Chapter 30

Hear me, and mark me well, and look upon me
Directly in my face—my woman’s face—
See if one fear, one shadow of a terror,
One paleness dare appear, but from my anger,
To lay hold on your mercies.


We were permitted to slumber out the remainder of the night in the best manner that the miserable accommodations of the alehouse permitted. The Bailie, fatigued with his journey and the subsequent scenes, less interested also in the event of our arrest, which to him could only be a matter of temporary inconvenience, perhaps less nice than habit had rendered me about the cleanliness or decency of his couch, tumbled himself into one of the cribs which I have already described, and soon was heard to snore soundly. A broken sleep, snatched by intervals, while I rested my head upon the table, was my only refreshment. In the course of the night I had occasion to observe, that there seemed to be some doubt and hesitation in the motions of the soldiery. Men were sent out as if to obtain intelligence, and returned apparently without bringing any satisfactory information to their commanding officer. He was obviously eager and anxious, and again despatched small parties of two or three men, some of whom, as I could understand from what the others whispered to each other, did not return again to the Clachan.

The morning had broken, when a corporal and two men rushed into the hut, dragging after them, in a sort of triumph, a Highlander, whom I immediately recognised as my acquaintance the ex-turnkey. The Bailie, who started up at the noise with which they entered, immediately made the same discovery, and exclaimed, “Mercy on us! they hae grippit the puir creature Dougal—Captain, I will put in bail—sufficient bail, for that Dougal creature.”

To this offer, dictated undoubtedly by a grateful recollection of the late interference of the Highlander in his behalf, the Captain only answered, by requesting Mr. Jarvie to “mind his own affairs, and remember that he was himself for the present a prisoner.”

“I take you to witness, Mr. Osbaldistone,” said the Bailie, who was probably better acquainted with the process in civil than in military cases, “that he has refused sufficient bail It’s my opinion that the creature Dougal will have a good action of wrongous imprisonment and damages agane him, under the Act seventeen hundred and one, and I’ll see the creature righted.”

The officer, whose name I understood was Thornton, paying no attention to the Bailie’s threats or expostulations, instituted a very close inquiry into Dougal’s life and conversation, and compelled him to admit, though with apparent reluctance, the successive facts,—that he knew Rob Roy MacGregor—that he had seen him within these twelve months—within these six months—within this month—within this week; in fine, that he had parted from him only an hour ago. All this detail came like drops of blood from the prisoner, and was, to all appearance, only extorted by the threat of an halter and the next tree, which Captain Thornton assured him should be his doom, if he did not give direct and special information.

“And now, my friend,” said the officer, “you will please inform me how many men your master has with him at present.”

Dougal looked in every direction except at the querist, and began to answer, “She canna just be sure about that.”

“Look at me, you Highland dog,” said the officer, “and remember your life depends on your answer. How many rogues had that outlawed scoundrel with him when you left him?”

“Ou, no aboon sax rogues when I was gane.”

“And where are the rest of his banditti?”

“Gane wi’ the Lieutenant agane ta westland carles.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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