I canna understand this

business here,” said the young man, in a tone meant to repress farther inquiry.
“I do not doubt it, sir,” said Butler. “I trust you will forgive my hoping that it is of a lawful kind?”
“Sir,” said the other, with marked surprise, “I never forgive impertinence, nor can I conceive what title you have to hope anything about what no way concerns you.”
“I am a soldier, sir,” said Butler, “and have a charge to arrest evil-doers in the name of my Master.”
“A soldier!” said the young man, stepping back, and fiercely laying his hand on his sword —“A soldier, and arrest me! Did you reckon what your life was worth, before you took the commission upon you?”
“You mistake me, sir,” said Butler, gravely; “neither my warfare nor my warrant are of this world. I am a preacher of the gospel, and have power, in my Master’s name, to command the peace upon earth and good-will towards men, which was proclaimed with the gospel.”
“A minister!” said the stranger, carelessly, and with an expression approaching to scorn. “I know the gentlemen of your cloth in Scotland claim a strange right of intermeddling with men’s private affairs. But I have been abroad, and know better than to be priest-ridden.”
“Sir, if it be true that any of my cloth, or, it might be more decently said, of my calling, interfere with men’s private affairs, for the gratification either of idle curiosity, or for worse motives, you cannot have learned a better lesson abroad than to contemn such practices. But in my Master’s work, I am called to be busy in season and out of season; and, conscious as I am of a pure motive, it were better for me to incur your contempt for speaking, than the correction of my own conscience for being silent.”
“In the name of the devil!” said the young man impatiently, “say what you have to say, then; though whom you take me for, or what earthly concern you have with me, a stranger to you, or with my actions and motives, of which you can know nothing, I cannot conjecture for an instant.”
“You are about,” said Butler, “to violate one of your country’s wisest laws — you are about, which is much more dreadful, to violate a law, which God himself has implanted within our nature, and written as it were, in the table of our hearts, to which every thrill of our nerves is responsive.”
“And what is the law you speak of?” said the stranger, in a hollow and somewhat disturbed accent.
“Thou shalt do no murder,” said Butler, with a deep and solemn voice.
The young man visibly started, and looked considerably appalled. Butler perceived he had made a favourable impression, and resolved to follow it up. “Think,” he said, “young man,” laying his hand kindly upon the stranger’s shoulder, “what an awful alternative you voluntarily choose for yourself, to kill or be killed. Think what it is to rush uncalled into the presence of an offended Deity, your heart fermenting with evil passions, your hand hot from the steel you had been urging, with your best skill and malice, against the breast of a fellow-creature. Or, suppose yourself the scarce less wretched survivor, with the guilt of Cain, the first murderer, in your heart, with the stamp upon your brow — that stamp which struck all who gazed on him with unutterable horror, and by which the murderer is made manifest to all who look upon him. Think!”
The stranger gradually withdrew himself from under the hand of his monitor; and, pulling his hat over his brows, thus interrupted him. “Your meaning, sir, I dare say, is excellent, but you are throwing your advice away. I am not in this place with violent intentions against any one. I may be bad enough — you priests say all men are so — but I am here for the purpose of saving life, not of taking it away. If you wish to spend your time rather in doing a good action than in talking about you know not what, I will give you an opportunity. Do you see yonder crag to the right, over which appears the chimney of a lone house? Go thither, inquire for one Jeanie Deans, the daughter of the goodman; let her know that he she wots of remained here from daybreak till this hour, expecting to see her, and that he can abide no longer. Tell her, she must meet me at the Hunter’s Bog to-night, as the moon rises behind St. Anthony’s Hill, or that she will make a desperate man of me.”
“Who or what are you,” replied Butler, exceedingly and most unpleasantly surprised, “who charge me with such an errand?”
“I am the devil!”— answered the young man hastily.
Butler stepped instinctively back, and commanded himself internally to Heaven; for, though a wise and strong-minded man, he was neither wiser nor more strong-minded than those of his age and education, with whom, to disbelieve witchcraft or spectres, was held an undeniable proof of atheism.
