Retold by Sir Edward Sullivan
The Castle of Ellangowan was an old and massive structure,
situated by the seashore in the southwestern part of Scotland. It
had been for many years the dwelling-place of a family named
Bertram, each of whom had in succession borne the title of the
Laird of Ellangowan. They had once been people of wealth and
importance in the neighbourhood; but through lack of prudence and
other misfortunes, they had, one after another, lost much of the
greatness and prosperity which had belonged to them in better
days. One of their number became at last so poor that he could no
longer maintain the old family residence; so he contented himself
with occupying a much smaller house which he had himself built,
from the windows of which he could still look out on the ancient
abode of his forefathers, as it dwindled year by year to the
condition of a neglected ruin.
At the time that our story commences, one Godfrey Bertram was the
Laird of Ellangowan, and the owner of the now diminished estates.
He was a good-tempered, easy-going kind of man, and became, in
consequence, very popular with all the poorer people of the
district, and especially with the gipsies, a large number of whom
were at all times to be found in the neighbourhood.
His wife had brought him a little money when he married; and he
and she continued to lead a quiet and not unhappy life in their
new home. Amongst Mr. Bertram's most intimate companions in his
retirement was one Abel Sampson, a tall and awkward-looking man,
with a harsh voice and huge feet, who was known to the people
around as "the dominie." He was a man who spoke but little, and
generally used very long words when he did; but he had a kindly
and good-natured heart. He was for a time the parish schoolmaster
at the village of Kippletringan, which was close to Ellangowan,
and was employed now and then as a kind of clerk by the laird.
The village of Kippletringan was situated a little distance from
the sea; and although the neighbourhood was dignified by the
possession of a customhouse, the place was still the favourite
haunt of a large body of desperate and determined smugglers, who,
it was supposed, were assisted by many of the small shopkeepers of
the locality in disposing of the contraband goods which were
surreptitiously brought from foreign parts.
One cloudy November evening, a young traveller, Guy Mannering by
name, just come from the University of Oxford, was making his way
with difficulty over the wild and lonely moorland which extended
for many miles on the outskirts of the village. He had lost the
road to Kippletringan, whither he was bound, but was lucky enough
to find a guide to conduct him there before he had gone completely
astray; and late at night he arrived at Godfrey Bertram's house,
where he was hospitably welcomed by the owner. Supper was got
ready, a good bottle of wine was opened, and the laird and the
dominic and Guy Mannering were enjoying themselves comfortably,
when the conversation was interrupted by the shrill voice of
someone coming upstairs.
"It's Meg Merrilies, the gipsy, as sure as I'm a sinner," said Mr.
Bertram; and, as the door opened, a tall woman, full six feet
high, with weather-beaten features and hair as black as midnight,
stepped into the room.
Her appearance was altogether of so strange a kind, that it made
Mannering start. After some conversation with the laird, the gipsy
woman informed him that she had come to tell the fortune of his
little son, who was born that night, and asked to be told the
exact hour of his birth.
Now Guy Mannering himself, amongst other accomplishments,
possessed a knowledge of the stars; and on learning the time at
which young Bertram was born, he went outside to study the
heavens, with a view to foretelling what the future of the child
The sky had become beautifully clear, for the rising wind had
swept away the clouds with which it had been previously overcast,
and the observer was enabled to note carefully the positions of
the principal planets, from which he made out that three periods
of the infant's life would be attended by great danger to him,
namely, his fifth, his tenth, and his twenty-first year.
On the morning following, Mannering strolled out towards the old
castle, thinking to himself whether he should tell Mr. Bertram
what he had learned from the stars respecting his young son's
future life. The castle was merely a ruin at this time, and as he
wandered amidst the gloomy remnants of the ancient structure, his
attention was arrested by the voice of the gipsy whom he had seen
the night before. He soon found an opening in one of the walls
through which he could observe Meg Merrilies without himself being
She was sitting on a broken stone, in a strange, wild dress, and
engaged in spinning a thread drawn from wool of three different
colours. She was at the same time half singing and half muttering
a kind of charm, which seemed to have reference to the child which
had been born the night before; and as she finished, Mannering
heard her murmur something about the thread of life being three
times broken and three times mended, and distinctly heard her
say: "He'll be a lucky lad an he win through wi't." [Footnote: "He
will be a lucky lad if he lives through it."]
He was about to speak to the gipsy, when he heard a hoarse voice
calling to her in angry tones from outside, and in a moment after,
a man, who was apparently a sea-captain, came in to where Meg
Merrilies was seated.
He was short in height, but prodigiously muscular, strong, and
thick-set, with a surly and savage scowl upon his unpleasant
features. He spoke with a foreign accent, and upbraided the gipsy
for keeping him waiting so long, ordering her, with a curse, to
come and bless his ship before it set out on its voyage. While
still addressing the gipsy, he caught sight of Guy Mannering, and
was about to draw a weapon against him, when she told him that he
was a friend of Mr. Bertram's. He then introduced himself to
Mannering, and said his name was Dirck Hatteraick, the captain of
the vessel that was lying off the shore. Mannering wished him
good-day shortly after, and as he saw him embarking in a small
boat, he was convinced, from his conversation and appearance, that
the captain was a smuggler.
On returning to the new house at Ellangowan, Mannering learned
from Mr. Bertram that this Dirck Hatteraick was the terror of all
the excise and custom-house cruisers, with which he had had many a
Before Guy Mannering took his departure from Ellangowan, Mr.
Bertram asked him the result of his studying the stars on the
preceding night, and, in reply, was handed a paper by Mannering,
which he was told he should keep in a sealed envelope for five
When the visitor had gone, Mrs. Bertram, the mother of the baby
boy, was very anxious to read the paper, for she was a superstitious
lady; but after a struggle with her curiosity, she contented
herself with making a small velvet bag, into which she sewed
the paper, and the whole was then hung as a charm round the
neck of her young child.
Time rolled on, and when little Harry Bertram grew to be four
years old, he was already a great favourite with Dominie Sampson,
who had acted as his tutor and was his constant companion. But
just about this time the Laird of Ellangowan was appointed one of
the magistrates of the county; and shortly after his appointment
he began, little by little, to become very unpopular with the
gipsies, with whom he had before been such a favourite. He thought
it his duty now to punish and exterminate all amongst them who
were poachers and trespassers, and caused even the poor beggars at
his door to be sent to the workhouse.
One tribe of these gipsies, amongst whom Meg Merrilies was a kind
of queen, had lived for a long time unmolested in a few huts in a
glen upon the estate of Ellangowan, at a place called Derncleugh.
It was a miserable and squalid village, but for all that Mr.
Bertram was determined to evict them and all their poor
belongings. He was no doubt doing as the law directed him, but, as
far as concerned the inhabitants of Derncleugh, he was acting with
great harshness, for Meg Merrilies had all along shown a strong
affection for his boy, little Harry Bertram.
