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excellent dispositions. "Now, Earnscliff," exclaimed Hobhie, "I am glad to meet your honour ony gait, and company's blithe on a bare moor like this—it's an unco bogilly bit—Where hae ye been sporting V
"Up the Carla Cleugh, Hobbie," answered Earnscliff, returning his greeting. "But will our dogs keep the peace, think you V
"Deil a fear o' mine," said Hobbie, "they hae scarce a leg to stand on.—Odd ! the deer's fled the country, I think 1 I hae been as far as Inger-fell-foot, and deil a horn has Hobbie seen, excepting three redwud raes, that never let me within shot of them, though I gaed a mile round to get up the wind to them, an' a'. Deil o' me wad care muckle, only I wanted some venison to our auld gude-dame. The carline, she sits in the neuk yonder, upbye, and cracks about the grand shooters and hunters lang syne—Odd, I think they hae killed a' the deer in the country, for my part."
"Well, Hobbie, I have shot a fat buck, and sent him, to Earnscliff this morning—you shall have half of him for your grandmother."
"Mony thanks to ye, Mr. Patrick, ye're kend to a' the country for a kind heart. It will do the auld wife's heart gude—mair by token, when she kens it comes frae you —and maist of a', gin ye'll come up and take your share, for I reckon ye are lonesome now in the auld tower, and a' your folk at that weary Edinburgh. I wonder what they can find to do amang a wheen ranks o' stane houses, wi' slate on the tap o' them, that might live on their ain bonny green hills."
'' My education and my sisters' has kept my mothe much in Edinburgh for several years," said Earnscliff^ 'but I promise you I propose to make up for lost time."
"And ye'll rig out the auld tower a bit," said Hobbie, "and live hearty and neighbour-like wi' the auld family friends, as the Laird o' Earnscliff should 9 I can tell ye, my mother—my grandmother I mean—but since we lost our ain mother, we ca' her sometimes the tane and sometimes the tolher—but, ony gate, she conceits hersell no that distant connected wi' you."
"Very true, Hobbie, and 1 will come to the Heughfoot to dinner to-morrow with all my heart."
"Weel, that's kindly said! We are auld neighbours, an we were na kin—and my gude-dame's fain to see you —she clavers about your father that was killed lang syne.'
"Hush, hush, Hobbie—not a word about that—it's a story better forgotten."
"I dinna ken—if it had chanced amang our folk, we wad hae keepit it in mind mony a day till we got some mends far't; but ye ken your ain ways best, you lairds —I have heard say that Ellieslaw's friend stickit your sire after the laird himsellhad mastered his sword."
"Fie, 6e, Hobbie; it was a foolish brawl, occasioned by wioe and politics—many swords were drawn—it is impossible to say who struck the blow."
"At ony rate, auld Ellieslaw was aiding and abetting, and I am sure if ye were sae disposed as to take amends on him, naebody could say it was wrang, for your father's blood is beneath his nails—and besides there's naebody else left that was concerned to take amends upon, and he's a prelatist and a jacobite into the bargain—I can tell ye the country folk look for something atween ye."
"O for shame, Hobbie!" replied the young laird; "you that profess religion, to stir your friend up to break the law, and take vengeance at his own hand, and in such a bogilly bit too, where we know not what beings may be listening to us I"
"Hush, hush!" said Hobbie, drawing nearer to his companion, " I was nae thinking o' the like o' them— But I can guess a wee bit what keeps your hand up, Mr. Patrick ; we a' ken it's no lack o' courage, but the twa grey een of a bonnie lass, Miss Isbel Vere, that keeps you sae sober."
"I assure you, Hobbie," said his companion, rather angrily, "I assure you, you are mistaken; and it is extremely wrong of you, either to think of, or to utter, such an idea; I have no idea of permitting freedoms to be carried so far as to connect my name with that of any young lady."
"Why, there now—there now!" retorted Elliot, "did I not say it was nae want o' spunk that made ye sae mim 1—Weel, weel, I meant nae offence; but there's just ae thing ye may notice frae a friend. The auld laird of Ellieslaw has the auld riding blood far hetter at his heart than ye hae—troth, he kensnaething about tha new-fangled notions o' peace and quietness—he's a' fo the auld-warld doings o' lifting and laying on, and he has a wheen stout lads at his back too, and keeps them weel up in heart, and as fu' o' mischief as young colts. Where he gets the gear to do't, nane can say; he lives high, and far abune his rents here; however, he pays his way— Sae, if there's ony outbreak in the country, he's likely to break out wi' the first; and weel does he mind the auld quarrels between ye. I'm surmizing he'll be for a touch at the auld tower at Earnscliff."