The stranger went on without observing his emotion. “Yes! call me Apollyon, Abaddon, whatever name you shall choose, as a clergyman acquainted with the upper and lower circles of spiritual denomination, to call me by, you shall not find an appellation more odious to him that bears it, than is mine own.”
This sentence was spoken with the bitterness of self-upbraiding, and a contortion of visage absolutely demoniacal. Butler, though a man brave by principle, if not by constitution, was overawed; for intensity of mental distress has in it a sort of sublimity which repels and overawes all men, but especially those of kind and sympathetic dispositions. The stranger turned abruptly from Butler as he spoke, but instantly returned, and, coming up to him closely and boldly, said, in a fierce, determined tone, “I have told you who and what I am — who and what are you? What is your name?”
“Butler,” answered the person to whom this abrupt question was addressed, surprised into answering it by the sudden and fierce manner of the querist —“Reuben Butler, a preacher of the gospel.”
At this answer, the stranger again plucked more deep over his brows the hat which he had thrown back in his former agitation. “Butler!” he repeated —“the assistant of the schoolmaster at Liberton?”
“The same,” answered Butler composedly.
The stranger covered his face with his hand, as if on sudden reflection, and then turned away, but stopped when he had walked a few paces; and seeing Butler follow him with his eyes, called out in a stern yet suppressed tone, just as if he had exactly calculated that his accents should not be heard a yard beyond the spot on which Butler stood. “Go your way, and do mine errand. Do not look after me. I will neither descend through the bowels of these rocks, nor vanish in a flash of fire; and yet the eye that seeks to trace my motions shall have reason to curse it was ever shrouded by eyelid or eyelash. Begone, and look not behind you. Tell Jeanie Deans, that when the moon rises I shall expect to meet her at Nicol Muschat’s Cairn, beneath Saint Anthony’s Chapel.”
As he uttered these words, he turned and took the road against the hill, with a haste that seemed as peremptory as his tone of authority.
Dreading he knew not what of additional misery to a lot which seemed little capable of receiving augmentation, and desperate at the idea that any living man should dare to send so extraordinary a request, couched in terms so imperious, to the half-betrothed object of his early and only affection, Butler strode hastily towards the cottage, in order to ascertain how far this daring and rude gallant was actually entitled to press on Jeanie Deans a request, which no prudent, and scarce any modest young woman, was likely to comply with.
Butler was by nature neither jealous nor superstitious; yet the feelings which lead to those moods of the mind were rooted in his heart, as a portion derived from the common stock of humanity. It was maddening to think that a profligate gallant, such as the manner and tone of the stranger evinced him to be, should have it in his power to command forth his future bride and plighted true love, at a place so improper, and an hour so unseasonable. Yet the tone in which the stranger spoke had nothing of the soft half-breathed voice proper to the seducer who solicits an assignation; it was bold, fierce, and imperative, and had less of love in it than of menace and intimidation.
The suggestions of superstition seemed more plausible, had Butler’s mind been very accessible to them. Was this indeed the Roaring Lion, who goeth about seeking whom he may devour? This was a question which pressed itself on Butler’s mind with an earnestness that cannot be conceived by those who live in the present day. The fiery eye, the abrupt demeanour, the occasionally harsh, yet studiously subdued tone of voice — the features, handsome, but now clouded with pride, now disturbed by suspicion, now inflamed with passion — those dark hazel eyes which he sometimes shaded with his cap, as if he were averse to have them seen while they were occupied with keenly observing the motions and bearing of others — those eyes that were now turbid with melancholy, now gleaming with scorn, and now sparkling with fury — was it the passions of a mere mortal they expressed, or the emotions of a fiend, who seeks, and seeks in vain, to conceal his fiendish designs under the borrowed mask of manly beauty? The whole partook of the mien, language, and port of the ruined archangel; and, imperfectly as we have been able to describe it, the effect of the interview upon Butler’s nerves, shaken as they were at the time by the horrors of the preceding night, were greater than his understanding warranted, or his pride cared to submit to. The very place where he had met this singular person was desecrated, as it were, and unhallowed, owing to many violent deaths, both in duels and by suicide, which had in former times taken place there; and the place which he had named as a rendezvous at so late an hour, was held in general to be accursed, from a frightful and cruel murder which had been there committed by the wretch from whom the place took its name, upon the person of his own wife.1
It was in such places, according to the belief of that period (when the laws against witchcraft were still in fresh observance, and had even lately been acted upon), that evil spirits had power to make themselves visible to human eyes, and to practise upon the feelings and senses of mankind. Suspicions, founded on such circumstances, rushed on Butler’s mind, unprepared as it was by any previous course of reasoning, to deny that which all of his time, country, and profession believed; but common sense rejected these vain ideas as inconsistent, if not with possibility, at least with the general rules by which the universe is governed — a deviation from which, as Butler well argued with himself, ought not to be admitted as probable, upon any but the plainest and most incontrovertible evidence. An earthly lover, however, or a young man, who, from whatever cause, had the right of exercising such summary and unceremonious authority over the object of his long-settled, and apparently sincerely returned affection, was an object scarce less appalling to his mind, than those which superstition suggested.
