« ПредишнаНапред »
ed,) entered upon possession, and, in the language of Hotspur, "came me cranking in," and cut the family out of another monstrous cantle of their remaining property.
Donohoe Bertram, with somewhat of an Irish name, and somewhat of an Irish temper, succeeded to the diminished property of Ellangowan. He turned out of doors the Rev. Aaron Macbriar, his mother's chaplain, (it is said they quarrelled about the good graces of a. milk-maid,} drank himself daily drunk with brimming healths to the king, council, and bishops; held orgies with the Laird of Lagg,, Thcophilus Oglethorpe, and Sir James Turner; and lastly took his grey gelding, and joined Clavers at Killie-krankie. At the skirmish of Dunkeld, 1689, he was shot dead by a Cameronian with a silver button (being supposed to have proof from the Evil One against lead and steel,) and his grave is still called the " Wicked Laird's Lair."
His son, Lewis, had more prudence than seems usually to have belonged to the.fa.inily. He nursed what property was yet left to him'; for Donohoe's excesses, as well as fines and forfeitures, had made another inroad upon the estate. And although even he did not escape the fatality which induced the Lairds of Ellangowan to interfere in politics, he had yet the prudence, ere he went out with Lord Kenmore in 1715, to convey his estate to trustees, in order to parry pains and penalties, in case the Earl of Mar could not put down the protestant succession. But Scylla and Charybdis—a word to the wisehe only saved his estate at expence of a law-suit, which again subdivided the family property. He was, however, a man of resolution. He sold part of the lands, evacuated the old castle, where the family lived in their decadence, as a mouse (said an old farmer) lives'Under a firlot. Pulling down part of these venerable ruins, he 'built a narrow house of three stories height, with a front like a grenadier's cap, two windows on each side, and a door in the midst, full of all manner of cross lights. This was the New Place of Ellangowan, in which we left our hero, better amused, perhaps, than our readers, and to this Lewis Bertram retreated, full of projects for re-establishing the prosperity of his family. He took some land into his own hand, rented some from neighbouring proprietors, bought and sold Highland cattle and Cheviot sheep, rode to fairs and trysts, fought hard bargains, and held necessity at the staff's end as well as he might. But what he gained in purse he lost in honour, for such agricultural and commercial negociations were very ill looked upon by his brother lairds, who minded nothing but cock-fighting, hunting, coursing, and horse-racing. These occupations encroached, in their opinion, upon the article of Ellangowan's gentry, and he found it necessary gradually to estrange himself from their society, and sink into what was then a very ambiguous character, a gentleman farmer. In the midst of his schemes death elaimed his tribute, and the scanty remains of a large property descended upon Godfrey Bertram, the present possessor, his only son.
The danger of the father's speculations was soon seen. Deprived of his personal and active superintendance, all his undertakings miscarried, and became either abortive or perilous. Without a single spark of energy to meet or repel these misfortunes, Godfrey put his faith in the activity of another. He kept neither hunters, nor hounds, nor any other southern preliminaries to ruin; but, as has been observed of his countrymen, he kept a man of business, who answered the purpose equally well. Under this gentleman's supervision small debts grew into large, interests were accumulated upon capitals, moveable bonds became heritable, and law charges were heaped upon all; though Ellangowan possessed so little the spirit of a litigant, that he was upon two occasions charged to make payment of the expences of a long litigation, although he had never before heard that he had such cases in court. Meanwhile his neighbours predicted his final ruin. Those of the higher rank, with some malignity, accounted him already a degraded brother. The lower classes, seeing nothing enviable in his situation, marked his embarrassments with more compassion. He was even a kind of favourite with them, and upon the division of a common, or the holding of a black-fishing, or poaching court, or any similar occasion, when they conceived themselves oppressed by the gentry, they were in the habit of saying to each other, "Ah, if Ellangowan, honest man, had his ain that his forebears had afore him, he wad na see the puir folk trodden down this gait." Meanwhile, this general good opinion never prevented their taking the advantage of him on all possible occasions, turning their cattle into his parks, stealing