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“ he's an odd being they ca' Mougomery, that leeves in our house."
I stopped at the turn of the stair to hear the rest.
“ He's had our best rooms for mair nor five or six years. He keeps them winter an’ simmer, though he aye bangs aff with the first comin' o'the gouk, and ne'er comes back till driven in wi' the bad wather, like a wudcock, in the hinder end o' autumn. He seldom taks mair nor twa sarks an'a change o'stockins wi' him. Whan he's at hame he never sees a mortal, or speaks to a soul-an' he's aye vrite vriting. But he's a harmless creatur-pays weel, - and gi’es unco little trouble."
I was amused with this sketch of my own portrait. The fact is, that being fitted rather for a spectator of life's comedy than to be an actor in it, I haunt the public places of resort, during the bad weather
half of the year, greedily devouring man and his affairs; and then, during the more genial months, I roam about the country, mixing up the same substantial food, with the refreshing sallad of romantic scenery. Thus I find materials to occupy my pen in newspapers and magazines ; and to make amends for the silence my tongue usually maintains to those around me, I enlighten the public in general with the fruits of my lucubrations. When the first good weather appears,
I fit myself with a new jacket, breeches, and gaiters, and a stout pair of shoes; and with a tough oak sapling in my hand, away I go to follow my nose, whithersoever. it may lead. As I never can determine whither my steps are to turn, till I find myself fairly on the way, the curiosity of my worthy landlady, about the direction of these my summer jaunts, re
mains unsatisfied. So utterly ignorant is she, indeed, of my motions, that if death should chance to arrest me in the midst of my wanderings, I shall probably be buried by strangers, unknown and unwept, in the spot where I am stricken down; and then Mrs Gladstanes will be left to wonder and guess at the fate that prevents my periodical return. But here I am, safe for this season at least, installed in the full comfort of my old morocco chair, with my mind so full of interesting matter, that I must have a book of my own to put it into.—But before I give it you, Sir, I will tell you how I came by it.
I happened to be wandering on foot through the grand pass of the Grampians, when I overtook a respectable looking old man with a grey head, and a hale, though weather-beaten face, who had seated himself on the parapet of a bridge, a few miles from the inn of Dalwhinnie. Though averse to anything like general intercourse with mankind, my heart warms to a solitary mortal like myself, especially when I meet him, as I thus did Johnny Fimister, as he called himself, in one of nature's wild and lonely mountain scenes, where man feels himself but as a speck amidst the grandeur of her works. I sat down by him, and after we had made acquaintance by a friendly pinch of snuff, and some remarks upon the weather, we set out on our travel together. I was not inquisitive, but Johnny showed every desire to be communicative, and made the road so short, as the saying is, by his stories, that we reached the place of rest and refreshment, ere we had, as I thought, gone half way.
As we entered the court-yard of the inn, we observed a tall, and very bulky old man, in enormous jack-boots, with a great
queue hanging over the capes of a blue surtout, who was in the act of mounting a powerful horse. The pedlar made two or three hasty steps forwards, and looked up in the rider's face, as he was adjusting himself on the saddle, and then returned, as if he had been mistaken in his man, and the horseman rode slowly away, without noticing him.
I had already made up my mind to ask the old pedlar to sup with me; and as he heard me order a nice dish of Loch Ericht trouts to be fried, and a couple of fowls to be split open and broiled, he very readily accepted my invitation. Little was said during the meal, both of us being too much occupied to talk. After it was over, without speaking, I gently pushed the punchladle, and the whisky and materials, over to his side of the table, with a nod and a sign. He comprehended me at once, and,