His limbs exhausted with fatigue, his mind harassed with anxiety, and with painful doubts and recollections, Butler dragged himself up the ascent from the valley to St. Leonard’s Crags, and presented himself at the door of Deans’s habitation, with feelings much akin to the miserable reflections and fears of its inhabitants.
Chapter 12
Then she stretched out her lily hand,
And for to do her best;
“Hae back thy faith and troth, Willie,
God gie thy soul good rest!”
Old Ballad.
“Come in,” answered the low and sweet-toned voice he loved best to hear, as Butler tapped at the door of the cottage. He lifted the latch, and found himself under the roof of affliction. Jeanie was unable to trust herself with more than one glance towards her lover, whom she now met under circumstances so agonising to her feelings, and at the same time so humbling to her honest pride. It is well known, that much, both of what is good and bad in the Scottish national character, arises out of the intimacy of their family connections. “To be come of honest folk,” that is, of people who have borne a fair and unstained reputation, is an advantage as highly prized among the lower Scotch, as the emphatic counterpart, “to be of a good family,” is valued among their gentry. The worth and respectability of one member of a peasant’s family is always accounted by themselves and others, not only a matter of honest pride, but a guarantee for the good conduct of the whole. On the contrary, such a melancholy stain as was now flung on one of the children of Deans, extended its disgrace to all connected with him, and Jeanie felt herself lowered at once, in her own eyes, and in those of her lover. It was in vain that she repressed this feeling, as far subordinate and too selfish to be mingled with her sorrow for her sister’s calamity. Nature prevailed; and while she shed tears for her sister’s distress and danger, there mingled with them bitter drops of grief for her own degradation.
As Butler entered, the old man was seated by the fire with his well-worn pocket Bible in his hands, the companion of the wanderings and dangers of his youth, and bequeathed to him on the scaffold by one of those, who, in the year 1686, sealed their enthusiastic principles with their blood. The sun sent its rays through a small window at the old man’s back, and, “shining motty through the reek,” to use the expression of a bard of that time and country, illumined the grey hairs of the old man, and the sacred page which he studied. His features, far from handsome, and rather harsh and severe, had yet from their expression of habitual gravity, and contempt for earthly things, an expression of stoical dignity amidst their sternness. He boasted, in no small degree, the attributes which Southey ascribes to the ancient Scandinavians, whom he terms “firm to inflict, and stubborn to endure.” The whole formed a picture, of which the lights might have been given by Rembrandt, but the outline would have required the force and vigour of Michael Angelo.
Deans lifted his eye as Butler entered, and instantly withdrew it, as from an object which gave him at once surprise and sudden pain. He had assumed such high ground with this carnal-witted scholar, as he had in his pride termed Butler, that to meet him, of all men, under feelings of humiliation, aggravated his misfortune, and was a consummation like that of the dying chief in the old ballad —“Earl Percy sees my fall!”
