unwelcome speed. All day Sim and Candlish, with a more
than ordinary expenditure both of snuff and of words, con-
tinued to debate the position. It seems that they had rec-
ognised two of our neighbours on the road — one Faa, and
another by the name of Gillies. AVhether there was an
old feud between them still unsettled I could never learn ;
but Sim and Candlish were prepared for every degree of
fraud or violence at their hands. Candlish repeatedly con-
gratulated himself on having left " the watch at home with
the mistress " ; and Sim perpetually brandished his cudgel,
and cursed his ill-fortune that it should be sprung.
'' I wilna care a damn to gie the daashed scoon'rel a fair
clout wi' it,^' he said. '' The daashed thing micht come
sindry in ma hand."
'' Well, gentlemen," said I, '' suppose they do come on,
I think we can give a very good account of them.''^ And I
made my piece of holly, Ronald's gift, the value of which
I now appreciated, sing about my head.
" Ay, man ? Are ye stench ? " inquired Sim, with a
gleam of approval in his wooden countenance.
The same evening, somewhat wearied with our day-long
expedition, we encamped on a little verdant mound, from
the midst of which there welled a spring of clear water
scarce great enough to wash the hands in. We had
made our meal and lain down, but were not yet asleep,
when a growl from one of the collies set us on the alert.
All three sat up, and on a second impulse all lay down
again, but now with our cudgels ready. A man must be an
alien and an outlaw, an old soldier and a young man in the
bargain, to take adventure easily. AVith no idea as to the
rights of the quarrel or the probable consequences of .the
encounter, I was as ready to take part with my two dro-
vers, as ever to fall in line on the morning of a battle.
Presently there leaped three men out of the heather ; we
had scarce time to get to our feet before Ave were assailed ;
and in a moment each one of us was engaged with an ad-
versary whom the deepening twilight scarce permitted him
to see. How the battle sped in other quarters I am in no
position to describe. The rogue that fell to my share was
exceedingly agile and expert with his weapon ; had and
held me at a disadvantage from the first assault ; forced me
to give ground continually, and at last, in mere self-de-
fence, to let him have the point. It struck him in the
throat, and he went down like a ninepin and moved no
It seemed this was the signal for the engagement to be
discontinued. The other combatants separated at once ;
our foes were suffered, without molestation, to lift up and
bear away their fallen comrade ; so that I perceived this
sort of Avar to be not Avholly Avithout laAvs of chivalry, and
perhaps rather to partake of the character of a tournament
than of a battle a outrance. There Avas no doubt, at least,
that I Avas supposed to have pushed the affair too seriously.
Our friends the enemy removed their Avounded companion
Avitli undisguised consternation ; and they Avere no sooner
over the top of the brae, than Sim and Candlish roused up
their Avearied drove and set forth on a night march.
" I'm thinking Faa's unco bad," said the one.
*' Ay,'' said the other, " he lookit dooms gash.''
'' He did that," said the first.
And their Aveary silence fell upon them again.
THE DROVER& 103
Presently Sim turned to me. '' Ye*re nnco ready with
the stick," said he.
'" Too ready, I'm afraid/' said I. " I am afraid Mr. Faa
(if tliat be his name) has got his grueh"
'' Weel, I wouldnae wonder/' replied Sim.
" And what is likely to happen ? " I inquired.
*' Aweel/' said Sim, snuffing profoundly, ^^ if I were to
offer an opeenion, it would not be conscientious. For the
plain fac' is, Mr. St. Ivy, that I div not ken. We have had
crackit heids — and rowtli of them — ere now ; and we have
liad a broken leg or maybe twa ; and the like of that we
drover bodies make a kind of a practice like to keep among
ourseFs. But a corp we have none of us ever had to deal
with, and I could set nae leemit to what Gillies micht con-
sider proper in the affair. Forbye that, he would be in
raither a hobble himseF, if he was to gang hame wantin'
Faa. Folk are awfu' throng with their questions, and par-
teecularly when they're no wantit."
^^ That's a fac'," said Candlish.
I considered this prospect ruefully ; and then, making
the best of it, ^^Upon all which accounts," said I, *'the
best will be to get across the border and there separate.
If you are troubled, you can very truly put the blame upon
your late companion ; and if I am pursued, I must just try
to keep out of the way."
