TWO DROVERS.

               CHAPTER 1.

  It was the day after Doune Fair when my story
commences.  It had been a brisk market, several
dealers had attended from the northern and midland
counties in England, and English money had
flown so merrily about as to gladden the hearts of
the Highland farmers.  Many large droves were
about to set off for England, under the protection
of their owners, or of the topsmen whom they employed
in the tedious, laborious, and responsible
office of driving the cattle for many hundred miles,
from the market where they had been purchased,
to the fields or farm-yards where they were to be
fattened for the shambles.

  The Highlanders in particular are masters of
this difficult trade of driving, which seems to suit
them as well as the trade of war.  It affords exercise
for all their habits of patient endurance and
active exertion.  They are required to know perfectly
the drove-roads, which lie over the wildest
tracts of the country, and to avoid as much as possible
the highways, which distress the feet of the
bullocks, and the turnpikes, which annoy the spirit
of the drover; whereas on the broad green or grey
track, which leads across the pathless moor, the
herd not only move at ease and without taxation,
but, if they mind their business, may pick up a
mouthful of food by the way.  At night, the drovers
usually sleep along with their cattle, let the
weather be what it will; and many of these hardy
men do not once rest under a roof during a journey
on foot from Lochaber to Lincolnshire.  They
are paid very highly, for the trust reposed is of the
last importance, as it depends on their prudence,
vigilance and honesty, whether the cattle reach the
final market in good order, and afford a profit to
the grazier.  But as they maintain themselves at
their own expense, they are especially economical
in that particular.  At the period we speak of, a
Highland drover was victualled for his long and
toilsome journey with a few handfulls of oatmeal
and two or three onions, renewed from time to
time, and a ram's horn filled with whisky, which he
used regularly, but sparingly, every night and
morning.  His dirk, or _skene-dhu_, (_i.e_. black-knife,)
so worn as to be concealed beneath the arm, or by
the folds of the plaid, was his only weapon, excepting
the cudgel with which he directed the movements
of the cattle.  A Highlander was never so
happy as on these occasions.  There was a variety
in the whole journey, which exercised the Celt's
curiosity and natural love of motion; there were
the constant change of place and scene, the petty
adventures incidental to the traffic, and the intercourse
with the various farmers, graziers, and traders,
intermingled with occasional merry-makings,
not the less acceptable to Donald that they were
void of expense;---and there was the consciousness
of superior skill; for the Highlander, a child
amongst flocks, is a prince amongst herds, and his
natural habits induce him to disdain the shepherd's
slothful life, so that he feels himself nowhere more
at home than when following a gallant drove of his
country cattle in the character of their guardian.

  Of the number who left Doune in the morning,
and with the purpose we have described, not a
_Glunamie_ of them all cocked his bonnet more
briskly, or gartered his tartan hose under knee over
a pair of more promising _spiogs_, (legs,) than did
Robin Oig M`Combich, called familiarly Robin
Oig, that is young, or the Lesser, Robin.  Though
small of stature, as the epithet Oig implies, and not
very strongly limbed, he was as light and alert as
one of the deer of his mountains.  He had an elasticity
of step, which, in the course of a long march,
made many a stout fellow envy him; and the manner
in which he busked his plaid and adjusted his
bonnet, argued a consciousness that so smart a John
Highlandman as himself would not pass unnoticed
among the Lowland lasses.  The ruddy cheek, red
lips, and white teeth, set off a countenance, which
had gained by exposure to the weather a healthful
and hardy rather than a rugged hue.  If Robin
Oig did not laugh, or even smile frequently, as indeed
is not the practice among his countrymen, his
bright eyes usually gleamed from under his bonnet
with an expression of cheerfulness ready to be
turned into mirth.

  The departure of Robin Oig was an incident in
the little town, in and near which he had many
friends, male and female.  He was a topping person
in his way, transacted considerable business on
his own behalf, and was intrusted by the best farmers
in the Highlands, in preference to any other
drover in that district.  He might have increased
his business to any extent had he condescended to
manage it by deputy; but except a lad or two,
sister's sons of his own, Robin rejected the idea of
assistance, conscious, perhaps, how much his reputation
depended upon his attending in person to
the practical discharge of his duty in every instance.  
He remained, therefore, contented with the highest
premium given to persons of his description, and
comforted himself with the hopes that few journeys
to England might enable him to conduct business
on his own account, in a manner becoming his
birth.  For Robin Oig's father, Lachlan M`Combich,
(or _son of my friend_, his actual clan-surname
being M`Gregor,) had been so called by the celebrated
Rob Roy, because of the particular friendship
which had subsisted between the grandsire of
Robin and that renowned cateran.  Some people
even say, that Robin Oig derived his Christian
name from one as renowned in the wilds of Lochlomond
as ever was his namesake Robin Hood, in
the precincts of merry Sherwood.  ``Of such ancestry,''
as James Boswell says, ``who would not
be proud?'' Robin Oig was proud accordingly;
but his frequent visits to England and to the Lowlands
had given him tact enough to know that pretensions,
which still gave him a little right to distinction
in his own lonely glen, might be both obnoxious
and ridiculous if preferred elsewhere.  The
pride of birth, therefore, was like the miser's treasure,
the secret subject of his contemplation, but
never exhibited to strangers as a subject of boasting.

  Many were the words of gratulation and good-luck
which were bestowed on Robin Oig.  The
judges commended his drove, especially Robin's
own property, which were the best of them.  Some
thrust out their snuff-mulls for the parting pinch---
others tendered the _doch-an-dorrach_, or parting
cup.  All cried---``Good-luck travel out with you
and come home with you.---Give you luck in the
Saxon market---brave notes in the _leabhar-dhu_,''
(black pocketbook,) ``and plenty of English gold in
the _sporran_,'' (pouch of goat-skin.)

  The bonny lasses made their adieus more modestly,
and more than one, it was said, would have
given her best brooch to be certain that it was
upon her that his eye last rested as he turned towards
the road.

  Robin Oig had just given the preliminary ``Hoo-hoo!''
to urge forward the loiterers of the drove,
when there was a cry behind him.

  ``Stay, Robin---bide a blink.  Here is Janet of
Tomahourich---auld Janet, your father's sister.''

  ``Plague on her, for an auld Highland witch
and spaewife,'' said a farmer from the Carse of
Stirling; ``she'll cast some of her cantrips on the

  ``She canna do that,'' said another sapient of the
same profession---``Robin Oig is no the lad to
leave any of them, without tying Saint Mungo's
knot on their tails, and that will put to her speed
the best witch that ever flew over Dimayet upon a

  It may not be indifferent to the reader to know
that the Highland cattle are peculiarly liable to be
taken, or infected, by spells and witchcraft, which
judicious people guard against by knitting knots of
peculiar complexity on the tuft of hair which terminates
the animal's tail.