Deans raised the Bible with his left hand, so as partly to screen his face, and putting back his right as far as he could, held it towards Butler in that position, at the same time turning his body from, him, as if to prevent his seeing the working of his countenance. Butler clasped the extended hand which had supported his orphan infancy, wept over it, and in vain endeavoured to say more than the words —“God comfort you — God comfort you!”
“He will — he doth, my friend,” said Deans, assuming firmness as he discovered the agitation of his guest; “he doth now, and he will yet more in his own gude time. I have been ower proud of my sufferings in a gude cause, Reuben, and now I am to be tried with those whilk will turn my pride and glory into a reproach and a hissing. How muckle better I hae thought mysell than them that lay saft, fed sweet, and drank deep, when I was in the moss-haggs and moors, wi’ precious Donald Cameron, and worthy Mr. Blackadder, called Guess-again; and how proud I was o’ being made a spectacle to men and angels, having stood on their pillory at the Canongate afore I was fifteen years old, for the cause of a National Covenant! To think, Reuben, that I, wha hae been sae honoured and exalted in my youth, nay, when I was but a hafflins callant, and that hae borne testimony again the defections o’ the times yearly, monthly, daily, hourly, minutely, striving and testifying with uplifted hand and voice, crying aloud, and sparing not, against all great national snares, as the nation-wasting and church-sinking abomination of union, toleration, and patronage, imposed by the last woman of that unhappy race of Stuarts; also against the infringements and invasions of the just powers of eldership, whereanent, I uttered my paper, called a ‘Cry of an Howl in the Desert,’ printed at the Bow-head, and sold by all flying stationers in town and country — and now —”
Here he paused. It may well be supposed that Butler, though not absolutely coinciding in all the good old man’s ideas about church government, had too much consideration and humanity to interrupt him, while he reckoned up with conscious pride his sufferings, and the constancy of his testimony. On the contrary, when he paused under the influence of the bitter recollections of the moment, Butler instantly threw in his mite of encouragement.
“You have been well known, my old and revered friend, a true and tried follower of the Cross; one who, as Saint Jerome hath it, ‘per infamiam et bonam famam grassari ad immortalitatem,’ which may be freely rendered, ‘who rusheth on to immortal life, through bad report and good report.’ You have been one of those to whom the tender and fearful souls cry during the midnight solitude —‘Watchman, what of the night? — Watchman, what of the night?’— And, assuredly, this heavy dispensation, as it comes not without divine permission, so it comes not without its special commission and use.”
“I do receive it as such,” said poor Deans, returning the grasp of Butler’s hand; “and if I have not been taught to read the Scripture in any other tongue but my native Scottish” (even in his distress Butler’s Latin quotation had not escaped his notice), “I have nevertheless so learned them, that I trust to bear even this crook in my lot with submission. But, oh! Reuben Butler, the kirk, of whilk, though unworthy, I have yet been thought a polished shaft, and meet to be a pillar, holding, from my youth upward, the place of ruling elder — what will the lightsome and profane think of the guide that cannot keep his own family from stumbling? How will they take up their song and their reproach, when they see that the children of professors are liable to as foul backsliding as the offspring of Belial! But I will bear my cross with the comfort, that whatever showed like goodness in me or mine, was but like the light that shines frae creeping insects, on the brae-side, in a dark night — it kythes bright to the ee, because all is dark around it; but when the morn comes on the mountains, it is, but a puir crawling kail-worm after a’. And sae it shows, wi’ ony rag of human righteousness, or formal law-work, that we may pit round us to cover our shame.”
As he pronounced these words, the door again opened, and Mr. Bartoline Saddletree entered, his three-pointed hat set far back on his head, with a silk handkerchief beneath it to keep it in that cool position, his gold-headed cane in his hand, and his whole deportment that of a wealthy burgher, who might one day look to have a share in the magistracy, if not actually to hold the curule chair itself.
