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sense that brought me here wi' my friend, and ye should think shame o' yoursell,'at should ye."
"Umph! and what sort of nonsense did bring you here then, Mrs. Dennison?"
"My kinswoman has some particular business with your prisoner, young Mr. Harry Morton, and I am come wi' her to speak till him."
"The devil you are!" answered the sentinel; "and pray, Mrs. Dennison, how do your kinswoman and you propose to get in 1 You are rather too plump to whisk through a key-hole, and opening the door is a thing not to be spoke of."
"It's no a thing to be spoken o' but a thing to be dune," replied the persevering damsel.
"We'll see about that, my bonny Jenny;" and the soldier resumed his march, humming as he walked to and fro along the gallery,
"Keek into the draw-well,
My joe Janet."
"So ye're no thinking to let us in, Mr. Halliday 1 Weel, weel, gude e'en to you—ye hae seen the last o' me, and o' this bonny-die too," said Jenny, holding between her finger and thumb a splendid silver dollar."
"Give hiru gold, give him gold," whispered the agitated young lady.
"Siller's e'en ower gude for the like o' him," replied Jenny, "that disna care for the blink o' a bonny lassie's ee—and what's waur, he wad think there was something mair in't than a kinswoman o' mine. My certy! siller's no sae plenty wi' us, let alane gowd." Having addressed this advice aside to her mistress, she raised her voice, and said, "My cousin winna stay ony langer, Mr. Halliday; sae, if ye please, gude e'en t'ye."
"Halt a bit, halt a bit," said the trooper; "rein up and parky, Jenny. If I let your kinswoman in to speak to my prisoner, you must stay here and keep me company till she come out again, and then we'll all be well pleased you know."
"The fiend be in my feet then," said Jenny ; "d'ye think my kinswoman and me are gaun to lose our gude name wi' cracking clavers wi' the like o' you or your prisoner either, without somebody by to see fair play 1 Hegh, hegh, sirs, to see sic a difference between folk's promises and performance! Ye were aye willing to slight puir Cuddie ; but an I had asked him to oblige me in a thing, though it had been to cost his hanging, he wadna hae stude twice about it."
"D—n Cuddie!" retorted the dragoon, "he'll be hanged in good earnest, I hope. I saw him to-day at
Milnwood with his old puritanical b of a mother,
and if I had thought I was to have had him cast in my dish, I would have brought him up at my horse's tail— we had law enough to bear us out."
"Very weel, very weel—See if Cuddie winna hae a lang shot at you ane o' thae days, if ye gar him tak the muir wi' sae mony honest folk. He can hit a mark brawly ; he was third at the popinjay; and he's as true of his promise as of ee and hand, though he disna mak sic a phrase about it as some acquaintance o' yours— But it's a' ane to me—Come, cousin, we'll awa'."
"Stay, Jenny; d—n me, if I hang fire more than another when I have said a thing," said the soldier iu a hesitating tone. "Where is the sergeant?"
"Drinking and driving ower," quoth Jenny, "wi' the steward and John Gudyill."
"So, so—he's safe enough—and where are my comrades V asked Halliday.
"Birling the brown bowl wi' the fowler and the falconer, and some o' the serving folk."
"Have they plenty of ale V
"Sax gallons, as gude as e'er was masked," said the maid.
"Well, then, my pretty Jenny," said the relenting sentinel, "they are fast till the hour of relieving guard, and perhaps something later; and so, if you will prom ise to come alone the next time"
"Maybe I will, and maybe I winna," said Jenny , "but if ye get the dollar, ye'U like that just as weel."
"I'll be d—n'd if I do," said Halliday, taking the money, however; " but it's always something for my risk; for, if Claverhouse hears what I have done, he will build me a horse as high as the Tower of Tillietudlem. But every one in the regiment takes what they can come by ; I am sure Bothwell and his blood-royal shows us a good example. And if I were trusting to you, you little jilting devil, I should lose both pains and powder; whereas this fellow," looking at the piece, " will be good as far as he goes. So, come, there is the door open for you ; do not stay groaning and praying with the young whig now, but be ready, when I call at the door, to start as if they were sounding, ' Horse and away.'"
