering shrubs—it was just that kind of property which, filling the purse and pleasing the eye, a man of sense and a lover of nature would choose to occupy and draw the rents of. The proprietor of this fine retreat—Hugo, of the fourth generation of these Græmes—was the very worst kind of man that could have been placed upon such an estate; for he held that kind of middle station between the exclusive great and the not exclusive, which, producing discontentment with what is in one’s power, and generating an ambition seldom realized, neutralizes all the advantages of independence, and changes the gifts of Providence into gilded evils. The property was too small to enable him to cope with those whom he wished to associate with, while it was too extensive to admit of its proprietor being classed with many of the neighbouring lairds. Yet his pride struggled with the physical impossibilities with which the limited nature of Eyrymount surrounded him; and his life for many years had been occupied by a series of efforts to make up, by art and diplomacy, what could not be wrung from his patrimonial inheritance. His wife, Madam Græme—as she was styled by the neighbours, from her possession of a pride equal to, if not transcending that of her husband—was the daughter of a rich banker, who, after her marriage, lost his wealth, and, of course, the charm which procured for him the enviable title of father-in-law to Hugo Græme of Eyrymount, the fourth lineal heir of the southern sept of the Græmes. The pride which had been generated in the bosom of the young lady by expectation, was not relinquished with her hope of succeeding to a fortune that had taken to itself “the wings of the morning.” Bringing in this way no riches to her husband, she did not leave behind her the evils which generally attend them and often survive them; and the hundred thousand pounds she expected to succeed to, though now in the pockets of other people, and feeding a pride of a more legitimate kind in the bosoms of the possessors, founded that kind of claim to honour which a ragged heir of a thousand acres which have been out of his family for fifty years, thinks he has a right to assume, from the mere circumstance of his grandfather having been the laird. The pride of the master and mistress of Eyrymount, strong in the original stems, was strengthened, but not, like the forest crab-apple, improved, by the mutual ingrafture of connubial sympathy; and they strained and pulled together, in their efforts to stretch the income of Eyrymount into the means of supporting a state to which it was inadequate.

An only child—a female, of considerable pretensions to beauty, simple and humble, and highly interesting in her manners, and called, after her mother, Dione, a title of which Madam Græme was very proud—added considerably to the pride of the haughty couple. They expected “to turn her to account,” and had already fixed their eyes on an old rich nabob, called Benjamin Rice, who had taken up his residence at Pansey Lodge, in the neighbourhood, as a very suitable and easy kind of person, who would likely have no objection to enter without much struggle into the matrimonial noose. They never thought of consulting Dione on the subject; for, though they did not dispute that she had “some interest” in the affair, they took for granted that, as one of the family, she was solicitous for the enhancement of its fortunes, and would at once sell herself for the good of the Græmes of Eyrymount. The nabob was not averse, at least in the first instance, to partake of the fine dinners, served up as a costly kind of bait at Eyrymount House. The dyspepsia, which, along with his rupees, he had caught in India, made him nice in the selection of his food and wine; and no cost was spared by the fortune-hunting Amphytrions, to procure for him whatever might please his palate. Neither had the nabob any disinclination to feast his eyes on the fair face of Dione, who received his looks and attentions very much in the way that children do that emetic Indian shrub, called ipecacuanha. The tyranny of her proud mother, however, prevented her from shewing symptoms of displeasure, when she felt herself subjected to his scrutiny; and, as yet, no hint had been given that he was selected as the man who was to make her “happy for life.”

Next to the getting off of the fair Dione in a carriage and four, and repairing his fortunes with the fortune of her husband, Hugo Græme had long sighed for getting back the merk-land of Outfieldhaugh, formerly a part of Eyrymount, and very foolishly, as he thought, given off from the estate, by his grandfather, Murdoch Græme, to a favourite friend, at a small yearly feu of only a pound sterling. This property was now a very pretty place; having been, by the first feuar, embellished by plantations and fanciful shrubs, which, in the course of time, had grown up and covered the high parts with an umbrageous clothing of variegated hues, glittering in the setting sun with a splendour which could too well be seen from the windows of Eyrymount. The envied place had been taken from the main estate in the most awkward and provoking manner possible; for, in place of being, what its name implied, an outfield, it lay in the very bosom of Eyrymount, and was composed of the best land of the property, besides enjoying the finest prospect on any part of the estate. Beyond all, it was for ever in the eye of the gazer from the casements of the old house; and the original feeling of regret was embittered by a daily accession of displeasure, as strangers at Eyrymount pointed out to the laird the beautiful spot, and asked whether it formed part of the old domain.

The fault committed by Murdoch Græme, had been attempted to be cured by Hector Græme, the father of Hugo, who did everything in his power to prevail upon the proprietor of Outfieldhaugh to dispose of it again to him, whereby the integration of the old estate would be effected, while another property could easily be procured to the satisfaction of the seller, who had no family feelings or prejudices to gratify, by clinging to his possession. These efforts, however, had proved vain; for the proprietor of Outfieldhaugh was just as fond of his merk-land as Græme was of his larger possessions; and did not hesitate to get angry, as he was well entitled to do, when solicited to part with his property, to gratify a family pride he despised, because, perhaps, he had no family of his own of which he could be otherwise than ashamed. The wish which had actuated Hector Græme through life was transmitted to his son on his deathbed; particular directions having been given in his will that his heir should be upon the watch, night and day, to pounce upon Outfieldhaugh, and reincorporate it with the main estate, and a hint added, that there was no occasion for being over-scrupulous as to the mode by which that great object should be accomplished. This hint was only the advice which Hector himself had followed.

“Honesty has nothing to do with the getting back of what should never have been given away,” said the dying man to Hugo, who sat by his bedside after the clergyman had departed. “I have examined all the rights, charters, infeftments, retours, and what not, and held them up to the light, to see if I could detect what the lawyers call ‘erasures;’ but, though I never could see daylight through them, your quicker eyes may be more successful. There’s a clause in them, binding the heirs of Outfieldhaugh to lend the charters to us as the superiors. I forced a loan of the title-deeds upon that clause, and had a good fire in my library, which I looked at often, and then at the charter again, and then at the fire again; but—but—but——” And with these words on his tongue, old Hector Græme, who was called the honest laird of Eyrymount, expired.

