AS Glossin died without heirs, and without payment of the price, the estate of Ellangowan was again thrown upon the hands of Mr. Godfrey Bertrams creditors, the right of most of whom was, however, defeasible, in case Henry Bertram should establish his character of heir of entail. This young gentleman put his affairs into the hands of Mr. Pleydell and Mr. Mac-Morlan, with one single proviso, that though he himself should be obliged again to go to India, every debt, justly and honourably due by his father, should be made good to the claimant. Mannering, who heard this declaration, grasped him kindly by the hand, and from that moment might be dated a thorough understanding between them.
The hoards of Miss Margaret Bertram, and the liberal assistance of the Colonel, easily enabled the heir to make provision for payment of the just creditors of his father:while the ingenuity and research of his law friends detected, especially in the accounts of Glossin, so many overcharges as greatly diminished the total amount. In these circumstances, the creditors did not hesitate to recognize Bertrams right, and to surrender to him the house and property of his ancestors. All the party repaired from Woodbourne to take possession, amid the shouts of the tenantry and the neighbourhood; and so eager was Colonel Mannering to superintend certain improvements which he had recommended to Bertram, that he removed with his family from Woodbourne to Ellangowan, although at present containing much less and much inferior accommodation.
The poor Dominies brain was almost turned with joy on returning to his old habitation. He posted upstairs, taking three steps at once, to a little shabby attic, his cell and dormitory in former days, and which the possession of his much superior apartment at Woodbourne had never banished from his memory. Here one sad thought suddenly struck the honest manthe booksno three rooms in Ellangowan were capable to contain them. While this qualifying reflection was passing through his mind, he was suddenly summoned by Mannering to assist in calculating some proportions relating to a large and splendid house, which was to be built on the site of the New Place of Ellangowan, in a style corresponding to the magnificence of the ruins in its vicinity. Among the various rooms in the plan, the Dominie observed, that one of the largest was entitled THE LIBRARY; and close beside was a snug well-proportioned chamber, entitled, MR. SAMPSONS APARTMENT.Prodigious, prodigious, prodigious! shouted the enraptured Dominie.
Mr. Pleydell had left the party for some time; but he returned, according to promise, during the Christmas recess of the courts. He drove up to Ellangowan when all the family were abroad but the Colonel, who was busy with plans of buildings and pleasure-grounds, in which he was well skilled, and took great delight.
Walking out with young Hazlewood, Bertram, and Captain Delaserre, a friend of his, who is with us just now. They are gone to plan out a cottage at Derncleugh. Well, have you carried through your law business?
Now, our Scottish legislature, for the jokes sake, I suppose, have constituted those men of no knowledge into a peculiar court for trying questions of relationship and descent, such as this business of Bertram, which often involve the most nice and complicated questions of evidence.
Oh, we have a practical remedy for the theoretical absurdity. One or two of the judges act upon such occasions as prompters and assessors to their own door-keepers. But you know what Cujacius says, Multa sunt in moribus dissentanea, multa sine ratione.1 However, this Saturnalian court has done our business; and a glorious batch of claret we had afterwards at WalkersMac-Morlan will stare when he sees the bill.
Oh, the curly-headed varlets!I must come to play at Blind Harry and Hy Spy with them.But what is all this? added Pleydell taking up the plans;tower in the centre to be an imitation of the Eagle Tower at CaernarvonCorps de logisthe devilwingswings? why, the house will take the estate of Ellangowan on its back, and fly away with it!
Well, sir, continued Mannering; to make short, he conceived that as the property of Singleside lay like a wedge between two farms of his, and was four or five miles separated from Ellangowan, something like a sale, or exchange, or arrangement might take place, to the mutual convenience of both parties.
Why, Bertram replied, that he considered the original settlement of Mrs. Margaret Bertram as the arrangement most proper in the circumstances of the family, and that therefore the estate of Singleside was the property of his sister.
And then Sir Robert retired, after many gracious speeches; but last week he again took the field in force, with his coach and six horses, his laced scarlet waistcoat, and best bob wigall very grand, as the good-boy books say.
Aye, aye; he respected the little god Cupid when he saw him perched on the Dun of Singleside. And is poor Lucy to keep house with that old fool and his wife, who is just the knight himself in petticoats?