Chapter 29

Bagpipes, not lyres, the Highland hills adorn,
MacLean’s loud hollo, and MacGregor’s horn.

John Cooper’s Reply to Allan Ramsay.

I stopped in the entrance of the stable, if indeed a place be entitled to that name where horses were stowed away along with goats, poultry, pigs, and cows, under the same roof with the mansion-house; although, by a degree of refinement unknown to the rest of the hamlet, and which I afterwards heard was imputed to an overpride on the part of Jeanie MacAlpine, our landlady, the apartment was accommodated with an entrance different from that used by her biped customers. By the light of my torch, I deciphered the following billet, written on a wet, crumpled, and dirty piece of paper, and addressed, “For the honoured hands of Mr. F. O. a Saxon young gentleman—These.” The contents were as follows:—

“Sir,—There are night-hawks abroad, so that I cannot give you and my respected kinsman, B. N. J., the meeting at the Clachan of Aberfoil, whilk was my purpose. I pray you to avoid unnecessary communication with those you may find there, as it may give future trouble. The person who gives you this is faithful, and may be trusted, and will guide you to a place where, God willing, I may safely give you the meeting, when I trust my kinsman and you will visit my poor house, where, in despite of my enemies, I can still promise sic cheer as ane Hielandman may gie his friends, and where we will drink a solemn health to a certain D. V. and look to certain affairs whilk I hope to be your aidance in; and I rest, as is wont among gentlemen, your servant to command.

R. M. C.”

I was a good deal mortified at the purport of this letter, which seemed to adjourn to a more distant place and date the service which I had hoped to receive from this man Campbell. Still, however, it was some comfort to know that he continued to be in my interest, since without him I could have no hope of recovering my father’s papers. I resolved, therefore, to obey his instructions; and, observing all caution before the guests, to take the first good opportunity I could find to procure from the landlady directions how I was to obtain a meeting with this mysterious person.

My next business was to seek out Andrew Fairservice, whom I called several times by name, without receiving any answer, surveying the stable all round at the same time, not without risk of setting the premises on fire, had not the quantity of wet litter and mud so greatly counterbalanced two or three bunches of straw and hay. At length my repeated cries of “Andrew Fairservice—Andrew! Fool—Ass, where are you?” produced a doleful “Here,” in a groaning tone, which might have been that of the Brownie itself. Guided by this sound, I advanced to the corner of a shed, where, ensconced in the angle of the wall, behind a barrel full of the feathers of all the fowls which had died in the cause of the public for a month past, I found the manful Andrew; and partly by force, partly by command and exhortation, compelled him forth into the open air. The first words he spoke were, “I am an honest lad, sir.”

“Who the devil questions your honesty?” said I; “or what have we to do with it at present? I desire you to come and attend us at supper.”

“Yes,” reiterated Andrew, without apparently understanding what I said to him, “I am an honest lad, whatever the Bailie may say to the contrary. I grant the warld and the warld’s gear sits ower near my heart whiles, as it does to mony a ane—But I am an honest lad; and, though I spak o’ leaving ye in the muir, yet God knows it was far frae my purpose, but just like idle things folk says when they’re driving a bargain, to get it as far to their ain side as they can—And I like your honour well for sae young a lad, and I wadna part wi’ ye lightly.”

“What the deuce are you driving at now?” I replied. “Has not everything been settled again and again to your satisfaction? And are you to talk of leaving me every hour, without either rhyme or reason?”

“Ay, but I was only making fashion before,” replied Andrew; “but it’s come on me in sair earnest now—Lose or win, I daur gae nae farther wi’ your honour; and if ye’ll tak my foolish advice, ye’ll bide by a broken

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