The recommendation of old Hector was not lost upon Hugo, who recollected, particularly, the hint about the library fire; but a slight legal education he had received in his youth taught him that, as the charters had been registered at Edinburgh, the library fire could not aid him in getting back Outfieldhaugh. After he became satisfied of this, but not before, he “disdained,” as he said, “to reacquire the property in the manner recommended by old Hector, who knew nothing about the act 1617; besides, how could he get the titles, without an obligation to redeliver them ’within a reasonable time and under a suitable penalty?’” He resolved upon another plan; but whether it was less dishonest than the speedy mode recommended by old Hector, and affected to be despised by him, may be safely left to the judgment of the world. This much may be said for Hector’s project—that he had the merit of philosophizing; for, though the qualities of phlogiston had already been pretty well ascertained, the effects of its application to the rights of another person’s property had not often been examined, except by the anti-philosophical fifteen who sit in the Parliament House of Edinburgh, and who foolishly allowed themselves to be led by musty acts of parliament and old precedents. The mode adopted by Hugo, again, was purely empirical, and, besides, suggested to him by a change having taken place in the proprietorship of Outfieldhaugh.

Some time previous to our historical era, the proprietor of the envied property died, without children, and without any settlement. His heir-at-law was a poor hind, called Nashon Heatherton—a name given to him by his father, who believed that a scripture appellation, taken ad aperturam bibliorum, or chance opening of the Bible, would be attended with luck—a belief well justified by the result. Nashon had got little or no education, and, though a remarkably good-looking, stalworth countryman, was accounted shy, if not simple—an idea, however, derived merely from his appearance, which denoted no great mental vigour, though the truth was, that he had more wit than his neighbours, being only “shy of using it,” and having a perverse pleasure in leading people astray, while he enjoyed the unprofitable errors that were continually made, in imputing to him a facility of being imposed upon. The intelligence that the hind, Nashon Heatherton, had succeeded to Outfieldhaugh, produced, apparently, greatly more effect upon the public, who were not to benefit by it to the extent of a farthing, than upon the “fortunate youth” himself; who, when the attorney told him of his luck, replied, with a smile, that “he had nae faith in lawyers, an’ wad be cautious in takin possession o’ an estate, till he was satisfied he was the true heir.” Nashon had no intention of being very difficult to be satisfied on the point of right; but some who did not understand the vein of his humour, said he was an idiot who could not distinguish good from evil.

When Nashon Heatherton took possession of Outfieldhaugh—a step he adopted without the necessity of the application of force, contrary to the ideas entertained by his neighbours—he was waited upon by his superior, Hugo Græme, who went for the express purpose of taking the dimensions and properties of the new proprietor, with a view to his ulterior schemes, which he had been remodelling from the instant he heard of the devolution of the envied right on an obscure, illiterate, and simple hind.

“I am come, sir,” said Hugo, as he entered the hall of Outfieldhaugh, and accosted Nashon, who was sitting in the finely furnished apartment, occupied in “glowrin frae him—I am come to wish you joy of a possession which has come to you without expectation; and, therefore, must yield you pleasure, greater and of a different kind, than acquisitions of property generally do, even to heirs.”

“I haena felt it yet,” replied Nashon, looking up to Græme with a curious, arch expression of face. “The auld hoosekeeper, Esther Maclean, has been cryin a’ day aboot the beauties o’ the place; but she says there’s nae conies on’t, sae there can be little amusement either for me or Birsey, wha sits growlin there because he’s no at his auld quarters at Conybarns.”

“We have more foxes than conies in these quarters,” replied Græme, struck with the cause of complaint stated in limine by the new proprietor.

“I suppose sae,” replied Nashon, eyeing Græme expressively; “there’s nae want o’ them in ony quarter; but they’re easily got quit o’; for, whar there’s nae fules, there’s nae foxes. We had nane o’ them at Conybarns.”

“You seem to have a grateful recollection of that place,” said Græme. “Old Langbane, the laird of it, would, I understand, sell it. You should purchase it.”

“I hae aneugh o’ property,” replied Nashon; “when I hae Outfieldhaugh—maybe owre muckle.”

“You do not understand me,” said Græme. “I mean that you should sell Outfieldhaugh, and buy Conybarns with the price.”

“That wadna be ill to do,” said Nashon; “for they say the laird of Eyrymount has a keen ee to the place; but dinna ye think I should just be doin wi’t? There’s owre muckle wood on’t, but that can be easily mended wi’ a guid axe; an’ I can get a breed o’ conies frae Conybarns.”

“Useful improvements,” said Græme, staring at Nashon, and unable to ascertain whether he was an idiot or a wag.

“I hae ither changes i’ my head,” replied Nashon, “if I could be at the trouble o’ bringin them oot. I like a stir aboot a place. There’s some fine waterfa’s i’ the dell yonder; but what’s a waterfa withoot a mill? Folk rin after thae things, an’ seem to like the noise o’ the dashin waters; but hoo muckle mair noise wad there be if there was a guid birlin spinnin mill alangside o’ them? Besides, there’s some life aboot a mill—the swearin o’ the men spinners, the screighin o’ the hizzies, their love-makins i’ the green haughs, their penny waddins i’ the ale-houses. It’s thae things that mak a country place lichtsome. I wonder that Eyrymount hasna mair sense than to keep his place sae quiet. I’ll shew him an example.”

“That may not suit his taste,” replied Græme, at a loss what to say; for he had some suspicions that Nashon knew him; and the introduction of himself was now made a difficult matter.

“It is impossible, sir,” said Nashon: “would it no suit his taste to mak siller? They say he spends weel; and, while his waters are rinnin to the sea, withoot ca’in a single mill, he may rin dry—unless, indeed, Benjamin Rice marries his bonny dochter, Dione.”

“I am thinking Esther Maclean has been giving you the news of the place,” said Græme, trying to smile, but unable to get beyond a grin.

“Ou ay, the cratur has been trying to amuse me,” said Nashon; “for she couldna bear, she said, to see me sittin i’ the middle o’ this big ha’, lookin frae me, an’ thinkin o’ the huntin o’ the conies o’ Conybarns; but when the mills are set agaun, we’ll hae something to keep us out o’ langer. I may, peradventure, think too o’ some tanneries. It’s a pity to lose sae muckle oak bark; and Jamie Skinner, the leather merchant o’ Peebles, says he could sell as mony skins as I could gie him.”

“But you forget, Mr. Heatherton,” said Græme, beginning to lose temper, “that you have only a servitude to a limited extent over the Well Burn, and will not be entitled to destroy the purity of the water.”

“But water doesna rin up the brae, sir,” replied Nashon. “I’m below Eyrymount, an’ my neebours below me winna object. But, after a’, I think o’ mony things I never execute.”