The day of eviction came at length, and a large body of men under
the direction of Frank Kennedy, a custom-house officer, made their
way to the miserable village, and on the gipsies refusing to leave
peaceably, proceeded to unroof their cottages and pull down the
wretched doors and windows. There was no resistance, and when the
work was ended, the now homeless tribe gathered together the
remnants of their property, and set forth with sullen and
revengeful thoughts to look for a new settlement.
Mr. Bertram had been some distance from home on the day of the
eviction; but on returning in the evening he met the troop of
gipsies. Some of the men muttered angry remarks as he passed them
on the road, but he thought it best to make no answer. Meg
Merrilies had, however, lagged behind the rest, and was standing
alone on a high bank above the road as the laird went by. Her
dress was even stranger than usual, and her black hair hung loose
about her, while her dark eyes flashed angrily. She had a light
sapling in her hand, and as the laird looked up to where she
stood, she said to him:
"Ride your ways, Laird of Ellangowan! ride your ways, Godfrey
Bertram! This day have ye quenched seven smoking hearths—see if
your own fire burn the blither for that. Ye have riven the roof
off seven cottar houses—look if your own roof-tree stand the
faster. Ride your ways, Godfrey Bertram! what do ye glower after
our folk for? There's thirty hearts there that would have spent
their life-blood ere ye had scratched your finger. Yes, there's
thirty yonder, from the old wife of an hundred to the babe that
was born last week, that ye have turned out o' their houses, to
sleep with the black-cock in the moors! Ride your ways, Ellan-
gowan! Our bairns are hanging at our weary backs; look that your
braw cradle at home be the fairer spread up. Not that I am wishing
ill to little Harry, God forbid! So ride your way, for these are
the last words ye'll ever hear Meg Merrilies speak, and this is
the last twig that I'll ever cut in the bonny woods of Ellangowan."
And having uttered this dark and threatening speech, she turned
contemptuously from him, to join her comrades in misfortune.
Meanwhile, the smugglers under their captain, Dirck Hatteraick,
had been carrying on their lawless trade as usual, and the Laird
of Ellangowan was as determined to put them down as he had been to
get rid of the gipsies. He was actively assisted in his endeavours
against them by the same Frank Kennedy who had carried out the
eviction of Meg Merrilies and her companions, and the smugglers
had sworn to be revenged upon their enemy.
On the day that young Harry Bertram was five years old, Dirck
Hatteraick's ship was in the bay outside the village of
Kippletringan. A sloop of war in the king's service was pursuing
it in order to seize the smuggled goods which were on board, when
Frank Kennedy, looking out, saw that Hatteraick was likely to
escape, as he had got his vessel round a headland called Warroch
Point, where it was concealed from the sloop, unless someone went
down to the Point and made a signal to the pursuers.
He accordingly mounted his horse and galloped off. On his way he
happened to meet little Bertram, who was walking with the dominie,
and as he had often promised to give the child a ride, he took him
up on his nag, and rode off towards the Point.
Shortly afterwards the discharges of several cannon were heard,
and after an interval a still louder explosion, as of a vessel
As evening came on, Mr. and Mrs. Bertram were expecting little
Harry to come home, and as he did not return, became very uneasy
about him. After waiting for him in anxiety for some time, the
news came in that Kennedy's horse had come back riderless to its
All was now bustle at Ellangowan. The laird and his servants
rushed away to the wood of Warroch; but they searched long and in
vain for any trace of Kennedy or the boy. It was already growing
dark, when a shrill and piercing shout was heard from the sea-
shore under the wood, and on hurrying to the place, Mr. Bertram
was horrified to see the dead body of Frank Kennedy lying on the
beach, right under a high precipice of rocks.
In his wild dismay and terror for his child, and remembering the
words of Meg Merrilies, the laird hurried away to Derncleugh,
hoping to get some news of him from any of the gipsies who might
still be lingering round the place. He wandered amongst the ruins
of the cottages, where he found no one, although he noticed the
remains of a fire in one of the huts. After a little, one of his
servants came running to him and told him to come home at once—
that Mrs. Bertram was dying. Half stupefied, he went back; but
only to find that his wife was dead, that a little daughter had
been born to him, and that his boy was gone.
The sheriff of the county arrived next morning and opened an
inquiry. The wood was again searched, with the result that traces
of a struggle were found near the top of the cliff, over the place
where Kennedy's body was found lying. Footprints of men and of a
small boy were seen here and there. Witnesses who were examined
said that they had seen the smuggler's ship grounding, and taking
fire, and finally blowing up with a great explosion; but no one
could say what had become of its crew. The gipsies were suspected,
and Meg Merrilies was arrested; but when questioned she denied
that she had been at the place. They found, however, a cut upon
her arm; and on removing the handkerchief with which she had it
bounda it was found to be marked with the name of Harry Bertram.
No further evidence could be procured of her guilt, and she was at
length set free, under sentence of banishment from the county.
For many years after this Mr. Bertram continued to live a solitary
and mournful life at Ellangowan. The poor dominie never ceased to
blame himself for the loss of the boy, as Harry was in his charge
on the day on which he had disappeared; but he still lived with
the laird as before, and was chiefly employed in teaching
Bertram's daughter, little Lucy, who was now growing up into a
gentle and bonny girl.
The laird had been always a bad man of business, and after his
wife's death he got into the hands of a scheming and dishonest
attorney named Glossin, who in the end craftily succeeded in
making himself rich at the expense of his employer.
The debts of the laird became at length so many that the property
at Ellangowan had to be mortgaged, and things ultimately went so
badly with the poor owner, that the men to whom he owed so much
money determined to insist on the estate being sold, together with
the house and all the furniture.
It was rumoured, too, amongst the country-folk that Glossin was
the man, of all others, who was most eager to turn the Bertrams
out of their house, in order that he might buy the property
himself, and become the Laird of Ellangowan.
Now the property in Ellangowan had been what is called "settled"
in such a way that it could not be sold if Mr. Bertram had a son
living. It was therefore likely to be disposed of very cheap, as
no one knew for certain that young Bertram was dead; while if he
should happen to be alive, there was still a chance of his coming
back and claiming the estates.
When Glossin, the attorney, found that there was no more to be got
out of his client in the way of money, he commenced openly to show
the wickedness of his bad and cruel nature; and the very sight of
him became hateful to the unhappy Godfrey Bertram.
So things went on until Lucy Bertram was seventeen years old, and
her father had become a weak and poor old man, and then Glossin
determined to play his last card.
The estates of Ellangowan were advertised to be sold to the
highest bidder, and a day was fixed for the auction.