Rochefoucault, who has torn the veil from so many foul gangrenes of the human heart, says, we find something not altogether unpleasant to us in the misfortunes of our best friends. Mr. Saddletree would have been very angry had any one told him that he felt pleasure in the disaster of poor Effie Deans, and the disgrace of her family; and yet there is great question whether the gratification of playing the person of importance, inquiring, investigating, and laying down the law on the whole affair, did not offer, to say the least, full consolation for the pain which pure sympathy gave him on account of his wife’s kinswoman. He had now got a piece of real judicial business by the end, instead of being obliged, as was his common case, to intrude his opinion where it was neither wished nor wanted; and felt as happy in the exchange as a boy when he gets his first new watch, which actually goes when wound up, and has real hands and a true dial-plate. But besides this subject for legal disquisition, Bartoline’s brains were also overloaded with the affair of Porteous, his violent death, and all its probable consequences to the city and community. It was what the French call l’embarras des richesses, the confusion arising from too much mental wealth. He walked in with a consciousness of double importance, full fraught with the superiority of one who possesses more information than the company into which he enters, and who feels a right to discharge his learning on them without mercy. “Goo cheap nike air max trainers d morning, Mr. Deans — good-morrow to you, Mr. Butler — I was not aware that you were acquainted with Mr. Deans.”
Butler made some slight answer; his reasons may be readily imagined for not making his connection with the family, which, in his eyes, had something of tender mystery, a frequent subject of conversation with indifferent persons, such as Saddletree.
The worthy burgher, in the plenitude of self-importance, now sate down upon a chair, wiped his brow, collected his breath, and made the first experiment of the resolved pith of his lungs, in a deep and dignified sigh, resembling a groan in sou nike air max 90 sale nd and intonation —“Awfu’ times these, neighbour Deans, awfu’ times!”
“Sinfu’, shamefu’, heaven-daring times!” answered Deans, in a lower and more subdued tone.
“For my part,” continued Saddletree, swelling with importance, “what between the distress of my friends, and my poor auld country, ony wit that ever I had may be said to have abandoned me, sae that I sometimes think m nike air max yself as ignorant as if I were inter rusticos. Here when I arise in the morning, wi’ my mind just arranged touching what’s to be done in puir Effie’s misfortune, and hae gotten the haill statute at my finger-ends, the mob maun get up and string Jock Porteous to a dyester’s beam, and ding a’ thing out of my head again.”
Deeply as he was distressed with his own domestic calamity, Deans could not help expressing some interest in the news. Saddletree immediately entered on details of the insurrection and its consequences, while Butler took the occasion to seek some private conversation with Jeanie Deans. She gave him the opportunity he sought, by leaving the room, as if in prosecution of some part of her morning labour. Butler followed her in a few mi cheap nike air max 90/2013 shoes australia online store nutes, leaving Deans so closely engaged by his busy visitor, that there was little chance of his observing their absence.
The scene of their interview was an outer apartment, where Jeanie was used to busy herself in arranging the productions of her dairy. When Butler found an opportunity of stealing after her into this place, he found her silent, dejected, and ready to burst into tears. Instead of the active industry with which she had been accustomed, even while in the act of speaking, to employ her hands in some useful branch of household business, she was seated listless in a corner, sinking apparently under the weight of her own thoughts. Yet the instant he entered, nike air max 1 she dried her eyes, and, with the simplicity and openness of her character, immediately entered on conversation.
“I am glad you have come in, Mr. Butler,” said she, “for — for — for I wished to tell ye, that all maun be ended between you and me — it’s best for baith our sakes.”
“Ended!” said Butler, in surprise; “and for what should it be ended? — I grant this is a heavy dispensation, but it lies neither at your door nor mine — it’s an evil of God’s sending, and it must be borne; but it cannot break plighted troth, nike air max 90 Jeanie, while they that plighted their word wish to keep it.”
“But, Reuben,” said the young woman, looking at him affectionately, “I ken weel that ye think mair of me than yourself; and, Reuben, I can only in requital think mair of your weal than of my ain. Ye are a man of spotless name, bred to God’s ministry, and a’ men say that ye will some day rise high in the kirk, though poverty keep ye doun e’en now. Poverty is a bad back-friend, Reuben, and that ye ken ower weel; but ill-fame is a waur ane, and that is a truth ye sall never learn through my means.”