“I hope you will think twice about these things,” said Græme. “I merely called in, as a neighbour, to wish you joy. Good morning!”

“Guid mornin, sir!” replied Nashon, without rising from his chair. “That’s Eyrymount himsel,” he continued, after Græme had departed, “if Esther’s account o’ him be correct. Isna that the laird o’ Eyrymount, Esther?” said he to Esther Maclean, as she entered.

“The very man,” replied Esther. “Was he wantin to buy Outfieldhaugh frae ye?”

“Ou, ay,” replied Nashon; “but I tauld him I intended to build spinnin mills an’ tannaries on the Well Burn.”

“An’ do ye intend to spoil yer estate in that way?” said Esther.

“It’s no very likely,” replied Nashon. “The value o Outfieldhaugh lies in its woods an’ waterfa’s; an’, though I pretended to like the whin muirs o’ Conybarns better, it was only to bring the laird oot, an’ see if ye were richt in what ye tauld me. I think ye’re nearly as wise as mysel.”

While Nashon and Esther Maclean were thus comparing notes, Hugo Græme returned to Eyrymount, and had a conference with his lady on the character of the new proprietor of Outfieldhaugh.

“What kind of a boor have you found this new proprietor of your old estate?” said the lady, as he entered. “Is he simple enough to sell, or wild enough to dissipate it by incurring debt?”

“He is either the most arch rogue or the greatest fool I ever met in my life,” replied Græme. “I intended to introduce myself after the first salutation; but the idiot began talking about Eyrymount as if he thought I were some one else, and said such things as entirely prevented me from making the declaration. His housekeeper is old Esther Maclean, whom he has retained; and she, who bears us no good feeling, has told him everything he requires to know to put him on his guard against us—that is, I mean, if he has wit enough to take advantage of it; for I doubt yet if he is not a born idiot. He talked about hunting conies, and building spinning-mills on the Well Burn, like a madman; yet, if he knew whom he was talking to, there was a sense in his madness which I do not much like.”

“Did you ask him if he would sell Outfieldhaugh?” inquired the lady.

“I did,” answered Græme; “and his answer was a question—‘Dinna ye think I should just be doing wi’t?’ What could you make of a person who could return such an answer to a plain question?”

“But you say he talked of hunting,” said the lady. “That is a very good way, as you well know, of getting into debt.”

“Yes, but it depends on the game,” replied Græme—“cony-hunting, with an old hairy terrier he calls Birsey, will not ruin him, even if he found any conies on Outfieldhaugh, which I defy him to do.”

“But the spirit of Nimrod,” replied the lady, “extends to every kind of game, whether real statutory game, conies, or pigeons. Give him a smack of reynard, and the despicable cony will soon be left to its burrow.”

“If he has wit enough to distinguish between a fox and a rabbit,” said Græme—“which, however, I doubt. Every effort must, no doubt, be tried. Outfieldhaugh must be got by force or stealth. It must be Dione’s dowry, when she is wedded to Benjamin Rice; and when he dies, as he must soon do, if one can have any faith in his gamboge-coloured skin, we shall have our patrimonial estate entire; and his large fortune to dash away with in successful competition with Sir James Featherstone of Cockairney, Sir George Beckett of Turf Hall, and all our sporting neighbours, who at present outstrip us in the race of pleasure, and excel us in the court of fashion. The question is—How is this to be accomplished? ‘He that dares well fares well,’ as the saying is; and I think we cannot do better than try to innoculate this piece of untenanted spiritless flesh with a little of the blood of Nimrod and Pollux. Hunting and horse-racing comprehend within themselves all sorts of expensive dissipation. If he joins our Soho Club, he will require money. I will lend it, if I should borrow it for that purpose; and I know the nature of an adjudication.”

“The project sounds well,” said the lady; “but I must see the cony-hunter myself, for women are better judges of men, than men are of their neighbours. I will give him a dinner, if you will give him a present of a hunter. We must blow the soap-bell before it flies and bursts.”

“If you are to make a belle of him, you must indeed prepare plenty of soap,” said Græme, smiling at the cleverness of a vile pun. “But, without a joke, he is a good-looking boor, were he washed. A cake of soap, with your invitation card, might be of some importance. It is the alpha of the education of a gentleman, and we must begin at the beginning.”

This conversation was overheard by the gentle Dione, who was, in no small degree, interested in the affair propounded by her parents. She now knew, for certain, their intentions in regard to the disposal of her hand; and, while her judgment disapproved of their scheme, which was unfair towards the simple-minded (so she termed him) Heatherton, and cruel to herself, her feelings rebelled against a union with the gamboge-coloured old Indian, who had already ogled her into a sympathetic jaundice. The process of her thoughts was extremely favourable to calling forth a strong interest in favour of Nashon, whom she had never seen, but whom she figured to herself as a plain, good-looking man (as indeed he was), whose simplicity was about to be taken advantage of, for her sake, by his property being unjustly wrested from him and given to her, as a dowry, on the occasion of her marriage with a man she hated. Simple as she herself was, she felt inclined to counteract these ambitious and unjustifiable intentions; and, if Nashon Heatherton had been known to her, and in any way worthy of her affections, she would (so she theorised) have thrown herself into the arms of the new laird of Outfieldhaugh, saved him from ruin, and herself from an interminable grief.

The intensity of her feelings, called up by what she had overheard, and inflamed by the workings of her own mind, drove her into the surrounding woods of Eyrymount, where she might weep unobserved; and the excited state of her feelings sought relief by the natural means of speaking out her thoughts. She was overheard by Nashon. They spoke. An explanation took place, and that sympathy which follows often on mutual knowledge, led the way to love. He learned from her her own unhappy position, and the intentions of her father to ruin him, for the purpose of securing Outfieldhaugh. Proceeding homewards, he thus monologized:—

“An’ sae Eyrymount wants to ride me to the devil that he may get Outfieldhaugh! He maun be ignorant o’ the siller I got as the auld laird’s executor, besides the estate as his heir. Let him remain in his ignorance, an’ we’ll see wha will ride langest an’ wha’ll keep strongest. My neck has as mony liths in’t as Eyrymount’s craig; an’ if he canna get Oldfieldhaugh except by stretchin mine, I’ll no’ get his dochter Dione without gien his a thraw. Can onybody blame me? Am I no fechtin him wi’ his ain weapons? and, besides, are we no strugglin for the same object—the junction o’ the twa estates that hae been owre lang separated?”