  But the old woman who was the object of the
farmer's suspicion seemed only busied about the
drover, without paying any attention to the drove.  
Robin, on the contrary, appeared rather impatient
of her presence.

  ``What auld-world fancy,'' he said, ``has brought
you so carly from the ingle-side this morning,
Muhme? l am sure I bid you good-even, and had
your God-speed, last night.''

  ``And left me more siller than the useless old
woman will use till you come back again, bird of
my bosom,'' said the sibyl. ``But it is little I
would care for the food that nourishes me, or the
fire that warms me, or for God's blessed sun itself,
if aught but weal should happen to the grandson of
my father.  So let me walk the _deasil_ round you,
that you may go safe out into the far foreign land,
and come safe home.''

  Robin Oig stopped, half embarrassed, half laughing,
and signing to those around that he only complied
with the old woman to soothe her humour. In
the meantime, she traced around him, with wavering
steps, the propitiation, which some have thought
has been derived from the Druidical mythology.
It consists, as is well known, in the person who
makes the _deasil_ walking three times round the
person who is the object of the ceremony, taking
care to move according to the course of the sun.  
At once, however, she stopped short, and exclaimed,
in a voice of alarm and horror, ``Grandson
of my father, there is blood on your hand.''

  ``Hush, for God's sake, aunt,'' said Robin Oig;
``you will bring more trouble on yourself with this
Taishataragh'' (second sight) ``than you will be
able to get out of for many a day.''

  The old woman only repeated, with a ghastly
look, ``There is blood on your hand, and it is English
blood.  The blood of the Gael is richer and
redder.  Let us see---let us------''

  Ere Robin Oig could prevent her, which, indeed,
could only have been by positive violence, so
hasty and peremptory were her proceedings, she
had drawn from his side the dirk which lodged in
the folds of his plaid, and held it up, exclaiming,
although the weapon gleamed clear and bright
in the sun, ``Blood, blood---Saxon blood again.  
Robin Oig M`Combich, go not this day to England!''

  ``Prutt, trutt,'' answered Robin Oig, ``that will
never do neither---it would be next thing to running
the country.  For shame, Muhme---give me
the dirk.  You cannot tell by the colour the difference
betwixt the blood of a black bullock and
a white one, and you speak of knowing Saxon
from Gaelic blood.  All men have their blood from
Adam, Muhme.  Give me my skene-dhu, and let
me go on my road.  I should have been half way
to Stirling brig by this time---Give me my dirk, and
let me go.''

  ``Never will I give it to you,'' said the old woman---
``Never will I quit my hold on your plaid,
unless you promise me not to wear that unhappy

  The women around him urged him also, saying
few of his aunt's words fell to the ground; and as
the Lowland farmers continued to look moodily on
the scene, Robin Oig determined to close it at any

  ``Well, then,'' said the young drover, giving the
scabbard of the weapon to Hugh Morrison, ``you
Lowlanders care nothing for these treats.  Keep
my dirk for me.  I cannot give it you, because it
was my father's; but your drove follows ours, and
I am content it should be in your keeping, not in
mine.---Will this do, Muhme?''

  ``It must,'' said the old woman---``that is, if the
Lowlander is mad enough to carry the knife.''

  The strong westlandman laughed aloud.

  ``Goodwife,'' said he, ``I am Hugh Morrison from
Glenae, come of the Manly Morrisons of auld langsyne,
that never took short weapon against a man
in their lives.  And neither needed they: They
had their broadswords, and I have this bit supple,''
showing a formidable cudgel---``for dirking ower
the board, I leave that to John Highlandman.---
Ye needna snort, none of you Highlanders, and
you in especial, Robin.  I'll keep the bit knife,
if you are feared for the auld spaewife's tale, and
give it back to you whenever you want it.''

  Robin was not particularly pleased with some
part of Hugh Morrison's speech; but he had learned
in his travels more patience than belonged to
his Highland constitution originally, and he accepted
the service of the descendant of the Manly
Morrisons, without finding fault with the rather
depreciating manner in which it was offered.

  ``If he had not had his morning in his bead, and
been but a Dumfries-shire hog into the boot, he
would have spoken more like a gentleman.  But
you cannot have more of a sow than a grumph.  It's
shame my father's knife should ever slash a haggis
for the like of him,''

  Thus saying, (but saying it in Gaelic,) Robin
drove on his cattle, and waved farewell to all behind
him.  He was in the greater haste, because
he expected to join at Falkirk a comrade and brother
in profession, with whom he proposed to travel
in company.

  Robin Oig's chosen friend was a young Englishman,
Harry Wakefield by name, well known at
every northern market, and in his way as much
famed and honoured as our Highland driver of
bullocks.  He was nearly six feet high, gallantly
formed to keep the rounds at Smithfield, or maintain
the ring at a wrestling match; and although
he might have been overmatched, perhaps, among
the regular professors of the Fancy, yet, as a yokel
or rustic, or a chance customer, he was able to
give a bellyful to any amateur of the pugilistic art.  
Doncaster races saw him in his glory, betting his
guinea, and generally successfully; nor was there
a main fought in Yorkshire, the feeders being persons
of celebrity, at which he was not to be seen
if business permitted.  But though a _sprack_ lad,
and fond of pleasure and  its haunts, Harry Wakefield
was steady, and not  the cautious Robin Oig
M`Combich himself was more attentive to the main
chance.  His holidays were holidays indeed; but
his days of work were dedicated to steady and persevering
labour.  In countenance and temper,
Wakefield was the  model of Old England's merry
yeomen, whose clothyard shafts, in so many hundred
battles, asserted her superiority over the nations,
and whose good sabres, in our own time, are
her cheapest and most assured defence.  His mirth
was readily excited; for, strong in limb and constitution,
and fortunate in circumstances, he was
disposed to be pleased with every thing about him;
and such difficulties as he might occasionally encounter,
were, to a man of his energy, rather matter
of amusement than serious annoyance.  With
all the merits of a sanguine temper, our young
English drover was not without his defects.  He
was irascible, sometimes to the verge of being
quarrelsome; and perhaps not the less inclined to
bring his disputes to a pugilistic decision, because
he found few antagonists able to stand up to him in
the boxing ring.