'' Mr. St. Ivy," said Sim, with something resembling en-
thusiasm, " no a word mair ! I have met in wi'mony kinds
o' gentry ere now ; I hae seen o' them that was the tae
thing, and I hae seen o' them that was the tither ; but the
wale of a gentleman like you I have no sae very frequently
seen the bate of."
Our night march was accordingly pursued with unremit-
ting diligence. The stars paled, the east whitened, and
we were still, both dogs and men, toiling after the wearied
104 ST. IVES
cattle. Again and again Sim and Candlish lamented the
necessity : it was ^' fair ruin on the bestial/'' they declared ;
but the thought of a judge and a scaffold hunted them
ever forward. I myself was not so much to be pitied. All
that night, and during the whole of the little that remained
before us of our conjunct journey, I enjoyed a new pleas-
ure, the reward of my prowess, in the now loosened tongue
of Mr. Sim. Candlish was still obdurately taciturn : it
was the man's nature ; but Sim, having finally appraised
and approved me, displayed without reticence a rather
garrulous ha^bit of mind and a i^retty talent for nari-ution.
The pair were old and close companions, co-existing in
these endless moors in a brotherhood of silence such as I
have heard attributed to the trappers of the west. It seems
absurd to mention love in connection with so ugly and
snuffy a couple ; at least, their trust was absolute ; and
they entertained a surprising admiration for each other's
qualities ; Candlish exclaiming that Sim was "^^ grand com-
pany ! " and Sim frequently assuring me in an aside that
for "a rale, auld, stench bitch, there was nae the bate of
Candlish in braid Scotland." The two dogs appeared to be
entirely included in this family compact, and I remarked
that their exploits and traits of character were constantly
and minutely observed by the two masters. Dog stories
particularly abounded with them ; and not only the dogs
of the present but those of the past contributed their
quota. " But that was naething,'' Sim would begin :
^' there was a herd in Manar, they ca'd him Tweedie — ye'll
mind Tweedie, Can'lish?" ^^ Fine, that!'' said Candlish.
" Aweel, Tweedie had a dog " The story I have for-
gotten ; I daresay it was dull, and I suspect it was not
true ; but indeed, my travels with the drovers had ren-
dered me indulgent, and perhaps even credulous, in the
matter of dog stories. Beautiful, indefatigable beings ! as I
THE DROVERS 105
saw them at the end of a long day's journey frisking, bark-
ing, bounding, striking attitudes, shiuting a bushy tail,
manifestly playing to the spectator's eye, manifestly rejoic-
ing in their grace and beauty — and turned to observe Sim
and Oandlish unornamentally plodding in the rear with
the plaids about their bowed shoulders and the drop at
their snuffy nose — I thought I would rather claim kinship
with the dogs than with the men ! My sympathy was un-
returned ; in their eyes I was a creature light as air ; and
they would scarce spare me the time for a perfunctory
caress or perhaps a hasty lap of the wet tongue, ere they
were back again in sedulous attendance on those dingy
deities, their masters — and their masters, as like as not,
damning their stupidity.
Altogether the last hours of our tramp were infinitely
the most agreeable to me, and I believe to all of us ; and
by the time we came to separate, there had grown up a
certain familiarity and mutual esteem that made the part-
ing harder. It took place about four of the afternoon on
a bare hillside from which I could see the ribbon of the
great north road, henceforth to be my conductor. I asked
what was to pay.
" Naething/' replied Sim.
''What in the name of folly is this?" I exclaimed.
" You have led me, you have fed me, you have filled me
full of whisky, and now you will take nothing ! "
^' Ye see we indentit for that,'' replied Sim.
" Indented ? " I repeated ; '' what does the man
" Mr. St. Ivy," said Sim, " this is a maitter entirely be-
tween Candlish and me and the auld wife, Gilchrist. You
had naething to say to it ; weel, ye can have naething to
do with it, then."
" My good man," said I, ''I can allow myself to be
106 ST. IVES
placed in no sncli ridicnlous position. Mrs. Gilchrist is
nothing to me, and I refuse to be her debtor."'
" I dinna exac'ly see what way ye're gann to help it,"
observed my drover.
'^ By paying you here and now,'" said I.
^' There's aye twa to a bargain, Mr. St. Ives," said he.
^' Yon mean that you will not take it ? " said I.
" There or thereabout," said he. " Forbye, that it
would set ye a heap better to keep your siller for them you
awe it to. Ye're young, Mr. St. Ivy, and thoughtless ;
but it's my belief that, wi' care and circumspection, ye may
yet do credit to yoursel\ But just you bear this in mind :
that him that aiues siller should never gie siller."