Continuing his train of thought farther than we think it necessary to record it, Nashon arrived at Outfieldhaugh House, at the door of which he met Esther Maclean, who presented to him a face so full of expression, that the ideas seemed to be struggling in all parts of it to get down to her mouth for vent. It was clear that something pertaining to the Eyrymount family had occurred during the few hours’ absence of her master; for few other subjects could have produced such a mute loquacity as her moving wrinkles exhibited when Nashon entered.

“Your threat to big spinnin mills on the Well Burn has biggit your respectability, guid sir,” she exclaimed. “Read that, and then tak a turn into the stable.”

Esther handed to Nashon, as she spoke, a letter from Madame Græme, finely perfumed, the sight and smell of which produced a convulsion in the old simple frame of mind of the quandam hind, which he did not care about exhibiting even to Esther. The application of his large coarse fingers to the single drop of scented green wax with which the note was sealed, produced a mysterious kind of feeling of awe without a visible cause, which was entirely new to him; and the great array of Cupids and roses stamped on the margin of the fine hot-pressed paper, completed the effect of this mute Ariel from the regions of high life. The note was as follows:—

“Mr. and Mrs. Græme, of Eyrymount, present their respects to Mr. Nashon Heatherton, and request the honour of his company to dinner at Eyrymount, on Wednesday se’enight, the 15th instant, at five o’clock.”

On the other side of the note were a few lines, in another and a bolder hand, to this effect.—

“Mr. Græme, who has had already the honour of conversing with Mr. Heatherton, presumes upon his character of feudal superior of Outfieldhaugh, to mark the introduction of a new vassal by some trifling consideration; and therefore, and as the Soho Club meet for the purpose of paying their respects to Mr. Reynard to-morrow at the Shaking Bridge over the Hazel Burn, he requests Mr. Heatherton’s acceptance of his favourite hunter, Springall, and the pleasure of his company at the chase.”

“My auld maister wad hae tauld me what was in the letter,” said Esther, turning up her eyes expressively into the face of Nashon.

“An’ yer new ane winna refuse ye the pleasure,” answered Nashon. “The braw folk o’ Eyrymount have invited me to dinner on Wednesday se’enight, and sent me a hunter for the chase, the morn, at the Shakin Bridge.”

“An’ will ye gang?” said Esther.

“Surely,” replied Nashon—“ordinary politeness seems to demand it; but what will I do for a huntin dress?”

“Yer ancestor’s scarlet coat winna disgrace his heir,” replied Esther. “It’s up i’ the leather kist, i’ the blue parlour yonder; an’ I’ll mak oot to get a len’ o’ a pair o’ boots frae Squire Hawthorn’s butler, wha’ll never let on the thing to his maister.”

Nashon smiled at the idea of borrowing a pair of boots; but pride had not yet in him attained that height which enables its votaries to look down with contempt on the obligation of a loan, and he chose to sport Squire Hawthorn’s boots and Squire Græme’s horse in the meantime, to gratify an object which would require still greater sacrifices. Next day, accordingly, he appeared at the rendezvous, where he in a short time was accosted by Eyrymount, who was accompanied by the proprietor of the under part of the neophyte’s habiliments.

“You will find this sport better than cony-hunting, Mr Heatherton,” said Eyrymount, laughing.

“Ou ay,” replied Nashon; “but I fear it’s mair expensive. I may become owre fond o’t, an’ the rents of Outfieldhaugh may scarcely haud agen the expense.”

“You cannot complain yet,” said Eyrymount, looking significantly at Springall.

“I should think not,” said Squire Hawthorn, looking as significantly at the boots.

“No,” replied Nashon, drawing up his leg a little, but immediately throwing it down again, with a jerk of the stirrup—“but I ken my weakness. I had nae less than nine terriers, ance, at Conybarns—a perfect pack; an’ I wadna wonder to see me hae as mony fox-hounds—ay, an’ maybe as mony hunters. I fear, Eyrymount, I maun lay a’ that cost at your door.”

“There’s no sound on earth like the tally-ho!” cried Eyrymount, delighted with Nashon’s views, which seemed to coincide so well with his own. “You will be a true son of Nimrod, an’ may carry away the gree of the hunting-cup of the southern sept of the Græmes.”

“I like baith the drinkin-horn an’ the tootin-horn,” said Nashon; “an’ will empty the ane an’ fill the other as weel’s ony fox-hunter i’ the kingdom.”

“Bravo! I have not been mistaken in you,” cried Græme.

“The grey lark flees highest o’ a’ the singin’ tribe,” replied Nashon; “an’ the bright gooldie the lowest. Ye canna ken a man frae his coat, ony mair than ye can tell whether a cat is a guid hunter frae the colour o’ her skin.”

“You are right,” said Squire Hawthorn; “neither can you know a man from his boots.”

“If they’re borrowed, ye can say that he’s a cautious, savin chiel wha wears them,” replied Nashon; “but, if they’re bought an’ no paid,” with a significant look at Hawthorn, who was known to be deep in debt, “ye can say he’s an ass. Is the horn no sounded yet? I’m keen to set aff. My bluid’s getting warm wi’ the thought a’ the throw aff an’ the hark on. Ho! he! ho! tantivy! tantivy!”

And Nashon cracked his whip as he thus emulated, by a loud bellow, the spirit of the huntsman.

The chase began, and was continued with great spirit. Reynard displayed his usual tact; and the hounds, Squire Hawthorn’s pack, were in fine blood. Nashon’s tally-ho was heard ringing loudest in the woods; his horse was the finest of the company; and he scoured on like the wind, heedless of the laugh that was attempted to be raised against him by Hawthorn, who had told several of his friends, that Springall, which once belonged to him, knew the touch of the heel of his old boots, and, if they did not take care, would carry the clown in at the death, and shame the whole Soho Club. This sportive sally was successful in more ways than one; for while its humour was well-calculated to produce cachination, there was a ratiocination in it which was calculated to produce a lugubrious reaction for, to the surprise and discomfiture of all the huntsmen, Nashon Heatherton was the individual who was in at the death—a feat, doubtless, as much owing to the speed of Springall as to the dauntlessness of the rider, who, however, displayed great power of horsemanship and surprising presence of mind, on grounds of great difficulty and danger.