“What do you mean?” said Butler, eagerly and impatiently; “or how do you connect your sister’s guilt, if guilt there be, which, I trust in God, may yet be disproved, with our engagement? — how can that affect you or me?”
“How can you ask me that, Mr. Butler? Will this stain, d’ye think, ever be forgotten, as lang as our heads are abune the grund? Will it not stick to us, and to our bairns, and to their very bairns’ bairns? To hae been the child of an honest man, might hae been nike air max classic saying something for me and mine; but to be the sister of a — O my God!”— With this exclamation her resolution failed, and she burst into a passionate fit of tears.
The lover used every effort to induce her to compose herself, and at length succeeded; but she only resumed her composure to express herself with the same positiveness as before. “No, Reuben, I’ll bring disgrace hame to nae man’s hearth; my ain distre cheap nike air max sses I can bear, and I maun bear, but there is nae occasion for buckling them on other folk’s shouthers. I will bear my load alone — the back is made for the burden.”
A lover is by charter wayward and suspicious; and Jeanie’s readiness to renounce their engagement, under pretence of zeal for his peace of mind and respectability of character, seemed to poor Butler to form a portentous combination with the commission of the stranger he had met with that morning. His voice faltered as he asked, “whether nothing but a sense of her sister’s present distress occasioned her to talk in that manner?”
“And what else can do sae?” she replied with simplicity. “Is it not ten long years since we spoke together in this way?”
“Ten years!” said Butler. “It’s a long time — sufficient perhaps for a woman to weary.”
“To weary of her auld gown, nike air max sale ” said Jeanie, “and to wish for a new ane if she likes to be brave, but not long enough to weary of a friend — The eye may wish change, but the heart never.”
“Never!” said Reuben — “that’s a bold promise.”
“But not more bauld than true,” said Jeanie, with the same quiet simplicity which attended her manner in joy and grief in ordinary affairs, and in those which most interested her feelings.
Butler paused, and looking at her fixedly —“I am charged,” he said, “with a message to you, Jeanie.”
“Indeed! From whom? Or what can ony ane have to say to me?”
“It is from a stranger,” said Butler, affecting to speak with an indifference which his voice belied —“A young man whom I met this morning in the Park.”
“Mercy!” said Jeanie, eagerly; “and what did he say?”
“That he did not see you at the hour he expected, but required you should meet him alone at Muschat’s Cairn this night, so soon as the moon rises.”
“Tell him,” said Jeanie, hastily, “I shall certainly come.”
“May I ask,” said Butler, his suspicions increasing at the ready alacrity of the answer, “who this man is to whom you are so willing to give the meeting at a place and hour so uncommon?”
“Folk maun do muckle they have little will to do, in this world,” replied Jeanie.
“Granted,” said her lover; “but what compels you to this? — who is this person? What I saw of him was not very favourable — who, or what is he?”
“I do not know,” replied Jeanie, composedly.
“You do not know!” said Butler, stepping impatiently through the apartment —“You purpose to meet a young man whom you do not know, at such a time, and in a place so lonely — you say you are compelled to do this — and yet you say you do not cheap nike air max know the person who exercises such an influence over you! — Jeanie, what am I to think of this?”
“Think only, Reuben, that I speak truth, as if I were to answer at the last day. — I do not ken this man — I do not even ken that I ever saw him; and yet I must give him the meeting he asks — there’s life and death upon it.”
“Will you not tell your father, or take him with you?” said Butler.
“I cannot,” said Jeanie; “I have no permission.”
“Will you let me go with you? I will wait in the Park till nightfall, and join you when you set out.”
“It is impossible,” said Jeanie; “there maunna be mortal creature within hearing of our conference.”
“Have you considered well the nature of what you are going to do? — the time — the place — an unknown and suspicious character? — Why, if he had asked to see you in this house, your father sitting in the next room, and within call, at such an ho ur, you should have refused to see him.”
“My weird maun be fulfilled, Mr. Butler; my life and my safety are in God’s hands, but I’ll not spare to risk either of them on the errand I am gaun to do.”