Before describing how the sale took place, it will be necessary to
tell something of Guy Mannering, who, as will be remembered, had
left Ellangowan shortly after the day that young Harry Bertram was
He became a soldier; and having served for a long time in India,
was appointed colonel of his regiment. His wife and daughter were
with him there, and they had become very intimate with a young
officer in the same regiment, called Vanbeest Brown, who, it was
supposed, had came from Holland, where he had previously been
engaged in trade of some kind. Colonel Mannering, for some reason,
never cared for Brown, but chiefly because he had foolishly
listened to the dishonourable suggestions of a friend, who, for
reasons of his own, had secretly poisoned his mind against the
young officer. The dislike ripened after some time into an open
quarrel, followed by a duel between the colonel and his subaltern,
in which, after exchanging shots, Mannering believed he killed his
adversary. Mrs. Mannering died shortly after, and the colonel and
his daughter returned to England.
Now it so happened that Colonel Mannering arrived at the village
of Kippletringan a day or two before the time at which the sale of
Ellangowan was to take place. He was much distressed at hearing
the pitiable account that was given to him of his old friend,
Godfrey Bertram; and the idea at once occurred to him that he
would buy the property himself, and by doing so help the laird.
Accordingly, on the day of the auction, he made his way to
Ellangowan House, where he was told, on inquiry, that the old
laird was dangerously ill, and was to be found up at the ruined
castle in company with his daughter. Thither Colonel Mannering
went to look for him. He found old Mr. Bertram sitting in an easy-
chair on the slope beside the castle with his feet wrapped in
blankets, and beside him his daughter and the dominie, and a
handsome young man whom he did not recognise, but who, he
afterwards learned, was a gentleman called Charles Hazlewood, who
was deeply in love with Miss Bertram.
Mannering was much affected when the old laird failed to remember
him, for he had not forgotten his hospitable kindness many years
before, on the night when little Harry was born. While he was
engaged in conversation with Miss Bertram and her companion, a
voice was heard close by, which Lucy at once recognised as that of
her father's enemy, Glossin, and she sent the dominie to keep him
away. The sound of the voice had, however, also reached the old
man's ears. He started up on hearing it, and turning towards
Glossin, he addressed him in tones of passion and indignation.
"Out of my sight, ye viper," he said; "ye frozen viper that I
warmed till ye stung me! Are ye not afraid that the walls of my
father's dwelling should fall and crush ye, limb and bone? Were ye
not friendless, houseless, penniless, when I took ye by the hand;
and are ye not expelling me—me, and that innocent girl—
friendless, houseless, and penniless, from the house that has
sheltered us and ours for a thousand years?"
A few moments after, the carriage was announced, in which Lucy
Bertram and her father were to leave their home; but it was no
longer necessary. The old Laird of Ellangowan was so exhausted by
his last effort of indignant anger, that when he sunk upon his
chair, he expired almost without a struggle or a groan.
The sale of the property was then postponed until after the
funeral; and Colonel Mannering, having done what he could for Miss
Bertram in her unhappy condition, left the neighbourhood with the
intention of returning in time for the adjourned sale, for the
purpose of buying the estate.
The appointed hour for the auction at length arrived, but Colonel
Mannering had not come back. No one had even received a letter
from him; and in his absence, as there was no other bidder, the
infamous Glossin was declared to be the lawful purchaser, and a
new Laird of Ellangowan.
At six o'clock that night a drunken post-boy reached the village
with a letter from the colonel, containing instructions to buy the
property. It had been delayed on its way, and was now no longer of
Poor Lucy Bertram now found herself an orphan without house or
home; but the kindness of some neighbours named Mac-Morlan, to
some extent, assuaged the misery of her position. They insisted on
her coming to live with them and Mr. Mac-Morlan even offered the
dominie a clerkship in his establishment, where he might still be
near his lady pupil, to whom, in spite of his strange and awkward
ways, he was devotedly attached for her father's sake.
When Colonel Mannering, after the death of Mr. Bertram, left
Ellangowan with the intention of coming back to buy the property,
he travelled some distance, and after a while came to a post-town
where he expected some letters. He received one letter, which
displeased him very much, from a great friend of his who was
living in the north of England, Mr. Mervyn by name, in whose care
he had left his daughter, Julia Mannering, when he was starting
for Kippletringan. This letter informed him that Miss Mannering
was being serenaded at night from the lake beside the house by
some unknown stranger, who had, however, disappeared before the
letter was written.
On reading this intelligence the colonel hastened at once to Mr.
Mervyn's residence, having first sent off the instructions in
reference to the purchase of the Ellangowan estate which, as
already said, arrived too late.
The lover who had been serenading Julia Mannering was in reality,
the same Vanbeest Brown whom she had known in India, and with whom
her father had fought the duel. Colonel Mannering had, however, no
idea that Brown was still alive, and the daughter was afraid to
tell her father that he was. Captain Brown, as he was now known,
was a handsome and gallant young fellow; and, having returned to
England with his regiment, and being still deeply devoted to Miss
Mannering, he had lost no time in making his way to where she was
staying in the house of Mr. Mervyn, her father's friend.
When Mannering arrived at Mr. Mervyn's, he said very little about
the information which had been the cause of his return; but he
told his daughter that he had taken a place near Kippletringan,
called Woodbourne, where he meant to reside for some time. He also
told her that she would have a pleasant companion in Lucy Bertram,
the daughter of an old friend of his, who was going to stay with
them in his new house.
Accordingly, as soon as Woodbourne was made ready to receive them,
the colonel and his daughter Julia took up their residence there,
and Lucy Bertram became their guest. Another inmate of the new
house was the dominie, for whom Colonel Mannering had a liking,
and who, he knew, could not bear to be parted altogether from Miss
Bertram, whose tutor he had been from her earliest days. When the
poor half-cracked dominie heard that he was to be employed as
Colonel Mannering's librarian, his joy knew no bounds; and on
seeing the large number of old books which were committed to his
charge he became almost crazy with delight, and shouted his
favourite word, "Pro-di-gi-ous!" till the roof rung to his
After a little time Lucy Bertram and Miss Mannering became fast
friends, but the latter was careful never to say anything to her
new companion about her lover, Captain Brown.
Now, Brown, when he found that Julia Mannering had gone to
Woodbourne, determined to follow her, with the purpose of resuming
his addresses, and he accordingly set out on foot towards the
It was a fine clear frosty winter's day when he found himself in
the wilds of Cumberland on his way to his destination in Scotland.
He had walked for some distance, when he stopped at a small
public-house to procure refreshment. He here fell in with a farmer
named Dandie Dinmont, a big, rollicking fellow, with an honest
face and kindly ways, with whom he became friends in a very little
There was another person, however, in the inn on whom Brown could
not avoid repeatedly fixing his eyes—a tall, witch-like woman. It
was Meg Merrilies the gipsy; but time had grizzled her raven
locks, and added many wrinkles to her wild features. As he looked
at her, he could not help saying to himself: "Have I dreamed of
such a figure?"