  It is difficult to say how Harry Wakefield and
Robin Oig first became intimates; but it is certain
a close acquaintance had taken place betwixt
them, although they had apparently few common
subjects of conversation or of interest, so soon as
their talk ceased to be of bullocks.  Robin Oig,
indeed, spoke the English language rather imperfectly
upon any other topics but stots and kyloes,
and Harry Wakefield could never bring his broad
Yorkshire tongue to utter a single word of Gaelic.  
It was in vain Robin spent a whole morning, during
a walk over Minch Moor, in attempting to teach
his companion to utter, with true precision, the
shibboleth _Llhu_, which is the Gaelic for a calf.  
From Traquair to Murder-cairn, the hill rung with
the discordant attempts of the Saxon upon the unmanageable
monosyllable, and the heartfelt laugh
which followed every failure.  They had, however,
better modes of awakening the echoes; for Wakefield
could sing many a ditty to the praise of Moll,
Susan, and Cicely, and Robin Oig had a particular
gift at whistling interminable pibrochs through all
their involutions, and what was more agreeable to
his companion's southern ear, knew many of the
northern airs, both lively and pathetic, to which
Wakefield learned to pipe a bass.  Thus, though
Robin could hardly have comprehended his companion's
stories about horse-racing, and cock-fighting,
or fox-hunting, and although his own legends
of clan-fights and _creaghs_, varied with talk of Highland
goblins and fairy folk, would have been caviare
to his companion, they contrived nevertheless
to find a degree of pleasure in each other's
company, which had for three years back induced
them to join company and travel together, when
the direction of their journey permitted.  Each,
indeed, found his advantage in this companionship;
for where could the Englishman have found
a guide through the Western Highlands like Robin
Oig M`Combich? and when they were on
what Harry called the _right_ side of the Border,
his patronage, which was extensive, and his purse,
which was heavy, were at all times at the service
of his Highland friend, and on many occasions his
liberality did him genuine yeoman's service.


    Were ever two such loving friends
      How could they disagree?
    O thus it was, he loved him dear,
      And thought how to requite him,
    And having no friend left but he,
      He did resolve to fight him.
                            _Duke upon Duke_.

The pair of friends had traversed with their
usual cordiality the grassy wilds of Liddesdale,
and crossed the opposite part of Cumberland, emphatically
called The Waste.  In these solitary
regions, the cattle under the charge of our drovers
derived their subsistence chiefly by picking their
food as they went along the drove-road, or sometimes
by the tempting opportunity of a _start and
owerloup_, or invasion of the neighbouring pasture,
where an occasion presented itself.  But now the
scene changed before them; they were descending
towards a fertile and enclosed country, where no
such liberties could be taken with impunity, or
without a previous arrangement and bargain with
the possessors of the ground.  This was more
especially the case, as a great northern fair was upon
the eve of taking place, where both the Scotch and
English drover expected to dispose of a part of
their cattle, which it was desirable to produce in
the market, rested and in good order.  Fields were
therefore difficult to be obtained, and only upon
high terms.  This necessity occasioned a temporary
separation betwixt the two friends, who went
to bargain, each as he could, for the separate accommodation
of his herd.  Unhappily it chanced
that both of them, unknown to each other, thought
of bargaining for the ground they wanted on the
property of a country gentleman of some fortune,
whose estate lay in the neighbourhood.  The English
drover applied to the bailiff on the property,
who was known to him.  It chanced that the Cumbrian
Squire, who had entertained some suspicions
of his manager's honesty, was taking occasional
measures to ascertain how far they were well
founded, and had desired that any enquiries about
his enclosures, with a view to occupy them for a temporary
purpose, should be referred to himself.  As
however, Mr Ireby had gone the day before upon a
journey of some miles distance to the northward, the
bailiff chose to consider the check upon his full powers
as for the time removed, and concluded that be
should best consult his master's interest, and perhaps
his own, in making an agreement with Harry Wakefield.
Meanwhile, ignorant of what his comrade
was doing, Robin Oig, on his side, chanced to be
overtaken by a good-looking smart little man upon
a pony, most knowingly bogged and cropped, as
was then the fashion, the rider wearing tight leather
breeches, and long-necked bright spurs.  This
cavalier asked one or two pertinent questions about
markets and the price of stock.  So Robin, seeing
him a well-judging civil gentleman, took the freedom
to ask him whether he could let him know if
there was any grass-land to be let in that neighbourhood,
for the temporary accommodation of his
drove.  He could not have put the question to
more willing ears.  The gentleman of the buckskins
was the proprietor, with whose bailiff Harry
Wakefield had dealt, or was in the act of dealing.

  ``Thou art in good luck, my canny Scot,'' said
Mr Ireby, ``to have spoken to me, for I see thy
cattle have done their day's work, and I have at
my disposal the only field within three miles that
is to be let in these parts.''

  ``The drove can pe gang two, three, four miles
very pratty weel indeed''---said the cautious Highlander;
``put what would his honour pe axing for
the peasts pe the head, if she was to tak the park
for twa or three days?''

  ``We won't differ, Sawney, if you let me have
six stots for winterers, in the way of reason.''

  ``And  which  peasts  wad  your  honour  pe   for

  ``Why---let me see---the two black---the dun
one---yon doddy---him with the twisted horn---the
brockit---How much by the head?''

  ``Ah,'' said Robin, ``your honour is a shudge---
a real shudge---I couldna have set off the pest six
peasts petter mysell, me that ken them as if they
were my pairns, puir things.''

  ``Well, how much per head, Sawney,'' continued
Mr Ireby.

  ``It was high markets at Doune and Falkirk,''
answered Robin.

  And thus the conversation proceeded, until they
had agreed on the _prix juste_ for the bullocks, the
Squire throwing in the temporary accommodation
of the enclosure for the cattle into the boot, and
Robin making, as he thought, a very good bargain,
provided the grass was but tolerable.  The Squire
walked his pony alongside of the drove, partly to
show him the way, and see him put into possession
of the field, and partly to learn the latest news of
the northern markets.

  They arrived at the field, and the pasture seemed
excellent.  But what was their surprise when
they saw the bailiff quietly inducting the cattle of
Harry Wakefield into the grassy Goshen which
had just been assigned to those of Robin Oig
M`Combich by the proprietor himself! Squire
Ireby set spurs to his horse, dashed up to his servant,
and learning what had passed between the
parties, briefly informed the English drover that
his bailiff had let the ground without his authority,
and that he might seek grass for his cattle wherever
he would, since he was to get none there.  At
the same time he rebuked his servant severely for
having transgressed his commands, and ordered
him instantly to assist in ejecting the hungry and
weary cattle of Harry Wakefield, which were just
beginning to enjoy a meal of unusual plenty, and
to introduce those of his comrade, whom the English
drover now began to consider as a rival.