Well, what was there to say ? I accepted his rebuke,
and bidding the pair farewell, set off alone upon my south-
*^'Mr. St. Ivy," was the last word of Sim, '' I was never
muckle ta'en up in Englishry ; but I think that I really
ought to say that ye seem to me to have the makings of
quite a dacent lad."
THE GREAT NORTH ROAD
It chanced that as I went down the hill these last words
of my friend the drover echoed not unfruitfnlly in my
head. I had never told these men the least particulars as
to my race or fortune, as it was a part, and the best part,
of their civility to ask no questions : yet they had dubbed
me without hesitation English. Some strangeness in the
accent they had doubtless thus explained. And it occurred
to me, that if I could pass in Scotland for an Englishman,
I might be able to reverse the process and pass in England
for a Scot. I thought, if I was pushed to it, I could make
a struggle to imitate the brogue ; after my experience with
Candlish and Sim, I had a rich provision of outlandish
words at my command ; and I felt I could tell the tale of
Tweedie's dog so as to deceive a native. At the same time,
I was afraid my name of St. Ives was scarcely suitable ; till
I remembered there was a town so called in the province
of Cornwall, thought I might yet be glad to claim it for my
place of origin, and decided for a Cornish family and a
Scots education. For a trade, as I was equally ignorant
of all, and as the most innocent might at any moment be
the means of my exposure, it was best to pretend to none.
And I dubbed myself a young gentleman of a sufficient
fortune and an idle, curious habit of mind, rambling the
country at my own charges, in quest of health, informa-
tion, and merry adventures.
108 ST. IVES
At >3'ewcastle, which was the first town I reached, I com-
pleted my preparations for tlie part, before going to tlie
inn, by the purchase of a knapsack and a pair of leathern
gaiters. My plaid I continued to wear from sentiment. It
was warm, useful to sleeji in if I were again benighted,
and I had discovered it to be not unbecoming for a man of
gallant carriage. Thus equipped, I supported my charac-
ter of the light-hearted pedestrian not amiss. Surprise
was indeed expressed that I should have selected such a
season of the year ; but I pleaded some delays of business,
and smilingly claimed to be an eccentric. The devil was
in it, I would say, if any season of the year was not good
enough for me ; I was not made of sugar, I was no molly-
coddle to be afraid of an ill-aired bed or a sprinkle of snow ;
and I would knock upon the table with my fist and call for
t'other bottle, like the noisy and free-hearted young gentle-
man I was. It was my policy (if I may so express myself)
to talk much and say little. At the inn tables, the coun-
try, the state of the roads, the business interest of those
who sat down with me, and the course of public events,
afforded me a considerable field in which I might discourse
at large and still communicate no information about mv-
seif. There was no one with less air of reticence ; I plunged
into my company up to the neck ; and I had a long cock-
and-bull story of an aunt of mine which must have con-
vinced the most suspicious of my innocence. " What I "'
they would have said, " that young ass to be concealing
anything ! Why, he has deafened me with an aunt of his
until my head aches. lie only wants you should give him
a line, and he would tell you his whole descent from Adam
downward, and his whole private fortune to the last shil-
ling." A responsible solid fellow was even so much moved
by pity for my inexperience as to give me a word or two of
good advice : that I was but a young man after all — I had
THE GREAT NORTH ROAD 109
at this time a deceptive air of youth that made me easily
pass for one-and-twenty, and was, in the circumstances,
worth a fortune — that the company at inns was very min-
gled, that I should do well to be more careful, and the
like ; to all which I made answer that I meant no harm
myself and expected none from others, or the devil was in
it. " Yon are one of those d d prudent fellows that I
could never abide with,"' said I. *^'You are the kind of
man that has a long head. That's all the world, my dear
sir : the long-heads and the short-horns ! Now, I am a
short-horn. '' " I doubt,'' says he, ''that you will not go
very far without getting sheared." I offered to bet with
him on that, and he made off, shaking his head.
