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ronet that they had still a piece of work to perform, which would probably occupy them the greater part of the night.
Having given him these orders, Cleaver appointed a particular spot, near the corner of one of the Baronet's inclosures, and not far from the house, but avoiding the village, where Bill was instructed to wait for him, and he desired him to make all haste. Handy ran off on his errand with the utmost speed.
The Baronet was sitting, anxiously waiting for some intelligence of Cleaver, whilst Doctor Partenclaw and the others had already nearly emptied Mr Brouster's large bowl, when Bill Handy was announced. He was immediately ordered up stairs, and Sir Alisander listened with the most intense interest to his spirited account of the sea-fight, and the capture of the Charming Sally. His intelligence, however, did not appear to be quite so agreeable either to Partenclaw or to Macflae, who threw lugubre looks at each other, as if all hopes of cheap brandy and claret had with them fled for a time.
Bill Handy delivered the remainder of his message, and concluded by urging the necessity
of his immediate departure to meet his master. The Baronet instantly ordered Duncan Brouster to carry some home-brewed ale, and some bread and cheese, down to the pathway, to meet the party. This command the jolly butler lost no time in preparing to execute, and his bustle upon this occasion, being rather more than ordinarily great, excited much curiosity among the inmates of the kitchen ; and the more, when they learned from Thomas, the groom, that the warlock Lord was in the company.
Neither Mr Brouster, nor the other servants, would have been desirous to go near him, especially at such a time of night, had they not heard that he was accompanied by so many Christian people like themselves. Even as it was, they required the countenance of one another to give them nerve to face him; and honest Duncan, upon
consideration, was by no means sorry to see them, men and women, creeping down the inside of the dike after him, in a long string, holding each other by the skirts.
Having reached the stile at the end of the wall, opposite the spot Captain Cleaver had appointed, Mr Brouster took care to have the large basket
planted in the middle of the path, some time before the party came up; and having thus disposed of it full in view, he again retired behind the wall, where he stood with his round ruby visage, glaringover it, in the partial obscurity of the night, like the disk of the sun, when in a frosty morning of December, shorn of his beams, he shines red through the smoky atmosphere of the city.
Cleaver and the party had no sooner appeared, than. Duncan, clearing his throat, and coughing up his courage with three or four very considerable hems, addressed him from the secure position he had taken.
“ Captain," said he,“ his honour, Sir Alisander, has sent me out wi' a kebbock an a whin baps, to be a bite till you and your men, and twa or three bottles o’strong yill, to wash the eatables down wi’;-tak’ care, tak’ care, Captain ! or ye'll maybe coup ower the basket, an' hurt your shins, an' brek a' the bottles !"
“ Many thanks to Sir Alisander,” said Cleaver," it was very considerate of him indeed ; the refreshment will be very grateful to the lads. Nay, I don't think I shall be the worse for å mouthful of bread and cheese, and a drop of
your ale, myself. Pray, come forth, then, My Brouster, and lend'a hand in cutting the leatables, and opening the bottles with as much expedition as may be, for we have much business before us, and time presses."
Duncan was not prepared for such a demand. He nudged some of the other servants who were
" Rab," said he, in an under voice, to one of them, “ gang awa' out man, and draw the bottles.-Ritchie, cánna ye budge? what the deil ails ye, man ?-dinna ye no hear his honour, the Captain ?"
But Rab shrunk away up the dike-side, and Ritchie followed him; and the rest, taking one look at the grusome Lord, their fears overcame their curiosity, and some beginning to set the example of retreat, the alarm became general, and, without the order they had preserved in their advance, they ran off, pell-mell, with the utmost precipitation.
Seeing himself thus deserted, Mr Brouster's terrors were considerably augmented. But he felt that, consistently with the dignity of his of. fice, he could not so easily abandon his post; yet to go beyond the protecting wall, his apprehension told him was impossible. In this dilemma, he saw that a small sacrifice of his importance was absolutely indispensable. Drawing, therefore, from his pocket that badge of his office yclept a cork-screw, which he never willingly parted with to mortal man, he, after two or three of his usual preparatory hems, addressed Bill Handy over the dike, in a rather tremulous voice :
“ Maister William,” said he, “ ye'll find a muckle knife in the basket among the lave o' the things; and here, tak' haud o' my cork-screw,but tak’ special care o't, an' put it in your pouch after you're dune wilt, for it's an auld servant o' mine, and I wadna like to lose it.--An' noo, I maun awa' hame, for they had just toomed the bowl as I cam oot, an' I'll be wanted to mak’ an
“ By my honour," said Cleaver, “but the last bowl looked well, though I had no taste of it; and, without any reflection on your excellent ale, I should not be sorry if we had just such another here, for, without flattery, yours is the best punch I ever drank.”
But this compliment to his punch-making powers was lost
upon Mr Brouster, who was no soon