As he was asking himself the question, the gipsy suddenly made two
strides towards him and seized his hand, at the same time saying
"In God's name, young man, tell me your name, and whence you
"My name is Brown, mother, and I come from the East Indies," he
On hearing his answer she dropped his hand with a sigh, and said:
"It cannot be, then—it cannot be; but be what ye will, ye have a
face and a tongue that puts me in mind of old times." As Brown
took his departure on foot, the gipsy looked after him and
muttered to herself: "I maun [Footnote: I must.] see that lad
The traveller had gone a considerable distance across the lonely
moorland through which his road lay, when his little dog Wasp
began to bark furiously at something in front of them. Brown
quickened his pace, and soon caught sight of the subject of the
terrier's alarm. In a hollow, a little below him, was his late
companion Dandie Dinmont, engaged with two other men in a
desperate struggle. In a moment Brown, who was both strong and
active, came to the rescue; and, after a short fight, the two
would-be murderers of the farmer were flying for their own lives
across the heath, pursued by Wasp. Dinmont then took his friend
upon his pony, and they succeeded after some time in reaching
Charlie's Hope, the farmer's home, where they were welcomed by his
wife and a large troop of children.
The next few days were spent salmon spearing, and hunting otters
on the hills in the neighbourhood. One of the huntsmen, of whom
there were a large number out, was a dark-featured man, resembling
a gipsy in his appearance; and Brown noticed that whenever he
approached him he endeavoured to hide his face. He could not
remember, however, having ever seen the man before; but he
learned, on asking about him, that he was a stranger in those
parts, who had come from the south-west of Scotland, and that his
name was Gabriel. Nothing further was known about him at Charlie's
Brown's visit to Dandie Dinmont was now at an end, and he again
took the road for Woodbourne, the residence of Julia Mannering.
He had hired a chaise and horses, but had not gone far on the wild
road to Kippletringan when night came on and the snow fell
heavily; and shortly after, to make matters worse, the driver
missed the way. When the horses were unable to proceed any
further, Brown dismounted from the carriage in order to look for a
house where he could ask the way; and as he wandered through the
plantations which skirted the road, he saw a light in the distance
amongst the trees. After traversing a deep and dangerous glen, he
reached the house from which the light shone. It was an old and
ruinous building. Before approaching the door, he peeped in
through an aperture in the ruined wall, and saw in the room inside
the figure of a man, stretched on a straw bed, with a blanket
thrown over it. He could see that the man was dying. A woman clad
in a long cloak was sitting by the bedside, and moistening at
times the lips of the man with some liquid. She was singing a low
She paused in her singing, and Brown heard a few deep groans come
from the dying man.
"It will not be," she muttered to herself. "He cannot pass away
with that on his mind; I must open the door."
Brown stood before her as she opened the door, and he at once
recognised the same gipsy woman whom he had met in the inn a few
days before. He noticed, too, that there was a roll of linen about
the dying man's head, which was deeply stained with blood.
"Wretched woman, who has done this?" exclaimed Brown.
And the gipsy answered: "They that were permitted;" and she added
after a few moments, "He's dead now."
Sounds of voices at a distance were now heard. "They are coming,"
said she to Brown; "you are a dead man." He was about to rush out,
when the gipsy seized him with a strong grasp. "Here," she said,
"here, be still, and you are safe; stir not, whatever you see or
hear, and nothing shall befall you!"
She made him lie down among a parcel of straw, and covered him
carefully; and then resumed her song.
Brown, though a soldier and a brave one, was terrified as he lay
in his hiding-place. Peeping out through the straw, he saw five
rough-looking men come in who seemed to be gipsies and sailors.
They closed round the fire and commenced to drink, holding
consultation together in a strange gibberish which he could not
altogether understand. Whenever the gipsy woman addressed them,
she spoke angrily to them; and more than once she called them
murderers; they, however, did not seem to mind her.
They continued drinking and talking for a considerable time, but
all that Brown could make out was that there was someone whom they
were going to murder. They also referred to a murder committed
some twenty years before, in which their dead companion had had a
After some time spent in this way, one of the party went out and
brought in a portmanteau, which Brown at once recognised as the
one he had left in the chaise. They ripped it open, and after
examining the contents, which included all the owner's ready
money, with the exception of a trifling sum in his pocket, they
divided the whole amongst them. Then they drank more; and it was
not until morning that they left the building. When they left,
they carried the dead body with them.
No sooner were they well outside, than Meg Merrilies got up from
where she had been pretending to be asleep, and told Brown to
follow her instantly. Brown obeyed with alacrity, feeling that he
was already out of reach of danger when the villains had gone out;
but before leaving he took up a cutlass belonging to one of the
five, and brought it with him in the belief that he might yet have
to fight with them for his life. The snow lay on the ground as he
and the gipsy came out, and as he followed her he noticed that she
chose the track the men had taken, so that her footprints might
not be seen.
After a while, however, she turned from the track, and led the way
up a steep and rugged path under the snow-laden trees, and on
reaching a place some distance farther on, she pointed out the
direction of Kippletringan, and told her companion to make what
speed he could. Brown was entirely at a loss to make out the
reason the gipsy had for taking such an interest in preserving his
life from her comrades; and was even more puzzled by her conduct
when she took an old purse from her pocket before parting, and
gave it to him.
She said as she handed it to him: "Many's the alms your house has
given Meg and hers." And Brown, as he thanked her for her
kindness, asked her how he could repay the money she had given
"I have two boons to crave," answered the gipsy, speaking low and
hastily: "one is that you will never speak of what you have seen
this night; the other, that when I next call for you, be it in
church or market, at wedding or at burial, meal-time or fasting,
that ye leave everything else and come with me."
"That will do you little good, mother," answered Brown.
"But 'twill do yourself much good," replied Meg Merrilies. "I know
what I am asking, and I know it has been the will of God to
preserve you in strange dangers, and that I shall be the means to
set you in your father's seat again. So give your promise, and
mind that you owe your life to me this blessed night."
When Brown had promised, she parted from him, and was soon out of
The young soldier could come to no other conclusion but that the
woman was mad; and having in this way solved the mystery to his
own satisfaction, he strode quickly on through the wood in search
of the highroad to Kippletringan.
He reached the village at length, and engaged a room at the Gordon
Arms, a comfortable inn kept by a Mrs. Mac-Candlish. On opening
the purse which the gipsy had given him, he was astonished to find
that it contained money and jewels worth about a hundred pounds.
He accordingly entrusted it to the landlady of the inn for safe
The day after his arrival at the village of Kippletringan, he
determined to see Miss Mannering; and learning that she was
likely to be found with a party of skaters on a lake in the
neighbourhood, he proceeded in that direction.
The skating party, of whom Julia Mannering was one, consisted of
herself and Lucy Bertram, and young Charles Hazlewood, who, as
before mentioned, was Miss Bertram's lover. Having spent some time
upon the ice, they were returning to Woodbourne through the
plantation. Hazlewood, who had a gun with him, had offered his arm
to Miss Mannering, who was tired after skating, as they walked
towards home. When they had proceeded some little distance in this
way, Brown happened to meet them. He was wearing the rough suit in
which he had spent the night in the gipsy's house, having been
unable to procure a change on account of his portmanteau having
Julia Mannering, who had had no intimation that her old lover was
in the district, uttered a scream when she suddenly saw him
standing before her; and Hazlewood, fancying from the rough
appearance of the stranger that he was either a gipsy or a tramp,
pointed his gun towards him, and ordered him to keep off.