  The  feelings  which   arose   in   Wakefield's   mind
would have induced him to resist  Mr  Ireby's   decision;
but every Englishman has  a  tolerably   accurate
sense of law and justice, and John Fleecebumpkin,
the bailiff, having acknowledged that
he had exceeded his commission, Wakefield saw
nothing else for it than to collect his hungry and
disappointed charge, and drive them on to seek
quarters elsewhere.  Robin Oig saw what had
happened with regret, and hastened to offer to his
English friend to share with him the disputed possession.
But Wakefield's pride was severely hurt,
and he answered disdainfully, ``Take it all, man
---take it all---never make two bites of a cherry---
thou canst talk over the gentry, and blear a plain
man's eye---Out upon you, man---I would not kiss
any man's dirty latchets for leave to bake in his

  Robin Oig, sorry but not surprised at his comrade's
displeasure, hastened to entreat his friend to
wait but an hour till he had gone to the Squire's
house to receive payment for the cattle he had sold,
and he would come back and help him to drive the
cattle into some convenient place of rest, and explain
to him the whole mistake they had both of
them fallen into.  But the Englishman continued
indignant: ``Thou hast been selling, hast thou?
Ay, ay---thou is a cunning lad for kenning the
hours of bargaining.  Go to the devil with thyself,
for I will neer see thy fause loon's visage again---
thou should be ashamed to look me in the face.''

  ``I am ashamed to look no man in the face,''
said Robin Oig, something moved; ``and, moreover,
I will look you in the face this blessed day,
if you will bide at the Clachan down yonder.''

  ``Mayhap you had as well keep away,'' said
his comrade; and turning his back on his former
friend, he collected his unwilling associates, assisted
by the bailiff, who took some real and some
affected interest in seeing Wakefield accommodated.

  After spending some time in negotiating with
more than one of the neighbouring farmers, who
could not, or would not, afford the accommodation
desired, Henry Wakefield at last, and in his necessity,
accomplished his point by means of the
landlord of the alehouse at which Robin Oig and
he had agreed to pass the night, when they first
separated from each other.  Mine host was content
to let him turn his cattle on a piece of barren
moor, at a price little less than the bailiff had asked
for the disputed enclosure; and the wretchedness
of the pasture, as well as the price paid for it,
were set down as exaggerations of the breach of
faith and friendship of his Scottish crony.  This
turn of Wakefield's passions was encouraged by the
bailiff, (who had his own reasons for being offended
against poor Robin, as having been the unwitting
cause of his falling into disgrace with his master,)
as well as by the innkeeper, and two or three
chance guests, who stimulated the drover in his
resentment against his quondam associate,---some
from the ancient grudge against the Scots, which,
when it exists anywhere, is to be found lurking in
the Border counties, and some from the general
love of mischief, which characterises mankind in
all ranks of life, to the honour of Adam's children
be it spoken.  Good John Barleycorn also, who
always heightens and exaggerates the prevailing
passions, be they angry or kindly, was not wanting
in his offices on this occasion; and confusion to
false friends and hard masters, was pledged in more
than one tankard.

  In the meanwhile Mr Ireby found some amusement
in detaining the northern drover at his ancient
hall.  He caused a cold round of beef to be placed
before the Scot in the butler's pantry, together
with a foaming tankard of home-brewed, and took
pleasure in seeing the hearty appetite with which
these unwonted edibles were discussed by Robin
Oig M`Combich.  The Squire himself lighting his
pipe, compounded between his patrician dignity
and his love of agricultural gossip, by walking up
and down while he conversed with his guest.

  ``I passed another drove,'' said the Squire,
with one of your countrymen behind them---they
were something less beasts than your drove, doddies
most of them---a big man was with them---
none of your kilts though, but a decent pair of
breeches---D'ye know who he may be?''

  ``Hout aye---that might, could, and would be
Hughie Morrison---I didna think he could hae
peen sae weel up.  He has made a day on us; but
his Argyleshires will have wearied shanks.  How
far was he pehind?''

  ``I think about six or seven miles,'' answered
the Squire, ``for I passed them at the Christenbury
Crag, and I overtook you at the Hollan Bush.  
If his beasts be leg-weary, he will be maybe selling

  ``Na, na, Hughie Morrison is no the man for
pargains---ye maun come to some Highland body
like Robin Oig hersell for the like of these---put
I maun pe wishing you goot night, and twenty of
them let alane ane, and I maun down to the Clachan
to see if the lad Harry Waakfelt is out of his
humdudgeons yet.''

  The party at the alehouse were still in full talk,
and the treachery of Robin Oig still the theme of
conversation, when the supposed culprit entered
the apartment.  His arrival, as usually happens in
such a case, put an instant stop to the discussion
of which he had furnished the subject, and he was
received by the company assembled with that
chilling silence, which, more than a thousand exclamations,
tells an intruder that he is unwelcome.  
Surprised and offended, but not appalled by the
reception which he experienced, Robin entered
with an undaunted and even a haughty air, attempted
no greeting, as he saw he was received
with none, and placed himself by the side of the
fire, a little apart from a table, at which Harry
Wakefield, the bailiff, and two or three other persons,
were seated.  The ample Cumbrian kitchen
would have afforded plenty of room, even for a
larger separation.

  Robin thus seated, proceeded to light his pipe,
and call for a pint of twopenny.

  ``We  have   no   twopence   ale,''   answered   Ralph
Heskett the landlord; ``but as thou find'st thy own
tobacco, it's like thou mayst find thy own liquor
too---it's the wont of thy country, I wot.''

  ``Shame, goodman,'' said the landlady, a blithe
bustling housewife, hastening herself to supply the
guest with liquor---``Thou knowest well enow
what the strange man wants, and it's thy trade to
be civil, man.  Thou shouldst know, that if the
Scot likes a small pot, he pays a sure penny.''

  Without taking any notice of this nuptial dialogue,
the Highlander took the flagon in his hand,
and addressing the company generally, drank the
interesting toast of ``Good markets,'' to the party

  ``The better that the wind blew fewer dealers
from the north,'' said one of the farmers, ``and
fewer Highland runts to cat up the English meadows.''

  ``Saul of my pody, put you are wrang there,
my friend,'' answered Robin, with composure; ``it
is your fat Englishmen that eat up our Scots cattle,
puir things.''

  ``I wish there was a summat to eat up their drovers,''
said another; ``a plain Englishman canna
make bread within a kenning of them.''

  ``Or an honest servant keep his master's favour
but they will come sliding in between him and the
sunshine,'' said the bailiff.

  ``If these pe jokes,'' said Robin Oig, with the
same composure, ``there is ower mony jokes upon
one man.''

  ``It is no joke, but downright earnest,'' said  the
bailiff.  ``Harkye, Mr Robin Ogg, or whatever is
your name, it's right we should tell you that we
are all of one opinion, and that is, that you, Mr
Robin Ogg, have behaved to our friend Mr Harry
Wakefield here, like a raff and a blackguard.''