"Well, Hobbie," answered the young gentleman, " if he should be so ill-advised, I shall try to make the old tower good against him, as it has been made good by my betters against his betters many a day ago."
"Very right—very right—that's speaking like a man now," said the stout yeoman; "and, if sae should be that this be sae, if ye'U just gar your servant jow out the great bell in the tower, there's me, and my twa brothers, and little Davie of the Stenhouse, will be wi' you, wi' a' the power we can make, in the snapping of a flint."
"Many thanks, Hobbie," answered Earnscliff; "but I hope we shall have no war of so unnatural and unchristian a kind in our time."
"Hout, sir, hout," replied Elliot; "it wad be but a wee bit neighbour war, and Heaven and earth would make allowances for it in this uncultivated place—it's just the nature o' the folk and the land—we canna live quiet like Loudon folk—we haena sae muckle to do. It's impossible.'
"Well, Hobbie," said the Laird,'" for one who believes so deeply as you do in supernatural appearances, I must own you take Heaven in your own hand rather audaciously, considering where we are walking."
"What needs I care for the Mucklestane-Moor ony mair than ye do yoursell, Earnscliff?" said Hobbie, something offended; "to be sure,they do say there's a sort o' worricows and lang-nebbit things about the land, but what need I care for them ? I hae a good conscience, and little to answer for, unless it be about a rant amang the lasses, or a splore at a fair, and that's no muckle to speak of. Though I say it mysell, I am as quiet a lad and as peaceable"
"And Dick Turnbull's head that you broke, and Willie of Winton whom you shot at?" said his travelling companion.
"Hout, Earnscliff, ye keep a record of a' men's misdoings—Dick's head's healed again, and we're to fight out the quarrel at Jeddart, on the rood-day, so that's like a thing settled in a peaceable way ; and then I am friends wi' Willie again, puir chield—it was but twa or three hail draps after a'. 1 wad let ony body do the like o't to rae for a pint o' brandy. But Willie's Lowland bred, poor fallow, and soon frighted for himsell.—And for the worricows, were we to meet ane on this very bit"
"As is not unlikely," said young Earnscliff, " for there stands your old witch, Hobbie."
"1 say," continued Elliot, as if indignant at this hint, "I say, if the auld carline hersell was to get up out of the grund just before us here, I would think nae mair — but, gude preserve us, Earnscliff, what can yon be!"
Brown dwarf, that o'er the moorland strays.
Thy name to Keeldar tell!
Beneath the heather-bell."
The object which alarmed the young farmer in the middle of his valorous protestations, startled for a mo
ment even his less-prejudiced companion. The moon, which had arisen during their conversation, was, in the phrase of that country, wading or struggling with clouds, and shed only a doubtful and occasional light. By one of her beams, which streamed upon the great granite column to which they now approached, they discovered a form, apparently human, but of a size much less than ordinary, which moved slowly among the large grey stones, not like a person intending to journey onward, but with a slow, irregular, flitting movement of a being who hovers around some spot of melancholy recollection, uttering also, from time to time, a sort of indistinct muttering sound. This so much resembled his idea of the motions of an apparition, that Hobbie Elliot, making a dead pause, while his hair erected itself upon his scalp, whispered to his companion, "It's auld Ailie hersell! Shall I gie her a shot, in the name of God?"
"For Heaven's sake, no," said his companion, holding down the weapon which he was about to raise to the aim—" for Heaven's sake, no; it's some poor distracted creature."
"Ye're distracted yoursell,for thinking of going so near to her," said Elliot, holding his companion, in his turn, as he prepared to advance. "We'll aye hae time to pit ower a bit prayer (an I could but mind ane) afore she comes this length—God! she's in nae hurry," continued he, growing bolder from his companion's confidence, and the little notice the apparition seemed to take of them. "She hirples like a hen on a het girdle. I redd ye, Earnscliff," (this he added in a gentle whisper,) "let us take a cast about, as if to draw the wind on a buck—the bog is no abune knee-deep, and better a saft road as bad company."2
Earnscliff", however, in spite of his companion's resistance and remonstrances, continued to advance on the path they had originally pursued, aqd soon confronted the oDject of their investigation.
The height of the figure, which appeared even to decrease as they approached it, seemed to be under four