In the evening the club enjoyed the hospitality of the proprietor of Nashon’s underfittings, and, although the borrower had, during the day, suffered the gibes of the young fox-hunter, he did not think that either these or the relation in which that part of his dress stood to the lender, disqualified him from eating his meat or drinking his wine. That he would be dubbed the butt of the company, he knew before he went; but he felt himself under the obligations of a peculiar humour, that ruled him with a power paramount to other considerations; and, in the present instance, that humour was itself subservient to objects of ambition of high import—motives that led him to overlook the temporary buzz of an innocuous raillery on the part of men who were fast going to a destruction which he was taking active means to avoid. He, therefore, put on the appearance of enjoying the fox-hunters’ peculiar mode of draining the cup of pleasure to the dregs, laughed, sang, drank, and even essayed, on one or two occasions, a sturdy oath. His strength, robust health, and unsubdued constitution, enabled him to cope with the strongest of these Tricongii in their own element, wine; and when the great cup was brought in—which was generally when all parties were in that intermediate state between sense and forgetfulness which demanded in charity a total finisher, to send them to entire oblivion and rest—he was as sober as a judge. A quarter of an hour after the emptying of that fearful goblet, the fox-hunters around him, who had been high in their humour of drawing “rises” out of him, according to the slang of aquatic sportsmen, or “baiting the badger,” in their more appropriate dialect, fell at his feet, singing as they descended, “with a hey ho chevy!” and all groaning in rough chorus. He alone sat immoveable, laughing at the sleeping pack who had been, during the night, following him with their deep mouths, and boying forth their humour. Where were they now? Their game had become their whipper-in, though they were unconscious of his whip. He took Græme’s hand as he slept, and shook it as that of his father-in-law to be, and wished him joy of Outfieldhaugh. He then mounted Springall, and sought his home and his bed.

On the day appointed, Nashon, dressed and scented in great style, dined at Eyrymount. There were present several fox-hunters, Benjamin Rice, and others of the neighbours—none of whom came up to Nashon in brilliancy or scent. They seemed all delighted and amused with the grotesque figure, excepting Dione, who stared at him in sorrow and disappointment; for she could not conceive how so sudden a transformation from simplicity to gaudy glitter and bad taste, could have taken place on one who appeared to be gifted with prudence and good sense. She feared the hunter had turned his brain, and that her father and mother were in a fair way of seeing their scheme accomplished. Her pride was, moreover, hurt, when she saw the man whom she had begun to love, made a laughing-stock to a whole company, including the hated Benjamin Rice, who was himself exquisitely fitted for filling the high office so unaccountably occupied by the plain and cautious Nashon Heatherton. Nor was she better pleased with his conversation, which, while his old Scotch was retained by necessity, was directed towards subjects which she thought he despised—the interminable hunt, the turf, the dog-kennel, and the wassail chamber.

“I am told, Mr. Heatherton,” said Benjamin Rice, “that you were in at the death at the last hunt, and that you stood the great cup better than any one of the company.”

“Ou ay,” replied Nashon—“I hae turned a great sportsman, thanks to Eyrymount! an’ no bad hand at the bottle. I’m at present on terms wi’ Gib Cowper, the horse-jockey, for twa famous hunters, as guid, I think, as Springall. They’re baith by Bellerophon, real bluids; but he asks twa hundred guineas for them, an’ that I think is ower muckle; I offered him a hunder and ninety.”

“Where are they to be seen?” inquired Græme.

“I dinna ken,” replied Nashon. “He brought them to Outfieldhaugh; but wadna leave them in my stable till we bargained. He said he would ca’ again. I hae been offered Lord Luxmore’s pack, too, at four hunder guineas, fifty head, that is about four guineas a dog—owre muekle, dinna ye think, Eyrymount?”

“I don’t think so,” said Eyrymount—“I’ll run halves with you.”

“I’ll consider o’t,” said Nashon. “His lordship said he wad see me again. We’ll better no seem owre anxious—we may mak a better bargain, especially as they say he needs money.”

“Is it possible,” whispered Hawthorn to Eyrymount, “that the borrower of my old boots has any serious intention of keeping a pack?”

“I do not doubt it,” replied Eyrymount.

“Poor simpleton!” said Dione to herself, with a sigh, as she looked on the ruddy cheeks and open countenance of her grotesquely dressed lover—“has he fallen into the very snare I unwittingly pointed out to him?”

“You are the most spirited laird that Outfieldhaugh ever saw, Mr Heatherton,” said Madame Græme. “It is a great pleasure to have a neighbour like you alongside of us.”

“An’ I’m as weel pleased wi’ the high-spirited Eyrymount,” said Nashon—“we’ll dash away nicely thegither.”

“Saw you ever such a fool, Miss Græme?” whispered Benjamin. “He will soon dash through Outfieldhaugh. If he had ploughed the salt seas, and endured the blisters of a tropical sun for his money, as I have done, he would know better how to guide it.”

Dione intuitively turned her face from the orange-coloured Indian towards the rose-coloured youth, and sighed.

“Are you to be present at the steeple-chase on the 19th?” said Eyrymount to Nashon.

“Surely,” replied he, readily, “I canna resist a steeple-chase. I ken nae sport like that mixture o’ rinnin, louping, manœuvring, jockeyin, tumblin, an’ brak-neck feats o’ horsemanship. It’s right glorious. If life had naething better to offer us, as a reward, for a’ we are doomed to suffer between the cradle and the grave, a guid steeple-chase wad be aneugh to mak us a’ wish to live our lives owre again. What are the rules?—will Springall be admitted?”

“No; he is beyond the age,” replied Græme, “but Hawthorn will sell ye Copperbottom.”

“Weel, I’ll ca’ the morn an’ see Copper,” said Nashon. “If I buy, I’ll ride him mysel—I’ll trust nae jockey. If I win I’ll gie the gentlemen o’ the Soho Club a chance for the prize again by anither steeple-chase, the day after the next county races, whereat, by-the-by, I wad like to hae a sweat for the gowd cup, as a guid way o’ bringin a person into notice, especially whar ane is his ain jockey, as I wad be, wearin a green silk jacket as livery. Hoo gran’ it wad be to hear the leddies cryin, ‘Success to the green!’—bettin their gowd pins on his comin up in guid time to the winnin post, and then shakin hands wi’ the victor, wi’ a thousand gratulations on his success!”

“Do my ears deceive me,” said Dione to herself, “as my eyes seemed to do when I saw the piebald character of his dress? How powerful is pride, when it is stimulated in the hidden recesses of the mind of the peasant, by the magic wand of fortune! Alas! alas! my choice is now between a foolish beggar and a heartless nabob.”