  ``Nae doubt, nae doubt,'' answered Robin, with
great composure; ``and you are a set of very pretty
judges, for whose prains or pehaviour I wad
not gie a pinch of sneeshing.  If Mr Harry Waakfelt
kens where he is wronged, he kens where he
may be righted.''

  ``He speaks truth,'' said Wakefield, who had
listened to what passed, divided between the offence
which he had taken at Robin's late behaviour,
and the revival of his habitual feelings of

  He now rose, and went towards Robin, who got
up from his seat as he approached, and held out
his hand.

  ``That's right, Harry---go it---serve him out,''
resounded on all sides---``tip him the nailer---show
him the mill.''

  ``Hold your peace all of you, and be ------,'' said
Wakefield; and then addressing his comrade, he
took him by the extended band, with something
alike of respect and defiance.  ``Robin,'' he said,
``thou hast used me ill enough this day; but if
you mean, like a frank fellow, to shake hands, and
take a tussle for love on the sod, why I'll forgie
thee, man, and we shall be better friends than

  ``And would it not pe petter  to  pe  cood  friends
without more of the matter?'' said Robin; ``we
will be much petter friendships with our panes hale
than proken.''

  Harry Wakefield dropped the band of his friend,
or rather threw it from him.

  ``I did not think I had been keeping company
for three years with a coward.''

  ``Coward pelongs to none of my name,'' said
Robin, whose eyes began to kindle, but keeping
the command of his temper.  ``It was no coward's
legs or hands, Harry Waakfelt, that drew you out
of the fords of Frew, when you was drifting ower
the plack rock, and every eel in the river expected
his share of you.''

  ``And that is true enough, too,'' said the Englishman,
struck by the appeal.

  ``Adzooks!'' exclaimed the bailiff---``sure Harry
Wakefield, the nattiest lad at Whitson Tryste,
Wooler Fair, Carlisle Sands, or Stagshaw Bank, is
not going to show white feather? Ah, this comes
of living so long with kilts and bonnets---men forget
the use of their daddies.''

  ``I may teach you, Master Fleecebumpkin, that
I have not lost the use of mine,'' said Wakefield
and then went on.  ``This will never do, Robin.  
We must have a turn-up, or we shall be the talk
of the country-side.  I'll be d------d if I hurt thee
---I'll put on the gloves gin thou like.  Come, stand
forward like a man.''

  ``To be peaten like a dog,'' said Robin; ``is
there any reason in that? If you think I have done
you wrong, I'll go before your shudge, though I
neither know his law nor his language.''

  A general cry of ``No, no---no law, no lawyer!
a bellyful and be friends,'' was echoed by the bystanders.

  ``But,'' continued Robin, ``if I am to fight, I
have no skill to fight like a jackanapes, with hands
and nails.''

  ``How would you fight then?'' said his antagonist;
``though I am thinking it would be hard to
bring you to the scratch anyhow.''

  ``I would fight with proadswords, and sink point
on the first plood drawn---like a gentlemans.''

  A loud shout of laughter followed the proposal,
which indeed had rather escaped from poor Robin's
swelling heart, than been the dictate of his sober

  ``Gentleman, quotha!'' was echoed on all sides,
with a shout of unextinguishable laughter; ``a
very pretty gentleman, God wot---Canst get two
swords for the gentleman to fight with, Ralph

  ``No, but I can send to the armoury at Carlisle,
and lend them two forks, to be making shift with
in the meantime.''

  ``Tush, man,'' said another, ``the bonny Scots
come into the world with the blue bonnet on their
heads, and dirk and pistol at their belt.''

  ``Best send post,'' said Mr Fleecebumpkin, ``to
the Squire of Corby Castle, to come and stand
second to the gentleman.''

 In the midst of this torrent of general ridicule,
the Highlander instinctively griped beneath the
folds of his plaid,

  ``But it's better not,'' he said in his own language.
``A hundred curses on the swilie-eaters,
who know neither decency nor civility!''

  ``Make room, the pack of you,'' he said advancing
to the door.

  But his former friend interposed his sturdy bulk,
and opposed his leaving the house; and when Robin
Oig attempted to make his way by force, he
hit him down on the floor, with as much ease as a
boy bowls down a nine-pin.

  ``A ring, a ring!'' was now shouted, until the
dark rafters, and the hams that hung on them,
trembled again, and the very platters on the _bink_
clattered against each other.  ``Well done, Harry''
---``Give it him home Harry''---``Take care of
him now-he sees his own blood!''

  Such were the exclamations, while the Highlander,
starting from the ground, all his coldness and
caution lost in frantic rage, sprung at his antagonist
with the fury, the activity, and the vindictive
purpose of an incensed tiger-cat.  But when could
rage encounter science and temper? Robin Oig
again went down in the unequal contest; and as
the blow was necessarily a severe one, he lay motionless
on the floor of the kitchen.  The landlady
ran to ofter some aid, but Mr Fleecebumpkin would
not permit her to approach.

  ``Let him alone,'' he said, ``he will come to
within time, and come up to the scratch again.  He
has not got half his broth vet.''

  ``He has got all I mean to give him, though,''
said his antagonist, whose heart began to relent
towards his old associate; ``and I would rather by
half give the rest to yourself, Mr Fleecebumpkin,
for you pretend to know a thing or two, and Robin
had not art enough even to peel before setting to,
but fought with his plaid dangling about him.---
Stand up, Robin, my man! all friends now; and
let me hear the man that will speak a word against
you, or your country, for your sake.''

  Robin Oig was still under the dominion of his
passion, and eager to renew the onset; but being
withheld on the one side by the peace-making
Dame Heskett, and on the other, aware that Wakefield
no loner meant to renew the combat, his fury
sunk into gloomy sullenness.

  ``Come, come, never grudge so much at it, man,''
said the brave-spirited Englishman, with the placability
of his country, ``shake hands, and we will
be better friends than ever.''

  ``Friends!'' exclaimed Robin Oig with strong
emphasis---``friends!---Never.  Look to yourself,
Harry Waakfelt.''

  ``Then the curse of Cromwell on your proud
Scots stomach, as the man says in the play, and you
may do your worst, and be d---; for one man
can say nothing more to another after a tussle, than
that he is sorry for it.''

  On these terms the friends parted; Robin Oig
drew out, in silence, a piece of money, threw it on
the table, and then left the alehouse.  But turning
at the door, he shook his hand at Wakefield, pointing
with his forefinger upwards, in a manner which
might imply either a threat or a caution. He then
disappeared in the moonlight.