Brown, in a fit of jealousy, and fearing that the gun might go
off, rushed upon Hazlewood and seized the fowling-piece. But in
the struggle which ensued between them it was discharged by
accident, and young Hazlewood fell to the ground, wounded in the
Brown, when he saw what had occurred, became frightened at the
thought of the dangers of his position. He bounded over a hedge
which divided the footpath from the plantation, and was not heard
of again for a considerable time.
On the news of Hazlewood's being wounded getting abroad, the
neighbourhood was thrown into a ferment of indignation. All the
circumstances of the occurrence were exaggerated. It was
universally believed that the attacking party was a smuggler or a
gipsy, and that he had attempted in broad daylight to murder the
young man. It was stated that the assailant had been seen earlier
in the day wearing a smuggler's cutlass; and the purse which had
been left at the inn was opened and found to contain property
which had been previously stolen. Charles Hazlewood himself,
however, continued to protest that the wounding was accidental;
while the only person who could give any real account of the
mysterious stranger, namely Julia Mannering, for reasons best
known to herself, never pretended that she had any idea who he
Amongst those who were most active in their endeavours to capture
the missing Brown was Glossin, the new Laird of Ellangowan. It was
plain, too, that he had some other motive for apprehending him
than merely the desire to do his duty as a magistrate of the
county, which he had now become.
On returning to his house one day, he was informed that Mac-
Guffog, the thief-taker, had made a prisoner, and that he was
waiting with him in the kitchen. When the prisoner was introduced
to the magistrate's room, Glossin at once recognised that it was
Dirck Hatteraick, the smuggler captain.
In the interview which took place between them, no one else being
present, it transpired that Glossin had been a kind of partner
with the smuggler at the time of Kennedy's murder and the
disappearance of young Harry Bertram. Dirck Hatteraick told him,
too, very plainly, that if he was to be condemned he would let the
secret out and ruin Glossin. Glossin, who was much terrified at
the thought of being discovered, then arranged, like a villain
that he was, to imprison Hatteraick for that night in a room in
the old castle of Ellangowan, and at the same time give him a
small file with which he might rid himself of his handcuffs and
escape. During the interview between them, Hatteraick also told
the attorney that young Bertram was still alive, and at
Kippletringan. Glossin's situation was therefore perilous in the
extreme, for the schemes of a life of villainy seemed at once to
be crumbling around and about him.
Hatteraick was accordingly then sent to his place of confinement
in the old castle.
At midnight Glossin looked out from his bedroom towards the
castle, and after watching for some time in an agony of guilty
suspense, he saw the dark form of a man, whom he knew to be
Hatteraick, drop from the prison window and make his way to the
beach, where he succeeded in shoving out a boat which was lying
there. In a few minutes after, he had hoisted the sail, and soon
disappeared round the Point of Warroch.
Great was the alarm and confusion the next morning when it was
discovered that the smuggler had escaped from prison. Constables
were sent out in every direction to search for him, and Glossin
took care to send them to places where they would be least likely
to find him.
In the meantime he himself made his way to a cave by the seashore
near the Point of Warroch, where he had arranged with Hatteraick
to meet him the day after his escape.
Glossin had never been near this spot since the day on which the
unfortunate Kennedy was murdered; and the terrible scene came back
to his mind with all its accompaniments of horror as he stealthily
approached the cavern. When he reached it and went in, he found
Hatteraick in the dark and shivering with cold.
During the conversation that ensued between them he learned from
the smuggler what had become of young Bertram after Kennedy's
murder. He had been taken to Holland, Hatteraick said, and left
with an old merchant named Vanbeest Brown, who took a fancy to the
boy and called him by his own name. He had afterwards been sent to
India; but the smuggler knew nothing of him from the time he went
there. Bertram had, however, been seen, he said, a few days
before, among the hills by a gipsy named Gabriel.
Glossin then discovered for the first time that it was young
Bertram, in reality, who had wounded Hazlewood. In his terror at
the thought of losing his property at Ellangowan if it came to be
known that Harry Bertram was alive, yet at all times fertile in
every kind of villainous device, Glossin now hit upon a new plan
to get rid of the man who stood between him and his peace of mind.
By making large promises to Hatteraick he induced the smuggler to
agree to come by night, with a large body of his men, to the
prison where Bertram would be confined for his attack on
Hazlewood, and to break open the doors and carry him off. He said
he would have the soldiers withdrawn on some pretence or other, so
as to make the rescue more certain; and having completed the
details of this desperate and lawless piece of villainy, he went
back to Ellangowan.
But it is time to return to Brown, who was now a fugitive from
justice in consequence of the unlucky accident of which his
rashness had been the cause. He determined to make his way to
England, and to wait there until he received letters from friends
in his regiment establishing his identity, in possession of which
he could again show himself at Kippletringan, and offer to young
Hazlewood any explanation or satisfaction he might require. He
accordingly took ship for Cumberland. He chanced on board to meet
a man whose daughter was at the time in Colonel Mannering's
service at Woodbourne and by his means contrived to get a letter
delivered to Miss Mannering, in which he begged of her to forgive
him for his rash conduct towards Hazlewood. Having landed on the
English coast, he wrote to the colonel of his regiment for such
testimony of his rank in the army as should place his character as
a gentleman and an officer beyond question; and, as he was now
reduced to great straits for want of funds, he wrote to his sturdy
farmer friend, Dandie Dinmont, for the loan of a little money.
After a delay of some days, he received a short letter from Miss
Mannering, in which she upbraided him for his thoughtless conduct,
and bade him good-bye, telling him on no account to come back to
On reading it over, he came somehow to the conclusion that Miss
Mannering meant the opposite of all she had written, and in this
belief he set sail at once for Kippletringan.
After a rough and dangerous voyage by night, he found himself in
the morning off the Scottish coast. The weather had now cleared. A
woody cape, that stretched into the sea, lay some little distance
from the vessel; and, in answer to Brown's inquiries, the boatman
told him that it was Warroch Point. Close beside it was the old
castle of Ellangowan; and Brown felt a strange longing, as he
looked at it, to be put ashore for the purpose of examining it
more closely. The boatman readily acceded to his wishes, and
landed him on the beach beneath the ruins.
And thus, in complete ignorance of his own real identity,
surrounded by dangers, and without the assistance of a friend
within the circle of several hundred miles, accused of a heavy
crime, and almost penniless, did the weary wanderer, for the first
time after an interval of many eventful years, approach the
remains of the castle where his ancestors had once dwelt in lordly
It will have dawned upon the reader before now that the young
soldier known to him as Brown was in reality no other than the
Harry Bertram who had disappeared on the day when Kennedy was
murdered. The name of Brown will consequently be dropped during
the remainder of the story, and our hero will be called by his
After wandering for some time through the ruined apartments of the
castle, he stepped outside, and happened by chance to stand on the
very spot where his father—the old Laird of Ellangowan—had
Glossin at that moment chanced to be engaged close by with a
surveyor, in reference to some building plans connected with an
intended addition to his house; and he was just saying to his
companion that the whole ruin should be pulled down, when Bertram
met him, and said:
"Would you destroy this fine old castle, sir?"