So speaking, Halliday unlocked the door of the closet, admitted Jenny and her pretended kinswoman, locked it behind them, and hastily reassumed the indifferent measured step and time-killing whistle of a sentinel upon his regular duty.
The door which slowly opened, discovered Morton with both arms reclined upon a table, and his head resting upon them in a posture of deep dejection. He raised his face as the door opened, and, perceiving the female figures which it admitted, started up in great surprise. Edith, as if modesty had quelled the courage which despair had bestowed, stood about a yard from the door without having either the power to speak or to advance. All the plans of aid, relief, or comfort, which she had proposed to lay before her lover, seemed at once to have vanished from her recollection, and left only a painful chaos of ideas, with which was mingled a fear that she had degraded herself in the eyes of Morton by a step which might appear precipitate and unfeminine. She hung motionless and almost powerless upon the arm of her attendant, who in vain endeavoured to reassure and inspire her with courage, by whispering, "We are in now, madam, and we maun mak the best o' our time; for, doubtless, the corporal or the sergeant will gang the rounds, and it wad be a pity to hae the poor lad Halliday punished for his civility;"
Morton, in the mean time, was timidly advancing, suspecting the truth ; for what other female in the house, excepting Edith herselfj was likely to take an interest in his misfortunes 9 and yet afraid, owing to the doubtful twilight and the muffled dress, of making some mistake which might be prejudicial to the object of his affections. Jenny, whose ready wit and forward manners well qualified he* for such an office, hastened to break the ice.
"Mr. Morton^ Miss Edith's very sorry for your present situation, and"
It was needless to say more ; he was at her side, almost at her feet, pressing her unresisting hands, and loading her with a profusion of thanks and gratitude which would be hardly intelligible from the mere broken words, unless we could describe the tone, the gesture, the impassioned and hurried indications of deep and tumultuous feeling with which they were accompanied.
For two or three minutes, Edith stood as motionless as the statue of a saint which receives the adoration of a worshipper; and when she recovered herself sufficiently to withdraw her hands from Henry's grasp, she could at first only faintly articulate, " I have taken a strange step, Mr. Morton—a step," she continued with more coherence as her ideas arranged themselves in consequence of a strong effort, " that perhaps may expose me to censure in your eyes—But I have long permitted you to use the language of friendship—perhaps I might say more—too long to leave you when the world seems to have left you. How, or why is this imprisonment 1 what can be done 1 can my uncle who thinks so highly of you—can your own kinsman, Milnwood, be of no use9 are there no means 9 and what is likely to be the event?"
"Be what it will," answered Henry, contriving to make himself master of the hand that had escaped from him, but which was now again abandoned to his clasp, "be what it will, it is to me from this moment the most welcome incident of a weary life. To you, dearest Edith— forgive me, I should have said Miss Bellenden, but misfortune claims strange privileges—to you I have owed the few happy moments which have gilded a gloomy existence ; and if I am now to lay it down, the recollection of this honour will be my happiness in the last hour of suffering."
"But is it even thus, Mr. Morton?" said Miss Bellenden. "Have you, who used to mix so little in these unhappy feuds, become so suddenly and deeply implicated, that nothing short of
She paused, unable to bring out the word which should have come next.
"Nothing short of my life you would say?" replied Morton, in a calm but melancholy tone; "I believe that will be entirely in the bosoms of my judges. My guards spoke of a possibility of exchanging the penalty for entry into foreign service. I thought I could have embraced the alternative; and yet, Miss Bellenden, since I have seen you once more, I feel that exile would be more galling than death."
"And is it then true," said Edith, " that you have been so desperately rash as to entertain communication with any of those cruel wretches who assassinated the primate?"
"I knew not even that such a crime had been committed," replied Morton, " when 1 gave unhappily a night's lodging and concealment to one of those rash and cruel men, the ancient friend and comrade of my father. But my ignorance will avail me little; for who, Miss Bellenden, save you, will believe it 1 And, what is worse, 1 am at least uncertain whether, even if I had known the crime, I could have brought my mind, under all the circumstances, to refuse a temporary refuge to the fugitive."
"And by whom," said Edith, anxiously, " or under what authority will the investigation of your conduct take place?"
"Under that of Colonel Grahame of Claverhouse, I am given to understand," said Morton; "one of the mil24 Vol. I.