  Some words passed after his departure, between
the bailiff, who piqued himself on being a little of
a bully, and Harry Wakefield, who, with generous
inconsistency, was now not indisposed to begin a
new combat in defence of Robin Oig's reputation,
``although he could not use his daddles like an
Englishman, as it did not come natural to him.''
But Dame Heskett prevented this second quarrel
from coming to a head by her peremptory interference.
``There should be no more fighting in her
house,'' she said; ``there had been too much already.
---And you, Mr Wakefield, may live to learn,''
she added, ``what it is to make a deadly enemy out
of a good friend.''

  ``Pshaw, dame! Robin Oig is an honest fellow,
and will never keep malice.''

  ``Do not trust to that---you do not know the
dour temper of the Scots, though you have dealt
with them so often.  I have a right to know them,
my mother being a Scot.''

  ``And so is well seen on her daughter,'' said
Ralph Heskett.

  This nuptial sarcasm gave the discourse another
turn; fresh customers entered the tap-room or
kitchen, and others left it.  The conversation turned
on the expected markets, and the report of
prices from different parts both of Scotland and
England---treaties were commenced, and Harry
Wakefield was lucky enough to find a chap for a
part of his drove, and at a very considerable profit;
an event of consequence more than sufficient
to blot out all remembrances of the unpleasant
scuffle in the earlier part of the day.  But there
remained one party from whose mind that recollection
could not have been wiped away by the
possession of every head of cattle betwixt Esk and

  This was Robin Oig M`Combich.---``That I
should have had no weapon,'' he said, ``and for the
first time in my life!---Blighted be the tongue that
bids the Highlander part with the dirk---the dirk
---ha! the English blood!---My Muhme's word---
when did her word fall to the ground?''

  The recollection of the fatal prophecy confirmed
the deadly intention which instantly sprang up in
his mind.

  ``Ha! Morrison cannot be many miles behind;
and if it were an hundred, what then!''

  His impetuous spirit had now a fixed purpose
and motive of action, and he turned the light foot
of his country towards the wilds, through which be
knew, by Mr Ireby's report, that Morrison was
advancing.  His mind was wholly engrossed by
the sense of injury---injury sustained from a friend;
and by the desire of vengeance on one whom be
now accounted his most bitter enemy.  The treasured
ideas of self-importance and self-opinion---of
ideal birth and quality, had become more precious
to him, (like the hoard to the miser,) because he
could only enjoy them in secret.  But that hoard
was pillaged, the idols which he had secretly worshipped
had been desecrated and profaned.  Insulted,
abused, and beaten, he was no longer worthy,
in his own opinion, of the name he bore, or
the lineage which he belonged to---nothing was
left to him---nothing but revenge; and as the reflection
added a galling spur to every step, he determined
it should be as sudden and signal as the

  When Robin Oig left the door of the alehouse,
seven or eight English miles at least lay betwixt
Morrison and him.  The advance of the former
was slow, limited by the sluggish pace of his
cattle; the last left behind him stubble-field and
hedge-row, crag and dark heath, all glittering with
frost-rime in the broad November moonlight, at
the rate of six miles an hour.  And now the distant
lowing of Morrison's cattle is heard; and now
they are seen creeping like moles in size and slowness
of motion on the broad face of the moor; and
now he meets them---passes them, and stops their

  ``May good betide us,'' said the Southlander---
``Is this you, Robin M`Combich, or your wraith?''

  ``It is Robin Oig M`Combich,'' answered the
Highlander, ``and it is not.---But never mind that,
put pe giving me the skene-dhu.''

  ``What! you are for back to the Highlands---
The devil!---Have you selt all off before the fair?
This beats all for quick markets!''

  ``I have not sold---I am not going north---May
pe I will never go north again.---Give me pack my
dirk, Hugh Morrison, or there will pe words petween

  ``Indeed, Robin, I'll be better advised before I
gie it back to you---it is a wanchancy weapon in a
Highlandman's hand, and I am thinking you will
be about some barns-breaking.''

  ``Prutt, trutt! let me have my weapon,'' said
Robin Oig impatiently.

  ``Hooly  and  fairly,''  said   his   well-meaning
friend.  ``I'll tell you  what  will  do  better  than
these   dirking   doings---Ye   ken   Highlander,    and
Lowlander, and Border-men, are a' ae man's bairns
when you are over the Scots dyke.  See, the Eskdale
callants, and fighting Charlie of Liddesdale,
and the Lockerby lads, and the four Dandies of
Lustruther, and a wheen mair grey plaids, are
coming up behind; and if you are wronged, there
is the hand of a Manly Morrison, we'll see you
righted, if Carlisle and Stanwix baith took up the
feud. ''

  ``To tell you the truth,'' said Robin Oig, desirous
of eluding the suspicions of his friend, ``I
have enlisted with a party of the Black Watch, and
must march off to-morrow morning.''

  ``Enlisted! Were you mad or drunk?---You
must buy yourself off---I can lend you twenty notes,
and twenty to that, if the drove sell.''

  ``I thank you---thank ye, Hughie; but I go with
good will the gate that I am going,---so the dirk---
the dirk!''

  ``There it is for you then, since less wunna
serve.  But think on what I was saying.---Waes
me, it will be sair news in the braes of Balquidder,
that Robin Oig M`Combich should have run an ill
gate, and ta'en on.''

  ``Ill news in Balquidder, indeed!'' echoed poor
Robin: ``but Cot speed you, Hughie, and send you
good marcats.  Ye winna meet with Robin Oig
again, either at tryste or fair.''

  So saying, he shook hastily the hand of his acquaintance,
and set out in the direction from which
he had advanced, with the spirit of his former

  ``There is something wrang with the lad,'' muttered
the Morrison to himself; ``but we will maybe
see better into it the morn's morning.''

  But long ere the morning dawned, the catastrophe
of our tale had taken place.  It was two
hours after the affray had happened, and it was
totally forgotten by almost every one, when Robin
Oig returned to Heskett's inn.  The place was
filled at once by various sorts of men, and with
noises corresponding to their character.  There
were the grave low sounds of men engaged in
busy traffic, with the laugh, the song, and the
riotous jest of those who had nothing to do but to
enjoy themselves.  Among the last was Harry
Wakefield, who, amidst a grinning group of smock-frocks,
hobnailed shoes, and jolly English physiognomies,
was trolling forth the old ditty,

        ``What though my name be Roger,
          Who drives the slough and cart---''

when he was  interrupted  by  a  well-known  voice
saying in a high and stern voice, marked by the
sharp Highland accent, ``Harry Waakfelt---if you
be a man stand up!''

  ``What is the matter?---what is it?'' the guests
demanded of each other.

  ``It is only a d---d Scotsman,'' said Fleecebumpkin,
who was by this time very drunk, ``whom
Harry Wakefield helped to his broth to-day, who
is now come to have his cauld kail het again.''

  ``Harry Waakfelt,'' repeated the same ominous
summons, ``stand up, if you be a man!''