His face, person, and voice were so exactly like those of his
father when alive, that Glossin almost believed that the grave had
given up its dead.
But after a time he recovered his self-possession, and then set
himself to discover if Bertram, whom he recognised, had any
knowledge of his own identity. He was much terrified when he heard
him repeat some lines of an old song, which he said he had learnt
in his childhood:
"The dark shall be light,
And the wrong made right,
When Bertram's right and Bertram's might
Shall meet on …;"
but, although he could not recall the end of the last line,
Glossin thought he knew already a good deal too much about it.
A few of Glossin's men were now seen approaching up the slope,
whereupon he immediately assumed a different attitude and tone
"I believe your name is Brown, sir?" said Glossin.
"And what of that, sir?" replied Bertram.
"Why in that case," said Glossin, "you are my prisoner in the
After a slight resistance the prisoner was secured, and shortly
after was brought before Sir Robert Hazlewood, one of the county
magistrates, and accused of maliciously wounding Charles
Hazlewood, his son.
In reply to the questions put to him, the prisoner said that he
was a captain in a regiment of horse in his Majesty's service, and
in a frank, manly way described how the wounding of Charles
Hazlewood was merely an accident, for which he expressed a sincere
sorrow. When required to give some proof of his rank in the army,
he stated that his luggage had been stolen. When asked to say
where he had spent the night on which it was taken, his promise
to Meg Merrilies came to his mind, and he replied that he must
refuse to answer the question. He was then pressed to account for
his having worn a smuggler's cutlass; but he also declined to
explain that matter. And his answers were equally unsatisfactory
when questioned on the subject of the purse which the gipsy had
Having failed to give any explanation of so many suspicious
circumstances, the warrant for his committal to gaol was made out,
although he stated that Colonel Mannering, whom he had known in
India, could, if sent for, give evidence of his character and
The colonel was, however, away from home at the time, and the
friendless and unfortunate Bertram was removed to prison, pending
"And now," said Glossin to himself, "to find Dirck Hatteraick and
his people—to get the guard sent off—and then for the grand cast
of the dice." And so saying he hastened away to complete with the
smuggler captain the villainous plan on which they had previously
The prison in which Bertram now found himself was a building which
adjoined the custom-house, and both were close beside the sea.
Mac-Guffog, who has been already mentioned, was at the time the
keeper; and a gruff and surly custodian he was, too. Bertram,
however, succeeded in procuring from him the luxury of a separate
room by promising the keeper a large sum of money. He was
accordingly ushered into a small ill-furnished apartment, through
the barred windows of which he could get a glimpse of the sea
which was dashing sullenly against the outer walls.
As he was reflecting on his miserable situation, his attention was
attracted by a loud knocking at the gate of the gaol; and shortly
after his little dog Wasp, which he had left in the care of Dandie
Dinmont, and Dinmont himself were shown into his room.
Bertram was delighted to have his old friend with him, and in
answer to his eager inquiries as to how he came to be in prison,
told him about the accident to young Hazlewood, and that he had
been mistaken for a smuggler.
Dinmont, on his part, then related how he had come to know of
Bertram's being locked up. Gabriel, the huntsman on the moors, he
said, had informed him in a mysterious way that Bertram was in
gaol, and that he was badly in need of a good friend to stay with
him night and day for a day or two. Dinmont added that he had
ridden sixty miles that day to come to his assistance.
They were interrupted in their conversation by Mac-Guffog, who
told them that it was time for the visitor to leave; but by means
of further promises he was induced to allow Dinmont to spend the
night in the same room with his friend; and in no longtime after
the two occupants of the wretched apartment were fast asleep.
Colonel Mannering, who had been from home for some days, returned
to Woodbourne the night of the day on which Bertram had been sent
to prison. The morning after his arrival, the dominie, who even
after so many years continued to blame himself for the loss of
little Harry, made his way, in a spirit of curiosity, to Warroch
Point, a place he had never approached since the child had
disappeared. As he wandered home again, filled with gloomy
recollections of the day of Kennedy's murder, his steps bore him
to the neighbourhood of Derncleugh, with its ruined remains of the
old gipsy village. The place had for many years had the reputation
of being haunted; more especially the tower, or Kaim, of
Derncleugh. As he was passing by it, the door suddenly opened, and
Meg Merrilies stepped out and stood before him. The dominie,
believing she was some sorceress, addressed her in Latin, but the
gipsy queen angrily interrupted him.
"Listen, ye fool, to what I tell ye," she said, "or ye'll rue it
while there's a limb o' ye hangs together. Tell Colonel Mannering
that I know he's seeking me. He knows, and I know, that the blood
will be wiped out, and the lost will be found—
And Bertram's right, and Bertram's might,
Shall meet on Ellangowan height.
Give him this letter, don't fail, and tell him the time's coming
now. Bid him to look at the stars as he looked at them before, and
to do what I desire him in the letter."
She then led the frightened dominie by a short cut through the
woods for about a quarter of a mile, and on reaching the common
told him to stand still.
"Look," she said, "how the setting sun breaks through the cloud
that's been darkening the sky all day. See the stream o' light
that falls on the old tower of Ellangowan; that's not for nothing.
Here I stood," she went on, stretching out her long sinewy arm
and clenched hand—"here I stood when I told the last Laird of
Ellangowan what was coming on his house, and did that fall to the
ground? And here I stand again to bid God prosper the just heir of
Ellangowan that will soon be brought to his own. I'll no live to
see it, maybe; but there will be many a blithe eye see it though
mine be closed. And now, Abel Sampson, as ever ye loved the house
of Ellangowan, away with my message to the English colonel as if
life and death were upon your haste."
So saying, she turned suddenly from the amazed dominie, who
hurried back to Woodbourne, exclaiming as he went, "Prodigious!
The kindly interest of Meg Merrilies in the fate of Bertram did
not, however, end here.
Shortly after quitting the dominie she met young Hazlewood on the
road, and told him, in a mysterious way, that the guard of
soldiers had been drawn off from the custom-house, and brought to
his father's house, in the expectation of an attack being made
upon it that night.
"Nobody means to touch his house," she added; "so send the
horsemen back to their post quietly. They will have work to-night;
the guns will flash and the swords will glitter in the moonlight."
She then asked him if he bore any malice to the man that wounded
him, and on Hazlewood assuring her that he had always thought it
was an accident, she said: "Then do what I bid ye, for if he was
left to his ill wishers he would be a bloody corpse ere
morn." And she then disappeared into the wood.
