Графични страници
PDF файл

ment that she should have preferred MacMorlan's invitation to theirs, had gradual. ly withdrawn their notice.

The fate of Dominie Sampson would have been deplorable had it depended upon any one except Mannering, who was an admirer of originality. Mac-Morlan had given a full account of his proceedings towards the daughter of his patron. The answer was a request from Mannering to know, whether the Dominie still possessed that admirable virtue of taciturnity by which he was so notably distinguished at Ellangowan? MacMorlan replied in the affirmative. “ Let Mr Sampson know,” said the colonel's next letter, “that I shall want his assistance to catalogue and put in order the library of my uncle, the bishop, which I have ordered to be sent down by sea. I shall also want him to copy and arrange some papers. Fix his salary at what you think befitting-let the poor man be pro

perly dressed, and accompany his young lady to Woodbourne.”

Honest Mac-Morlan received this man. date with great joy, but pondered much upon executing that part of it which related to newly-attiring the worthy Dominie. He looked at him with a scrutinizing eye, and it was but too plain that his present garments were daily waxing more deplorable. To give him money, and bid him go and furnish himself, would be only giving him the means of making himself ridiculous; for when such a rare event arrived to Mr Sampson, as the purchase of new garments, the additions which he made to his wardrobe by the guidance of his own taste usually brought all the boys of the village after him for many days. On the other hand, to bring a tailor to measure him, and send home his clothes as for a school-boy, would probably give great offence. At length he resolved to. consult Mişs Bertram, and request her in

terference. She assured him, that she could not pretend to superintend a gentleman's wardrobe, but that nothing was more easy than to arrange the Dominie's

“At Ellangowan,” she said, “whenever my poor father thought any part of the Dominie's dress wanted renewal, a servant was directed to enter his room by night, for he sleeps as fast as a dor-mouse, carry off the old vestment, and leave the new one'; nor could we ever observe that the Dominie, exhibited. the least consci. ousness of the change put upon him.?

Mac-Morlan, therefore, procured a skilful artist, who, on looking at the Dominie attentively, undertook to make for him two suits of clothes, one black, and one raven-grey, and that they should fit him as well at least, (so the tailor qualified his enterprise,) as a man of such an out-of-theway build could be fitted by merely hu. man needles and shears. When he had accomplished his task, and the dresses were brought home, Mac-Morlan, judici.

ously resolving to accomplish his purpose by degrees, withdrew that evening an important part of his dress, and substi. tuted the new article of raiment in its stead. Perceiving that this passed totally without notice, he next ventured on the waistcoat, and last upon the coat. When fully metamorphosed, and arrayed for the first time in his life in a decent dress, they did observe, that the Dominie seemed to have some indistinct and embarrassing consciousness that a change had taken place upon his outward man. Whenever they observed this dubious expression gather upon his countenance, accompanied with a glance, that fixed now upon the sleeve of his coat, now upon the knees of his breeches, where he probably missed some antique patching and darning, which, be. ing executed with blue thread upon a black ground, had somewhat the effect of embroidery, they always took care to turn his attention into some other channel, until his. garments, “ by the aid of use, clea

ved to their mould.” The only remark he was ever known to make upon the subject, was, “ The air of a town, like Kippletringan, seemed favourable unto wearing apparel, for he thought his coat looked as new as the first day he put it on, which was when he went to stand trial for his licence as a preacher.”

When he heard the liberal proposal of Colonel Mannering, he first turned a jealous and doubtful glance towards Miss Bertram, as if he suspected that the project involved their separation ; but when Mr Mac-Morlan hastened to explain that she would be a guest at Woodbourne for some time, he rubbed his huge hands together, and burst into a portentous sort of chuckle, like that of the Afrite in the tale of Caliph Vathek. After this unusual

explosion of satisfaction, he remained quite · passive in all the rest of the transaction.

It had been settled that Mr and Mrs Mac-Morlan should take possession of the

« ПредишнаНапред »