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Castle and the river Clyde, which winds so beautifully between rocks and woods to sweep around the towers formerly built by Aymer de Valence. Bothwell Bridge was at a little distance and also in sight. The opposite field, once the scene of slaughter and conflict, now lay as placid and quiet as the surface of a summer lake. The trees and bushes, which grew around in romantic variety of shade, were hardly seen to stir under the influence of the evening breeze. The very murmur of the river seemed to soften itself into unison with the stillness of the scene around.
The path through which the traveller descended, was occasionally shaded by detached trees of great size, and elsewhere by the hedges and boughs of flourishing orchards, now laden with summer fruits.
The nearest object of consequence was a farm-house, or it might be the abode of a small proprietor, situated on the side of a sunny bank, which was covered by apple and pear trees. At the foot of the path which led up to this modest mansion was a small cottage, pretty much in the situation of a porter's lodge, though obviously not designed for such a purpose. The hut seemed comfortable, and more neatly arranged than is usual in Scotland. It had its little garden, where some fruit-trees and bushes were mingled with kitchen herbs; a cow and six sheep fed in a paddock hard by ; the cock strutted and crowed, and summoned his family around him before the door ; a heap of brushwood and turf, neatly made up, indicated that the winter fuel was provided ; and the thin blue smoke which ascended from the straw-bound chimney, and winded slowly out from among the green trees, showed that the evening meal was in the act of being made ready. To complete the little scene of rura. peace and comfort, a girl of about five years old was fetching water in a pitcher from a beautiful fountain of the purest transparency, which bubbled up at the root of a decayed old oak-tree, about twenty yards from the end of the cottage.
The stranger reined up his horse, and called to the little nymph, desiring to know the way to Fairy. Knowe. The child set down herwater-pitcher, hardly understanding what was said to her, put her fair flaxen hair apart on her brows, and opened her round blue eyes with the wondering, “ What's ye're wull ?” which is usually a peasant's first answer, if it can be called one, to all questions whatever.
“ I wish to know the way to Fairy-knowe.”
“ Mammie, mammie,” exclaimed the little rustic, running towards the door of the hut, “ come out and speak to the gentleman.”
Her mother appeared,-a handsome young country woman, to whose features, originally sly and espiegle in expression, matrimony had given that decent matronly air which peculiarly marks the peasant's wife of Scotland. She had an infant in one arm, and with the other she smoothed down her apron, to which hung a chubby child of two years old. The elder girl, whom the traveller had first seen, fell back behind her mother as soon as she appeared, and kept that station, occasionally peeping out to look at the stranger.
“ What was your pleasure, sir ?" said the woman, with an air of respectful breeding, not quite common in her rank of life, but without anything resembling forwardness.
The stranger looked at her with great earnestness for a moment, and then replied, “ I am seeking a place called Fairy-knowe, and a man called Cuthbert Headrigg. You can probably direct me to him ?"
“It's my gudeman, sir,” said the young woman, with a smile of welcome; “ will you alight, sir, and come into our puir dwelling !--Cuddie, Cuddie,"—(a white-headed rogue of four years appeared at the door of the hut) - Rin awa, my bonnie man, and tell your father a gentleman wants him.-Or, stay-Jenny, ye'll hae mair sense-rin ye awa and tell him ; he's down at the Fouracres Park.-Winna ye light down and bide a blink, sir ? -Or would ye take a mouthfu' o' bread and cheese, or a drink o' ale, till our gudeman comes ? It's gude ale.
though I shouldna say sáė that brews it; but ploughman-lads work hard, and maun hae something to keep their bearts abune by ordinar, sae I aye pit a gude gowpin o' maut to the browst.”
As the stranger declined her courteous offers, Cuddie, the reader's old acquaintance, made his appearance in person. His countenance still presented the same mixture of apparent dullness with occasional sparkles, which indicated the craft so often found in the clouted shoe. He looked on the rider as on one whom he never had before seen; and, like his daughter and wife, opened the conversation with the regular query, “What's your wull wi' me, sir ?”
“I have a curiosity to ask some questions about this country,” said the traveller, “and I was directed to you as an intelligent man who can answer them.”
