Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

noise below. The walls of the apartment were lined with divers cupboards, and plate-racks of different altitudes, shapes, and patterns, containing a motley assemblage of pewter and stoneware, mingled with kitchen utensils, many of them broken, and all of them dirty. Amongst other things there were a number of truncated bottles, stalkless glasses, and many pieces of cracked tea-ware of very fine foreign china, and these were intermixed with horn spoons, iron skewers, and dirty pot-lids. Long strings of fish hung drying over the fire-place, and a number of mutton hams dangled from hooks fixed in the beams, some of them so low as to make it difficult for a tall person to steer his head through them. Several large antique-looking chests, having curious dark recesses between them, where the light could hardly penetrate, a dresser, a frail table, and half a dozen wooden chairs, in the same state, formed the major part of the furniture of this chamber.

They had no sooner entered, than their ears were saluted with the sounds of discord.

“ Set ye up, ye dirty baggage, to be gawin glaikin out with the fallows at this time o' night,

an' leavin' me to be slavin' here

my

lane, an' sae muckle company in the house !”

Such was the exclamation of mine hostess, Mrs M'Claver, a tall, stout, good-looking, but extremely dirty woman, in a white mutch, with long black locks curling over her face and shoulders, a string of large amber beads round her neck, and clothed in a printed short-gown, covering a petticoat of red flannel, and having a pair of large well filled pockets, and a pin-cushion and pair of shears hanging by a long string at her side. In one hand she brandished an old gridiron, and in the other a dried haddock, as she stood threatening a very handsome spiritedlooking wench, with trigly snooded up hair, to whom her reproof had been addressed, and who seemed just in the act of returning the first broadside of the wordy war, when its further progress was arrested by the appearance of the strangers and Macgillivray. “ Mrs M'Claver," said the latter, “

you seem to be moved; pray what has bonny Peggy Galravage been doing to displease you ?”

“ Ou no that muckle after a'," said Mrs M'Claver, smoothing her brow with a smile, as she eyed Amherst and his friend." I was only gi'en her a wee bit o' an advice, an' ye ken it's weel my pairt, for as she's under my roof, I maun see that she behaves hersel, poor thing !An' she's a decent lassie eneugh, after a's said.

-Waes me! I hae nae dochter noo to gi’e motherly advices till ! and when I had ane, gude kens, my words were but o little profit-wha kens whare poor Eppy's wandering? or wha kens

But here Macgillivray, who perceived she had got

hold of the thread of her endless theme, interrupted her, by introducing the two English gentlemen.

“ Proud am I, Maister Macgillivray,” said she, crossing her arms, gridiron and all, and dropping a low curtsey, “ to see siccan braw gallant gentlemen in my house. I've ay been unco fond o' the Inglishers ever sin’ Captain Clutterbuck lodged wi' me. H

was a braw paymaster ; an' mony was the braw bonny die he gied to poor Eppy. But she's awa' noo, Heaven kens whare.--I never sall forget the night" Here, again, Macgillivray broke in

her

upon

favourite topic, by asking if Sir Alisander Sanderson was still with the party?

“ Ou, ay, troth is he, worthy man; he's ower gude natured to gang awa' and leave the honest folk. But stap this way, gentlemen, stap this way, stap yere ways ben."

So saying, she proceeded to open the door of the inner chamber, into which Macgillivray led

the way.

This apartment was of the same size as that through which they had just passed, and its fire-place, though somewhat less than the other, was of similar construction, and was filled with a blazing fire of bog-fir and peats. The walls though of sod, had been plastered inside with clay, and covered with white wash, still adhering in most places, though it had peeled off in many large patches. The rafters were partly covered with split planks, and partly, as in the other, with old sails. The whole of this patched ceiling was festooned with a perfect drapery of cobwebs and sooty filaments, drooping from every part of it. The ornaments were the sad remains of a cracked mirror, in a tarnished old carved-and-gilt frame, and a few prints, long

ago rendered unintelligible by the effects of damp. A long table formed of boards, supported upon trestles, extended down the length of the room, its surface being thickly set with stoups, or wooden drinking vessels, of a tall form, constructed of staves and hoops. Oppo site to that end of it, farthest from the fire, stood an elevated gantrees, or wooden support for a cask, on which was poised a huge hogshead of claret, reared higher than the level of the table, and having a cock and pail, that is to say, a wooden tube and plug inserted into it. The vicinity of the cask bore all the appearance of frequent applications having been made to its spiggot, and that, too, by no very steady hands, for the clay floor was moistened by frequent libations, and some of the hollows, in the inequality of its surface, stood in pools of the

generous fluid.

In an old carved oak chair, ornamented with huge knobs, at the head of the table, near the cask, sat Sir Alisander Sanderson, of whom Macgillivray had spoken, a fat, ruddy, good-humoured gentleman-like person about forty, with a benevolent expression of countenance. Being

« AnteriorContinuar »