  There is something in the tone of deep and concentrated
passion, which attracts attention and imposes
awe, even by the very sound.  The guests
shrunk back on every side, and gazed at the Highlander
as he stood in the middle of them, his brows
bent, and his features rigid with resolution.

  ``I will stand up with all my heart, Robin, my
boy, but it shall be to shake hands with you, and
drink down all unkindness.  It is not the fault of
your heart, man, that you don't know how to clench
your hands.''

  By this time he stood opposite to his antagonist;
his open and unsuspecting look strangely contrasted
with the stern purpose, which gleamed
wild, dark, and vindictive in the eyes of the Highlander.

  ``'Tis not thy fault, man, that, not having the
luck to be an Englishman, thou canst not fight
more than a school-girl.''

  ``I can fight,'' answered Robin Oig sternly, but
calmly, ``and you shall know it.  You, Harry Waakfelt,
showed me to-day how the Saxon churls fight
---I show you now how the Highland Dunni<e`>-wassel

  He seconded the word with the action, and
plunged the dagger, which he suddenly displayed,
into the broad breast of the English yeoman, with
such fatal certainty and force, that the hilt made a
hollow sound against the breast-bone, and the
double-edged point split the very heart of his victim.
Harry Wakefield fell and expired with a
single groan.  His assassin next seized the bailiff
by the collar, and offered the bloody poniard to his
throat, whilst dread and surprise rendered the man
incapable of defence.

  ``It were very just to lay you beside him,'' he
said, ``but the blood of a base pick-thank shall
never mix on my father's dirk, with that of a brave

  As he spoke, he cast the man from him with so
much force that he fell on the floor, while Robin,
with his other hand, threw the fatal weapon into
the blazing turf-fire.

  ``There,'' he said, ``take me who likes---and let
fire cleanse blood if it can.''

  The pause of astonishment still continuing, Robin
Oig asked for a peace-officer, and a constable
having stepped out, he surrendered himself to his

  ``A bloody night's work you have made of it,''
said the constable.

  ``Your own fault,'' said the Highlander.  ``Had
you kept his hands off me twa hours since, he would
have  been  now as well and merry as he  was twa
minutes since.''

  ``It must be sorely answered,'' said the peace-officer.

  ``Never you mind that---death pays all debts;
it will pay that too.''

  The horror of the bystanders began now to give
way to indignation; and the sight of a favourite
companion murdered in the midst of them, the
provocation being, in their opinion, so utterly inadequate
to the excess of vengeance, might have
induced them to kill the perpetrator of the deed
even upon the very spot.  The constable, however,
did his duty on this occasion, and with the assistance
of some of the more reasonable persons present,
procured horses to guard the prisoner to Carlisle,
to abide his doom at the next assizes.  While the
escort was preparing, the prisoner neither expressed
the least interest, nor attempted the slightest reply.  
Only, before he was carried from the fatal apartment,
he desired to look at the dead body, which,
raised from the floor, had been deposited upon the
large table, (at the head of which Harry Wakefield
had presided but a few minutes before, full of
life, vigour, and animation,) until the surgeons
should examine the mortal wound.  The face of
the corpse was decently covered with a napkin.  
To the surprise and horror of the bystanders,
which displayed itself in a general _Ah!_ drawn
through clenched teeth and half-shut lips, Robin
Oig removed the cloth, and gazed with a mournful
but steady eye on the lifeless visage, which had
been so lately animated, that the smile of good-humoured
confidence in his own strength, of conciliation
at once, and contempt towards his enemy,
still curled his lip.  While those present expected
that the wound, which had so lately flooded
the apartment with gore, would send forth fresh
streams at the touch of the homicide, Robin Oig
replaced the covering with the brief exclamation
---``He was a pretty man!''

  My story is nearly ended.  The unfortunate
Highlander stood his trial at Carlisle.  I was myself
present, and as a young Scottish lawyer, or
barrister at least, and reputed a man of some quality,
the politeness of the Sheriff of Cumberland
offered me a place on the bench.  The facts of the
case were proved in the manner I have related
them; and whatever might be at first the prejudice
of the audience against a crime so un-English
as that of assassination from revenge, yet when the
rooted national prejudices of the prisoner had been
explained, which made him consider himself as
stained with indelible dishonour, when subjected
to personal violence; when his previous patience,
moderation, and endurance, were considered, the
generosity of the English audience was inclined
to regard his crime as the wayward aberration of
a false idea of honour rather than as flowing from
a heart naturally savage, or perverted by habitual
vice.  I shall never forget the charge of the venerable
Judge to the jury, although not at that time
liable to be much affected either by that which was
eloquent or pathetic.

  ``We have had,'' he said, ``in the previous part
of our duty,'' (alluding to some former trials,) ``to
discuss crimes which infer disgust and abhorrence,
while they call down the well-merited vengeance
of the law.  It is now our still more melancholy
task to apply its salutary though severe enactments
to a case of a very singular character, in
which the crime (for a crime it is, and a deep one)
arose less out of the malevolence of the heart, than
the error of the understanding---less from any idea
of committing wrong, than from an unhappily perverted
notion of that which is right.  Here we
have two men, highly esteemed, it has been stated,
in their rank of life, and attached, it seems, to each
other as friends, one of whose lives has been already
sacrificed to a punctilio, and the other is
about to prove the vengeance of the offended laws;
and yet both may claim our commiseration at least,
as men acting in ignorance of each other's national
prejudices, and unhappily misguided rather than
voluntarily erring from the path of right conduct.

  ``In the original cause of the misunderstanding,
we must in justice give the right to the prisoner
at the bar.  He had acquired possession of the
enclosure, which was the object of competition, by
a legal contract with the proprietor Mr Ireby; and
yet, when accosted with reproaches undeserved in
themselves, and galling doubtless to a temper at
least sufficiently susceptible of passion, he offered
notwithstanding to yield up half his acquisition, for
the sake of peace and good neighbourhood, and his
amicable proposal was rejected with scorn.  Then
follows the scene at Mr Heskett the publican's,
and you will observe how the stranger was treated
by the deceased, and, I am sorry to observe, by
those around, who seem to have urged him in a
manner which was aggravating in the highest degree.
While he asked for peace and for composition,
and offered submission to a magistrate, or to
a mutual arbiter, the prisoner was insulted by a
whole company, who seem on this occasion to have
forgotten the national maxim of `fair play;' and
while attempting to escape from the place in peace,
he was intercepted, struck down, and beaten to the
effusion of his blood.