“Nae doubt, sir," said Cuddie, after a moment's hesitation ; “but I would first like to ken what sort of questions they are. I hae had sae mony questions speered at me in my day, and in sic queer ways, that if ye kend a', ye wadna wonder at my jalousing a' thing about them. My mother gar'd me learn the Single Carritch, whilk was a great vex; then I behoved to learn about my godfathers and godmothers to please the auld leddy ; and whiles I jumbled them thegither and pleased nane o' them; and when I cam to man's yestate, cam another kind o' questioning in fashion, that I liked waur than Effectual Calling; and the did promise and vow' of the tane were yokit to the end of the tother. Sae ye see, sir, I aye like to hear questions asked before I an
see, si them." ve nothime fate
“You have nothing to apprehend from mine, my good friend ; they only relate to the state of the country.”
"Country ?” replied Cuddie; “ou, the country's weel eneugh, and it werena that dour deevil, Calver'se, (they ca' him Dundee now) that's stirring about yet in the Highlands, they say, wi'a' the Donalds, and Duncans, and Dugalds, that ever wore bottomless breeks, driving about wi' hiin, to set things asteer again, now we hae gotten them a' reasonably weel settled. But Mackay will pit him down, there's little doubt o' that; he'll gie him his fairing, I'll be caution for it.”
“ What makes you so positive of that, my friend ?”
asked the horsem my ain luss."d been three hou tell him
“ I heard it wi' my ain lugs," answered Cuddie," foretauld to him by a man that had been three hours stane dead, and came back to this earth again just to tell him his mind. It was at a place they ca' Drumshinnel.”
“ Indeed ?" said the stranger; “I can hardly believe you, my friend.”
“Ye might ask my mither, then, if she were in life," said Cuddie; “it was her explained it a' to me, for I thought the man had only been wounded. At ony rate, he spake of the casting out of the Stuarts by their very names, and the vengeance that was brewing for Calver'se and his dragoons. They ca'd the man Habakkuk Mucklewrath; his brain was awee ajee, but he was a braw preacher for a' that.”
“You seem,” said the stranger, " to live in a rich and peaceful country.”
"It's no to compleen o', sir, an' we get the crap weel in," quoth Cuddie; “but if ye had seen the blude rinnin' as fast on the tap o' that brigg yonder as ever the water ran below it, ye wadna hae thought it sae bonnie a spectacle."
“You mean the battle some years since ?-I was waiting upon Monmouth that morning, my good friend, and did see some part of the action," said the stranger.
" Then ye saw a bonny stour,” said Cuddie, “that sall serve me for fighting a' the days o' my life.- I judged ye wad be a trooper, by your red scarlet lace-coat and
in see some saw hing a the red sca
teplooped trooper, big a' the
“And which side were you upon, my friend ?” continued the inquisitive stranger.
“ Aha, lad ?" retorted Cuddie, with a knowing look, or what he designed for such—" there's nae use in tell. ing that, unless I kend wha was asking me."
20* vol. II.
“I commend your prudence, but it is unnecessary I know you acted on that occasion as servant to Henry Morton.”
" Ay !” said Cuddie, in surprise, “ how came ye by that secret ?-No that I need care a bodle about it, for the sun's on our side o' the hedge now. . I wish my master were living to get a blink o't.”
• And what became of him ?" said the rider. “ He was lost in the vessel gaun to that weary Holland -clean lost, and a' body perished, and my poor master amang them. Neither man nor mouse was ever heard o' mair.” Then Cuddie uttered a groan.
“You had some regard for him then ?” continued the stranger.
6. How could I help it ?-His face was made of a fiddle, as they say, for a' body that looked on him liked him. And a braw soldier he was. O, an ye had but seen him down at the brigg there, fleeing about like a fleeing dragon to gar folk fight that had unco little will till't ! There was he and that sour whigamore they ca'd Burley—if twa men could hae won a field, we wadna hae gotten our skins paid that day.”
“ You mention Burley-Do you know if he yet lives?"
"1 kenna muckle about him. Folk say he was abroad, and our sufferers wad hold no communion wi' him, because o' bis having murdered the Archbishop. Sae he cam hame ten times dourer than ever, and broke aff wi' mony o' the presbyterians; and, at this last coming of the Prince of Orange, he could get nae countenance nor command for fear of his deevilish temper, and he hasna been heard of since; only some folks say, that pride and anger hae driven him clean wud.”
i And-and," said the traveller, after considerable hesitation,-“ do you know anything of Lord Evandale ?”
5 Div I ken ony thing o'Lord Evandale ?-Div I no? Is not my young leddy up by yonder at the house, that's as gude as married to him ?”
And are they not married, then ?" said the rider hastily.