Charles Hazlewood, who now felt certain some diabolical plot was
on foot for the murder of the man who had accidentally wounded
him, rode back at once to his father's house.
He found the place occupied with dragoons, and instantly
endeavoured to persuade his father to send them back to the
Glossin had, however, impressed the old man with a fixed idea of
the impending danger to his house, and he refused to allow the
soldiers to go. While his son was still arguing with him, the
sheriff of the country came in hurriedly, and told him that he had
had information that the removal of the troops from the custom-
house was only part of a plan, and that they should at once
return. Orders were accordingly given without delay, and the
dragoons were shortly after on their way again to the place from
which they came.
But we must return to Bertram and his companion in their
unpleasant abode, in the prison.
Towards midnight Bertram woke after his first sleep. The air of
the small apartment had become close and confined, and he got up
for the purpose, if possible, of opening the window. His failure
to open it reminded him painfully that he was now a prisoner. He
was no longer inclined to sleep, so he continued for some time to
gaze out on the troubled sea, as it rolled under the indistinct
light of a hazy and often overclouded moon. As he looked he
fancied he saw in the distance a boat being rowed towards the
shore; and before long he found that he had not been mistaken.
The boat, which was a large one, drew nearer and nearer, and as it
reached the land some twenty men jumped on shore, and disappeared
up a dark passage which divided the prison from the custom-house.
Almost immediately after, Bertram could hear a tumult in the outer
yard of the bridewell, and, being unable to guess what its meaning
was, he awoke Dinmont.
The smell of fire now commenced to reach the room, and, on Dinmont
looking out of the window, he exclaimed: "Lord's sake, captain!
come here; they have broken in the custom-house!"
Looking from the prison window they could see the gang of
smugglers hurrying here and there, some with lighted torches,
others carrying barrels towards the shore. It was plain, too, from
the thick clouds of smoke that rolled past the window that the
prison was itself on fire.
Dinmont roared loudly for Mac-Guffog to let them out, but all was
silent in the gaol. Outside, the shouts of the smugglers and the
mob resounded far and wide, and it seemed as if the keeper had
himself escaped, and left his prisoners to perish in the flames.
But now a new and fierce attack was heard at the outer gate. It
was soon forced in with sledgehammers and crows, and, before long,
some three or four of the principal smugglers hurried to the
apartment of Bertram with lighted torches, and armed with
cutlasses and pistols. Two of them seized on Bertram, but one of
them whispered in his ear, "Make no resistance till you are
outside." They dragged him roughly to the gate, but amid the riot
and confusion which prevailed, the sound as of a body of horse
advancing was heard. A few moments after, the dragoons were
engaged with the rioters. Shots were fired, and the glittering
broadswords of the soldiers began to flash in the air. "Now,"
whispered the man at Bertram's left, "shake off that fellow and
Bertram, with a violent and sudden effort, burst away from the man
on his right, and closely following his mysterious friend,
attended by the faithful Dinmont, who never left him, ran quickly
down a narrow lane which led from the main street.
No pursuit took place, as the smugglers had enough to do to defend
themselves against the dragoons. At the end of the lane there was
a post-chaise and horses waiting.
"Are you here in God's name?" said the guide to the driver.
"Ay, troth I am," said he.
"Open the carriage, then. You, gentlemen, get into it; in a short
time you'll be in a place of safety, and remember your promise to
the gipsy wife."
Bertram and Dinmont got in at once, followed by little Wasp, and
in a moment found themselves travelling at a breakneck pace,
neither of them knowing where on earth they were going to.
They were, in fact, on the way to Woodbourne, for the carriage had
been sent by Colonel Mannering, after he had read the letter which
the dominie brought him from Meg Merrilies. The note had given him
no intimation, however, of the persons who were to be conveyed in
the chaise to Woodbourne, merely telling him that it should bring
the folk that should ask if it were there in God's name.
As the colonel's clock was striking one that night the sound of
carriage wheels was heard in the distance, and in no long space
after, Bertram and Dinmont found themselves at Woodbourne.
Bewilderment and astonishment were depicted on the faces of all as
Bertram stepped into the parlour. The colonel saw before him the
man whom he supposed he had killed in India; Julia beheld her
lover; and Lucy Bertram at once recognised the person who had
fired upon young Hazlewood. Each one remained silent, not knowing
what to say, when the absent-minded dominie, looking up from a
book he had been studying in a corner, exclaimed:
"If the grave can give up the dead, that is my dear and honoured
A lawyer friend of the colonel's, a Mr. Pleydall, was staying at
Woodbourne that night, and he at once set about endeavouring to
solve the mystery. He questioned Bertram as to his recollections
of childhood, and elicited from him some of the incidents of his
early life, with which the reader is already acquainted. Amongst
the persons whom Bertram recalled, "there was," he said, "a tall,
thin, kind-tempered man, who used to teach me my letters and walk
On hearing this, the poor dominie could contain his feelings no
longer, and rising hastily from his chair, with clasped hands,
trembling limbs and streaming eyes, he called out aloud:
"Harry Bertram, look at me! Was I not the man?"
"Yes," said Bertram, starting from his seat as if a sudden light
had burst in upon his mind. "Yes, that was my very name, and that
is the voice and the figure of my kind old master!"
The following day Colonel Mannering and Mr. Pleydall succeeded in
getting Sir Robert Hazlewood to accept bail for Bertram. While
they were so engaged, Bertram, with his newly-found sister and
Miss Mannering, went walking to the castle of Ellangowan.
Close by the ruin they were suddenly confronted by Meg Merrilies,
who addressed Bertram, saying:
"Remember your promise, and follow me."
It was in vain that his sister and her companion urged him not to
go with the gipsy. He told them he must obey. Then, bidding them
good-bye, he started to follow Meg Merrilies, accompanied by
Dinmont, who had come up a few minutes before.
With quick, long strides the gipsy proceeded straight across the
wintry heath. She turned neither to the left nor the right, and
moved more like a ghost than a human being. On reaching the wood,
she plunged into it, moving still rapidly in the direction of
Derncleugh. After travelling thus for some time, she came at
length to the ruined tower where Bertram had previously spent the
night in concealment from the smugglers. Producing a key from her
pocket, the gipsy opened the door and led the way in. She offered
Bertram and Dinmont food and drink, and fearing to offend her,
they took a little.
"And now," she said, "ye must have arms; but use them not rashly;
take captive, but save life; let the law have its own—he must
speak ere he die."
She then supplied the two with loaded pistols, and started afresh
through the wood in the direction of Warroch Point. She led them
by a long and winding passage almost overgrown with brushwood,
until they suddenly found themselves by the seashore. They were
soon outside the secret cave.
"Follow me as I creep in," she said. "I have placed the firewood
so as to screen you. Bide behind it for a space, till I say—
The hour and the man are both come. Then run in on him,
take his arms and bind him tight."
And having said so, she crept in upon her hands and knees,
followed by Bertram and his friend.