The effect produced by Nashon on the whole company assembled at Eyrymount was extraordinary. The master and mistress were delighted with him, and devoted him in their imaginations, to a speedy immolation on the altar of the god of folly; the members of the Soho Club already marked him out as a good pigeon, whose tail-feathers would enable them to fly yet a little longer in the high regions of fashion; Dione sighed for a lost lover and ruined simpleton; and Benjamin Rice counted, in his imagination, his guineas, and congratulated himself on a gout that prevented him from engaging in sports that might tend to dissipate them, along with the remnant of a ruined constitution, which sack, and sago pudding, and panado, could scarcely support.

Nashon bought Copperbottom, ran him, carried the prize, and sold him next day for ten pounds of profit; on which great occasion he informed his housekeeper, Esther Maclean, that he intended to entertain the whole Soho Club at Outfieldhaugh—a communication that produced a mixed feeling of terror and wonder on the part of the old housekeeper, which she had no words adequately to express. She wished him to be genteel, and like the other gentlemen of the neighbourhood; but she had heard hints that he was getting fast into the vortex of a sportsman’s dissipation; and the intelligence that he was to entertain the “Soho”—equal, in her estimation, to dining the Cham of Tartary and his staff—confirmed the report, and filled her with sorrow and regret. All her efforts to dissuade her master from his purpose were unavailing: cards were issued to forty gentlemen; the question put by Esther, where he was to find the necessary service of table apparatus, the wine, the cooks, and the waiters, required to be answered; and he was at no loss for an answer on a subject he had deeply considered. Mounting Springall, he hastened away to a town at some considerable distance, and procured an estimate from an innkeeper of the expense of his projected entertainment. The innkeeper undertook to supply everything, with livery servants, unknown to the company, and keep his engagement a profound secret, for so much a-head. The entertainment went off in great style; Nashon presided, with all the manners of a thorough-bred blood sportsman—drank, sang, and talked of races and steeple-chases, with all the slang and spirit of the craft. The wine, the plate, the service, the servants in livery, and all the appurtenances of a great establishment, apparently belonging to the merry master of the revels, were of the best kind, and produced universal admiration. The spirit and bounty of Nashon were extolled to the utmost, and Squire Hawthorn admitted, in a whisper to Græme, that the loan of the boots had been amply repaid. Nashon again drank them all out. The extent of the potations made no change on the expense, and a folly that was never to be repeated might be carried with impunity to the confines of madness.

Next morning, after encountering the lugubrious face of Esther Maclean, who saw in the hired servants and the broken dishes and glasses all the worst symptoms of approaching ruin, Nashon went out to enjoy the refreshing breezes that swept along the Well Burn; and, at her beloved spot, the Monks’ Well, he found Dione Græme sitting, wrapped in meditation.

“Do I see,” said Dione, as he approached her, “the same individual I met on this spot on a former occasion, when I thought his unpolished prudence and good sense would have enabled him to profit by a disclosure I made without intention.”

“The very same—Nashon Heatherton,” replied he, “wi’ nae change in him, except it be that he is, if possible, still mair prudent and far wiser than he was on that eventfu day.”

“I know you are a riddle, sir,” said Dione—“a charade I cannot solve. Do not the neighbours say, what I have partially witnessed, that you are inebriated with the spirit of the fox-hunter, and fast riding to ruin, at the nod and by the example of my father, who, however, is making his folly subservient to his purpose of ruining you?”

“A’ true, my bonny Dione,” replied Nashon. “Naebody can be blamed for sayin what I wish him to think. They say, and you suppose, that I am ridin to the deevil; but will ye believe me when I tell you that I am only ridin to you? If you’ll tak me as I stand, and marry me in spite o’ your faither an’ mither, I’ll gie up my mad pranks, and sit quietly down, as a douce, sensible man, whase greatest ambition and highest pleasure would be to minister to the comfort and happiness o’ Dione Græme.”

“My father and mother will never consent to that,” replied Dione. “It was only this morning that my mother urged me to receive more kindly, or rather less unkindly, the addresses of Benjamin Rice; but how can it be that your behaving as a fool can ever come in place of the consent of my parents, or procure me for your wife, even if I were favourably affected towards you?”

“If you will tell me that you love me and will become my wife, provided I get your faither and mither’s consent to our union,” replied Nashon, “I will tell you the wisdom o’ my folly, an’ explain my riddle—that, in place o’ ridin to the deevil, I am ridin to Dione.”

“I must believe the evidence of my senses,” replied Dione. “I have already given you reason to suppose that I was well affected towards you; but, if Benjamin Rice has disgusted me, Nashon Heatherton has terrified me; and I must first see an amendment of your conduct before I pledge myself to what may be my ruin.”

“Time tries whinstanes, Dione,” replied Nashon; “an’ my folly is no quite sae hardened an’ perverse. If ye gang sae muckle by the evidence o’ yer senses, I hae nae objection to mak them the test o’ my conduct, when a’ its pairts are seen thegither, an’ my motives for actin as I now do can be properly understood. Will ye be kind to me, Dione, till I prove myself the same prudent Nashon Heatherton you first thought me?”

“Most certainly,” replied Dione; “for it is my wish to respect you and——”

“Love you,” said Nashon, making out her sentences. “Dione Græme, if ye wad only repeat, wi’ thae bonny lips the words I hae now uttered, I wad soon change the wish into the thing wished for; an’, what is mair, I wad mak your love the handmaiden o’ your respect, whilk, being an act o’ the judgment, whase laws are eternal, is mair necessary to the happiness o’ a marriage than the love o’ the fickle thing they ca’ the heart, whilk beats fast and slow wi’ the changes o’ wind and weather.”

“Would that my respect were already equal to my—my—feeling for you!” said Dione, blushing.

“The mair appropriate word ye hae now blinked,” said Nashon, “wad hae been mair pleasant to me; but I maun be content wi’ your thoughts till I shew mysel mair worthy o’ their bein revealed. The morn’s the race-day, an’ my steeple-chase prize is to be run for the day after. Ye may smile as ye like, but the laugh may yet be on the other side. Ye see how grave I can be when I speak o’ serious things. I understand your faither has bought a fine new tandem for the occasion. We gae forward merrily—dashin awa in fine style. Dinna we, Dione?”

“And where it is to end I know not,” replied she. “My father, I understand, is merely an extravagant man, who will soon see the end of his fortune; for I have heard he has been already applying to Mr Langbane, the rich laird of Conybarns, for a loan of money; but, as for you, there is a mystery about your extravagance which I cannot penetrate—though this much I can easily understand, that he who trusts himself upon a stormy sea in an open boat, may miscalculate the power of his own resources in saving him from a watery grave.”

