forms a defensible line betwixt the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, from its source nearly to the Frith, or inlet of the ocean, in which it terminates. The subsequent events which we witnessed led me to recall with attention what the shrewdness of Bailie Jarvie suggested, in his proverbial expression, that “Forth bridles the wild Highlandman.”

About half a mile’s riding, after we crossed the bridge, placed us at the door of the public-house where we were to pass the evening. It was a hovel rather worse than better than that in which we had dined; but its little windows were lighted up, voices were heard from within, and all intimated a prospect of food and shelter, to which we were by no means indifferent. Andrew was the first to observe that there was a peeled willow-wand placed across the half-open door of the little inn. He hung back, and advised us not to enter. “For,” said Andrew, “some of their chiefs and grit men are birling at the usquebaugh in by there, and dinna want to be disturbed; and the least we’ll get, if we gang ram-stam in on them, will be a broken head, to learn us better havings, if we dinna come by the length of a cauld dirk in our wame, whilk is just as likely.”

I looked at the Bailie, who acknowledged, in a whisper, “that the gowk had some reason for singing, ance in the year.”

Meantime a staring half-clad wench or two came out of the inn and the neighbouring cottages, on hearing the sound of our horses’ feet. No one bade us welcome, nor did any one offer to take our horses, from which we had alighted; and to our various inquiries, the hopeless response of “Ha niel Sassenach,” was the only answer we could extract. The Bailie, however, found (in his experience) a way to make them speak English. “If I gie ye a bawbee,” said he to an urchin of about ten years old, with a fragment of a tattered plaid about him, “will you understand Sassenach?”

“Ay, ay, that will I,” replied the brat, in very decent English.

“Then gang and tell your mammy, my man, there’s twa Sassenach gentlemen come to speak wi’ her.”

The landlady presently appeared, with a lighted piece of split fir blazing in her hand. The turpentine in this species of torch (which is generally dug from out the turf-bogs) makes it blaze and sparkle readily, so that it is often used in the Highlands in lieu of candles. On this occasion such a torch illuminated the wild and anxious features of a female, pale, thin, and rather above the usual size, whose soiled and ragged dress, though aided by a plaid or tartan screen, barely served the purposes of decency, and certainly not those of comfort. Her black hair, which escaped in uncombed elf-locks from under her coif, as well as the strange and embarrassed look with which she regarded us, gave me the idea of a witch disturbed in the midst of her unlawful rites. She plainly refused to admit us into the house. We remonstrated anxiously, and pleaded the length of our journey, the state of our horses, and the certainty that there was not another place where we could be received nearer than Callander, which the Bailie stated to be seven Scots miles distant. How many these may exactly amount to in English measurement, I have never been able to ascertain, but I think the double ratio may be pretty safely taken as a medium computation. The obdurate hostess treated our expostulation with contempt.—“Better gang farther than fare waur,” she said, speaking the Scottish Lowland dialect, and being indeed a native of the Lennox district,—“Her house was taen up wi’ them wadna like to be intruded on wi’ strangers.—She didna ken wha mair might be there—redcoats, it might be, frae the garrison.” (These last words she spoke under her breath, and with very strong emphasis.) “The night,” she said, “was fair abune head—a night amang the heather wad caller our bloods—we might sleep in our claes as mony a gude blade does in the scabbard—there wasna muckle flowmoss in the shaw, if we took up our quarters right, and we might pit up our horses to the hill, naebody wad say naething against it.”

“But, my good woman,” said I, while the Bailie groaned and remained undecided, “it is six hours since we dined, and we have not taken a morsel since. I am positively dying with hunger, and I have no taste for taking up my abode supperless among these mountains of yours. I positively must enter; and make

  By PanEris using Melati.

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