As they were creeping in, Dinmont, who was last of the party, felt
his leg caught by someone from behind. He with difficulty
suppressed a shout, and was much relieved when he heard a voice
behind him say: "Be still, I am a friend—Charles Hazlewood."
He had been sent after the others by Lucy Bertram and Miss
Mannering, and had only overtaken them as they were making their
way into the cavern.
Meg Merrilies, on reaching the interior, was greeted by Dirck
Hatteraick with a curse in his old fashion—the smuggler had been
expecting her, and was waiting with anxiety for news of his band.
The only light within the cave was from a charcoal fire, the dark-
red glow from which gave a dismal and unearthly appearance to the
smuggler's hiding place.
Bertram and his friends had advanced far enough to enable them to
stand upright, and concealed from the view of Hatteraick, they
listened to his conversation with the gipsy.
"Have you seen Glossin?" he said to her.
"No," replied Meg Merrilies; "you've missed your blow, ye blood-
spiller! and ye have nothing to expect from the tempter."
"What am I to do, then?" said the smuggler, with a Dutch oath.
"Do?" answered the gipsy. "Die like a man, or be hanged like a
dog. Didn't I tell ye, when ye took away the boy Harry Bertram, in
spite of my prayers, that he would come back again in his twenty-
first year? You'll never need to leave this."
"What makes you say that?" asked Hatteraick.
And Meg, who now threw some flax upon the fire, which rose in a
bright flame, answered: "Because the hour and the man are both
At the appointed signal, Bertram and his companions rushed upon
Hatteraick. The ruffian, who instantly saw he was betrayed, turned
his first vengeance on Meg Merrilies, at whom he discharged a
She fell, with a piercing shriek, muttering, "I knew it would be
A terrific struggle ensued between the smuggler and his
assailants, in which Hatteraick contrived to discharge a second
bullet at Bertram, which only missed its mark by a lucky accident.
Strong, however, as the ruffian was, he was not equal to the joint
efforts of the three men, and at length he was fairly mastered,
disarmed, and tightly bound.
Hazlewood, whose horse was outside the cave, then rode off for
assistance, and after some time returned with several others. The
prisoner was carried out, still firmly bound, and also Meg
Merrilies, who was still living, though desperately wounded in the
They wished to take her to the nearest cottage, but she refused to
be moved anywhere but to the Kaim of Derncleugh. Accordingly they
bore her to the vault in the ruined tower.
The alarm had now spread through the countryside that Kennedy's
murderer had been taken on the very spot where the murder had been
committed years before; and a crowd of people, with a clergyman
and a surgeon, had flocked to the place where the dying gipsy lay.
She, however, refused all offers of assistance, and called for
When Bertram approached the wretched bed on which she lay, she
took his hand.
"Look at him," she said to those about her, "the image of his dead
father. And hear me now—let that man," pointing to Hatteraick,
"deny what I say if he can." And then she told the story of how
the young boy had been carried off from Warroch Wood; how she
saved his life from smugglers who would have murdered him; and how
she swore an oath to keep the secret till he was one-and-twenty,
and vowed that if she lived to see the day of his return she would
set him again in his father's seat, though every step was on a
dead man. "Dirck Hatteraick," she said, "you and I will never
meet again until we are before the Judgment-seat—will ye dare
And as Hatteraick refused to open his lips, she added: "Farewell!
and God forgive you! your hand has sealed my evidence."
And shortly after, as she heard the crowd about her greet Bertram
with enthusiastic cheers as the true Laird of Ellangowan, her
troubled spirit passed peacefully away.
The following day, Hatteraick was brought before the magistrates
at Kippletringan. The dying declaration of Meg Merrilies was
proved by the surgeon and the clergyman who had heard it. Bertram
again told his recollections of early childhood. Gabriel, the
gipsy, the same man who had avoided meeting Bertram's eye when out
hunting with Dandie Dinmont, told the whole story of Kennedy's
murder, as he was at Warroch Point on the day of its occurrence.
He stated that Glossin was present and accepted a bribe to keep
the matter a secret. This witness also stated that it was he that
had told his aunt, Meg Merrilies, that Bertram had returned to the
country; and that it was by her orders that three or four of the
gipsies had mingled in the crowd when the custom-house was
attacked, for the purpose of helping Bertram to escape. He also
added that Meg Merrilies had often said that Harry Bertram carried
the proof of his birth hung round his neck.
Bertram here produced the velvet bag which had been worked by his
mother, and which he said he had always continued to wear. On its
being opened, Colonel Mannering instantly recognised his own
writing on the paper it enclosed, proving to everyone's
satisfaction that the wearer was the real heir of Ellangowan.
The investigation was concluded by both Hatteraick and Glossin
being sent to gaol.
The smuggler, whose violence and strength were well known, was
secured in what was called the condemned ward. In this apartment,
which was near the top of the prison, his feet were chained to an
iron bar firmly fixed at the height of about six inches from the
floor. The chain enabled him to move a distance of about four feet
from the bar, and when thus secured his handcuffs were removed.
Glossin was confined in another room, his mind still teeming with
schemes of future deceit to cover his former villainies. As he
reflected on his position, he came to a determination to see
Hatteraick, if possible, and to induce him by a tempting bribe to
give evidence in his favour when his trial came on.
Accordingly, when Mac-Guffog, the keeper, appeared at night time,
he gave him some gold pieces, and so obtained his consent to an
interview with his fellow prisoner.
The keeper, however, told him that as the prison rules were now
much stricter than before, his seeing Hatteraick would be only on
condition that he should spend the whole night with him.
As the prison clock tolled ten, Glossin slipped off his shoes, and
silently followed Mac-Guffog to the smuggler's room. As he
entered, the door was locked on the outside; and he found himself
alone with the former partner of his guilt. The cell was so dark
that it was some time before he could detect the form of the
smuggler, who was lying on a pallet-bed beside the bar.
"Dirck Hatteraick," he whispered. And the smuggler, recognising
his voice, told him with a curse to begone.
"Speak to me no more. I'm dangerous."
"Then," said Glossin, losing his temper, "at least get up, for an
obstinate Dutch brute!" But he had barely uttered the words when
Hatteraick sprang from where he lay and grappled with him. So
sudden and irresistible was the attack, that Glossin fell, the
back part of his neck coming full upon the iron bar with stunning
violence. Nor did the ruffian release the deadly grip upon his
throat until the last remnant of life had left his victim's
On the day following the death of Glossin, Dirck Hatteraick was
himself found dead in the cell, having hanged himself by means of
a cord taken from his bed, which he had cunningly contrived to
attach to the prison wall.
Little more remains to be told. Bertram was before long restored
to the possession of his father's house and property, and Julia
Mannering became his wife.
His sister Lucy found a husband in her old lover Charles
Hazlewood, and the dominie was raised once again to a condition of
ecstatic happiness, seeing "his little Harry"—as he still
continued to call him—now Laird of Ellangowan, and himself
librarian in the house to which he had been so long a stranger.