"Why, your hour is rather early."
"Can't make it later. If I were not on the boards of the Outer House precisely as the nine-hours bell rings, there would be a report that I had got an apoplexy, and I should feel the effects of it all the rest of the session."
"Well, I will make an exertion to wait upon you."
Here the company broke up for the evening.
In the morning Colonel Mannering appeared at the counsellor's chambers, although cursing the raw air of a Scottish morning in December. Mr. Pleydell had got Mrs. Rebecca installed on one side of his fire, accommodated her with a cup of chocolate, and was already deeply engaged in conversation with her. "Oh no, I assure you, Mrs. Rebecca, there is no intention to challenge your mistress's will; and I give you my word of honour that your legacy is quite safe. You have deserved it by your conduct to your mistress, and I wish it had been twice as much."
"Why, to be sure, sir, it's no right to mention what is said before ane--ye heard how that dirty body Quid cast up to me the bits o' compliments he gied me, and tell'd owre again ony loose cracks [*Gossip ] I might hae had wi' him; now if ane was talking loosely to your honour, there's nae saying what might come o't."
"I assure you, my good Rebecca, my character and your own age and appearance are your security, if you should talk as loosely as an amatory poet."
"Aweel, if your honour thinks I am safe-the story is just this.--Ye see, about a year ago, or no just sae lang, my leddy was advised to go to Gilsland for a while for her spirits were distressing her sair. Ellangowan's troubles began to be spoken o' publicly, and sair vexed she was--or she was proud o' her family. For Ellangowan himsell and her, they sometimes 'greed, and sometimes no--but at last they didna 'gree at a' for twa or three year--for he was aye wanting to borrow siller, and that was what she couldna bide at no hand, and she was aye wanting it paid back again, and that the Laird he liked as little. So, at last, they were clean aff thegither. And then some of the company at Gilsland tells her that the estate was to be sell'd; and ye wad hae thought she had taen an ill will at Miss Lucy Bertram frae that moment, for mony a time she cried to me, 'O Becky, O Becky, if that useless peenging thing o' a lassie there, at Ellangowan, that canna keep her ne'er-do-weel father within bounds--if she had been but a lad-bairn, they couldna hae sell'd the auld inheritance for that fool-body's debt;'--and she would rin on that way till I was just wearied and sick to hear her ban the puir lassie, as if she wadna hae been a lad-bairn, and keepit the land, if it had been in her will to change her sect. And ae day at the spae-well below the craig at Gilsland, she was seeing a very bonny family o' bairns--they belonged to ane MacCrosky--and she broke out--'Is not it an odd like thing that ilka waf carlfe [*Every insignificant churl] in the country has a son and heir, and that the house of Ellangowan is without male succession?' There was a gipsy wife stood ahint and heard her--a muckle sture [*Strong] fearsome-looking wife she was as ever I set een on.--'Wha is it,' says she, 'that dare say the house of Ellangowan will perish without male succession?' My mistress just turned on her--she was a high-spirited woman, and aye ready wi' an answer to a' body. 'It's me that says it,' says she, 'that may say it with a sad heart.' Wi' that the gipsy wife gripped till her hand; 'I ken you weel eneugh,' said she, 'though ye kenna me--But as sure as that sun's in heaven, and as sure as that water's rinning to the sea, and as sure as there's an ee that sees, and an ear that hears us baith--Harry Bertram, that was thought to perish at Warroch Point, never did die there--he was to have a weary weird [*Cruel fate] o't till his ane-an-twentieth year, that was aye said o' him--but if ye live and I live, ye'll hear mair o' him this winter before the snaw lies twa days on the Dun of Singleside--I want nane o' your siller,' she said, 'to make ye think I am blearing [*Moistening ] your ee--fare ye weel till after Martimas;'--and there she left us standing."