But my particular delight was to enlarge on jDolitics and
the war. None damned the French like me ; none was
more bitter against the Americans. And when the north-
bound mail arrived, crowned with holly, and the coachman
and guard hoarse with shouting victory, I went even so far
as to entertain the company to a bowl of punch, which I
compounded myself with no illiberal hand, and doled out
to such sentiments as the following : —
'' Our glorious victory on the Nivelle ! " ^' Lord Well-
ington, God bless him ! and may victory ever attend upon
his arms ! " and, ^^ Soult, poor devil ! and may he catch it
again to the same tune ! "
Never was oratory more applauded to the echo — never
any one was more of the popular man than I. I promise
you, we made a night of it. Some of the company sup-
ported each other, with the assistance of boots, to their
respective bed-chambers, while the rest slept on the field
of glory where we had left them ; and at the breakfast
table the next morning there was an extraordinary assem-
blage of red eyes and shaking fists. I observed patriotism
to burn much lower by daylight. Let no one blame me
110 ST. IVES
for insensibility to the reverses of France ! God knows
how my heart raged. How I longed to fall on that herd
of swine and knock their heads together in the moment of
their revelry ! But you are to consider my own situation
and its necessities ; also a certain lightheartedness, emi-
nently Gallic, which forms a leading trait in my character,
and leads me to throw myself into new circumstances with
the spirit of a schoolboy. It is possible that I sometimes
allowed this impish humour to carry me further than good
taste approves ; and I was certainly punished for it once.
This was in the episcopal city of Durham. We sat down, a
considerable company, to dinner, most of us fine old vatted
Endish tories of that class which is often so enthusiastic as
to be inarticulate. I took and held the lead from the be-
ginning ; and, the talk having turned on the French in
the Peninsula, I gave them authentic details (on the author-
ity of a cousin of mine, an ensign) of certain cannibal
orgies in Galicia, in which no less a person than General
Caifarelli had taken a part. I always disliked that com-
mander, who once ordered me under arrest for insubordi-
nation ; and it is possible that a spice of vengeance added
to the rigour of my picture. I have forgotten the details ;
no doubt they were high-coloured. No doubt I rejoiced to
fool these jolter-heads ; and no doubt the sense of security
that I drank from their dull, gasping faces encouraged me
to proceed extremely far. And for my sins, there was one
silent little man at table who took my story at the true
value. It was from no sense of humour, to which he was
quite dead. It was from no particular intelligence, for he
had not any. The bond of sympathy, of all things in the
world, had rendered him clairvoyant.
Dinner was no sooner done than I strolled forth into the
streets with some design of viewing the cathedral ; and the
little man was silently at my heels. A few doors from the
THE GREAT NOKTJl KOAD 111
inn, in a dark place of the street, I was aware of a touch on
my arm, turned suddenly, and found him looking up at
me with eyes pathetically bright.
^^Ibeg your pardon, sir; but that story of yours was
particularly rich. He — he ! Particularly racy," said he.
" I tell you, sir, I took you wholly ! I smoked you ! I be-
lieve you and I, sir, if we had a chance to talk, would find
we had a good many opinions in common. Here is the '^ IMue
Bell,' a very comfortable place. They draw good ale, sir.
Would you be so condescending as to share a pot with me?"
There was something so ambiguous and secret in the
little man's perpetual signalling, that I confess my curiosity
was much aroused. Blaming myself, even as I did so, for
the indiscretion, I embraced his proposal, and we were soon
face to face over a tankard of mulled ale. He lowered his
voice to the least attenuation of a whisper.
^^Here, sir," said he, " is to the Great Man. I think you
take me ? No ? " He leaned forward till our noses almost
touched. ^' Here is to the Emperor ! " said he.
I was extremely embarrassed, and, in spite of the creat-
ure's innocent appearance, more than half alarmed. I
thought him too ingenuous, and, indeed, too daring for a
spy. Yet if he were honest he must be a man of extra-
ordinary indiscretion, and therefore very unfit to be en-
couraged by an escaped prisoner. I took a half course,
accordingly — accepted his toast in silence, and drank it
He proceeded to abound in the praises of Napoleon, such
as I had never heard in France, or at least only on the lips
of officials paid to offer them.
" And this Catfarelli, now," he pursued : " lie is a splen-
did fellow, too, is he not ? I have not heard vastly mueli
of him myself. No details, sir — no details ! We labour
under huge difficulties here as to unbiassed information."
112 ST. IVES
^'l believe I have heard the same complaint in other conn-
tries," I conlcl not help remarking. *' But as to Caffarelli,
he is neither lame nor blind, he has two legs, and a nose
in the middle of his face. And I care as much about him
as you care for the dead body of Mr. Perceval ! "
He studied me with glowing eyes.