Nashon laughed at the fears of Dione, and, before they parted, assumed the boldness of sealing the protestations of his affection, and the sincerity of his views of ultimate prudence and amendment, by a kiss, which, though it produced a blush extending from bandeau to tucker, was, in the end, forgiven with such a sweetness of expression and so modest a demeanour, that a stoic could not have resisted the impulse which stimulated the thief to a repetition of the petty larceny.

Nashon’s subsequent proceedings were of the same character as those already detailed. He attended the races in a borrowed tandem, without hinting anything concerning the proprietorship of what was presumed to be his own. His generosity in being the contributor of the prize of the next steeple-chase was lauded by all those who got a chance for winning it. Dinners followed at Eyrymount and other places; and Nashon, following in the wake of Græme, though sometimes leading the way, appeared to be fast hurrying to the gulf which awaits the victims of passions whose gratification holds no proportion to the means of supporting a dissolute life. A year passed on, during which a great deal of money was spent by Græme, and not a little by Nashon, whose resources from the funds he got as executor of the proprietor of Outfieldhaugh were, however, more than sufficient for a much greater expenditure. In the midst of this dissipation he was repeatedly attempted to be reclaimed by those who wished him well, and, among others, his old master, Langbane, had many interviews with him, with a view of producing some salutary sense of the imprudence of his conduct.

“I hae warned you,” said the old miser, “an’ my warnins are nae beetles’ sangs i’ the auld wa’s o’ spaein wives. But the truth o’ our proverbs works out in spite o’ a’ the warnins o’ Solomon; an I think we hae ane that says, ‘Set a beggar on horseback an’ he’ll ride to the deevil.’ I hae seen that verified often i’ my day; and anither o’ the same kind—‘Reek comes aye down again, however high it flees’—is just as pithy and pertinent to your case. I never mak an apology for gi’en a man a guid advice; because, if he taks the poker and drives me out o’ his house, he just verifies another guid auld sayin—‘He that comes atween a fule and his ruin, is like him wha interferes atween a man an’ his wife—he’s sure o’ the reddin straik.’”

“But ye needna be afraid o’ my poker, guid friend,” replied Nashon, laughing. “I tak a’ ye hae said in guid part, though I fear ye wadna come sae weel aff at Eyrymount.”

“I believe if I wad lend him the three thousand pounds he wants me to advance to him,” said Langbane, with a smile, “I might say onything I liked to him.”

“An’ will ye lend him the money?” inquired Nashon, anxiously.

“I wad rather borrow yours, were it for nae ither object than to keep it for ye,” replied Langbane.

“A joke has sometimes mair wisdom in’t than the pulpit oration o’ a greetin minister,” replied Nashon. “I hae nae great confidence i’ my power o’ keepin thegither the five thousand pounds I hae yet o’ my executry; an’, if Eyrymount wad tak the loan frae me, I wad tak a mortgage owre Eyrymount as my security; but I hae guid reason to think he winna borrow frae his ain vassal. What wad ye think o’ my giein you the siller, an’ lettin you lend it him in your name, you giein me an assignation to the debt.”

“As your friend, Nashon, an’ wishin to keep thegither siller whase wings are fast fledgin, I hae nae objection to your plan,” replied Langbane. “I hae only ae remark to mak—Wha is to draw the interest? for, if I assign the debt to ye, I canna tak the interest, an’ then it will come out that ye are the creditor.”

“Muckle will come and gae afore my interest is due an’ payable,” replied Nashon. “I hae every faith in ye. Here is a check on my banker for three thousand pounds. Eyrymount, ye ken, pays the expense o’ the lawyer’s papers.”

“Ye’re as well up to thae things as I am,” replied Langbane. “There’s only ae thing ye dinna seem to ken.”

“What is that?” inquired Nashon.

“There’s a sma commission paid generally to negociators o’ lent siller,” said the miser. “I’ll only charge ye a half per cent.”

“Weel, ye’ll get it,” said Nashon, “after ye work for’t. There’s nae commission paid aforehand.”

“That’s true, too,” replied Langbane. “Ye’ll be a proud man wi’ a bond ower Eyrymount.”

And Langbane left Nashon, with the view of going direct to Eyrymount, to tell him that he was now willing to lend him the money he required. The transaction was very soon finished. Langbane got a mortgage over the property of Eyrymount, and assigned it over to Nashon, who locked it past in his coffers, along with the title-deeds of his property and the documents of his remaining cash.

After Eyrymount got this large sum, he increased still farther his expenditure; while Nashon, having, to some extent, gained his object, shewed indications of a wish to draw up. Eyrymount noticed this, and appeared displeased, asking Nashon his reason for not joining him in the prosecution of his schemes of pleasure. Nashon replied, that his money was done; an answer which the other apparently expected, and with which he seemed delighted.

“I have an overplus of ready cash just now,” he said. “What is the use of money but to purchase with it the pleasures which this life holds out in such profusion to those who are willing to buy? Take a couple of thousands from me, and give me your note of hand for it; a mere piece of form, you are aware, as I never would put it to execution, relying, as I do implicitly, on your honour for repayment.”

“What interest wad ye be expectin for’t,” said Nashon.

“Oh, a bagatelle. Say five per cent,” replied the other.

“Very weel,” said Nashon, who knew that Eyrymount was paying himself five per cent, for the same money to Langbane. “I carena though I lighten ye o’ the twa thousand; but I see nae source o’ repayin’t, save frae the flesh an’ banes o’ Outfieldhaugh.”

“Things will have gone far, and many changes been effected in us and our friendships, ere that issue could take place,” replied the other, who went to bring the money.

The transaction was instantly closed; the bill was given at a day’s date, and seized by Eyrymount, as would have been the titles to Outfieldhaugh, if destined to the library fire, their hereditary enemy. The same course of life was pursued by him, and Nashon still kept up, for a time, the appearance of going through, with all due rapidity, the two thousand pounds he had thus borrowed from his friend. The thousand pounds that had been left in Eyrymount’s hands, of the sum he had borrowed from Langbane, was not sufficient to keep him going for any length of time, and application was, therefore, made to the same source for two thousand more. Nashon supplied the cash, which was, in fact, just the two thousand pounds he had got from Eyrymount; and Langbane’s mortgage over the Eyrymount estate was assigned to him in the same way as the former.

Having waited until he thought a great part of this second loan was spent, Nashon, who had had, in the meantime, several meetings with Dione, at the Monks’ Well, was informed by her, that her father and mother were now begun to press the marriage between her and Benjamin Rice so urgently that she must either consent, or submit to be treated as a rebel to their authority, and an alien from their affections and interests.

“You shall never marry Benjamin Rice,” said Nashon.