“Then, Jeanie,” said Butler, much displeased, “we must indeed break short off, and bid farewell. When there can be no confidence betwixt a man and his plighted wife on such a momentous topic, it is a sign that she has no longer the regard for him that makes their engagement safe and suitable.”
Jeanie looked at him and sighed. “I thought,” she said, “that I had brought myself to bear this parting — but — but — I did not ken that we were to part in unkindness. But I am a woman and you are a man — it may be different wi’ you — if your mind is made easier by thinking sae hardly of me, I would not ask you to think otherwise.”
“You are,” said Butler, “what you have always been — wiser, nike air max 95 better, and less selfish in your native feelings, than I can be, with all the helps philosophy can give to a Christian — But why — why will you persevere in an undertaking so desperate? Why will you not let me be your assistant — your protector, or at least your adviser?”
“Just because I cannot, and I dare not,” answered Jeanie. —“But hark, what’s that? Surely my father is no weel?”
In fact, the voices in the next room became obstreperously loud of a sudden, the cause of which vociferation it is necessary to explain before we go farther.
When Jeanie and Butler retired, Mr. Saddletree entered upon the business which chiefly interested the family. In the commencement of their conversation he found old Deans, who in his usual state of mind, was no granter of propositions, so much subdued by a deep sense of his daughter’s danger and disgrace, that he heard without replying to, or perhaps without understanding, one or two learned nike air max 90 disquisitions on the nature of the crime imputed to her charge, and on the steps which ought to be taken in consequence. His only answer at each pause was, “I am no misdoubting that you wuss us weel — your wife’s our far-awa cousin.”
Encouraged by these symptoms of acquiescence, Saddletree, who, as an amateur of the law, had a supreme deference for all constituted authorities, again recurred to his other topic of interest, the murder, namely, of Porteous, and pronounced a severe censure on the parties concerned.
“These are kittle times — kittle times, Mr. Deans, when the people take the power of life and death out of the hands of the rightful magistrate into their ain rough grip. I am of opinion, and so I believe will Mr. Crossmyloof and the Privy Council, that this rising in effeir of war, to take away the life of a reprieved man, will prove little better than perduellion.”
“If I hadna that on my mind whilk is ill to bear, Mr. Saddletree,” said Deans, “I wad make bold to dispute that point wi’ you.”
“How could you dispute what’s plain law, man?” said Saddletree, somewhat contemptuously; “there’s no a callant that e’er carried a pock wi’ a process in’t, but will tell you that perduellion is the warst and maist virulent kind of treason, being an open convocating of the king’s lieges against his authority (mair especially in arms, and by touk of drum, to baith whilk accessories my een and lugs bore witness), and muckle worse than lese-majesty, or the concealment of a treasonable purpose — It winna bear a dispute, neighbour.”
“But it will, though,” retorted Douce Davie Deans; “I tell ye it will bear a disputer never like your cauld, legal, formal doctrines, neighbour Saddletree. I haud unco little by the Parliament House, since the awfu’ downfall of the hopes of honest folk that followed the Revolution.”
“But what wad ye hae had, Mr. Deans?” said Saddletree, impatiently; “didna ye get baith liberty and conscience made fast, and settled by tailzie on you and your heirs for ever?”
“Mr. Saddletree,” retorted Deans, “I ken ye are one of those that are wise after the manner of this world, and that ye hand your part, and cast in your portion, wi’ the lang heads and lang gowns, and keep with the smart witty-pated lawyers of this our land — Weary on the dark and dolefu’ cast that they hae gien this unhappy kingdom, when their black hands of defection were clasped in the red hands of our sworn murtherers: when those who had numbered the towers of our Zion, and marked the bulwarks of Reformation, saw their hope turn into a snare, and their rejoicing into weeping.”
“I canna understand this, neighbour,” answered Saddletree. “I am an honest Presbyterian of the Kirk of Scotland, and stand by her and the General Assembly, and the due administration of justice by the fifteen Lords o’ Session and the five Lords o’ Justiciary.”
“Out up

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