'^You cannot deceive me!" he cried. ^' You have
served under him. You are a Frenchman ! I hold by the
hand, at last, one of that noble race, the pioneers of the
glorious principles of liberty and brotherhood. Hush I
No, it is all right. I thought there had been somebody at
the door. In this wretched, enslaved country we dare not
even call our souls our own. The spy and the hangman,
sir — the spy and the hangman ! And yet there is a candle
burning, too. The good leaven is working, sir — working
underneath. Even in this town there are a few brave
spirits, who meet every AVednesday. You. must stay over
a day or so, and join us. We do not use this house. An-
other, and a quieter. They draw fine ale, however — fair,
mild ale. You w^ill find yourself among friends, among
brothers. You will hear some very daring sentiments ex-
pressed ! " he cried, expanding his small chest. '^ Mon-
archy, Christianity — all the trappings of a bloated past —
the Free Confraternity of Durham and Tyneside deride."
Here was a devil of a prospect for a gentleman whose
whole design was to avoid observation ! The Free Con-
fraternity had no charms for me ; daring sentiments were
no part of my baggage ; and I tried, instead, a little cold
" You seem to forget, sir, that my Emperor has re-estab-
lished Christianity," I observed.
*' Ah, sir, but that was policy ! " he exclaimed. '-'You
do not understand Napoleon. I have followed his whole
career. I can explain his policy from first to last. Now
THE GREAT NORTH ROAD 113
for instance in the Peninsula, on which you were so very
amnsing, if you will come to a friend's house who has a
map of Spain, I can make the whole course of the war
quite clear to you, I venture to say, in half an hour."
This was intolerable. Of the two extremes, I found 1
preferred the British tory ; and, making an appointment
for the morrow, I pleaded sudden headache, escaped to tlie
inn, packed my knapsack, and fled, about nine at night,
from this accursed neighbourhood. It was cold, starry, and
clear, and the road dry, with a touch of frost For all that,
I had not the smallest intention to make a long stage of it ;
and about ten o'clock, spying on the right-hand side of the
way the lighted windows of an alehouse, I determined to
bait there for the night.
It was against my principle, which was to frequent only
the dearest inns ; and the misadventure that befell me was
sufficient to make me more particular in the future. A
large company was assembled in the parlour, which was
heavy with clouds of tobacco smoke and brightly lighted
up by a roaring fire of coal. Hard by the chimney stood a
vacant chair in what I thought an enviable situation,
whether for warmth or the pleasures of society ; and I was
about to take it, when the nearest of the company stopped
me with his hand.
'' Beg thy pardon, sir," said he ; '^'^but that there chair
belongs to a British soldier."
A chorus of voices enforced and explained. It was one
of Lord "Wellington's heroes. He had been wounded un-
der Rowland Hill. He was Colburne's right-hand man.
In short, this favoured individual appeared to have served
with every separate corps and under every individual gen-
eral in the Peninsula. Of course I apologised. I had not
known. The devil was in it if a soldier had not a right to
the best in England. And with that sentiment, which was
114 ST. IVES
loudly applauded, I found a corner of a bench, and
awaited, with some hopes of entertainment, the return of
the hero. lie proved, of course, to be a private soldier. I
say of course, because no officer could possibly enjoy such
heights of popularity. He had been Avounded before San
Sebastian, and still wore his arm in a sling. AVhat was a
great deal worse for him, every member of the company
had been plying hiui with drink. His honest yokeFs
countenance blazed as if with fever, his eyes were glazed
and looked the two ways, and his feet stumbled as, amidst
a murmur of applause, he returned to the midst of his
Two minutes afterwards I was again posting in the dark
along the highway ; to explain which sudden movement of
retreat I must trouble the reader with a reminiscence of my
I lay one night with the out-pickets in Castile. We
were in close touch with the enemy ; the usual orders had
been issued against smoking, fires, and talk, and both
armies lay as quiet as mice, when I saw the English senti-
nel opposite making a signal by holding up his musket. I
repeated it, and we both crept together in the dry bed of
a stream, which made the demarcation of the armies. It
was wine he wanted, of which we had a good provision, and
the English had quite run out. He gave me the money,
and I, as was the custom, left him my firelock in pledge,
and set off for the canteen. When I returned with a skin
of wine, behold, it had pleased some uneasy devil of an
English officer to withdraw the outposts ! Here was a
situation with a vengeance, and I looked for nothing but
ridicule in the present and punishment in the future.
Doubtless our officers winked pretty hard at this inter-
change of courtesies, but doubtless it Avould be impossible