“And whom shall I marry then?” said the unhappy girl, who had made her communication to him in tears—“a ruined spendthrift, who has borrowed two thousand from my father, and thereby placed himself and his property in the power of one who, as I told you, had originally in his view the seizure of an old part of his estate? Where is all your wisdom new? Alas! how foolish I have been to put any faith in the professions of one who is incapable of avoiding a danger pointed out to his open eyes! To marry Benjamin Rice is misery, if not death—to marry you is wretchedness and shame, besides rebellion against the commands of my parents.”

“Calm yersel, Dione,” said Nashon. “I shall go instantly and ask your father’s consent to our marriage.”

“If an objection existed formerly to your procuring that consent,” replied Dione, still weeping, “think ye that is removed by your being now in poverty, and my father’s debtor?”

“We’ll lat alane thae subtle questions, my Dione,” said Nashon, “an try our mettle. Your father is my friend. Do we no ride thegither, drink thegither, and laugh thegither? Why should he refuse me his dochter, if he gives me his confidence? He never rides, drinks, or laughs wi’ Benjamin Rice. I’ll awa to him, an’ try him. A faint heart never wan sae fair a lady as Dione Græme.”

Nashon accordingly opened the subject to Eyrymount.

“I hae been thinkin o’ takin a wife,” he began, “to see an’ reclaim me, an’ keep me frae ruin, and Outfieldhaugh frae the hammer.”

“Whom have you in contemplation?” said Eyrymount, fearfully apprehensive that he was after a rich heiress whose fortune would relieve him and his property from difficulties.

“I hae been thinking o’ twa or three,” replied Nashon. “Conybarns’ dochter, ye ken, will be a rich cratur, though she’s neither a lily o’ the valley nor a rose o’ Sharon.”

“She has the king’s evil,” rejoined Eyrymount, whose objection to this match was apparent.

“I thank ye for the intelligence,” replied Nashon. “What say ye to yer ain Dione, provided I could get her consent?”

“My Dione!” cried Eyrymount, in surprise and pride. “Allow me to tell ye, Mr Nashon Heatherton, that I do not intend to marry my daughter to my vassal and my debtor. I am surprised at the confidence that enabled you to propose so ridiculous a project, though I am glad the secret has come out. It has been for this that you have been dashing forth so brilliantly; expecting, no doubt, that, by covering the coarse metal of your original uneducated condition by the tinsel of fashion, you could produce an impression upon the heart of my daughter. Thus you repay me for my kindness in taking you out, introducing you to society, and even filling your pocket with my money, which, by the by, I will now thank you to repay.”

“I canna pay you,” replied Nashon; “the money is gane—at least I hae nane o’t. Ye maun just wait till I save it oot o’ the rents o’ my property.”

“I will do no such thing,” said Eyrymount, who thought it was now time to quarrel; “I must have either a mortgage, or an adjudication, which is just a legal mortgage. Take your choice.”

“I winna meddle wi’t,” replied Nashon; “a wilfu man maun hae his way. I think ye should just gie me Dione, an’ that wad settle a’; an’, besides, it wad bring the twa properties thegither.”

“A man that cannot refrain from impertinence, should not trust himself in other people’s houses,” cried the incensed Eyrymount. “I request your instant departure.”

“You’ll maybe ca’ on me some day sune,” said Nashon, quietly, as he took his hat; “I will be happy to see you at Outfieldhaugh.”

“You will soon see my deputy, at any rate,” said Eyrymount.

“I am much, obliged to ye,” said Nashon, and retired, with a very low bow.

Eyrymount, who thought his proceedings ripe, instructed his agent to raise an action of adjudication againt Nashon, whereby Outfieldhaugh might be forcibly mortgaged to him, in security of his two thousand pounds. The agent proceeded with all speed to comply with the commands of his client; and, on a subsequent day, a messenger-at-arms called at Outfieldhaugh, accompanied by his witnesses, for the purpose of serving, as it is termed, or, in plainer language, of giving a copy of the summons to the debtor.

“This is what the lawyers ca’ an adjudication?” said Nashon.

“Yes,” replied the messenger, gruffly.

“Can ae messenger serve twa maisters?” said Nashon.

“Yes,” replied the man.

“Weel,” said Nashon, “will ye tak a step owre to Eyrymount, an’ deliver to the laird o’ that property this requisition?”

“Certainly, sir,” replied the messenger, taking the paper and reading it. “I see it is a requisition to pay you £5000, contained in two bonds, by Eyrymount, to Murdoch Langbane, and assigned by him to you. It should properly be intimated by a notary, and one of my concurrents has that qualification, though now greatly reduced.”

“See that it’s legally dune,” said Nashon. “My agent, Gilbert Shortpage, drew it up, an’ I warrant it correct.”

“It shall be done instantly,” said the messenger, who filled up the notary’s name in the paper, and departed to execute his new and unexpected commission.

At the time the messenger rapped at the gate of Eyrymount, Græme and his lady were occupied in talking about the prospect they now had of seizing upon Outfieldhaugh.

“About this time the ambitious Nashon will be receiving my summons of adjudication,” said Græme.

“A much more suitable gift, from his superior, than Dione Græme,” said Madam.

“What is this, sir?” said Græme to the messenger, who had just opened the door of the apartment.

“A requisition, your honour,” replied the messenger.

“From whom?” said Græme “Nashon Heatherton,” replied the messenger.

“A requisition for delay, I fancy,” said Græme. “Ha ha! ha! He is too late. The law must take its course Go tell him I cannot comply with it.”

“Would not your honour better read it?” said the messenger.

“Oh, the usual cant, I presume,” said Græme, opening the paper and glancing over it. “What is this?” he added, letting go the paper, and falling back on his chair.

“What is the matter?” cried Madam, taking up the document, and flying for a smelling-bottle at the same time.

“It is, Madam,” said the messenger, while she applied the salts to her husband’s nose, “a requisition for payment of £5000, due to Mr Heatherton, as assignee of Mr Langbane.”

“Heaven have mercy on us!” cried she, while she continued her efforts to restore her husband.

The messenger and his men departed, and left Eyrymount and his wife to the full anguish of their critical situation.

The news of this proceeding got wind, and reached the ears of Benjamin Rice, who thought it prudent to suspend his visits to Eyrymount. Græme had now the prospect of losing not only Outfieldhaugh, but his own patrimonial estate. What could he do but give Dione to Nashon? This he did. The couple were married; the two properties were afterwards conjoined; and the sportsman of Outfieldhaugh distanced all his competitors.