  ``Gentlemen of the Jury, it was with some impatience
that I heard my learned brother, who
opened the case for the crown, give an unfavourable
turn to the prisoner's conduct on this occasion.
He said the prisoner was afraid to encounter his
antagonist in fair fight, or to submit to the laws of
the ring; and that therefore, like a cowardly Italian,
he had recourse to his fatal stiletto, to murder
the man whom he dared not meet in manly encounter.
I observed the prisoner shrink from this part
of the accusation with the abhorrence natural to a
brave man; and as I would wish to make my words
impressive, when I point his real crime, I must
secure his opinion of my impartiality, by rebutting
every thing that seems to me a false accusation.  
There can be no doubt that the prisoner is a man
of resolution---too much resolution---I wish to
Heaven that he had less, or rather that he had had
a better education to regulate it.

  ``Gentlemen, as to the laws my brother talks of,
they may be known in the Bull-ring, or the Bear-garden,
or the Cockpit, but they are not known
here.  Or, if they should be so far admitted as
furnishing a species of proof that no malice was
intended in this sort of combat, from which fatal
accidents do sometimes arise, it can only be so admitted
when both parties are _in pari casu_, equally
acquainted with, and equally willing to refer themselves
to, that species of arbitrement.  But will it
be contended that a man of superior rank and education
is to be subjected, or is obliged to subject
himself, to this coarse and brutal strife, perhaps in
opposition to a younger, stronger, or more skilful
opponent? Certainly even the pugilistic code, if
founded upon the fair play of Merry Old England,
as my brother alleges it to be, can contain nothing
so preposterous.  And, gentlemen of the jury, if
the laws would support an English gentleman,
wearing, we will suppose, his sword, in defending
himself by force against a violent personal aggression
of the nature offered to this prisoner, they
will not less protect a foreigner and a stranger,
involved in the same unpleasing circumstances.  
If, therefore, gentlemen of the jury, when thus
pressed by a _vis major_, the object of obloquy to a
whole company, and of direct violence from one at
least, and, as he might reasonably apprehend, from
more, the panel had produced the weapon which
his countrymen, as we are informed, generally
carry about their persons, and the same unhappy
circumstance had ensued which you have heard
detailed in evidence, I could not in my conscience
have asked from you a verdict of murder.  The
prisoner's personal defence might indeed, even in
that case, have gone more or less beyond the _Moderamen
inculpat<ae> tutel<ae>_, spoken of by lawyers, but
the punishment incurred would have been that of
manslaughter, not of murder.  I beg leave to add,
that I should have thought this milder species of
charge was demanded in the case supposed, notwithstanding
the statute of James I. cap. 8, which
takes the case of slaughter by stabbing with a short
weapon, even without malice prepense, out of the
benefit of clergy.  For this statute of stabbing, as
it is termed, arose out of a temporary cause; and
as the real guilt is the same, whether the slaughter
be committed by the dagger, or by sword or pistol,
the benignity of the modern law places them all
on the same, or nearly the same footing.

  ``But, gentlemen of the jury, the pinch of the
case lies in the interval of two hours interposed
betwixt the reception of the injury and the fatal
retaliation.  In the heat of affray and _chaude mel<e'>e_,
law, compassionating the infirmities of humanity,
makes allowance for the passions which rule such
a stormy moment---for the sense of present pain,
for the apprehension of further injury, for the difficulty
of ascertaining with due accuracy the precise
degree of violence which is necessary to protect
the person of the individual, without annoying
or injuring the assailant more than is absolutely necessary.
But the time necessary to walk twelve
miles, however speedily performed, was an interval
sufficient for the prisoner to have recollected
himself; and the violence with which he carried
his purpose into effect, with so many circumstances
of deliberate determination, could neither be
induced by the passion of anger, nor that of fear.  
It was the purpose and the act of predetermined
revenge, for which law neither can, will, nor ought
to have sympathy or allowance.

  ``It is true, we may repeat to ourselves, in alleviation
of this poor man's unhappy action, that
his case is a very peculiar one.  The country which
he inhabits was, in the days of many now alive,
inaccessible to the laws, not only of England, which
have not even yet penetrated thither, but to those
to which our neighbours of Scotland are subjected,
and which must be supposed to be, and no doubt
actually are, founded upon the general principles of
justice and equity which pervade every civilized
country.  Amongst their mountains, as among the
North American Indians, the various tribes were
wont to make war upon each other, so that each
man was obliged to go armed for his own protection.
These men, from the ideas which they entertained
of their own descent and of their own
consequence, regarded themselves as so many cavaliers
or men-at-arms, rather than as the peasantry
of a peaceful country.  Those laws of the ring,
as my brother terms them, were unknown to the
race of warlike mountaineers; that decision of
quarrels by no other weapons than those which nature
has given every man, must to  them have
seemed as vulgar and as preposterous  as to the
Noblesse of France.  Revenge, on the other hand,
must have been as familiar to their habits of society
as to those of the Cherokees or Mohawks.  It
is indeed, as described by Bacon, at bottom a kind
of wild untutored justice; for the fear of retaliation
must withhold the hands of the oppressor where
there is no regular law to check daring violence.  
But though all this may be granted, and though
we may allow that, such having been the case of
the Highlands in the days of the prisoner's fathers,
many of the opinions and sentiments must still
continue to influence the present generation, it
cannot, and ought not, even in this most painful
case, to alter the administration of the law, either
in your hands, gentlemen of the jury, or in mine.  
The first object of civilisation is to place the general
protection of the law, equally administered, in
the room of that wild justice, which every man cut
and carved for himself, according to the length of
his sword and the strength of his arm.  The law
says to the subjects, with a voice only inferior to
that of the Deity, `Vengeance is mine.' The instant
that there is time for passion to cool, and
reason to interpose, an injured party must become
aware that the law assumes the exclusive cognisance
of the right and wrong betwixt the parties,
and opposes her inviolable buckler to every attempt
of the private party to right himself.  I repeat,
that this unhappy man ought personally to be
the object rather of our pity than our abhorrence,
for he failed in his ignorance, and from mistaken
notions of honour.  But his crime is not the less
that of murder, gentlemen, and, in your high and
important office, it is your duty so to find.  Englishmen
have their angry passions as well as Scots;
and should this man's action remain unpunished,
you may unsheath, under various pretences, a
thousand daggers betwixt the Land's-end and the

  The venerable Judge thus ended what, to judge
by his apparent emotion, and by the tears which
filled his eyes, was really a painful task. The jury,
according to his instructions, brought in a verdict
of Guilty; and Robin Oig M`Combich, _alias_
McGregor, was sentenced to death, and left for execution,
which took place accordingly.  He met
his fate with great firmness, and acknowledged the
justice of his sentence.  But he repelled indignantly
the observations of those who accused him
of attacking an unarmed man.  ``I give a life
for the life I took,'' he said, ``and what can I do

*    Note A.  Robert Donn's Poems